I was driving to work on rainy morning a few weeks ago when my friend texted asking if I was interested in this cabinet her neighbor put outside with the trash. Judging by the photo, the piece looked pretty wrecked and I thought it would be a fun challenge to fix it up and save it from the landfill.
Since the cabinet had been standing in the rain for a while, the first thing I had to do was dry it out. I set it in the garage and pointed two big box fans at it. While the cabinet was drying, I carefully removed all the green decorative pieces and old hardware. Then I sanded the whole thing and gave it a coat of gray paint, then I gave it a shabby-chic look by sanding off some of the gray paint, which works well for this piece since it’s primitively constructed and old. I also added salvaged drop bail pulls and knobs that I found at the restore for a couple dollars and spray painted black. I absolutely loved the results and how some of the original red and cream paint showed through!
Even thought I loved it, I didn’t really have a place for the cabinet, so I ended up selling it on Facebook Marketplace. The new owner was so tickled with it that I couldn’t stop smiling all afternoon! The idea that an old crumby cabinet, destined for the landfill, would have a new life and be loved and used for many more years, just brings me so much joy!
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making focaccia bread since seeing Samin Nosrat make it on Netflix’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. If you enjoy cooking and the science behind it, you need to watch this series! I’m also making my way through the audio book, so good! Anyways, I signed up to bring bread to my wine club meeting tonight, so I thought it was a good excuse to try making focaccia. I followed a recipe for Rosemary Foccaciamade in a cast iron skillet from Taste of the South.
The recipe was very straightforward and easy to follow, calling for only a handful simple of simple ingredients: flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, black pepper and rosemary. I substituted bread flour, which has a higher protein content that makes breads more chewy and it turned out delicious. I was surprised that the recipe called for two cast iron skillets, which is a great reminder to always read a recipe through to the end before you begin!
The rosemary focaccia turned out fabulously, it tastes amazing and looks pretty impressive, too! It’s definitely going on my “Tried and True Recipes” Pinterest board! Also, I think if you wanted to make this for a crowd, you could easily double the recipe and bake the bread in a rimmed cookie sheet.
During our week-long vacation to Tybee Island, Georgia, the first agenda item every morning was to hit the beach. After breakfast, we swapped our coffee for lemonade, loaded up on sunscreen and walked two short blocks over to the beach. While at the beach, we combed for shells, played in the waves, dug in the sand, and did all the usual family beach activities! Being from the mid-west, two hours of sun and sand was plenty of time to wear us out before walking back to our Airbnb for lunch.
2. Shop at the Tybee Island Farmer’s Market
The only grocery store on Tybee Island is a small IGA, perfectly fine for a few staples but the produce selection leaves a lot to be desired. If you have a Saturday to Saturday rental, I highly recommend stocking up at the Tybee Island Farmer’s market on Monday afternoon. It’s a low-key event held in the parking-lot of the Tybee Island Lighthouse and vendors sell items from fresh flowers and produce, to locally made soap and gifts.
3. Take a Family Surf Lesson
Tybee Island is a great place to learn how to surf because of the small waves and uncrowded beaches. A couple weeks before our vacation, I scheduled a private session for myself, my husband and our 13 year old nephew with Tybee Surf Lessons. During our two hour surf lesson we learned about safety, and how to watch the waves and time our paddling to stand up on the board. The instructors were awesome and we had so much fun and felt so confident after our lesson that we rented our own boards the next day!
4. Grab Coffee at Tybean
Tybean is located in a brightly colored, ramshackle building on the north side of the island. It opens a bit late by city standards (7:30 AM) and immediately fills to the brim with customers, and for good reason! I am a cold coffee snob and the iced Americanos were so delicious that I woke up craving one every morning. I still think about that coffee! Tybean is located across the parking lot from a group of local art and gift shops so we also enjoyed sipping our coffee while exploring their offerings, I found a great handmade ornament at a clay artist’s shop.
5. Have Dinner at the Crab Shack
The Crab Shack often appears as one of the top rated places to eat near Tybee, and it’s definitely earned it’s place. Situated in a sandy, palm shaded parking lot on the edge of the marsh, the atmosphere and view are full of southern beachy charm. The food was plentiful and tasty and we giggled at being able to toss our discarded shells in the hole in the table, a novel feature for these midwesterners! The kids also got a thrill from feeding the (caged) alligators while we waited for a table.
6. Talk a Walk, Jog or Bike Ride
Part of the charm of Tybee island are these adorable old beach cottages. Many are being updated and painted in bright, whimsical colors. If you like local design and architecture, I highly recommend going for a long stroll or bike ride through the neighborhoods. I enjoyed these charming cottages so much, they seriously left me fantasizing about an early retirement on Tybee.
7. Visit Fort Pulaski
If you enjoy history or even just marveling at old buildings, you must visit Fort Pulaski. I had never heard of this civil war fort, but we were thoroughly impressed. We joined a free tour led by one of the park rangers which gave a wonderful overview of the amazing history of this fort, our six year old also enjoyed the tour!
8. Take a Dolphin Tour
We took a dolphin tour on our last night in Tybee, it was a bit pricey, but we came away feeling it was worth the spend. Just to be out on the water at sunset touring around the bay makes it worth the price, seeing a pod of dophins was just an added benefit and the kids were thrilled. Be sure to set your camera to sports mode, between the boat and the dolphins moving about, it’s tough to get photos!
9. Visit Savannah, GA
Who needs Paris when you have Savannah!? Savannah, Georgia is truly the most charming city I’ve ever visited outside of Europe. We took a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour of the city, which I highly recommend because it gives you an overview of the history and landmarks of the city. We also splurged on a fancy dinner at The Pink House, arriving in the middle of a thunderstorm when they had just opened for dinner; the dim interior and antique oil portraits were perfectly creepy and felt sort of like eating in an old haunted mansion. I’m sure it doesn’t always feel that way, it was mainly the atmosphere created by the evening thunderstorm.
10. Visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse
Beautifully preserved and so charming, the lighthouse is an icon of Tybee Island. It’s located on the northern side of the island and the local farmer’s market is hosted in the parking lot each week. We didn’t go inside the lighthouse, but for those healthy and brave enough, you can climb all the way to the top!
11. (Bonus!) Watch the Sunset from the Beach
Watching a beach sunset is one of the most relaxing activities you can do, and no beach vacation would be complete without watching at least one! During our stay, my mom and I walked from the southern tip of the island up to the middle, where our cottage was located, just talking and marveling at the gorgeous sunset the along the way. You could also bring a light jacket and some wine (in paper or plastic!) to sit and enjoy the beautiful display of swirling pink and peach clouds.
A couple weeks back, my mom and I busted out a quick and easy fence for my vegetable garden. No bunnies allowed this year! This fence was so simple and inexpensive to make; we didn’t need any power tools or help from my handy husband (in fact, he was out of town) so I wanted to share how we did it.
Two 25 foot rolls of 2 foot tall chicken wire – I like the grid kind
Two or three bundles of pre-cut stakes – I bought grade stakes from the building material section
Staple gun – this project killed my cheapy plastic one, go for heavy duty metal or airless!
Lots of staples
To make the garden fence, we unrolled the chicken wire a few feet at a time on the patio. Then, I slid a stake underneath, made sure it was straight and stapled it in place. I also measured twelve inches between each stake to ensure even spacing. Having my mom there to help was great because she wrangled the unruly wire while I measured and stapled. I continued along until the entire roll of chicken wire had a stake every twelve inches. Then, we dug out a little trench along the inside of the raised garden bed and set the fencing down inside it. Again, my mom wrangled the chicken wire and held it in place while I stapled it to the inside of the garden bed timbers. I crimped the chicken wire little at each corner to make it nice and flush. When the entire perimeter of the garden bed was fenced, I shoveled dirt back into the trench, and we were done! All in, the two fences cost about sixty dollars and took three hours to complete. It was hard work, but not rocket science, and I feel so proud that we were able to accomplish it on our own! I should also note that, while our fence is for a raised garden bed, it would probably work for a non raised bed by pounding the stakes into the ground.
I have no idea why the previous owners tiled all the walls and ceiling in the powder room. Was that a thing for a while? So. Much. Tile. Aside from the dated tile, the rest of the powder room was do-able; the sink and toilet are a newer style that suits us fine and the wood floors that continue from the kitchen are so pretty! We were making plans to tear out the tile and replace it with drywall, but then I got a wild hair and decided to try painting it instead. I figured painting the tile would be a cheap experiment and if it didn’t look right, we could go ahead with the drywall.
First, I scrubbed the walls with TSP and let them dry overnight. Then, I used an oil based primer followed by an oil based gloss paint. I rarely use oil based paint however, in this case, I needed something with high durability and shine. I did all the painting while Jesse and B were up in Omaha, which was good because oil based paint is so stinky! If you try painting tile (and you should!) be sure to open all the windows and wear a respirator!
I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to paint the tile gloss white, or go bold with a charcoal gray. After a bit of waffling, I started in with the gray, and chickened out part way through…I’m no expert, but I’ve painted enough rooms to know that if you get a wall mostly done and start to feel nervous, it’s time to bail! It took a few coats to cover the gray paint, but I love how the gloss white turned out!
The antique stained glass window was a gift from my parents a few years ago and previously hung in the entry of our Omaha house. Full disclosure: We hung up white blinds first, which looked completely “off,” before discovering the stained glass window fit perfectly. The window faces our backyard, so privacy shouldn’t be an issue; bladder shy folks could always use the bathroom in the snug. I also painted the trim around the window gloss black, and plan to paint the interior portions once the weather warms up.
The shelf above the toilet is a wine crate that I picked up at a junk shop for a few dollars. I lightly sanded the crate to remove any potential slivers and applied a bit of walnut stain. I styled the shelf with baubles from around the house, plus extra toilet paper, lotion, and a stack of hand towels for guests. I’m completely smitten with how our powder room turned out! Painting the tile and adding a few accessories was much faster and more budget friendly than all new drywall. Overall, we spent less than $150 (including the blinds we didn’t use). I would note, however, that if you had to purchase a stained glass window and a few accessories, the makeover would probably be closer to $400. Part of me wishes I was brave enough to have gone through with the dark gray paint, but the finished result is so lovely that I’m okay with it! Have you ever tried painting tile? How’d turn out?
Supplies for Painting Tile: TSP de-greasing spray cleaner Zinsser Fast Prime Oil Based Primer Rustoleum Gloss White Oil Based Paint Trim Brush 6″ short nap rollers Respirator (important!) Rubber or latex gloves
We closed on our new house! Our furniture won’t arrive for a few more days, but no matter! After spending two months alone in a hotel, I’m just stoked to be sleeping in my own bed (on the floor – ha!) and snuggling with my guys! Oh, and the dogs! I missed our dogs, too!
Our main goals in finding a home in our new city were: One, a house located on a quiet street. Our first house was on a somewhat busy thoroughfare and we wanted to avoid that this time around. Two, a house that needed updates, but was livable while doing so. You know how we love our projects! Three, a little more space for overnight guests. We are living away from family and want them to feel comfortable when they visit. Four, a two car garage with room for Jesse to set up a work space. And five, the boring one, sticking with our budget. I will be the sole earner for a few months while we get settled, and Jesse will be going into business for himself, so we felt most comfortable sticking with something we could afford on one income. Fortunately, you can get a lot for your money in Kansas!
After touring dozens of houses, we finally settled on a 1945 colonial about ten minutes drive from my office. The house is situated on the outer (more affordable) edges of a historic neighborhood that boasts wide tree lined streets, a park with a playground and a volunteer neighborhood association; it feels quite fancy schmancy compared with what we are used to! Let’s take the penny tour, shall we?
Living Room: It has a fireplace! Unfortunately, it needs work before we can use it. Bummer. We will probably save up until we can replace it with a high efficiency insert, like this.
Dining Room: Pretty straightforward, just needs paint and a light fixture that’s more to our taste. I also plan to keep an eye out for a credenza of some sort.
Kitchen: The kitchen was remodeled with lots of lighting and custom cabinets about ten years ago. The cabinets are very nicely done, but very traditional. I’m also not too keen on the empty space between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling. We are going to take some time to think about what to do in here. Kitchen remodels are costly, so it would be great if we could somehow work with the existing cabinets.
Powder room: This is located off the kitchen and has dated tile on all four walls and the ceiling. However, the previous owners updated the toilet and sink at the same time as the kitchen and I love how the wood floors continue into the space. I’ve already started working on the powder room and it’s about two thirds finished!
Office/Guest Space: This is a little addition off the living room that has a separate bath with shower. Our first major house project will be repairing the ceiling and the flat roof above this room. Later down the line, we hope to install new flooring and drywall as well as update the bathroom.
Bedroom One: Similar to the dining room, it just needs paint and a different light fixture. We had a family painting session a few days ago and this room is already looking more spiffy.
Bedroom Two: This would also be a good room for guests and I like the wall color. We will probably put our old furniture set up in here and start fresh with the master bedroom.
Bedroom Three/Master: This room is much larger than our current bedroom, so I’m really looking forward to decorating it. We’ve already removed the chair rail and Jesse has started sketching out plans for a bed. My favorite thing about this room though, is the door to the balcony!
The balcony: This is located over the office/guest space and, as I mentioned, needs some work. Our idea is to repair the roof and then build a deck with a proper (safe) railing around it.
Upstairs bathroom: I think this bathroom was remodeled about the same time as the kitchen. It’s a perfectly fine bathroom, but it could benefit from some upgrades and fresh paint.
Basement Rec Room: I love that we have a finished room in the basement! However, replacing the carpet is pretty high on my list. It’s a high pile plush, which tends to latch onto dirt and pet dander, plus it smells a bit funky, even after having steam cleaned it.
That’s pretty much it! We are so thrilled with this house; it meets all the needs on our list and came with super friendly neighbors – bonus! Thanks for sticking around while I took a mini-hiatus during our relocation, I can’t wait to start sharing our projects again!
Hey there! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, mainly because we are still in the midst of relocation. I haven’t shared much about the process because it would just be lots of whining about the stress, and I don’t think anyone wants to hear that! On the bright side, I’m loving my new job; the people are great and I’m excited about the projects I’ll be working on and I feel super lucky to have this gig!
Randomly, I dug up these photos from our trip to Mason City, Iowa last October. I was going to share them, but then I blinked and it was Christmas! Have you heard of Mason City, Iowa? No? I hadn’t either. Jesse and I like to do a weekend getaway every fall, somewhere with scenery and a nice hotel that’s within driving distance. We’ve stayed at The Elms several times but I wanted to mix it up and try a new place. While searching for ideas, I came across Mason City, which is about five hours from Omaha and happens to be home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House Museum and the Park Inn Hotel, the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright hotel in existence. Who knew?!
We arrived in Mason City on Saturday afternoon and had just enough (perfect!) afternoon sunlight to explore East Park, The ridiculously charming park was established in 1924 and boasts a beautifully restored band-shell, two playgrounds, a steam locomotive on display, and a meandering creek with ducks. can you believe those gorgeous trees? Our trip to the East Park alone was worth the drive!
After our visit to the park, we headed over to the Park Inn Hotel for dinner at the 1912 Grille. It’s a fancy schmancy restaurant, but they didn’t seem to mind that we had our three year old with us. Thankfully, he was on his best behavior and thoroughly enjoyed a flatbread pizza while Jesse and I treated ourselves to New York Strips and Cabernet Sauvignon.
We were fortunate to also spend the night in the hotel, which is absolutely amazing. It recently underwent a twenty million dollar renovation and it’s absolutely beautiful. In true Frank Lloyd wright style, the Park Inn doesn’t have a grand entrance. See the little door to the bottom left? It leads to the main lobby. with a simple front desk and low ceiling. The rest of the hotel is full of cozy rooms and lots of passages; it feels a bit maze-like, completely different from your standard modern hotel.
On Sunday morning, we drove around admiring the The Prairie Style homes in the Rock Glen neighborhood. This gem was on the market when we visited, although I’m sure it’s been scooped up by now! After drooling over the picturesque neighborhood, we stopped by the Stockman House Museum. Since it was a Sunday morning, the museum wasn’t open and I was only able to snap photos of the outside. The house was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “fireproof” designs and was commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. Stockman in 1908. The house was moved from its original location in 1989, then restored and turned into a museum.
I really wish we had stayed for a tour, but we were in a rush start back to Omaha. A five hour drive with a three year old requires lots of stops, snacks and patience. We had a wonderful time visiting Mason City and if you live within a few hours, I highly recommend visiting. The town was so quiet and charming and I’m sure we only saw a sliver of what it has to offer!
July was a super productive blog month, I cranked out five posts with a couple more projects humming right along…Then, August came and….radio silence! Here’s the scoop on where I’ve been all month plus an exciting announcement!
We spent the first two weeks working on home maintenance stuff that isn’t the most inspiring blog material.
We Stained our deck…
I painted the metal laundry line posts and strung up a new line.
I also started organizing the terrible mess in B’s closet. It’s much better now! I want to share a post, but I can’t promise anything on account of our announcement…read on!
In addition to home owner stuff, we had some quality family time. We attended the Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival, which I highly recommend!
We also went for a hike at Platte River State Park, we needed to test out B’s new Deuter pack and binoculars!
Then, a couple weeks ago, I spent quite a bit of time prepping for and travelling to an interview with a new company….I bet you can guess where this is going! I found out a few days ago that I landed the job, which is an incredible and super exciting opportunity! The company is based near Lawrence, so we are relocating to Kansas!
My first day on the job is less than four weeks away, so things are going to move very quickly. Fortunately, the company hooked us up with relocation services, which will ease the burden significantly. Jesse and I are heading down for a real estate tour soon and I’m so excited to explore our new community and shop for a home together! I’m not sure how much DIY posting I will be doing over the next few weeks, but I’d love to share some of the relocation process, if ya’ll would be interested? Home relocation – interesting? Or press pause until we are settled? I welcome your thoughts! Thank you so much for visiting our little corner of the internet, I’m looking forward to sharing our new adventures in home ownership with you…from Kansas!
I love summer, so much. During the winter I whine and pout about the cold short days for weeks on end. But summer? Summer’s my boo. One of the many, many reasons I love summertime is the seasonal food. I love how easy and relaxed yet indulgent summer eating is. We try to keep a few key ingredients on hand (like tomatoes, goat cheese and olive oil) which makes throwing together meals after work a snap. If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ve seen these pics over the past few weeks. This post just gives a little more detail about each recipe, although I’m using the term “recipe” loosely, since most of these are a “to taste” situation. Enjoy!
I love to make grilled pizzas on weeknights because it’s fast, doesn’t heat up the house and our kiddo loves to help sprinkle on the ingredients. There are thousands of ingredient combinations, but the one above is currently my favorite. We prepare the pizzas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and then cook ’em up on the grill on low heat until they are heated through and the cheese starts to melt.
Ingredients: Frozen naan bread, we like Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce, we use whatever jarred pasta sauce we have on hand Spinach Mini tomatoes Goat cheese or mozzarella
Tomatoes with Smoked Salt
I’m more of a wine gal, but during the summer I like an icy cocktail once in a while. For this drink, mix up one ounce of vodka, your preferred ginger ale, ice and a couple basil leaves. Voila. Summer in a glass! I also like to use mason jars as glasses for just about everything, even wine, because they are pretty hard to break and you can pop a lid on them for easy transport (you know, for iced tea…yeah).
Ingredients: Vodka Ginger ale – I like Diet Canada Dry Fresh Basil Ice – lots of it!
What could be easier or more delicious than blueberries and biscuits topped with with vanilla ice cream? Nothing, that’s what! I love the recipe from Port and Fin, but I cheat by using store bought biscuit dough.
A while back, I started thinking about how to free up space both visually and physically in our bedroom. It’s a pretty small bedroom, about 12 x 12, so I need to be choosy about what furniture and decor go where and evaluate whether it makes sense in terms of form and function. For example, I didn’t want a pile of decorative pillows on the bed because, other than the floor, there’s simply no place to put them at night. I wanted our bed to be pretty but also realistic and liveable so, all the pillows except the black floral toss one are pillows we actually use every night. The first thing I did to create more space, or at least the illusion of it, was spruce up our closet by removing the awkward sliding doors and adding more storage. We moved the closet rod up as high as I could comfortably reach and put a shelf above and a mid century dresser below. Taking the doors off the closet and prettying up the inside, opened up the room and made it feel a smidge larger. I also like having the dresser because I have an additional surface to set things on when I’m getting ready in the morning. We’ve always stored Jesse’s clothes in the spare bedroom. If we didn’t have that option, I think I’d divide the closet down the middle and store our out of season clothes under the bed. You can read a little more about the closet makeover here.
The next area I tackled was the space on either side of the bed. My vision was to replace the bulky lamps with wall mounted sconces and the nightstands with a wall mounted option as well. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my post about scoring these brass beauties. They were crazy cheap, especially compared to the swing arm sconces I had been oggling from Rejuvenation. I like the finish on their sconces slightly better, but for fifteen bucks each, I’m pretty darn happy with mine!
After the brass sconces, came the wall mounted nightstands, which we made using old cabinet doors. The drawer in my existing nightstand held a bunch of old t-shirts I didn’t wear anymore. So, I donated a few, cut a few up for dusting cloths and stored what was left inside the highboy. Jesse’s nightstand drawer was empty except for a pen, earbuds and a dusty copy of Popular Mechanics. Yeah, total waste of space! I added a pretty wire basket under my shelf / nightstand which is where I put the floral toss pillow at night. During the winter, I’ll probably use the basket to store an extra blanket or two.
As you can see below, in addition to space saving changes, we’ve made a few style tweaks as well. I re-covered and tufted the headboard a couple months ago. And way back last spring, we replaced the generic ceiling light fixture with a mini chandelier from a salvage store.
Other than the nightstands and the dresser inside the closet, the only other piece of furniture in the room is a highboy dresser. It’s a vintage Drexel piece I bought several years ago from an estate sale. This guy might need to be refinished eventually, and his drawer pulls need re-plating, but he will never go out of style!
It doesn’t have to do with saving space, but I wanted to show off these super cute polka dot sheets I bought from the Martha Stewart collection at Macy’s. I just love a good black and white polka dot! The same collection also has flamingos other fun patterns. Sometimes I wish I had a little girl’s room to decorate, but that’s what nieces are for, right?! 🙂