Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Cutest Dorm Room EVER!

This past weekend was extremely busy - my youngest daughter moved into her dorm room at UTSA.  Being the stylish girl that she is and us being thrifty, this was a fun project for us to do together.  I actually waited until move in weekend to build the kitchen cart because we weren't 100% sure how much room we had to work with - a word of advice for those of you preparing to send your kids to school, take good measurements and photos of the dorm room during visits to college.  Here are some photos and info - let me know if you would like additional info.

  • The shutters were given to us by a friend who found them in her attic, but I've seen these at the Habitat for Humanity resale store.  I gave them a quick, thin coat in this fun color!
  • I made the shade and pillows with fabric purchased from JoAnn's.  The shade is a simple lined panel with Jute twine used to tie up/down.  It is attached using a tension rod on top.
  • The cart near the bed is from Ikea.
  • The chevron wool rug is from Wisteria 
  • I made the Vintage Step Stool from plans from my FAVORITE blogger, Ana White!
  • I made a simple bedskirt using plain white cotton fabric at JoAnn's/  I attached it under the frame of the bed using command strip hooks and a 1/4" medal rod from Home Depot using to feed the drape on.
  • The basket with blankets is from World Market.
  • Bedding is from Target.
  • "S" letter is from Memorial Antiques & Interiors.
  • Trashcan from Bed Bath & Beyond.

  • I made this kitchen cart to better utilize the space we had to work with.  I wanted to give her plenty of storage to house her appliances and food.  I made a beginner's mistake (I should know better by now!!) and did not leave enough room to put the microwave on the shelf, which is why it's all the way on top.  That's ok - she'll probably use her toaster oven more, anyway!  Anyone with basic building skills can do this - just make sure you draw it out and MEASURE TWICE!!!  I added casters to make moving easier - with all the traffic on move in day, they were life savers!!!
  • The scripture artwork was ordered online by my daughter, but I didn't want her to put it on the wall & not be able to keep it.  I cut a piece of 1/4" plywood to size, painted, and made a simple frame.

  • This tv/dvd/wii stand was a super fast project to fit in a little corner at the end of her bed.  I used 1x4's for the legs and 1x12 for the shelves.  A cross bar on the bottom facing the wall gave it more stability, but to ensure it didn't accidentally get knocked over I put a heavy duty Command Strip on the top shelf against the wall.  Notice there is PLENTY of space below for the hamper!


      •  I built this narrow shelf for the bathroom to give the girls plenty of storage space. The shelf is 5' tall using leftover scraps of 3/4" plywood for the shelves and I ripped down some 2x4's into 1.25" square boards to use for the frame and trim.  (you can use 2x2's, but the ones I found at the local Home Depot are in such rough shape, I thought it would be easier to rip down my own)  
      • The shower curtain was made using fabric bought at JoAnn's.
      • I made a Mason Jar Storage area to mount on the wall - using an old piece of teardrop siding for a rustic look!   

      • The entry way has this artwork my daughter bought on her first trip to Africa 2 years ago & I mounted it on a simple frame.
      • The closet area is open, so we used a shower tension rod and purchased some ready made drapes with grommets to keep things neat!
      This was a super fun project & made my daughter so happy, so now she can focus on her studies!  I know she'll think about me every time she comes home to her new "home".  

      Thursday, February 28, 2013

      Saturday Market!

      I participated as a vendor in a Saturday Outdoor Market Day at Cru Home and really enjoyed making some new items!  I would also like to add that sales from the Saturday Markets will benefit my daughter's upcoming mission trip to Uganda.
      My lovely helper and daughter, Sarah manning the table

      "Queen Size" Doll Bed.  $75
      Rustic Simple Nativity (measures 4" tall)  $5

      A variety of handmade goodies!
      Africa (Heart in Uganda) Ornaments.  $10

      Small X Bench. $75

      Bigger Kid Picnic Table.  $100

      Notepads with elastic crayon holder.  $5

      Doll Bed with Ruffled Cover.  w/this style bedding $75

      Vintage Play Cabinet (33.5" high)  $100

      Rolled Magazine Heart with Painted Frame.  $30

      Library Console Table (39" wide x 33" tall)  $150

      Wreath made with Bible pages.  $100
      Rustic Large Bench.  $100
      Preschool Picnic Table.  $75
      Numbered Cubbies.  $25
      Step Stool (stained, then painted black and distressed)  $40
      Step Stool (steps stained, rest painted then glazed)  $40
      I am currently in the process of updating my current inventory and prices, so if you have a question regarding a specific item or a custom order, please let me know!

      Sunday, July 10, 2011

      My $30 Closet Makeover

      Here's a great way to get some extra storage out of a standard 75" wide closet. Items purchased were:

      1. 1 - 4x8 sheet of cabinet-grade plywood (about $26)
      2. 2- closet rod hangers (about $2 ea)
      Items I had/re-used are:
      1. 75" shelf that went across entire closet
      2. metal rods (extended long enough to cut into 2-40" long pieces and one 16" piece).
      3. paint
      I got the plywood at Home Depot and had them rip 2-15.5" boards, leaving one 17" board which was used for the shelves. The 15.5" boards were cut to 80" tall and the 17" board was used to make 6- 15.5" shelves (the leftover 3" piece was used for the toe kick). After the pieces were cut, they were sanded, primed & painted before assembly. (I used a Kreg Jig to join using pocket hole screws) The bookcase was then assembled leaving about 12" between shelves with no top shelf (a scrap 1x3 was used for the board on the top to attach to the wall). The bookshelf was then anchored in the closet leaving 40" on the left and about 16" on the right (only one rod on this side - for hanging dresses).

      The 75" original shelf was used across the top, also re-using the cleats used on the side walls to rest the board on. I gained a little rod space - going from 75" to 96" total, but gained 102" of shelf space on the bookshelf!

      Friday, March 12, 2010

      Thing 1 and Thing 2

      It's been several months since my last post. Almost 6 months to be exact. It was shortly after "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" were placed in our home. At the time, the boys were 2 and 4. I can say without a doubt that they have come a long way since then.
      You see, we decided to continue to foster after our last placement returned home in June last year, but because of the emotional drain of having a teenage foster daughter, we decided to foster younger children thinking since they come with "less baggage", it would be easier. I guess we were wrong. Not easier - just different. The first few months were the toughest. We had even reached a point when we called the agency asking them to find another foster family to transfer them to - it was hard on everyone and we were always tired, fighting and yelling. At the very least, I knew the boys deserved to be somewhere where they could experience real love. We asked the agency to be on the lookout, letting them know we were ready but we would wait until the right family came around. We then decided to really pray about it. We realized that the problem wasn't them, it was US! We had the wrong attitude and expectation about the boys. Of COURSE they were going to be wild, disobedient and obstinate. They were not taught any better their entire lives! Now they were in a home and all of their needs were suddenly met and we expected too much too soon. Once we adjusted our expectations guess what? Our attitudes changed and we allowed ourselves to actually enjoy them. God is so good- I thought I was already a patient person, but I needed more! They still need alot more training to get where they should be (with speech, school, behavior), but that task seems much more realistic now.

      One thing we have come to the conclusion is we will probably not continue to foster children this young. I believe it would be in the best interest of them and us to be with a family who can focus all of their time and attention since that age is so demanding. We have had to put many things on hold with our own kids because of the boys and I'm ready to be involved with activities that my kids can participate in.

      We don't know for sure yet, but it looks like the boys may be available for adoption later this year, unless their parents can get their act together (but things don't look good for them). We have met a young couple who desire to adopt and they will be babysitting the boys next week during Spring Break. This will be a much needed time of rest for our family and a great opportunity to see if the boys will be a good fit for this young, energetic family.

      As all of this unfolds, God is putting yet another burden on our hearts. I can't wait to see how He uses us in those He's recently put into our lives and hearts. More to come later...

      Monday, September 21, 2009

      I LOVE Craigslist!

      We moved into our "new" home a few months ago and are slowly replacing the items we sold or gave away before moving to Rio Bend. One large purchase we needed was a washer and dryer. Actually, I did purchase a set right after we moved since those appliances can be catagorized as a "necessity", so I found an older, used set on Craigslist for $150. It wasn't the prettiest to look at, but they seemed to work fine. My biggest problem was that our laundry room is so small there was really no room for a hamper or much else, in order to keep the door closed, so after using them for a few months, I was able to turn around and re-sell them on Craigslist for what I got them for. We were without a washer/dryer for a few weeks while I searched for a stackable gas unit in our price range. Having the washer/dryer out also gave me the opportunity to re-paint the laundry room which was greatly needed. Ironically, the night I was re-painting was the night we received a call to see if we would accept placement of our 2 foster sons, ages 2 and 4. That's another post for another time...

      I was determined to find a washer/dryer last weekend if that's all I accomplished, so I checked out Craigslist and a few used appliance stores and other than one non-responsive listing, I found a listing advertising a 2 family garage sale and it listed a stackable washer/dryer. No price, pictures or phone numbers, just an address and time....so I headed out not really sure what to expect. At that point I was willing to take an electric, but was really hoping for gas. I got to the garage sale and there is was, in the corner with a $100 sign on it. I asked if it was gas or electric, and the young man said he wasn't sure, and that it was in the house when they recently purchased it, and since they didn't need it, they were selling it. I quickly paid for it and called Jeff so he can borrow a truck to pick it up later. After a good cleaning I was SOOOO happy to realize this was a like-new GAS unit that retails for about $1300 at Sears!

      After finding deals like this, who would pay retail for any large purchases like this? We're trying hard to completely get out of debt and live within our means - we truly believe that debt is a burden and distracts us from doing the things we should be doing. I love listening to Dave Ramsey and we are even attending his live event in January! If you've never listened to Dave Ramsey, find out what time/station his show airs by visiting his website at www.daveramsey.com.

      Wednesday, April 8, 2009


      It's been a while, I know...I just wanted to give details on what's going on in the Cokenour household. We've been living at Rio Bend since July last year, and have come to realize clearly that although God called us to become foster parents, it does not necessarily only have to be at Rio Bend. Without getting into too many details, we are not in agreement with some recent decisions here, so it's time for us to dust off our sandals and move on!

      I thought we were in a recession! There are not too many houses available (in our desired areas and price ranges, anyway). We were originally going to rent, but rents are EXHORBENT right now, so we decided to buy. Thanks to Uncle Obama (as my husband calls him) we are eligible for an $8k stimulus if we purchase a home, so that decision became a no-brainer! We actually came across some foreclosures that I was interested in, but you're required to pay cash because no one will lend you any money with the condition they're in.

      We have been concentrating on the Sugar Land area since that's what we are familiar with and we love it. Jeff just started a new job at the VA in the medical center area, so it was also important to find something that would give him a better commute.

      We currently have an option on a house that is within walking distance to my brother and sister in law - we're excited about being able to spend more time with them.

      We will continue to foster, Lord willing... Our current foster daughter may be going back home soon, so if she does, we'll accept another placement - maybe even being open to younger kids this time. Teenagers can wear you out, whether they're your own or not, so we may take a break from adding teens to our household.

      I'm excited about the new house so I can finally start doing some projects that I've been wanting to do for a while. My family will not know what to think when I actually start making drapes for OUR OWN HOME.

      I will keep this updated once we close and with any fun projects that come up!

      Monday, February 9, 2009


      Yesterday we had to do one of the hardest things we've ever had to do - admit a child to a psychiatric hospital. We knew he had problems to start with, why else would he be in foster care, right?

      It's hard to understand how a child who can be so happy and obedient one moment can lose total control of his ability to reason the next. I can't stop wondering what we could/should have done differently, but the bottom line is some children, in and out of foster care are emotionally and mentally disturbed. We really had no choice when our family's safety (and his) was threatened.

      I have alot of things going through my mind, but mostly (1) It was presumptuous of us to believe we could help him in such a short period of time and (2) what hope is there for people like this? During the admission process, there was an older gentleman admitting his 29 year old son as well. He commented that his son was about the same age as our foster son when he was first admitted.

      I'm emotionally drained right now and feel defeated. I'm sad for what we had to do and for any scars we added to his heart.