virtually madeover >> front door


My parents have a new house (retirement!!) in Arkansas, and I've been attempting to use my love for decor to come up with ideas for their new home.

I've often thought that virtual makeovers would eliminate lots of DIY mistakes, but how to do them is the kicker. Layla is awesome at this, but me? I know a few Photoshop tricks, but that's just about it.

Insert this tutorial!! I was able to view all of the videos for free and learned how to do a virtual room makeover! So, without further ado...

... a virtual front door makeover! 

Currently the door is a light aubergine/mauvish color. No offense to the previous owners, but YUCK.

Using my fancy new *skillz* I've madeover the door in several new colors - keeping in mind the client, wink, wink. This was the easiest one to do, and thus the first reveal.

(Oh, and the chartreuse is a joke.)

I'm liking the blue (top left) and the green (middle right) the best. What's your fav?

You'll be seeing more of this as a fun little series as I take the time to virtually makeover several rooms in their new home - mostly so they can get an idea of the things they like, don't like, etc. and so I can have a visual with some of my ideas. Ya know, because some ideas are better left in my head. ;-)


DIY rustic phone cabinet


Kitchen update is complete!! (See previous posts here, here, here and here.)

My last project in the kitchen is complete. After several weeks of "in progress" because of my lack of a table saw, I finished my rustic phone cabinet.

This idea was the answer to a clutter problem.

Do you have a spot where stuff always seems to accumulate without a second thought? Ugh. Our microwave is a magnet for clutter and I hate looking at it. With our tiny kitchen layout, every time we need to move the dishwasher to hook it up to the sink, we have to move the phone off and on and off ...

So, I thought, why not build a small cupboard to house the phone, cover the ugly phone jack (see the pic below) and clear up some of the visible clutter?

I had a source for rustic 1x4s, so I figured they would work perfectly as the phone base is right around 4" wide. So when my Dad brought his miter saw to help with a couple of projects, I got several weathered boards, and we went to work.

Very quickly, I realized that said 1x4s were indeed NOT 1" or 4" wide. I should've known this, but wasn't thinking...

My dad did some math and said he would have to rip some boards length wise in order to make the depth of the cabinet wide enough to house the phone. But the table saw is at his house, so it would be a few weeks before I got to work on the cabinet again.

Once I obtained my newly cut pieces, I started putting them together.

I used all of the free items items I could:
3 - 1"x4" fence boards
2 old hinges and screws from this project
reused turquoise knob
1" finish nails and 1" wood screws that I had on hand

I purchased:
1 magnetic hinge kit
4-pack L-shaped brackets
2" screws and 1/2" screws (for attaching brackets)

= about $6-7

 Here is a view from the inside.

- I used the small pieces of wood (extra from the ripping job) to piece together the corners and then two of the longer extras to put the door slats together.
- The left set of L-brackets are screwed into studs and the other two are just screwed into the drywall for a little stabilization. I was going to put them in with plastic anchors, but ran into some sort of duct that made it impossible to screw anything into. (de ga je!)
- The door hinges and magnetic closure are pretty self explanatory. :-)

Aren't the weathered variations so pretty?

I know my dishwasher/microwave combo isn't much to look at, but the pic gives some perspective on the cabinet. Doesn't this little nook look so much cleaner?

I have to admit - even with this "fix" the microwave is still a magnet for stuff, but at least it's not home to those things anymore.

Woot for a finished room!

bedroom decor update


So, I've done a little bedroom updating and haven't completed it -- but I decided to show you the "in progress" view anyway. Because, who knows how long it would take me to finish!? As always, feel free to offer any suggestions you have.

Here we are a few months ago ... my snowflake banner was still up, so it must've been wintry out. Our bedspread is looking a little faded (weird lighter spots - from the sun?) and when I painted the walls brown, all of a sudden it was like ...


Not good.

My sweet friend visiting from California gave me a few moments of our precious time together to give me some suggestions on the room. We flipped the bedspread over and rearranged the pillows a bit.

Last week I scored a cream tailored bedskirt at a discount store, and reupholstered the headboard in dropcloth fabric.

The headboard definitely pops against the darker wall and I like that I can play a little bit more with the pillow colors - now I'm not limited to gold, tan, brown and blue.

I would love to eventually get a new bedspread and totally change up the colors, but this is what I chose (curtains + bedspread were wedding gifts) and I am determined to make the best of it for now.

Next on my list is making some hanging pendant lights to free up bedside stand space...

Maybe something industrial like these?


Or upcycling something vintage and turn it into a pendant light? I'll let you know when I come up with it. It may be a couple of years, but it will be done.


shop update {7.25.14}


The boy section in my shop has always been smaller than the girl section. There are just naturally many more cute vintage dresses to be found that than little man stuffs. To make things more complicated, the good boy items also tend to go the fastest in the shop!

Chronic vintage boy clothing issues, friends.

I headed out last week and picked up a couple of items. Three pieces from the same place are quite a find!! So they've been added to bulk up the boy section ... that is, until they sell out ...

Check them out over at the shop!

lions, tigers, and baby birds ... oh my!


This little guy has been hanging around our front porch lately ... and his Mama in the tree directly above. Watch out below!! (Jeremy's story in his own words after the photo.)

"I experienced a first today. Me and {Ladybug} were watching a sweet little baby blue jay outside, still having some of its baby down on it, and it was learning to fly. Sure enough, mama blue jay came around, squacked like mad, dove right for me, and planted her beak right in my head. Needless to say, me and {Ladybug} went to the swings pretty quick as mama took another dive for us, but missed. True story."

It was true. I saw the evidence when I came home.

:-) Happy Friday! On vacation for the next week ... see ya soon!

inspired shelves (yet unfinished)


I've never really loved this living room shelf.

I loved the idea of it ... but it turned out pretty underwhelming considering the space.

So, when my FIL was in town for a few days during graduation this month, I twisted his arm and had him help me hang new shelves. I took the two brackets from the previous shelf and stole the other two from the girl's room and used Mandi's inspiration to hang these shelves.

The only thing I did differently was use regular screws for the studs and machine screws (plus hex nuts) for the shelves because the holes were a lot smaller in my brackets than the ones she used.

I've been trying to decide where to use this corbel from my in-laws 100+ year old farm house when it struck me -- looks like an "S"! Why not use it as a monogram? It adds some dramatic height that I love.

I'm going with a bit of a green theme to bring in some color as well as a little purple and yellow ... to bring out the fun colors in my vintage curtains. Love this little ceramic bird from the hobby store, compliments of my sis and bro-in-law. (Gotta love gift cards!)

So, here's my dilemma. I love asymmetry, but I think that the shelves need some balance. All along, I have been planning to put something in the space below, but I can't decide what. 

Any ideas? Here are a few things I've considered.

String art.

Vintage arrow or arrow marqee (except they are $$$!)


Or a DIY reclaimed wood arrow?


Or a framed photo? Or...? Any other ideas I'm missing? I need your help filling this space!

Last question: if you look back at the photo of the shelves, is there too much "fluff" going on? (i.e. the feathers on the left, the faux branches on the right, and the spikey plant on the bottom?) Should I use a different texture? If so, what?

new shop items *may*


(This is technically a June dated post, but I did get the shop updated in May after everything settled down and I got down to business. :-) Shop update: check!

Look at these fun items!!

See the shop for more views of these awesome finds! (And thanks to my finder, Sarah, for the shoes. This time around we're splitting the profits, but I totally think that's fair for her incredible skill! Business in community - let's do it!)

candy anniversary


We celebrated 6 years last weekend.

Every year we use a traditional gift list to come up with a variation of fun (sometimes big, sometimes small) gifts or themes. This year was CANDY. I wasn't overly excited because I just consumed 4 bags of jelly beans over Easter and I was feeling candied out.

I mentioned this idea to my friend, Sarah, and she suggested Christopher Elbow chocolates. (She also suggested the restaurant we thoroughly enjoyed last year. She's a keeper.) 

"Say who?"

An artisanal chocolatier based out of Kansas City? Expertly flavored and carefully chosen chocolates?

A candy anniversary is sounding better all the time. :-) 

We came away with flavors like Bananas Foster, Coffee, Venezuelan Spice, Strawberry Balsamic, Lemon (x2 for {Ladybug}), Lavender Caramel and the like. There were a few flavors only available at the store, so I went for those too. Aren't they pretty?

Highly recommend this KC treat!! :-)

new kitchen color


I had a problem in my kitchen. (I have many other kitchen problems, just ask my husband about the chickens.) This one didn't have to do with food, though. After about 5 years of yellow in my kitchen, the walls had seen better days. Chair scrapes, paint peeling, stains ... you get the picture.

Brilliant idea #1 
"I'll go get the same paint at the hardware store."

Um, no. After 5 years, the paint colors change.

Brilliant idea #2
"Color match!"

No chipping pieces I could conveniently pull to color match.

Brilliant (and final) idea #3

So, I did, with a gallon of free paint from the county paint drop-off (you can get rid of old paint there or get some "new" for free!). And I love the new look!



Sorry for the radio silence. April/May has been full ...

"what?! I have a blog?"

"Oh yeah."


I have been working on a few projects and am half-way with most of them, but I decided that I could solicit your advice and post a mid-way then final reveal. So, more on that next week.


We celebrated graduation 10 days ago. Wahooo!!!

A couple of highlights:

1) Both sets of parents were in town to celebrate graduation (!)
2) I got a little break from parenting while grandparents enjoyed the girl (and she slept really well).
3) Jeremy is done with school!!!

A couple of lows:

1) I had to catch a ride to H&M down the street for a cheap pair of shoes halfway through graduation Sunday because the heels I tried to wear were killing my feet. KILLING. *fail*
2) There was a little bit too much eating + sitting + eating + more sitting for my taste.

Regardless, I am so proud of my husband!! (And, to be honest, us as a family.) After 5 years of plodding methodically through grad school, paying our way as we went, through a difficult pregnancy, financial stressors, job loss and lots of other little things, we are through!! He worked extremely hard for his magna cum laude status and his hood is now proof of his degree and determination.

We are currently breathing sighs of relief and enjoying the thought of being able to spend time together watching movies, playing games, hanging out with friends, going on bike rides, and spontaneously doing whatever else we feel like because there is no homework hanging over his (our?) head. We all feel a little lighter.


Acting Globally (and why I'm messed up)


When you live in a rich county in the middle of America, with your friends, church and little family in a nice little home ... it's quite convenient to disappear into lifeassuch and forget.

For me, it doesn't happen very often. But sometimes, I forget what I've seen, who I know, and my responsibility as a global citizen. 


James 2:14-17 (NLT, emphasis mine)
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, "Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well" -- but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

I believe this more a result of an inability to act - in truth, I am stuck. I literally have contemplated this for months: what do I, a wife and mother in suburbia with fairly small resources, do to care for the wider world?

My perspective has been broadened, my heart opened to the things of the world, I cannot return to my previous bliss. There are faces I cannot and will not forget. I also cannot return to life in the third world. I am literally stuck between worlds. I feel the duality.

It has me messed up. (And I'm glad.)

I've accepted that after living in a third world county, I will struggle with these issues for the rest of my life. (Joking with a friend, I mentioned that since I have mini life-crises every few months, maybe I will avoid the big mid-life crisis?)

But I've felt ready to act. Yet I have been unable to find any outlet to satisfy this desire.

So sometimes it's just easier to "forget" and get caught up in daily life. I am supposed to be present here and now. Right?

But, as healthy as living in the present is, something in my life is missing. There is a disconnect between my thoughts and actions. Do I just resign myself to feeling this way? Or do I work to resolve it in some way?

I feel an enormous yearning to "make my feelings, actions and life congruent" (Voluntary Simplicity, p. 36).

This article (written by an ex-pat too!) takes the "think globally, act locally" to a different place - and a perspective I really like - think and act locally.

Yes, please. I love the idea of supporting local economy, small business and keeping revenue in the community. It's amazing to make friends with your neighbors at the farm, the post office, coffee shop, and antique stores. But, for me, it's not enough.

When I came across "think globally, act locally" in my reading about simplicity, all I wanted to do was think AND act globally. But how?

(Am I missing the point? Am I trying too hard? Can I think and act locally and globally or am I out of my mind?)

What do you think? How do you act globally?



Lent is coming to a close, Easter is almost here.

There have been years past that Easter Sunday coming was anticipated. Lent was celebrated well, thing sacrificed - the joy of "Sunday comin'" was a reality.

After college, things shifted. Some rather significant health issues, less structure to my schedule and then marriage and motherhood has quite altered my spiritual life. Partly in a good way, but what I once viewed as spiritual "discipline" is almost non-existent.

In a way, I'm okay with the life changes and adapting to my present. I adore attending my family and love my sweet, always-on-the-move child.

This Lent, I committed to a prayer time each day and I have failed. Sometimes unintentionally forgotten, sometimes completely selfishly chose my time rather than sacrificing it for a few precious, quiet moments with Him.

I confess.

It is not easy for me. It's also not easy for my disciplined, hard-working, type A personality to admit to what I see as failure.

And, again this year, my heart is unprepared for Easter.

LORD, have mercy on me, a sinner. 

(For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Phil 2:13)