Monday, August 27, 2012

Have You Ever Slept On A Dirt Floor?

I haven't, even when I've gone camping, I got a cozy sleeping bag and the protective bottom of a tent liner. 
The picture of the family below has only ever known sleeping on cardboard boxes on a dirt floor. 
This post is about my recent trip to Mexico.
My journey gave me back so much more then I could ever give to this family.

 I was one of 24 people that helped build a home for this hard working family trying to make a better life for children.

 I like nice things, clothes, Egyptian cotton sheets, a new car, vacations, etc. 
Who doesn't?   
All the luxuries and non-necessities are nice, don't get me wrong, but this trip was another reality check of just how incredibly lucky and blessed I am.
Mostly, I'm just lucky that I was born in the United States and not 100 miles south. 

I thank God everyday for the roof over my family's head,
but I thank him a little more after this recent trip.
John Rose, the Pastor of our church Rancho Vista,  started an organization called Baja Bound many years ago.  The mission of Baja Bound is to build homes for the working poor of Baja California.  John is a husband, father of two, baseball and softball coach to his kid's teams, and somehow he still finds time for this worthy cause. 

He and his non- profit volunteer organization take church groups from all over the United States down to Mexico to help the poorest of the poor locals in need.
It was our church's turn and I was privileged enough to get to go this time.

Ensenada is about an hour and half drive south of the San Diego.
I haven't been down to Mexico in years.
I forgot how beautiful the coast line is. 
Think La Jolla minus all the buildings.

 We stayed in two large, "rustic," dorm style houses just south of Ensenada.
Another reminder of how good I have it back home.

The family we built the house for are field workers. 
They have saved for seven years to buy a little plot of land to call their own. 
Grandma uses a walker, but still works in the fields picking vegetables.

The family lived in a 15' x 15' home constructed of cardboard boxes. 
The floors are dirt and the roof is a paint tarp. 
I can't even imagine what it's like to live in this when it's cold and raining.
This is their outdoor kitchen/living/bathing area.
There is no running water, electricity, or plumbing.

I will never look at flat screen TV boxes and paint tarps the same way again.

There are so many families living like this in Mexico.
Working hard to provide for their families.

You can't imagine their joy at being chosen to get a new home.
The children were ready to help paint.

They took pride at being able to help with the building process.

The family picked the paint colors.
They have four little girls, so pink was the perfect choice.

Most of my contribution took place on the roof.
That's me on the far right.
Not my best look, but all for a good cause.
I met some incredible people on the trip. 
You form a quick bond all working for a common cause

My feet kept sliding off the tar paper so I stretched out on my belly while someone braced the ladder for my feet from below. 
We all worked as a team.

The father joined in with the construction when he returned after picking vegetables in the field all day. 
Here he is on the ladder handing up the tar shingles. 
I have a new respect for professional roofers, it's really HOT up there!


The mom and her darling little girls watched expectantly as their new home was constructed.

Their local Pastor led the house dedication and blessing.
The family was so appreciative and grateful for their new home. 
They made us a huge meal as a "thank you" for all our hard work.
 I can't imagine how much money was cut out of their monthly food budget to feed all 24 of us?

There was no better sound then hearing the children giggling and playing in the loft after we had finished their new home
No more sleeping in the dirt. 
No more living in mud when it rains.

No more drafty, cold, winter nights. 

This is a new beginning for a very deserving family.
As much as we were able to give to this family,
the payback to all of us involved was

I am forever changed by it.
If I ever forget how privileged, lucky, blessed, etc. I am, please kick me in the head and tell me to snap out of it!
 I wish them many years of health and happiness in their new home!
We are going back in September to add insulation and drywall. 
We didn't have enough funds to get that part of the house done on this trip.
I can't wait to go back and bring my girls this time. 
Thanks for checking it out. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Diving Into Blue

After I added my blue octopus over our family room fireplace and summerized the mantle I thought I was "done" with this room until fall.  
 While my family thinks the octopus is pretty cool, their one critique is that I needed to add more blue around the rest of the room. 
Even my husband, who doesn't like change and always thinks our house is "fine" they way it is, (he doesn't get my need for constant change) commented the room needed more blue. 
Off to the fabric store and Home Goods for a blue makeover.
I'm diving in head first.
Here's what I did.

I made some pillows. 
The fabric feels almost like a beach blanket.  It's thick, textured, and sturdy.
Don't notice the brown couch the pillows are sitting on. 
I don't like it, but it's comfy, in great shape, and paid for, so it's staying for now. 
I have steered away from the Tuscan look, but some furniture pieces like this one still haunt my house.

I slip covered my ottomans with coordinating fabric. 
I sewed the seams inside out for a more casual, beachy look. 
I picked fabric that is very durable because my kids like to throw the pillows on the floor to watch TV and my husband likes to ball them up to stick under his legs when he stretches out on the couch. 

 I took the gray velvet slip cover off my other couch for now.
I don't think I showed you this Ralph Lauren jute rug I picked up at Home Goods for a steal a few months back. 
It's very soft and comfortable for bare feet and floor lounging kids.
I like the texture it adds to the room. 

Since the room has a very neutral color scheme,
I can change out the accessories whenever I get bored.
Pretty much any color works in this room.


My mom gave me a blue and white dog bed for Piper.  
I think she likes it.

I picked up the blue glass float from Home Goods.
I found the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities book on clearance years ago at Anthropologie for $25.
I added my new pillows to my $10 Craig's List wicker chairs.
To see how I made my vertical succulent wall go here.

I changed out my glass bubbles with sand, coral, and shells.

No blue, more beach.

Piper follows me around where ever the photo shoot is happening. 
Her brother and sister are grand champions.
 Maybe she wants to be a supermodel  too.
 More seashells and blue watering orbs were added to my candelier.

I used the left over pillow fabric and jute webbing to make a runner for the dresser behind my couch. 
This dresser stores all my craft supplies.

I took the leftover glass from my DIY Restoration Hardware Rope Planetarium Chandelier and re purposed it as a mini green house.

I added blue ribbon to my DIY glass lamp shades.

 I added some blue accessories to my DIY industrial shelves on the other side of the room.  

The candles are from Home Goods. I already had the Fleur Di Ly's plaque and I just gave it a quick spray with blue paint. 
The boxes were found in the clearance bins at Michael's.

Have you been diving into any new decor for your home?
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Thanks for checking it out.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Goodbye Deer Booty, Hello Sea Monster?

Here is a sneak peak of my latest DIY art, 
My "Sea Monster."

I made the pen artwork of a deer for Christmas 2011
While I loved it for the winter, it really didn't go with a San Diego summer.
After I hung it up, my husband wanted to know why I painted deer booty?
I love that man.

This week I replaced my deer with a blue octopus.
I know summer is in full swing and I'm a little late to the party. 

For inspiration I pinned some octopus to use as subject matter

atlantic or common octopus


The pictures just didn't have the detail that I needed.  I ended up using the octopus I painted in my daughter's bathroom. 
To see the rest of the underwater scenes I painted go here

I took a picture to refer back to and used him as my subject matter for my newest artwork. 
First I sketched the outline of his body on painter's tarp.  I used the same tarp for my deer and my owl.  To see a more detailed explanation of how I create my artwork and my owl go here.
For this monochromatic project I used a blue colored pencil, a blue Sharpie, and a blue ball point pen.  I free handed my octopus, but if you aren't artistic you could achieve the same thing with an overhead projector. 

 I like using pen and Sharpie because of the control I have. 
 I got caught up on my taped Olympic Beach Volleyball while I worked.
Way to Go Misty and Kerri!
Misty May-Treanor is married to MLB player

No Sea Monsters on the volleyball court.

After I hung him up, I accessorized my mantle with a beach theme and added some red. 
The great thing about having a neutral pallet is I can bring in just about any color accessories for a change. 

Shells and coral

I shopped the house and used stuff I already had.

I added a hand painted seahorse pillow I made years ago to the chair below.

I painted a stripe of blue on my found buoy and added it and a starfish to the basket we store firewood in.

The change is a little late for the season, but sometimes that's how my decorating goes.

Swim safely my friends.

Thanks for checking it out.

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