Tuesday, March 27

DIY Easter wall hanging

Decorating for Easter is fun. After the darkness of winter, it's a joy to lighten things up!

I made a simple wall hanging for almost no money:

I'm so pleased with it! Here's how I did it.

First, I downloaded the art from one of my favorite blogs, Dear Lillie. Jennifer at Dear Lillie is a wonderful artist, and she offers downloads for sale as well as free downloads. This one is a quotation from Matthew 23. If you don't already know Jenni, then stop right now and visit her at Dear Lillie. You'll be so glad you did. Jenni has talent just oozing from her pores, and she's so kind and generous. I'm proud to know her. The art I used for this piece can be found here.

Second, I took this plaque that I bought on clearance after Christmas (I paid $1.00 for it):

I spray-painted it with Kilz primer, then painted it a springy green to go with the printable. (Jennifer offers the artwork in several different colors; I chose the green because green is my favorite color.)

Then I simply cut out my free art in a shape I liked, Mod-Podged the art onto the plaque, and added a piece of twine for a hanger. Super-easy!

I'm hanging this on the door of my mother's dough cabinet, which is a favorite spot for holiday decor. As you can see, I still need to decorate the tabletop on the cabinet.

The cabinet is filled with things that remind me of my mother and my grandmother. It makes me happy to decorate it for each holiday.

Now to work on the rest of my Easter decorations! Have you decorated for Easter yet?

Friday, March 23

A special message

Jack, Lee, and I were driving down the highway when I spotted an airplane doing odd things. "What's that pilot up to?" I asked. Soon it became apparent that he was skywriting so I grabbed my phone and took a few pictures. Here's what he wrote in the sky:

The first word had faded by the time he reached the end, but if you look closely you can still read his message: "Love God."

Reminded me of Psalm 19: "The heavens declare the glory of God. . . ." Not usually in skywriting, but I like the "Love God" message!

Have you ever seen anything written in the sky?

Wednesday, March 21

Grace at home: link up!

Today is the start of my new linky party: Grace at Home. I'm so glad you're here! This party is designed to showcase all the little things you do to make your home a place of grace.

This is what I see as I look out my front door today:

Looking back toward the house, including the basketball goal all ready for shooting hoops after dinner:

There's no way to compete with the beauty God has created, is there? Right now I'm just trying to bring a little of that beauty inside. Here's the new tablescape I created for our living room coffee table:

A coffee table book, a magnifying glass, and a little vignette. Very simple. My favorite thing is the bird's nest holding a candle.

I added a bit of lichen to the nest just because I like the color. See?

Simple touches of the outside brought indoors create grace at home, I think.

So how about you? What have you done lately to create grace in your home? This is the place for your link up a post about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it. Please link up the permalink for your post, not your blog's home page. Please include a link back to the party so that others can join the fun. And please help me spread the word!

Sunday, March 18

In the kitchen

Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick is hosting a new party called "Show Us Your House"--a great idea since we all love to peek into one another's homes, don't we? Today's feature is kitchens. Here's a look at mine.

Our kitchen is a large, open room which includes a casual eating area and a seating/desk area. It's hard to get a photo of the whole thing, but here some views from around the room.

First, the working area:

More of the workspace, this time with the island pendants turned on:

The eating area:

Our table is from Pottery Barn. It's enormous--11 1/2 feet long! I love being able to have a table big enough to seat lots of people. Beside the table is my mother's dough cabinet, which is one of my most prized possessions. As you can see, I mix all different wood finishes without much hesitation. Works for me!

The desk area:

A shot from the working end looking out toward the screened-in porch:

The stairs to the left of this picture lead down to the "terrace level," also known as the walk-out basement. I like the fact that the stairs are open; it makes the lower level feel more like a part of the house. On that wall is a family portrait wall clock I created.

One of my favorite features of this part of the kitchen is the lighted shadowboxes at the top of the cupboards. I use them to display pitchers. You can read more about my collection pitchers here.

Another of my favorite things is the window treatment. I love the plantation shutters on the windows of the other end of this room, but I wanted to be able to see out of the window above the sink, plus I wanted some fabric for color. I came up with a very easy way to make a no-sew faux Roman shade. You can see that tutorial here if you like.

My kitchen connects to the back entry, the dining room, the living room, the downstairs, the deck, and the screened porch. No wonder I have to mop the floors so often!

Kitchen details:
  • Cupboards are maple beadboard; granite is Santa Rita
  • Drawer pulls and cabinet knobs are from Restoration Hardware
  • Appliances are KitchenAid
  • Wall color is Ruskin Room Green by Sherwin-Williams

Thanks so much for visiting me! I'd love for you to join me this week as I start a new linky party called Grace at Home. Click here to read more about it.


Friday, March 16

Grace at home: what's this all about?

I'm often asked to describe my blog. "Is it a faith blog?" people ask. "Is it a homemaking blog? Is it a decorating blog? A family blog? A ministry blog?"

These are fair questions, and the honest answer to all of them is yes.

My blog is all those things. There's one thing, though, that ties it all together for me: grace. That's the thing I prize most. My blog's purpose is to do what the title says--to impart grace.

I want my home to be full of grace, too. I want it to be a place where my family, my friends, and my guests feel special and loved and welcome. I'm betting you feel the same way about your home.

To celebrate all the things we do to make our homes places of grace, I'm starting a new weekly linky party: Grace at Home.


This party will be a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.

The party will take place every Thursday, beginning March 22.

Will you join me? I'd love to have you! And I'd appreciate it if you'd help me to spread the word!

Thursday, March 15

DIY Spring wreath

I like to have pretty wreaths for different seasons, but I don't like to pay a lot for them. So I make my own. Here's my latest creation:

This springy wreath sprang from humble ingredients (get it? springy--sprang??). I was inspired by these mossy rocks from the Dollar Tree. I used 9 bags of them, so the cost of the wreath was $9.00.

For the base, I used an old Christmas wreath that had been languishing for years in my attic (I'll bet you have a couple of those, too!) Note: the Christmas wreath works well for this wreath because it's green, but if I had it to do over I'd probably wrap the wreath with packing tape or clear plastic just to make it more manageable.

I hot-glued the mossy rocks to the wreath. There are five rocks in each package: two large and three small. I simply pieced them together onto the wreath, kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There's no pattern to the placement; I just wanted to cover the surface of the wreath.

When the wreath was covered to my liking, there were still a few bits of evergreen showing. I used scissors to give the wreath a haircut. As you can see, this was messy, but it didn't take very long.

The sun has been shining so brightly that I haven't been able to get a photo without glare, but here's the wreath in its home on my screened porch:

I like the way the wreath provides some green against the backdrop of the trees that are still grey and leafless.

I think it's just right for spring! What do you think?

**I'm joining these great parties:

Inspiration Friday, At the Picket Fence

Tuesday, March 13

St. Patrick's Day decor

We're a family of redheads. There's lots of Irish blood in our veins. So St. Patrick's Day is a favorite at our house.

My spot for St. Patrick's Day decor is the dough cabinet I inherited from my mother. This is one of my favorite pieces of furniture, and its deep tabletop is perfect for creating holiday vignettes.

This is actually two small vignettes. One includes a homemade chalkboard plate (I use this for everything!), a bright green vase, and three different St. Patrick's pieces collected over the years.

The other vignette is anchored by this fun subway art from eighteen25. I simply printed it and popped it into an 8x10 frame. It's not a perfect fit, but it's close enough for fun. The pitcher was a TJMaxx find two years ago.

And here are the of the few remaining Beanie Babies to be found around our house. We used to have dozens of these toys; most of them have gone to other homes over the years. But these guys have hung around to help us celebrate.

Last but not least, Lee added a Lego mini-fig leprechaun to the decor. Isn't he cute?

The other spot for a little St. Paddy's decor is the dining table on my screened porch. I simply used a wall hanging (found at a thrift store last year) as a table runner and topped it with glass hurricanes filled with gold. Let's hope the meals served here are end-of-the-rainbow worthy!

TIP: Paint gravel with metallic gold spray paint and you've got instant gold! This is fun for St. Patrick's Day and it's also great for pirate play. Years ago I buried a bunch of this in our back yard; Will and Preston had hours of fun digging for it.

Do you decorate for St. Patrick's Day?

Monday, March 12

Smart phone help needed

I am a lucky woman. I own a "smart" phone. But the truth is that it might as well be a dumb phone. Aside from the apps that came pre-loaded on my phone, here are all my apps:

Twitter and Facebook apps that my son downloaded for me. A game that my youngest son loaded once during a long wait at a physician's office. And the two apps I actually loaded for myself: Solitaire and SleepMachine. That's it. There's not another screen of apps waiting to be used. This is all I have.

Sad, isn't it? I feel as though one of my parents might say, "Lots of poor people would give anything to have a phone like that; now you'd better use it!"

But the truth is that I'm kind of intimidated by having a phone that's smarter than I am. I don't know where to begin. I'm not brave with technology; I'm always a little afraid that I might mess things up.

Until now, that is. I'm tired of being scared to use this amazing tool. So I've signed up for a newsletter that I thought you might want to know about. It's called appSmitten. Once a week, they'll send me a newsletter recommending apps that I might like to try.

Do you need smart phone help, too? You can sign up for the free appSmitten newsletter by clicking here. I signed up to be an appSmitten affiliate; that's how impressed I am by this idea.

How about you? Do you have a smartphone? If so, are there apps that you can't do without? I'd love to know!

Friday, March 9

Spring break highs and lows

This week has been Spring Break for my boys. For the very first time, Jack and I took Lee on a trip--just Lee! No older brothers. Just LegoLee. The highest point of the trip?

Can you guess where this was taken?

It's hard to beat the fun of taking a Lego fan to LegoLand!

The lowest point of the trip? That was Thursday night, our final night in Florida, when Lee developed such severe abdominal pain that we sought out an Urgent Care center. Lee doesn't have an appendix any more (his appendectomy was part of our family fun in 2009!), but this pain was of similar severity, so we were worried.

The urgent care physician couldn't diagnose the problem, so she recommended that we go to the local Emergency Room for a CT scan. Of course we went straight to the hospital--but by then it was 9:00 P.M. and we were told that the wait time at the ER was five hours. FIVE HOURS. Lee's pain had subsided by then, so we decided that spending five hours in an ER waiting room was not the best course of action. Thank God, Lee is much better now, and we can follow up with our physicians here.

I have lots to share, and I look forward to catching up with you all. Right now, though, I need a rest from my vacation!

**Have you ever dealt with an emergency when you were away from home?**

Thursday, March 8

Meet Richella

"R-i-c-h-e-l-l-a." If I had a dollar for every time I've spelled my name, I'd have a nice little retirement account all funded.

So first, my name. My mother's brother's name is Richard, and my mother wanted to name a child after her brother. My mom liked the name "Michelle," but I guess "Richelle" wasn't quite enough for her. So she added an "a" and came up with my name, pronounced rih-shell'-uh. Kind of like Michelle, only fancier.

Twenty-five years ago I was a young mom with three little red-headed boys, living in a small town and doing my best to make a home for my husband and kids.

Since then, among other things, I've moved five times; worked with my husband through a career shift and five job changes; raised and educated my children; buried my mother and my father-in-law; helped to plant a church; cared for both my husband and children through six major surgeries in five years; joined the Board of Trustees of Renovar√©, where I now serve as Board Chair; written a small book on spiritual formation; and written a book for InterVarsity Press: Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison. 

And boy, have I made a lot of mistakes along the way.

I'm not such a young mom any more, and my boys are grown now. But I'm still doing my best to make a home for my family—only now I do it with a little less perfectionism, a little more perspective, and a lot more assurance of the goodness of God. 

This blog is my place to share what I've learned and what I'm learning.

My husband took this picture of me. I like photos of myself wearing sunglasses. They're the ones where you can't tell that my eyes are closed.

I also like pictures of just the top half of my body.  They're the ones where you can't see my birthmark.  But I'm learning to deal with that, too.

As for my blog name, I got to pick that one out for myself. I've always been very verbal, and in recent years I've realized that many times in my life I've used words in ways that I'm now ashamed of. I've spoken with harshness, with judgment, with meanness. I wanted to change that, and I was inspired by a verse from the Bible: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good. . . that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29). I liked the idea of trying to impart grace with my words, so I took Imparting Grace as my title--and my goal.

Want to know a little more about me?  

Here's a peek at my home:

Click here to read all about it.

And here's a look at what's in my heart:

Click here to read more.

I'd be so honored for you to join me in my journey here!

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