good things : june chalkboards

living room :

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” – Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)

bedroom:

Romans 8

kitchen:

Be YOU tiful.

june magazine line:

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making things happen monday : bedroom makeover

My apartment is pretty tiny. I mean, if you are living in a dorm room or in a third world country (some might say the two aren’t entirely unrelated) then it’s practically a mansion. But if you are a 26 year old living in a city in America, it’s tiny.

My bedroom has always been the most neglected space in my apartment because I spend the least amount of time there. I basically just sleep there because there isn’t room to do anything else.

But not anymore!

While I was at Making Things Happen I realized that a big stumbling block in my nightly productivity was my workspace: the couch. Usually once I’m in for the night I settle in on the couch with my laptop and a disc of Gilmore Girls and/or Friends and/or Friday Night Lights with the intent of going gangbusters on my email/blog/big to-do list. I’m productive for about 5 minutes. After that, it’s distraction central. Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Oh, I love this part! Hey, I’ve been meaning to Google that. What’s new on Pinterest? What’s new on Lover.ly? I haven’t refreshed Twitter in awhile. Wait…what was I working on?

And so it goes.

But one of the most valuable things I took away from The Challenge was how to kill distractions.

I had a few ideas in mind for killing distractions, which I’ll be sharing on future MTHM posts, but the biggest game-changer was creating a new space.

New Space #1 : The breakfast/prayer window seat


I really wanted to create a space that would just be for mornings – time spent with the Lord in prayer and reading and time spent with my beloved breakfast. My former routine was to wake up, roll out of bed, put as much of myself into my daily devotions as possible while sitting on my comfy couch in the half-dark, then charge into getting ready for the day. Once I sat down at the computer with my breakfast I’d turn on ESPN and power through as much work as I could get through before running out the door at the last possible minute.

Not exactly a tranquil start to the day.

My college roommate and I bought that little blue couch during our junior year and it’s been a staple ever since. But it wasn’t really being utilized in my bedroom before (here is where before pictures would have been ideal…but when I get an idea for a project, it’s all systems go…no time to document!); it was basically an extra laundry basket since it’s where my workout clothes would usually land.

So, after playing a LOT of Tetris with my bedroom furniture, I finally came up with an arrangement that would give me the space I needed to actually have a bedroom and also include a side space for mornings.

People…I LOVE this space!!! It’s literally the best thing I’ve done since I’ve moved in. Even better than the chalkboards! It’s convenient to start every day here because I can literally roll right out of bed and into the window seat = no excuses. I love opening the windows and starting the day with fresh air and bird songs while I start the day off on the right foot with God. Then after getting ready and making breakfast, I come back to the window seat to eat and flip through my long-neglected magazines. I’ve imposed a no email/blogs/screens rule – I even pack my laptop away in my bag for the day the night before so I don’t have the option! Because ESPN is a critical component to my DNA I do still listen to Mike & Mike on the radio or watch it on my phone, but luckily my iPhone is wise and will only let me watch ESPN if that’s the only app I’m using. I don’t even have the option to multitask while getting my daily sports fix. It’s wonderful.

I can’t even tell you how much better I feel leaving my apartment every morning. Such a good change.

New Space #2 : A colorful new workspace!

As I mentioned above…the couch just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore as a workspace. I knew as soon as I sat down every night it would be a downward spiral into distractions. I also knew that my white walls were driving me crazy (renting = no paint allowed). So I killed two birds with one stone and created a space that will make me happy and keep me focused.

I used a block of scrapbook paper from Michael’s and went to town on the walls. I wanted a sweeping wave of color and I think that’s just what I got! The paper is attached by sticky tack and it’s held really well so far (about 2 weeks later). This paper project literally took me no more than 45 minutes and cost less than $10…and the result is a brand new room that I LOVE to be in.

This is my new place to sit at the end of every day (I’m sitting here right now as I type this post!). I try to block out at least one power hour a night in here so that I can have one focused hour of blogging/photo editing/emailing/job searching/whatever is on the to-do list for the day. And then whatever time I have left before heading to bed can be used to catch up on my favorite distractions – namely, blogs – guilt-free!

Environmental distractions? Conquered! It was such an easy change, but it’s made such a difference!

Now…how about YOU??? What changes could you make to your environment to make your life a better place?

And when are you going to start The Challenge??? Make it today!

beka stays real : march chalkboards

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[ bedroom : RELENTLESS : belief in God (1), gratitude in each moment (2), pursuit of dreams (3). (be transformed by the renewing of your mind – Romans 12:2) ]

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[ living room 1 : “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now.” – Matthew 6 ]
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[ living room 2 : be an exclamation point, not a question mark. ]

and here’s the march magazine line too:

good things : easy DIY lighting

I missed my Christmas tree.

So I made these.

Top photo: old vase (which I was looking for last weekend…), old tissue paper I found under my bed, old string of lights I found in my closet.

Bottom photo: two extra glass mixing bowls turned upside down, old tissue paper I found under my bed, old string of lights I found in my closet.

(Apparently I store old things in odd places.)

It’s just the right amount of light to replace the little tree/flash that could. It doesn’t necessarily emit the same amount of yuletide joy, but it makes me happy to look in it’s general direction nonetheless.

I love impromptu projects.

beka stays real : february chalkboards

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[bedroom: positive minds live positive lives.]

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[living room 1: “it’s important to keep trying to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is or how often you fail. you never stop trying. i’m still trying.” – coach wooden]

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[living room 2: commitment: doing the right thing when you don’t want to. character: doing the right thing when it’d be easier not to. integrity: doing the right thing when no one’s watching you.]

good things : the magazine line

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Tearing pages out of magazines used to be sacrilege…but this year, I’m making a point to actually use the magazines I love so dearly. What better way than to put them on display? This simple living room project cost me $0 – just some twine, clothespins, old clips leftover from an Ikea purchase – but it makes me inordinately happy every time I look up.

It’s the little things, people.

beka stays creative : DIY chalkboards

I’ve been wanting to paint a wall with chalkboard paint forever and ever, amen. But since I am a renter and not a home owner and want my landlord to give me back my security deposit at the end of my tenure, I haven’t been able to live the dream yet.

Until…I started thinking. What if I could hang chalkboards instead? It lacks the charm of a fully chalkboarded wall, but beggars can’t be choosers. This seemed like a good idea until I found out large chalkboards cost anywhere from $25 to over $100 dollars each and weight about half as much as I do.

Back to square one.

But THEN…I started thinking that maybe I could paint a smaller surface and then hang that up.

AND IT WORKED!!!

I made one for the kitchen (above) for planning weekend recipes to try. One for my bedroom for good quotes from books I’m reading:

And two for the living room; one for the Packers wall for quotes from Coach Lombardi and other Packers-related things, and one beside my desk for inspiring things:

Now I would give you a full step-by-step tutorial here, but there’s really nothing to tutor. I bought the materials, I painted the boards, I hung them on the walls. There’s probably a better way to do it because they did warp a little bit. Maybe a stronger material than foam core? But this works for me, and it was way more affordable (and easier to purchase and transport) than buying full sized chalkboards. Here’s the lowdown on costs:

Chalkboard Paint: $10

Foam Core: $2.50 each, $10 total

Chalk: $3

Eraser: $2

Total: $25! Four for the price of one!

I’m such a happy camper.

beka stays creative : window treatments

I have an obsession with fall.

Perhaps you’ve noticed.

But this year in particular, it seems like the leaves are brighter and sticking around for longer than usual. And I’m loving it! Last weekend I went for a walk with my mom and we picked up some particularly pretty ones. I wanted to do something with them. I didn’t know what. And then this happened:

How? The old fashioned way: a needle and thread. Seriously…it was nearby and seemed like the most effective way to string them together…and it worked! I just poked each leaf at a different spot so they’d look less uniform and tied the ends of the thread to the curtain rods.

They look a little less lively now, but they were pretty while they lasted! A quick and easy way to bring the outside in and embrace fall for a little bit longer.