Living Room : Pennsylvania Addition

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Living Room LOVE! For each place we’ve lived, I have worked to embrace the heartbeat of the home while tapping into my style and what fits my family well.

Over the years I’ve leaned into the farmhouse style because I love it and I have many “found things” from our family farm. However, this is the 8th living space I have designed and I needed change.

Yes, EIGHT living spaces, they have included a parsonage, an apartment, a rental, and 5 purchased homes. We lived in a hotel for a bit too but I resisted the urge to design there.


Bookshelf 2


For this home, I wanted to bring in some clean lines with more of a mid-century modern feel while still including traditional and farmhouse pieces. I also wanted more color in our wall art.

Originally, I planned to add more color with pillows and blankets too but I couldn’t do it- turns out my eyes like the muted tones in most places with just a touch of color on the walls.

I may still make a few design changes to the fireplace and perhaps I’ll even paint it! However, first I need to finish the basement!



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Living Room

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Bookshelf 3




Mr. Gnome & Pete the Cactus

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Pallet Feature Wall

Finished Pallet Feature Wall!






Free Pallets!

Pallet Wall Cost: $50-$100… YAY!



& Sanding



Flat Spray Varnish
After experimenting with several stains,
I decided to skip the stain and go with a simple flat spray varnish



Wall Layout



Ready to be Transferred to the Wall!






Almost Done!



Pallet Feature Wall

Finished Pallet Wall!Yay! Finished Pallet Wall!Basement Living Room

Really took me a while to find the right paint color- Ha!


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All Our Homes… 9 And Counting…

Bookshelf 1

Home #9 Design

What’s your move number? As an adult? How about when you were a child? My husband and I have been married for 15 years and have moved nine times. In contrast, as kids we each only moved twice.

All of the moves have helped me developed a passion and skillset for making a house a home. Whether my budget is small or large, I love working with what I have to paint and create an inviting home environment.


Realtor Class

Realtor Classes!

We’ve purchased several different types of homes in five towns and four states. All of my life experience along with my training as a realtor has given me a great understanding of quality home investments.

I love all things home!


Just for fun, I looked up all of the places we have lived… Here they are!

Newton Home

Church Parsonage

Newton, Iowa
1 Year
Reason for Moving
Expected move to China*

*We didn’t end up moving to China… long story. 😉

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Pella Apartment


Pella, Iowa
6 Months
Reason for Move
Home Purchase

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Pella Farm

The Family Farmhouse

Pella, Iowa
1.5 Years
Reason for Move
More financial freedom so I could stay home with our kids
and be closer to my husband’s place of work.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

The Raised Ranch

Pleasantville, Iowa
4 Years
Reason for Move
Husband’s New Job at Amazon

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****


5 Acres

Independence, Kansas
2.5 Years
Reason for Moving
Amazon Relocation

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Brownsburg - Copy - Copy

House in the Burbs

Brownsburg, Indiana
6 Months
Reason for Moving
Found a HOME

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Avon - Copy - Copy

Quaint Cal-de-Sac

Avon, Indiana
4 Years
Reason for Move
Relocation & Promotion for Husband with Wal-Mart

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****Hotel

Yep, Counting It!

Easton, Pennsylvania
7 Weeks
Reason for Move
FINALLY Found a Home

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Cape Cod aka “The Beige House”

Easton, Pennsylvania
10 Months and Counting
Our first time ever on the east coast…
and we moved here.


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DIY Wooden Slab Coffee Table

Source: DIY Wooden Slab Coffee Table

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DIY Wooden Slab Coffee Table


This project has been super fun and way more time and energy than expected. I had to get a little scrappy and creative to finish but it all looks great now!

Check out my process and see if you want to try it yourself.




MY COST: $75 (Hairpin Legs, Sandpaper, Chisel Set)
I had everything else on hand or borrowed.

Project Materials
$0 Wooden Slab – I asked the tree cutters to leave this stump for me instead of loading it
$50 Set of 4 Coffee Table Legs Hairpin Legs
$0- $5 Screws

Project Tools
Sander (Belt Sander Preferred)
$3-$15 Sandpaper 40 Grit – 220 Grit
Drill (Drill Bits up to 1′)
$12 Chisel Set
Shop Vac
Tac Cloth and/or Towels

  1. Prep Wood
    Pull bark off wood. My wood was cut with a chain saw so it was pretty rough. If you have the opportunity, get your slab of wood professionally sliced/smoothed before you go to work on it.


  • Sand
    Choose your sander… or use many. I tried all these sanders and they all served a purpose on this project but 4 sanders is not necessary. Use what you have or what you can borrow.
    Here’s what I did:
    – Belt Sander on Top (40-60 Grit)
    – Belt Sander on Bottom (40-60 Grit) Just to remove rough/unsafe wood
    – Continue with Belt Sander on Top (80-120 Grit)
    – Detail Sander on Edges/Corners (100 – 150 Grit)
    – Sheet Sander on Top/Edges (150 Grit)
    – Detail Sander on Edges/Corners (220 Grit)
    – Orbital Sander on Top/Edges (220 Grit)



  •  Leg Failure
    Trial and Error
    My wood was crooked so I need to even out the legs. I tried using pieces of wood to even it out but I realized they would be visible when the table was done.


I quickly scrapped the idea and decided to inset the legs to even the table out.


  •  Leg Success!…. Just Don’t Look Underneath
    ( I’m not a “Craftswoman” people)

    The perfectionist in me doesn’t want you to see this but it needs to be shown. It wasn’t pretty but I got it done and so can you!


I tapped into my creative side and used a 3/4″ and 1″ drill bit to drill to the depth necessary. Then I chiseled out the remaining wood. It’s not attractive but its done.


Bottom Side – Finished


  • Finished!!!
    I love it SO much!





All Finished!


Wood Detail – Finished!


Wood Crack Detail – Finished


Wood Detail Top – Finished


Wood Detail Corner – Finished


Coffee Table – Finished!

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The Prisoners and The Freed Man 

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

IMG_20170321_040319115The Prisoners and The Freed Man
I slowly walked down the hall gazing at the imprisoned statues. Their faces seemed to ache as they tried to pull their way out of the marble; their bodies looked tired, working against the cold stone for a freedom that would never come. Their features were formed but still foggy; they would forever remain a blurred shadow of what they could be if they had only been completely cut from the rock that bound them.

I felt desperate sorrow. I knew they would never escape. I knew they would forever remain here in this form. I knew their sculptor would likely have diligently finished the work he had started in them if the situation had been different. As it was, they would remain in this art museum hall, forever encased in marble.

I gathered myself because, they were after all, just unfinished statues. I turned my gaze ahead to the real reason I had come. I walked down the hall to the domed room and looked up to see what I had viewed so many times in books. I marveled at the stark contrast this statue had to his imprisoned comrades in the hall behind me.

He was strong and free. Perfectly formed, poised as an image of perfection for the last 500 years. He wasn’t pulling away from any leftover marble, his face unblurred and smoothed off. He looked as if he might step down off the museum display.

As I looked, my husband inquired, “Is it as great as you expected?”

My response, “No, it’s much better.”

David – The Freed Man
IMG_20170321_042235945_HDRWe were gazing up at Michelangelo’s David in Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. This space in the art museum was crafted for David and his enslaved marble neighbors. The unfinished prisoner statues lined the long hallway and just beyond them, under a dome shaped ceiling stood a seventeen foot tall David, the picture of what his prisoner friends could have become.

This presentation of Michelangelo’s work was incredible to me and left me standing in awe of the stark contrast between this finished and unfinished work. Michelangelo once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” He believed every stone had a statue inside that just needed to be discovered and set free. He was just getting rid of the extra marble.

Michelangelo had been commissioned to create the statues, but when the one who had commissioned the work died, so did the progress of the statues.

Our tour group moved on, and I trotted along in a daze of reflection and contemplation. I followed the crowds until we were standing in the gift shop. Everyone was making purchases and my husband asked if there was anything I wanted. I was still in a blur, my mind on the slaves in the hall.

I knew I could spend money in the gift shop, but my real souvenir was my memory from this day, and it wouldn’t be found in the store. I excused myself, told my husband I would be back, and did an awkward run-walk past the immaculate David, past the foggy prisoners, until I was once again at the beginning of the hall.

The Prisoner and the Freed Man

I whipped around and took a deep breath as I looked at the scene afresh. It was the same but different now that I had walked around and inspected every statue. I knew the time was limited so I snapped a picture and then another before I took one more long look down the hall.

I scurried back to my group and left the museum. We walked through streets of Florence seeing the views and snapping pictures; however, my mind constantly wandered back to the hall of prisoners through the whole of the day.

Living In The Hall of Prisoners

PrisonerThose prisoners continue to stay with me, and even now I often go back and stare at pictures of their faces pulling at that rock. I do this because I stopped just seeing their faces that day in the museum and instead saw my own face trying in vain to pull away from that stone. These slaves were a representation of what I looked like in stark contrast to the freed “David” that I so longed to be.

They captured the longing I’ve felt for so many years as a follower of Christ and only just recently recognized was lying under the surface. I’ve struggled along in my journey for so many years like these prisoners, and I didn’t even know it, much like the Israelites forging through the desert for forty long years.

IMG_20170321_040509768Forty years. Forty years, Moses walked God’s people around in a sandy wasteland while they lived on manna and halfheartedly followed God, wishing to be slaves again in Egypt and making golden calves when things didn’t go their way.

Their story is heartbreaking, a free people who couldn’t learn to be free, and so they remained in a desert wilderness imprisoned by their minds and their old ways of thinking. All the while they had a master Sculptor ready and willing to be commissioned to chip away those things that left them encased in lies and old paradigms of their life in Egypt.

Why did they settle into a strange half-life? Why do I? Why do we believe, think, and accept Jesus as only capable of giving a small amount of freedom?

Living Free
That recognition, that desperate longing in me, didn’t stay long once I recognized it, because, well, that’s not how the Spirit works. He didn’t leave me in despair but brought me new hope. Hope that even though I’m still an imprisoned statue, I can commission Him, the Great Sculptor, to finish the work He started in me.

IMG_20170321_041154925A half-life in Christ isn’t enough for me anymore, and now that I recognize that, I won’t stop until I’m chiseled free like David, like the free Israelites who followed Joshua and knew how to be warriors and gain the land God had promised them years before.

Friends, sometimes I want to live in the desert, sometimes I want to be a slave and a prisoner because gaining that free life in Jesus is so incredibly much work. It’s real work, but I won’t run away, now that I’ve seen what could be, I might spend a few days bruised at camp, but I will not be defeated.

We were created to be free in Christ. We were created by an incredible Artist who longs to finish the good work He started in us. Join me friends in pursuing that walk from the Hall of Prisoners to the Freed David.

Below are some tangible steps I’m taking in my own life to pursue freedom:

  1. Asking the Spirit to continue working in me and to show me where I need to be chiseled and accept new ways of looking at things.
  2. Identifying old paradigms and old ways of thinking and then taking time to pray about and plan new approaches to put in place of those old things.
  3. Memorizing scripture that supports my goal and continually approach scripture with fresh eyes. Each time I read, I pray that the Spirit would help me see the scripture as He would have me see it, not with old lies distorting it.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice. I go about my day and then mess up and do things the old way. As soon as I realize it, I mentally stick a fork in the cogs and gears that were trained to move that way. I stop, I think, and I practice a new healthy way of thinking and praying through that moment.
  5. Believing that Jesus wants me to be free. Believing the great Sculptor is ready, willing, and able. When I don’t believe, admitting that and praying about it.
  6. Prayer. Oh, so much prayer. As I struggle and fight to win these mental and spiritual battles happening in my mind, I gain new land in my heart, my spirit, and my soul. And slowly, oh so slowly, I’m leaving the prison of stone and the prison in the desert and claiming space in the Promised Land.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. -Galatians 5:1

The Prisoner and the Freed Man

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DIY Captain America Shield Wall Decor


20150913_165247My son, Silas, has been all things Captain America for over a year now. So when we moved into our new home last year was thrilled to find that he had blue walls, just the right color to compliment the Captain America theme he wanted. This amazing kid has braved four moves in the five years he’s been alive so he was pretty much getting whatever room he wanted.

I’m always try to keep costs low with the kids’ rooms because of our frequent moves and my kids’ ever changing dream of what they want their room to be. See my daughter’s room for another example: Pretty In Peacock.

20151127_114758While I hit up Hobby Lobby and Target for a few great Captain America items, I was longing to find that one amazing centerpiece for the room. One day we were riding in the field at my family farm and I saw the perfect thing staring back at me: A Captain America Shield.

IMG_20170118_102908188_HDROkay, okay, at the time it was an old junky grain feeder lid next to the recently demolished chicken coop… but that’s not what I saw. I saw just the feature piece I wanted for Silas’s room. So I hauled it out with glee,prepared to get it home (just a short 8 hour drive away), and got to work.

Have an old feeder lid or even an old garbage can? You can make a custom piece for your son’s room! Or use this idea to inspire a fun piece of wall art to match your child’s favorite room style.

Happy Crafting!

Thinking Of Buying?
Hobby Lobby 12″ Metal Shield: $25 Hobby Lobby Captain America Shield
Think Geek 24″ Metal Shield: $40 Think Geek Captain America Shield
Etsy 24″ Metal Shield: $339 Etsy Captain America Shield

DIY Instead!
DIY Metal Shield:  $0-$18
My Cost: FREE (I had everything on hand)

“Shield” (Grain/Feeder Lid, Old Garbage Can Lid, Wooden Circle, etc)
$3 Red, White, Blue Paint* Wal-Mart Acrylic Paint
$2-3 Paintbrushes (Small and Medium Sized)
$4 WetorDry 400 Grit Sandpaper Lowes WetorDry Sandpaper
$7.30 Spray Varnish (Matte Finish) Lowes Spray Varnish
Materials to Hang Shield (Nail/Wire/Drill)
Ruler (Optional)
Tape (Optional)
Automatic Sander (Optional)

*Paint: Anything from small acrylic containers to leftover wall paint works. I used a mixture of paint from walls and acrylics that were in my kids’ paint stash- some was glossy and some flat. It worked out because I was planning to distress the shield and spray varnish over it. If you plan to go for a more clean look, choosing paint with the same finish is a good idea as it will keep the project looking consistent.

  1. Choose a Suitable Shield
    I found an amazing old feeder lid on our farm (at least that’s what I think it is). I immediately knew it needed to be a Captain America Shield. It only took an 8 hour trip to get it home from our family farm. 🙂
  2. Prepare Shield- Sand and Clean
    If the shield is old metal or rough wood it will need to be sanded down. I used wetordry sandpaper which works great on metal surfaces. After spraying the shield with water I sanded all the rough and rusty spots till they were smooth. Clean and let dry.*I didn’t prime the rusted spots because I don’t care if it comes through over time. I kinda like the look. If you don’t want the rustic look… prime with special rust resistant paint.
  3. Measure and Tape
    Use tape and ruler to measure the distance between circles. Taping optional for the circles. I didn’t tape because I was planning to give it a rustic look and therefore the paint didn’t need to be as precise.
  4. Print and Cut Out Star Shape
    Print a star in the appropriate size for the shield. It will take the guess work out of creating one from scratch. Then carefully cut out the star, preserving paper star and surrounding paper for use later.
    20150923_124529 (1)
  5. Paint… Wait… Paint!
    After painting each color wait to let it dry before moving on to the next color. Do a second coat if necessary. Again, I wasn’t to concerned about it being exact because I was going for he rustic look.
  6. Star Power
    Use the paper from the star cut out to form a star to be painted in the center of the shield. While I taped this on I didn’t paint completely over it but used it as more of a guide as to where the lines should be.If needed, after the paint drys, use the star to cover the blue paint while creating the blue outline.
  7. Rustic Anyone?
    If you want to keep the lines clean, skip this step. If not, Wet down the dry shield and use the wet sandpaper to manually rough up the shield. Particularly in spots where the paint might not look ideal. It’s best to wait a few days before this step so the paint has some time to cure.*Rustic Look Warning: My son informed me that Captain America’s shield doesn’t contain scrapes like that and would have preferred it without them. It wasn’t really an option with an old rusty lid but I could appreciate the view point so I’m sharing it here. 🙂
  8. Spray Varnish
    Apply 2-3 thin coats of matte spray varnish.
    I wanted to finish up with a light spray varnish to give a more even finish. Between all my found paints from around the house (some glossy, some flat) and the sanding the shield really needed this step to have a finished look!
  9. Hang!
    I had to get a little creative when hanging this huge piece. If needed, a few holes could be drilled in the sides for wire to be strung through and then hardware could all be hidden behind the shield.

Hanging Shield


Captain America Gear


Captain America Room and Toys!

Bedside Table
By Silas
DIY Bedside Table: $10-$15
Our Cost: $1

Table: $1 – Garage Sale Find
Paint: $3-$5 Acrylic Paint (we had on hand)
Paint Brushes: $3-5 (we had on hand)


Pallet – Word Wall
DIY Pallet Word Wall: $0-$23
My Cost: $5 (nails)

Pallet: Free
Paint: $3-$5 (we had on hand)
Paint Brushes: $3-5  (we had on hand)
Lowes Antiquing Glaze: $12.99 (we had on hand) Lowes Antiquing Glaze
Nails: $5



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$0.75 Decorative Gift Bags

Fun, fancy, and decorative gift bags are getting pricey! Here’s a fun way to make them yourself for under $1! You can also get creative and use the idea for some fun Christmas bags!

Happy Crafting!

Cost Per Bag: $0.75
Time: Less than 5 minutes

$0.20 each Flower-Deconstructed (Bunch of 5- $1 Dollar Tree)
$0.50 each Plain Gift Bag (Set of 2 – $1 Dollar Tree)
$0.05 each Tissue Paper (Package of 20 – $1 Dollar Tree)
Hot Glue Gun

Deconstruct Flower
Remove leaves and flowers from stems.

Flower Prep
Use the hot glue gun to attach leaf to the base of the flower.


Gift Bag Prep
Use flower stem to measure and make hole for flower base.


Attaching Flower to Bag
Use hot glue gun around hole then firmly press flower down while it dries.


Add some tissue and your bag is ready to go!




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DIY Eli Shane (Slugterra) Costume

si-2This Kid.

He wanted to be Eli Shane of Slugterra for Halloween.

The problem: This costume doesn’t exist. Eli is just obscure enough to be absent from every Halloween Costume web-site in America… and the world.

So, off I went to the store to obtain the necessary items to make it happen. People if you can talk your child out of this costume… DO IT! However, if you must make it, here are the steps to get it done!

Happy Crafting!


Eli Shane, Slugterra


Silas as Eli Shane, Slugterra














$15 Black, White, and Orange T-Shirts (Wal-Mart $4.97 each)
$12.99 Orange Backpack (Amazon Backpack)
$8 Fabric Spray
$4 Yellow and Orange Puff Paint (Wal-Mart $2 each)
$18.99 Blaster: Eli’s Gun (Amazon Blaster)
Golf Ball Sleeves
Black Fabric Scraps
Sewing Machine

Yes! This costume added up, however, Silas used his allowance to buy the blaster and we had a lot of the items on hand to save money.



Shirt: Cut, connected with adhesive fabric spray, and ready to sew.

Fabric Being Sewn on Shirt

Measuring and cutting orange fabric trim.
After this it was attached with adhesive spray to keep it in place before sewing it together.

Measuring, cutting, and sewing orange fabric under arm.


Shirt Finished!


Backpack – Ready to be made into Eli Shane’s Backpack

Fabric sleeve made from black fabric and pulled on over strap. Once a sleeve was sewn together for the strap, It could easily slide on because of the detachable strap on the backpack. Strap is pinned on underneath so it can be easily removed for use as a regular backpack too.


Each “Slug Holder” made from a golf ball sleeve (plastic). It was easily cut down to size with scissors.

Velcro sewn on to the fabric backpack sleeve and stuck onto the “slug holder”.

Star Decor: Black fabric used to sew and stuff a mini pillow. Then added a star with puff paint. After drying, the star pillow was sewn to the fabric backpack sleeve.

Backpack Finished!


Just add boots and jeans! 🙂


Ready To Go!



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DIY Thing 1 and Thing 2 Costumes



These two cuties (Shiloh and her friend) decided to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Halloween on the bus last week Thursday. As luck would have it, we couldn’t get the costumes in time so I got out the sewing machine and puff paint and got to work.

For the record, I recommend buying the shirts if you have the time to wait for them in the mail. They’re only about $13 on Amazon.

Two positives of making the shirt:
1. I was excited to be able to get them long sleeves so they would be a little warmer when they were out and about Trick or Treating.
2. This could be a super fun parent/child project! 🙂

Happy Sewing… and Puff-Painting!


Shirt, Skirt, and Leggings

Red Shirt:
$4.97 (Wal-Mart)
Leggings: $10 (Target)
Tutu: $10 (Party City)
Puff Paint: $2.47 (Wal-Mart)
Sewing Machine
White Thread
White Fabric Scraps

Creating the Circle
After I finished, the shirts I realized that sewing the circle’s edge before putting it on the shirt was unnecessary, I could have just left the edges without sewing as the puff paint covered it all. However, I wasn’t sure so I didn’t leave it to chance.
If you and your kids try this one I would drop this step.

Puff-Paint Time!
Don’t forget to let it dry for a day. 🙂

Measuring and Sewing

More Puff-Paint… and Dry Time!


Thing 1 & Thing 2


Thing 1 & Thing 2






A little blue hair to finish the look!


Thing 1 & Thing 2


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