What a little color can do…

I’ve been hard at work the past few weeks making sure we have everything we need to beging homeschool this fall.  It’s been fun but part of me has been in a bit of a funk that I couldn’t quite figure out.  There were the predictable, normal reasons for that.  But there was more too.  That I didn’t have a clue about.

When it became clear last week that Audrey was too sick to travel on our family trip north with the rest of my family, I was sad because I knew I’d be missing out.  But in the hours that followed my decision to remain behind, something sparked in my mind and I was so exhilerated at the thought that I could not sleep (something I never have trouble with!).

I hatched a lofty plan that I hinted at to Christopher just to test the waters for his approval, the water was warm, his words were “Awesome, do whatever you want!”.  So with his blessing and a weekend with a sleepy, sad baby to care for alone in my house, I set out to do something even I doubted I could complete.

I was hungry for color.  I thought at first I’d break out our paint and cover every scrape and every crayon mark on the wall.  But that seemed silly.  I wanted more.  Heading into a dreary, gray Seattle winter sooner than I’d care to admit and knowing that with homeschooling we’ll spend a LOT of time here, I wanted some pizazz.

So after I got the rest of the family on their way, I said a prayer for my oldest three who would spend an entire weekend with their Dad and headed myself to the paint store.  I didn’t pick from the strips of color where you compare the shades and the darker ones seems crazy drastic.  Instead I grabbed single color samples so I couldn’t see the contrast.  I wouldn’t even touch anything that did not make me smile just looking at it.  Bright kiwi greens, lemon yellow, cheerful minneola orange.  You get the idea.

I settled on a vibrant but not fluorescent green for the family room/school room and a shade of bright orange called ‘Fresh Persimmons’ for the hall bathroom.  Both had been boring shades of light green, the family room being especially gray-green.  And instead of touching up the dingy white bathroom cabinet, I painted them ‘Gardener’s Soil’ brown.

Painting always evokes cleaning because you have to move furniture.  Cleaning leads to organizing because you have piles.  No piles left and organized, clean spaces make for one happy mama.  What transpired last weekend as I conquered a large family room and a small hallway bath was much more than painting.

It felt surreal.  I felt bold.  I felt capable.  I felt talented.  I felt excitement bubbling out of me.  I felt proud of myself.  I completed something I started.  I made something beautiful for my whole family to enjoy.  I did something drastic.  I got to spend time with my neighbor while she helped me finish the family room task.  I scarcely ate or slept for 2 full days.  My daughter got to rest and get well in her own bed.  My other kids spent a weekend soaking up time with their daddy whom they simply can’t get enough of (and visa versa!).  Honest truth?  The kids were tired of me.  And the feeling was mutual.

So much good came out of a weekend gone wrong that it became abundantly clear to me that I was never supposed to go on the trip in the first place.  I just didn’t know that.  I needed to orchestrate Extreme Home Makeover in my own house. I was so over the top about it all that I could not sleep after painting and working about 12 hours on Saturday.  Several times all night long I got up and ran out to turn the light on to see if it was really complete and really ‘Peaceful Leaf’ green.  It was.  And I was happy.

August 2009 327
August 2009 325
August 2009 320
August 2009 323

My lessons learned?

Even when you get redirected and you’d rather stay on the course, good things might happen.

Moms with lots of little people need a break more than 3 hours a week to grocery shop from said little people every once in a blue moon.

Every now and then moms with little people need to participate in something inspiring, something beautiful – alone.

A few gallons of paint and a few cheap home decor items from Target and Walmart can work wonders for a tired home that is shot to pieces every day by-yes, you guessed it-lots of little people.

Brighter is better.  Brighter is cheerful.  This green room I’m sitting in makes me feel like I’m outside on a sunny day.

Making my husband proud is one of the best feelings in the world.

Do something bold and crazy today.  It might just turn out to be amazing.



I like them both! Its amazing what paint can do! Good job Karissa!


The rooms look great!!!


I love the colors, I cant decide which one I like best they are both so great. You have inspired me to paint here soon.


Good job! Great colors. I’ve always wanted to paint our bathroom lime green, but haven’t been able to convince James yet, which is surprising since he really likes color.


OK, so I would have been impressed if you’d gotten ONE room done! You painted walls, cabinets, trim, made curtains, cleaned AND organized?!!! Simply out of this world. I can just envision you smiling every time you enter one of those rooms. And it will inspire you that you can keep doing things that make you happy, I’m guessing. I’m trying to think of what bold crazy thing I can do in my home that will make us all smile. Oh, and everything looks beautiful! Tom always says that absence makes the heart grow fonder; how fun to see your family after a few days apart!


LOVE IT!! It seriously looks so incredible, Karissa. You should be VERY proud of yourself!