5 Favorite Posts of 2013

It's almost 2014! Can you believe it?!

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this humble blog and following along on our home renovation journey. Sometimes I wonder if I should continue blogging (life gets busy, and it's definitely hard work), but then one of you will leave a sweet, encouraging comment and I'll remember how nice it is to have an online community of fellow home-lovers.

It's always a great reminder of how far we've come when I look back on the year and pick out my favorite blog posts. This year was a big one for us. We became landlords by renting out our first home and bought a new house in a neighboring city. We've been busy with home projects ever since!

One of my very favorite projects of the year was this simple thrift store light makeover. I found this giant brass entry hall lantern at my local thrift store for $15. A coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint later, it's the shining star of the formal dining room in our new house!

That lighting project was simple, but this next one was not.  Remember that time my husband became a professional carpenter and created custom built-in closets for us? That's right, you can learn absolutely everything from YouTube! He knocked this one out of the park and taught himself how to do some pretty complicated stuff in the process.

And then there was the laundry room makeover. What seemed like a quick and easy weekend project turned into the gift that kept on giving. Despite the fact that I completely underestimated how much work we would have to do in this room, I am completely in love with the finished product. It's a tie between the striped tile and the dog silhouettes for my favorite features. 

Before we moved from our old house, we completed a simple project that was a long time coming– dog fence windows. I can't believe we waited so long to give them their own puppy peepholes! It felt like a shame to move so quickly after that, but luckily our tenants have a dog who is enjoying watching the neighborhood now.

Our den makeover has taken place over several different blog posts during the past few months because was such a big project. Check out this before and after photo I took after Thanksgiving when we replaced the yucky carpet with tile. Quite a difference, right?

It's hard to believe we've already done so much work on this house, but we have plenty left to do. We've got big plans in 2014 for the kitchen, both bathrooms, the backyard... Should be fun!

Thanks for hanging with me this year. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement. Here's to more fun in 2014!

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Masculine Baby Boy Nursery

One of my dear friends is having a baby boy soon, so I decided to whip up a little design board for her as she plans out the nursery. She told me what she already had for the room (crib, dresser, rug, navy bedding, beige walls), so I went from there!


I tried to put together a design that wasn't overly "baby." If you're looking for a slightly more sophisticated nursery that can grow with your baby, I think it works well to substitute a mature color, like navy, for a more traditional color like baby blue. A neutral color scheme with the beige and navy allows accent colors like orange, red and turquoise to really pop.

I love that Raskog kitchen cart from Ikea. I'm not a mom yet, but I figured it might be nice to have a mobile cart with diapers, towels, whatever other essentials a new parent might need. The Baxton Studio Letterio White Cradle Chair is a nice modern touch and has a small footprint, which is great because my friend's nursery is a small room that needs to be multifunctional.

More sources:
  Crib  •  Rocking Moose  •  Curtains  •  Art  •  Blanket  •  Lamp  •  Bedding  •  Mobile      

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Have a Merry Christmas

Cards made with Vistaprint



An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 

- Luke 2:9-14

We already had Christmas with my family here at our house, and tomorrow we're traveling to see the husband's family. Then it's off to Florida for my cousin's wedding and a mini-vacation! It's going to be a whirlwind week, but we are blessed to get the opportunity to see so many of our friends and family members during this season.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

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My Favorite Christmas Home Tours

Christmas decorating is in full swing around the blogosphere, and I've been drooling over the creativity out there! After posted our holiday home tour on Monday, I've found so many more that you need to check out if you haven't already!

The queen of beautiful neutrals, Emily of Jones Design Co., wowed me with her calm, crafty holiday decor. The gold dots on the window were a personal favorite of mine. {Sources}

Jones Design Co

Edie from Life in Grace went for the bold and colorful with her holiday decorations. It's beyond charming. The evergreen ball skirt is worth 1,000 bonus points!

Life in Grace

Mandi at Vintage Revivals brought a minimal, scandinavian theme to her Christmas decor. I love her geometric wreaths!

Vintage Revivals
I love the pattern mixing going on at Cassie's house (Hi Sugarplum). 

Lucy at Craftberry Bush created a gorgeous, woodsy theme that would go perfectly with my equestrian inspired holiday tablescape last year! This makes me really want a flocked Christmas tree.

Craftberry Bush
Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles won me over with her polka dot kitchen. If only I were single so I could polka dot every surface of my house...

Dimples & Tangles

 Mini wreaths for the win! Love the stripes and fun colors at It All Started with Paint

It All Started With Paint
 Kelly from Eclectically Vintage is a girl after my own heart with those white ice skates on her front door. Twinsies! The inside of her house is fabulous, too.

Eclectically Vintage
 I was instantly charmed by this snowball garland at The Lily Pad Cottage.

The Lily Pad Cottage
Kristin showed us how to incorporate black, gold and leopard (!!) into a festive holiday house on her blog, Bliss At Home. Totally glam!

So, which one's your favorite? I can't decide!

I've got them all grouped in a Pinterest board if you want to do some quick repinning!Find these homes and more at the Nester link up party. Gorgeous Christmas decor galore!
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Yummy Mason Jar Gifts: Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Everything is better dipped in chocolate!

We had friends visiting this weekend, so we decided to use teamwork to knock out this year's teacher/neighbor/coworker gifts. My friend Amanda and I were chocolate-dipping machines!

I needed coworker gifts, and she needed teacher gifts for her kids. I had a huge tub of pretzels from Costco and some melting chocolate in my pantry, so we decided to go to town with the chocolate covered pretzel idea. We raided the pantry for as many yummy embellishments as possible and started dipping! Dip, sprinkle, cool. It doesn't get much easier than that...

Here are the topping we used, from the top left: mini chocolate chips, almond slivers, peanuts, white chocolate with milk chocolate drizzle, coconut, chocolate with chocolate drizzle, Heath bar, white chocolate drizzle, Reese's Pieces, brown sugar, clear sprinkles and colorful sprinkles. We had more chocolate left over, so we dipped some mini-Oreos and mini-Nutter Butters and fancied them up with multicolored sprinkles.

Then we had even more chocolate left over, so we found the Fritos in the pantry and dipped them in chocolate, too. The husbands were skeptical at first, but then they devoured an entire bowl so I guess they liked them. Chocolate covered Fritos for the win!

Once the chocolate dipping process was completed, we had to figure out a cute way to package the pretzels into a nice gift. I really believe putting some thought into the packaging takes an ordinary food gift and makes it memorable for the recipient. I also believe in using packaging that isn't distinctly holiday so the recipient can re-use it for something other than a holiday gift.

With those requirements in mind, we went to Walmart to see what we could find. We ended up choosing these Kern wide mouth quart pickle jars ($10). 

We wanted to fancy up the lids with the preppy black and white striped fabric I had left over from my holiday tablescape event, but we didn't want to do the traditional mason jar fabric lid. Going for something a little bit more modern, we put our own spin on the fabric mason jar lid.

We traced and cut out circles of fabric to glue to the lid. I used Mod Podge to adhere the fabric to the lid, but I think most types of adhesive would work just fine. Mod Podge was just the most convenient thing I had on hand. (Did I mention we were working on these lids at 1 a.m.?)

Pretty soon, we had 12 fabric-covered lids. This picture makes me want black and white coasters!

I also spray painted the rims of the lid with a champagne color just to make the jars a little bit more glamorous. I absolutely love how they came out! That's my kind of mason jar.

We simply stacked one of each pretzel flavor into the jars and added some chocolate-covered cookies at the top. Aren't they cute? I love that the fabric makes the mason jars are more interesting than your average jar, but they still aren't too "holiday." Hopefully the recipients can re-purpose them for something!

Chocolate covered pretzels are so easy and delicious. I've never met anyone who doesn't like them– have you? Adding interesting toppings to the chocolate makes the gift even more fun. If you're searching for an easy, affordable holiday treat– this is the project for you!

Looking for more delicious holiday gifts that are easy to make? Try my Nutter Butter Santas or these simple pretzel-Rolo sandwiches

Happy gifting! (And happy eating! Yum.)

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DIY: Gold Typography Mug

Sometimes I doodle on dishware. Forget paper, it's all about glass and porcelain these days!

Using gold acrylic paint for glass and ceramics, I once painted some old white dishes and a thrift store glass vase. Then I used a black Porcelaine pen to doodle on some ceramic tiles to make coasters. It's easy and completely customizable, making it an A+ craft in my book. So when I saw these festive Threshold glasses adorned with a gold "Cheers" at my local Target, it inspired me make something similar.


I grabbed two of these glass beer mugs from Ikea and did some doodling with my gold paint pen that's suitable for glass and ceramics. It took less than 10 minutes while I was watching New Girl. Then I filled them with some leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving and have them on my shelves as subtle Christmas decor.

Cute, right? I learned that it's easier to keep the word/drawing small because the curved surface of a cup poses a challenge for making the letters uniform. The small cursive "Joy" was way easier than the big bubble letter "Joy."If you go big and end up with imperfections, do what I do and embrace the flaws as part of its homespun charm!

Wouldn't they be cute to fill with candy as a teacher or neighbor Christmas gift? They're actually a great size to use as small vases, too, if you're not into beer mugs.

You can find the paint pens at any craft store. I'm telling you, everyone needs a gold paint pen for random doodling sessions! Husband, if you are looking for stocking stuffers for me, I'm always down for more metallic paint pens...

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2013 Holiday Home Tour

It's our first Christmas in the new house, and we are loving it! We got hit by a huge winter storm on Thursday night that blanketed the house in a pretty (and treacherous) blanket of ice. It makes the outside decorations look extra festive, don't you think?

Our neighbors put these reindeer out on the curb for trash pickup a couple months ago. When I was growing up in Florida, we had reindeer like this in our front yard as part of our Christmas decorations. One year they were stolen during the night, much to my mom's dismay. The funny part is that they were returned to us a few years later! Can you believe that? Anyway, I saw these on the curb and nostalgia kicked in. I had to have them, even though they were a little "broken." Please note how the husband created a splint for Blitzen so he could stand proudly in the front yard!

We didn't want to buy any new decorations, so we re-purposed the garland and wreaths from our old house to make a window display that works with this house.

My flea market ice skates decorate the wreath on our front door. I love how the white skates pop against the darker background! I was very tempted to take the skates off the door and use them to skate around our driveway this weekend, but I resisted.

Right inside that front window is our dining room with my colorful, splarkly tablescape that I spoke about in my last post.

One of the really fun parts about this new house is that we have more than one living space. I decided to take advantage of the separation and use different holiday color schemes than I've used in the past. Playing off the hot pink touches in the dining room, I decorated the formal living room with shades of pink, blue, green and gold. 

Those are the DIY felted trees I made last year. The great thing about white is that it goes with everything! I snazzed them up with some thrift store pink ornaments and our old tree topper (that is actually too heavy for our tree) under a cloché.

The tree is tucked away in the corner, topped off with my DIY paper tree topper. Fabric scraps and extra ribbon added a colorful touch to a strand of lights around our french doors leading into my office. That was the perfect project to do while watching a Christmas movie. Anyone can cut strips of fabric and tie knots! I think it has a very charming, homespun effect that balances some of the more "glitzy" touches in the living and dining room.

A tree looks so much better with pretty presents underneath, don't you think? I used some gold faux bois wrapping paper from the post-Christmas sale at Marshalls last year to wrap the gifts we've purchased so far. They were accented with either pink, black or forest green ribbon, depending on the gender of the recipient.

Because I used so many of our favorite ornaments for the dining room tablescape, I needed to fill some empty spots on our tree. Not wanting to spend money, I decided to use more fabric scraps, along with wire ribbon and curling ribbon to add colorful touches on the cheap. 

My office is a bright white space, so I wanted to keep the Christmas decorations pretty simple in there. How adorable are these grey, white and gold polka dot gift boxes from Target? I'm in love with them. The color scheme would work for Christmas, a wedding, a baby shower...

I bought this gold garland from the Martha Stewart parties section at JC Penney. It's not specifically holiday decor, but I figured it would work with the neutral scheme in this room. And yes, the horse statue is wearing a dog scarf. Rory was grateful that I only made her wear it for a few minutes before transferring it to the horse!

This big red bow makes our flea market light fixture look like a vintage ornament, don't you think?

The den is where I kept things extra warm and traditional using our usual color scheme from past years, red and green.  It's the coziest spot in the house, for sure!

So, do you have your holiday decorations up yet?

Do you like to stick to traditional colors or more modern schemes? I love that this house allows me to have both without them clashing with one another. It lets me be extra creative and try new things!

For more ideas, check out our 2012 Christmas home tour. It's interesting to see how the same decorations had a completely different look in our old house.
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