Thursday, August 29, 2013

Painting: a process

Every painting has a process. 

And as an artist, every time I go through that process, I'm reminded of all the work the Lord has done in my life to turn ordinary—or even ugly—things into a beautiful reflection of Him.

It goes like this: He spots something empty; a place inside that's doing nothing for me, much less for anyone else. Maybe it's pride. Maybe it's perfection. Whatever it is, it needs to be transformed.

So He takes out His palette, and begins His work. At first, it can be scary. Things might look even uglier than they did before.

Then, slowly, things begin to change. Color is introduced. Things look brighter. What was once dead begins to show signs of life.

He surprises me, laying down the first strokes of a grander, more elaborate design for my life than I could have ever dreamed up on my own.

Next, He humbles me, showing me He's a God who cares not only about the big picture, but about the tiny details of my life. The cares and concerns, the need for confirmation; the things I think are too small or insignificant to bring before Him.

It can be hard and uncomfortable to let Him shine His light into the places we try to keep hidden. The fears. The doubts. The insecurities.

But the most glorious part of this process?

He's already paid for all of it—everything ugly, everything painful, everything I've done that says I don't deserve the grace He gives—on the cross. He's already spoken the words, "It is finished." (John 19:30)

Praise God, redemption has happened! Sanctification? That's ongoing...meaning there's always something new for Him to work on.

Good thing He's the Master of turning nothings into somethings.

Isaiah 61:3: " bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."


"Joy Comes in the Morning"
Mixed Media on Canvas
by Karley Kiker

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We went camping

Yesterday, my handsome man turned 24.

I'd been asking him the same, subtle question for a while. It went like this: "What do you want to do for your birthday?"

And he'd been giving me the same, blunt answer every time: "Nothing."



Obviously, a real-and-true nothing just wasn't an option. But since his birthday fell on a weekday, I understood his desire to remain in a sans-streamers "chill mode" for the evening. 

The fun-tastic solution? I surprised him with a camping trip. In our living room.


 At our campsite, there was a botanical garden.

Okay, so this is really a commission series I'm working on that's pulling double duty.

And there were top-of-the-line ammenities.

A remote control for him, design magazines for her. And a kickin' dinner menu.
Complimentary water? Clearly, this place was 5-star.
S'mores: It's just not a camping trip without them.
As soon as the hubs walked through the door, he went to change into his "camping clothes." For the rest of the night, this happened.

This is my new favorite picture of all time.
He liked the fact that he got to play in a fort, eat hot dogs/baked beans with bacon/potato salad, and watch TV.

I liked that there were no bugs.

Our sprawling campsite. Don't you just love nature?
Overall, it was a great day at Kamp Kiker. He had a happy birthday, and I had a happy one-month wedding anniversary. Definitely a win-win—love that.


On a side note, I just figured out how to import my old blog onto this new site. This might give new readers the impression that this is a long-established, well-tended sort of blog. It's not (or at least it wasn't in the past...totally my goal to go into serious-blogger mode and change that). But it has sporadically documented some of the cooler things I've done in life, like my first day as an US Weekly intern, or the time I spent in Southern France working as an au pair

For the sake of some good ole' memories, reminders of what was on my heart back then, and probably lots of laughs, I'm going to share links to a few of my favorite older entries every time I post something new. Sometimes, it's not good to look into the past. In this case, I think it is. 

Two good ones to get this party started:

1. Madrid mishap—A disaster of layover in Spain. Warning: Reading this post may cause uncontrollable fits of laughter.
2. As fast as you can—Reflections on running—literally, around a track, and figuratively, away from things that are scary or uncomfortable.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Goodwill goes glam

Sometimes, really cute things are wrapped in really not-cute packages.

Like this wine rack.


I bought her at Goodwill a while ago thinking that she had potential—she's capable of holding 16 bottles, after all.

But features like unfinished wood and tacky bolts had really cemented her status as a plain-Jane. To fix her up and make her shine, it became increasingly obvious that I would need to bring out the "big guns" of the fashion world.

Those would be turquoise and leopard print, obviously.


Some might say she's over-the-top. But I think she's grade-A fabulous.  

And there's definitely nothing subtle about her beauty now.

Need this wine rack to spice up your kitchen? Purchase by visiting my (brand new, really empty) Etsy shop (

Friday, August 23, 2013

One of those people

Today, officially, I am one of those people. 

You know—the ones who pick up an old tractor wheel while "junking" at the dump, spray paint it an unusual shade of orange, mount it over their fireplace, and BAM: their house ends up being featured in Southern Living because they've just created a killer industrial wall piece for like, $5. 

They—ahem, we—read Flea Market Style. We get to say things like "thrift-store find." We make a fortune on eBay. 

Okay, so I actually haven't made any money yet. But I did revamp a really sad, blah-looking dresser from a Christian Community Action "Resale" store for our bedroom, meaning I'm feeling really (probably too) confident about my future in this world of trash-to-treasure. 

In-store, the dresser was one of those heavily-stained, super-glossy things that reminded me of every other dresser I've ever seen, ever. Nothing special, plus a few of the knobs were ready to hit the floor. But the wood construction was solid; not pieced together from plywood like a lot of the mass-market furniture that's sold today. Definitely a good sign.

And, wow. After a little sanding, a fresh coat of matte varnish, and a coat of spray paint for the hardware? She's looking beachy and Anthropologie-esque and good.



We've still got one missing piece of hardware to install, but...isn't she a beauty?

Needless to say, the "I want to repaint everything I own" bug really hit me hard. Meaning more home + interiors posts will be making an appearance in the (very near) future.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Like sea breeze

Does everyone have a box or five of Kleenex handy? Because our beautiful "love story," created by the fantastic Frank Guy of Francis West Studios, has just arrived! And maybe it's just because we're the stars of the story, but...we think it's pretty fantastic.

Frank generally works in the Charleston area, but he made the trip to Hilton Head to film our wedding last month. Press play on the video posted below, and we think you'll agree that he perfectly captured those intangible sorts of treasures—like love, joy, excitement, and hope—that we prayed would be present during our ceremony.

If you're watching on your phone, click here:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Colors, round two

On Thursday evening, Taylor and I attended (ready for a mouthful?) the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children "Summer Colors" art show and auction. Reasons why our night was both spectacular and super-cultured: I'm a former patient of the hospital, I was a featured artist at the show, and it was our first grown-up event to attend together.

Oh...and I got to introduce everyone to "my husband, Taylor." Aw!

Auction tables before guest arrival | Photo: Summer Colors

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Show me Your glory

So we're four days into our new apartment, which started off looking like this...

...and now looks a little bit more like this.

Never mind that my current to-do list has approximately 1,000+ projects on it, or that there are 99 boxes pushed against the wall/hiding from the camera's lens. For now, I must content myself with the knowledge that patches of floor are slowly but surely bursting through the covering of packing materials. Can't ask for much more than that.

Before I get too far into detailing our apartment overhaul, though, I'd like to introduce a new page: The Well. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

In with the new

I have a new name, a new husband, and a hundred new ideas. So obviously, it's time for a new blog home.

First things first: God is good! Look at this handsome man! He's my husband. What?

Last time I blogged consistently, I was living in the South of France and working as an au pair. I ate chocolate croissants, had an espresso break at 4 o'clock every day, captured artisanal markets with my camera, and visited places such as Paris, Switzerland, and Venice. That was cool and exciting. This whole marriage thing? It's in another league. 

Then, I would see a sunset and swallow all the things I had to say about it. Now, I see a sunset—or Mayan ruins in Mexico, or an episode of The Bachelorette—and I have someone to share it with. I have someone to share life with. I could not be more thankful.

Chichen Itza, our first of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World to see together.

Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.