I’m back!

Hello dear friends. It has been awhile since I’ve posted something fresh here on the old blog, and that is because I have been up to something big … like career-shifting BIG.

Many of you may recall the blood, sweat and tears I poured into our flip house¬†last year. Well, what I didn’t bargain for with that project was how utterly passionate I would become about helping create beautiful homes for other people.

Since 2011, I’ve been sprucing up the spaces in our own house and sharing them here on the website. That’s been awesome and incredible, and definitely something I want to continue. In fact, I’ve got lots to share with you about what we’ve been DIYing over the past several months.

But I want to be able to do more … to help others find and create their own perfect homes. In other words, I don’t want to keep all this DIYery (nope, not a word) trapped within these four walls. ūüėČ

So to make a long story short, I’ve spent the past several months stuck in my home office (see below) taking coursework and studying to become a PA real estate salesperson.

I’m happy to report I’ve passed my licensing exam and, as soon as my RE broker receives my license in the mail, I’ll be on my way. (More to follow on those details.)

Having my RE license will allow me to help families in our area (maybe even one of you dear readers) find their perfect home and/or sell their current home. Plus, I’ll have a little more of an inside scoop on properties that may turn out to be great investments for us to fix up, resell, turn into vacation rentals, etc.

To say I’m excited about the future of our business is an understatement. It feels like a natural progression for me, considering my creepy¬†obsession¬†passion for all things home. ūüėČ

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’ll be hopping on here once a week to post fresh content again, which fuels me (and hopefully gets your creative juices flowing, too). So if you like to pop in to check up on the goings on around here, there will be no shortage of projects, for sure.

Stay tuned for more details on how you can reach out to me if you’re interested in buying/selling a home. And keep a lookout for our latest thrifty DIY projects, including fresh paint colors in the living room, kitchen and dining room, as well as a complete laundry room renovation, which involves a total project fail on my part that was saved by my dear husband (yay).

It’s good to be back! ūüôā

Christmas decorations around our home

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share some of the Christmas decorations we’ve¬†put up around our home. If you’re anything like me, you love taking a peek at all the festive decorations around your¬†neighborhood and in blogland. It always puts me in the holiday mood.

This year, I kept things pretty simple. In other words, I didn’t fret over every small detail, mostly because I’m so busy with the flip house. And I let the kids help – a lot! I have to¬†admit,¬†it felt pretty good to let myself off the hook and not try to get everything perfect. I should let myself off the hook more often. ūüėČ

Living-room-Christmas-decorations

In the living room, we switched to an artificial tree with flocking.

Woodland-tree

Are you a faux-tree or real-tree family? We’ve tried¬†both. I left it up to my husband this year, and he said to go ahead and put up¬†the fake tree. Less mess, I guess. ūüėČ

Christmas-mantel

I like to go with more of a natural, woodland feel in the living room. I fell in love with these faux-fur stockings last year and snatched them up at Target.

Wooden-reindeer

I fill my little woodland reindeer with white Poinsettias every year. The only challenge is remembering to water them. ūüėČ

Nativity-set

This tiny nativity set is my most favorite decoration of all. I picked it up while on a mission trip to Guatemala. It is one of the few material objects in my home that I feel truly sentimental about. It is a constant reminder of the true reason for the season.

Christmas-village

We usually set up our Christmas village on the TV stand. It is so hard for our little guy to keep his hands off this. ūüôā This year, our daughter set it up. Didn’t she do a great job?

Christmas-at-America's-Landmark-Homes

I’m really enjoying this coffee table Christmas book, “Christmas at America’s Landmark Houses.” I got a complimentary copy to review. I would absolutely LOVE to get the chance to visit many of these homes in person at Christmastime. They are absolutely stunning! Also, check out the cute wool throw blanket I picked up at the thrift store the other day. Score!

The dining room is where I go full-on red and green.

Dining-room-Christmas-tree

I¬†think the holidays are a great time to bring out sentimental family pieces, don’t you?

Christmas-dinner-tablescape

Our dining room table features china and glasses handed down from Matt’s Grandma Delger.

Bowl-of-nuts

I like to keep my dining room decorations very traditional. I even like to add whole nuts, which seem to be a hit with guests. I displayed¬†them in a basket we got from Matt’s Aunt Cherie, who passed away earlier this year.

I’m also looking for a very special place to display a doilie from Matt’s Grandma Penning, who went to be with the Lord recently. It’s been a rough year for our family. These very special ladies¬†knew the Lord, so we know we’ll be reunited again one day.

Above-cabinet-decorations

The space above my kitchen cabinets is a great place to display Christmas decorations.

Bathroom-decorations

And I always like to put a few Christmas touches in our downstairs bathroom, for guests to enjoy.

Have you finished decorating for the holidays yet? What is your favorite sentimental decoration?

Quick and easy shower gift: DIY plywood art

I recently hosted a baby shower for my middle sis, Megan. We are so excited to meet my new nephew any day now. Eek!

As part of the shower decor,¬†I wanted to create a focal point¬†for the cake table that could also double as a gift my sister¬†could take home with her. This is what I came up with (these are baby’s initials):

Plywood-baby-shower-art

This project was super quick, easy and absolutely free, considering I already had on hand all the materials I needed! You could do this for a baby or a bridal shower, as the initials would work for a couple, too.

I started by cutting out a square from an old piece of plywood that was stored in our garden shed. Then I sanded all the sides really well.

Cutting-and-sanding-plywood

For years, the only power saw I would attempt to use was my beloved miter saw. I’ve since gotten pretty comfortable using this¬†skill saw. I have no idea why I shied away from this tool before (aside from the¬†ever-present thought of cutting off my fingers). It’s my new BFF. It cut this plywood like buttah.

Next I gave the plywood a coat of Rust-Oleum¬ģ Universal¬ģ*¬†in Weathered Steel. After that dried, I applied bands of Chevron FrogTape¬ģ, spaced about one and a half¬†inches apart. If you have only regular painter’s tape on hand, you can¬†do stripes or create a chevron shape using a craft knife. (Tip:¬†Cut¬†the chevron shape in your¬†painter’s tape first before applying it to the board or it will scratch the finish.)

Chevron-Painter's-TapeI brushed on the second layer of paint, which was a sample pot of turquoise chalk paint I got at a Haven conference a few years ago. Any spray, chalk or acrylic paint should work, though. I chose to paint the sides of the piece, too, to get rid of those noticeable, raw plywood edges.

Painting-chevron-stripes

I sealed¬†the piece with a coat of Rust-Oleum Satin Clear Enamel. To add the letters, I cut them out on gold adhesive vinyl using my Silhouette¬†electronic cutting machine. If you don’t have one of these nifty tools, you can use my¬†tracing method and simply fill in your¬†letters with gold paint or a permanent marker.

Plywood-baby-shower-art

DIY-baby-shower-sign

I apologize I didn’t get very good photos of the finished product. I was trying to host a shower at the same time and only had my phone on hand to take the¬†pictures. #bloggerfail

What do you think of my no-spend shower decor and keepsake?

* Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience.