Yep, home should be great.  But it’s hard to make it great when you’re not home!
It has been a whirlwind the past 6 weeks or so.  We moved from our rental house into our new, beautiful home.  I am thrilled with it, and still “making friends” with all the nooks and crannies, learning all its little secrets and how things work.  It’s kind of like the time right after your honeymoon, when you come home and reality starts to set in.  It’s not that you don’t love the house or the person as much.   But now the real work is upon you.  And a different kind of love sets in.

I remember this quote that I ripped out of a Real Simple mag eons ago.   It is attributed to Truman Capote.
“If you sweep a house, and tend its fires and fill its stove, and there is love in you all the years you are doing this, then you and that house are married, that house is yours.” 

I agree.  But once we moved into the place here, it was time for our trip to Italy for our 10th anniversary!  So we unpacked a little.  Packed our suitcases…and off we went.  

It was fabulous.  We stayed in Florence the entire time.  It was uncrowded, lovely, incredible, and relaxing.  

I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
Thank you, sweetie!

We were gone nearly a week.  Then we came home, and it was spring break for our oldest…and time to head to Wisconsin for my mother-in-law’s birthday.  

Super fun!  
Fam and friends were there and our kids had a great time seeing their cousins from the west coast.  

Whew.  We finally made it home.  And let me tell you… moving into a new house then leaving for Europe for a week then leaving again for another week is the best way to lose track of every earthly possession you have.  Worth it!  But holy cow is this house an unorganized disaster.  :-)

No rest for the weary, though!
I am knee deep in an awesome project that I think will turn out so cool, and it’s for a great cause.

A local non-profit salvages building materials then trains people to work at the warehouse selling them. (They do way more than just that but that’s the basic gist).  They hold an annual designer challenge where they give you a $100 credit to the “store” then ask you to create something new and wonderful from your items.  The finished product gets auctioned off to support their cause!  I basically signed me and my dad (who is an endlessly good sport, and has carpentry skills I lack) up for this, and he and I have had such a good time figuring this out!

Here’s my inspiration piece, from the blog “Pretty Handy Girl.”

We picked out a door 

and a not-so-lovely bathroom vanity (part laminate…yuck) 

and decided to blend them together to make a hallway, entry bench thingy.  

After weeks of Dad finding time to cut apart the vanity and take it down to a size we could use, and also cutting off the door to bring it into proportion with the vanity…

Here we are!

I’m still trying to decide exactly how to paint and finish it.  It will get some hooks for hats and dog leashes and such… and I think it’s adorable! Now, we’ll just have to wait and see how much it goes for at the auction. :-)

I feel so fortunate to have found this little challenge to help launch me into this next step of my life.

Is there anything better than a good project to get your juices flowing?

Have a great day!!


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My mom went with me on Saturday to pick up a little Craigslist treat for my daughter’s new room…a sweet little pine chest that will be perfect for dress-up clothes, or stuffed animals or hiding her brother’s stuff.  It needs minimal fixit work, which my Dad has graciously agreed to help with – a piece of trim is missing and we need to add child safety hinges.  Then comes the fun part – I get to dream up what it will become.

Making something out of nothing, or very little, has always been interesting to me.  I remember designing a rockin sweatshirt back in like 8th grade, with lace and buttons and fabric and bows and you probably could have hidden a live animal in there somewhere because it had EVERYTHING going on!  I was so proud of it.  (Proud enough to actually wear it, as the case was…I shudder to think that there is a photo of this creation lurking somewhere in my mom’s piles.)  Was it time consuming? yes.  Was it fun to do? yes.  Was it completely and totally mine? yes.

Reese’s new little trunk may be shabby chic or french country or neon pink or maybe it’ll be whatever hits me at that particular moment on Pinterest.  But it will be hers, made by me, with love, and for very little money.  It will be useful (storage…hello, lover…) and beautiful (with a little luck) as should most of what’s in our homes.  It will not be in the dumpster.  And it will be a lesson to her that gifts don’t have to cost a lot.  That doing work with your own two hands has value.  That a car ride with your mom to the far side of town for a $10 trunk is completely worth it because we laughed half the way there and half the way back.  That keeping up the circle of reusing and connecting and not always buying something brand new…matters.

So I will take every opportunity I can to show my kids that I believe in keeping it simple. We don’t need more.  We actually need less.  We can take our time and be grateful for everything that’s come our way.  I don’t know for sure if that makes the world a teeny bit better.  But I really hope it does.

Because I do know…the more complicated and rushed and stressed and expensive and over scheduled and nutso your life gets, the harder it is to slow down and take a weekend drive across town for a beat up trunk.  I also know what I would have missed if I hadn’t gone.  And it’s worth missing.

So, that’s a little bit of why I love taking something old and turning it into something new again.
It’s not a new idea.  I’ve just finally realized why it’s stuck around this long.  Because it’s a good one.


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(black not quite taking)

(hello blue oops paint!)

(I used a paper folder and pencil to mark the lines I wanted to paint)

 (my little owl helper)

(random husband juggling pic – just for fun)

The chevron thing is everywhere right now – and for good reason.  It’s awesome!  The blue is a semi-gloss tiffany blue that was $2 for a quart in the oops section at Home Depot.  As luck would have it, it’s perfect for this desk, and I would have picked it out myself if it wasn’t someone else’s oops.  The white is just plain old semi-gloss white.  The hardware is original and I’ve sprayed it with one coat of black lacquer-y paint, but it isn’t taking all the way yet…we’ll see how a second coat takes.

This has been a great project – and St Vincent de Paul had a great wood chair for $2 that is going to go with this guy.

Anyone else working on a project?


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Rainy Thursday = a chance to stay inside and be a homebody… Yay!

I’m also thinking a lot about our new space that we’ll move into soon. 
It has the laundry, stackable front loaders, in a closet in the kitchen.
I’m super excited about the convenience factor – I have moved the laundry out of the basement in the last two houses we’ve owned because it is a LIFE changer, so I am glad to have it on the main living level, I’m just concerned about storing supplies and having clothes all over the joint…

So I’m on the hunt for some good ideas to keep the stuff contained.

I found this:
Incredible door

And these:
Awesome shelves

Both of these were found on Pinterest, which by the way… life is really getting in the way of me spending all my time there.  I mean, I can’t constantly be expected to stop pinning just because people need to eat and the house needs to be taken care of…. sheesh.

Happy Thursday.

Hope you’re warm and dry inside somewhere today.


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One crappy desk at St. Vincent de Paul for $5 is all it takes to get me juiced these days.  Sad? I prefer to think not! I’m 30something, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee…you get the drift.

The last 10 years for me have been work, add on to my house, move, have kiddos, add onto the next house, move again.

Well, it finally looks like we are going to settle into our new and so awesomely permanent digs in a matter of weeks and I cannot tell you how excited I am!
As amazing and blessed and life-changing as the last decade has been, it has also been almost constant churn.  Moving is such a great way to embrace opportunity.  But moving is also just plain exhausting.

My husband and I counted recently… since we MET 11 years ago we have moved 6 times – and that doesn’t count the move coming up, nor does it count the time I left my hometown and moved to the Big Apple to be with him.  (Jobless, I was, at the time. Um, not a great plan, PS.)

So in my little head, this move coming up is big.  This is the first time we will have EVER moved somewhere together knowing we were going to be staying there for a good, long time. It is such a delight to think about.  I love the house we’ve purchased.  It’s an old brick bungalow type, with additions, and when I walked into it the first time, I thought it said to me, “Well, you finally made it!  Come on in and settle down.  I’m so so glad you’re here.”

You know that Miranda Lambert song, “The House that Built Me?”
I sat on the kitchen floor and just cried giant tears the first time I heard it.  I try not to get to attached to material things.  I’m not a mansion dweller, fur coat owner, expensive car driver, and probably never will be.  But I do treasure and adore and place a premium on my home.

I’ve had just a few homes in my 30 something years that have meant something significant to me.  There is something inexplicably calming about the word, “home.”  And now that I’ve moved back to my hometown after being gone for a decade, I am settling in to the reality of what it is to truly come home again – something some people say you just can’t do.

Which brings me to the $5 thrift store desk that honestly, my husband can’t stand.  But I know exactly where it will go in our new house.  I know I can put it there and not have to worry about “staging” the house in 6 months.  I can take the crappy old desk and turn it into something our family will use and hopefully (at least three of us – ha) come to love.
I can make it just for us.  Because that’s what home is all about.


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