Monday, 11 April 2016

Vicar's Craft Corner – Chest of Drawers Revamp

The new addition to the family on its way has given me the perfect opportunity (ahem...excuse...!) to do a bit of home decorating. We have never lived in a place that we own so I have gotten used to making my mark through the furniture we have, usually against the standard renters white and beige walls.

As I started to fully appreciate the mountain of stuff that comes with a tiny person I realised that I need to get hold of a chest of drawers for them or risk being swallowed whole under a pile of baby grows, never to be seen again. As regular readers will know I always prefer secondhand furniture. It is better built, better priced and offers the chance to get creative. I love bring a new lease of life into something that someone else has gotten fed up of.

So I was looking for ages for the right chest of draws in our brilliant local Age Concern furniture shop. It needed to be wooden, but real wood not mdf. It needed to be chunky and feel solid but not be a big old beast because the space in our second bedroom is a bit tight. Finally I came across this one which fit all my requirements and was a snip at £40.

I started by spending a good couple of hours on Pinterest (when is that ever wasted time?!) and got some inspiration for something a bit different for this piece given that it is going into a nursery. As I have done a fair bit of furniture revamping I have a little stock of paints to play around with so I didn't need to spend any more money on getting a different colour.

After sanding I set about painting the front of the draws and the whole outer unit in Laura Ashely Eggshell Eau De Nil that I previously used for my SewingTable Revamp. This needed about three coats to get a really nice coverage. I painted the inside of the draws using some left over Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in white which just needed a couple of coats for a good coverage.

After everything was dry I used a stencil I had made, just using card and scissors, to stencil on this Orla Kiely-esk pattern to the front of the drawers using the Annie Sloan paint. It is by no means perfect up close and I used a fine brush that I use for painting pictures (you know the artist kind!) to do some of the edge that got a bit rough. 

Overall, though, I really like this little transformation! It looks great in the room, was great value and saved another beaut from the landfill. Win!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Vicar's Sofa - Easter, I'm Just Not Over It

A few years back I tried to buy some mini eggs on Easter Sunday but was told by the shop keeper that 'Easter is over', as if I was some sad hanger on still singing Jingle Bells in January. This particularly drives me a bit crazy with Easter because the run up to Easter has, of course, been Lent. As soon as the moment of celebration and indulgence arrives on Easter Sunday it is pronounced over. How unfair is that? Not least because of the mini egg sitch!

Where have all the Mini Eggs gone?!
Weirdly enough church sort of does that too and I've never really gotten that. We spent forty days, quite rightly, thinking about the journey of Lent and reflecting on some of the tougher points of life as we follow the story of Jesus on his way to the cross. This is all incredibly meaningful and has allowed me to bring all my fears and worries and pains directly to God and without fail receive comfort.

 But the story doesn't end there and the overwhelming story of Christianity is one of hope. Jesus doesn't stay locked in the tomb and we don't have to stay locked in our darkness. There is light, there is life, there is joy, there is hope, there is beauty - and celebrating Easter is all about that.

A pic I took a while back - Let the Light In!
The Easter season actually lasts for forty day but it rarely seems to be marked that much. I get so excited about it and find it such a refreshing time that I wander round with a spring in my step and a big old grin on my face. I think people probably think I'm a bit odd (not least because of the grin!) wandering round in this thoroughly festive mood when everyone else has gotten over it already.

I once read a book by a Bishop who suggested we ought to pop the champagne and have a glass a day throughout this season, it should be such a joyous time. As much as I'd love that my bank balance, nor current condition, don't really lend themselves to that just now. But I have been using this time as space to deliberately enjoy and focus on all the wonderful things of life and to reflect on the meaning of Easter in my own life right now.

And for me Easter really is about that, about life. The story of the resurrection is about the unwavering, unstoppable, unquenchable power of life. And being a person of faith is about seizing that life, loving it, upholding it in all that you do.

I have been reading a set of reflection each morning in this season by Paula Gooder called The Risen Existence – The Spirit of Easter and one that really struck me early on was one in which the question was asked 'How can I bring life in this situation?' That strikes me as the true spirit of Easter and a great way to joy and freedom and life to the full. Seeking life, loving life, growing life wherever we can. This has prompted me to do things that I wouldn't have otherwise like twin my pregnancy with a woman in Malawi with Chasing Zero and take long walks in the park in the sunshine.

So even though the rest of the world might think it is over I still say Happy Easter! And may the season bring life abundant to you.