Abe DIY-ed: Leaf Collage

DIY Leaf Collage

 

Last Monday was a sweet day. I had a burst of energy, and got all kinds of things done around the house. Daniel and Abe worked outside on that industrial table that was in my last post and did stuff around the yard. It never rained that day, which was nice. At one point, Abe came inside while I was washing the dishes and wanted something to do because he was bored.

I don’t know why I’d never thought of this before, but I handed him a container and told him to go collect a bunch of different looking leaves, and then we would make a picture with them. He got super pumped about this mission, and went outside and collected leaves. He came in a few times with a couple, but I told him to keep collecting more (mainly because I was trying to buy time so that I could finish the dishes).

When he finally had what I thought was enough, and I was done with my chore, we sat down with a piece of card stock, some Mod Podge and his leaf collection. First, he showed me all of his favorites, which of course were the tiny ones. Sidenote: Abram LOVES tiny things. Like, the smallest, almost unseeable things. When he was two, he found a very small fake diamond, and he called it his sparkle. He managed to keep that thing for quite sometime, and he was the only one who could find it if it got lost. It’s astonishing to me.

After he showed me his favorites, I had him start spreading the mod podge of the back of the leaves with a small paint brush. I’m the one that organized them the way you see them above, in case you were thinking my son was some kind of leaf collage genius. But he did the collecting and the glueing. When we were done, he was so incredibly pleased and proud of his piece of work. It felt good to see his little satisfied reaction. We set it aside to dry, and he went back outside to play and help his daddy.

I had to run up to Walmart for toiletries and such, and while I was there I found a plain, matte black picture frame for like $3.47. I grabbed it to surprise Abe with. When I got home, I stuck his leaf collage in the frame and put it upĀ on the wall. When he came inside, I showed him, and that happy, little face…. man, there’s nothing like the sight of that face.

Now, anytime someone comes over, he has to tell them about his leaf collage that he made and how mommy hung it up. This was the simplest of projects, and it can cost absolutely nothing, if you already have a picture frame lying around or would rather just washi tape it to the wall. It was fun to look at the leaves and talk about the differences in colors and textures. It wasn’t a lengthy project and it put a smile on everyone’s face.

That’s just a win all around.

Dan DIY-ed: Industrial Buffet Table

Industrial Buffet TableI’ve been waiting for this project to come to fruition for quite a while now, and I’m so pleased with the outcome. About two years ago, that metal frame caught my eye as I was driving home to our old house. I saw it in the yard of a little vintage shop that I love to visit from time to time, so I pulled in and asked how much. I don’t remember the exact price, but I know it wasn’t more than $20. The number 16 rings a bell, so we will just say I spent $16 on it. It had a wooden top, but the wood was really nasty looking, so I removed it. I decided that I’d build a new top for it, and we’d use it as a table for decoration.

Well, it ended up staying in our garage, untouched until we moved… and then it ended up sitting in our new garage. We finally finished unpacking everything from our move about a month or so ago, and since then we’ve been doing little projects to decorate our home with. Daniel and I have never quite seen eye to eye when it comes to projects like this, as he has an idea of how it should look and I have my own. We’ve had a few tiffs over this piece. What we’ve discovered about each other is that I like to come up with frugal ideas on how to make something with spending little to no money on it, and he likes to go about things a little more classically, while using all of the right methods and tools (which is usually expensive). We are learning how to come to a happy middle when it comes to these kinds of things.

Last weekend, I thought he was cleaning out the garage. Him and Abe were out there forever, and when I went to see what they were doing, he was actually starting to work on this table. He found some wood pieces in the garage that he wanted to use, but didn’t have enough. It made me smile seeing him go for it, even though he didn’t have the perfect set up. A few days later, he came home from work with a couple of wood palettes. Usually when I mention anything having to do with palettes, he scoffs in disgust, so I was surprised he brought these home to work with. As he pulled it apart, he discovered several of the pieces were oak.

Industrial Buffet TableHe didn’t have an electric sander or even a table to work on, so he started sanding each piece by hand. He worked for a while and then put it away and came inside.

Over the weekend, he decided to drive out to his late grandpa’s house and check out the massive loads of stuff in his wood shop. His grandpa was a cabinet maker/ overall handyman and builder, and had decades worth of tools and things just sitting. Daniel came home on Sunday night with everything he needed to sand and build the table top efficiently. He also had a great/kinda sad time out at his grandpa’s property, looking through his things and discovering that he and his grandpa had a lot in common, down to the way they would organize their tools. I know if his grandpa was still alive, he’d be so glad to see that his natural ability was inherited by Daniel.

Industrial Buffet TableI’m so excited about the final product. I love the look of the raw and unfinished wood against the white wall and in contrast with the black metal and red floors. We probably will end up putting a coat of finish on it though, if we are going to use it to serve food on when we have people over. I’m just excited about having a buffet table to put dishes on for dinner parties! I’ve been patiently waiting to hang those beautiful botanical prints above the table, so it was the first thing we did when he brought it in. They were free printables, and you can actually download them from Poppytalk. I used clear glue strips (the glue dots brand) to attach them to 9×14 watercolor paper, because I like the differences in paper textures. I grabbed a gold roll of washi tape out of a Target $1 last week and used that to stick it to the wall, and I’m really into it. We were going to use industrial clips to hang them up, but I think I like this better. We can remove them if we want and not have holes to show for it.

I like little splashes of gold, anyway.

 

Abe’s Life: Loneliness

AbeHave you ever thought about what it would be like to travel back into time to when you were younger, and watch yourself from the fly on the wall’s perspective?

Having a child is very much like that. You’re not as useless as you’d be from the fly’s perspective, but you can’t really control the way things go either.

There is loneliness in his eyes, and while I think a sibling might help, I don’t think it’s going to fill the longing in his little heart that’s been there since the day we met.

My mom said she watched me play alone on the beach, and she saw those eyes. She knew it was time to have another child so that I could have someone to play with. And while I love my sister very much, that still didn’t fill the gaping hole that made itself known through my eyes.

Having Abram as my son has been like time travel. I’ve been given this human to watch over and care for that is so much like me. I am deeply familiar with that loneliness I see in his eyes everyday, because it’s the same gaze that looked back at me in the mirror for so much of my life.

I watch him with his friends. His anticipation to be with them next is sweet at best and annoying at worst, but as soon as he’s with them, that gaze settles back in. That overwhelming feeling of being alone shows up on his face in a room full of peers and laughter.

He’s so desperate in his quest to feel like he belongs. It’s why he got so bent out of shape last week when I told him our television didn’t belong to him, but just to us and that we let him use it. The thought of him not being included in that ownership wrecked him.

It’s why, no matter how many times a day we tell him that 1) we love him and 2) he’s not alone, he still falls apart when we ask him to go play in his room.

I could go on and on with the examples I’ve taken note of and observed to explain the longing that I see in my son, but continuing to write them out would just make me sob, and I’ve already done that once today.

What’s so hard about this part of my job as Abe’s mother is that there’s nothing I can do to convince him of the truth. I can teach it to him formally, I can have dozens upon dozens of conversations with him about what he’s going through and what I’ve gone through, we can fight about it and then pray until our voices give out. But at the end of the day, there’s no transaction of truth we can make that will leave his heart convinced until the God that created and treasures him convinces Abram Himself.

I anticipate the day when I see that lonely look turn into one of peace and satisfaction. The fact that I can’t control when that happens doesn’t mean I’m going to give up telling my son the truth, day in and day out. My job is to help him plow the fields of his heart and sow the seeds. The growth, the changing of seasons and the pruning- that’s not up to me.

And I have to surrender to that reality everyday.