Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Alia's Room Tour!

Merry Christmas week, everyone!  Alia is home from school on a break, and so she is guest-posting for me.  :)  Hope you are all doing well.

xoxoxo

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Hi everyone!  This is Alia, April's daughter, and today I am going to share how I decorated my room on a budget (and mostly by myself).  I have received a lot of questions about my room decorations, and I thought that I could answer most of them in a blog post.  For the most part, I spent my own money on the things in my room (a few things were Christmas/birthday gifts).

I got my own room when I was 12, and for two whole years, I had zero decorations.  I didn't really care about them too much, and I rarely spent time in my room.  Now that I am 14 (almost 15), I spend more time in my room for homework, craft projects, and other things that I'm working on.  I really wanted my room to be a space that I loved, and that's just what it's become.

The first step was painting. I didn't like all the work that went into painting the walls, so I only painted one wall a color.  One wall is teal and all of the other walls are white.  (I did need my parents' help with this).


This is what you see when you first walk into my room.  I love art and color, so my room is full of it.  My comforter is from Target (HERE), and the matching pillow cases were sold separately (HERE). I really like these colors, and *bonus* it's reversible!  It can also be plain yellow, but for now, I like the pattern.

My bed is really tall because of these risers. I don't have closet space for everything in my room, so it's kept under my bed.  I probably have three rows of boxes plus 4 boxes of fabric.  My bed frame was pretty cheap--it's a Universal Bed Frame (HERE), and it works for every size bed.  We got the risers HERE.
And now for the pillows on my bed.  I have the two from Target and lots of homemade ones.  This is just a pillow from the craft/sewing store.  You're supposed to make a cover for it, but I left it plain and painted it. I didn't have any fabric paint on hand--just acrylic, but it never washes out of fabrics, so I think it works.  :)


This is the back of one of my pillows. I made two of these out of some fabric and batting.  I just made a rectangle, sewed it together, and added batting.  It probably took an hour for two matching pillows.  I love making these, because they are so simple and easy, and you can use any kind of fabric that you want.  (Mine are made of a not-too-sparkly gray material).


This is probably my favorite wall in my room.  It started off with one tiny painting, and I've been adding to it for about a year.  I got the canvases as a Christmas present, and I think they were on sale at Michaels.  I got some of the picture frames from Walmart (2 for $2), and they had lots of different sizes. Also, I use painter's tape to hang all the papers up (so that my paint won't get damaged). One thing that you should probably know about me is that I'll see something on Instagram or Pinterest, and I'll be able to recreate it.  Most of the things on my walls are things that I've seen somewhere else. 

I saw this painting HERE, and I really liked how it looked.  I printed out a hexagon, traced it, and painted it!  Super simple and easy.


My younger sister helped me with this painting.  She found it on Pinterest and drew it on a canvas, and then I painted it.  She made one for her room with different colors and with a different animal.


This part of my wall has things from all over the place.  The silhouette is one that I found online, traced onto cardboard, painted, and cut out.  The hand is from a project in my art class.  We just traced our hand on construction paper, and decorated it with henna designs.  The 'A' is from Michaels, and it started out as a plain wooden letter, but I spray-painted it yellow.  The drawing is from my friend Lia (You can read more about Lia HERE).  Anyways, I really liked this drawing, so I put it in one of the inexpensive frames from Walmart. The giraffe was just an image that I found online (HERE).

I've seen this painting all over the Internet, and I decided to make one for myself.  I made it with melted crayons, so that's why it looks a little bit messy.


I just went to the 'quotes' section on Pinterest, and I found all of these things.  I printed them out, and the washi tape at the top is just for decoration (the tape is super weak, and it can't hold anything up).


More quotes from Pinterest, and I painted a C.S. Lewis quote onto a canvas. (That was actually my very first painting that went up on my wall).


I used watercolors for the two paintings at the top (my favorite water colors ever HERE).  I used permanent marker on canvas for the feather.  I just looked at a picture online, and I made my own version of it.  It took about an hour, but I think it was worth it!

And now for the things above my bed.  I used yarn and felt to make the triangles that are hanging above my bed (I also have a matching one above my door).  I just cut a bunch of triangles out, and hot glued them to yarn. It was super easy.  I made a different one for my grandparents, but it was made of Christmas colored hexagons.  I used 5 square canvases for the paintings above my bed.  (More on them below).


Here are a couple of the paintings.  I sketched them in pencil, and then I painted them.  (More info about the drawings below).

 

I used these three drawing books for the paintings (above), and in a different part of my room (getting to that in a minute :) These books make drawing SO simple, especially for kids.  I got these as a Christmas present a year ago. The author is Sachiko Umoto, and these are the books I like best. I seriously recommend getting these for your children.  I've never found a set of art books that I liked this much!

Let's Draw Happy People
Let's Draw Cute Animals
Let's Draw Plants and Small Creatures


This is the other side of my room.  :) I'll explain more below.

 

I made paper 'pinwheels' for my door, and they are so easy. You take a square paper, and make 4 cuts from each corner to the middle, but you don't cut it apart.  You fold every other point (there will be 8) into the middle, and then you can glue and tape them together however you like.


These are my little cubbies, and they hold everything.  For example, I keep paint, scrapbook supplies, clay, stamps, ink pads, school supplies, and curling irons/hair stuff in all of the buckets. I got the cubbies from Home Depot (HERE). I put the cubbies together myself, and the instruction were pretty easy.  This is one of the things that I spent my own money on.  It was on sale, so I got a great deal.  The yellow and teal boxes were extra, and I also spent my money on those. (HERE).


This is just an example of what is in one of my drawers.  I like having my things stored in these because I don't need to have these perfectly organized and out in the open.


Here's what's on top of my cubbies.  I got this clock for Christmas when I was 10 or 11, and I really love it, but it was discontinued.  You can find it on Amazon, but they are selling it for $200+ and I got mine for $40.  One of the best purchases I have ever made is this candle warmer.  I love candles and all of the different scents, but it's so dangerous to have candles in our rooms.  I got this one at Target, and I love it. (More about it below).


This is the candle warmer,  and these are a few of the scents that I have.  Walmart has them for $2-3, and Target has them for $3-4, but you can find them on sale most times.  I bought the candle warmer for $10 on sale, and this one is similar, but it's a bit more expensive (HERE).


This is what's on top of my cubbies.  I have an art project giraffe/bug, a bunch of books and journals, and paintings!  I found these on Pinterest, and I love having them in my room. The four square paintings are made of some really thin wood that I found at Home Depot, and I attached little hanging brackets to the back of them. 


Right next to my cubbies, I have a desk/work area.  I'm using this space all the time, so it's super important for me to keep my desk clean. The shelves are just pieces of white wood and shelf supports/brackets from Home Depot. The desk is from Target, but I can't find the exact link.  I helped pay for half of the desk, since it was kind of expensive (not more than $100 though.) My parents helped to put the desk together because it was kind of complicated.


I got this teal chair from Target too, and it was about $20.  I have a little plant too (it's one of the plants that doesn't die easily).  I'm kind of obsessed with Easter Island (I'm going there one day!), and I have a little painting of one of the statues.  I also have my cutting mat handy (from the craft store), because I'm always using it!


This is the wall I was talking about earlier, the one that I used the art books for.  My three younger siblings helped to draw a ton of animals, plants, and people, and I used them on my wall. I used my water colors to fill them in, and I love all the colors!

 Here are a couple close-up pictures of all the drawings:


 I totally skipped over my shelves...I'll talk about them now! I have lots of little print-outs.  One of my favorites says 'Painting is my happy place' and you can print your own out HERE! :) I also have this little colorful container to hold my chapsticks (container from Target..Only a couple of dollars). 


Then I have an 'Up' section of the shelf. It is my favorite movie, so I printed out a few pictures, and I made printable 3D characters! (More info below).

Disney's website has 3D characters from pretty much every movie(from princesses to Toy Story, Cars, Star Wars, etc..), and they were pretty easy to put together.  Little kids might need some help following the directions. Also, I don't recommend using tape/craft glue, because they fall apart too easily. If you use a hot glue gun, they stay together and dry quickly.  Find them HERE. You can actually just search 'papercraft' in the search bar, and every 3D printable will pop up.  :)

 The final thing on my shelf is a small jewelry hanger.  It keeps my necklaces so organized, and it's a cute little tree! Similar one HERE. I think that adding little personal touches like the 3D printables or art projects not only save you money (most are handmade or very low cost), they help your room to look creative and cute!

Well, if you've made it all the way through, thanks for reading! I have loved adding to my room over the past couple of years, and for the most part, I was responsible for paying for the things that I wanted in my room. All the hard work was worth it, and I learned so many skills along the way! (From putting cubbies together to learning how to paint new things).

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Hope you enjoyed this tour of Alia's room!  (She makes me smile...I am not even HALF that creative.)

Good luck with your own decorations, and please feel free to leave comments.  Alia would be happy to answer any questions.  :)

With Love,
April

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Christmas I Didn't Know I'd Have

My mom started receiving hospice care in May.

Her Alzheimer's had progressed to the point that she needed to be in bed full time, so her doctor signed the form allowing for extra nurses to come in and tend to her at home.

The prognosis? Approximately six months to live.

I remember when I heard the news. I started counting on my fingers, "June, July, August, September, October, November."

Then it hit me that I might not have my mom with me during this holiday season.

Well, although my mother is still in bed, and although she still doesn't know who I am, she is doing so well, and so I thought I'd post a few photos of this Christmas season that I didn't know I would have.  (Plus at the bottom of this post, I kind of opened up my heart regarding what's going on in my life.... Thank you for caring so much about our family.)

On Thanksgiving, after Eric, our children, and I ate dinner at our own home, we drove into Long Beach to visit my sister and then headed over to Mom and Dad's house to help them decorate their tree.  (My dad had called me the week before to let me know the tree was all ready for us!)

When I saw the little tree on the patio outside my mom's room, I asked, "Where do you want me to set this up?"


In the 27 years my parents have lived in that house, it's always been in the living room.

"Well," my dad replied, thoughtfully. "I think it should go in here with Mother."

You see, the heart of the home has shifted to Mom's bedroom. We eat dinner in there with her, we sort through photo albums in there...and it was only fitting that we set up Christmas right where she could see it.



This is Cheryl, one of my mom's full-time caregivers.  This was her FIRST Christmas tree ever.  Isn't that fun that she got to decorate with us?


And the lighting isn't right on this photo, but I still love it.  (That's my mom and dad...)


Grace, Alia, me, and Cheryl--putting on the ornaments:


My dad always picks one of these paper angels to put on the top.  Page and I made them in kindergarten (same teacher, two years apart):


My mom is SO funny...she never wore headbands like this before, but now she is ready for a party at pretty much any moment.


Sweet Alia...



The finished tree:


Ethan and Spencer set up the nativity in the front room so there's still "Christmas" in there.  My dad told me that he and my mom didn't have a nativity when they were first married, but one day at church, the Sunday School teacher said that every home should have one.

The next day, my mom went out and bought this:

In the weeks since we put up the decorations, our Thursday visits have been beautiful. We eat together and sing Christmas carols. My mom hugs me and kisses me, and I help my dad with paperwork and little household tasks. Really, life is good. It's simple and precious. Such a gift, don't you think?

But there are hard things going on right now for me, as well. 

Tonight is good, so I think I can write about it without sounding like a downer, but a couple of nights ago, I was feeling really low. 

There are some big decisions I'm trying to make right now, and the demands on my time sometimes feel too heavy. (I won't go into detail because I know I'm not the only one who feels this way...)

But I had one of the sweetest experiences when I opened up my Bible to Jeremiah 32:27. It says this:  "Behold, I am the Lord...is there any thing too hard for me?"

When I read that verse, I heard my mom's voice in my head.  She loved that scripture, and she would quote it often:

"April, we don't need to worry about that. The Lord will take care of us. Is there anything too hard for Him?"

I wish you could have heard those words being said in her voice. The confidence, the faith, and the utter assurance that she knew what she was talking about was enough to totally quiet any concerns I might have been having.

And as I read those words the other night, that same peace came back.

I've been hearing from a lot of you lately, and I know that your lives are anything but easy. Some of you are going through struggles I can't even imagine, and I wish with all my heart that I could make things better for you. But because I am not able to come do your dishes or sweep your porch right now, I share these thoughts with the hope that they will bring you the same comfort they brought me.

I have no doubt that as we turn our hearts to the Lord and ask Him to show us our lives from His perspective, He lifts the burdens from our shoulders and helps us to clearly see that life is a gift.


Thank you so much for your friendship.  (And Merry Christmas!)

With love,
April 
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