There are lots of exciting things happening around here lately.

My dad came over this weekend to show me how to change switches and receptacles. We finished three, and there are three more for me to do on my own. Then I will finally have eradicated all of the orange from my kitchen (see before pictures here) and can take new photos.

I've been working on building a desk, and it's almost done. It just needs a coat of polyurethane, probably a second coat on the top, and then I'll be ready to take pictures and show it off. It is beautiful and imperfect and I love it, because, hello, I made a desk.

I'm planning to transform a coat closet in my dining room into more of a built-in with tons of shelves and storage space. Most of the pieces are cut, but I'm trying to paint everything before installing it, so it's taking some time. Piece by piece, though, it's getting there!

But the most exciting thing is that Chris started work on the bathroom yesterday! He asked me when he arrived yesterday if I was ready for the mess. I said yes, because sometimes you just gotta make a mess to make something even more beautiful in the end. I can't wait to see it all come together! (You can check out before and inspiration pictures here and my plans here). And honestly, as much as I really do love the DIY thing, it's kind of fun to see progress (even the demo kind of progress) and not have to actually do it.


Goal #20 for the year is to go hiking with my sisters, and Katie put this on her goal list, too. So Saturday, after celebrating (the weekend before) Fat Tuesday with kinklings for breakfast, we headed out to Gambrill State Park with Jacob, Cameron, and three of the dogs. We even found a geocache (Katie has written more about that here).

[Kelli and I with Bella, Harvey, and Dakota]

[me, Katie, and Kelli]

[me, Katie, Kelli, Cameron, and Jacob with Dakota, Harvey, and Bella]

This is part of the reason that I moved back to Maryland, so that I could spend more time with my family in day-to-day life, not just a few times throughout the year. Between the demands of work and fixing up the house, I'm learning that I still need to be intentional about spending time together. I'm glad we did it this weekend.

life is beauty full.

One of my goals for the year is to make meaningful art for my house. I want to be surrounded with things that I love, things that I created or that have special meaning for me. I have so many ideas - my things to make Pinterest board has more pins than any other. Here is the first of hopefully many projects:

It was inspired (ok copied) from this:

I used a 6-foot piece of 1x6 pine, cut into 4 equal parts, for the panels, and a 4-foot piece of 1x2 pine, cut into 2 equal pieces, as braces on the back to attach everything together. The wood cost less than $8 for both pieces. I stained them using the same dark walnut stain that I used for my nightstand (and there is still a ton left!).

I used a couple sheets of scrapbook paper that looked kind of like a quilt - I just cut it into smaller pieces and added it randomly to one of the panels. The stencils cost less than $4, and I know I'll be able to use them again. I also needed to buy Modge Podge (to add the paper to one of the panels) and black and white craft paint. Altogether I spent less than $20, with more than half of that on supplies that can be used again.

I'm not sure yet where I'm going to hang this, but I love the way it turned out - even better than I pictured!

Next up...I'm building a desk. Definitely my biggest project to date! Hopefully I'll have it at least built by the weekend, with just finishing left to do next week.

10,000 reasons.

This song has been playing on repeat around here lately.

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes


And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

there is a bathtub in my spare room.

Sunday, after a marathon shopping trip to both Lowe's and Home Depot, I bought the supplies for my upcoming bathroom renovation. Right now, there is a bathtub in the spare bedroom, drywall and beadboard panels in the shed, and tile in the living room. Along with a host of other supplies for the bathroom renovation, the dining room closet that I'm outfitting with shelves, and the desk I'm building.

And, honestly, it's not like my house was neat before I brought all of this stuff home. My living room bookcase is stuffed with books and random paperwork and paint supplies, the sideboard is still in the middle of the kitchen from painting it, and even though my dryer is now fixed, I'm still way behind on laundry (which means that a lot of it is just sitting all over the bedroom floor).

Sometimes I look at this mess and feel okay about it, because after all, it means progress. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a junkyard. I'm juggling too many projects at once, which means that I start to not want to deal with any of them.

Sometimes it seems to much easier to plan for things, to save ideas on Pinterest and create shopping list, and even to do the shopping, then to actually get the stuff done.


I got rid of a lot of things when I left Virginia. A lot. Some things I sold, many I donated (I really should have had a big yard sale). I knew that I had limited storage space (Katie and Vince's basement), and I really wasn't quite sure what life was going to look like when I got back (would I live in a house? an apartment? alone or with other people?), so I adopted this as my motto:

As I've slowly moved in and set things up in this house, I'm mostly proud of the amount of purging that I did. It has meant, though, that there are quite a few things that I need to buy or make. Combine that with the challenges of a new house that has lots of room for updates and customization...well, let's just say that it will take quite some time to get completely settled here. The bathroom is the big renovation, but I'm also all over the place with other updates.

I bought this nightstand at a Restore (my favorite thrift store) while visiting friends in Asheville, NC. It was a donation from The Grove Park Inn, and it was in pretty good shape - just a few scuff marks here and there. I knew I wanted to paint it (because I love painted furniture), and I thought the detail on it would really stand out if I distressed it.

This is the before:

And the after:

I really like how it turned out! I've never sanded, primed, and painted something with quite this much detail, so it took a bit longer than I expected, but the results were worth it. After a coat of primer, I painted two coats of Sherwin Williams' Copen Blue (a beautiful blue green color that I'm going to use in my kitchen). Then I sanded down some of the edges, painted on some stain with a foam brush (Minwax Dark Walnut) and wiped it off almost immediately, then let the whole thing dry.

The storage that it adds to my bedroom will be wonderful, and I'm so glad that the only light in my bedroom is no longer a lamp sitting on the floor!

bathroom plans.

After saving a ton of bathroom inspiration photos on Pinterest, I started going through each image in detail, trying to decide what I liked about each one and which pieces would work in my bathroom. Here are the plans, at least to date.

Remove the handicap, walk-in shower with a traditional bathtub. Tile the shower surround with white subway tile, kind of like this:

Replace the floor tile. I love the look of hardwood in the bathroom, but I don't want to use actual hardwood or laminate in such a high-moisture area. It's a little more expensive than other options ($4 per square foot), but I did a lot of research to find the best deal, and I decided to cut back in a few other areas in order to still come in under budget. I wanted a dark floor (since there will be so much white elsewhere in the bathroom), but I also wanted something that looked a little warmer, not cold. I chose a pecan finish, similar to the image below:

Replace the wall tile and masonite panels with drywall, and add beadboard to the bottom part of the wall. I'm also planning to add a shelf along part of the wall, kind of like this:

[pinned via here]

The beadboard, trim, door, and ceiling will all get painted white, and I'm thinking the top half of the wall will be a light blue or blue-green (I haven't settled on the color yet).

I'm also replacing the medicine cabinet with a simple, wood-framed mirror, adding a much-needed wall outlet, and replacing both the lights and the fans. The ceiling light fixture is the Ottava pendant from Ikea, and I found the wall sconce at my local Restore (it just needs a quick coat of paint).

And after all of this is done, the linen closet will still need to be organized, plus I have lots of ideas for fun decorative items.

The floor tiles have been ordered, Saturday we'll be picking up the major supplies (wall tile, drywall, etc), and hopefully we can get this started in the next couple weeks!