Our Home at Christmas Time

I am cherishing the last few days of the holiday season before they are packed away in the attic till next November.  What better way to do that then to share our cozy little house all trimmed and decked for Christmas! Now you can imagine soaking in the glistening Christmas tree with a warm beverage in your hand too! Plus this way all of my family in Kansas (and everywhere else) who weren’t able to visit our home during the holidays will be able to see it in all it’s glory!

Will and I both LOVE Christmas – even if it isn’t quite as magical as it was when we were kids.  We both come from homes that thoroughly decorate and have a glistening tree in front of the windows.  We hang our stockings by the chimney with care and enjoy the scents of the season in the air.

First, there is the mantel.  The mantel is rather central in our home.  Here we not only put our home-made stockings, but also our Nativity Scene.  It is front and center in a spot where Izzy can’t mess with it and I won’t accidentally break it some how.

Christmas Decor 6

The mantel also has these really cool trees that I was lucky enough to win from Elizabeth at Oak + Oats (her blog is a love and joy filled light of Jesus).

Christmas Decor 1


Our Christmas goat from Will’s Scandinavian cousins is by our mantle as well.  It’s tradition in his family, and honestly, I think that goat is pretty cool! We have a miniature one on a shelf in the living room too; it’s adorable. Christmas Decor 7

I took this photo at night. Sorry it is not very good.

On to the star of the show– the Tree!  The tree is specially chosen and chopped down each year at an awesome local tree farm.  As you can tell… this year we NEARLY overestimated the height of our ceiling. lol.

This year we found a way to get it right in front of the window = )
This year we found a way to get it right in front of the window = )

One of my favorite things about our tree is this twine jingle bell garland that my mom made for us our first Christmas.

Christmas Decor 2
It’s subtle, but it adds the perfect rustic touch.

And this year I finally made a tree skirt to protect our floor from the sap!  It also makes the presents look that much prettier.

some of the presents under our tree.
some of the presents under our tree.

Some other new additions this year are the sign above the mantel and this little sign that made an appearance in our Christmas pictures.

I made that sign for our yard actually, but it just never quite made it there.  Sorry for the terrible photo quality; there's no lighting in that part of our house.
I made that sign for our yard actually, but it just never quite made it there.
Sorry for the terrible photo quality; there’s no lighting in that part of our house.

I made the wreath in the kitchen on our first Christmas. And the one on the front door I made from a wire clothes hanger and extra branches from the bottom of our Christmas tree this year.  Christmas Decor 8

I did not make that P.  It was a birthday present, that happened to go perfectly with my wreath!
I did not make that P. It was a birthday present, that happened to go perfectly with my wreath!

This table decoration is made from extra tree branches as well.

Christmas Decor 4

And lastly, one of my favorite things!!!

All these Christmas cards from our friends and family!  And look how perfectly they stretch across there – it’s the little things in life.

it did fit perfectly till that extra card appeared lol.
it did fit perfectly till that extra card appeared lol.

I will be sad to see all of this come down in a few days.  But tonight we have our second Christmas and celebrate with Will’s family so while we can, we will enjoy all the reminders of how much God loves us because He sent His Son and how much light and love He has filled our lives with.

Advent: Deck the Halls & DIY Wall Sign

On Monday I shared our Advent calendar.  One of the ways that we wanted to celebrate Jesus’ first coming was by decorating our home in remembrance that Jesus is preparing the perfect home for us to go to someday (John 14:2-3).


One of our family traditions is that Will’s our little sister Carrieli comes to stay with us for the weekend after Thanksgiving dinner.  During that time she usually helps us get a Christmas tree and decorate the house (while she and I watch Elf… because it’s a classic).

A family tradition that we have carried on from generations of my family is having a nativity scene.  Last year for Christmas my mother found the perfect one and began the operation of building our nativity scene piece by piece.  Last year she jump started us with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, crèche, lambs, and an angel. This year, as I was unpacking it, I discovered that she had hidden a new piece for us to include; a shepherd boy.


Nativity - Candle lit
the power went out briefly last night. I think it was a reminder from God to shed light on the subject that Christmas is all about. May we be lights like he was.

I wanted the nativity to be a focal point in our house at Christmas time – to help us remember Jesus above all the other holiday hustle and bustle. So, I decided to make a sign to hang above the Nativity/mantel.  I knew that I would like a star above the Nativity (you know… the Wisemen and all), but I also wanted a word to reflect the character of Jesus and direct us back to the roots of Christmas rather than the lights on the tree.   I landed on “LOVE” because the star could double as the “O”, and I preferred the length and meaning to JOY.

Mantel 2
the strange candle with a Chinese character on the far right, that’s the unity candle from our wedding.

Carrieli helped me make this sign for over the nativity.  She’s extremely talented at drawing so she freehanded the letters and the star with no problem at all!

This sign is all made out of…. Cardboard!  It’s light so it hangs easy.  It’s free when you use boxes from your recycling.  AND it’s much less effort than using wood.

Once everything was cut out I used a metallic silver acrylic craft paint on the letters and a gold-ish one on the pack part.


Christmas Wall Sign  (1)
the E is silver and the back board and side piece are gold.

Next, to assemble, I used a hot glue gun to glue 2” wide strips to the edges of the back board to make it pop out from the wall, adding depth.

a good look at the side
a good look at the side

Then I glued the letters into place.

Christmas Wall Sign  (2)
hooray! I didn’t misspell it!

Cut a little slit at the top for the picture hook to go through.

Christmas Wall Sign  (4)
I tried hanging it without the little slit, and the sign fell about every five minutes.

And voila!


Originally I was going to make this into a marquee sign like the “P” Carrieli and I made for Will’s office, BUT I decided I didn’t want to put that much effort into it this year.  Maybe next year I will go that extra mile.

While Carrieli was here we also went to the traditional tree farm – Barker’s Christmas Tree Farm (if you’re in the Lexington area… this is the place to go!), and by the grace of God, on a freezing evening, a picture perfect tree was first-row center.  Here are some pictures from that excursion.

I told them to act like they like each other and this is what I got.  Lol.
I told them to act like they like each other and this is what I got. Lol.

Tree Farm (4)

this year he has the beard to be a lumberjack.
this year he has the beard to be a lumberjack.
Every year they take your picture with your tree; then the next year you can find it printed for you to take home.
Every year they take your picture with your tree; then the next year you can find it printed for you to take home.

Happy Hour Friday – Will’s Office Reveal

You know Will, the Hubster, (if you don’t read about him here).  He’s a hard working guy, one of the most generous, selfless men that I have ever met.  Sure he’s particular and quirky, but he also has strong character and a higher perspective on life.  I could go on and on with the list of commendations, but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about Will’s new office!  It was my surprise gift to him as a reward for all his hard work.

here is, hard at work in his new office.

We are only renting right now.  We have thought about buying a house, but the time just isn’t right.  Nor have we seen anything we’re crazy about.  Honestly, we like the idea of building a house… if you’re going to spend the money, get what you want, right?  All that rabbit trail was supposed to say is that our home isn’t really ours.  And honestly, sometimes it didn’t really feel like it was ours, hand-me-down, hodge podge little honeymooner bungalow that it is.  We put a fair bit of effort into it when we first moved in, but not much since then.

Before-ish:  Right after we replaced the bed with the futon

Before: Will's old, squeaky twin bed.   It "doubled" as a couch/Izzy's perch while Will was on the Computer

Before - The desk that was left here

Now, 2 years later, I decided that it was time to give Hubster his own space.  A room that reflected him, where he could work and relax.  You know that feeling when you have a space, and it just feels like it has your DNA woven into it?  That’s what I wanted for him.  He deserves it.

Now, if you have read any of Will’s posts about budgeting then you probably are wondering how I did this as a surprise.  Well, when we bought the futon a few weeks prior Will told me he was fine with using some of our savings for putting a little effort into our home (furniture & décor) to begin investing in things that we like, we want, and we will keep with us.  So…. I took that as permission to redo his office.

My original intention was to post tutorials on all the little DIY elements first, BUT I just can’t wait any longer to share this office with the world!   I have already waited a month.  But you can find tutorials on the bookshelf, the Marquee Letter, and the curtains on the projects page. =)

For Will’s office I really wanted something baseball themed because he has a lot of Cincinnati Reds/baseball paraphernalia (there’s still more that isn’t being used yet).  The problem with a baseball theme is that I didn’t want it to seem like a little boy’s room or some meat-head baseball jock room (nothing against jocks – I still am one).  I did a lot of thinking, happened to receive two pallets from my neighbors, and saw this coffee bar on a blog I follow.   Those things all got the wheels spinning and brought me to envisioning this room.

Emma letting out her inner hoodlum, and spray painting the heck out of random odds and ends I collected.

Will's Office  (6)

the painting process.  and yes we had to leave everything in there so he wouldn't see it in the morning when he stopped by the house.

I can’t take all the credit by any means!  I had a ton of help from my sister, my little sister Carrieli, and my good friend Emma.  Without them I would still be working on this room, and probably have had about 7 mental breakdowns.

The other confession I have is that I did have to kick Will out of the house for a night… and I still didn’t quite finish even with Emma being over till am, so he had to finish building his own desk…. BUT it got done! AND HE LOVES IT!

Replaced the bookshelf and made this cool wall display:

the bookshelf is made from crates that I got with coupons from Michael's, and the Chain link on the wall is from a coworker.  It was rusty so Emma spray painted it with Chrome Rustoleum Spray Paint.

Recovered the futon to go with the new room and because Izzy was getting the black too dirty.

I recovered the futon with a massive drop cloth.  It matches the curtains.

made new curtains that stick with the new brighter colors in here to play up the natural lighting that pours into this room.  Also made them floor to ceiling to help the room feel bigger.

there are the curtains =)

Here’s the redone filing cabinet that I added because I knew he really wanted one and before he was using milk crates to house our papers.

Emma did excellent work on this piece! Look how shiny those chrome drawers are@

I actually got this little gem for free from someone who had extra.  It was originally a weird grey color, but I wanted to use it to contribute to the scheme of the room and be another pop of color, so Emma painted it for me while I painted the walls.

Some other items from around the room:

that was originally a cheapo, black plastic organizer.  Awe the magic of Chrome Spray Paint.

the Bobble heads, UK newspaper clipping, and our mini Louisville sluggers =)

Some pictures from his old room before we got married and the collages of all of our baseball adventures so far that I made him for his birthday.

And finally, the desk!

These next few are of the desk.  The pallets were free, the ductile iron plumbing pipe leg was expensive, and the desk top boards were pretty cheap!

Dara and I came up with the design for the Desk, and Will made it work.

it's the details that matter.  we put little boards in the pallet to create a recessed shelf for office supplies.

would you believe the desk top and the pallets are stained with the same stain?!

DIY Drop Striped Cloth Curtains

Something I learned on my latest DIY bender is that drop cloths can truly be your best friend.  They are cheap and the material is pretty decent quality!

Now back it up about 2 years, when Will and I first got married I stumbled across the idea of drop cloth curtains.  It went on the list of things to implement someday.  I hadn’t had the opportunity yet, but when I was planning Will’s office redo I knew that it was the PERFECT time.  The texture and color of the material were perfect for the scheme I had chosen.

Originally the office only had these little valances I had made one afternoon with the cheapest red fabric I could find a JoAnn’s.  I had planned on keeping them, but decided against it.  I did not want to chop the room off or make it dark… part of the reason I was redoing it was because it was chopped and dark.  BUT I did use those valances to choose the right color of paint for the curtains (yes. You read that right. We’ll get there), and they ended up being repurposed into tie backs (props to Emma).

see the lovely red tie backs behind Hubster there!  Good work Emma!

I did a lot of reading on drop cloth curtains…. In the end, it didn’t really change my plans at all.  But I will say this, if you plan on washing your curtains, or you want them to be super good quality then I would suggest buying fabric medium to mix with your paint.  I was on time and budget constraints so I skipped that step because I decided I didn’t mind if the paint cracked whenever I wash the curtains in the future.


  • Drop cloths (I used two 6’x9’ drop cloths)
  • Painters Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • Paint
  • Fabric Medium (Optional – see previous paragraph)
  • Paint Brush
  • Sewing Supplies

How to Make the Curtains:

First, wash and dry them.  This really softens up the material and makes it more workable and attractive. Plus, they DO SHRINK… and they don’t do so uniformly.

Sew them how you want them.  I did this last, but in hindsight I would do it first as the sewing machine isn’t fond of going through the painted areas.  As I mention I used two 6’x9’ drop cloths.  There are only two windows in the office and they are both pretty narrow.  The 6’ wide cloths were big enough for me to cut in half and then have two curtains on each window.

Emma past on some wisdom to me and told me When you sew the top (assuming you aren’t doing grommets, tabs, or some other cute idea) be sure to leave some extra room at the top.  I don’t know how to describe what I am talking about so here’s a picture of it.  I have made curtains without at that little “ruffle” before, and Emma is right – they do not hang/lay as well.

The part that sticks up at the top is what I am referring to.  Mine is about 2" tall.

Once they are sewn, decide where and how big you want your stripes and begin the taping process.

the measuring process.

ready to begin.

If you are going to use fabric medium be sure to mix it into your paint.

this is the paint that I used.  I opted for a small can of interior paint rather than a dozen little bottles of craft paint given the amount i needed and the durability I wanted.

When painting your curtains, I found that it was best to either put the tip of my brush on the tape and brush into the stripe area or just dab along the edge.  Too much pushing against the edge of your tape lends to the paint bleeding out aka…. Not crisp lines.

Let them dry.

part of the way there

Here they are hanging to dry.

Hang them up and enjoy your hard work!

you can see one of them here.  It's hard to get a picture of them with my cell phone because of the back lighting from the window =(

I have another drop cloth project to share as well.  I will give you a hint, it’s in that last picture.

Enjoy your weekend! Go try something new!


DIY Marquee Letter

Continuing with the affordable, DIY projects that I started with the Crate Bookshelf a couple of weeks ago, today, this is also a cheap and easy DIY.

I had been seeing these marquee letters ALL OVER on pinterest. I first saw one around Christmas time and knew instantly it was one of the projects I pin that I actually was going to make sure happened.

The letter P was the obvious choice.

Before I tell you how to make this happen for yourself I have to give a shout out to my little sister Carrieli and my good friend Emma who did the majority of the work on this eye-catching letter.  I skimmed several different tutorials to see how people made their’s, and found out there was a wide range as far as quality & price goes.  Some people made very sturdy, time and money consuming letters from wood and outdoor lights. Me on the other hand being on a time and money crunch decided to go the cardboard and Christmas lights route. Before this Marquee P Will’s office had this lamp…. he loved(s) that lamp. But now it’s hiding in the attic. I will give him props for his taste in the lamp stand, but not the lamp shade.  It was olive green and khaki gingham. Not attractive and definitely did not match the office.  Will happens to be an ambient lighting sort of guy anyway, so I knew this Marquee P was the perfect solution – cool lamp relocated until a better looking lamp shade materializes, AND hubster still gets his ambient lighting.

Some mood lighting right above his desk.

What you Need:

  • a large piece of cardboard (I took mine from a paper box)
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Scissors or Xacto knife
  • Hot Glue
  • Spray paint
  • White Christmas lights.
  • paper clips or twisty ties

Here’s how to make assemble it:

  1. Draw out your letter.  This is where Carrieli helped me.  She is very gifted.  Draws us pictures at Christmas and handmakes cards all of the time.  I would had to redraw this letter about 5 times, but Carrieli drew it up in one quick try.  This one is about 18 inches tall.
  2. Cut it out.  the base letter and then measure and cut out the strips that make it three-dimensional. My edge pieces stick out 2 inches.
  3. Glue on the edge pieces.  Marquee Letter (2) sorry for the blurriness.  It's hard to hold the camera still while gluing things together.
  4. Paint it.  Emma handled the painting and the light bulb placement.Before Emma Painted It
  5. Count how many lights you need to fit into the letter and then make the appropriate number of holes, evenly spaced around the letter.  Since we had a lot of small lights Emma did two rows of lightbulbs sticking through.
  6. Use paper clips or twisty-ties to hold all of the extra cord together behind the letter, so it doesn’t show anywhere and you have a clean, professional looking marquee letter. there it is!  2 rows of lights poking through and none of the excess cord showing.
  7. Ta Duh!  It’s not very heavy so you can use the clusters of cords on the back side to hang the letter up.  Ours has an extension cord running to it so that we can easily plug it in.

this is what it looks like not lit up.  Still awesome!

Marquee Letter (1) Marquee Letter (9)

DIY Crate Bookshelf

I am going to be posting some inexpensive, easy projects that you can do to spiff up a space over the next few days!

20140720_170453 (2)

Before I begin, let me just say that I am sorry I get so excited about projects that I forget to take step by step photos and, in this case, before and after photos.

When it comes to décor, I am honestly not sure what label to put on Will and I’s style.  The important thing I do know is that we both like distressed cabinets.  So someday when we are turning a house into our dream home I know we will be buying or DIYing some distressed cabinets for the kitchen.  I have to start somewhere, right? Lol.

Currently our home décor style is a hodgepodge of handy-me-downs and gifts.   Seriously.  If it is in our house (up until this last weekend) then  it was either a wedding gift, a wedding decoration, a hand-me-down, something borrowed long-term, or the coffee table that we made for ourselves almost two years ago.

Our coffee table with the coffee filter flowers I made.

So going off of that knowledge, I suppose that our style at the moment is crate furniture.  There’s enough of that stuff floating around Pinterest for it to be its own genre.  A genre that we really like because crates are pretty cheap and you can make paint them, stain them, add designs, stack them, cover them, and build them into something cool that fits your needs – like this bookshelf!


We want to keep the old book shelf that was in the office.  It is a decent bookshelf that Will brought with him into our marriage.  It’s just that it did not match anything else in the spare room (not that much in there did match as it was just full of spares).  Plus the spare room was always on the darker side, and I wanted to brighten it up a bit.

Here’s the old bookshelf.  Sorry for the terrible photo.  It is a cropped portion of the only picture I could find that even had the old bookshelf in it.



Stay tuned for some other projects that I have had going on, and at the end of it, the whole picture put together!  To make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff over the next couple of weeks you can subscribe to the blog. Either subscribe via the box below our picture on the left side, OR just click the link in the yellow banner at the top of the page.

Step 1) Gather your supplies.

As for how to make this bad boy.  First you will need to gather your supplies:

  • The crates,
  • finish of your choice,
  • and a brush for applying it.

Yep, that’s it!  You could get some 1”x4” to make a frame for extra support and stability, but I did not go that far because I was not sure if I was going to need to add to the bookshelf or not.  Plus, hubster is better at those things, and this was kind of a surprise for him.

You can find the crates at Michaels and larger JoAnn’s stores (heads up, the one in Lexington does not carry them last I checked).  Also, I just saw a bunch of these on sale at Home Depot the other day as well. The base price for them is about $13 each.  BUT Michaels always has coupons on their app, and they accept competitors coupons so if you have a coupon for JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby. I usually have at least a 40% off coupon so I get each crate for around $9 after it’s all said and done.

Step 2) Finishing

I used Minwax Golden Pecan (bought it at Home Depot of course).  I applied it with a standard paintbrush.  You don’t want to apply it heavily because you will end up with runs and drips all over.

I find that it is best and quickest if you start with crate setting on its side as these are in the bookshelf.  Stain the top, and then stain the bottom, back, and sides of the inside.  Carefully turn the crate around and stain the back and then the outside of the two side pieces (the solid pieces with the handles).  If it is dry enough you can flip it over and stain the two sections that you are missing, if not just begin staining your next crate and come back to it.

I applied a second coat of stain to the outside of the crates.  That wood had been sanded more smoothly and looked much lighter than the inside after the first coat.

Step 3) Assemble

I didn’t opt to put any cool logos or transfers onto this bookshelf.  I just wanted something simple.  But that depends on your space.  Depending on your space and storage needs you might opt to have the crates standing up so that they are tall rather than wide.  Or you might want a mix of both directions.  Originally I had wanted to make the book shelf look like our coffee table, but on its side.   However, I did not trust myself to put it together so Will got this simple arrangement instead.

Step 4) Fill and Enjoy!

Fill ‘er up and be proud of yourself!  You just made an awesome, unique, inexpensive bookshelf all on your own!


Also, only 6 days till our two year anniversary!


what is a project that you are really wanting to tackle at the moment?

Coffee Filter Flower Bouquet

I really love flowers.  I wish that I had a constant supply of flowers to pick and arrange.  They just make a house so much cheerier.  But my yard is not a secret garden bursting (into life) with luscious blooms growing from and on everything. Nor do I have it in the budget to buy a bouquet on a weekly basis (although we plan to slowly build our indoor orchid garden).  My solution to the situation was to try my hand at some very simply coffee filter flowers that I have seen floating around pinterest.

Here is a picture of the ones I was trying to imitate:

These seemed attainable for me.

Here is how mine turned out:

so I made significantly fewer of them.  but I was taking it easy my first whack at this.

all done and arranged.

If you would have told me three years ago that I could make these I probably would not have believed you.  I have never, and still don’t consider myself to be a very crafty person.  I can think up cool things, but my mom was always the one who made them happen.  But when youmake everything yourself for your wedding and have a newlywed/graduate school student budget to use for decorating your house you start getting practice at being crafty.

So again, I am not a crafty person; I am just practicing at being crafty.

Here’s how I made these pretties.


First I looked at a lot of tutorials from pinterest.  I wanted to see as many ways to do this as possible and decide which ones I had the time for and which ones I thought I could actually pull off.  From there I figured out how I could make this work with things I had on hand.

What you need:

  • Coffee Filters  (I used about 50 which made 8 flowers)
  • Paint (I think that some Food Coloring or Dye would work great too)
  • Scissors
  • Staples
  • Tape
  • Containers for dying them in
  • A place to dry them
  1. In a container that is wide enough to dip your coffee filers in (mine were folded in half) mix water and paint till you reach your desired color.  I added some of the gold colored paint to the purple to give it a more natural, earthy tint.  For the brown I had initially tried tea, but it wasn’t dark enough. Coffee Filter Flowers (12)
  2. Dip your coffee filters in the paint and swish them a little to get them fully saturated. Ididabouthalfintherosecoloredmixtureandhalf in the brown (actually I saved a few fromthebrownhalf to be plain white, but I still got them wet in water to insure that they would have the same texture as the rest). Coffee Filter Flowers (14)
  3. After I had them all dipped, I took them outside and hung them on the clothes line to dry.Coffee Filter Flowers (15) Coffee Filter Flowers (16)
  4. Here’s the video tutorial that I followed to assemble the flowers. It’s from two shades of pink.   Two Shades of Pink’s Tutorial
  5. Once they are dry fold them in half and then in have again so you have a triangle.  Then trim the edges so that they have scalloped edges. This DOES NOT need to be perfect (which is why I can do it!)  I trimmed half to be nearly full size and trimmed about an inch off the other half.
  6. Once you have scalloped the edges stack three full sized ones and then put three smaller ones on top of them.
  7. From the bottom pinch them together in the center to form a nice gather.  Staple the gather to hold it in place.
  8. Using one hand to hold on to the pinched underside, use the other hand to go layer by layer crumpling, gathering, bunching, fluffing, puckering…. Whatever you need to do to arrange the “petals” how you want them.
  9. Once they look like flowers tape around the underside where you had been holding it to help hold the flower together.
  10. For mine I chose to hot glue twigs into the flowers to use as stems so that I could put them in this awesome glass jar…… that may or may not have come from one of our neighbor’s trash. Before they were trimmed and arranged
  11. Trim the stems and arrange just like you would real flowers and ta da! Here they are arranged and in our front room.  we have a twig decorating theme going if you cant tell.... but I love it!

    see they are so perfect!

And here are a bunch of pictures because I am really proud of how these turned out!

Coffee Filter Flowers (22) Coffee Filter Flowers (21) Coffee Filter Flowers (5) Coffee Filter Flowers (7) Coffee Filter Flowers (2) Coffee Filter Flowers (4) Coffee Filter Flowers (1)

What’s a project that you really want to try?

Mothers’ Day Insperation – Vintage Sign

I have to confess that I am generally one of those people who doesn’t think about cards and presents for birthdays, anniversaries, fathers’ day, and mothers’ day.  But this year, since my parents were coming to town for Easter I decided to take my chances and give my mom her birthday present a few weeks early while she was here in person.

So if you are like I normally am then you probably know that Mothers’s Day is only a week  away so you have to act fast.  Or if you are more on top of celebrations than I am then you can tuck this idea away for next year, a birthday, or just because.

there it is, the finished project.

I made my mom a sign for Mothers’ Day.  I wanted to give her something that could be a daily reminder for her of what her children think of her since Will and I are here in KY and my sister is in Cali.  We might not be there everyday, but this sign can.

The verse on it is Proverbs 31:28.

I made a sign for one of my friends as a wedding present last year, but I haven’t made too many signs in the meantime.  I was in a hurry when working on this, so I don’t have too many photos of the process.  But I will do my best to walk you through the process.

You will need:

  • a piece of wood (this sign is made from a 1″ x 4″)
  • Stain or paint for the underneath
  • White paint for the white wash
  • a pencil
  • a sharpie
  • a couple of nails
  • some picture hanging wire, or something else to hang it with.

First, I lightly painted the wood brown for my mom’s sign, but here’s a picture of this first step after I did it with watered down black stain.  Mother's Day Sign


Then I white wash over that with watered down white paint.  Once I get to my desired color then I hand the project over to Will for a bit so that he can cut the wood down to size for me.

white washed and being assembled.

Will uses 2 small nails per board.  What you can’t see is that on the back side, there are 2 small pieces of wood running perpendicularly along the length of the sign to hold it all together.

Once the sign is assembled it’s time to put the words on it.  My free-hand is not very good so I Print out the words I want in the font that I want.  More instructions on that here.  Once I have them penciled on I fill them in with a sharpie.  You can use paint, but the sharpie is so much easier and honestly looks just as good.

I have only ever used a fine point sharpie.  I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

The silver words I did paint.

I made this sign in the matter of about 20 minutes a night for two nights plus about 20 minutes of Will’s time.  It’s really not difficult, and most of the time you spend making it is waiting for all the paint to dry.

All that’s left to do is give it to your mom!

To: Moms From: Your Little Easter Bunnies


If you have any other good Mothers’ Day ideas, please share them.  Maybe I can be extra prepared for next year!

<3 & Prayers,


Our Homemade Coffee Table

First let me say that I really enjoy decorating my own house.  I think it is fun and a challenge to tackle, and I love a good challenge (Must be why I married Will… JK. He is the best ever, in the whole world. Since we met in China I am qualified to say that). Anyway, as our marriage, and consequently our move-in date were impending we began brainstorming about what we wanted our house to look like.  And we both really like a more vintage style.  We stumbled on this awesome coffee table that would go really well in our small house on Pinterest, and fell in love.  Our hearts were set on making it.

If you like it and live with in a couple hours of Lexington, we will make one for you!  Just leave a comment.

Yes, You will have to pay, but you will get an inexpensive and unique coffee table!

This was the pin that caught our eyes.

We shopped around and found that the best deal on unfinished apple crates is at JoAnn Fabrics.  Then we waited till my mom had 40% off AND a 50% off coupons.  We got each crate for about $7.  Total I would say that we spent $50 on our coffee table. That is a really cheap coffee table!

Will’s Updated Instructions (9 January, 2014):

First of all, I have to apologize for not updating this sooner.  This blog is supposed to be a team effort and I fail miserably at that… other than supplying Devra with my hubster seal of approval on the delicious food she makes.

Without further ado, updated instructions:

So here is everything that we bought/everything you will need

  • 4 crates (can be bought at Michaels or Walmart) – I would not pay more than $10 per crate…
  • Stain or paint (whatever finish you decide to use)
  • Wood screws, 1.25” long
  • Wood screws, 1.5” or 2″long
  • 2 – 8’ 2×4 boards
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
Here are 3 of the 4 crates all stained.

Now for how we made our own awesome coffee table:

Step 1- Stain everything before you put it together.

There are a lot of areas that will be very difficult to stain if you don’t just go ahead and stain the entire crate at the beginning.   I would suggest taking a scrap piece of wood and practice applying stain to it to see what it will look like.  You may have to re-apply the stain for a 2nd coat if you desire a deeper color.

Devra typically handles the staining of the crates, so here is what she has to say about how we did ours:

There are so many cool ways to use tea and steel wool and such to use for awesome vintage looking wood. BUT we didn’t use any of those cool ways, because we wanted to have a black coffee table to match the rest of the furniture in our living room.  So what I did was BARELY BARELY BARELY, let me say it again BARELY dipped the tip of the brush in stain and try to stretch it as far on the wood as possible.  Then I had an extra brush that was dry and would stroke back in the opposite way I had stained to get off excess stain.

Here are my staining tools.
Just typical stain, one brush for staining and one for wiping off the extra.
I tried to stain the crates as lightly as possible to get the vintage look we both like.

Step 2- Arrange the Crates

Arrange the crates so that they form a square.  This will leave an open space in the middle.  At this point, I would drill 3 holes in the crate and mount each crate to one another by putting a screw (the 1.5 or 2 inch screws) into each drilled holes (use the screwdriver for this) so that the table takes on its shape.  See the picture below, which shows where to drill the holes.


these plans were made using Google Sketch up.
these plans were made using Google Sketch up.

Step 3- The Base

The base is what has changed the most since we have made several of these now.  Originally, the base was made of 1×4 that were mounted together with an L-bracket.  The 1×4’s split repeatedly when I tried doing it that way, so I have switched to a 2”x4” base.

To know how long to cut the 2×4 boards, measure each the side of the arranged (and screwed together) crates.  Just measure one side and make the cuts.  I prefer to cut my boards at 45 degree angles on the end so that you cannot see and of the rough 2×4 ends.  It should look something like this:

....Can you tell Will is an engineer?  lol.
….Can you tell Will is an engineer? lol.
This picture was taken before we started making the angled corners, but it still gives you an idea.

Step 4 Fasten the base to the crates

Do this by placing screws through the crate side strips into the 2×4 base frame.  Try to get 3 screws per side.

Coffee Table 1

Step 5- *OPTIONAL*

You will notice that there is not much support for the middle of the table, but this should not be an issue unless you plan to stand on the table (which I would not suggest in the first place!).  If you wish, the support issue can be addressed by adding wood supports to the base frame.  You will need to make a couple more 45 degree cuts to do this.

Step 6- Now there is a hole left down the center of your coffee table.  Your options are:

  • Start growing a tree in there and feel very green and proud of yourself.
  • Use it as a secret hiding place by leaving the hole vacant and covering the opening with something with something like.
  • Just cover the opening with something because you are tired of working on it and you just want to enjoy your coffee table (that’s what we did).
  • Put some brackets on the inside, and then cut a piece of wood to slip down inside making it into a little “shelf” or just giving you a flat and complete top.
  • Or leave it empty and put a sheet of glass over top of the coffee table to give you an even/solid surface without taking away from the appearance of the crates.

Step 7- attach wheels or legs to the bottom of the frame if you are so inclined. We have felt on the bottom of ours to protect the wood floors.

Step 8- Put the coffee table in its place and enjoy it!

Here it is! Our coffee table in our living room =)

For us it is perfect!  It maintains the balance of modern and vintage in our front room, is small enough for our space, it is low enough that it doesn’t get in our line of vision when watching TV, and it is the perfect storage space for all our DVD’s and TV series.  =)

We have had our table for over a year now, and it is holding up wonderfully!  Also, we made one for a friend and it survived their cross-country move.  So it might be inexpensive, but it seems to be pretty sturdy so far.   I hope all the updates help!

Homemade Porch Sign

My longest-standing friend got married last month.  Her name is Vicky, and I have known her since I was in the 8th or 9th grade.  There are a few years between us and for the majority of our friendship there has been at least a few miles between us as well.  Despite those obstacles Vicky has always been one of deepest friendships.  Even if I haven’t seen her in 9 months, I can still open my heart up and pour out to her the things way beneath the surface, and the same is true for her.

That being said, when it was her turn to tie the knot, I knew that I couldn’t just give her a rolling-pin or some cookie cutter gift.  Cookie cutter doesn’t express my value of our friendship, because it has never been cookie cutter.  Instead I decided to make her a sign with her soon to be last name on it.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do for it!  I had seen some pretty cool stuff floating around the internet about how to transfer pictures to wood with Mod Podge.  So I gave it a go.

I did a practice round on some scrap wood with a picture of Will and I; it turned out so good it now graces our table. =)

I know it's blurry, but you can see the cool one I made out of scrap wood blocks of Will and I.
I know it’s blurry, but you can see the cool one I made out of scrap wood blocks of Will and I.

Materials you need

  • Paint (optional)
  • Sharpie (if you’re going to be writing anything)
  • Pencil (if you’re going to be writing anything)
  • Access to a printer
  • A picture
  • A piece of wood
  • Mod Podge

20130609_161801 (1)

What you do

  1. First things first, pick out the picture that you want and print it off on regular computer paper.  I have used black and white pictures and sepia tone pictures.  I do not know what the results will be with full color pictures.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

    Here the text is when I reprinted it, and in a bolder font too because I think that will show up better.
    Here the text is when I reprinted it, and in a bolder font too because I think that will show up better.
  2. Now that you have your picture chosen and printed you want to glue it printed side down to the wood with the mod podge.  Make sure you press it down really well and flatten out any bumps. Now you want to let that dry completely.
    I keep forgetting I don't have any more of those little sponge brushes, so for now I do my arts and crafts kindergarten style.
    I keep forgetting I don’t have any more of those little sponge brushes, so for now I do my arts and crafts kindergarten style.

    place the picture, printed side down once covered in mod podge.
    place the picture, printed side down once covered in mod podge.
  3. While the picture was drying I was busy figuring out what I font I wanted to use for their last name and so forth and printing those out.  I also painted the sign a little.  I know, it doesn’t really look like it, BUT I did.  I used a paint the color of a frappuccino, and I did so very thin.  Just wanted it to have some uniform color. If you are doing this with text like I am endeavoring to for this next sign I am making then make sure you remember to have it print out mirrored, because I nearly made a sign that would have come out backwards!
  4. Once the pictures were dry I would get a sponge or my fingers wet and begin dampening the paper so that is would rub off.  If you are having a hard time visualizing that, here is the link to a pretty good tutorial: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/try-this-print-your-family-pho-160008. You should be left with a very vintage looking picture and no paper.

    See the paper is coming right off!
    See the paper is coming right off!
  5. Once the pictures were de-papered, I began working on the text portion of the sign.  I had already printed off the words that I wanted to use.  I didn’t want to have to mess with a bunch of cutting and messy paint.  So what I did instead was scribble on the back side of the words with pencil so they were covered in the lead.  Then I placed them word side up where I wanted them and traced around the letters, this made the lead on the back lightly transfer onto the wood. Here is a good tutorial on this: http://homespunhappenings-tammy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/i-made-sign.html
  6. Once all of my words were outlined it was time to color them in.  All I had was an ultra fine point sharpie…. Two words: Hand Cramp!  Slowly, and precisely I filled in all the letters.  The Sharpie actually worked better than paint because it looked old and worn rather than thick and new.
  7. Ideally at this point you would affix something to the back to hang it by.
  8. Now put your sign somewhere where everyone (yourself included) can gawk at your awesome handiwork!
Here is the one that I made for Vicky as a wedding present.  Turned out pretty good, no?
Here is the one that I made for Vicky as a wedding present. Turned out pretty good, no?