It’s officially turkey week! The beginning of the holiday madness – what we like to call the calm before the storm.
I feel as though Thanksgiving has been slightly overlooked this year in our household. I had all intentions to put up decorations but by the time I got Halloween decor down and knowing Thanksgiving was early this year, I’d be ripping Thanksgiving down in no time to make room for Christmas. I would love a little more breathing room between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Can’t Halloween be bumped to September?!
The only decor that made an appearance this year was the pallet turkey on our patio.
Last year at this time I had a friend visiting and we decided on a whim to do a project that she could fit in her suitcase and take home with her. (Which ended up only kind of fitting!) I had pallets left over from a project and I was about to throw them out when they were finally repurposed.
The only tools we used were a scroll saw and a drill. We put pieces of wood together and traced three different sized circles and cut with the scroll saw and attached them together with screws. We shaped the feathers and cut with a scroll saw as well as the legs and feet. The face took some time drawing and redrawing – cutting and then recutting.
My friend went home with a semi-unassembled turkey with intentions to piece it together when she got home. I just learned recently she still isn’t quite done – and she asked that I not un-friend her for not finishing it yet. 🙂 Perhaps we should’ve stuck to a project that she could’ve taken home finished! But if I’m being honest I’m the queen of semi-finished projects. They always gets finished…eventually!
Just before my TIA, I started collecting materials for a new project – a THANKFUL sign. I wanted it large to sit above my entertainment center and I wanted the letters cut out of wood. Funny sidenote: when I showed up to the ER, I had my purse with me and as I was grabbing my wallet out, a pack of scroll saw blades came with it! I had just been that morning to the specialty wood shop to grab my last supplies. After my ER visit, I was feeling anything but myself. I felt out of place in my own body, I was tired and dizzy.
After two weeks passed and I could feel the depression start to wash over me and zero motivation to do anything, I pulled out my tools. At first, I was doing it somewhat reluctantly because I really didn’t feel like working with wood. But saws have healing properties for me and this jig saw project was just to trick to snap me out of a downward spiral. And what better message to be working on for me, right?
As I cut those letters, I had a distinct impression of gratitude that I was still able to do projects like this. That the numbness in my fingertips had subsided and I could feel the vibration of the saw. I had complete control over my fingers to move the wood in and out from the blade. I felt like myself more so than any other time in the previous weeks and it felt good. Project Kara is a happy Kara, even if they’re small projects.
Tonight as a family, we spent time talking about gratitude and a spirit of Thanksgiving. We all took turns sharing things big and small that we’re grateful for. I am beyond grateful for my health – a huge wake-up call for not only myself but also Steve. We often take our good health for granted and I recognize that. I am grateful to feel like myself again, its an uncomfortable to feel as though you don’t fit in your own skin and body. I am grateful for a loving and dedicated husband who takes care of me even when I don’t think I need it – he always knows how to help me. I’m grateful for those little humans who call me mom even when we’re in the thick of it and my patience is surface level – they’re always quick to forgive. I’m grateful for friends and family near and far who enrich my life on a daily basis. I have so much to be grateful for, I love a season dedicated to sharing our gratitude.
A while back, I saw this sign on etsy, It’s a Wonderful Life. Steve loves this movie and we find ourselves watching it every Christmas. I would’ve snagged the sign up in a heartbeat, but it was no longer available. I waited a couple months thinking that it might be restocked and it wasn’t. (Naturally, it was restocked at the beginning of the year, after I cut all but one letter!)
So I got familiar with the scroll saw again. It had been a year since I had made the Noah’s Ark set and I was a little rusty. I had all intentions to give it as a gift to Steve for Christmas as part of our traditional homemade Christmas presents. But as luck would have it, the saw broke on my very last letter and I was unable to get it finished and the saw was unrepairable. So it sat unfinished in a Wal-mart bag in the garage for far too long.
Only 8 months later, I was able to get the last letter cut, the letters painted and the sign complete. Merry late Christmas Steve. Or even better, merry early Christmas.
Some of you with young children might be able to relate with me on this – but sometimes I just want to be in my own house…alone. I know those that are not in my stage are quick to remind me that it goes by quickly and before I know it they’ll be gone. And I understand that. But while I’m in the trenches, one day to myself sounds completely dreamy.
My loving husband gave me that day for my birthday. A day that I could do absolutely anything I wanted without having to worry about feeding kids, playing referee or arranging my schedule around nap time – and that day was yesterday. I’m going to downplay just how amazing it was because I don’t want my kids to think I’d rather be alone – although sometimes I do shut myself in my room for a little mom time-out. Some might use a day like this to read a book by the pool. Others might want to clean and organize. My list consisted of easy, yet seemingly pesky tasks that just weren’t getting done on my project to-do list.
Finish sewing some table runners (from fabric leftover from Hunter’s baptism last fall)
Painting the boy’s closet built-in from earlier this spring
Some touch-up paint from when we painted Hallie’s room just before vacation and rehanging frames
Adding switches to the boys over-the-bed lights
Fixing the smoke detector upstairs
Painting letters I’d cut out of wood before Christmas to make a sign
Running to Home Depot for more supplies and a little shopping/returning while I was out and about
And before I knew it – my childless day was over. Of course there are still things on my list – it’s never ending – but I’ll just keep plugging away slowly but surely. Summer is hard with all the kids home all the time so this day was perfectly timed, I needed a day of production among the long hazy days of summer.
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I was at a DownEast Home one day when I found these plank shelves from West Elm for $10 a piece. I snatched up the three shelves they had and knew exactly how I wanted to use them.
I tend to like the industrial look -I like when metals mix with wood. Several years back I opted for industrial pipe for our curtain rods and I’ve loved the look and feel. Using the same material as the curtain rods, I made shelf brackets.
I used 1/2″ pipe and it comes precut in 8″, 10″ or 12″ lengths. You’ll also need a flange and a cap and spray paint in the color of your choice. I like the hammered spray paint by Rustoleum – it gives a durable finish.
My shelves aren’t very wide, so I only needed two brackets per shelf. I screwed the pipe directly into the wall through the flange. It would’ve been ideal to screw them into a stud – but there never seems to be a stud where I need it. So I used some strong mollies in the drywall to screw into to prevent them from ripping out.
The shelves are just sitting on the brackets. For safety, you can add a pipe bracket underneath that would screw into the wood to keep it in place.
I really don’t like the staging part of these projects, but after a year we finally have items sitting on the shelves. I ended up using his toys/books as the decorations. Not toys that were purchased to be cute on a shelf, but the toys he actually plays with, the robots, cars, wooden dinosaur and Baby Lit books. So it really only looks like this every week when I tidy up the room and put everything back in its place. The shelves ended up being more functional than decorative and they fit the space perfectly.