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Fall Mantel Designs

Yes… I’m just sharing our fall mantels. What day is it? October 28th? 🙃

We’ve had a crazy last few months, and now that things have slowed down… we’ve really had time to relax and unwind from the busy summer. My husband and my nephew got my fall decor out of the crawl space last week, so I was finally able to decorate the house for fall this past weekend! It felt so good to have the summer stuff put away, and now the interior of our house matches what’s happening on the exterior. 

One of my favorite things to do is to shop my space and use what I already have. That’s exactly what I did this year. We have a fireplace in our dining room as well as a fireplace in our living room; that was actually one of the things that ultimately sold us our house. 

For the mantel in the dining room, I kept it very simple. Our buffet and my favorite nook are decorated rather fully (I’ll share both of those next week), so I wanted to keep this space a little quieter since the other spaces are already pretty loud.

This vintage barn window was an antique store find a few months ago. I had my eye on it for months beforehand, but it was a bit out of my price range. Then one day when my husband came antiquing with me, he loved it too and told me to offer the shop owner what I was comfortable paying. I did that, we met in the middle, and it came home with us that day! We were both ecstatic and it’s been here ever since. A few mason jars and some dried hydrangeas from our garden, and this mantel is complete!

If I had to pick a favorite between the two, it’d definitely be the living room mantel. It’s colorful, cozy, and it really pops up against the brick. 

All of these items I already had on hand. I love how the artwork talks to the garland, how the candle sticks bring the cream out of the artwork, and they all work well with the coloring of the books. Everything speaks a similar language, which is why I think this mantel gets my vote of my favorite. 

I hope this helps you decorate your mantels this season!

xo

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Breezeway Stone

After a few unexpected house projects, we were stuck with less than half of our budget to redo our back patio. We had plans to hire a local mason to come and overhaul the space, but now that the budget was used elsewhere, we’ve been looking at other options. Backstory, I love the current stone. It goes with the age of the house, and I love the imperfection of it. Bryan, not so much. 

Our first step of this overhaul that we undertook was the breezeway. It had a few loose stones that was a result of  the previous homeowner that neglected to clear out the gutters. So, I talked Bryan into fixing at least this section with me. Note, he was totally not into doing the patio ourselves. Mainly because he didn’t love the stone, and because he thought it would be super difficult and out of our comfort zone {we’re not masons.. so, I totally get his reasoning there}. I had been trying to talk him into doing it ourselves for years… so I thought this small area would be a good spot to see how we did.

This is what it looked like before:

And during: 

And after!

A couple hours of work and these stones are good as new. I’m aware that the coloring of the mortar doesn’t match from old to new, but I’m okay with it. More importantly: my husband is okay with it. Since he’s pickier with this space than I am, it was important to me that he liked it. 

After we were done, I looked over at Bryan and he says “Yeah, okay… We can fix the patio ourselves. This was relatively easy.”

{See what I did there? 😜 }

This is a major WIN in my book!! The back patio has been one of those house projects that you and your partner never agree on, especially the choice to either hire someone or do it ourselves. Since our budget didn’t allow for a full revamp anymore, I’m SO thankful he picked to keep the current stones AND to do it ourselves. It just needed a little love.

The breezeway went so well that we were confident about doing the patio. It came out great; stay tuned!

See tools & materials that we used below:

Note: the mortar we used dried within 15 minutes, and if you don’t have more than one person working on it, it’ll dry before you even get it down and molded. Definitely helped to have an extra person on hand to mix while you’re setting. I couldn’t have done it alone!

xo

Fixing Broken Tile

This was by far the most gut wrenching project I’ve done. Mainly because I didn’t have a lot of confidence I could do it. Better yet, I didn’t think I could do it well.

Let me backup. So two weeks ago, I was absolutely exhausted so I asked my husband to bring home a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I was actually asleep on the couch when he got home (remember, exhausted) and so he made some macaroni and cheese to go with it for dinner. I got up once I heard him moving around, and helped him finish up. We ate dinner, and as we were laying on the couch we heard a huge bang that sounded like glass breaking.

He ran into the kitchen and all I hear is him yelling at our cat Cutie. I go in and she knocked the glass container (with the lid on it) onto the ground to try and eat the chicken. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Pyrex container shattered one of the floor tiles in our kitchen. Boyyyy was my husband mad. He had a good rant about it, and didn’t say a word for the rest of the night. He didn’t even want to look at Cutie for days it felt like.

Our first thought was to call a contractor, which I did. I called the contractor that initially installed the tile, but he must have gotten a new number because the person that answered told me I had the wrong number. At that point, Bryan and I decided to talk to his father to see if he’d help us fix it. He of course said yes, but as the day got closer and closer, Bryan got a little nervous about him & I fixing it ourselves since he’d be working.

On that Friday night we went to Lowe’s & Home Depot to grab the supplies we would need. We asked a ton of questions  to the guy that worked in that department at Home Depot; he was such a huge help. At that point, I felt very confident that I could do this myself. I told Bryan that, and he told me to wait until his Dad could help me. If you know anything about me, if I think I can do it, I’m sure as hell going to try.

So I didn’t say anything to him or his Dad the next day, but I woke up and got right to work. I didn’t want to wait too long because then my nerves would have gotten the best of me.

Now that you’ve got the back story, I fixed the dang tile! Almost all by myself.

Let me explain:

My first step was to remove the shattered tile and clean up what was underneath it. I used a hammer and chisel, and carefully took the tile out. I then starting realizing that about five tiles around the shattered one, were super loose. Instead of letting it go, I took all those tiles out too. Might as well fix it all at once rather than fixing the one tile and then having to go back later. It took me about an hour and a half to get all the loose tile up. This was the hardest part I think, because I had to be very careful to take the tile out one by one, without causing too much vibration that the other surrounding tiles also didn’t come loose.

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(This yellowish-orange tile is what was originally in our kitchen)

Once I got them all up and cleaned, I was ready to start relaying all the tile back down. So I opened the container of pre-mixed mortar, and began to scrape it onto the tile and onto the space on the floor where it would be re-laid. We used this pre-mixed mortar from Lowe’s, and this tile trowel. I watched a few YouTube videos, and they said to apply the mortar in a random pattern with the trowel so that it really grabs onto whatever you’re adhering it to.

Once I got all the tile down, I noticed that one tile was sitting a bit higher than the others. This was because I was reusing the previous tiles that didn’t break, it was just one of the loose ones surrounding the broken tile. At that point, I called my father in law for his advice. He said to take the tile back up and bring it to his house so he could grind down the old mortar that was on the back of the tile. I went to his house and he filed it all off for me & I had the tile laid back down within an hour.

This is what it looked like when I was done laying the tile:

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At this point, I left it for 24 hours to set. I placed these books around the tile that was redone because I didn’t want anyone walking on them for the entire 24 hours. Our cats I’m sure walked on them, but that’s not enough weight to mess anything up.

The next day it was finally time to grout! This was my favorite part, and where I learned something. This is the grout we used from Home Depot, in delorean grey. I just put some grout onto the tool, and worked it in. This part was wayyy easy.

 

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I read online to let it dry a bit before wiping off.

Note: DO NOT DO THAT. Only let it sit for a few minutes, I’m talking like 5, maybe 10 at the max. I let it sit for about 30 minutes, and it was pretty much dry on the tile so it made it harder to wipe off the excess. It wasn’t a big deal, just needed to use a little more elbow grease than I should have needed to. I used a tile sponge, like this one, to wipe away any excess grout on the tile.

Everything I read said to stay off of it for a few days after you grout, so that’s exactly what we did. I finished it up on a Sunday, and we started walking on it around Wednesday evening.

Here it is folks! All fixed, like nothing ever happened.

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I was really anxious about doing this project on my own, but I knew I didn’t feel like paying a contractor to do it. I’m SO happy I tried & succeeded fixing it on my own (with a little help of my father in law 😉)

Moral of my story: Don’t ever doubt yourself. YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS.

xo

Painted Kitchen Countertops

When we moved into our home almost four years ago, we didn’t have the budget to redo our countertops, so I decided to paint them! Now that it’s been a few years of wear and tear, not to mention our cats scratching them up when we yell at them to get off the counters… it was time to decide what to do this time around.

Would I love to have brand new countertops? Of course. Do I want to pay for them? Not at all. So once again, paint wins! The paint I used on our countertops originally isn’t being made any more, so I went with Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint from Home Depot. 

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Once I decide to do something, there’s pretty much no stopping me. I decided on a Saturday that I wanted to redo them, but we were slammed that weekend. So that Monday on my lunch break I went and bought the paint, and then after work I started right away!

I taped everything off with painters tape, because let’s face it: I’m messy.

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(Sorry for the blurry photo, had to steal it off of a video from Instagram!)

I also ended up putting my cats in the basement, because I knew they couldn’t resist going on the counter–especially if it was completely cleared off. I definitely don’t need little black pawprints all around the house. Down into the basement they went. {Don’t worry, it’s plenty spacious and redone down there as my husband’s man cave.}

Once the kitties were away from the kitchen, I was ready to paint! Surprisingly, I only did one coat. This stuff was amazing! 

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I was also painting black over an already black surface, so I’m not too surprised it only took one coat. I let it dry for about 2 hours, and then went over it with a Matte Polycrylic. Last time I painted them, I didn’t seal them and I think that was part of the problem.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed because even though I bought the matte poly, it still gave it a tiny gloss, which I didn’t want. But, I know it’ll rub off little by little and I’d totally rather have it sealed than not sealed.

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Here she be! Newly painted & ready for business again!

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to ask!

xo

Winter Home Tour

I figured before I totally get sick of my winter decor, I’d give you guys a home tour! This year I kept things very simple, frosted, and cozy. I ended up keeping both mantles very similar to how I had them for Christmas, just took everything ‘Christmasy’ out.

I guess let’s start there:

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This is our living room fireplace, I took the stockings down & created a more cozy vibe here.

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Here’s a view of our dining room fireplace, with our new antique mirror that I am in love with. I’m learning that as I get older, the love I have for antiques gets stronger and stronger.

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I kept the tablescape super simple, just a tobacco basket and a few pine cones. Simple, yet complete.

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I talk about this china cabinet often, mainly because I got this for $15 at an estate sale!! $15! Some paint & new knobs and this baby was as good as new.

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This basket wall is my new obsession. I love the warmth it brings to this space! We’ve had a big clock here since we moved in, and although I’m sure the clock will end up there again, I’m digging this for the time being. I’m already scheming up how I can add some Spring vibes to it.

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This was the first spot in our home that I decorated when we moved in three years ago. The rest was history…

Moving into the kitchen:

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The kitchen pretty much stays the same all year round. I generally only decorate it for Christmas. Oddly enough, I don’t do that on purpose, it’s just how it happens. Maybe I’ll change it up for Spring now that I’m thinking about it. Who knows.

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I love this little nook in our entryway. My husband built me the shoe rack for Christmas a few years ago, and the home sign was a housewarming gift. This space came together super quickly, but it’s one of my favorites.

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These boxes will forever be in our home, I may be slightly obsessed with them. For Christmas, I had them laid out differently with a 4ft tree in the top one. They tend to travel around the house into different spaces.

Into the bedroom:

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I just completed a refresh to this space… one weekend, with only things I already had. I love this space! It’s so much brighter in here now. It helps that the curtains are sheer, which the prior ones were not. I can’t wait for the day I can open these windows and the warm summer breeze comes right in. I’ll probably add some Spring touches in here once that time comes, but for now I’m enjoying the simplicity of this space.

Last but not least, the bathroom:

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I basically took everything out of here for a clean, fresh look. That seems to be the pattern of this tour.

These are the main spaces that I spend time decorating throughout the seasons. This winter I kept it very simple. I’m sure once Spring comes I’ll want some changes in these  spaces and sprinkle my touches throughout.

I hope you enjoyed it, friends!

Reflecting on 2018

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season and have time to relax and unwind now that it’s over. It’s officially “once I’m home, I’m not going back out” season. I have to admit, I become somewhat of a hermit crab until Spring comes. Cold days, lots of snow, and getting dark at 4pm doesn’t do this girl well. Le sigh.

As I reflect on 2018, so much has happened. So much conflict, but SO much good as well.

2018 was the year that I decided to proactively start trying to grow my Instagram to create traction for my business.

2018 was the year I got to be present for my twin cousins’ birth.

2018 was the year I lost my best friend.

2018 was the year we finished renovating our home.

2018 was another year I got to spend with my husband.

2018 was the year we began to relax and enjoy the space we’ve created.

2018 was the year we spent endless quality time with the ones close to us.

2018 was the year that tested our sanity, but we certainly came out stronger because of it.

 

2018, you’ve been one of the hardest yet rewarding years of my adult life.

2019, I hope you bring happiness, solitude and lots & lots of love.

 

As we move into 2019, I keep thinking about what goals I have for this year. The ones that stand out for me are:

-spend more time outdoors

-back yard refresh (our patio needs work & we’d like to extend it out further)

-I have Celiac disease, so my goal for this year is to eat less processed “gluten free” meals. Even though they are gluten free, I have realized that they still create an imbalance for me. So my goal is to eat more whole foods: meats, cheese, fruits, veggies, and grains (the ones I can have). Nothing that comes from a package, nothing processed. Whole foods do my body good.

Most of all, my biggest goal I have for this year is to spend less time worrying about what time it is. Stop looking at the clock, or where you need to go next. I think our world is so concerned about getting everything done in time that we don’t necessarily enjoy what we’re currently doing. It needs to be more about the process than the destination… I fully believe that.

This isn’t my regular home decor post, but I’m looking to branch out of my comfort zone and share more lifestyle topics, of course along with home decor and DIY projects with you guys.

Here’s to a happy & healthy new year! What are your goals for the upcoming year?

xo

 

Christmas Home Tour

Hi All!

Are ya’ll ready for Christmas in a few days?! I’m just about done shopping, and I’m pretty sure everything is wrapped, as long as nothing else arrives in the mail 🙈

I’ve always shopped in stores, but this year it has been mainly online. After going to the stores in early December and getting in almost three car accidents in that one trip, I have stayed far far away. What is it with the holidays that makes people drive like maniacs?!

I thought it would be fun before the holidays come & go, to show you what our house has looked like for the past month! This is probably my favorite Christmas season yet, decor-wise. I kept everything very neutral and bright.

Let’s start in the kitchen…

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Quiet & Simple

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This china cabinet sits next to our front door in our dining room. I originally bought this piece from an estate sale for $15! A can of paint & new knobs went a long way. I tend to not change this up often, but I think this small change went a long way for this season 😁

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My husband built this bench when we first moved into our house, and it gives me the perfect little nook to decorate for every season. This barometer was my husband’s grandmother’s, an important staple in our home.

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This buffet table sits in our dining room, to the left of it is our kitchen, to the right is the hallway that leads to the bathroom, master & living room. This piece used to have a huge mirror on it, but was too big for an apartment so I redid it. We now use it as a buffet table!

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We have always had two trees in our house: an artificial one in our dining room that came with us from our apartment days (shown here next to our fireplace hearth that I redid this summer) and our real tree that goes in our living room.

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A super quick & easy centerpiece for our dining room table!

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A reminder to myself to take it easy this holiday season, and a peek of our new antique mirror above our mantle!

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Our newly-refreshed bathroom! Read more about that here.

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This is our mantle in our living room. I really wanted Christmas to pop right off of this brick wall. I think the white candles do a great job of doing just that.

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Last, but not least, our real tree at night. This is where you’ll find me any given day for a mid-day nap. It’s not my fault it gets dark out by 4pm!

I hope you enjoyed the short version of our Christmas home tour! This is only four rooms of our house, but these get the most use so I wanted to show them off! I hope you all have a great holiday with your families, enjoy every minute of it. I know I will. 🎄

xo

 

Main Bathroom Refresh

Finally, a bathroom refresh! When we moved in over two years ago, this bathroom didn’t need much… or so I thought (much like the rest of the house). We began by giving it a good cleaning, and my mother in law painted the walls for us. A few months later I decided to gel stain the vanity, which was one of our best moves. It completely changed the builder-grade-look of this bathroom.

But since we touched everything else in the house, recently the bathroom seemed to fall flat for me. Here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

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And this is what it looked like once we painted, redid the vanity & moved our stuff in:

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Here’s what it looks like now!

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I have to tell you; this shiplap was somewhat of a risk for me. I had been seeing sharpie shiplap everywhere, so I decided to give it a try. My thought process on this one was if it looked terrible, I’d just paint back over it.

I mean, it is a black sharpie line on a white wall, how good could it look?

I was SO mistaken!

In photos and actually in person, it looks pretty real you guys. I couldn’t believe it! I finished the first wall right before my husband got home from work, and he didn’t believe me that it wasn’t wood on the wall. Crazy how it tricks the eye, isn’t it? If you’ve been thinking about it, go for it! I think it’ll only look real on a white wall for future reference, although I’ve been thinking about doing it to one of our walls in our bedroom! I’ll keep you updated on that.

After the sharpie shiplap was done, my husband installed a chair rail along the top of the “shiplap” on the entire bathroom to make it look more realistic. This step definitely helped it look complete.

Now for this mirror. We’ve wanted to frame it in ever since we moved in. Again, it just makes it look builder-grade. The issue is this outlet:

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It’s what’s stopped us from framing it because of the width issue of the wood we’d frame it with. We’d either have to cut the wood down to a tiny piece or stop it before the outlet. It would be too thick to put it behind the outlet. Let’s be honest here, we haven’t tried to do it because we basically didn’t want to deal with it.

But as I was doing the shiplap, I had a thought. Why did the frame have to be a wide piece of wood? I ran out into the garage and grabbed a few pieces of scrap wood. I found one piece that would fit in between the mirror and the top of the outlet perfectly. A little one-inch piece of wood, all around this mirror did the trick! It took my husband about 15 minutes to frame it in, then I painted it and it was all set!

I added some new towels and bath mat, along with some new décor pieces in here… and wala! It didn’t take much for this bathroom to become super cute.

I just want to mention, that this bathroom was completely fine pre-refresh. We loved it as is, the issue here is that I can’t sit still for too long and I like a little change now & again!

Well here she is, everything I hoped & dreamed for. If I’m being honest, I’ve been dreaming about stenciling the floors… to be continued 🙂

xo

Fireplace Hearth

Dang, first blog post in about a year. If I’m telling the truth, I’ve missed sharing our DIY projects. I love sharing them on Instagram, but you don’t get to see the full process there—usually only the before & after.

As most of you know, we’ve been in our home for about 2 ½ years now. We spent the first year redoing everything… and I do mean everything. After that first year, we were so burnt out that we stopped doing anything for about another year. This spring is when I slowly started getting back into it. I started working on the projects that didn’t get completely finished (dragging my husband along with me) and now I think we’ve got our mojo back.

Recently, I’ve been tackling smaller projects that have a bigger impact on the space. What I’ve noticed is that in order for me to tackle these larger impact projects, I find myself researching all around Instagram land and Pinterest in order to find the best way to do them. Which then resulted in me reading tons and tons of blog posts from different decorators, who have done the same projects that I’ve been looking to do.

That forced me to think to myself… “girl, you should start working on your blog again so that you can help other people get these projects done, too.”

Sooo, that’s what I’m doing!

To get a little more specific, I recently refinished our fireplace hearth in our dining room. I was super nervous to start that project, because, well… I was painting freakin’ tile people!

I read through multiple blogs, so many in fact I can’t even give credit to the ones who helped me! The only person I can give full credit to was Kelly from @shiplap.and.lilacs . She had recently painted the stone on her fireplace, and so I reached out to her for any help she could give me. She told me what paint she used, how she applied it, everything. She was so helpful, and I had someone to show the progress to along the way. Thanks again, Kelly!

Here’s a before photo of our fireplace.

Note: There is absolutely nothing wrong with this hearth. Except for that one chip in the tile, this hearth was in great shape. The reason why I decided to paint it is because it just didn’t match the rest of the room at all, nor my style.

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Since this is a working wood stove, I started by cleaning everything off the hearth, and giving the tile a good scrub. I think I cleaned it three times before I finally felt like it was clean. From there, I painted it with Alabaster from Benjamin Moore, which I loved. It immediately brightened up the space.

Since I used a paint that was paint & primer in one (Sherwin Williams Showcase line), this was with three coats:

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I loved the way it turned out.

Initially, this was my only plan for this space but as soon as I finished, something was missing. My husband felt the same way. We couldn’t put our finger on it, but the space felt sort of bland. Super clean & crisp, but now kind of bland.

My wheels started turning, and after a few days of living with the white tile… it came to me. I needed to stencil it! I didn’t know how it was going to come out, because my Well Woven rug has a design to it and our curtains in the dining room have a design to them as well. I was a little concerned it would all clash, but I went ahead anyway.

I ran to Michael’s the next day and found a stencil kit. Meanwhile, I had no idea how I was going to do this. I decided to use leftover paint of what we used on the exterior siding of our second story, which was Indian River by Benjamin Moore.

The stencil package had many different sizes to choose from. I tried out a smaller version first, and it was just too small. I covered over that with white paint again, and went for the larger one. I was concerned with the larger stencil that I’d be going over the grout lines in the middle of the stencil, but I wanted that size, so I went for it.

After about 4 hours of stenciling… I got this!

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I can’t even describe to you guys how much I LOVE this tile now. Shouldn’t this be how we all feel about every spot in our home?! The amount of excitement I felt inside of me was amazing.

Once this was dry, I applied three coats of matte poly to the entire hearth. This was the easy part. I waited about an hour in between each coat, until it wasn’t sticky anymore. After a few hours it was done! We waited about a week until we put everything back on the hearth. It’s been done for about 3 months now, and I have to say it’s holding up great!

You know when you finish a project, and you love it so much that you don’t even care what anyone else thinks?! That’s what my friend Sara over at Grace in my Space calls making your home a haven.

And you know what friends, if I didn’t take that risk in the first place, I would have kept that yucky red tile that every time I looked at it, I hated. Now when I look over here, I just smile.

Cheers to hearing more from me on here friends… I’ve missed ya!

xo

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I hope you had a great holiday. As most of you already know, my husband and I had 24 guests for Thanksgiving dinner this year (8 additional guests for dessert), this being our second-year hosting. Luckily last year we had 21 guests, so I was accustomed to the large crowd. A few of our guests asked me how I got my inspiration for the tablescape and to be honest, I started thinking about how I was going to set the table about three weeks before the holiday.

I usually start by searching some ideas on Pinterest, and picking an aspect in each photo of what I wanted to incorporate on my own table. Here’s a few of the photos that I got my motivation from:

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What I took from these three inspiration photos: I wanted pumpkins on the table, along with a ton of greenery. I loved the second picture, how the greenery was almost fluffing out the sides. Now that I knew that I wanted to include those two aspects, I started thinking about the setting themselves. I had enough place-mats for everyone from last year, so those I knew had to be used again. I liked what I saw in these photos, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

I then found THE perfect addition to our table….

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Aren’t these the cutest nameplates you’ve ever seen?! The best part, Jenny from Bloom Designs had a link on her blog for a free printable version!! Jenny, I must say- you’re a true lifesaver… You really helped a girl out. I printed them out on regular computer paper, grabbed some card stock from Michael’s, and got them copied over to the card stock at my local Staples. They were the perfect finishing touch to our table.

Thanks Jenny!

All in all, this tablescape probably cost around $40 from everything I bought new this year. Not bad, I have to say. I shared a photo on my personal social media accounts, but here are the extended photos of the table!

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Here it is! I loved how it turned out. I have to share the funniest moment of the night, now keep in mind we had guests start to arrive around noon that day. After dinner & cleanup, around seven o’clock I found myself needing a minute to breathe, so I went down into the basement to chill on the couch for a second. As I come down the stairs, I see my husband Bryan doing the same thing. So funny! We both had been nonstop that entire day, that we just needed five minutes to turn it off. My brother in law actually came downstairs looking for us and he just started laughing.

Hope that one made you laugh as much as it made us!

xo