Thrifty ideas for your Thanksgiving table

Ooh! I don’t know about you but I am so excited for Thanksgiving!

I’m hosting the meal at my house again this year. My favorite part (besides the family gathering and the eating) is the table decorating. I’ve been conjuring up ideas for my Thanksgiving table decor for weeks now, people. Today, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you.

DIY apple candle

DIY apple candle

I am totally doing this project this year for my table. I’ve got all the supplies ready to make three of these at varied heights. These apple candles are going to be the pièce de résistance of my Thanksgiving decor. I’m crossing my fingers they’re not an epic DIY fail. 😉

craft paper table runner

Craft paper table runner

What a simple, yet elegant way to personalize each place setting for your Thanksgiving guests, don’t you agree?

Leaf placecards

Leaf place cards

Got some gold spray paint, leaves and a permanent marker? Voila! 

Burlap silverware holder

No-sew burlap silverware holder

This idea had me at “no sew.”

Thanksgiving mad libs

Thanksgiving Mad Libs for kids

Our 9-year old will absolutely love this! You can grab some other cute Thanksgiving Mad Libs here.


Pumpkin candle holders 

This is such a simple and classic look. Love it!

log candle holder

Log candle holder

This DIY project is just absolutely brilliant!

What special ideas do you have planned for your Thanksgiving table this year?

Follow this flip: Porch progress

Well, I have been working on my first flip for a full two weeks now. I’ve been blessed with unseasonably warm temperatures, which has been an absolute Godsend for me because I had a lot of painting to do on the porch ceiling, posts and floor.

Let me show you a little bit of the progress I’ve made so far!

Because of the extent of the weather damage to the wood (and the lack of maintenance for many years), it took a lot of preparation and priming to get the porch restored to its former glory. Here’s a reminder of what the ceiling, posts and floor looked like before:


Flag-post-before Front-porch-before Porch-ceiling-before

I started by priming the posts and ceiling with Zinsser® Cover Stain Primer. I had a major issue with wood stain bleed-through and this was the only product that would stop it.

On top of that, I added a coat of Zinsser Peel Stop® Triple Thick High Build Binding Primer. This stuff glues down any pieces of paint that can’t be scraped off and builds the surface up to create a smooth palette for painting. It is a miracle product! (It won’t hide stains, though, so don’t skip the stain-hiding step if you need it.) 😉


For the porch posts and railing, I finished off with two coats of Rust-Oleum® 2x One Coat Solid Stain (in white).

The floor needed slightly different prep. I started by peeling off the old layers of paint using a scraper and really strong paint stripper. I think the product was called Zip-Strip®. All I remember is that it was pretty expensive and required gloves that are chemical resistant. I probably took off a few years of my life working with the stuff. Good thing I was outdoors. 😉

After the peeling paint was removed, I sealed the floor and the remaining stubborn finish with Rust-Oleum Restore® Deck Start Wood Primer. It dries clear and smooths out the floor in preparation for a top coat.


I used Rust-Oleum Restore 10X Advanced Resurfacer in Timberline for the floor.


A couple things about this product:

  • It is super thick and textured, which is great for hiding a multitude of sins on wood or concrete floors. Because of the prep I did, I probably would have gone with a thinner, solid stain, so the look and feel of the wood planks would have been maintained.
  • It requires the use of a special honeycomb roller, which gives it its unique texture.
  • You definitely need a full 24 hours of completely dry weather for this product to dry (48 hours before using the floor). We received an unexpected shower about nine hours after I finished painting and a little bit of the product washed away, so I had to repaint.
  • It requires two full coats to get an even finish and a huge amount of product to complete the job. This floor ate up six gallons, people!

In the end, I absolutely love the color and I’ve already received a lot of compliments on it. The finish makes the floor and deck boards look like new and the texture is really cool. But hindsight, I probably would have gone with a solid stain. Save this 10X product for a project where you need seriously thick coverage.

I’ll be getting a few more close up shots of the floor next week when I finish the railing project on the front steps, so you can get a really good look at it then. Plus I’ll show you the like-new posts and an amazing porch ceiling transformation, which includes an unexpected color choice. Stay tuned!

*Affiliate links provided in this post for your convenience

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing some of the products needed to complete this project. 

Flipping 101: The beginner’s guide to finding properties

In the world of investment real estate, the methods for finding good deals on properties is endless, complicated and, admittedly, somewhat headache-inducing. The more experienced you become as an investor, the more creative, profitable and less competitive the deals become.

But yours truly is just a baby flipper and, at this stage in the game, I’ve got limited ways to access the good deals out there. Maybe you’re in the same boat! So today I thought I’d share with some of the places I know to look when seeking out a first flip.


Multiple Listing Service – This is simply the place where all the licensed real estate firms announce the stuff that’s up for sale. Anyone can access the MLS (which means you’re competing with a lot of folks for deals) online by visiting places like, or

Although I didn’t find my current flip through the web, I did find several good candidates there that I placed offers on. Of course, real estate brokers or agents are associated with MLS listings, so the profit margin is lower because their commissions must be factored into the price of sale.

AuctionZip – This is where you can find real estate auctions happening on any given date in your target community. Depending on how motivated the seller(s) is, you can get a great deal on a property at a real estate auction. You’ll need to be prepared to make a sizable down payment and be able to gather the total amount of money needed within a fairly short time. This can be a great route if you’ve got all the cash in hand. (I didn’t. I had 20 percent in cash, but needed to finance the rest through my local bank.)

Distressed property owners – When I start looking for my next flip, this will probably be where I concentrate the bulk of my efforts. You can find distressed property owners by putting an ad in the local paper stating you “buy ugly houses.” Or you can also keep a lookout for homes that appear uninhabited; are not being maintained; or have a “For Rent” or “For Sale by Owner” sign out front. These are clues that a homeowner may be motivated to sell at a great price. Scoring properties this way doesn’t involve any real estate commissions, so the profit margin could potentially be higher.

Craiglist – This can be another good source for finding commission-free properties and distressed property owners.

Realtors – This is actually how I found my first flip. For some reason, the search engines in all the online spots I checked never showed that magical property my realtor introduced me to. This may have been a factor in why the place didn’t get snatched up sooner. I’m not sure.

At any rate, realtors are often aware of properties that are for sale (or coming up for sale) before the general public finds out about them. I have an awesome, motivated realtor who is always on the lookout for places I might be interested in. To return the favor, I’m happy to have her sell my rehabbed properties for me. She gets the privilege of selling the same house twice (and earning the commission twice) in a short amount of time, and I get the privilege of having an “insider” keeping watch for great deals and proactively working to sell what I put back on the market. Good realtors can be worth their weight in gold!

The methods above are by no means all-inclusive. I just wanted to highlight the main ones I hit up regularly when I’m “on the hunt.”

Do you have any other great ways to find investment properties? Please share in a comment! Also, don’t forget to sign up to win a Duluth Trading Company gift card and get geared up with the clothing that helps me get my house flip on. Enter the giveaway here.