Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Big Makeover for My Blue Haven





If you've been reading this blog a while, you may know that "My Blue Haven" is my affectionate name for my bedroom, which I'm trying to make into a  restful and inspiring place to sleep, think, talk, read, write, and create. It is mainly decorated in robin's egg, aqua, turquoise, and teal shades of blue.

This summer, My Blue Haven got a big makeover! I didn't replace the carpet or repaint, but I do have several ideas here for making a bedroom practical and pretty while being creative and resourceful.

It started with a bed bug invasion in a child's room, which soon spread to the rest of the house, including my very own bed. Itchy itchy bites! We called an exterminator who came out four times to spray. We also decluttered most of the rooms and washed loads upon loads of laundry in hot water. I think all the bugs are gone now.

In the process, I realized that the old queen size bed was probably harboring lots of bugs in the wooden grid below the platform frame. The frame was over 30 years old, clunky, and too long for a standard queen mattress since it used to be a water bed frame. The 20 year old mattress was completely shot with lumps and holes galore. I disassembled the whole thing and had my teen sons drag it outside the house for the trash folks to haul away. I had to sand and spackle the wall where the frame had badly gouged it. I still need to touch up the paint, but it's good enough for now.

Then I bought a universal bed frame at Sam's Club for less than $40, a beautiful Ethan Allen headboard at a thrift store for $60, and a queen size pillow top mattress and box springs set on clearance at a furniture store for about $250. I quickly put it all together in a new spot in the room. 

Then I decided I needed new bedding for it. I found a gorgeous teal blue quilt with matching pillow cases at Ross for less than $50. I chose king size instead of queen size because I wanted it to drape down the sides and cover the box springs so I could avoid buying a dust ruffle. As it turns out, I turned it sideways, and it covers the foot end of the bed, too. Yay!

I did have one problem with the bed. Since I sit on the edge of it so frequently (and my kids plop on it), it seemed like the top layer was getting squished down and tilted to the side. When I climbed in at night, I felt like I was about to roll out of bed just a little bit. I tried rotating the mattress, and I checked the bed frame to make sure it was level, but none of that helped. After a few weeks, I added two layers of 1" thick 10" wide foam sheets under the mattress along the edge where I get out of bed. After I took this photo, I tucked them in under the fitted sheets.



I also bought a really soft fluffy blanket for underneath the quilt. There are two standard size pillows under the quilt for sleeping, and the big king size one with the teal pillow case goes on top as decoration after I make the bed.


The place where I put the bed this time has wall space above it. I looked for coordinating artwork in a bunch of stores and couldn't find what I wanted, so I decided to paint my own. It's inspired by cathedral rose windows and you can read more about its creation here: Sanctuary: The Story of My New Blue Painting.

 


You may remember that I bought this blue IKEA cart for our school room, but then decided to use it by my desk in the bedroom. Well, now it's my bedside "table" since what I had before won't fit in this spot. I love that it has multiple levels to store my lamp and medicines and tissues (top bin), CPAP machine (middle bin), and miscellaneous supplies (bottom bin).


I was diagnosed with diabetes this past spring and take metformin orally twice a day. Though my doctor didn't tell me I needed to test my blood sugars yet, I decided last week to get a glucose monitor anyway and keep track of the levels occasionally. I bought an opaque blue mason jar with a straw hole in the lid. I drop my used lancets and test strips into it so I can dispose of them hygienically later on rather than dumping them in the regular trash with blood on them. I store the jar on my bedside cart, where I also keep my glucose monitor.


I took down the net layer of my curtains, and left up just the muslin under layer. It has a more subtle look.


I found the light blue and white basket at a yard sale for $1. It sits on the file cabinet next to my desk along with my magnifying mirror and my tweezer jar. (When I moved the cart, I replaced it with a file cabinet from the closet. The cabinet now holds my tools and sewing kit. I put a decorative blue medallion dish towel on top.)
 

I found these closet organizers on clearance at Ross for about $5 each.
 

After our bed bug crisis, I took my four younger kids on a 15 day road trip to visit family in Maryland and New Jersey.

I brought home a whole box more of my late mother's pretty things. The newest additions to my bookshelf on my desk are the little vase and jar that are near the left side of this picture.
 



The calming glitter jar sits on my desk. I made it last week, and I love to turn it over and see the colored glitter swirl around. You can read more about that here: Calming Glitter Jar


While on our trip, I bought a lovely blue sun hat at the Jersey shore. It is now perched on the top shelf of my desk.


I rearranged this bookcase with other treasures!

On top, I put a sign that I bought for half price at Cracker Barrel on our way home from Maryland.
 


The stained glass piece on the right was made by my mother.
 

This platter that I painted used to sit on my bedside table, but there's no room for it on my cart, so I moved it to the shelf. The crystal pieces were my mother's. I brought them home with me when we were visiting my dad.
 

I bought the tea cup on the right at an antique store at Savage Mill in Maryland.
 



I already had a hymnal collection, but found a few more, along with a Book of Common Prayer, in a box in the basement in Maryland. I brought them home.


This one belonged to my great-grandmother Olive (Mrs. C.B.) Ransom.




And finally, I bought new pull thingies for my ceiling fan and light at Cracker Barrel on clearance. I love the encouragement that I see every time I turn them on or off!




You can read the other Blue Haven posts here!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Seven Gifts in Summer (Visions & Values)



Hello friends!

Happy summer to you!

Last month, I wrote about seven gifts in my life and how I need to be using and caring for them. Today I'd like to share a few tidbits about what I'm doing and reading for each area during the summertime, when my schedule is a little less structured. 




Spirit: 
Roots and Sky: Following the Sacred Contours of Everyday Life  -     By: Christie Purifoy

One thing I do for my spiritual life is read books that feed my soul. I just finished Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy, a reflective and inspirational memoir of her family's first year in a vintage Pennsylvania farmhouse. I loved it and I'll have to write a separate post on it soon. Meanwhile, you can read her blog here to get a taste of her writing: A Spacious Place




Bandersnatch: An Invitation to Explore Your Unconventional Soul  -     By: Erika Morrison
I'm about to start reading Bandersnatch: An Invitation to Explore Your Unconventional Soul by Erika Morrison. I also try to keep a pulse on my unconventional soul, especially when I find myself unsettled. I like to stay on an even keel, but that's a challenge. Reading is good for me.





This next month is a special spiritual anniversary for me. July marks 40 years that I have been a Christian. You can read about it here: My Story of Liberty in 1976.

1976
2016
 
Family and Friends: 

It is so easy to get overwhelmed as a mom with five kids still at home. I am trying to get better at setting and maintaining personal boundaries, as well as clearly and calmly communicating expectations. 

Next month, I am taking my four youngest on a road trip to Maryland and New Jersey to see my dad and his wife, my sister and brother and their families. I've got a whole lot of planning and preparation to do! 

I also love to spend time with my five adult daughters and six grandchildren whenever I can. I often host family events at our house, and help with babysitting when needed.

Hulk still loves his pacifier!
~~ my grandson Lucas ~~ 


I want to start getting together with friends "in real life" more since I hardly do this at all in my crazy life. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with a sweet friend I met a long time ago but don't know very well. We were chatting in the grocery store last week and realized we had more in common than we had realized. So I'm going over to her house tomorrow! What a treat! And this Saturday I'm having breakfast with some of the ladies from Bible study, even though we're off for the summer.

Looking for ideas of fun things to do with kids? Read here: 34 Activities To Do With Family That Do Not Include the TV.


Health: 

One of my daughters, a hospital nurse, sat down with me and reviewed all of my prescriptions and supplements for several chronic health issues. We put a detailed list of my medical conditions and treatments into both Evernote and my phone's emergency page. I also set up a weekly pill box with four sections per day. It's on my bedside table, and it's really helped me be more faithful at taking them when I should.



For exercise, had to find something that would work for me. I don't have the time or money to go to a gym, and there are some things I can't do because of joint problems. I am mainly using weights that strap onto my wrists and ankles for daily workouts at home. I can lie on my bed to do leg exercises. It helps me to spend a longer time at it if I read on my phone at the same time. I was also looking for an elliptical machine at thrift stores, but then found one on my next door neighbor's curb in good working condition. Free! Yay! I can still only manage about 10 minutes at a time right now, but I'm working up. I also still walk in my neighborhood, usually when I'm talking on the phone.


Stretching

Wrist weights in the morning

Home: 

I'm about to put my summer Americana decorations back in the front hallway again, after a springtime floral theme. I just worked a lot in my own space again, as you can see here: Spring Cleaning and Creating in My Blue Haven



I am reading The Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally Clarkson.

Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming  -     By: Sally Clarkson, Sarah Clarkson

In less cheerful news, I had to hire an exterminator to treat the whole house for bed bugs. We had to throw a bunch of stuff into laundry baskets and move them into the dining room temporarily. (He's coming back to spray there and two other rooms this week.) We're also having to wash a ton of clothes and throw stuffed animals and pillows in the dryer to sanitize them. I'm using this occasion to get brutal about dejunking the house. If we don't need it and don't really want it, why are we keeping it? The trash man cometh.

I gave up on trying to get the kids to load the dishwasher on assigned days of the week. What works now is having them take turns unloading it, and then I load it the way I like it. We still get sink pileups, but this is better than it was.

Mind:

This is a really general category that includes intellect, imagination, and creativity. Or, in terms of activities, reading, researching, writing, remembering, organizing information, and art work. You can see some of my recent art projects here: My New Blue Art.

I set up a file system in two of my deeper desk drawers so I can access information faster. 

A little later in the summer, I will plan out the first month of home schooling for my upcoming fifth grader and decide if I need to buy any more curriculum. I already have an overview mapped out in Evernote.


I have some books on adult ADD that I need to read soon. This is definitely an issue for me at times, though I already compensate for it in so many ways.

I am trying to force my brain to be aware of my surroundings, memorize information, and recall sequences. I jumped one of my kids' cars three times this week and now I've got the process down pat. Learning something new and learning it well is a sweet deal.

Money:

I use the Goodbudget app on my phone to track my expenses in the discretionary spending categories. This version is free, but if I needed more categories or wanted to sync it with another device, I would have to pay a monthly fee. 

I had been using Mint, which synced with my computer and also automatically pulled in transactions from my bank. Unfortunately, it was not as user friendly on my phone and there was a delay getting new transactions downloaded. 

Goodbudget is friendlier and I can easily enter transactions even without a download. If I have a few extra minutes waiting in my car, I pull the current receipts out of my wallet and enter them in. I also check the transactions in my bank account using my bank's app to make sure I haven't missed anything. (I can also use the bank app to transfer money into my checking account.) My Goodbudget categories are Groceries, Eating Out, Kids, Home, Gas, Personal, and Other. 

In addition, I keep a Kids Owe Me list in Evernote on my phone for when my kids borrow or pay back money.

Time:

My summer schedule has been pretty loose since the kids got out of school at the end of May. I did have to do a lot of driving since two teens were taking Driver Education in summer school for a few weeks and my youngest had Vacation Bible School. I'm glad all of that is over, even though they were good things! It would be easy to just let everything slide, but I've got to make progress in a lot of areas this summer while I have the chance. It is so much harder during the school year when I am home schooling my youngest.

I still use the gTask app for my To Do List, which syncs with the Calendar app. 

I am also working on goal setting and life planning. I just read Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. They recommend setting aside one full day each year to formulate specific goals for each area of life. I did something like this in 2015 but didn't follow through very well. I may give it another try.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want  -     By: Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy



Well, that's it for now, friends! What are you all doing this summer?

Virginia





Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Spring Cleaning and Creating in My Blue Haven





My Blue Haven
(my bedroom),
ready for spring cleaning!



Here we go!


Everything off the desk 
and its bookcase...
Wipe it all down! 


I choose the books I still really want to read this year.
In piles on my bed, I sort them into categories:
spiritual life, health, education, family life, 
creative thinking, life management, and decorating.
I put the other books on another bookcase,
or in bins to sell or give away. Clutter must go! 

  

I removed the colorful cart
that held many of my papers.
It was too wobbly and too bright.
But now I needed a place to store them.
I turned my bottom desk drawers
into file drawers: kid stuff on the left,
adult stuff on the right.
I bought two large packages of 
colored folders, gathered my papers
from the cart and elsewhere,
and got busy. Very busy.
I'm still not done.
And oh yes, I threw a lot away!


I still needed something alongside
my desk to hold miscellaneous stuff
like mail, purse, book bag, 
wet wipes, makeup kit.
I bought this cart at IKEA for $30.
I priced similar ones at $60 at other stores,
but saved money by assembling it myself. 

Much better, thank you!



A much more streamlined look, I think.
I removed some stuff from the top shelf,
like a wicker drawer unit and a box of CDs. 


Then I moved my personal tool box 
(the one in the middle)
from my bottom left desk drawer 
to make room for all those files.
The box on the left holds 
soft pastels and markers.
The one on the right has 
health insurance books and papers.

On to the bedside...


My blue tabletop globe lamp broke,
so I've been using a desk lamp.
I didn't like the looks of the lamp base
with its organizer thingy,
so I set it in a blue box.
I don't like it too bright at night,
so I replaced the bulb with a blue one,
which gives it a softer glow.

A view through my kaleidoscope.
I am such a kid at heart.

I painted the platter at a pottery shop.
as you can see more here: My New Blue Art.
Read about my Seven Gifts board here: Seven Gifts.
One of the seven gifts I have is my home.
I like to care for my blue haven.
Another of the seven gifts is my health.
I have to remember to take all of my pills every day.
A letter holder that had been on my desk
now holds my weekly medicine organizer
right where I can see it.

Another camouflage job to do:
my CPAP nighttime breathing machine.


I bought a "fat quarter" at Walmart. 


Then I fastened the fabric to a shoe box
with double sided duct tape.
The back is open for ventilation and hoses.
The little blue gem on top is to show me
where to push the ON button.
(I cut a hole in the box for that.)
And more tulle ribbon.


The porcelain cottage is from 
a local tea shop I visited with the
ladies from my Bible study group.


The blue fabric bins from Ross are $3.99 each.
This one is for stuff I need to reach while I'm in bed.


This one on a high shelf holds my 
medicines and supplements for refilling
my weekly pill box.

These two on a table near my bed 
hold small exercise equipment
(more on that in another post)
and magazines.

The yellow sign had been on my headboard
but now it's on the wall.
I added the fabric banner that I bought.
How can I "create a beautiful day"?
COURAGE
DREAM
GROW
PEACE
LOVE
BELIEVE 


I sure do want to grow!
After all, this blog is called


The tie dye panels I made last year
hang above my rocking chair.
I had mounted the small chalkboard 
and written "delight in diligence" on it.
It just didn't show up well with the lighting angle.
So after a few months I erased it 
and mounted the Choose Joy
painted wooden piece on it instead.



An extra dresser is a great spot
for craft supplies, extra linens, medical supplies.
This is my wood painting drawer.

I think I'll make some 
pencil and pen holders for my desk!
I bought the wood boxes
and ornaments at a craft store.






So I've been cleaning, organizing, and creating My Blue Haven this week. I've had to be resourceful and think of ways to solve some of the practical problems I face in my bedroom and in my life. I want my room to be an inspiring and restful place to sleep, work out, read, write, think, relax, chat with loved ones, and get ready for my day!

I love my blue haven!

Read my three other My Blue Haven posts here:


Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles