Category Archives: Lists & Favorites

Let’s Do This: New Year, New Project List

I love that welcoming January brings with it a sense of a fresh start, even though in reality it’s just another day. It’s especially helpful with projects, because I like to think of all I can accomplish in the year ahead.  I’ve decided to share my ideal list of projects for the year.  Let’s see how much I can get done!


I’ve got all these projects organized in a Google Spreadsheet, so that I can prioritize and break down budgets and keep track of progress.  They’re divided into DIY and BUY categories so I can also see which items will require more money.

A benefit of having a blog is that it can help keep you accountable for what you need to get done.  That’s my goal with sharing my project list.

Living Room & Dining Room

Big changes are coming to our living room in February! We’re on the waiting list to have our dirty white couch professionally reupholstered – finally! – which will kick off a bit of a design refresh for me in this space.

  • Sew Curtains
  • Find Large Door Mat
  • Sew New Pillows
  • Cover Lamp Shades
  • Reupholster Knoll Chairs
  • Resolve Dining Room Art Situation
  • Sew Table Runner


The kitchen is cold, so the most important projects relate to that.

  • Add Weather Stripping to Door
  • Find a Rug
  • Organize Undersink Cabinet
  • Organize Spices


Our bedroom has been on a design hold for ages as we’ve discussed building a bed.  It’s time to get on that, already.  I’d like to start building in March, but it’s a joint project so it will depend on what time frame works for Ryan, too.

  • Build Bed Frame
  • Buy Mattress
  • New Night Stands
  • Hang Art
  • Make Curtains
  • Make Pillows
  • Touch Up Paint
  • Build Dog “Bed”


This space is one of the most finished in the house, so the tasks I have to do are all little ones that are easy to DIY.

  • Refinish Dresser
  • Change Charging Station
  • Contain Cord Clutter on Desk
  • Sew Dog Bed for Merlin
  • Cover Lamp Shade


  • Re-caulk Tub
  • New towels and bath mats

Basement Rec Room

Gah. For some reason we never seem to follow through with “decorating” this space.  I guess there’s a few reasons – 1, it’s downstairs so we can ignore it.  2, my sewing storage constantly overflows into it.  4, it’s a big room and our ideas for it are constantly changing.

I hope this will be the year that we actually do something awesome with the space.

  • Paint
  • Hang Art
  • Get Rug
  • Refinish Coffee Table
  • Refinish Book Shelf
  • Refinish Dresser


Shoot, I need to finish my studio makeover. I’m so close to being done.  I’ll get on that this month.

  • DIY Cabinet Hardware
  • Finish Touches to Shelving Unit
  • Window Shade
  • Convert Sewing Table to Drop Leaf
  • Reupholster Sewing Chair

Storage Room / Workshop

This space has become cluttered and messy again. We need to reconfigure it to allow us to more easily use all our woodworking tools.

Back Porch

  • Add Cafe Lights
  • Refinish & Recover Chairs
  • Better Storage?

Miscellaneous Projects

  • Make a Photobook for 2013
  • Sew a Quilt
  • Finish Old Scrapbooks
  • Reupholster Stool
  • Frame Italy Art

Top Three DIY Projects of 2013

Here are my top three favorite DIY projects of 2013.  In review I see that it wasn’t the most productive year, but the projects I churned out were certainly useful ones!DIY Farmhouse Style Desk

The Pottery-Barn-Inspired desk I built for my office was, by far, my most favorite project of the year.  I still love it just as much as I did the day I finished building it.   You can find a printable PDF How-To Guide here.

Danish Modern Chair Trash to Treasure

I repaired, refinished, and reupholstered a pair of valuable Danish Modern dining chairs that I found discarded on the side of the road, and this only furthered my trash-rescuing obsession!   Guest Room with Temporary Wallpaper

Even though I never got to officially “finish” my guest room (because I had to turn it into my sewing studio for Janery) – I did a reveal before dismantling it, because I loved the direction in which it was going!

Favorite Work In Progress:

Janery Studo White Besta Doors-1

Still a work in progress, the 10-foot wall of Faux Built-In Shelves in my sewing studio was an incredibly useful project, not to mention a challenging one.  I’m still proud of it, as it took my carpentry skills in a slightly more advanced direction.   The only projects left are to make handles for the cabinet doors and to finish off the mid-level shelf.

Lazy Sunday: Awesome reads.

Good morning, friends! We still have some awesome snow here at the borrowed abode, and it makes it really feel like Christmas is around the corner!  I hope you’re enjoying a good lazy Sunday with a nice warm drink wherever you are.

an icy lake in Maine

an icy lake in Maine

Here are a few great reads while you’re sipping that mug of coffee or tea:

The 13 Things Mentally Strong People Avoid.  I want to print this list out to see every day as inspiration.

My friend Kalani makes a strong point yet again, this time with an oldie but goodie:  What They REALLY Want for Christmas. This applies to Thanksgiving as well, at least for me.

One of my oldest blogging buddies, Jeannine at Small Chic Home, worked on styling a wedding shoot that was featured on Style Me Pretty!  I am so impressed with her beautiful work.  She is a woman of so many talents, and somehow she manages to juggle them all so well.

dog bed by Janery. :)

dog bed by Janery. :)

Finally, if you need a good LAUGH – you must read Rachel’s post:  Iced by Scrooge.  I can really relate. 

8 Awesome Handmade Shops for Holiday Gifts

I always try to do the bulk of my Christmas gift shopping with small and handmade businesses.  It’s fun to support artisans and local entrepreneurs while giving a truly unique gift that won’t be found in the mall. It’s an added bonus that, with strategic shopping, you can avoid the mall altogether!

So here are a few handmade gifts that I enthusiastically recommend.  You can find even more recommended shops here and here.

I’ve met all of the following handmade business owners either at local art shows or through friends, and I vouch for the quality of their products!

Unique Handmade Jewelry:

Handmade Jewelry Gift Options Clockwise, from top left:

Zebra Wood and Feather Earrings by Onetribe Organics. They also sell handmade, organic body jewelry.   (I went to school with Jared, the owner and designer, and he runs an impeccable company and gives so much back to his community.)

Ombre Earrings in Copper by HattieRex on Etsy

Gold Aura Quartz Long Necklace

Compass Rose Whitman Quote Silver Necklace  – I’ve purchased this exact necklace as a gift in the past.  Great service and top quality product!

Awesome Screen Printed Gifts

Screen Printed Handmade Gifts

All are designed and printed in the USA by small handmade businesses.  Clockwise, from top left:

Chevron Printed Jersey Scarf by Flytrap on Etsy – I have one in a different design and love it!

Dinosaur vs Robot Tee by Gnome Enterprises.  They have a huge selection of wacky designs.

Guitar Print Tea Towels by TinyPeepers on Etsy – I’ve given these as gifts Another

2014 Tea Towel Calendar with a Rooster – also by Flytrap.

Finally, my favorite item from Gifts in the Galleries, at the University of Pennsylvania, a show I recently attended:

Mustard Knit Neckwarmer by Wise Owl Shop

These fabulous knit neckwarmers / cowl scarves by Wise Owl Shop.  Ashleigh also makes similar neck warmers from vintage materials – and I have been wearing mine nonstop since I bought it. It makes it easy to stay warm when you keep the temperature low in your house to save energy. :)

I hope you’ll consider supporting handmade and small businesses when you shop this holiday season.

Are there any other handmade businesses you’d recommend?