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June 2015

Blog life

Just start

June 26, 2015

Starting something new is both exhilarating and terrifying. There’s a deep desire, a want, to do something, but there’s also a fear of failure. What if what I want doesn’t turn out the way I want it to? What if I fail? What if I’m no good?

The internet can be a beautiful place for inspiration. Home décor blogs and fitness sites all show you what is possible and what can be done. But it can also be paralyzing—I’m not good at decorating, my home will never look like that, I’m not good at running, I’ll never be able to do a marathon.

It is overwhelming sometimes, having access to photos and testimonials of people who have/do what you want, especially when they make it seem effortless.

Instead of telling ourselves we can’t do something or aren’t good enough to do it, just start.

Don’t worry about the outcome, just start.

Because here’s the thing—if you don’t start, you’ll spend all your time wishing and dreaming instead of doing and having.

Case in point: our basement bar.

My hubby and I talked about turning the bar corner into a full-fledged bar—pallet wall, an actual bar counter, stools, the whole nine yards. When we moved into our house, we just piled all our boxes with bar stuff on the shelves and floor in the corner and left them.

Three months later, the boxes were still there, poorly hidden behind narrow curtains.

I had a plan in my head that until we could get the full bar, I would “compromise” and thrift a bar cart, make it fabulous, find two oversized arm chairs and a rug and make the place super cozy and chic. But I was daunted by all the visions of bar carts I’d seen online, like this one. I didn’t think I could make anything as cute as they were. So I held back because I wasn’t “good enough.”

Until a few weeks ago. We had company coming for the weekend and I decided enough was enough. I started. I got rid of the curtains. I moved the shelves around and I took everything out of the boxes. Within a matter of maybe two hours, I had made our bar. Was it everything we had dreamed? No. But was it a bar? Yes.

My husband loves it. I love it. Do we still want to bar cart, chairs and pallet wall? Of course. But I’m not going to let this space go to waste waiting for them.


I think just starting can apply to almost any aspect of our lives. Do you want to do a triathlon? Stop reading all those articles and go for a run (or bike or swim). Do you want to make magazine-worthy cupcakes? Grab the flour and start baking. Do you want stunning photos to adorn your walls? Grab your camera and start snapping photos.

Too often we let our fear of not being “good enough” stop us. We all seek perfection because that’s what we’re accustomed to seeing. But perfection doesn’t exist; PhotoShop does, which makes us think perfection is real. In fact, many bloggers post about the difference between their “perfect” blog photos and how things are in real life.

My challenge for you this weekend: stop telling yourself you aren’t good enough and get started!

*This post was inspired by the Just Start stamp featured in a photo from Enjoy It and from the post Learning=Sucking by Delightfully Tacky.


Ombre garden chair

June 23, 2015

Last year, my mom snagged two garden chairs from the side of the road. She’s always great about finding fun things for me to refurbish and reuse, much to my husband’s dismay 🙂

These two chairs weren’t awful. In fact, we’d been using one of them for the past two months on our porch (the other was stuck in the garage holding important things like new deadbolts and door handles). Well this past weekend, we finally got our new locks on the doors, which meant the second chair was free. Time to get to work!

All I needed for this project was some Rustoleum spray paint (no photo because I used the whole can and forgot to take a picture, whoops!) and some paint. I used paint samples left over from when we were painting our house. Total cost: $3!!!


I initially thought I would remove all of the wood slats from the chair and spray paint the rusted white hardware and the slats separately. After a few trials, the screws were quite rusted and impossible to remove (thanks for trying Keith!). On to Plan B: spray the metal and paint the slats after.

I sprayed the armrests and the rest of the rusty white metal black. I definitely forgot to take a before picture, but needless to say things were pretty dismal. This photo is semi-before, since all I’d done was spray paint the metal rods.


It was a nice weekend, so I did the entire project in my backyard. Perfect for spray paint because it will go away the next time I mow the lawn!


I let the spray paint dry overnight. To be honest, I didn’t quite have enough paint to do the entire thing, so if you’re ever over, don’t look to closely at the underside of the black bars. You have been warned.

On day two, I painted. I started with a quick sanding to remove the worst of the flaking old green paint. At first, I was going to do a single color, but when I went to look through our paint, I found two blues that I thought could be combined to make a nice ombre, or gradient, effect. I used Behr’s Essential Teal and Sonic Blue.

I started with teal on the seat of the chair, then did Sonic Blue at the top. To create the middle color, I just mixed some white that I had in the basement with the teal. Those little tester jars worked perfectly for this! The color got a bit light, so the white/teal combo is really close in color with the Sonic Blue, but in person it’s definitely two distinct colors. The photos don’t show it that well.


And that’s it! I do intend on sealing the chairs yet, but that’ll be pretty easy. A few hours in the sun and I’ve got a great pop of color in the backyard.


Also, this is new: I joined Bloglovin! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Life snapshot

Life snapshot June 19

June 19, 2015

Welcome to another addition of life snapshot!

Things I’m excited for:

1. A weekend at home! This is the first weekend we’ll be at home in what seems like forever.

2. Farmers market produce tomorrow. The Saturday market is one of my highlights of summer.

3. To finish Game of Thrones. The hubby and I have gotten sidetracked and have three or four episodes to finish, which we fully plan on doing this weekend (no spoilers please!).

Project goals and updates:

1. I finished our bar downstairs! I wasn’t even planning on doing it, but one day last week I was super motivated and got everything out of the boxes and onto the shelves and organized. What do you think? I haven’t actually done any cosmetic changes (yet) but I really like it!


2. Organize my garage. We’re storing a couch in there at the moment (it didn’t fit in our living room) and it’s really cramping my style. The least I can do is organize around it.

3. Write a shitty first draft. I’m taking a writing workshop at the ArtHaus in Decorah, and this week’s assignment is to have a shitty first draft done. I’ve got a pretty good start, so hopefully a rainy Saturday will entice me to finish.

4. Bonus goal: I have three vintage frames in my garage that I want to paint and get prints to go in. We’ll see where this goes.

Current obsessions:

1. Left hand milk stout. Actually, any stout. I got hooked on stouts after Duluth brewery tours with some friends and I love it!

2. Cool vintage outdoor string lights, like these. I’m hoping they’ll make it on my project list one day soon (hopefully with a smaller price tag).

3. Green tea. I’ve been trying to kick a killer cold for over a week and I’ve been downing green tea like it’s my job.

In case it wasn’t clear, I have big plans for this weekend, including creating some project (and maybe recipe) tutorials. We’ll all find out next week if I am successful!

Life snapshot

Life snapshot June 5

June 5, 2015

I’m trying to finish my curtain tutorial for you. If all goes well, I’ll have that up here next week. But for now, I have my life snapshot!

Things I’m excited about

1. Cousin camping! We’re keeping the family tradition alive!


2. Writing workshop at the ArtHaus in Decorah, IA. It’s a six-week class on Tuesday nights led by my senior project advisor from Luther. Needless to say it’s going to be a wonderful workshop.

Project updates

1. I can finally see the floor in my craft room!!! Yes, there are still four boxes, but three of them are books (and I’m trying to wrangle my dad and uncle into helping me make a built-in bookshelf. That’s another story). Also, since this photo was taken, I have put up all of my pictures in the room as well.


2. I’m making progress on my scrapbook. I’m about halfway through with the pictures I have printed at the moment. My goal is to take more photos and at the end of the summer (when my current pages are complete), print them off and keep going with this book. This page depicts cousin camping last year.



1. Books. This is nothing new, I know, but sometimes my reading ebbs and flows. And am I ever in a flow phase-I have three books started at the moment (again, nothing new). On my summer reading list: Lolita, Silent Spring, The Barrytown Trilogy (by Roddy Doyle, an Irish author, sent to me by my fabulous mother-in-law), and Hausfrau (written by someone I saw and had lunch with while at Luther).

2. Moscow mules. I’ve loved the copper cups for a long time but never wanted to invest in them until I knew I liked the drink. Well, I like the drink!