I wouldn’t have it any other way…

My husband and I celebrated 19 years of marriage last week!

I’ve almost been married longer than I’ve been single! (Yes, I was a baby when we got married!)

During that time we’ve battled through 10 years of infertility, 7 big moves, 5 kids in 5 years, 11 surgeries and hospital stays, deaths, tough jobs, finishing our education while trying to raise a family and loads of other things that I thought would never happen!

I’m so lucky I’ve gotten to go through it all with my best friend.

Marriage is tough, and I can see why people avoid it, but going through all of that has made me stronger. And going through all that with my best friend has made us stronger.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our Holiday Home Tour

This Christmas season has just flown by and I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Just wanted to share some of the Christmas decor we’ve done in our new home this year!

This garland is from a company called Grandin Road. I wanted some texture in the garland so I added some eucalyptus sprays and sparkly sprays.

I made the Merry Christmas blocks 3 years ago with my sweet sis-in-law! The other side says “Happy Halloween”.

Most of the ornaments on our tree are handmade. But we also have a bunch of fun white pieces we’ve picked up over the years. I built the tree crate last year, and love using it to hide the cables and tree stand.

I also built the star this year!

The high cupboard above the oven is a little difficult to reach so it stays empty. I think it’s only purpose is to hang a wreath.

This tablecloth was an old curtain that I found in the discount section of At Home a few years ago. Confession: I can’t remember why, but one year I cut a square out of it… but if I fold it just right, it works as a table runner and you can’t even tell!

Several years ago I was really into quilting. I had a lot of fun making the Santa Clause wall hanging and this felt like a good spot for it.

We’ve had this nativity for 16 years and I’ve always struggled with finding a good spot for it until now! It finally has a home on the table behind the couch.

My sweet grandmother made that little throw blanket about 11 years ago for my son’s birth. Confession: I haven’t told him that it’s his because I’m afraid he’ll want to keep it on his bed, and I really like it here!

This is one of the views when you walk in our front door. This shot was really tough to get! The wall color pulls a lot of yellow. Im still working on my photography skills.

This Room is designed to be the formal dining room. But my hubby was adamant that it should be the piano room. I’m glad I listened to him because this is a nice spot for music. Confession: I find myself playing the piano in here more and more often when I should be cleaning and wrapping presents.

I gave the front porch some flea market-style Christmas love, but had to bring it all back in when it started raining. A white rug on the front porch was a terrible idea as well, but it was fun for the picture!

The master bedroom has become the wrapping station. Right now it’s filled with boxes and tape and paper!

The girls bedroom is very dark and long. It’s tough to get a good photo. All of the kids have mentioned they don’t like how dark the bedrooms are, so I plan on painting sometime next year. Can you spot the real life in these pics?!

Last night one of my girls said, “So is this our home now?” I laughed so much, but I kind of understand. We’ve moved 5 times in the last 10 years and the idea of staying here long term still hasn’t sunk in! This feels like a nice resting spot that we’ll leave in a few months. I have to keep telling myself that this is real!

Thanks for taking this little tour with me! You’re always welcome to come for some hot chocolate and games!

Wishing you a wonderful, safe Christmas and a Happy New Year!

With You…

My husband and I have been pretty transient in our  marriage and have moved consistently every 2-3 years for work. For a girl who lived within a 2 mile radius her whole life, moving that much was tough for me!

The first move took us away from all our family, then another move left us renting our home out while we lived 800 miles away from it! The most difficult move happened when when the twins were only 3 weeks out of NICU!
After a while, I began feeling like putting down roots would never happen, and it was easy to get frustrated about being so transient. I spent more time than I care to admit, crying about how often we move, about leaving houses I fell in love with, and about not knowing where my kids would attend high school.

We’ve been here for 3 years now, and true to form, my husband’s company has been talking about where they want to send us! First it was Florida, then Arizona, then Tennessee, then Colorado, then Arizona again. And all the while I wanted to get closer to our extended family, or just stay here! It was an emotional roller coaster!  It was 6 months of being excited about one place only to have it pulled out from us again!

Then two months ago, I was walking through Hobby Lobby and passed a sign that had this saying:

With You I Am Home!

Those words touched me, and I began crying right there in the store! It was as if a million thoughts spoke to me at once and it made me realize what is really important.

The location of our house, whether we rent or buy, the decor, the schools, and even how long we live there just isn’t what’s really and truly important.

It’s who I live with that counts.

My home is about my family. The bond and connection I create with my husband and my children are far more important than the location of my home. If everything I owned was gone tomorrow and we lived in a box, we’d be home because we’d be together. It’s my family that truly matters.
I should’ve bought the sign right there, but my little DIY mind thought I could make my own and do it better! I found the wood at Lowes, painted it white and hand painted the letters.

I gave it to my hubby as a Father’s Day gift to show him that I’m willing to go wherever his work takes us. That I’m done crying over our transient lifestyle, and that the location of my home isn’t the most important thing.

These words remind me that it doesn’t matter if I live in a house for 2 years or 10 years.  As long as I’m with my husband and my family, I will be home.

Is it too much? 

I’ve been enjoying my little hobby business. I love watching the equity in my company grow. The profits are minimal, but growing nonetheless, and I love being busy during the day. Furthermore, the projects I’m working on are challenging and exciting and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish something.

I’ve been running this little business now for 10 months, and it’s just barely starting to get noticed. I actually have clients calling me for consultations and, my little dreams are coming true!
But now that school is out, my kids are home every day. And everything is changing. I’ve never wanted this business to interfere with my family life or take away from them at all.
But looking forward at the business opportunities that I have, the clients that I could take, and the projects I could do, I’m realizing how quickly this could turn into a full-time job. What’s more, a full time job that doesn’t pay very well! We’re not going to retire on painted furniture! Haha!

So when is it too much? How can I still maintain a teeny tiny business and be a stay at home mom at the same time?

The other growing pain I’m having is that I really need my own shop. I’m currently painting in our tiny study, and doing projects in the garage. Since neither of us want to park on the driveway, I have to set up and take down my projects the same day. That’s wasting a lot of time! You should see me pulling furniture around the house on towels!
And the final challenge I face is the weather. With temperatures hitting the 100’s and high humidity percentages, the weather is no good for painting, especially spray painting.
Someone one said, “Let your challenges be external, not internal.” I have to remind myself of that every time I think these challenges are some kind of sign. They are not!

I know I’ve been lead in the right direction. I know I will find the answers I need!
So I’ve decided to take a break through summer. I’m booking clients in September. I’m going to work on these business struggles, and enjoy my children!

Mo’s Kitchen – Part 2 – Alcoves

Part 2 of Mo’s kitchen transformation involves alcoves and architecture shelving. 
MO’s kitchen has an architectural shelf that runs a square around the room. Painting those areas were a little tricky, so it’s a good thing I’m little. 

Mo has been stressing about how to decorate those shelves for years, and asked me what I thought she should put up there. 

My advice was to take it all down and allow the alcoves to be architectural features! 

Design Tip: Having a lot of decor on top of cupboards or high alcoves can make the ceilings appear lower, causing the room to feel smaller. Furthermore, small items placed above the eye level can create a cluttered feeling. If you do decide to put something up high, choose one or two large statement pieces to create interest and avoid clutter. 

Mo was understandably surprised at this suggestion, and I totally get it! We are so trained to believe that every shelf needs something on it. Many homes designed in the 90’s incorporated architectural shelving for decorative items, training us to believe that we were required to place items there.
But it’s not true! Leaving a few blank shelves or placing just a few favorite items can create a clean, uncluttered, peaceful feeling. 

Try it for yourself:

1. Remove every item off just one shelf. Leave it alone and let it breath a bit. 

2. Now place just one or two of your very most favorite items on the shelf. 

The shelf is now highlighting something you love! As if it’s whole purpose is to showcase your favorite piece! 

How does that feel? 

It was a relief for Mo! I watched her whole body language just relax as she realized she didn’t have to decorate up on her shelf! 

We took all of her decor items down, and the room instantly felt larger. 

We placed a suitcase and plant on one shelf to trick the eye into thinking that the sheetrock continues past the beam, but that is all that we put on the shelving. 

Now the eye is drawn upward toward the gorgeous ceiling and MO’s kitchen feels clean and uncluttered! 

Master Bedroom Sneak Peek

If any of you are part of the 30-day Winter Cleaning Challenge group on Facebook, you’ll know we’ve been busy organizing and deep cleaning our homes. 

Last week I worked so hard on my master bedroom that I just had to share a few pics! 


I found our bed on Craigslist and refinished it. (See earlier post.) The lamps are also a Craigslist find. We bought the nightstands and bench 16 years ago after purchasing our first home. The curtains are from IKEA. The wall medallion is from At Home. The bedding is an assortment from Pottery Barn, Bed Bath and Beyond and Target. 


I love old windows! I found this one for $10 at a flea market in McKinney. The candlestick was found at a consignment store, and I’ve had the glass vase forever. The boxwood greenery was a gift from my sweet friend B. Miss her to death!! 


It cracks me up that we have a giant TV in our bedroom… but it is what it is. I’ve tried to decorate around it with these yard sale find candlesticks and flea market find greenery. 

About 4 years ago we realized that we needed more bedroom storage. I scanned Craigslist for   5 months until I found the matching dresser to our bedroom set! It came with a mirror that attaches to the dresser… but why put the mirror up, when the TV shows so much more?  

You can also see the corner of my walnut wood jewelry cabinet. It was a sweet surprise gift from my hubby 3 years ago and I love it. But I think he was hoping that eventually I’d agree to dark furniture in our bedroom, and that we’d be replacing all the furniture soon. That began our ongoing Bedroom Furniture Banter. I’d like to paint everything white, and he’d like to buy all new dark wood furniture! We haven’t found a happy compromise yet but we’ll get there!

Thanks for taking a sneak peak at my bedroom today!! 

Ribbon Wreath Tutorial

My front door burlap wreath turned yellow! Not sure how it happened, because it didn’t sun fade into a nice taupe, it went all harvest gold on me!
So it was time for a new wreath! 

Laura Anne’s is a vintage boutique in Canton, TX that has stolen my heart. If I could live there I would! Last year I fell in love with this ribbon that she sells for $24/roll. 

The thrifty girl in me, decided to wait and try to find it somewhere else. 

I never did.  It’s manufactured by d. stevens and they only sell to wholesalers. 

So I waited and dreamed about it… and imagine my excitement when it went on sale for $12?! 

Some of you were there with me when I did my little happy dance!! 

After a few months of trying to decide what to do with the ribbon, I settled on a wreath. 


I love how vintage, shabby and old it looks!! 

Here’s how I made this simple wreath:

Supplies:


1. Wired form wreath. (I used an 18″ form, but any size will work!) 

2. Ribbon

3. Any embellishments you want to add! 


My ribbon was 4″ wide and 15′ long. You’ll want at least that amount depending how full you want the wreath to look. 

You can play around with wired vs. non-wired ribbon to get different looks. Mine was wired and it helped make the poofs stand out and stay out. 


Start by unrolling all the ribbon. 

Find the middle of the ribbon and start weaving it through the form wires.


Pull it all the way through to the middle of the ribbon. It’s easier if you work through the wreath in halves to minimize wear and tear on the ribbon.

Leaving the ribbon loose or pulled out in sections allows you to create a little poof. Lots of poofs next to each other creates the look we’re going for. 


Continue weaving back and forth through the wires creating lots of poofs, and work your way through the wreath form. 

This is where you can be creative and make your poofs as big or small as you want. Occasionally pull the weaved ribbon closer together to decide how full or sparse you want it to be. 

If you run out of ribbon (like I did) you can either add more, or go back and make your poofs smaller weaving and adjusting the ribbon through the form.

When you come to the end of the ribbon, tuck the end into one of the poofs. 

Now you can go through and adjust averything to make sure the wire form isn’t showing. 

Next you can add embellishments

I found a wooden letter at a flea market and used some burlap ribbon to hang it from the wire form. Easy! 



Seriously, anyone can make one of these! It’s so easy and can be made with ribbon, burlap strips or any old vintage fabric! You can dress it up with flowers greenery, bows or whatever your creative self wanted! 

I’m leaving mine simple like this for now to show off my new favorite ribbon.

Let me know if you try it and if this tutorial helps! 

Weekend Design Trip

Last month I got to take a little time off from my full-time mom job, to travel to meet with designers and business owners. The design world has so many facets, and I’m still trying to figure out where I want to take my business. My hubby was amazing and sent me off to learn on a kid-free trip.

First I headed up to Utah to see my mom on her birthday. Can I just say how wonderful my mom is? I’m always trying to capture a little speck of her kindness, and I’m so lucky to be her friend! We celebrated her birthday with a trip to the temple, puzzles, and parties! We played around with some of her decor as well and put together this vignette over her piano:

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Since I only had one day in Utah, we packed it full!  We visited with boutique owners, bloggers and interior designers. I asked loads of questions, and my mind is full of information!

We also squeezed in a trip to a thrift store where I located some furniture for my mom and some chairs for my sister! Check out this table I found for their grouping by the fire:

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They needed a table to put books, plates and items on while they relax in one of their favorite spots! I found this little $15 gem at the thrift store, and fell in love with it’s clean lines and the castors on the legs.

Don’t you love my mom’s eclectic, shabby, neutral style? By combining industrial, vintage and even mid-century, she’s created comfortable spaces filled with pieces she loves, and it all works to create a soothing, relaxing home!

This is where I get to stay when I visit! So cozy!

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The next morning I caught a 6am flight and headed to Phoenix. A good friend picked me up and we went for a hike. It’s been ages since I’ve been anywhere “elevated”, so I was thrilled to get to do a real hike to Squaw Peak in Phoenix. Check out the view! I’m so inspired by this color scheme!

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In Phoenix I met with friends, spoke with 3 interior designers and spent hours discussing business strategies with an old college friend who owned a staging business.

By the end of my trip, I was mentally exhausted! There was so much information bouncing around in my head, and with all the late nights, hiking, and running around, I was dead tired!

I was also crazy homesick for my own family! I’m sorry if I was in your town, and didn’t get to visit with you! I’ll be honest… I was a wreck! When I get tired, I cry like a baby! It’s not pretty. The hours before my flight found me sitting in a parking lot bawling my eyes out! So tired! I’m laughing about it now… but at the time, I just wanted to be home.

To make matters worse, my flight kept getting delayed… and then finally got cancelled, and the small airline I was flying wouldn’t do anything to help me out. I had to scramble to find a different flight on a different airline… get a hotel room by the airport… shuttles back and forth… rental car… more crying… spending more money on the flight home than all my previous flights put together… sigh…

But I finally made it home, and by that time, I was so thrilled to see my family! It felt as if I’d been gone for months… not days!

All things considered, this design trip was good. I was able to take a few moments for deep introspection, and difficult growth. I’m still not sure how to put it all together and create a business… but I’m working on it, and feel a few steps closer.

 

 

Toilet paper storage

I totally stole this idea from my incredible sister-in-law, McKinsie! (If I could steal all her ideas, I would!!) 

I’ve been searching for ages for a cabinet to hide the toilet paper in, but everything I tried was too bulky for the small space.

Then I saw the idea to put TP in a basket when I was at McKinsie’s and fell in love!

I found my wire basket at Hobby Lobby and filled her up with a giant Costco size pack of TP!


Since the basket is low, it doesn’t overcrowd the room, and it’s an easy way for me to see when we’re running low! 

Love me an easy solution to a tricky problem! 

Pillows make a difference!

I’ve been trying to update my piano room/living room lately. It’s a slow work in progress but I wanted to share how I updated the pillows on the sofa.

We’ve had these couches for 15 years, and they’ve held up well, but I’ve never thought they were comfortable enough. Changing the pillows was my last resort before I tossed them out. 

Before:


I’m wondering if all the little throw pillows were preventing us from using the couch. Also, it just wasn’t comfortable! The back cushions smash down, and you’re constantly having to adjust when you sit there. Really, I was ready to sell the couches. 

But first I tried this:


All of these pillows are from Target.

But my hubby didn’t like the big white pillows. I argued that we needed white on the couch… because… well,  you know how I feel about white… 

So we tried this:


We kept just the large blue striped pillows and used IKEA pillow covers to recover the old  sea-foam green pillows! 

Boom! 

Hightening the back pillows, made the couch more comfortable! 

Suddenly this space is getting used, and I keep finding my kids gravitating to this spot…  This is also where I’m  currently sitting and writing this post.  Pillows really do make a difference!