The Beast

This armoire is a beast. Not only is it huge and heavy, it had some serious problems when I first got it. I was going to do a whole Beauty & the Beast analogy, but this transformation became so much more than that.

This armoire taught me lessons about how faith can move mountains.

I spent months searching for some storage options for the craft room, and decided this Pennsylvania Dutch piece from the FB marketplace had all of the storage space I needed.

But I felt buyer’s remorse the minute after I paid for it. The door hinges were stripped and falling off, and I underestimated just how huge and heavy it was. It took two trips and every ounce of muscle we had to bring it home. It barely fit in our garage, and I had to constantly nudge it a few inches so I could squeeze around to work on it. And the whole time I was worried about hanging those stupid doors.

My husband suggested not putting any work into the armoire until I could get the hinges right… but I knew once the doors were hung, they’d break or fall off when we moved the beast into the house. Based on the size of this thing, I also knew that once it was moved inside, we’d never move it out again. I was feeling so much remorse, that I almost put it on the curb, and I was stuck wondering if I should even move forward.

But then I heard President Russel M. Nelson say that one way to use faith, is to ACT in faith, so I pushed forward.

And after a lot of prayers, and tears, and research, FaceTime sessions with my dad for advice, an injured arm, painting set backs, 4 different kinds of hinge fails, a wallpaper fail, and a 2-hour move job by my amazing men, the Beast was painted and in the room!

Sigh… I’m still tired thinking about it!

But through it all, I learned a few new things about hinges. I learned how to repair stripped holes, and I learned about just how much my hubby and boys love me.

I learned that it’s often the journey of moving forward that makes our faith grow the most. The affirmation of our faith comes after the struggle.

And maybe there still is a Beauty and the Beast Analogy here too…. after all, Belle had to move forward not knowing the outcome, as well!

So if you’re struggling and not sure how to move forward or what choice to make, my advice is to begin.



Go for it.

President Nelson said, “Your growing faith in Him will move mountains — not the mountains of rock that beautify the earth — but the mountains of misery in your lives… Your flourishing faith will help you turn challenges into unparalleled growth and opportunity.”

I’m so pleased with how this beast transformed. The doors still aren’t perfect, but they’re close enough. And through it all, I truly saw faith move this mountain.

Worth It

A sweet friend and I decided to trade this old nightstand for her vintage bench.

My friend wanted the nightstand to be navy blue with gold handles, and I got to work sanding and painting the piece, but every time I thought about putting those dated, tarnished, mirrored brass handles back on the piece, I was filled with dread!

Since we had no budget for new hardware,

I did some Internet research and found Bar Keepers Friend (BKF), which works wonders on many things, so I picked some up and started scrubbing.

One handle was particularly tarnished and after a great deal of scrubbing, I realized there was a gorgeous brass metal underneath! It almost looked like brushed gold! It was beautiful!

I was stuck with a dilemma. The BKF had cleaned up most of the tarnish, and the handles would be acceptable the way they were… but if I wanted a real transformation and uncover the shiny brass, I would have to put the work in and scrub all 10 handles.

As I sat pondering on what to do, the piece spoke to me.

“The hard work will be worth it!”

Yes, it would take a while, ruin my manicure and be a pain, but it would be worth it in the end.

Several hours later I had 10 shiny brushed gold handles and the piece looked amazing!

I couldn’t help but find a parallel to our lives in these handles.

As we journey through life, we become tarnished with sin, heartache and pain. It’s easy to leave the tarnish there thinking it doesn’t matter, but if we’re not careful it can ruin us.

It can be tempting to think that the tarnish is too much, that we should toss it out, and try to make something else work; but we can’t forget there there is something beautiful still there. Underneath our pain is a shiny, beautiful soul.

A soul that is worth it.

And putting in the effort and the work to repent, forgive and find that beauty again is always worth it.

But we can’t do it alone.

Phillipians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.”

Through the atonement, Christ takes our tarnished lives and makes them shiny again, because we are worth it. It takes work on our part, and it’s not easy to repent, to forgive ourselves and others and to move forward, but it’s worth it, because we are worth it.

Just like these handles gave this nightstand new life, if we put the work in, no matter how long it takes, through the healing power of the Savior, we can find peace and uncover the beauty that is in all of us.

Repurpose an Old TV Armoire 

It’s so easy to look at a piece of furniture that was designed for one thing and not be able to see another purpose for it. Take the TV armoire for example. Back when we all had big box TV’s, this piece of furniture was incredibly popular because you could load your TV and VCR combo player, and stack all the boxy movies on the shelves or drawers, and close the doors to hide it all! So now that technology has given us the ever expanding flat screen TV, entertainment centers have become buffet-type cabinets meant to go under the flat screen. 

And now there’s a surprising surplus of old TV armoires! I’m not kidding! Run to your local thrift store and see for yourself!

There’s actually quite a lot you can do with an old TV armoire! At their core, they are pieces of furniture designed to be a storage solution. And with a little creativity, they still can be! 

I have two old TV armoires! We purchased one for the TV in our bedroom years ago, and I use it now for blankets, sheets and table linens! It sits here as a decorative piece in my living room! 

My 2nd armoire was given to me by a dear friend who needed it gone! I was thrilled! I’m using it for my office station to store all of the binders, books, bills and school paperwork that tends to clutter my counters. I also keep our laptop and charging dock there. In fact the holes in the back of the armoire create an excellent place to hide the charging cables! 


The piece was originally black, and it has a fun story:

When my friend’s home flooded a few years ago, this piece sat in 4” of water. It’s MDF legs swelled up and the paint cracked off. The insurance appraiser said it couldn’t be fixed, and he’s right. There is no good way to repair MDF. Since the legs are still structurally sound, I painted and distressed the area. It’s unoticeable with it’s coat of new white paint. 

To create more organized storage, I found crates at IKEA and used them to create some shelving. 

The paper organizer is from Target and there is one for each child’s school papers. When I have more time I may build legitimate shelves for this spot, but this is working great for now. I cut a board to go on top of the crates to create another shelf! All of this new shelving hides the cardboard backing piece that has a large hole in it. Eventually, I’ll attach a new piece of thin plywood there and cover it with wallpaper. 

Here’s another brilliant idea: my friend installed a rod at the top of this armoire so she could use this piece to hang all of her table cloths. Just think, with a curtain rod in an old TV armoire, the piece could be used as a true closet for clothes! 

My favorite part about armoires is that they provide a beautiful way to hide the mass quantities of stuff we have! We have a lot of people in our home, and there’s just a lot of stuff that goes along with it ! I absolutely love being able to close these doors and hide the clutter. 

Your turn to share! What ideas have you seen for old armoires? 

My Self Reliance Journey

I’ve felt prompted to share this experience for a long time, but my fear of judgement has held me back. I’m sharing it here now to quench the nagging feelings I’ve had, and hope you can read it with an open mind!

I’d like to share my self-reliance experience and how it strengthened my relationship with the Savior.

At the beginning of this year I set a goal that I wanted to learn more about how I could involve the Savior in my life, but I wasn’t sure about how to do that. In February I was sitting in Sacrament meeting and really listening the prayers and the phrase, “That they do always remember Him” really jumped out at me and I realized that was an area that I could improve on!

On a good day, I’d wake up, read my scriptures and say a prayer, but then the minute I started my to-do list I’d forget the Savior. And unless something bad happened that day where I felt like I needed to pray for help, I wouldn’t think about Him at all. I felt like something was missing in my life, but I didn’t know how to fix it.

One of the things that may have been keeping me from “always remembering Him” was my small business. A few months earlier I started a decorating business, and while the work was exciting, it lacked focus, and to be honest, was completely unprofitable. I had even been praying for guidance of if I should even be continuing the business.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and they’ve just begun developing a new Self-Reliance Program. It’s a 12-week course that has 4-10 hours of weekly homework, and there are 4 different courses for people to choose: Starting and Growing my Business, Personal Finances, Find a Better Job, and Education for Better Work.

When I first heard about the Self Reliance Initiative, I secretly wanted to join, but feeling guilty about how much time my business was taking me away from my family, I just dismissed it and didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to attend.

A few weeks later a member of my bishopric contacted me. He said as they were praying about who they should ask to attend, my name kept coming up. I felt it was a tender mercy from the Lord, and the first of many times over the next 12 weeks that I would have confirmation that the Lord was aware of me.

Through promptings from the Holy Ghost, I signed up for the “Starting and Growing my Business” course, and one of the first things we learned was that that Spiritual and the temporal are one in the eyes of God. D&C 29:34 says, “Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things are Spiritual unto God.”

That really resonated with me. “All” is a pretty encompassing word! And I thought, if God cares about all things, both spiritual and temporal, big and small then surely he would care about my teeny-tiny business. And surely I could call upon him for help with my business!

I began learning about consecrating my business to the Lord, and what partnering with the Savior could mean for my business. As I began to ask God for help, I began to receive inspiration! In the 2nd week of the course I received inspiration that business needed to be incredibly simple, and I began focusing my efforts just on furniture refinishing. I prayed over everything. The big things like what my business name should be, and the small things like how to repair a broken dresser drawer.

I did all of the homework even when it was scary, or didn’t seem to apply to me, and that opened doors professionally for me that never would’ve happened had I not been keeping those commitments. And as I relied on the Lord, I received personal guidance and direction, I was able to avoid pitfalls, guided to specific clients, and my business began to grow!

Not only did my business begin to grow, my faith was also strengthened. I began to pray over everything in my personal life. Rather than waking up and asking for help to “have a good day”, I began to pray for help prioritizing my to-do list so that I could be more productive and find ways to help others. I prayed over things like how to best clean the grout out of my tile floor, and what meal to make for my family for dinner. I prayed for inspiration on helping my kids with a homework assignment, and even for help to clean up a paint spill.

And I began to receive answers!

Answers that I know wouldn’t have come had I not been asking, and listening!

Dallin H. Oaks said, “Self Reliance is not believing that you can do or obtain anything you set your mind to. Rather, it is believing that through the grace, or enabling power of Jesus Christ, and your own effort you can do or obtain all of the spiritual and temporal needs of this life that you require for yourselves and for your family. Self Reliance is evidence of your trust in God’s power to move mountains in your life and the strength to triumph over trials and afflictions.”

I know I’m still a long ways away from being able to “always remember Him”, but I do know that I need him every hour. And I also know that as I pray over everything in my life, that small and the big, I will receive guidance and will be just a little closer to being able to “always remember Him.”

I know that God lives, and that He loves us more than we understand. He wants us to be happy! He wants us to succeed! He wants to bless us!

I know that when we put our trust in him and rely on his will, have faith, work hard, and keep his commandments, we will be blessed and He will move mountains in our lives!

Mo’s Kitchen – Part 4 – The Shelf

I’ve been especially excited to share the story behind the old door to shelf project as part of Mo’s kitchen transformation! 
First off, I have to introduce these two: 

I wouldn’t be anywhere without them! 

I inherited the love of projects and working with my hands from my dad; and I got the love of thrifting, passion for decor, and DIY prowess from my mom. I also hope I inherited a teeny tiny portion of her incredible style! Their encouragement and support has always strengthened me throughout all my adventures, and I’m so grateful I get to be their daughter!! 

And now for the story! 

13 years ago, my sis-in-law gave me this old, wooden door that she found in her garage! 

I dreamed about converting it to a shelf or headboard for a while, but I have to admit, it lost it’s thrill as time passed. And then about 10 years ago, we moved, and in a giant purge I decided not to take the old door with me. Instead, I gave it to Mo, along with all of my dreams of ways it could be transformed.

Well the years went on, and through no fault of anyone’s, nothing ever happened with the door. And it was almost forgotten. 

And then last February, Mo and I started talking about her kitchen. She expressed her desire for a great kitchen that was painted and redecorated, and I began to get a vision of what she wanted! The very first thing I thought about, was to finally take that door and turn it into a shelf to place over her table.

During this past summer trip, I went to her house, took the door and rummaged through her old wood pile. I found some great barn wood planks that would work perfectly as the shelf. That night my dad and I stayed up way past midnight and put together this beauty!

I absolutely love how it turned out! It fits Mo’s fun style perfectly and looks incredible! The fact that I got to work on this project with my dad makes me love it even more! He taught me so many valuable skills during the project, and I loved watching his precision as he took time to measure twice and cut once to create the shelf!  

Ultimately, it is the love of my parents that put this shelf together. My mom encouraging us to never ignore the old, and to try new things; and my dad’s patience, know-how and excitement about projects! Even on late nights! 

I’m so glad it now has a place on my sister’s wall, watching over her and her family. I also hope that it will stand as a little a reminder of the love of our parents! 

The Layers Chair

This little antique chair has stolen my heart. Not because it’s ticking stripe fabric makes me weak in the knees…

It’s because of the layers.

The chair had been left on the curb for the trash, and I could easily see why. It smelled horrific, and was so dirty that it turned my fingers black when I picked it up.

However, the instant I touched this chair I knew it was special. The old wood, and flathead screws indicated age, and I was excited to think about it’s possibilities.

The easiest way to reupholster furniture, is to cover over the existing fabric. Lots of people do it, because it’s fast and it works. I considered that option, but with this chair being so dirty, I knew it had to be taken back to the frame. Back to the core.

The deconstruction was like walking back through time as I revealed 5 different layers, the original being a hand woven fabric, covering horsehair that was caked in dirt. I’ve never seen so much dirt on a piece of furniture! And judging from the rusted tacks holding it together, my best guess was that this was built sometime in the late 1800’s.

To think that all these years, people just kept covering up the dirt and grime, never knowing what they were sitting on.

Here’s a picture of the layers:

So this got me thinking about life.

Sometimes it’s easier to cover up my own problems, insecurities, and mistakes rather than fix them.  But the more I do that, the worse the problem gets. It’s easy to add a new layer that looks good, but it doesn’t hide the fact that I’m hurting inside. The dirt is still there.

Sometimes I need to just get back to the basics. Back to my core.

To root out the problems and become centered again.

I’ve even been in situations where I’ve felt that the dirt was so bad that I wasn’t worth it.  That I too should be left out on the curb. But when I’ve made a change, eradicated the problem and gone back to my core, I was rebuilt.

Getting back to our core isn’t easy… For example, deconstructing that chair took 3 hours! That’s a long time for one little seat! It was difficult and disgusting!

But possible!

I knew that the chair would look amazing when it was redone. I knew that the hard work would be worth it.

We are the same way.

Hope is real!

Change is possible!

Life, love and faith will pull us through! Just like this chair was rebuilt, we can uncover our own layers, become centered again, and rebuild.

And if we do, our new self will be stronger and more beautiful than before! A self free from dirt, heartache and pain. We will become an individual with a powerful story, and amazing history! And just like this chair, we will be stronger, and ready to face a new beautiful future, free from layers.