Our Cloak Room Make Over

So first of all....a cloak room?  Yep.  I guess in the UK this may refer to the lavatory.  However, here in the USA it refers to a room for coats in a place like a gymnasium or school.  We had such cloak room when I was in the 5th and 6th grades.  I remember it well.  The dark oak panels with vintage hooks down the long room with just an overhead light.  When we built our house, I knew we needed a "cloak room".  We didn't go for the paneled walls or vintage hooks.  Budget...time... Maybe that could be an upgrade in the future. Basically, it's a walk in closet without a door.

For now, when my second daughter said suddenly on Monday that she would paint a small project for me, the cloak room came to mind.  It's been looking rough and not only needed cleaning out, but fresh paint.  This is the before with the coats already removed.

Yes, those are egg cartons.  We eat a lot of eggs. :)
And, that is a HUGE bulletin board on the right. It extends three times the width you see.  Two big office sized bulletin boards screwed into the wall.  I put them all the way to the floor so my kids could reach it to hang up their own art work and papers.

This bench was refinished before we moved into the house.  I cannot at all remember where we bought it.  But, it has been used hard over these past 18 years and needs to be refinished again.  Not happening right now.

Empty (shelves lift out) and ready to go.

Almost done!  I had to paint the trim the next day, but that went quickly.  My #5 is peaking around the paint tub waiving.

This is the vintage light fixture that we have in there.  Seems like the kind you may find in an old school cloak room.

I picked greenish blue color from paint chips I had on hand.  We weren't sure about the color at all once it was on, but now I'm liking it.  It makes the area cozy.  The paint chip was on the same color palette as the color of the other walls in the laundry room which is where the cloak room opens up to.  The rest of the room can be seen here and here.

No fancy organizing, but it seems to work well when we actually use it.  

Now, the kids hear me say, "Shelf or a hook"  when we walk in the door.

So far... they can still find the bench to actually sit on to put on their shoes.

To make it cozier in there, I hung up this bunting I made quite a few years ago.  I posted about it here.

It's been in storage for quite awhile so I'm happy it's found a new home.

This print, a gift from my oldest daughter a year ago, is so pretty in here!

Then we thought a mirror would be a nice thing to have by the door.  (ugly electrical panel...first world problems, huh?)

I have been thinking lately about a beautiful message sent to me years ago to teach your kids.  It was written in the form of a letter to your child telling them that when they go out in the world to remember who they are. It goes into detail about who you are in Christ and how you've been taught to be a Christian.  Sadly, I can't find it now.  

This is what I want to remember myself and what I want my kids to know. 

So, with my basic skills, I painted this little watercolor to remind us.

I can hear Father Volker from Christ the King Priory at the St. Benedict Center say, "First you must know that you are a beloved child of God".  Now hear that in a German accent with a loving grandfatherly tone of voice.  Makes you kind of believe it.

When I showed it to my 9 year old, she smiled big and said she liked it.  I asked her if she understood what it meant and she nodded.  I said, "It means that you are a child of God" and she said, "Oh, I thought it meat that I'm Audrey Ruskamp!"  but with a slight note in her voice hinting that there was a bit of embarrassment that she was wrong, and yet still wanting the answer to be 'Audrey Ruskamp'.  

I  said, "Yeah, you're right!"  She was.  That's the mystery of His love.  He delights in each one of us and loves each one of us in a way that is unique to each one of us.

The cloak room: smartest thing we put in our home.  (I got that huge bulletin board cleaned up too!)

This Isn't Pretty But It Works

Since I was first introduced to altered books many years ago, I've wanted to make one to use not as a prayer journal per se, but as a beautiful place to keep prayers, clippings, prayer cards, and the like.
Well.  It hasn't happened.
Thankfully, I know me.  And, when I wanted this type of book, I thought I better make do and I did.
I hadn't used it in awhile and when I got it out, I realized that it would be a good thing to share here with you.  Lent is just around the corner and this may be a good time to start such a book.  I'm guessing I've had this book for at least 14 years.
It's just a plain non descript photo album with slide-in plastic photo holders.  And, it works perfectly for what I wanted.
It works so well to slide in prayer cards that you'd like to keep and use. (Us Catholics sure love our prayer cards!!)
See an article that you'd like to keep?  or read a meditation that touches you?  Slip it in a sleeve.
I used to write down scriptures and either carry around with me or put up on the bulletin board or refrigerator for awhile.  Then slip them in here.  See?  Nothing nice about my scribbling, but one of my kid's scribbling is cute to see here!
On the left is a picture of Pope John Paul II that was given to me from a woman who gave me a rosary blessed by him during the visit when she took the picture.  On the right, more scribbling by one of my kids.  How ironic that they drew on my prayer, Mother's Petitions to Mary!
It's stuffed and some papers I folded to fit, others hang out, I can toss some when I want to make more room.  But, it holds quite a bit. 
You can jot down a prayer or a thought anywhere, carry it around in your pocket and it has a resting place here.   The beauty is, no order necessary.  Easy. Flip through to find what you want or just to find a place to sit in prayer.
Maybe not pretty or creative, but it works.

Texture Tuesday: Out on the Pond

A couple of Sundays ago, my second daughter, my husband, and I went out for a walk and down to our ponds. It had been awhile with the cold weather, short days, and activities going on in our lives.

My daughter proceeded to "perform an ice ballet".  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen my fast speed video. 
A video posted by Jill Ruskamp (@jillruth) on

The day was gorgeous with the colors of fall still there and the hint of the winter that we've had still lingering.

So pretty even when the only bold color comes from my husband's work gloves. :)

All three of the images were textures using an overlay blending mode and Kim Klassen's textures from her November Trio collection.  The textures add just the subtle warmth needed for the photos.

So, after the fast motion video, I tried a slow motion one.  I'm telling you I can have fun with my phone.
A video posted by Jill Ruskamp (@jillruth) on

Kim Klassen dot com

(I hope the embedded videos work!)

Friday Finds

I thought I'd post about some of the treasures I've found during the last month.  I haven't been out much but did find a few things at an antique store, thrift store, and an estate sale.
I maybe should have passed on this stool since I have quite a few but gosh, a person needs a place to rest with character, right?
These old aluminum spice containers made me smile all big inside when I saw the price.  Yep, they're coming home with me.  We've used two sets of salt and pepper shakers that match in our kitchen for years.
And these were found in the same antique store.  It was my first visit there where I actually got to go in and not just peak in the window....will be going back. 
Art Deco graphics....
Pretty wonderful!  I have not decided if they will actually store items in my pantry or in the sewing room.  Because we all know that truth be told....Tupperware is better for storage.  Ouch.  That does hurt.
I used to walk on by the old metal frames, not old enough to be really neat, but I'm seeing them in a new light now.  Especially the hinged ones.  Not sure why I like them now, but thought I'd bring home a couple and see if I find a use for them.
This one had a cool label in it as a bonus
Also at the thrift store:
These hand made round knitting looms looked like they were full of potential.  Maybe loom knitting for my little girls or perhaps to use for a round weaving project?
I thought I better take them too. 

Maybe these paper dolls and clothes will find their way to the new frames?
The dresses are magazine page thin and they don't all "fit" a doll.
These are sure cute even though the poor gal on the left has been decapitated.
My offer for this set of quite chipped and aged dishes at the estate sale was met with an overly exuberant "Gosh, yes!"
And I thought...hmmm...should have offered less
Not needing any more dishes at all, I was so excited to leave with only three of the 7 cups for sale at the thrift store.  (What? that didn't make sense to you?)
Old books always have a new home here.

I liked the title and content of this one.
Lots of fun information in it and possible collage material.
I'm happy you stopped by!  Have you found any treasures lately?
Kim Klassen dot com

Black and White Wednesday

"Hmmm...what should I do today?"

I saw this over here on a blog called Simple Joys and thought it was so cute.  In a moment of avoiding work, I cut my own.  
I have to admit, mine looks a little more like she's doing deep knee bends instead of pondering the day, haha!

My Memory Art

Memory Game From Fabric Scraps

 A while back I found these tutorials, here and here, to make a memory game for a toddler from fabric. I thought it was the neatest idea.  The one used wool felt and Liberty of London fabric.  

I went looking through my scraps and found what I'll call Liberty of London wanna-bes.  They do a pretty good job of it and all were picked up at a garage sale...someone else's scraps.  Kept in a shoe box by them, then to my stash, and now they live on in a cute game for my granddaughter!

I don't have a tutorial for you, but if you are a sewer/maker kind of person you can do this easily.  The above links to the tutorials are really nice games but FAR more time consuming that I wanted.  

I used one color (orange) for the back, muslin for the other side of the backing and then 12 different patterns for the front game part.  I fused the muslin to iron on interfacing and the small pieces to iron on interfacing too.  Then with  brand new pinking shears (I was so excited to finally break down and buy a new one!  I had four pairs of pinking shears all of which couldn't cut butter)

I don't remember what measurements I used for sure, you'd need to make a practice one to see what you like...I think it was 3 1/4" for the smaller square and 4" for the larger one. I was in a big hurry as it was before Christmas and just started cutting and sewing and now it's not here to go measure.

The Process: I drew with a pencil a 3 1/4 " square on the patterned fabrics and then pinked right on top of my pencil line.  I cut out larger 4" squares of the orange and muslin. I laid down the patterned smaller squares on the muslin and stitched around, just inside my pinked edges.  Then with wrong sides together, I put the orange fabric to the muslin and sewed all around the edges about at a 1/2" seam allowance and then pinked the edges. 
I made 24 blocks, 2 each of 12 patterns.

Then from the left over interfaced fused scaps I made the bag for her to tote them around in.  VERY simply constructed, but it works!

I made the one handle big enough that the game pieces could easily be slid in there, or if my granddaughter puts them in, stuffed in there!

These pictures were hastily taken in my sewing room with my phone so I'm sorry about that, but so it goes.

I ♥ hand-made.

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