Feeling Nostalgic

IMG_4854It’s that time of year when you hear Mom’s say things like:

“Where did the time go?”

“They’re growing so fast!”

“I can’t believe it’s over.”

All of these have been playing over and over in my head the past few days. My little Anna graduated preschool this week, and I can’t help but think, “how did this happen?”. I know, I know. We still have a long way to go, but we all know it’s gone in the blink of an eye.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share one of my favorite wall groupings. Our master bedroom houses all our books. Mostly Mike’s old textbooks that he REFUSES to part with. Originally I was thinking of having the wall full of shelves, but once I got the ball rolling I knew this would be a perfect place for our family photo timeline. I had had the idea for awhile. I just wasn’t sure where to put it. The bookshelves were the perfect base for the project.


I love waking up and seeing the progression of our little family staring back at me.


Picture Frame Moulding: Part 1



If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a HUGE fan of all things involving decorative moulding. Door frames, window frames, board and batten, beadboard…You name it, I love it! I love the coziness it brings into a room. With that in mind, it’s no surprise I decided to add some moulding in our hallway. Our hallway has always been blan and boring. Sure, it functioned, but there was absolutely nothing special about it. After weighing whether I wanted board and batten, or picture frame moulding for months, I decided picture frame moulding was the way to go. It gave me the look I wanted and it didn’t seem very hard.

What you’ll need for part 1:


Miter saw


Nail gun (brad nails)

Air compressor


Chair rail

Joint compound


Dry wall knife

Mud pan

Sanding sponge


I started off by putting up the chair rail (Thanks Ashley for your help!) I love when mouldings are done high on the wall, but in this case I decided that would be a mistake. Our hall is fairly average in width, so I was worried you’d feel like the walls were going to eat you if I put the moulding too high. I decided to put the chair rail right at 40″. Once the chair rail was leveled, and nailed into each stud (just like I did in Anna’s room), it was time to smooth the wall. I’ve told you before how the walls in our house are all bowed and crazy. Originally I wanted to put up a board between the chair rail and the floor board, but I decided it would be a huge mess considering all the problems with the wall. Instead I decided to just smooth the texture of the wall to give the illusion of having a board there.

IMG_4532To smooth the wall you’ll need a box of joint compound. There’s quite a few options when it comes to dry wall mud, so it was hard to decide. Our friend Parker came to my rescue (Thank you Parker!) He recommended to NOT get the lightweight mud. He said it’s easier to sand, but it’s harder to work with. When you’re a beginner like me, you’ll take every break you can get. He also suggested getting the pre mixed compound in a box over the powder.


After dumping the mud into the bucket we decided to add a little water and stir it until it was smooth.

IMG_4548You can see the texture of the mixture here. It was thin enough to work with, but not so thin it was sliding all over the place.

IMG_4550 IMG_4552

We used a smaller dry wall knife to fill the pan, and then we got to work. Using a large dry wall knife, we spread mud all over the bottom portion of the wall. Here’s where I learned experience is key! Parker was a master while my skills were, shall we say, lacking. Eventually I got the hang of it, but I was much slower than he was. The idea is to get it reasonably smooth. Parker didn’t really have any tips for this part. Just put it on there any way you can. Like I said, experience! You won’t be able to get it perfectly smooth during this step, so don’t worry too much about lines or imperfections. That’s where sanding comes in.


After the wall was dry, which took a few hours, we sanded everything reasonable smooth.


I had to use the sponge sander in the corners and next to the chair rail.

*Ready for some bad news? We had to do 2 coats to get the wall where I wanted it, so repeat everything above.


Once the second coat was dry I really wanted to make sure everything was perfect. I found using the sponge sander on everything gave me a lot more control and made the finished product perfectly smooth.


Here’s one of the not so fun parts about smoothing a wall. It makes a mess! My ENTIRE house was covered in a layer of dust. The finished product was definitely worth it, but this cleanup was epic!


After 2 coats of mud, 2 rounds of sanding, and some major cleanup this is what the wall looks like. Perfectly smooth and ready to add the picture frame moulding.

STAY TUNED for part 2!

Here’s a little sneak peak.


The Devil’s in the Details


Sometimes it’s the little things that make such a difference. Case in point, this sad little lamp shade. It’s too small for the lamp, it was bravely painted by yours truly (Good in theory. Poorly executed.), overall it’s just kind of sad.

Meet our new shade.


It’s bigger, a better color for the room, a better pattern for the room, and it makes me happy. Simple as that! I don’t know whether I should be cursing Target or thanking them for their ever amazing home decor products.

*In case you were wondering: Yes! The pavers are almost done, and another project was on today’s schedule for completion. That was until I got the flu. Boo!! Maybe I’ll give you a sneak peak tomorrow of what it looks like mid project.

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Stencil Wall


Meet our living room stencil wall. This wall and I have a love hate relationship. I love the finished product, even though it’s a little more “in your face” than anticipated, but I hate it because it took FOREVER to finish. Be warned! If you want to do a stencil wall, be prepared to put some serious time into it. I’m too afraid to add up the exact amount of hours spent on the wall, but I’d say it took about 2-3 hours per row. You can count the rows and do the math. It was A LOT of soul sucking time! Seriously, I felt like I’d lost a piece of my soul when this thing was finished.

In hind sight there’s only 1 thing I’d do differently: I’d use a color other than white so the pattern would be more subtle. Maybe a lighter/darker shade of the blue, or even the same shade in a gloss. With all the negative comments out of the way let me say, I DO love the stencil wall. It was almost painted over multiple times in the process of completing it, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

What you’ll need:

Stencil *Mine was purchased at Hobby Lobby. I used a half off coupon which made it around $7. That beat the $60 I almost spent ordering one eerily similar online.

Stencil brush/roller *depending on what you want the finished product to look like.

stencil adhesive/tape

brush cleaner if you’re doing a large wall






*Instead of doing this on my wall I used a cardboard box. Like I said before, bear with me while I improvise.*

Every stencil is going to have a way to mark it in order to keep the pattern flowing and level.


I decided to start stenciling from the floor up because our ceiling is pitched. Normally I’d recommend going from the top down to avoid having an incomplete pattern at the top. Once I made sure the floor board was level, I placed the stencil right on top of it and started marking the wall at each dot-one in each corner.  The blue was dark enough that I had to use a sharpie or I couldn’t see it. Touch ups were necessary anyway, so touching up the dots was no big deal.


I continued lining up the dots and marking the wall. Once the entire wall was marked, I moved onto the fun stuff.


Our walls are heavily textured so the stencil adhesive I tried to use didn’t work. I have a feeling it would work just fine for smoother walls. In our case it was easier to use painters tape to secure the stencil to the wall. In the beginning I tried to use a roller to apply the paint. The look didn’t suit what I was going for and it was really easy to make a mess of things. I decided to go with a stencil brush. I was stenciling after all. My wall is fairly large, so I actually ended up going through 4 brushes. Stenciling is no joke!


Keeping the brush parallel to the floor the entire time, with just paint on the tip, I started stippling the pattern onto the wall.


Because part of the stencil overlapped the part I had just finished, I had to skip to the next section in order to continue working. Lining up the holes in the stencil, with the dots on the wall, I kept going back and forth until I had completed a row. Once a row was done, I’d move up on the wall.


A few times in the stenciling process, because my project was so large, paint built up on the stencil making my pattern gradually get smaller. I decided to buy this brush cleaner at Hobby Lobby and improvise.


First I started by placing the stencil over some parchment paper to keep everything contained (anything will work really).


It’s hard to see, but I put brush cleaner all over the stencil and rubbed it in with a brush.


Once everything was covered with the paint remover, I covered it with plain old plastic wrap.


After sitting for 20 minutes, covered with plastic, the paint started pealing right off.


Taking some care not to rip intricate parts of the stencil, all the paint came off in one piece. Voila! A clean stencil.


Overall I’m happy with our stencil wall. It holds my favorite wall decor: our family pictures. Would I do it again? Ehhh…depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel like I’d definitely do it again but with a more subtle color/pattern, and other times I feel like I’d go an entirely different direction. Good thing it’s just paint!

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Anna’s Room: Phase 1

The second we moved in I knew I wanted something in Anna’s room. Either beadboard or board and batten. I had some left over beadboard from the bathroom (don’t worry! It’s coming!!) and the EXACT amount of chair rail left over from the hall (also coming!) I couldn’t NOT do this project with 80% of it sitting in the garage. Granted I had to buy another piece of beadboard, but SO worth it. Because my math skills are what I like to call, “awesome”, I didn’t want to go through the hassle of putting anything in the bay window. Too many angles!


What you’ll need:

beadboard cut to desired height

liquid nails-about 2 tubes per 4×8 sheet of beadboard

nail gun

jigsaw (to trim around outlets and along any boards that need to be trimmed)

Miter saw (to cut the chair rail to length and to miter any corners)



desired chair rail

floorboards (optional)

Here’s what I did:

Each beadboard sheet is 4 x 8. *I wanna say I purchased the beadboard for the bathroom at Lowe’s and the extra sheet I needed at Home Depot. They are pretty much interchangeable and the price is about the same-about $20 a sheet. I had the handy people at Home Depot cut the sheet in half. (less work for me!) Once home, we placed each board flush against the floorboards to see how it fit. That way we could make adjustments as needed (and we needed too!) We placed the level on top of the beadboard and got it as close to level as we reasonable could since our floor boards and walls are a bit wonky. Once we knew it fit we marked on the wall above the board where the studs were and went ahead with the liquid nails. Using a caulking gun, I spread liquid nails across the back of the beadboard (the entire tube. Don’t be chintzy!) . I made sure to get close enough to the edges to help it hold, but not so close it would ooze out. After that we placed the board on the wall and pressed FIRMLY everywhere. Liquid nails takes awhile to dry and the beadboard tends to bow in places if it’s not secure. Now the fun part: *power tools*. I added brad nails about every 6-8 inches down each stud, and anywhere I felt it was bowing. Try not to nail anywhere you don’t have to. Yes, you’ll patch the holes, but they’ll still be slightly visible. We continued with the other pieces of beadboard until the wall was covered. Each piece is designed to fit snuggly together to continue the pattern.


Next up? Chair rail.

(I put this beadboard up before the creation of the blog so I had to improvise with some scrap wood)Image

Using my AWESOME Dad’s router (you’re gonna hear a lot about him. Shout out to the old man!!), I routed an edge along the bottom of the chair rail so it fit just over the beadboard.


The idea was 1: help the beadboard stay secure to the wall, and 2: it made the seam between the chair rail and beadboard perfect.


Once we made sure the chair rail fit we used brad nails to secure it to every stud.

Now to the jigsaw


Almost every wall is going to have an outlet or something. Measuring from the top of the beadboard, and then again from the verticle seam, we marked exactly where each outlet was located. We started with smaller rectangles just to make sure we got it right. Once I drilled a hole for the blade to go through, I started cutting away. It took 4 tries but it fits perfectly! I should mention why the beadboard looks so dirty. The jigsaw makes all sorts of marks on the board, but it doesn’t ding it, and the paint completely covers it.

Now our house’s dirty little secret…


Our house is OLD, so there isn’t a level and square wall in sight. The middle sheet of beadboard had to be cut away at the bottom to make do for a bowed floor board, but the end piece was in a completely different ballpark. There was no way I could have made that piece work without making the entire piece slant. Solution? New floorboards (yay!!). I had debated before starting the project about replacing them because they’re different from the rest of the house. I didn’t want to go to the extra expense, but now it’s a necessity.

PHASE 2 checklist:

fill in all seams with painters caulk

spackle over all the nail holes then sand


*start construction on bay window seat with storage*


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A Jumping off Point

 Welcome to our home!

I thought it was only appropriate to start with our entry. It’s been through a few transformations, but this particular setup has stayed the longest, so far. We all know how influential a first impression can be. I wanted the first impression of our home to say it all. Who we were, what we love, what my our style is. Basically who we are at a glance. I tried to only put those things in the entry that I absolutely LOVED. Hello! We’re talking about first impressions here. I love things to feel classic with a modern twist. I decided to go with two smaller groupings rather than one large one that spanned the entire dresser. For me, my eye always needs somewhere to rest. The dresser was originally purchased from the DI (Utah’s version of the Goodwill) for $30 when I was pregnant with Anna. Since then it’s served a few functions. It went from dresser, to tv console, to entry table. Originally it wasn’t so cute, but with a little love it became what it is today. Hopefully we’ll talk about that soon. I found “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (info on the proclamation here) on a local facebook group. It was created by the talented Maggie Hatch. She sells the pdf on her Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/listing/182934422/lds-family-proclamation, or you can email her at: maggiehatch11@gmail.com. It’s $5, and you can print it any size you want, but you’ll have to make/get your own frame. When I first put the proclamation up it was so lonely. Good thing I’m a total sucker for wall groupings (and white plates which you will soon find out).  The white plates were leftover from the dining area, so it was win win.  I threw in a few other items that define us: a picture of Christ,  photos of each girl, and a few decor items that fit the bill. Overall I’m happy with it. Will it change and evolve as we do? ABSOLUTELY! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted when that happens.






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