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My husband’s folks boarded a plane this morning back to Middleton, ID, after a week-long visit to Alaska.  What a special time.  While here, my father-in-love helped Mr. Wonderful install a new pump to our hot water heater which brings almost-instant hot water.  We’ve lived in our house for two years with very slow hot water response in our tap, often moving on with showers or washing pots while the water is still lukewarm.  What a simple blessing to have fast hot water!Another gift from my mother-in-love was a complete servicing of my old, yet precious, Bernina sewing machine.  I’ve owned it for years, having received it as a gift from our pastor’s wife and dear friend, yet had never had taken it in for complete servicing.  I can already see and feel a huge difference, and am thankful for this simple yet meaningful gift of love.I was able to finish…

Okay, I feel almost sacreligious comparing anything I produce in my dusty garage to renowned furniture mogul Ethan Allen.  Furthermore, I should be extending a gracious thanks instead because working with this beautiful wooden table of theirs the last few days has been immensely gratifying:When I found this table a year and a half ago (Mr. Wonderful will be SO happy I’m finally working on this one), its 1970’s darkness was hidden under a gray army tarp in a family’s back yard wall tent, one of its edges resting against bare ground, all four legs removed.  It’d been there for quite some time.  The lady was almost giddy when I hauled it away in my Suburban.I decided to whitewash the top after sanding and stripping and sanding and sanding and sanding.  Those folks at Ethan Allen don’t only start with gorgeous wood, they take their staining step very seriously.  My belt sander…

The last couple weeks I’ve enjoyed the simple pleasure of spending more time in our home.  Sitting for long spells over coffee, stacking dominos on the floor with my precious kids, wiping down the base boards in my boys’ rooms (long overdue!), actually lounging on my sofas instead of analyzing what throw pillows they still need, and thoughtfully contemplating the arrangement and necessity of what makes this house a home. I find myself doing a lot of purging. Part of the reason is where I am in life.  Recognizing that so many things I used to value greatly pale in comparison to the things that do. Another reason is a growing awareness of how abundantly overwhelmed we are with all the little things we think we need, yet how little we really do. Lastly, from a design perspective, I’m recently appreciating how powerfully one item or accessory can speak when given the chance…

I hit the gym early this morning, immensely grateful I could do squats again with a strong knee. I’ve never had knee problems, but last week during my squat routine I felt something pull…or tweak…or (gasp) rip in there and I thought, “Oh no, what was THAT?” The next several days I really favored it and cringed when the pain would come back, worried I might have an injury. However, I truly believe in the power of prayer, and I’ve been praying lots of healing over my knee. Today it worked great, and I give Him the glory for that. I’ve been saying for, oh, 6 years now that I wanted to be a bread maker. The kind of bread maker who makes her family wholesome, nutrient-laden breads that nourish both the body and the soul. I’ve read books on it, taken a bread-making class, subscribed to a bread-making newsletter…yet…

It is late afternoon and I have no energy left.  Lots of birthday partying, tackling home projects, entertaining, and late nighting have done me in over spring break this week.  So I’m sitting here in my “sitting” room, gazing at my new fireplace surround and mantle, sipping a delicious latte, and trying to convince myself it’s okay if I do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.But of course, there is that mantle to think about.Although I’ve hardly had a minute to style it yet, I wanted to show you our finished product.  The light is not great due to that aforementioned late afternoon sun, but you can still appreciate what a vast improvement we have made in this room.This is what the surround looked like when I first picked it up at a local thrift store.  Mr. Wonderful designed a couple boxes to support the surround as it…

It’s spring break this week, and although I didn’t plan to spend so much time on projects, the first few days have turned out that way.I finally finished painting this dresser:I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint’s French Linen on the outside, and the drawer fronts are Sherwin Williams Creamy.  The hardware was purchased at a local hardware store.  I hated to spend money on eight drawer pulls, but I knew it would be worth it on this piece.And it was.Here is the original piece:I don’t know what it is about this style of furniture, but I’m drawn to the “Jetson” legs, modern vibe, and vintage look of this era.  I have a nightstand in the same style.Here’s a similar piece I saw last summer at Ozarks Antiques & Decor in Anchorage:Love how distressed this is….and the number 62 is just really cool.I’m planning to sell the dresser as I really don’t…

It’s official: My first Annie Sloan chalk paint furniture project is complete.First, a few pictures ~For the body of these bookcases, I used the color French Linen, which I absolutely love.  I’ve always been a fan of the Farrow & Ball paint colors due to their their almost muddy, gray undertones.  Annie Sloan chalk paint is every bit as muddy, chalky and yummy as they claim.I didn’t actually taste it.  I’m just sayin’ yummy to express how wonderful it is.  But you knew that.A bit unfortunate is that these bookcases are not your high-quality, all-wood pieces.  We purchased them at The Office Place probably 9 years ago and they have served us well ~ have looked quite handsome, actually ~ in many rooms over the years.  When we moved to our new house spring of 2010, I stuck them in the living room, haphazardly arranged some books & accessories on them, and let them…

I started today with such high hopes.  So many tasks I needed to do, so many projects I wanted to do, and an entire day before me.I hardly knew where to start.  However, with piles of family laundry strewn throughout the house, starting here was a no-brainer:After washing and drying a couple loads, I retrieved the mail on the way back from the kids’ make-up piano lesson.  After a quick lunch, our dining room table then looked like this:Of course, while the kids were at piano, I managed to stain a few more of my sitting room shelves and call my sister-in-law to say hi.  The other end of the dining room table then looked like this:Meanwhile, with everyone home today, our kitchen has become Grand Central Station.  You all know what that means.  A floor that looks like this:Around 1:30, I was so tired and unmotivated I placed a “Please…

Hello friends!  I know it seems I’ve been out of the loop for awhile, but just like “Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear,” I will claim the following:”Projects Are Completed Even When Not Appearing in Blog” 🙂 We are just coming off a four-day weekend.  Between sledding with my kids in the dark on a huge bumpy hill (quite a thrill), hiding behind tall boots in my closet for an eternity playing Sardines in the house (best hiding place ever), and spending time with friends from church, I was able to complete a gallery wall in our hallway featuring photos from a shoot we took in Maui a couple months ago.  We could not have been happier with the results of the photoshoot:  sunset, Hawaiian beach, tanned family, laughter….it couldn’t have been better.Here’s the completed wall:I’ve been tossing in doses of turquoise lately and loving the results.  Such a happy…

Last year when I first started blogging, I found myself snapping pictures step-by-step of each project I tackled, thinking some day I might write a post about it.My husband thought I was nuts, but I think he actually liked it.Secretly, I think he still gets excited when he thinks his picture might end up on my blog.Back in those first days of photographing my projects though, I did not grasp the following truth:”Good photos make good blogs.”  I still have so much to learn on this topic of photography, and actually have it listed as one of my 2012 goals, but I have come a long way from my early photos.So please bear with me here as I share the Red Bolster Pillow project from my daughter’s room last year.I had seen these beautiful red bolster pillows on a daybed in a magazine, and I wanted to try my hand…