Project Week…

My dad is in town for what has become his annual spring visit – lending his helping hand in moving our projects forward (because that’s what makes sense when you’re as pregnant as I am!). Today’s project: wrapping the patio posts. We have traditional turned posts that once complimented the victorian style of the house.
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But, part of the landscape renovation was updating the look of the house just a bit. Years ago we removed the gingerbread and white picket railing. Now, we’re covering the posts; much more economical than replacing them all together. As with most of projects – there was a strong learning curve on this process. Fortunately, we have seven posts, so we’re becoming more efficient with each one. We got over half of them done today and we’ll be back at it tomorrow.
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Once they’re wrapped we’ll move on to trimming them out. And once that’s done…my mind swirls with what project to tackle next!

Wooden “Give Thanks” banner…

Several years ago I made a “Be Grateful” banner out of wood. I loved it so much but there was one small problem – I made it out of pine and that thing was heavy. It tore many Command strips off the wall! This year I reprised the project and made it out of thin underlayment – plywood.

I had Home Depot cut the plywood into strips and I used the miter saw to cut the triangles. Working with plywood like this can be a bit tricky and it leaves plenty of splinters. One side has a much nicer finish after the cutting process – I stained that side.

The other side, which wasn’t so nice, got a couple coats of chalkboard paint.
I debated how I should put the letters on: hand paint, vinyl letters, burning with a hand tool or a foam stamp. I went the easy route and what was readily available to me. I then carefully painted the edges with a metallic gold paint.
It hangs on the entertainment center with two small command strips and so far the weight hasn’t been a problem. Not only that but the wood tones look much better than the painted white “be grateful” banner I previously did.
You can see more details and a full tutorial at

4 year anniversary…

It’s hard to believe we’re only celebrating our four year anniversary of living in this house. It was just days before Thanksgiving when we first unloaded the truck (of stuff we hadn’t seen in 10 months) and the overwhelming part of unpacking started to set in.
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I still remember the first time we walked in and Steve didn’t get as far as the living room when he made the statement, “There’s no way.”
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I suppose the wall to wall mauve carpet (with sections of fake wood set in) was a little hard to look past. As well as the orange oak and 80’s brass fixtures around every corner. It was due for some love and attention and I just knew I could give it the love it needed. Although Steve was skeptical and could not see my vision – he had faith that we could make it our home. And we have.
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It’s home and it’s comfortable and I love it. We’ve come a long ways in four years which is a little disheartening when I think of all we have left to update and fix. But there’s no rush; we slowly chip away at our to-do list as money and time allows. My hope is by our 10 year anniversary of living here we might get it to where we both want it. Baby steps!

If I was handing out trophies to our home, they would be as follows:

Biggest visual improvement: Hardwood floors

Biggest stretch of my abilities: The entertainment Center

Most Prep Work: The staircase

Most admired by visitors: The green barn door

Most dreamed about project: A kitchen update

Most Maintenance: Our 13 orange trees (Which is why Steve is antsy to rip out half of them!)

Hardest place to keep clean and organized: The garage wins by a landslide!

It feels good to be home.

Motherhood in realtime…

I’ve enjoyed recording my kids seemingly normal moments in realtime. I figured for kicks and giggles I’d photograph one of my own moments in real time:
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This is back patio right now. It wouldn’t seem so bad if it hadn’t looked like this for several weeks! I started one of those projects that I figured would be wrapped up much faster than was the case. Cannon’s Christmas present has taken some time and then there was another little project that I managed to squeeze in.
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And because I only can find an hour here and an hour there – my patio has looked like this for too long. I’m grateful for a patient and understanding husband. And even more grateful that I still have all my fingers after spending hours on the scroll saw!
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Gone are the days of me finishing a project quickly without interruptions!

DIY USA Wall art…

Here’s a project that I completed back in April and I’m just now getting around to posting it. Its funny – I’ll do a project, work hard to complete it and display it and then the newness wears off and I forget that I haven’t posted any pictures.
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood
I may have an obsession with maps and globes. It’s my hope that it creates curiosity and a sense of exploration with my children. This wooden DIY USA wall art is my new favorite wall decor and it was easy. I’m not just saying that…really. In fact, I had a friend do this project with me. A friend who had never picked up a jig saw before and she will agree, this is much more manageable than it looks.

You’ll need:
A sheet of plywood
Planks of wood; pallet wood or inexpensive fencing
Wood Glue
Projector of some type
Jig saw

Start by cutting a sheet of plywood roughly to the size of your desired map size. Home improvement stores will gladly cut this to size for you. Mine is almost 6 feet wide.

Lay out how your planks are going to sit on your plywood. I chose inexpensive cedar fencing with a horizontal pattern. Glue the planks to your plywood. I used heavy buckets of wheat to keep it flat while drying. You could just as easily throw some nails in the back to keep it in place as it dries.
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood

Once it’s completely dry, trace a backwards map on the plywood side using a sharpie marker. I used an LCD video projector, but an overhead projector would work with a transparency.
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood

Once the map was traced, I reinforced the entire perimeter of the map (on the inside of my tracing) with nails from my nail gun. I knew that the jig saw would be reciprocating and may cause some of the smaller pieces to come unglued – this helped keep everything together.
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood

With the plywood side up, using a jig saw, slowly cut along the marker line outlining the map. There are a lot of intricate pieces in the USA and I didn’t cut every little piece, a jig saw isn’t meant for fine cutting. Some cuts you’ll need to come at it from several angles in order for it to work, but be patient.
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood

At first you’ll want to try and follow every little curve and line, only to realize you really don’t need to. Depending on your size of map, the cutting out may take an hour or two. Go slowly. Take breaks – or else your hand may fall off from the vibration of the saw!

Flip it over and admire your work. You may see areas you want to clean up just a bit – or be more intricate on and if thats that case, flip it over and keep cutting.

I decided to keep this piece a little rustic. I sanded just a few of the edges to make them nice but I didn’t sand the entire piece. I liked the rough wood – it had character and charm. I also chose not to stain it, because I liked the variations of color in the wood. But you can choose what fits your house and style – sand and stain if desired!
DIY USA wall art made from cheap fencing or pallet wood

I originally posted this at

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