Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Modest House With Room to Grow

I've watched House Hunters enough to know that people choose houses for many different reasons. They may like the layout of the floor plan and that it's located in a desirable neighborhood. Some people factor in the commute to work or the school district. Others fall in the love with the character of a house; it's charming details and curb appeal. Some can visualize themselves having dinner parties on a big deck or turning a small bedroom into a nursery. 

I've definitely been there. I was IN LOVE with our house in Macon. I wanted to marry it and buy it lots of nice furniture. 

Fast forward a few years and we found ourselves in need of big change for a variety of reasons. After angst and peril and upheaval and sleepless nights, we decided to move to Fitzgerald, my hometown,
to a small house on my parents' farm. It's a fixer upper to say the least. 


Though this new house is perfect for us, it's not perfect in the "amazing floor plan and charming front porch" kind of way. It's perfect in the "this is good for our little family" kind of way.


This house is solid, but doesn't have the "look" I would usually want in a house.



The house is a little smaller than our old house, but more than big enough for what we really need.


The house is not especially beautiful. You wouldn't give it a second look if you passed by.  Its best qualities are intangible and to us they are invaluable.

It's a modest house, but it sits on a beautiful spot on the farm. There's plenty of room to grow in every way. I can live with that trade off. 

We moved from Macon and into my parents house at the beginning of June. We worked fast and furiously all summer long and then moved into the new house about three weeks ago (the 23rd of August, I think). As I look back at these pictures, it is unbelievable to me how much we were able to accomplish.

Daddy stopped everything to throw his time and resources into the house. Mama kept Ford every.single.day while we worked until dark-thirty. She also fed us and washed our clothes. My brother, Jonathon used all of his days off to help us, even going so far as to go with me to Ikea. That, friends, is true love. 

I want you to know that when I say "we" did this or that, that it is a collective "we." It was nearly never just David and I working, and even when it was, we could both work because Mama was watching Ford. Everything we accomplished was with someone else's tools and because someone had shown us how to do it. Most of the time, Daddy and Jonathan were here working and planning and making everything come together. It was a family project, for sure. 


So without further delay, here are the "before"pictures of the house. Please try to resist the urge to pin all of the beauty. Ha. 

This is the front door and you walk into a large room that is the living and dining area. This side is the living room.


Here's another look at the built-in bookcases that features a gas heater fire place. 


This is the view from the front door of the dining room side. Through the door on the right is the laundry room and through the door on the left is the kitchen.



Here we are in the lovely kitchen. You'll see the back door to the left. The house was built as more of a cabin retreat. It's rustic and make shift. The cabinets weren't made for this kitchen and didn't fit quite right. 


Continuing around the room, you'll notice the window that looks in the laundry room. (The laundry room and master bedroom closet are additions to the original house). 



And on the other side of the room, all of the appliances sat next to each other. 


This is the hallway that connects the large front room with the bedrooms and bathroom.


This is the master bedroom. 


You may notice that all of the rooms have window units. The house didn't have central heat and air, but thankfully it does now! Also, both of the bedrooms have exterior doors for some reason. 


This is a walk in closet in our room (full of someone else's clothes…we had a lot of cleaning to do too.)


This is Ford's bedroom. You can see the door that comes in from the hallway and another exterior door. Just want you want in your child's room, right?  An escape route. 


Another window unit. More brick and paneling. Pure excitement. 
We had pulled up the red carpet at this point to reveal the (also red) concrete floor. 


And finally here's the vintage tile bathroom.



Spoiler alert: We still have a vintage tile bathroom. But don't worry. We made some happy little updates in this room, too. 

Finally, here's a little sketch to give you a general idea of the layout of the house. It's a small house, but the rooms are laid out well in way that maximizes our living space. 



I'm excited to show you the after pictures and walk through our work room by room, but I must warn you that we are still very much "in progress." I'm so proud of the work that we've all done and how great the house turned out (I think we all had some doubts!). There are, however, little and big things that we haven't gotten to yet and the house is far from being decorated or styled. I think that's the reality that most of us live in, though. There's always another project that we want to get to or something that we want to update. That middle ground is real life. It will be fun to share those next projects and decorating ideas as we get to them, but for now we are thankful to be living in our house!

I'll be back on Tuesday with more pictures. Yay!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Craft Night at the Carnegie

Y'all, two weeks ago David went to New York City.
Without me.
Not cool. I heart NY. 

He didn't even have the courtesy to take Ford with him. Ford, who would fly for free. He's a lap baby. Or he could have easily been smuggled into an overhead compartment. I'm sure that the 25 high school seniors that he was chaperoning would have LOVED having a toddler along on the trip. 

Anyway, while Mr. Dark was off seeing the Statue of Liberty, rubbing elbows with Al Roker, eating at fancy restaurants, and going to Broadway plays I had to stay home and take care of Ford all by myself all week. 

Just kidding. I went to my parents' house so my Mama would cook for me and everyone would take turns entertaining Ford. I'm no dummy. 

While I was enjoying a life of luxury at Otter Creek Farms, I also scheduled several sewing classes with some fun ladies and got to collaborate with the Fitzgerald Arts Council to host a Craft Night at the Carnegie Center. The space houses a beautiful collection of African art and is used by the council to host art events.

I shared some of the pictures from my sewing classes on Facebook (follow me HERE) but here are the rest of the pictures of craft night. Unfortunately, I have a very one track mind, so once I started actually teaching the class, I didn't take any more photos. So it may appear from these photos that I hosted a party for my invisible friends, but I promise you that people DID come and we DID make bunny buntings!

So here we are...Welcome to Craft Night! I borrowed Ford's easel to use as our sign.



My mama did all of the floral arrangements from things in her yard. They were beautiful. I usually just buy some daisies and stick them in a jar, so I hope people don't get used to this!








We had chocolate to snack on and water in mason jars with paper straws for sipping. Just the essentials...


Each person's supplies were at their spot on the table.


The paper bags held all of the small supplies, like twine, pins, and pom poms. Each person received the patterns and instructions for making the project, just in case anyone wants to do some post-party crafting.




Now I want you to imagine pictures of people laughing and eating chocolate, ladies cutting out little felt bunnies, laughing at each other tying not to burn our finger tips off with a hot glue gun, etc. You get the idea.

We really did have a great time. Everyone's projects turned out lovely and I have enjoyed seeing people post pictures of the bunting in their homes. I love a good craft night! Thanks so much to the Fitzgerald Arts Council and to everyone who came out to craft!


If you'd like to host a craft night with your friends, let me know! Maybe we can get Mama to do your florals, too. Otherwise, please prepare yourself for daisies in jars.

mel



Monday, April 7, 2014

Kind Words Are Like Honey to the Soul




Friends, over the past few days I have been overwhelmed with the kindness of the women around me. Several friends have sent me a note or a text (nothing big) with an encouraging word about Greener Grass. They only took a moment to send, but those words have made a huge difference in my heart. I was feeling very lackluster about work, a little discouraged, and unmotivated this week. Their words were just what I needed to find my enthusiasm and focus! They were such a blessing to me.

Trying to get a creative business off the ground and being a wife and a mommy are hard work. There are high high's and low low's. Nearly everyday we all face discouragement and obstacles. Sometimes just the daily grind is enough to have you wishing you could just climb back under the covers. And in my own life, and perhaps in yours, too, my biggest critic is myself and the loudest discouraging voice is my own. Sometimes it takes someone else to help me see the big picture and remind me of all that the Lord has done for me. 


I am so thankful for kind words this week and I'm glad to be reminded how powerful they are. I hope that this will inspire me to go out of my way to be encouraging to others more often. What a gift it is to be able to spur each other along with something as simple as a kind word! 

Does a little encouragement go a long way with you?

:: quote by Paul Chappell / image via encourage ::

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sewing for Littles Workshop Series {and a SALE!}


Hey friends! I wanted to take a minute to tell you about our "Sewing for Littles" workshop series. I am SO EXCITED about these little outfits for boys and girls and about teaching you how to make them yourself! Clothes for these tiny babes are ex.pen.sive. Sewing for your children is one way that the skill really does save you money. For just over the cost of what either of these outfits would cost you at a children's boutique, you can learn to make them yourself and save so much money AND have custom adorable clothes. Making Ford's clothes is one of my great joys. It's just so sweet to wrap him in something that you put your time and skills in to. 



Our first Little Girls workshop is March 14-15 (Details HERE). This dress is adorable and fairly simple to make . This is an intermediate class, so you just need to know how to work your sewing machine and have some very basic knowledge of sewing to be prepared for this workshop. 



My favorite thing about this pattern is that it is so versatile! Think of all the fabric combinations or how lovely a solid color would be. You could also layer the dress with tights and a shirt and it would be perfect for fall. Also, this pattern is digital with great pictures and instructions. You can use it over and over again for sizes 3m to a girls 8! 



In this workshop you'll learn to make button holes, gather a skirt, finish seams, and tips on sewing garments for durable wear and wash

The cost includes small class instruction, the pattern, and some supplies. You'll just need to bring your fabric and sewing machine (but you can use one of mine if you like).

 We have scheduled another Sewing for Little Boys workshop for March 20th and 21st (Thursday and Friday evening- More details HERE!)  This is also an intermediate class, so same prerequisites apply here- know how to work your sewing machine and have some very basic knowledge of sewing.  
 
Can we talk about this jon jon? I love this pattern. It is lined and turns out so professional yet it is quick and easy to make! The pattern can be made long or short and can be used over and over (with a hand tip, I'll show you!) for boys 3m to 24m. 


In this workshop you'll learn how to make button holes, making covered buttons, lining a garment, how to use snap tape, and I'll give a demonstration on how to use your basic sewing machine to add an appliqué to clothes.

The cost of the workshop includes small group setting instruction, a great pattern, some supplies (covered buttons and snap tape) Bring your own fabric and sewing machine (or you can borrow one of mine!)


And the best news I have is that because we are nearing spring, and because these outfits were so fun to make, and because I want YOU to be able to make them too, we are knocking 20 dollars off the price!

To take advantage of the sale and to purchase your ticket CLICK HERE and enter the code
SPRINGFORWARD at checkout.

Hope that you can make one of these workshops!
mel

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Greener Grass Relaunch: Creativity + Community

A few years ago I started this blog, and it was such source of joy for me. I love writing and telling stories. I loved documenting what David and I were doing and I loved connecting with people through the internet in a much more personal way than I really thought was possible.

When we found out that Ford was on his way, I had a bit of a crisis of self. I was feeling weird and sick and just not at all sure about being a mommy and what new shape our life was going to take. We were also in the middle of some big life changes that were a bit stressful and so slowly I quit blogging. It wasn't a conscious decision, but posts became more and more rare until they finally dried up all together.

I also slowly quit teaching my sewing classes (Ford was born the week after a Sewing 101 course finished up…Yikes!) And then, of course, after he was born I got swept away in the frantic sea of motherhood. I'm going to be honest with you- I didn't adjust gracefully. It was very hard early on for me to be a mommy and to feel like my true self.

I felt a little lost and confused, but also very much in love with my baby and getting to spend my days with him. Motherhood is all consuming. It's so easy to lose your sense of self- the things that make you feel like YOU! Or that's what I've found to be true for me.

Along and along I started to realize what made me feel most myself; I needed to be making things and I needed to spend more time with friends. Simple as that. I feel best when I'm social and when I have a project going. I think this is what people mean when they say, "Ugh. I just feel awful when I don't exercise." I think. I can't be positive because I have never felt that way about exercise in my life.


I've learned that creativity and community are my driving forces. I need to be making things and I need to be in community with other people. I think a lot of other women want that, too, but maybe it's a little hard to put your finger on.

As I was coming to this realization, my friend Jessica approached me and encouraged me to be brave and really dive back in to Greener Grass as a blog and a serious business. She took me seriously and it made me take myself more seriously. She has now become my amazing business manager and constantly wows me with her spreadsheets, calendars, percentages, and overall general business savvy.

(By the way, most Greener Grass emails and billing are done by Jessica. Don't be confused if you see her name on something! She's nice. You'll love her. And you'll appreciate that she will email you right back, whereas I would probably accidentally delete your message!)


We have relaunched Greener Grass not just as a sewing business or as a blog, but with the purpose of building richer lives through creativity and community.  We provide, classes, workshops, and information that teach skills to help make the grass greener right where you are. Classes are small, personal, and fun to help build relationships between women. We want to help self proclaimed "non-creative" people find their most creative selves. We want to equip people with experience, skills, and knowledge to create beautiful things all while cultivating encouraging relationships.

I'm a maker and a teacher and I'm so grateful that Greener Grass gives me the chance to do both of those things. I'm grateful for people like Jessica and David and my parents who push me to be brave and follow my dreams. And I'm grateful that the business helps to support my little family so I can spend my days with little Fordzilla as a stay at home mommy.


I just wanted to give you a little behind the scenes look at what's going on with us. I'm so happy to be connecting with so many people again through Greener Grass. I hope that you'll take a class or schedule a craft party. I would love to hang out with you!

I think that sometimes when you feel like you're at the end of your rope, you may actually need to add one more thing to your plate. You may need to do something for yourself- not in a selfish way, but something that makes you feel like you. You'll be better for it and you'll have more energy for all the other things that need to be taken care of.

Love you. Mean it.
mel