Things I’ve learned lately: HOME

There are so many things I love about the feeling of Home. I am very introverted and love, love, love to be home. It’s the softest place I land, the space that holds me in, lets me go, and serves as my favorite dance floor.

So, home is really important to me. It serves as all of the above, but it (hopefully) also welcomes anyone who enters it with the same kind of love and attention. We’ll cover this more in the Hosting section but even though I’m extremely introverted, it’s also very important to our family to be the open house. To let others in, to share what we have, to feed the masses and to be social without actually having to enter the world.

Let’s get to it, then.


Beautifully Organized, Wild At Home, Cozy White Cottage, Made For Living, Poetry Of Place, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Kitchen Sconce (Khaki).

These are not affiliate links (I’m like 80% sure they’re not and if they are it is by wild accident because I have no idea what I’m doing anymore.)

These books, however, do know what they’re doing. They serve as amazing inspiration and beautiful coffee table books to have out for anyone to browse. Our kitchen is forever in favorable rotation with Half Baked Harvest, and the lights were something we added when we reimagined the space … which leads me to:


As I confess in the About me section of this site, my superpower is being able to see through walls. To envision spaces and flow. We gutted our previous home and it was so much fun, but a lot of work. When we were looking for another house, I was adamant that I didn’t want to do major renovations again. Updating, sure. But knocking walls down? Nopethanks.

Essentially all a room actually needs is structure. Walls, wiring, fixtures. Are those things available? If not – start there. We lived here for a few months and then hired an electrician to please come in and add, subtract or change the electrical. How do you want to live in the space?

That’s it. That’s all you need to ask yourself to reimagine a space. What’s missing, and what do I want out of this?

Then, get to work on pinterest, in real life, in magazines and coffee shops. Hotels, friends homes, and places you love visiting. Pay attention. Take photos of spaces that make you feel comfortable. Notice how you feel walking into rooms, whats in them?

When I feel ready to make some changes I go back to the photos I’ve saved and look for repeats. I might see a pattern in the “feel” of a room, or the colors used. I might be really drawn to bold art or soft textures. Most of the time, I’m not looking at the structure of the spaces … but the feeling of what it might be like to be IN them. (And, other times I am ONLY looking at the structure. We’re currently remodeling our primary-suite bathroom and the structure of the space is the most important right now, so I’m only paying attention to walls and angles and layout and built-ins and walkways.)

The advice sticks, though, no matter what problem you might be trying to solve. What reflects you in a space? Below on the right (pictured) is our half bathroom when we bought our home and on the left (pictured) is still our half bathroom … now. Reimagined. We added wallpaper, found the new vanity on wayfair, and changed out the light fixture. The bathroom already had hardwood floors, a toilet, electrical and the plumbing was ready to go.

Wallpaper is great for small spaces and big impact. Play with it. If you hate it (and it’s ok if you do) it’s only wallpaper. You can take it down! Don’t marry all of your ideas. Stay flexible because you are going to hate some of it, or change your mind. Totally normal!


Who’s still with me? Mom?

We made it this far in this gigantic post today so I have some funsies for you in absolutely no particular order:

These pull-out cupboard shelves are, literally, the best purchase I’ve made this year. They’re spendy, I know. Shut it. I am in the kitchen for hours every single day. Every day! These make re-using our kitchen cabinets look like the best idea I’ve ever had. I bought 6 of them – 5 of them in our pantries and one in side cabinet that utilizes otherwise wasted space. I can’t get over how much I love these. They’re SHELVES. And I am undone about them.

This canvas-style bag for carrying logs. Handles. It has handles. We can take lotsssss of wood from our outdoor pile (which, elevation wise, is 2 stories below where we need to bring the firewood) to our hearth without swearing all of the swears we know out loud.

Sweet and Spicy Tea. I know you think drinking tea is like drinking hot water while someone whispers the herbs and flavors used from another room and I’m sorry you hate tea this much. But have you had this tea? You will like this one. It punches you right in the face.

These under-the-chair-things are like “money in the walls” but for your floors. You’re welcome. We refinished and added more wood flooring to our house, unlike our last one where we added plywood … I want these to look real for as long as possible. Because they are. They are real wood floors, take your shoes off.

These unfinished wooden handles are the sisters and brothers to many other unfinished wooden handles we’ve been using in all of our projects lately. We did buy new cabinets for the island in our kitchen (a painted cabinet to offset the oak) and the unfinished wood handles are like … cream for the eyes. That’s weird and I know it, but I stand by it. I love them. We also have unfinished wood handles/knobs (I know I’m saying unfinished wood a lot right now and I just need you to keep your eyes up here for a few more seconds) in our laundry room and the library. Everywhere, I tell you!

These sheets are a good idea. Sheets that I can’t touch before I buy them? I understand, it’s risky. But these are possibly the best sheets we’ve ever owned. And they’re not a million dollars.

Souper Cubes! I saw these on Shark Tank, like I see many things on Shark Tank, and this was the only item I’ve ever purchased before the pitch was over. Correction: this is the only item I’ve ever purchased that was featured on Shark Tank, ever. Revolutionary. These people are geniuses. Why didn’t I think of this?

Young House Love has probably influenced me more than any other blogger with influence. I almost always buy the things they suggest (when it fits my needs) because they are NEVER WRONG. So, yea. I’m a bird lady. I watch birds and I feed birds and I have (you guessed it) books on birds. And now, I can see birds right next to my chair. Because of this.

We’ve been married over 18 years, my husband and I, and in all of those years he has had the same alarm clock from his middle-school ages so I found him this one, instead. It’s from this century but it looks similar enough to his oldie and AND! I don’t hate it. Did I mention you can turn its lights off? All the way? And the volume isn’t 100 devils crying a beepbeepbeep in bright red in your ears every morning?

Lastly, I give you our espresso maker. When the quarantine started and everything shut down, we had to re-engineer our morning habits. So we ordered this espresso maker and never looked back. It’s so fun, looks great, is so easy and we love this little guy. He’s the real MVP of our house.

That’s it. I have a lot to say sometimes. Thanks for checking in. And please, please … add your must haves, house hacks, ideas and questions to the comments. I really love having the conversation with you.




Over eight years ago we bought our Faithful House. I wrote about this on my blog … about how this house taught me about weary bones and being brought back from the brink of the edge. How I felt, driving aimlessly around our town looking for a home we could afford to purchase, that this home would hold something so essential, so completely life giving to our family that I could trust God. That what I had dreamed of, what I had heard in the whispers of my soul – I hadn’t made up. I hadn’t heard wrong.

This house was our Faithful House. God is faithful. These walls, this foundation, this fertile ground we grew up and out of – it bore so much fruit in our lives. Memories and being woven together as a family and sleepovers and friendships and the gift of hosting. We’ve shared this home with so many people, whom we love, this house knit us back together after the storm of life ravaged our hearts. This home held us together through life crises and helped me flip decades from 20’s to 30’s. This house was a dream maker, a hospice for our souls. And we have loved her so much.

In April of 2020 we made a list of the Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves for a new home in my journal. We very much wanted to buy an existing home that we could do some (not a ton of structural) work to. We wanted the same amount of yard, or more, and more room inside the home. The kids each got to give us their input and then we kind of laughed at each other and were like, what now?

I’ll tell you: months of looking. Seeing every home we thought might fit the bill, our rock star Realtor was always available. We started looking at land to build, because, as it turns out, we were very serious about moving. But we started to feel weary in the search. It’s definitely a sellers market, so homes we would look at inevitably had multiple offers within days. We were ready, but we just couldn’t justify any of them as the place we wanted to fight for.

I had to wrestle all kinds of demons about what it meant to find the house we wanted, if I was “allowed” to have a home like this or if we “deserved” it.

But now it’s time to move. So we sold this faithful house. In a whirlwind 29 hours from listing to signatures. The house we bought is another blank slate that we can’t wait to pour into.

Since I can remember, I’ve never pictured my life beyond the age of 36. That was just the number for me. My mom’s life changed dramatically for her at age 36 – and I think it just stuck with me. If I can make it to 36, I’ll have lived. We’ll be closing on our new home days away from my 37th birthday. God. He writes the most beautiful stories.

He let me do it all. He let me write life lists and cross off items as if I was the author of it. He let me have my babies, and He let me heal from the pain of my past. He let me have a beautiful marriage and a man who never saw anything but beauty in my mess. He let me go, and watched with wrapt interest in my love for this world as I came running back to Him, enamored with what I saw. What I had learned. He held me as I wept over loss and healed my broken pieces with compassion and understanding. He never told me I did it wrong, He never told me not to. He waited for me to walk – and then He went with me. EVERYWHERE. God. He writes the most beautiful stories.

This new home is the home my children with leave from. They’ll leave as adults, carrying their wounds, accomplishments, their tender hearts and their future hopes and dreams.

They’ll leave my nest and return to me a beautiful creature in flight.

Thats what this new home is.

It’s next.

Let’s talk about (this) House, baby.

This house, happy sigh. You might know the feeling of finally belonging somewhere? I’ve never felt that in a home. A house was always something to trade-in, trade-up. It was dispensable. Something to help you get along in life, definitely a place to rest and live, but never get too comfortable. The future was always nearer than our present – always looming with change.

Carpet squares be gone!

I have, um, moved a few times in my life. Just a few. And this last move? At a meager 28 years old (technically with more moves than my years under my belt) this last move felt like the first right move.

Our very first home as a married couple was also the right move, but a lifetime ago. My first experience of living on my own – my first bit of adulthood freedom. It was glorious – she’ll always hold a special place in my heart. But that house held the memories of the phone call that told me he was gone. It held our first year of marriage secrets, fights and fits, it held job losses and change and positive tests. That house couldn’t hold us for very long, so she let us go.

And little did we know after that little house, we were on a wild journey. It took 6 years of thinking, fretting and planning to realize we were starting – but away we went. A huge curve ball in our lifestyle, a new dream to freedom. We became a debt free family.

This is still something we live every day – we just don’t talk about it as much. We reached our goal – and there’s a shift in thinking when these zeros on a page that dictate your every move all of a sudden add up to zero. It doesn’t loom over you anymore, you no longer think about it night and day. The graphs and spreadsheets look less angry and you start to notice the color of the sky … which happens to not be grey and black and stormy.

So… this house. We’re making it our home. The work has started and I am by no means, whatsoever, a decorator or professional – I have friends who are and they’re amazing and probably scoff at half the things I do, but thats ok. I’m not looking for professional. I’ve made bad design choices, I’m sure. But I make my own choices. I just like it that way.

My Pinterest boards are full of inspiration (trendy or not) and bold ideas. I’ve always stayed safe, maybe even boring, when redoing houses before. Always thinking of resale. Tan, beige, matchy matchy. But not here.

Upstairs pattern wall: Triangles

I want bold prints and patterns. Bling, lux and maybe a little so-ugly-I-can’t-believe-she-did-that.

I don’t want more, infact I want less. I don’t want “right now” – we want “forever”.

Grout for shower floor tomorrow, I'm guessing. Eeeeeeee!!!!

So we save our pennies, we get opinions, we wait. Then we go.


And I suppose if it takes us the rest of our live’s to make every nook and crannie of this house a completely lovable, lived in, wildly open, always cooking, harvesting home … well, then I’m going to love every single bit of it.

Secret room!!

And I hope they fall into the cracks of comfort, the unforgettable and knowing pattern of this house. The creaks and secret hideaways. I hope they’re making a map of this house with their footprints and crumbs because this house is making a world for us to live in.

A world where we all finally fit.

[More on this house? Let’s discuss the porch and making signs. How about subfloors or tearing down walls and obsessing over Pinterest. Take that one step farther. And we can discuss the basement briefly, too.]

{How to} DIY a painted wooden sign, for free.

See how I did that? I got all those fancy keywords into the title so I can get right to business with you here.

How to make a sign

Our porch couch is very dirty, because it’s a couch … on a porch. Say it with me: dirt happens.

You’ll need:

How to make a sign

Wood (we’ll talk about this)
Brush (or your finger, let’s be honest)
Fine sand paper

This started a few days ago when I saw a few scrap pieces of wood in the garage and like almost everything I find in this house – whoever left these treasures behind feels like they’ve been spying on me and my heart for a while. Like while they were preparing to sell this house, how ever long it took them, I was quietly praying for this exact home.

Originally I wanted to make a sign that read “be a leader” – this is something my brother says to each of his kids every single morning as he drops them off for school. It’s something I’ve started saying to my own kids while I drop them off, or at the breakfast table as we’re preparing for the day.

I love the phrase because of where I first heard it and the conversation that followed with my brother about raising leaders in our kids. That’s why I wanted it on a sign. The constant reminder to be a leader. Take the lead, demonstrate leadership. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, just because they’re doing it. It’s ok to be forge the path. It goes hand in hand with being kind. To lead you need to be “other-minded” as what you accomplish affects many other people. Be the face of change. Be a leader.

But I started brainstorming other ideas as well (and second guessing myself) and posed the question on facebook – the feedback was mostly for “Something great here” and Donielle made a parallel line to this phrase that I hadn’t even thought of, she said: I think it fits not only you and your home, but the feeling of a porch. 🙂.

I loved how she embodied our porch and our hopes and wrapped it up for me to see. That in this house, from this porch, we believe in Something Great Here. In greatness. That we have it in us and to share.

So, I gathered my supplies and painted the sign. Justlikethat. It’s not hard, you guys. It’s ok if your handwriting isn’t Pottery Barn or that you don’t have a stencil to guide you. Character wasn’t discovered in a dictionary or etiquette guide, it surely wasn’t found between the binding of a magazine. Let’s just do this.

How to make a sign

I penciled out the phrase so I could visualize the size of the letters needed to fill my board.

Then I sanded it down lightly – I wanted to leave some of the dirt and sharp edges because I wanted the sign to be weathered, even if I had just painted it:

How to make a sign

That’s all!

If you don’t have weather barn wood hanging out in your garage you can find something free and similar in a wood pallet on the side of the road. Often you can find it behind warehouses or rural back yards at a garage sale. Just ask. Do you have any scrap wood you’re throwing away? I just need one plank.

The paint I had on hand – it’s a sampler from Menards. But your neighbor probably has 4 or 5 cans of paint in their basement. All you need is 1/2 a cup. Be spontaneous in your color choice. I almost painted it the same green as the snack bar.

The brush I used was a 2 inch edging brush, I’m pretty sure. But I just used the tip. Your finger might work too. If you DO have a need to use a stencil: you can spray paint.

After it dries and before I hang it I’ll probably run the sand paper over it one more time. To make it look like the phrase is IN the wood … and I just had to bring it out.

There you go! Now make a sign, and no matter what it says, it should speak to you.

How to make a sign

lets hang out


I’m ready for you.

Porch revealed.

I spent a few days turning this:

Valentines Loot

into this:


And I was totally inspired by this via Pinterest.

This was a very simple project and cheap too (who’s surprised?) I had to invest in a power sander ($50) and I bought the primer and paint ($40), as well as the mini fridge ($50) off craigslist. So my investment into this project rang up at roughly $140. According to Pottery Barn I just saved over $600 bucks.

Hells yeah.

Here’s how it went down.

Power tools are so sexy.

I took the drawers (there were 3) out, and the cupboard doors off. Sanded and then I sanded some more. I also sanded. I spent some time sanding then I sanded, while that was happening I was sanding the dresser. Then I sanded.

So, I sanded it down. Then I started taking it apart. Everything below the two top drawers had to come out and be rebuilt or scrapped:

What kind of saw do I need to cut through metal? (nails) I have a straight saw. Good?

I got lucky and was able to shimmy it apart (I started with a straight saw, fuck yeah.) and dropped the bottom down to … the new bottom.


(That small piece still attached to the backing where the “bottom” first lived? I shimmied him out too. What with 9 nails holding that thing in? This sucker was not going anywhere without a little fight. I won.)

It was time to prime the snack bar so of course I prepped the area handed each of my kids and the neighbor kid a brush and said – go get em.


Fun for everyone!


Once that dried I applied 2 coats of Tequila Lime that same night.

Opinions please. #nofilter

But in the morning I realized how awesome an idea it was to paint while it was dark outside:


So I applied a third, and final, coat.


Let it dry and then got to work.



Let’s pick up the fridge! And then … maybe over there?


Nope. Over there:

Porch revealed.

Aside from the supplies already mentioned the only thing I bought to complete this room were the yellow scoop chairs for $5 each while thrifting.

Porch revealed.

Everything else we already owned.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

mini fridge

bug off

So in conclusion: you’re invited.