Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Decorating With Color {a dining room story}

On the surface, this story is going to seem like just another presto chango, dining room redo, fresh look on an old dining room, when in reality, it's so much more. Instead, this is a story about a girl, a girl who is trying to learn how living intentionally looks in her everyday life. This is the story about living a life on purpose and how that looks and even relates to home decor. 

There's not anything exceptional about our dining room, it's just like yours- a place to gather for meals with family and friends. But this new walk of mine is causing me to look at all the parts of my life with new eyes. You see, I have this problem of liking for my house to be in order, so much in order that I fear it sucks the life right out of this little house- I'm working on it y'all. I like neatness and cleanliness, which is good and all, but too much is, well, TOO much, you know? For years I've had some type of runner or cloth on my table, it looks nice, and while I don't really  mind if it gets soiled- I probably do mind. Like I said, I'm working on it. So, one afternoon while perusing through the pages of one of my favorite blogs, I saw a photo of her dining table- her stark naked dining table- sitting right there like it was ready for, life.  That empty table just slapped me right in the face I'm telling you, and she had these cool shelves on the wall behind her table with, get this, real stuff,  like sewing and crafting things that might actually be fun- did you hear that? Fun. Not just useless decor that sits and gathers dust, but real life stuff that's cute and colorful all on it's own.

So, after I picked myself up off of the floor, I knew what I had to do. I headed to the basement for a shopping trip- you do that right? I knew that I'd have to totally redo the wall because it had some serious holes in it from all it's previous looks. I spackled and sanded and repainted the whole  wall. It was so worth it though. Then I had a clean slate to work with. Shelves went up with homeschool stuff, board games, supplies for impromptu artwork, some new prints, a real live plant {live anything  is a must in winter}, and a real and intentional dining room was born. I changed out my light to a wire cage light that I'd been saving for just a time as this. 

Then I painted our dining room chairs to some corals, greens, yellows and bird's egg blues, because what's not fun about colored chairs?? And the most important ingredient, an EMPTY  table- an empty table ready for life to happen.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

DIY: A Winter Mantel

I've come to the realization that our mantel is my muse {sad but true}. I change it..... well, let's just say, often. When I was growing up we moved into a big ole' {newly built} farmhouse and my mother spent an absolute fortune decorating it and though it was beautiful, it NEVER changed. Nothing moved, nothing was updated, nothing- for like ever. Maybe that's where my decorating unrest was born, I don't know, but our mantel- I have fun!

Once we cleared out all the Christmas decor, winter decor arrived, and it's been a wonderful conscience choice I made in hopes of staving off my harsh, merciless, winter blues. I opened my arms and welcomed winter into our home this year and winter decorating has been a huge part of a really happy attitude over here. Now, I don't go out and buy all new, no siree, but I do shop the house and buy small pieces that I can craft into something to maybe match an inspiration picture I have. For instance, I drool and swoon, and swoon and drool over the Anthropologie catalog, but they must be nuts if they think I'm paying $125.00 for a garland of any kind. I really wanted the temple bells garland from there, so, off to the store to purchase some wonderful, woolly yarn, and the pom pom making began in earnest. Throw in some homemade art work and my favorite winter print from Choose Brave Shop, lots of candles and some dogwood branches from dear old mother nature- a winter mantel was born. If you're thinking, "this is not for me, I don't even have a mantel", have I got news for you!! This works great on any shelf. Ever heard of a fantle {aka fake mantel}? This is fun for everyone honey!Ever notice how crazy people want others to join in too so they don't seem sooooo crazy? It would make me feel so much better if you'd share my mantle obsession! 

My little secret for a wonderful mantel is to layer lots of your favorite things and always bring in some of the outside if at all possible. I love banners and garlands and layer them often on the mantel. For winter, I knew I needed lots of cozy candles {secret: I get my glass jar candles at Walmart for $1 and they last forever} to warm up the mood AND our dear old deer really gives it a cozy winter woodland vibe.

So to re-cap: 
1. Be Brave {don't be afraid to be a little different and even wonky in your decorating- it's your house!}
2. Pull out some off your favorite pieces and layer them.
3. It's winter- the more candles the better!
4. If you can't buy it , make it. I made all  3 of the garlands, easy-peasy, and I love how fun and colorful they are.
5. Bring the outdoors in whenever possible.
6. And, there you have it, a fun, colorful winter mantel that will give you a smile every time you walk by!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DIY: Pom Pom Garland

These garland's are so easy and addictive. I've wanted to make one of these for EVER, and when I started to think about my Christmas decor, I really wanted to include these. Now that I've made one, I want to make more!  Don't say I didn't warn you, they are addictive! I've outlined the steps in numbers, but for those visual learners {like me!} I've included a link to a You Tube video tutorial that was just awesome. So here goes.........

What you'll need:

  • Yarn in your choice of color
  • Scissors
  • Your hand!

  1. Begin by laying the yarn over your hand as illustrated in step 1
  2. Now loosely wrap the yarn around your hand {about one hundred times}
  3. Gently remove from your hand onto a flat surface
  4. Cut a generous piece of yarn and lay it up under the yarn roll you removed from your hand. Take this yarn piece and tie , very tightly, around yarn roll. 
  5. Now, using your scissors, cut through the yarn loops taking care to cut every loop
  6. Shake it out and you'll have a pom pom
  7. The most important part: in order to have a neat nicely formed pom pom, you have to give it a little hair cut to even out it's length
  8. If all that has blown your mind, here's the link to the YouTube video

Thanks y'all for joining me today and for helping me kick off the Christmas season with a fun little garland craft. Happy Pom Pom-ing!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Simple Thanksgiving


Well, Thanksgiving's here, whether I'm ready or not. In just a few short days, we'll have a house-full of family and friends. How I decide to embrace this day has a lot to do with how enjoyable it will be for us and our guests. If I'm striving for perfection in foods and decor, it'll bomb. If I remember that this day, this day of gathering, is more about the process of being together than it is anything else, it'll be a success. That's really hard isn't it? Hospitality is a mindset long before it's an action. Welcoming people into our imperfect homes and lives, immediately puts them at ease. They don't even want all that pretense of perfection we're trying to shove at them.

This Thanksgiving will have a casual aire of simplicity. This Thanksgiving will be about the act of gathering. This year's focus will be on sharing the day with those we love. Nothing more. Simple. I've done a lot lately that cleaves to simple. We had a simple fall, now a simple Thanksgiving, and starting Friday, a simple Christmas. That's all it's supposed to be, you know? Simple pleasures. The world has confused us and made us believe that complex is normal. It's not. Don't believe it for a second. 

If your week is starting off with you a frazzled mess, filled with deadlines and over the top decor for your Thanksgiving, give it all the gift of good-bye. There are still a couple of days left to re-center and focus on gathering. It's not too late my dears, not too late at all! Set this Thanksgiving apart from years past, focus on the simple pleasures.

I happened across these printable place-mats that I've highlighted in this post over at Ella Claire. I knew they would be perfect for our Thanksgiving table this year. Simple with the focus on thankful- perfect! I just loved how she added the pencil into the place setting so cleverly so each guest could write down what they are most thankful for this year. Here's more inspiration photos from all around blogland with lots of great and SIMPLE tablescapes. Follow the link back to Ella Claire's for getting to all those blogs

Wishing you a most blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving Day. See you right back here Friday as we kick off the start of the Christmas season here at The Little Farm.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY: A Winter Rescue Kit

It's that time of year again! Cold and flu season. Yuck, yuck, yuck! The other day, I started to feel a little nauseous, and then panicky! I'm not ready for this......I'm not prepared for this.......what if I'm really sick.....I don't have any supplies. Thank heavens I felt better the next day, but it really got the wheels in my brain turning. Sooooooo, next trip out, I began stocking up a box with emergency supplies. Now if one of us goes down, I'm ready! I know what you're probably thinking, "why do you need a box stashed away for this, just put the supplies in the pantry". If you have kids, the answer may be pretty obvious as to why I felt the need to pack all this away in a crate and store it in the basement. If it's in the pantry- it will get eaten! Already, just since I bought these supplies, our seven year old has asked for some Gatorade and saltines! Unless I hide this stuff, there's no hope! So what's in my box you ask?

I wanted to include things good for colds and tummy issues that may strike. I filled my crate with lots of Gatorade, Ginger-ale, children's fever aides, saltines, cough drops, tissues, and ginger tea. I'm planning on adding more goodies next grocery day. Things like chicken soups, lots more Gatorade, and even some coloring books and crossword puzzles for those long, boring days stuck in the bed. 

I found this ginger tea which is great for soothing an unhappy tummy. It's delicious. I went ahead and gave it a try because that's just how thorough I am for my readers ;). I figure now that I'm all prepared, no one will get sick this winter and that's o.k. too!! Oh yeah, I'll take that! Until next time friends- y'all stay well and warm......... AE

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

On Decorating For Renters

I have some new friends here on the blog, and I thought I'd re-post one that's near and dear to my heart. Never let your current circumstances get in the way of decorating your home. Whether it be that you're a renter like us, or feel that you just don't have enough money, there are always little, inexpensive things you can do to make your home your own!

About seven years ago, our life changed drastically, and we found ourselves looking to rent a home. Our decision was God led and was one of the most beautiful moments of our life together {that story is another whole post on it's own!}. For the sake of this post, I wanted to share some things I've learned along the way about being a renter but still having fun decorating. Bloom where you're planted people! Bloom!

Fortunately, we are blessed to have a landlord that has been like a father to our family, as I said, this was a God led path, and God placed us in our little Garden of Eden. I had dreamed my whole life of a home like this, but never dreamed how the path would be laid out before us. It was bumpy and paved with rocks boulders at times. But here we've landed and here we pray we will always stay.

Renting can be extremely challenging as far as decorating goes because there are such limitations. Even here, in the best scenario imaginable, I have limits that I just can't get around. Our living room space has wood paneled walls that would be just dreamy painted a crisp white. But that's something I just can't do. Same with the dark wood kitchen cabinets. I would love to paint them, but again that's a biggy for a renter and I feel it oversteps our boundaries. Our landlord has been very gracious and has allowed us to paint walls and change out lighting. From that point I had to learn how to brighten any other dark areas with a little illusion. I began painting some things everything light, cool colors or white.

This chest of drawers, for example, was a thrift store find, but it was a dark cherry colored wood. I painted this piece Benjamin Moore's "Bird's Egg", and I lightened up an otherwise very dark entry wall. This visually tricked the eye to seeing more light where there was previously darkness. Don't be afraid to paint your furniture. Google repainting furniture and learn how to spice up your old, lifeless pieces.

This piece was once a dresser with attached mirror and was given to us by our landlord's wife.  Once again, dark wood. I removed the mirror, repainted it a buttery yellow with white distressed drawers and it's now the buffet I always wanted in our dining area. Thinking outside the box works every time.

We've had this armoire for years.  It, too, was dark wood, so white it went. This was the first piece of furniture I painted. I've never regretted that decision. Please remember that EVERYTHING we do here is on a shoestring budget and took many months, even years to match my vision. Don't not start because you can't see a finish line. Just work on one piece at a time,and keep trucking along. I learned that a can of spray paint is my best friend. I repainted a thrift store lighting fixture with just a bit of spray paint. I've done this to every fixture in the house! Everything here was 1970's brass and that just didn't cut it, but I wasn't about to go out and buy all new!

I've pretty much painted everything in our home {not much has escaped me}. But, it makes such a huge difference.  Your home should reflect your personality. It is your blank canvas. Another big help, are throw rugs. Begin slowly collecting light, bright one's and change your space from the floor up.

Another biggie, if you have very dark surroundings, is to change your upholstered furniture. If you're like us, sometimes new is not an option, so learn to slipcover. Of course I couldn't afford to have someone make them for me, so I began to search online for how to sew a slipcover. I found a fabulous e-book, "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Making a Custom Slipcover" at http:/ This helped hugely and gave me the confidence to drastically change our surroundings. I'd dreamed of going white with our furniture and this allowed me to begin. After much saving, we were able to purchase a new couch to replace a very old and sad one. Finding the best deal at IKEA, we purchased a white slipcovered sofa from their EKTORP line and I'm still over the moon with it! We have four kids and six house dogs, and we entertain A LOT. When it gets dirty, I throw it right in our washer, then hang it to dry and voila, like new again. Going white with our furniture has made a huge difference. 

I think this will give you an idea of how lightening your furniture can really have an impact on a room. That coffee table was a Re-Store find for ten dollars and yes, those precious little casters are original to the piece. This was also a dark colored wood originally, and got a thorough sanding and a coat of B.M's "Bird's Egg" also {I just LOVE that color, can you tell?}. Don't forget your walls.  Lighten and brighten there too!

Renting doesn't mean that you're stuck with someone else's stuff, it just means that you've got to think outside the box a little. It's still your home, enjoy where you are right now!


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Another Fall Porch..... I Promise I'm Done Now!

Our garage porch gets LOTS of traffic. It's the most used porch on our house. We're just not front door kind of people and neither are our friends. Back door friends are the absolute best friends anyway, right? A few months back I did a post about the potting bench that calls this porch home {if you missed that post, you can find it here}. 
I still just love this little potting bench, but it needed some simple FALL-ifying. So, I moved some things around, and rummaged through some boxes in the basement, and now I'm in love all over again.

This little spot makes me smile every time I pull into the garage. And for some reason, I really haven't done much of anything inside the house to welcome fall, but I've really enjoyed re-doing our porches. Decorating for the seasons doesn't have to put you in the poor house. Shop around your house and your yard first and then decide if you really need to purchase an item. Often, you have something already, that when moved to a different spot, suddenly seems bright and new again. This is one of my best tricks for decorating on a budget and I use this little trick all the time. This has allowed me to enjoy decorating while spending very little for many years {it also keeps my hubby very happy}. 

I'm so glad you could join me today. Thanks for visiting! And remember, I love to hear from y'all, so chat it up in the comments below!

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Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY: Easy Fall Acorn Wreath

In a recent post, I shared about how important it is to have pretty and tidy porches to welcome guests into your home. If you missed that, you can find it here. And today, I'm going to show you how to dress up your door with a beautiful acorn wreath. This wreath is so easy, fun for the kids, and on the cheap! Let's just jump right in...... here's what you'll need:

  1. LOTS of acorns
  2. A wreath form of your choice and size { I bought a straw wreath for $2.47 from Walmart}
  3. Hot glue gun and extra glue sticks
  4. Satin or burlap ribbon for hanging

First, let's gather those acorns! We have lots in our yard, but they are quite small, so we went to a local park and collected along the walking trail. There were thousands! It's just such a glorious time of year for walking anyway! We took some little bags with us and just collected as we walked. 

Take your wreath form and begin hot gluing each acorn, one by one. It takes a while! My daughter and I plugged in two hot glue guns and tackled it together. See, a great activity to do with your kids! It'll look something like this as you go along:

After a while it will begin to shape up nicely. The point is to cover the top, insides and outsides while leaving the back unfinished so that it will lay nice and flat against your door. If you use a Styrofoam wreath base, I'd recommend spray painting it brown first, so you won't see the green through the acorns. We just kept going using different sizes of acorns until we had it all completed.

I was soooo extremely pleased with the end result! It is so rich and woodsy looking. I just LOVE it so much! A warning, it is quite heavy when it's all done, so please hang it securely. I used an orange satin ribbon with a little bow for the hanging. 

So, what do y'all think? Fallish? And the absolute greatest part...... drum-roll please..... cost: $5.75 !!! Say what?? Yes, only $5.75. Score! So head out this weekend and start some serious nut collecting folks. There are tons of projects using acorns. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you so much for visiting with me today! Enjoy y'all!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

My Tour Through Blogland

In case you haven't heard, there's this little thing going around the blogging world called the "Tour Through Blogland". It's where you get invited by another blogger to answer a few questions about yourself, your home and your blog. Then, in your tour you nominate the next blogger to do her "Tour Through Blogland". Are you confused yet? The purpose is to get to know one another a little bit better. Well, it's my turn and I'm just thrilled to share a little about me and this blog. 

I was invited to participate by a dear, fellow blogger over at Home Remedies. Her name is Amy, too! I just adore her because she's thrifty. She knows how to find a bargain and re-purpose it to fit her style. Love that! If you haven't been by her blog yet, run by and take a look y'all.

And now I'll share a little about myself. I'm a wife and mom of four. My husband and I have been married for twenty three years. We started homeschooling our children sixteen years ago and we still just love the lifestyle. Our youngest is now seven, and I finally felt like I had enough free time to search for my passion. Almost six months ago, I started this little blog and I'm having so much fun. I've finally figured out what I wanna be when I grow up! A blogger!!
I write about lots of REAL life here, homeschooling/unschooling, DIY projects, recipes and plenty of living a full life on less. And now to answer some questions.....

1. What am I working on? 

Right at this moment, I'm working on a guest post for another blogger that will post in October. I'm doing a Fall Porch Makeover that is keeping me pretty busy! It'll be the second time I've posted on her blog and I'm just having so much fun on this project right now. Stay tuned for more details on that soon!

2. How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

I do this firstly because I LOVE it so and secondly because I think that EVERYONE has a story to tell. Yes, there are thousands of blogs out there written by waaaaay more qualified people than little ol' me, but our life is unique because it's our story told in our way and I believe transparency resonates with lots of people. This world would be a very different place if we were all a little more REAL. That's why this blog is unique, it's real life, the good, the bad, and sometimes, the ugly.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

As life happens over here,  it gets photographed and written about. That's why this blog is named "The Little Farm Diary". This is where I share OUR story.  Life moves so fast, but if you write it all down, it really helps to freeze all those  ordinary moments that make up this wonderful life of ours. It keeps our life from whizzing by so quickly.

4.  How does your writing/creating process work?

When I began this blog, it had been nearly twenty years since I'd written steadily. Writing got lost somewhere in marriage and motherhood. I really had to dust off the cobwebs in my brain and learn how to write again, shoot, I'm still learning every day! But, with each day that passes, it becomes a little more enjoyable and I find that I'm drawn to writing like I used to be back in my college days. I'm learning to listen to the little voices inside my head and go with the flow. It's wonderful to be passionate again about something that's just mine. I love all the mommy stuff, but I'm at a great place in my life where there's finally room for just me sometimes. So grateful!

Well, that's kind of me in a nutshell right now. Thank you all so much for taking the time to stop by and listen to me ramble on and on. I appreciate each and every one of you stopping by each day. It's such a blessing to be able to share with you all!

AND, I'd like to introduce you to Heather from The Heathered Nest. She and her husband Dave LOVE a re-do!

Just take a look at some of their recent projects...

O.K., WOW, right? That's just the tip of the iceberg y'all. Remember to follow this link over to her blog on Monday September 22nd for Heather's Tour Through Blogland.

Thanks for visiting today y'all and have a great week!

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