Animal Crate Benches
Do you everget a feeling about something that you should do but in the next breath you question yourself? It happens to all of us. We have an instinct to question things to protect us from danger. Most of the time, we question ourselves; Can I do this? Will I be able to make the best product? Can I raise these kids? Should I try this new thing? What if I fail? Most of us are wired to fear taking risks.
My family and I go to a consignment auction every year where farmers and nearby land owners drop off stuff that they want to auction off. We love going because we can find great deals on furniture, old farm goods and much more. A few years back, we found a pile of these crate looking items that were in pretty good shape. They have a wooden structure with metal mesh sides and open ends. My sister and I were instantly attracted to them and wanted them. In the next moment, my sister asked, “What can we do with them?” “I have no idea but I want them”, I replied to her. As the auctioneer came to the pile of crates, a rush of excitement went through our bodies. I love bidding on things, especially when it goes for cheap! My sister won the bid and we got about 12 crates that we had no idea what to do with.
As we showed our dad what we bought, he explained that these were the main part of an animal trap. I thought it was neat that we could repurpose these animal traps into something! We still weren’t sure what we were going to do with them or where we would even store them, but someone, God, gave us that instant nudge that we should get them.
Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”. We so easily doubt ourselves and don’t trust ourselves to do things. We lose confidence in ourselves and don’t follow our dreams and passions. The problem is, we are relying on ourselves and not God. To find our way through this world, we need to shift that confidence and trust to the Lord. If we have trust in God, he will give us the courage to take a risk.
A few months later after my sister and I saw the crates packed away in the barn and we had the idea to try making a bench out of one of them. By sanding them lightly, clear coating them for protection, adding feet to give them some height, the only thing left to do was make the cushion for on top. Sister had a fun turquoise color fabric left over from a previous project and so I got a piece of plywood, two inches of foam and some batting. I layered the batting over the foam and stapled the fabric on. It turned into the cutest bench ever! Our mom wanted one so we made her one that she uses as a footstool.
After selling the first bench, a few customers asked if we could make custom ones with certain colored fabric. It was our pleasure! We sold a handful of benches from that pile of crates that we had no idea what we were going to do with. We didn’t know, but God knew.
I still find myself second guessing if I should get a piece of furniture, or if we can build this business into something that will make an impact in this world. Is it worth the money and work? Will we sell anything? Will people like the same things we do? But I keep turning to God and put my trust in him instead of myself. I have faith that he will guide us as long as we have the courage to try the new things, and let go of some of the old that is holding us back.
We should all take lessons from a cat. Not an evil cat, I mean a lovable, furry, wants to snuggle with you every night kind of cat. They rest more throughout the day than anything else. Theyrely on their owner for everything and they love them unconditionally. Who doesn’t want to rest all day and get free food!?
I can be a pretty restless person. Even when I take a day to just do nothing but sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix, my mind is going a hundred miles a minute. But my cat, Pinky? No, he just lays by me, looks at me with those loving eyes and does not have acare in the world. As I mentioned in the last blog, I can get obsessed with certain things, like house remodels. It is hard for my mind to rest which makes it hard for my body to rest. And as humans, we all need to relax a little more. The world today is so fast paced. How can you take the time to enjoy anything?
I have been struggling with this for quite some time, but my true colors showed when I worked on my first upholstered chair. I would be at work for 11 hours, finally get home and want to just crash on the couch. But my mind? No, my mind was pushing and pulling. “Why are you so lazy? You can’t sit around! There is so much to do.” I could not find my peace and it was starting to get tiring.
One Saturday, I thought to myself, “Today is the day I am going to pull the old chair out of the garage where it has been sitting for 2 years and refinish it!” And when I said today in my mind, I was thinking that I could actually get it done in a day. This no stop, do as much as you can world has brainwashedme to think that if I can’t get it done in a certain amount of time, I have failed. Let’s just say it took a little longer than a day to make the chair beautiful again!
I realized in a lecture I heard, that God does not want us to feel like this. He does not mean for us to be anxious and beat ourselves up until we get the work done. He wants us towork from a place of rest. We need to work to find our inner peace before we can enjoy doing our life’s works. Think about it. Even the things you love to do the most, ifyou are rushed and you are telling yourself you will never be good enough to make this look right or work, are you really loving what you do?
The old chair was from a neighbor who was throwing them out. Even though the cushions were completely deflated, I could not stand the thought of those beautiful wood frames going into a landfill. I knew that I could figure out how to upholster and I was so excited to go fabric shopping! On that Saturday, I got the chair out, and starting pulling it apart. The ripping of the fabric and old padding was fun. But then came the staples. There were so many staples to rip out! This was a challenge and I started getting restless inside. “This is taking forever”, I thought to myself. I just wanted to get to the making it pretty part!
Thinking about it, I am a lot like my cat. He can get a bit feisty at times and attack when I am least expecting it. Our human minds can do the same thingto us. We can be so happy to start our little projects, but if something doesn’t go our way or if it is taking too long, we get all riled up, angry, and stressed.
There were times when I just had to walk away and take a break from the project. I was not in the proper state of peace to be enjoying the work. However, once the clean up part was done, I was ready to paint! I love painting so much. It is one of those things that I can just get lost in. I cut the fabric and got my staple gun ready. It was even therapeutic to attach the fabric to the chair. Looking back, this was quite the roller coaster of a project!
Once the fabric was on, I got some ribbon and upholstery nails to finish it off. This was the hardest part of the whole project. To hammer the nail perfectly straight took much concentration. I was hunched over for 2 hours trying to get those nails in just right! But by the time I was finished, I was so happy and infatuated with the finished product.
If I would have been mentally strong enough to stay in my state of peace throughout the whole project, I would have enjoyed it much more. Luckily we all get chances to do things better the next time. God gives us things to do to enjoy doing them, not rush through them just to get to the next thing. We have a whole lifetimeto try new things. I usedto tell myself that if I could just push and get this done, I could rest. But what I didn’t realize at the time was to enjoy life, it is all about resting while you work. Having peace while you go through your day will bring you much more joy in your life. Remember to rest and keep your inner peace so you can enjoy the things you love doing.
I am a farm girl through and through. I thought going to school, getting a degree, and moving towards a city would make me happy. You can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl. You will learn much more about me with each piece of junk I transform into beautiful home decor.