* View Along the Way * http://www.viewalongtheway.com Starts and Stops on the Journey to a DIY Home Thu, 27 Nov 2014 04:36:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Safe House Bedroom REVEAL!! http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/11/safe-house-bedroom-reveal/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/11/safe-house-bedroom-reveal/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21635 WHO WANTS TO SEE A REVEAL?! Reveals are my favorite thing as a blogger, and also my least favorite because NO ONE IS EVEN READING THESE WORDS RIGHT NOW. You’re all cheating by skipping ahead. You oughta be ashamed. Alright, alright! Here’s the before: And the after: I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO TELL YOU. […]

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WHO WANTS TO SEE A REVEAL?!

Reveals are my favorite thing as a blogger, and also my least favorite because NO ONE IS EVEN READING THESE WORDS RIGHT NOW. You’re all cheating by skipping ahead. You oughta be ashamed.

Alright, alright! Here’s the before:
2
And the after:
Safe_House_bedroom_3WM
Beautiful colorful bedroom on a budget!
I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO TELL YOU. I’m trying to sit still.

We’ve been making over this room, which will be a temporary home to victims of sex trafficking — their first stop after being rescued off the streets. The first thing we did was consider their specific needs. I partnered with a ministry called Out of Darkness, who requested something cozy and comfortable, nothing too pristine or hotel-like.

The whole design sprung from this inspiration photo…
barn quilt
…which turned into the amazing quilts made by a friend of mine (see more on the quilts here).
Safe_House_bedroom_5WM
We painted the room Valspar Ballet Slipper (mixed at half-strength) and hung the quilts using copper piping and brackets from the plumbing department.

The Out of Darkness team challenged us to create a visual depiction of “freedom” in the room. They suggested butterflies or doves. I teamed up with some of my favorite people – 163 Design Co - to create this epic bird wall, where the birds are flying away to freedom:
Beautiful sophisticated pink bedroom with bird installation design
(163 Design Co is the same family-owned shop that created these letters for me. They can do anything, and they are a delight. Highly recommended.)

I know it’s hard to tell in the photos (argh!) but we hung the birds at different distances out from the wall, so some of the birds seem to be flying off the wall in 3D.
Beautiful sophisticated pink bedroom with bird installation design
I love how that turned out.

Those “hello love” pillows are from Society6 . The sheets are from target and the duvet and comforter are from ikea. They are way more tactile than they look here. Photography is hard.
Valspar ballet pink bedroom with modern graphic quilts

Valspar ballet pink bedroom with modern graphic quilts
A super-sweet lady who doesn’t know me from adam donated that adorable dresser. We didn’t even know it came with a mirror until we arrived at the Safe House to put everything together on the very last day – but isn’t it perfect there? I love its sweet little shape, and we thought the natural wood from the dresser really warmed everything up and made it feel more homey.

Will ya please stop and check this bad boy out.
DIY copper microscope slide chandelier
DIY copper microscope slide chandelier!
#WeMadeThat.

The chandelier was a giant experiment and we had no idea whether it’d turn out crazy or not. I think it’s crazy-in-a-good-way, totally different, kinda geometric and unexpected.
DIY copper microscope slide chandelier!
I’ll tell you ALLLL about it in the next post. Don’t touch that dial!

This is what’s going on opposite the beds:
Safe_House_bedroom_12WM
That’s just a little shelfy-thing I got from ikea so the ladies would have somewhere to hang their purses, but what I really want to show you are these AHH-MAZING hand-lettered prints!
Safe_House_bedroom_3WM
Erin’s friend Lauren is an incredibly talented artist, and she created these for the safe house. Here’s a better view:
Psalm 34 hand-lettered art
These are so good it makes me need to pass out a little bit.

First — that verse. When I think of what it might feel like to have lived a life as a victim of sex trafficking, I think it might be easy to fall into the trap of fear and shame. How perfect is this verse? He delivers me from my fear. There is no shame.

And also: how stinkin’ GORGEOUS is that design? Lauren is taking orders for them here, and 20 percent of every sale will go to Out of Darkness! Go get yours. Right here.

But I think my favorite thing in the whole room is this right here.
Natural wood dresser
That book contains all the letters YOU sent in, written to the women who will come through the Safe House. I have to just be real with you: when I wrote that post and asked you guys to join in this with me, I thought you might send about five letters. I was hoping for three to five.
letters
That was just the first batch.

You guys mailed in so many letters that I had to put two to a page in most cases, and the book barely closed.
book_collage
What’s not captured in those photos is the power of the words you wrote. Life-giving words. I noticed a common thread: reminders to these women of their worth and value, as daughters of God, made in His image. How their worth is inherent; how they can rest their hope in Jesus; how you are praying and you care. Putting together the book made me ugly-cry.

Totally your fault.

By the way? Those words apply to you too — your value, your worth. Not based on how thin, beautiful, put-together or well-spoken you are. God sees you differently. He loves you in the right-now, the not-cleaned-up version of you. He meets you right here.

See? This project turned me into a MESS.

THANK YOU for coming through on this, you guys. Those words aren’t heavy enough for how thankful I am, and how much it will mean to these women.

I left a note at the beginning of the book letting them know that if they find one of the letters to be especially encouraging to them, they can keep that note, and carry it with them on their journey. I also left the left side of each page blank, so they can write letters to the women who will come behind them.
Sweet pink bedroom!
This room was such an honor to do, and I feel like we did it together! Here are a few people who are using their gifts to fight sex trafficking by donating to this room. Make sure you support the companies who donated!

DIY sophisticated pink bedroom!

Beautiful modern feminine bedroom design, with lots of creative DIY ideas!



If you’re ready to get out and get involved in the fight against sex trafficking, here are five tangible ways you can help right now, today.

Whew! See? I had much to say. Tell me things! What are you thinkin’?

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The sex trafficking epidemic: how you can help http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/11/sex-trafficking-epidemic-can-help/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/11/sex-trafficking-epidemic-can-help/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21605 Guess what: the Safe House bedroom is stick-a-fork-in-it DONE. I’ll have the full reveal for you in the next post. GROANNNNNN. I KNOW. That’s so cruel! Okay fine. Just one tiny sneak peek. You know I can’t resist it when you make that face. We made this crazy chandelier too! I can’t wait for you […]

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Guess what: the Safe House bedroom is stick-a-fork-in-it DONE. I’ll have the full reveal for you in the next post.

GROANNNNNN. I KNOW. That’s so cruel!

Okay fine. Just one tiny sneak peek. You know I can’t resist it when you make that face.
Safe_House_bedroom_sneak_peek
We made this crazy chandelier too! I can’t wait for you to see! (Sorry.)

If you’ve been following along, we’ve been making over a bedroom in a Safe House where victims of sex trafficking will go, straight from the streets, immediately after they’re rescued. (See the project unfold here.)

While I was doing this project, I met a friend who is a photographer, who has gone to the streets in the U.S. and around the world where the trafficking is taking place, and photographed what she’s found. She’s using her photography to bring awareness and change laws, and change lives.
Tanya martineau photography for unseen ministries

Photographed by Tanya Martineau on assignment for Unseen Ministries. For Unearthed Seoul

These photos are the real thing. These women are real victims. This is happening in your city.

Tanya told me a devastating story I can’t shake and I don’t want to confront. She has gone to Hindu temples where little girls are dedicated as temple prostitutes. People there try to appease a goddess called Yellamma by dedicating their daughters to a lifetime of service as temple prostitutes. “A wealthy man can pay extra for the right to deflower her, and afterward she becomes public property, duty-bound to satisfy the lust of any man who pays.”

Tanya told me this was happening – that she has seen it with her own eyes – and then when she sent me the photos of the girls… As young as five years old…
Trafficking (10 of 19)
I couldn’t understand it. I made her tell me again. Not the girls in the picture, right Tanya? That didn’t really happen to these girls?
Trafficking (9 of 19)
Tell me it’s not really happening, not that way.

It’s hard to know. It’s hard to grapple with. You want to shut your brain off to it, to go back to the safety of your world and un-know what you’ve learned.

But now you know, and there are things you can do to help.

1. First, learn and understand.

From Tanya’s words (read more on her blog here):

The term “justice” has become a trendy topic. Justice is a restoration of the broken; not an end goal but a response to choose love.

There is no simple solution to poverty or injustice. It’s messy. It’s complex. It’s multifaceted. I don’t have the answers, yet I know the first step in bringing lasting solutions is by understanding the problem.

I experienced life in the slums in the Philippines for 4 days with one of my trafficked girls that was reunited with her family. It was challenging. I laughed. I cried. I empathized. I left empowered; not to jump into solutions but to dive into greater understanding to one day bring holistic freedom. Most of all, I left honored to get a brief glimpse into the lives of their joyous community.

I wonder if more justice and love would be spread if we focused more of our attention on understanding than quick solutions?

Phew. First, take responsibility to know, even when it hurts to know and you’d rather go back.
Trafficking (18 of 19)

Photographed by Tanya Martineau on assignment for Unseen Ministries. For Sarah’s Home

2. Use YOUR gifts

What is your gift? Your talent?

Are you an epic couponer? Collect items for a local safe house, or donate them to a trafficking ministry near you.

Are you a teacher? Educate your students. Spread the word and encourage them to get involved.

Are you a paper-pusher at a desk job? Give your co-workers resources on how to spot trafficking in airports and hotels.

Are you a stay-at-home-mom? Invite some friends to do a clothing swap to raise money for a local ministry. Spread the word through your church and get your friends involved.

Are you a social media maven? Invite your friends to action through Facebook or twitter.

Are you a grammar geek? Donate your time to a local ministry to help victims write resumes to start a new life.

Decorate a room. Design a website. Take photos. Bake cookies. Spread the word. Find your gifts and use them. Reach out to your local trafficking ministry and ask them what they need.
Trafficking (14 of 19)

Photographed by Tanya Martineau on assignment for Unseen Ministries. For Sarah’s Home

3. Donate things

If you’re local to Atlanta: Out of Darkness, the ministry I partnered with for this project, can use your donations! They create laundry basket gift-baskets for each girl, with all the necessities a woman might need right off the streets. Click here to view their needs list, then get in touch with Out of Darkness to make your donation.
Trafficking (19 of 19)

Photographed by Tanya Martineau on assignment for Unseen Ministries. For Sarah’s Home

4. Give
Guys, I have this crazy idea. What if every single person reading this post gave $10 to a ministry like Out of Darkness?

I’m not asking for a huge amount: just $10. Can you do that? You can make a check out to “Atlanta Dream Center, Inc.” with “Out of Darkness” written in the memo line, and mail it to Out of Darkness, P.O. Box 54537, Atlanta, GA 30308 — or donate online here.

It doesn’t have to be Out of Darkness – find your local ministry and donate there. Just ten measly dollars.

5. Pray
…And keep praying. For the victims, for the perpetrators, for the culture that doesn’t see the worth of people, that objectifies and is blind to value of human life. For change, for action, for freedom. Put this on your prayer list and don’t take it off.

* * *

Trafficking (12 of 19)

Photographed by Tanya Martineau on assignment for Unseen Ministries. For Grace Care

It hurts to know – I get it. I feel that too. Don’t go back; don’t forget. Find your gifts and use them.

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The pink paint! Plus costumes and final safe house decisions! http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/11/pink-paint-plus-costumes-final-safe-house-decisions/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/11/pink-paint-plus-costumes-final-safe-house-decisions/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21540 I know, I know: you haven’t been able to sleep lately because you haven’t seen any photos of my kids dressed up in costume. Okay, fine, twist my arm. That guy in the giant superman pajamas in the top left photo? That would be the only adult in costume at that particular trunk-or-treat event: my […]

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I know, I know: you haven’t been able to sleep lately because you haven’t seen any photos of my kids dressed up in costume. Okay, fine, twist my arm.
halloween
That guy in the giant superman pajamas in the top left photo? That would be the only adult in costume at that particular trunk-or-treat event: my husband, who simply does not possess the “embarrassment” gene. You cannot shame him. That’s my theory, which I’m testing by posting this photo.

The kids were adorable, naturally, with Weston getting eaten by a hammerhead shark and Mila saying “Trick or treat please, meow-meow,” and then asking all the people handing out candy, “can I please have some more?” after she got her first handful of candy. (To my embarrassment.)

(But not Andy’s.)

Let’s talk more about the safe house! We’re making over this bedroom which will house victims of sex trafficking for a short time until they transition to a permanent home for rehabilitation and safety.

This is the room “before:”
2
The safe house is a long drive from my house, so I actually hadn’t been in the room since taking that photo. We commissioned these amazing quilts from a talented and generous friend of mine:
Modern colorful quilt
And then decided to hang them on the walls:
Room design plan
And paint the walls pink:
room_draft2
Next to plan: bedding!

Our concerns about bedding were:
1. Keeping it from feeling like a hotel, which is a request the Out of Darkness team made, based on what these ladies have been through.
2. Comfort and texture!

The Out of Darkness folks asked us to make the room cozy and comfortable: nothing too pristine or fragile. In my mind, cozy and comfortable means lots of texture: fabrics you want to run your hands over. Remember when we made this DIY pintuck duvet for Carrie’s flash-mob surprise makeover?
DIY pintuck duvet
I was thinking something along those lines: tons of texture, floofiness and coziness. With all the pattern and color in the quilts, we thought we needed to do something more solid-colored on the bedding to keep things from getting too fun-house.

I found this duvet set from Ikea. It’s the Ofelia Vass set. Don’t you want to touch it, then snuggle up and nap all day inside it?
ofelia-vass-duvet-cover-and-pillowcases__0286979_PE308914_S4
Or maybe that’s just me, always wanting to take a nap.

I liked the idea of white, both visually (a place for your eyes to rest) and functionally (easy to bleach and keep clean for the people who run the safe house).

What I didn’t love was the idea of all white bedding, because I thought that might lean too much toward “hotel.” We decided to bring in a little pattern and whimsy in the sheets and accent pillows.

We loved these pillow options:
12339337_2250510-plwfr2_b

Society6 Creation in Color pillow

watercolor1
359347_1614602-plwfr2_b
Society6 You are So Loved pillow, designed by Katie Daisy
You are so loved pillow, designed by katie daisy
Those pillows are designed by the same artist who made the “Love” print over the crib in Mila’s nursery.
Girl's Nursery Decorating inspiration
I love her stuff, and we loved the message of the pillows for this room! We were worried they might be a little too busy for this room, so we kept looking…
il_570xN.637166195_dcbq
You are so Loved pillow by August Ink Design Co on Etsy

801902_2497000-plwfr2_b
Society6 Colors 201 Pillow

…and ultimately landed on these:
5660885_9344321-plwfr2_b
Society6 Hello Love Throw Pillow

I thought they’d be sweet and quirky, not too serious and not too busy. The people at Society6 agreed to donate them to the safe house! Woohoo!

With those decisions made, I made my first trip back to Safe House since we started planning this project. The Out of Darkness team had painted the room for us, so this was also my first time checking out the color:
IMG_20141021_114541
(That’s just a crappy phone pic I took to send to Erin, because I got ALLLL the way to the Safe House without realizing I had no memory card in my camera!)

Fortunately, I thought the color was perfect! Just enough peach to keep it bright and happy. Just enough color to make it cozy. Feminine and soft, but sophisticated.

Oh! One more thing to show you! We still needed a dresser and all our craigslist hunting was so far unfruitful. I posted a request for a dresser on one of those Facebook yard sale boards in my area, and a very sweet local lady offered to donate this beauty:
dresser1
She just gave it to us! People are awesome. The dimensions were SPOT ON, and I thought the double banks of drawers would be perfect for the ladies to share.

And with all that in place, all that remained was to put it all together and see if it, you know, actually worked in real life. More to come!

How was your weekend? What would you do if you had no embarrassment gene?

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Safe House — plan and progress http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/safe-house-plan-progress/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/safe-house-plan-progress/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21519 I turned 31 yesterday. Is there any age that’s less remarkable to turn than 31? I guess 37 is unremarkable too. They don’t make birthday cards for turning 37. With only one year of my thirties under my belt, I’m clearly not an expert on the topic but I’ll say this: the thirties are totally […]

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I turned 31 yesterday. Is there any age that’s less remarkable to turn than 31? I guess 37 is unremarkable too. They don’t make birthday cards for turning 37.

With only one year of my thirties under my belt, I’m clearly not an expert on the topic but I’ll say this: the thirties are totally underrated, in my opinion. I refuse to buy into society’s whole message that I started losing value a year ago. I’m more comfortable and happy now than ever.

Just don’t ask about the gray hairs. I thought I had more time before those would strike.

You guys, the safe house bedroom is coming along! Remember these were our goals for the bedroom, which will be a temporary bedroom for victims of sex trafficking:

  • Must feel comfortable, homey and inviting: nothing too pristine or fragile
  • Should evoke feelings of peace, refuge and safety
  • Nothing that feels too much like a hotel
  • Bonus points for incorporating a symbol of freedom. (See the plan for that part here.)

Last we talked, we had decided to hang the quilts on the wall instead of laying them on the beds. Their awesomeness needed to be displayed like a banner!
Modern colorful quilt
But we hadn’t settled on anything else.

Once the quilts were going to be hung, everything else changed to fit. We knew we were doing two twin beds arranged like this:
first_draft
And some sort of dresser in between them. (This is just a random dresser photo I found. It’s not the one we’re using. I don’t even like it. I don’t know why I used a photo of a dresser I didn’t like.)
1
I’m also not sure why the dimensions of these renderings are so fun-housey and unrealistic. Why are the beds climbing up the walls?!! This post will require lots of imagination on your part.

We wanted the ladies to have their own personal lights for bedside reading. I’ve had a mega-crush on these lamps at target, so I added them in to the plan next:
Room design plan
Then it was paint color time! Erin and I went back and forth on paint colors about 61 times. We thought about just sticking with white, but were worried about how that would turn out with the lack of natural light.

We thought about a pale blue, to inspire calm and serenity.
3
But I think we both felt kinda “meh” about it. We just did Jill’s room in this color, so there may have been a tiny part of us that wanted to do something different.

We talked about a charcoal gray.
4
But with no natural light, we were worried this might just be depressing/jail-cell in the end.

Then we talked about pink. Yes, pink.

Pink is risky – we didn’t want to create a nursery – but if you get it right, it can be so warm and sophisticated. Here’s our pink-spiration:
unnamedc56c94321ac03bb033674a9701244e80
51b72548fb04d60a870006aa._w.540_s.fit_

Katie Lydon Interiors

And in the room:
room_draft2
We were both diggin’ it, so we grabbed all the pink paint swatches that exist and started analyzing. This was INCREDIBLY hard, for one main reason: we had to make the decision without actually going to the safe house and seeing how the swatches look in the room.

I KNOW. Huge paint color sin. I hope we can still be friends.

We agonized over the shade of pink, y’all. AGONIZED. Erin and I sent 131 emails back and forth (not exaggerating) about which shade of pink to choose. We settled on the swatch on the right: Valspar Ballet Slipper.
ballet_slipper
We have just a few more days left to get everything finalized — bedding, extra art, storage, lighting! (We’re making a chandelier for this room and I’m SO excited to show you! It’s not finished yet, but I THINK it’s going to be really, really good.)

I have so much more to tell you about this room! Just need to get photos of how things are turning out and I’ll have an update for you soon!

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Asking too much + modern quilts http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/asking-much-modern-quilts/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/asking-much-modern-quilts/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:00:14 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21482 One time, I saw a fancy light fixture, and asked Andy if he could make one just like it. The result was this: But what it took to get to that point was about two weeks of Andy locked in a room with only a marker and a whiteboard, running his hands through his Einstein […]

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One time, I saw a fancy light fixture, and asked Andy if he could make one just like it. The result was this:
DIY Ralph lauren dustin pendant, Dodecahedron hanging pendant light chandelier
But what it took to get to that point was about two weeks of Andy locked in a room with only a marker and a whiteboard, running his hands through his Einstein hair and writing elaborate mathematical equations all over the walls to figure out what angles he was supposed to cut the wood to make that thing all come together.

I’d had no idea what I was asking for.

I thought it’d be like, “saw, cut, drill something, whip whip whoosh!” and out would pop a gorgeous dodecahedron light. Andy has a solid amount of nerd-blood coursing his veins, so he was up for the challenge (and probably enjoyed it a little, but he’d have to deny that if you asked him) — but still.

Welp, I accidentally did that again. Asked for something without understanding the work involved.

I showed you our inspiration piece for the bedroom my friend Erin and I are making over for a local Safe House that houses victims of sex trafficking:
barn quilt
That barn quilt! Isn’t it so happy?

We wanted the room design to center around a quilt: something that means LOVE, that means HOME. Something bright, cheerful and colorful.

Which, of course, would mean that we’d need the quilts. To be made.

Not long ago I wrote a post about how it rocked my world to be able to sew a single straight hem on some curtains, so I could tell you right off the bat one person in particular who was not qualified for the task: this girl. There’s a very talented lady in my church who quilts, so Erin and I asked her if she’d be up for whipping up a couple quilts for us?

You know: cut a few pieces of fabric, toss ‘em at the sewing machine, whip whip WHOOSH! And out would pop two gorgeous quilts, about 30 minutes later! RIGHT?!!

I know. NOW I know.

(Also: I realize it sounds like it’s a dangerous thing to know me in real life: you might get elaborate requests to whip something together for me! I can’t deny this allegation.)

To her credit, my friend Cathy was so generous with her time, so quick to say “yes!” to using her talents for these ladies! She DID know what was involved in making these quilts, but she said yes readily – eagerly – anyway!

The first thing she did was use a quilting program to try to guess at the colors and get a very preliminary design:
program
This was a MAJOR process: turning that square barn quilt into rectangular design that felt balanced on all sides. You can see a photo of our still-in-progress design below. Then she went to work collecting all the right colors of fabrics in fat quarters:
photo
Okay, how much happiness is happening there with all those colors together? Don’t you love how they’re playing together?

Once she had acquired all the fabric, she washed and ironed them. ALL OF THEM.
designing_a_quilt
She laid them out and numbered each of the colors, and worked on the preliminary design of which color code went where:
Modern quilt layout
Cathy has this mystical, stuff-of-dreams quilting room. She covered one wall in the same material that’s used to upholster car interior roofs — and the quilt material sticks right to it, like felt! So she laid everything out on her wall – vertically! – and starting finalizing the design, starting with the squares that she copied from the barn inspiration photo:
quilt_squares
Then came the surprisingly tough work of trying to turn this square design into a balanced rectangular design the right proportions for a twin-sized quilt:
unnamed (7)
Erin and I came over one afternoon and the three of us moved quilt squares around, stepped back and eyed it a lot, squinted and cocked our heads to the side, moved something else, repeated.

And then everything changed. We got to this point and I started getting an uneasy feeling.
quilts
How much work was going into these quilts! How much thought, how much of Cathy’s time and attention. They were SO high-impact and so stunning — what a waste it would be to lay them on the beds where you’d only see a small portion of the design!

Suddenly, I think all three of us realized — we had to hang these guys up, on the wall, where you can see them, where they’ll be the stars of the room! They’ll hang at the head of each bed, almost like a headboard.
first_draft
Aaaand that’s when the whole room plan changed. But we all felt really good about the plan! We made the quilts a little shorter, to make Cathy’s work a little easier since part of the quilt would be falling behind the beds. And this is where we ended up with our design. (Sorry for the blurry phone pics!)
final_quilt
All this just to be able to START sewing! I can’t believe Cathy still talks to me.

Next she sewed all the squares together to make the top of the quilts.
sewing
And we had a decision to make about quilt binding. We knew we didn’t want a thick border, so Cathy showed us these options:
quilts with invisible binding
To keep everything feeling modern and graphic, we went for no binding: which, it turns out, meant that Cathy taught herself how to make invisible binding for the first time! (Isn’t she amazing? I mean.)

Finally, she had us choose the quilting pattern: the pattern of the thread that sews the front of the quilt to the backing. Here are a few sample quilting patterns:
quilting patterns

source

Erin and I ended up opting for simplicity, and Cathy did a quilting design in which she just sewed along the triangle patterns already in the quilt.

Ready to see how it all turned out?

Gorgeous. They are both so well-made, so stunning, so colorful!
Modern colorful quilt
You can see they’re starting to pucker, like quilts should! I might wash them again so they really finish puckering up. I can’t decide if I like them better this way though?

WWhat really gets me is the precision. I could never do this in four hundred years.
Close-up of triangle quilt
Cathy even sewed a pocket along the back so we can hang them:
Rod pocket on quilt
And check this out! She embroidered a verse on the back too! (I’m going to mention this in the book we’re leaving for the girls – a little treasure hunt for them to find these and a few other things in the room!)
Bible verses embroidered on quilt
These quilts are a work of art. I’m so excited for the whole room to be designed around these! When you choose a lead piece that has tons of color, it makes the rest of the room fall into place so much more easily.

I’ll show the rest of the plan soon! We’re scrambling to finalize and buy everything we’ll need so we can finish the room by the end of the month.

By the way — if you haven’t sent in your letter for the ladies at the safe house, you can still drop it in the mail! I’ll be able to grab them all a couple days later than I expected, so it’s not too late if you write it now and mail it off! Address is in this post.

I just have to say how incredible cool it has been – such a blessing to me! – to see people like Cathy using her talents and her time to do something for other people. You don’t have to be an incredible speaker, or have gobs of money to donate – or whatever – to make your impact. It’s all about just finding a way to use your skills in ways that benefit other people, and it’s really making me get gushy to think about all the ways people are coming together to make this project happen – Cathy, with her quilting; you, with the letters you’re sending and your prayers; and lots more behind the scenes I haven’t even told you about yet!

I feel seriously blown away and honored to be a part of this with you guys!

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Decor for the birds, and I need your help! http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/decor-birds-need-help/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/decor-birds-need-help/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:00:31 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21448 Remember how we’re creating a cozy, comfortable bedroom in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking? Yes? I hoped you would, but I thought I should probably recap that, like every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. “Previously, on View Along the Way…” First a quick note about the last post. We talked about how we’ll […]

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Remember how we’re creating a cozy, comfortable bedroom in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking? Yes?

I hoped you would, but I thought I should probably recap that, like every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. “Previously, on View Along the Way…”

First a quick note about the last post. We talked about how we’ll lay out the bedroom, and you guys brought tons of awesome ideas in the comments section. The most common suggestion was to do an L-configuration, and I just wanted to show you really quick why we can’t go that route. Check this out:
corner_beds
That’s what I call the just-sleep-with-your-feet-in-the-air layout, or the gently-jam-your-feet-through-the-wall layout. (ha!) It seems SO good in your head until you come face-to-face with the actual scale of the room, right?

You also had lots of great suggestions for loft beds, and I think in any other tiny-space situation, that’d be the most perfect idea. Ultimately we talked about it and felt that we should lean away from anything that might feel institutional in any way, and even if space is tight, aim for a homey feel above all else.

So that’s the sitch. I love you. I love your ideas. I just needed to explain that so you didn’t take it personally that I seemed to ignore them. Let’s keep being friends, okay?

Now let’s talk about the birds! The folks who run this trafficking ministry (Out of Darkness) suggested it might be cool if we could find a way to incorporate a symbol of freedom in the room. They suggested doves or butterflies. I LOVED the challenge and set out thinking about how we could do something like that in a way that feels modern and age-appropriate.

Obviously, this could go cheeseball in a heartbeat – and I can already feel you guys worrying that this is going to lean 1990s-Lisa-Frank (butterfly decals EVERYWHERE!). I could hear you cringing through your screen when I mentioned it in the last post.

Am I right? You can admit it.

No worries! I think we can do this and make it cool! Stick with me here.

First I hopped on etsy and looked for art that might work. I found a few things that said “freedom” to me, like these:
safe_room_art

Sources: 1, 2, 3

But nothing felt quite right, or high-impact enough.

Then I found these photos:
bird_girl

Amazing paper styling by Stuart McLachlan

87b4bd789fa2edb9e4594add02df2c48
And I was all, “GASP! A bird INSTALLATION!”

That’s IT. Done. It’s happening.

First thing I did was call up my friends at 163 Design Company, who made these wood-and-canvas letters for me:

I was like, “uhhh, guys. I think I want… some kind of birds? Doing some kind of thing?” And they were like, “We’re on it!”

I can’t gush enough about the family behind 163 Designs. They go above and beyond to design whatever you can imagine and create it for you, and they were SO excited to just donate whatever we needed for the ladies in the safe house. I kind of mushy-gushy love them. Make sure you swing by their shop!

The plan is to do wood-and-canvas birds flying across one of the walls – maybe a few stray birds escaping up to the ceiling? I think it’ll be high-impact and kinda different.

Here’s where you come in.

I’d like the bird display to represent something bigger, something cooler, and I’d LOVE for you to be part of it! If you’re up for it, I’d love for you to “sponsor” a bird. Here’s how it will work:

“Sponsorship” of one of the birds means that you’ll do one or both of these things:

  1. Commit to pray for the ladies who come through the safe house, long-term.
  2. Send a note of encouragement. You can write a little to the ladies who will stay here – handwritten if possible! – and send it to me. It can be just a short note, or a verse that means something to you, a poem or… limerick? Perhaps a haiku? I’m getting carried away.

    We’ll collect all the letters and bind them up in a book which we’ll leave on the dresser. I’ll put a little note in the front explaining who you are, and that each of the birds represents real people who care about them and are praying for their future.

    (A few ideas for your letter: keep it basic, stuff you’d say to anyone who’s coming through something tough, and encouraging! My letter will probably include a few Bible verses I love, and the general idea that Jesus loves them and is for them.)

Every night when they go to bed and see those birds, they’ll know that actual people – YOU! – care what happens to them and love them and are rooting for them. Cool, right?!!

Answer: IT IS SO COOL.

What do you think? Are you in this with me? If so, you can write a letter to these ladies and mail it to:

Safe House Letters
3721 New Macland Rd
Ste 200-155
Powder Springs, GA 30127

The catch is that we have VERY LITTLE TIME. I need to receive all the letters by October 24, 2014, so you’ve got to do this today. Ya with me?

If you can’t make the handwritten-letter thing happen, you can send me an email and I’ll print it out. Printed is better than nothing, but handwritten trumps everything else. Am I right?

So. What do you think about this crazy bird installation idea? Are you up for sponsoring one of the birds and letting these ladies know you care about them?

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Safe house layout and inspiration http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/safe-house-layout-and-inspiration/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/safe-house-layout-and-inspiration/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:00:41 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21404 I’m SO excited about this project, guys! We’re going to be making over a bedroom in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking. This will be the first place they come when they are rescued off the streets of Atlanta. They’re coming out of a life of abuse and exploitation, for the first time […]

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I’m SO excited about this project, guys! We’re going to be making over a bedroom in a safe house for victims of sex trafficking. This will be the first place they come when they are rescued off the streets of Atlanta. They’re coming out of a life of abuse and exploitation, for the first time into a place of safety, rest and hope. And WE get to be a part of that! How cool is this. I mean.

By the way, YOU GUYS. Let’s just talk about you for a second. I have gotten so many emails from you asking how you can help and how you be a part of this project. There are several ways for you to get involved. Stay tuned to a future post for more on that!

Okay, here’s the room right now:
2

The team from Out of Darkness has given us some goals for the room, considering where these ladies are coming from:

  • Needs to sleep two women.
  • Must feel comfortable, warm, homey, inviting: not too pristine or fragile.
  • Should evoke feelings of peace, refuge and safety.
  • Nothing that feels too much like a hotel.
  • Bonus points if we can incorporate symbols of freedom, like butterflies or doves.

Most of the girls only come to the safe house with about seven days’ worth of clothes, so we also need a little bit of clothing storage, although there’s also a nice little closet they can use for that.

Fun challenge, right?! I know. I’m giddy.

The challenges

This room is SMALL. Also: it’s in a basement with zero windows, so there’s no natural light at all.

First up: designing the layout.

The room is very small, with a little bump-out closet with sliding doors:
empty_room_layout
This is the other side looking toward the closet doors:
6
I played around with the idea of doing bunk beds for space reasons.
bunk_Beds
But the ceilings are low in that room and I thought it might feel claustrophobic on the top bunk.

So we decided to go with two twin beds, in virtually the only configuration you can do in this room:
twin_beds
I don’t love how tight it’s going to be between the closet doors and the bed, but we’re looking on the bright side here: you can pick out your clothes in the morning without getting out of bed! It’s LUXURY!

For clothes storage, we’re going to find one small dresser that will also double as a shared nightstand. (Not an easy task, I’m finding!)
twin_beds_with_dresser
See how tiny that room is?

I mean, COZY. It’s cozy. Like a nice little nest.

BTW: Here’s a post on how to space-plan your living room!

Next up: the inspiration

I recruited my good buddy Erin to help with this project, and we started brainstorming.

Right now the rest of the Safe House bedrooms are decorated with quilts, wrought iron beds and lots of warm colors. It’s beautifully decorated in a traditional style and feels very homey and comfortable.

Quilts say: comfort. Home. Love. But they’re usually very traditional or country. How can we get that feeling of comfortable, cozy, homey, with a modern, young spin?

Then we found this photo and we were both zapped with insta-inspiration!
barn quilt
It’s a quilt design, but it feels modern and updated. What if we could do a modern, almost avant-garde take on a quilt? Happy, vibrant colors in a graphic layout, but still textural and cozy?

We’re going to bring back the quilt, y’all! We’re working with a super-talented, very sweet friend who’s going to actually make quilts for us, and the quilt design will be our lead piece. (Click here to learn how to make decorating easy by finding a lead piece!)

We’re still working through the rest of the design decisions, so I’m going to share where we are – and ask for your opinions! – in the next post. We need to make some quick decisions and get moving!

What do you think about this plan? Can quilts be modern and fresh?

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What we’re going to do together next: the Safe House http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/going-together-next-safe-house/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/going-together-next-safe-house/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:33:10 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21428 Do you remember being 11 years old? You were probably in 5th grade, learning what a prime number was, still trying to get a handle on what all this puberty business is about and, if you were me, not understanding most of what happened in Forrest Gump. You were innocent; you were fragile; the world […]

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Do you remember being 11 years old? You were probably in 5th grade, learning what a prime number was, still trying to get a handle on what all this puberty business is about and, if you were me, not understanding most of what happened in Forrest Gump.

You were innocent; you were fragile; the world was still a mystery.

This will blow your mind: the average age of entry into sex trafficking is between 11 and 14 years old. Yep, it’s happening right here in America. Young girls are being coerced into the sex trade and enslaved. They are exploited, beaten down, forced to do things they never would have agreed to. They are enslaved; they cannot escape, and if they could, where would they run?
shutterstock_218899729

shutterstock

They should be in elementary school.

When human trafficking victims are recruited at that age – the average age of entry – their life expectancy from that point is seven years.

That could have been you or me, but for the grace of God.

Stick with me here – we’re getting to DIY/decorating stuff in just a second. The more I’ve learned about human trafficking, the more stunned and helpless I’ve felt. The problem is enormous. There are an estimated 300,000 sex trafficking victims here in the U.S. In Atlanta, where I live, it’s especially rampant.

But guess what! You and I are going to do something to help. Something very, very small in the grand scheme, but it’s something. We’re going to give them a comfortable place to land.

I’m partnering with the Atlanta Dream Center’s ministry called Out of Darkness, which aims to reach, rescue and restore victims of commercial sex exploitation. Here’s how it works: the victims call Out of Darkness and they are rescued – picked up from wherever they are, at whatever hour of the day or night – and taken to a safe house in the Atlanta area.

At the safe house, they’re given rest. Refuge. Safety. Hope.

They get new clothes, medical care, love and support. They stay at the safe house for a couple weeks while Out of Darkness works to find them a long-term placement where they can recuperate, heal and rehabilitate.

We’re going to make over a room in the safe house for these girls! I’m so excited about this. The safe house at Out of Darkness is called the Solomon House. It’s a place of refuge for victims of sex trafficking, where they can come straight off the streets. Out of Darkness is renovating the Solomon House basement to make new rooms where they can take in more girls, and we’re going to fancy up one of the rooms, make it comfortable and cozy and a place of refuge and rest.

This is the room now:
2
It’s teeny-tiny and it needs to have room for two ladies to sleep at a time. We have carte blanche!

Exciting, right?

This is going to be a relatively quick project too: the whole thing has to be complete by the end of the month! I’m a little nervous about the deadline, but we’re going to make the decisions together and give them a room that feels welcoming.

I’ll show you the rough outline of a plan in the next post and we’re going to do this thing! (Quickly!)

Are you in?

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The fiddle leaf fig trick: how to keep your tree strong and healthy http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/fiddle-leaf-fig-trick-keep-tree-strong-healthy/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/10/fiddle-leaf-fig-trick-keep-tree-strong-healthy/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:00:58 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21379 I lost weight this week guys. How much do four wisdom teeth weigh? That’s how much I lost. …and I’m going to keep it off! Also I look like a chipmunk, but I like to think it’s charming and adorable, like a real chipmunk. (It’s neither charming nor adorable.) So you know how I viciously […]

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I lost weight this week guys.

How much do four wisdom teeth weigh? That’s how much I lost.

…and I’m going to keep it off!

Also I look like a chipmunk, but I like to think it’s charming and adorable, like a real chipmunk.
chipmunk
(It’s neither charming nor adorable.)

So you know how I viciously murder all plants that come near me? (Also not charming or adorable.) Well, check out how my little fiddle leaf baby is doing! Here he was when he was just a wee tot:

And now he’s taller, fuller, actually still living!
how to grow a fiddle leaf fig tree
Proud mama. *wipes tears.*

Fiddle leaf figs are known to be finnicky and rude, demanding in a haughty french accent that you do exactly what they request! “Put me by zee window! No, TAKE ME AWAY AT ONCE! Fetch me a – how do you say? – latte! NOW!” They’re kind of jerks, just saying.

So what the heck is going on here? Why am I, a founding member of the Black Thumb Society, keeping not just one but TWO fiddle-leaf figs alive for more than a year?
Fiddle leaf fig tips and tricks
I’ve cracked the code, buds! I figured them out. And yes, I’ll share it with you. Because you’re cute. Not like a chipmunk though. Just be thankful for that.

When my tiny fig was just growing, I started by trying to see if the soil felt moist, and watering it when it seemed dry. The leaves started turning brown and falling off, things started to look dire, and his demanding French voice started to fade and whisper weakly. Obviously I was killing him.

Then I stopped trying to predict his water needs. I actually just stopped checking how moist the soil was — because that method just doesn’t work for me. Apparently I don’t have a working hygrometer in my fingertip. (I just googled it, and “hygrometer” is a tool that measures humidity. I dropped it in this paragraph like it’s something I already knew.)

Instead, I watered it with exactly one cup of water once a week. Precisely. I disregarded all other signs, set a timer on my phone for every Saturday, and give it one cup of water.

HE LOVED IT.

As he grew, I gradually increased the water amount, and now at his full teenage level, he gets two cups of water, once a week, on the dot.
How to keep a fiddle leaf fig alive!
And he’s flourishing!

As for light, I try to leave both of my figs in the same spot. They get weird when you change things on them; they do best when they get the same light all the time, because they cannot handle change!

It’s a character flaw, but I like to think he’s working on it.
plant_reading

That’s the trick, guys: one cup of a water a week, two after it grows bigger. And don’t move them.

He’s a teenager now, but I have grand dreams of him growing huge and eating our whole house, Little Shop of Horrors style.

Elle Decor

The simple way to keep your fiddle-leaf fig healthy and growing! Who knew it was so easy?



Have you ever kept one of these guys alive for any period of time? Did you know the trick?

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A little sewing machine story http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/sewing-machine-story/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/sewing-machine-story/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:30:35 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21317 So, no big deal, but my entire world was rocked this week and nothing will ever be the same again. If you’ve been reading here for any amount of time, you might know that I have an adversarial relationship with my sewing machine. It mocks me, you guys. I’m not imagining it. It coos to […]

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So, no big deal, but my entire world was rocked this week and nothing will ever be the same again.

If you’ve been reading here for any amount of time, you might know that I have an adversarial relationship with my sewing machine. It mocks me, you guys. I’m not imagining it.

It coos to me in a soft voice like this: “Heyyyy Kelly. I’m just a sweet little ol’ sewing machine. I’m not bad! Remember those times when you sewed straight lines? It was so much easier than you’re remembering! You didn’t shake your fist at the sky or curse the day you were born. You LOVED it. You’re just remembering it wrong. How hard can sewing be?!”

And then it winks and smiles, like a big fat jerk.

WELL.

I have spent too many hours hunched over that old machine, trying to sew a basic straight line, while the thread bunched up and ripped, or the whole machine jammed, or the CURSED THREAD REFUSED TO GO IN THE NEEDLE.
IMG_1283
There was yelling, tears, things were thrown. Andy would hear the screams of agony and approach me slowly and carefully, talking to me in soothing tones, like you would if you came upon a rabid dog.

I just couldn’t understand: if there are PEOPLE who can sew, why am I not one of them? Do I have some kind of sewing-specific disability?

Finally in the midst of a discussion about whether it’d be reasonable and prudent to simply throw the machine off a tall cliff so I could watch it smash into a million pieces while I laugh maniacally, Andy suggested that perhaps its time to try a new sewing machine.

I liked the sound of that: yes, it’s the machine’s fault! What we need to do is BUY something! Spending money is always a nice, comforting answer, isn’t it? So we hunted around and ended up with this guy. (affiliate link)
singer_quantum_Stylist_9600_sewing_machine
It’s the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. It had great reviews and it looked like it did everything automatically, short of choosing the best fabric for your project. So we ordered it. I took it out of the box and read the manual one day, decided it seemed promising, and…

did nothing with it.

For a year.

Seriously.

There was a lot at stake here, you have to understand.

The more I let it sit there, in its package, the more I feared it. Until the time came to finally hang my new office curtains. Out of the package, they looked like this:
curtains_too_long
Given the sewing machine situation, I saw two initial options:
1. Simply raise the ceiling by approximately six inches.
2. Try to pretend like this looked good. “They’re POOLING! It’s LUXURIOUS!,” I said, too loudly and obviously lying, in an attempt to convince myself and the zero other people who were listening. I put forth an impressive effort to talk myself into liking the fact that the curtains were so long they flowed across the floor into the next room.

No dice: they looked ridiculous and it was time to finally learn the new machine. The truth would be revealed once and for all: was it my machine this whole time, or am I just a freaking idiot? (The latter would still be an option, regardless of how this turned out.)

I pinned them to a length where they would just kiss the floor.
Pinning curtain hem
(…instead of slobbering all over the floor and groping it drunkenly, like they were before.)

I set up on the dining room table, read through the manual, watched a couple youtube videos for good measure, and entered the fire.
Using a Singer Quantum Stylist 9600 sewing machine
I DID IT.

I DID IT, you guys!

Can you see the sense of calm and serenity in that photo?! The words “calm” and “serenity” have never been associated with me and a sewing machine before.
Office and foyer
I think it all came down to this: I cannot for the life of me predict what sort of exact tension measurement my machine required of me, which needed to be correct to the tenth of a percent. The NEW machine has an automatic tension adjustment. It’s invisible. It doesn’t need anything from me.

It also threads the needle AND cuts the thread itself, which is more mind-boggling to me than I’d like to admit.

This is not a review of this sewing machine: I bought it myself and was not compensated in any way. All this gushing is just genuine excitement that for once, I sat down, threaded a machine, sewed a simple hem, and was finished. There was no back-and-forth. There was no frustration. Only satisfaction.
Patterned curtains and a colorful rug
You guys, why didn’t you tell me about this?

Anyway: everything is different now. I feel like I can conquer the world, if only I can figure out how to actually cut a square piece of fabric with actual 90-degree angles. If you’ve been waiting for permission to spring for the fancy tool? DO IT.

I realize this is not an inspiring DIY project for you, but if this blog is meant to catalog the “view along the way” as we figure this DIY thing out and make our house presentable? Then this was a major, major milestone in my book. The whole WORLD IS OPENED TO ME!

Needless to say, I have spent the last few days frolicking in meadows, hand-in-hand with my new machine, pausing to kiss under a parasol. It’s been very romantic.

Have you ever realized it was a tool – and not you – causing all the problems in your life?

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