5 Simple Steps to a Furniture Refresh

Maybe you’ve had a moment like this…you are at a garage sale, thrift sale, thrift shop…. and you find a piece of furniture that is a bit worn, maybe a bit sad, but interesting and the price is just right.

I love these moments, it’s the thrill of the hunt, looking for forgotten treasures full of history and purpose. There’s potential there, possibilities.

That’s how I felt when I spotted this beauty at an estate sale. Far from perfect, pretty dusty, but full of possibilities!

(You can see, I nearly forgot the before. 😬)

5 Simple Steps for the perfect refresh:

1. Clean. Get every bit of dirt and dust off. You may even want to sand or strip portions. This cabinet was pretty rough to begin with but I was ok with the overall color of the wood.

2. Prep. I decided I wanted to paint part of the cabinet (Is it a cabinet? I’m not entirely sure what it is). I’m really into the two-toned look. You get to keep some of the warmth of the wood but also add your own style and custom color to the piece. I taped off the parts I didn’t want to paint.

3. Paint. I love chalk paint, it gives a lovely matte finish and is super easy to work with. I used Shabby Paint’s Snow White for this piece. And then their Sheer Armor finishing product.

4. Embellish. This piece had some great hardware that had seen better days. I used Rub n’ Buff Antique Gold to refresh the color and bring out the interesting details.

5. Style. The missing door was the perfect opportunity to add a couple of baskets in the opening. Great for organization and some added texture. A few other antiques, a beautiful painting (this one is by Jenny Highsmith, JennyHighsmith.com), and some faux flowers complete the look.

Not bad for a piece of furniture I picked up for $30 that I don’t actually know what it is.

XO,

-h

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It’s Happening

It’s a Thanksgiving miracle. And if you know me at all, you know that I’m one of the biggest FRIENDS fans ever and so Thanksgiving is a very big deal.

Today we got word that our building permits are ready to issue! HOOORRRAAAYYY! We full on did a family happy dance when we got the news. And just to be clear, Jackson has moves, oh yah!!

I equate waiting the last 12 weeks for these permits to the first trimester of pregnancy. You don’t believe it is real, you think it’s never gonna happen, and of course, the constant nausea. 😊

The permitting process has been one of the single most frustrating processes ever. But here we are on the other side, and it feels glorious. Glorious!

While we have been waiting, here’s what we have been up to…

  • Had the asbestos abated in the existing mobile home so that it could be demolished.
  • Applied for a demolition permit (that one only took about 5 weeks).
  • Started demo. And I’ll tell you, that was a sweet thing to watch.
  • Had our property put on evacuation notice for the wildfires, demo stalled. Praise the Lord, our property was spared.
  • Restarted and finished demo.
  • Logged about 2 loads of trees (no we did not do this ourselves).  
  • Had a trampoline casualty (see previous item). Yup, it’s toast. On a positive note, the kids have creatively names the flattened trampoline the jungle gym.
  • Turned the entire first acre into a giant pit of mud (again, see above).
  • Had tree trunks removed where the house will be.
  • Began burning the mountains of debris from logging. And I’m not exaggerating about the mountains, there are three. And we are not even close to done.
  • Learned to drive (or do you say operate?) an excavator.
  • Closed on our loan. Yay, we actually own the property we have been making this colossal mess of.
  • Started renovation work on the next place we will be living while we wait for our house to be built.

We’ve still got miles to go, but today is a day we celebrate with grinning emojis, happy dances, and a whole lot of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

XO,
Heather

The Story of the Lost Wood

Not sure exactly where to start this story… I could go back to May of this year or March of this year or approximately 13 years ago when we decided to move from Springfield to Harrisburg or even 15 years ago when Ryan and I got married.

Ok, I’ll make it quick. 15 years ago, we got married young. Realized we couldn’t both be in college at the same time, so we took turns. Ryan graciously allowed me to finish my Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling and then he decided to go to Oregon State University. OSU was about an hour from where we lived in Springfield.

So, we decided to move from Springfield to a small town between college and work called Harrisburg. It is less than 5,000 people and one stoplight small. We bought a house and we loved it there. And even after Ryan was done with college, we stayed. We loved our house and our small community.

Moving back had come up a few times over the 13 years we lived there. We both work in Eugene. Our church is in Springfield. Our families and friends are in Springfield/Eugene. But we just felt like Harrisburg was home. And although it added to the daily commute and made getting Kyrie to school in Springfield more challenging, moving just wasn’t on our radar. Maybe in a couple years we said. Maybe when it’s time for Jackson to go to school. Maybe.

I just have this picture in my mind of a path, a lovely steady path that really had no plans of changing. It was nice, it was comfortable, it came with a bit of a commute, but it was our path.

Then COVID-19 hit*. Similar to many others, the stay at home order meant a lot of Netflix, looking for toilet paper online, and creating a sourdough starter. Am I right? Who else has been baking sourdough? Luckily for Ryan, it also meant it was a perfect opportunity to tackle a few projects around the house.

We finished the wainscoting trim in the dining room.
We changed out the vanity in our powder room.
We planted three trees.
We added some brickwork around said trees and in the backyard off the patio.
We barked everything.
We added river rock around the pool.
We repainted our master bathroom.

The done list was looking amazing.

One last project, you know that dishwasher that had been sitting in the backyard for the last 5 (almost 6) years? Shameful, yes. We decided to finally make a trip to the dump and get rid of it. Yes, great weekend excursion for life in the time of corona virus.

Isn’t it interesting how God uses the most mundane moments to change our paths? A trip to the dump that we’d been putting off for over 5 years. God can use that.

After the trip to the dump and a smashed finger (poor Kyrie!), we decided to stop at Ryan’s parent’s house. We hadn’t seen them in weeks and thought it would be good to just say hello, even if it was a socially distanced hello.

And here is the moment that changed the Green family’s path.
Here it is, are you ready for it…???

We were talking to Ryan’s mom, Danielle, and she apologized that Ryan’s Dad, Greg, wasn’t around and that we would miss him during our visit. But he was up mowing some different properties that the family’s trust had on the market.

Time out, side note: Ryan’s grandparents owned several properties that they rented out. After their passing, these properties have been sold one-by-one by the family trust. We knew these were being sold, but we were happy and comfortable in Harrisburg (see paragraphs 3 and 4).

Time in: Danielle began describing one of these properties.

Danielle: It has a meadow, and creek, and lots of trees, it really is lovely (other than the dumpy trailer). Anyway, he’s up there mowing today.

Ryan: Meadow, creek, trees… how big is the property?

Danielle: 3 acres.

Another side note: In the past when Ryan and I would dream about owning property someday, we always said we would want 3-5 acres.

Ryan and Heather: knowing look

Ryan: We should go look at it.

Heather: Yes, yes we should.

Yet another side note:  Just so you, the reader, know, we were both only about 50% serious, maybe less. But life in the time of corona makes any excursion sound exciting. And it was almost like a game of chicken.

And so, everyone back in the van, and a couple miles up the road. Wait, actually, Ryan turned the wrong way. He nearly missed the moment, we nearly missed the new path.

Me: Hey, weren’t we going to look at that property?

Ryan: I thought you were joking.

Me: I was, but hey, why not!

Ryan: Ok!

Ryan whipped around and a few miles up the road and we were there. The driveway was a canopy of old Douglas Fir and Cedar trees. We hopped out and immediately saw the dumpy trailer (details), I could smell the fir/pine and cedar and rain. We could see the delightful meadow (aka front yard), we were surrounded by every shade of green you could imagine. And in the distance, we could hear the rushing water of a creek. Lovely, delightful, sweet, but someone else’s dream surely.

We went home and returned to normal.

The next day, I had decided I also wanted to repaint the powder room and had this super cool idea to do a dotted-diamond wall treatment. Ryan really is awesome at all things geometric (plus he’s super tall with long arms), so while the kids napped, I asked him to help me measure and mark the walls. About halfway done with the first wall (and at least 1 hour in),

Ryan: What did you think of that property?

Me: It was really nice, lots of potential. I’d love to have something like that someday. But we aren’t ready for step like that, right? And I love our house, we’ve done so much work lately, and I don’t want to give it up.

Ryan: Yah, it was really nice. [Insert a ton of Ryan talking about how much he loved growing up in the country. Space to run around in. You can make trails. Play in the creek. Put up a basketball hoop. Space. Build a tree house. Room to garden. Space. No neighbors looking into your backyard. No neighbors judging your lack of brilliance at landscaping. Space. I would love for our kids to grow up in the country.]

Me (nearly in tears, good tears): So what you are telling me, is you want to give our kids a lifestyle like what you grew up with? And that raising your kids in the country has always been a dream of yours? Ok, I’m in…. But the trailer isn’t livable, right? But what about our house? Harrisburg? Could we even afford something like that? Etc…

Ryan: I’ll call my dad and see if we can go back out with him and take a walk around.

So back to the picture of my path. Did it start a few months ago? Did it start 13 years ago? 15 years ago? I have no doubt in my mind that God knows exactly where this path started. But in my mind, I see a fork in the path that happened on that ordinary May day when we went to the dump.

I’m standing here writing this in an 800 square foot apartment. We sold the house. Turns out, all that work we were doing uniquely set us up to get the house on the market in about a month. Did God have a plan? Why yes, He did. The house sold in two days, the second family that walked through made us an offer. We went through the process of finding a lender and a builder.

Now we are living in this apartment while we get everything going on the build. Demo, trees, permits, etc. We spend several weeknights and most weekends up at the Lost Wood. Oh, yes, we named it. The kids already love tromping around in the woods and throwing rocks in the creek (looking at you, Liam). Each kiddo has their very own walking stick, courtesy of the Lost Wood. The property isn’t landscaped and has decades of old trees and broken branches and debris. Ryan and I have been clearing brush and raking leaves and thinning things out. Neither of us has ever enjoyed yard work, but we love this yard work. Ryan has dreams of creating walking paths, and a few patios areas, and a tree house. I’m excited for a lovely outdoor patio to enjoy the view, and to plant a bigger garden, and to watch my kids grow up in the Lost Wood.

God has showed up in other ways as well, ask me sometime about our fence, my grandparent’s legacy, apartment 84, the rats, or the unethical appraiser. We’ve already been blessed beyond measure.

The next adventure involves moving to the Lost Wood in a travel trailer. But more on that another day. 

XO, Heather

*Please don’t think I don’t take COVID-19 it seriously. I know it has been a global tragedy in so many ways. And my heart breaks for all those that have been impacted negatively.

10 Tips for Building a Cardboard Pirate Ship

Finally posting this… four months later.

Liam’s first birthday was upon us. His theme had to be nautical, his middle name is Saylor after all. So pirates, of course!

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate birthday party!

A quick Pinterest search yielded all these creative people who made giant cardboard pirate ships, so we decided we needed one too, obviously!

Ryan joined in and was able to get some very big pieces of cardboard from work, a few sketches and a scale model later, and we had our design. About a week of building, and here’s the final ship!

Here are my top 10 tips for making your own!

1. Have a plan! Cutting that kind of cardboard is very difficult, you don’t want to have to redo pieces. Sketch and then try out your design. We made some significant improvements between our sketch, model, and the final ship.

2. Gather the right tools. We used box knives, sharpies, packing tape and duct tape (for decoration), and a yard stick. Remember extra blades for your knife, you’ll need them.

3. Let the pieces of cardboard be your guide. We discovered right away how hard it is to cut the cardboard, so we let the pieces we had help decide the final size of the ship. For example, rather than cutting a foot off the length, we just embraced that extra foot.

4. Work as a team. This project would have been too difficult to tackle on my own. A second brain, pair of hands, and muscles really came in handy.

5. Packing tape is your friend. The duct tape was fun to decorate with, but the packing tape was the true hero in keeping things together. We often taped both sides of a seam to help reinforce the ship.

6. Build on site. We had planned to build the ship in the garage and then transfer to the house on the day of the party. Boy, we would have been sorry. Think through the finished size and build accordingly.

7. Make sure to add supports across the ship. Our plan had both a cabin and a front deck. These were not only super fun for the kids, but they added necessary support to the ship. Support and style, right?!! The kids LOVED the cabin.

8. Decorate. When we started I thought we’d keep the decor pretty simple. Ha ha, that doesn’t sound like me at all.

  • Like I mentioned, we used the brown duct tape to decorate with. I also added it to the exposed edges for safety.
  • I used the yard stick and brown sharpies to create a planking effect. Mistakes became imperfections in the wood adding to the authenticity of the ship. 😉
  • Cardboard tubes and black spray paint made cannons, a mast, and a boom.
  • I made the sail from some inexpensive muslin and rope.
  • We added a wooden captain’s wheel and anchor as well.
  • We traced dinner plates for the portholes, and I had the kids stand next to the ship to determine a good height they could peak through.
  • We made a crawl-through door on the stern of the ship. Liam was particularly fond of this feature.
  • A pirate flag on the bow completed the look. Argh!

9. Embellish. As if all the previous items weren’t enough, we blew up blue balloons to look like water. And I cut out shark fins to place in the water (more cardboard, yes more, and some silver paint). The kids even made up a fun game of trying to sink the ship with all the balloons.

10. Enjoy! We made the ship big enough that adults could get in there too. Ryan and I both enjoyed crawling in and playing in the ship. The kids loved it even more when we were all pirates together. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

Good luck, and just for fun, here’s a few more party ideas and a cute pic of the birthday boy as well.

XO,

-h

DIY Gingham Apron — Free Pattern

So I dusted off my free flirty apron pattern to make matching aprons for my mom and sister. 

This fall their very own cookbook released, 150+ Gluten Free Family Favorites. It was a labor of love to create recipes that even the most strict gluten free diet can handle. My sister was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 15 years ago and has lived completely gluten free since that time. Difficult yes, but with all the awesome recipes they have created, she doesn’t have to live without her favorite foods anymore! Can you say cinnamon rolls?!!

And obviously, they needed coordinating aprons for events! Obviously. 

You can get all the instructions and details from this previous post

Here are the finished aprons at the local gluten-free expo!

And how cute is this cookbook? See the coordinating blue and white gingham, aren’t we clever?!!



Are you, or someone you love, gluten free? You can order the book at any major retailer including Amazon.

-h

P.S. I die for the Salted Carmel Shortbread.

DIY – Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

When Ryan and I were first married, my parents spent a weekend at my grandparents house getting rid of some clutter. One of the items that was on its way out was an old dining room table and chairs that originally belonged to my great grandparents.

Thankfully, my mom couldn’t bear to see them go. So, she called me! Yay!

I’m always up for a little DIY challenge and Ryan and I just so happened to be shopping for our first house. Perfect!

Mom saved the set from the landfill, Ryan and I bought a house, and the set was ours. We lovingly refinished the chairs with dark cherry stain and I re-covered the seats with a tone-on-tone red damask fabric. Gorgeous! We ended up having to buy a new table because the tabletop wasn’t salvageable (good news, we did save and reuse the legs).

Every time my parents come over for dinner, my Dad remarks fondly how glad he is that we saved the chairs. He remembers the “heart” shape backs from his own childhood. My grandmother has also been tickled to see them in our house. I love the history and stories these chairs tell. All the warm fuzzy feelings!

Now we have three little ones of our own and the stories continue. Sadly though, the red damask hasn’t loved the spilled oatmeal, applesauce, milk, ice cream, yogurt, syrup… you name it, those chairs have gotten doused in it.

I was wandering around Hobby Lobby looking for inspiration, and this is what called my name!

The chairs! Yes!

Materials:

1 yard home decor fabric (Mine was from Hobby Lobby)

6, 1″ foam chair pads (Hobby Lobby again), measuring 15″ x 17″

Tissue paper

Staple gun, staples

Pliers and screw driver (for removing old staples)

Directions:

    I started by removing the seats from the chairs. (Let’s be real, Ryan did that part. Thanks babe!)
    I used a combination of the flathead screwdriver and pliers to remove the old staples.
    I traced the seats out into the tissue paper and then added about 2.5″ all the way around to create a pattern. If you look closely (not only will you see my stylish slippers) you will also see my grandfather’s last name and my grandmother’s maiden name written on the back from when my grandparents were first married and had the chairs recovered. Family history right there!
  • Then I used my pattern to cut out my fabric. I also had to trim the chair foam just a bit to fit the seats.
    Assembling the seats is as simple as fabric face down, foam centered on the fabric, seat (face down) on top. Then staple, staple, and staple some more. To staple, you want to pull the fabric tight, actually pressing down on the foam. Start in the center of one side, and work to the edges, leaving the corners until all four sides are done. Do the corners last, making a nicely finished edge.
    Ryan put the screws back in and… voila!

Chairs full of legit family history sans oatmeal stains!

-h

P.S. Check out my cute little helper…

DIY Roman Shade

I love myself a good roman shade. Don’t know what it is exactly, but my type A personality is drawn to the simplicity and nice lines time and time again. 

In the past ten years we have lived in our house, I have sewn several. In particular, I like to change out the one in my kitchen. We are in the middle of a mini remodel, and well, I thought I’d reward myself with a new one. I mean, the remodel my never be done, but I have myself an updated window treatment!

To top it off, I was in NYC a few months ago and got to visit Mood Fabrics. It was literally fabric heaven. While I was there, I picked up some fabric perfect for my new shade. Obviously. 

Materials:

Checked fabric – 2 yards (depends on the size of your window)

Coordinating Fabric – 1/4 yard (again depends on the size you are making

Coordinating thread

Coordinating Ribbon – I used grosgrain ribbon 1.5″ wide

DIY Steps:

  1. Measure your window. Cut your main fabric, adding two to five inches to the width. The length should measure about 2/3 to 3/4 of the height of your window. Add 1/2 for the seam allowance all around. 
  2. Next, cut out the coordinating fabric (if you so choose). This is for the curtain rod to slide into. The width should be the same as your main fabric by 5 1/2″ to 6″. Press in seam allowance on the sides and stitch. Press in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together. 
  3. Press in sides of main fabric and stitch. Press up hem, stitch. 
  4. Cut out your ribbon. Because of the width of my window, I decided to have three ribbons holding open my shade. So I cut six pieces of ribbon the same length as my main fabric. 
  5. Pin the ribbon onto the main fabric. Since I have three, I divided the width of my fabric by four to get my spacing between ribbons. Because of the precise pattern, I carefully lined up the ribbon to hit the pattern the same way. Three on the front, three evenly spaced on the back. 
  6. Next, pin the top of the main fabric to the open edge of the rod piece. Stitch together. Press. The top stitch. Top stitching might seem like just an extra step, but it sure does give a nice finished look. Make sure you pin your ribbon pieces down so you don’t catch them into the stitching. How would I know about this you may ask? Because I did it. Twice. 
  7. Now come the fun part!! Hang up your shade! You can tie your ribbon pieces at the height that you find visually pleasing. I like to make sure it is all even by ironing soft pleats along the bottom then tying the ribbon. This time I actually sewed the ribbon together, front to back and added a bow on top with hot glue. In the past, I’ve also just tied the bottom in a nice knot or freehand bow. You do what looks good to you!
  8. Bask in the glory of a nice, neat customized, roman shade. 

c

DIY Infant Stitch Costume in Less than 1 Hour!

I love Halloween, like love it. You get to play dress up and people give you free candy. Does it get any better than that?!?!

This was Jackson’s first Halloween. When we were having the serious conversation that was the costume brainstorm we talked about how Kyrie was Boo from Monster’s Inc. dressed as a monster for her first Halloween. Logic dictated that Jackson should also be a monster, but “just a little one!”

Jackson as Stitch, so cute I could just die. 

Kyrie was Lilo, obviously, but more on that another time. This Stitch costume took about an hour and you could do the whole thing without sewing if you wanted to!!

Materials:

  • Hooded footie pajamas (I went on Amazon and found some that were the perfect color)
  • Blue and light purple craft felt (the blue should match the jammies)
  • Light blue polar fleece
  • Thread
  • Hot glue
  • Velcro

How to:

1. I started by making a pattern for the ears. 



2. Then I traced and cut out two on the blue felt and two on the light purple. I trimmed the light purple slightly smaller than the blue. 



3. Stitch has little notches in his ears, so I cut those out. 



4. Next I ironed the ears in half lengthwise and hot glued the blue and purple pieces together. 

5. Next for the tummy. I folded the light blue fleeces in quarters, measured, traced and cut out my tummy shape. 



6. At this point you could just hot glue on some Velcro and call it good. I decided to sew one side on and Velcro the other. However I wanted it to appear like the entire tummy was sewn. So I marked halfway and sewed just the left side of the fleece from pin to pin. 



7. Next I pinned the right side of the tummy piece to the jammies and sewed them together. Don’t forget to unzip the jammies and don’t sew across said zipper.



8. Next I hot glued the Velcro on the unattached side of the tummy piece and lined it up on the jammies. Again, attaching it with hot glue. 



 9. Finally, try the costume on your little one to determine ear location and attach ears. I used hot glue for this final step. 

Aww, such an adorable little Stitch!

-h





DIY Disneybounding Ariel Tank Top (Kids)

“When’s it my turn?
Wouldn’t I love, love to explore that shore up above?
Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world”

Ok, if you were a little girl in the 90’s, you too probably belted out these lyrics as you pretended you were a mermaid with flowing red hair and a crush on a handsome prince. Well, not much has changed since then, little girls still dream about being Ariel. She’s my niece’s favorite Disney princess, and it isn’t hard for me to imagine why. Her Disneybounding look is next!

I had trouble thinking through how I would do Ariel without needing sea shells, or something that wasn’t very appropriate for a 5 year old, but luckily I found some inspiration… somewhere… Here’s my sketch…

 

Ariel Disneybounding Sketch 

 
Materials:

  • Purple Tank Top
  • Sea green fabric – I found a fun sequined fabric at Joann’s that the little girl inside fantasizing about being Ariel couldn’t resist. 🙂
  • Coordinating Thread

    Ariel Disnebounding Materials

DIY:

  1. I decided the overdress would be at the empire waistline. Measure the width and length from the empire waistline to the bottom of the tank top. Add a few inches to the width so you can gather. Cut out two rectangles.
  2. Right sides together, stitch together the side seams. 
  3. Run at least two lines of a gathering stitch along the top of the overdress. Gather to fit to the tank top.
  4. Pin overdress to the tank top along the empire waistline (right sides together) so the dress is basically “flipped up”. Ariel in progress
  5. Zigzag stitch all the way around around, press dress down.
  6. To create some slight gathering at the neckline, I hand-stitched about two inches down and gathered it (securing inside the tank top).Ariel Detail Shot

OMG, talk about ADORARABLE!! Who wouldn’t want to be a mermaid princess, really? 

 –h