DIY Lighted Window Frame Decor

So I posted about our “completed” den a couple months ago, and said I’d post separately about our glammed up window frame…


First step in creating this beauty (or at least I think it’s beautiful) was finding a window frame.  I hunted around at ReStore but didn’t find anything I liked – although I still recommend looking there.  I ended up finding a guy on Craigslist who had just replaced all the windows in his home and was selling the old ones for dirt cheap.  I got the window for $15. I chose one with a latch on top because I thought it looked neat.


My wonderful husband cleaned it all up for me outside with the hose. Mind you, it was still VERY cold outside so this was pretty clutch haha.

At this point, we had already been brainstorming a design for a few weeks. Pinterest is FULL of window frame ideas.  Lots of people put pictures in the panes, turn it into a coat rack, hang a wreath in the middle, etc.  But those things weren’t very “us.”  And they wouldn’t have really matched our decor (which is a combination of rustic woods, neutral colors, and geometry? I guess?) … you decide…


Anyways, I knew I wanted it to be gold, because we have several gold accents.  But the rest was pretty much all Derek.  He had the ideas, and I made it happen.  I turned to good ol’ Rub & Buff to “goldify” the frame (as I like to say). It took a couple of coats.


The next step was taping it all up.  I used a couple different thicknesses of painter’s tape and just kinda winged it…


To get the frosted look, we simply used frosted glass paint and a little sponge brush, being careful to blend well.


Initial application
After blending

Let it dry really well (probably best to cure overnight), and then pull the tape up!IMG_3021IMG_3024

We also wanted to add lights to the back to make the pattern really pop at night… we bought these. They are dimmable and remote-controlled, and they also are very thin so they don’t push the window off the wall.  We stapled those to the back, being careful not to sever the wiring.  Then we needed to hang it. After much research, we decided this french cleat was the most secure option.  It was actually pretty easy.



And here she is all lit up at night…


Pretty cool, huh?

Kitchen Revamp Part 2: The Cabinets

Y’all we are FINALLY done with the cabinets.  I can’t tell you how many blog posts I read about painting cabinets before we started and ALL of them warned “this is not a weekend project.”  They were not kidding.  We started this project the week of Thanksgiving 2015, and completed it on February 15, 2016.  Soooo yeah… 3 months.  Now, cut me a little slack, the HOLIDAYS fell right in the middle of that time frame… and I just couldn’t.  I make a lot of my Christmas gifts, and there just wasn’t enough time to elf around AND work on the cabinets.  So, we essentially took a month-long break in the middle.  But still, 2 months! And I am not the type of person that likes to leave a project unfinished…

After we got all the wainscoting done, we were finally ready to tackle the cabinets.  Here’s what we started with…


Literally the same cabinets my grandma had in her home – giant centered hardware and all.  So, in truth, we weren’t just painting the cabinets.  We were also moving and replacing the hardware.


I knew during the house-hunting process that I would have light gray cabinets.  So there was no planning to do there.  We also wanted copper hardware.  I promise I was super into copper before it became a giant sweeping trend.  It almost makes me mad that it’s so popular now, because I’m worried it will go “out of style” in a hurry.  But I’ve decided not to care – it’s too expensive to care haha.  (and it made it a LOT easier to find cute copper accents).

Anyways, we went with copper pulls and knobs on top, and no hardware on the bottom.  We originally were gonna spray paint the hinges… but those 50-year old things were GROSSSSS… and we decided we didn’t trust the durability of spray paint.  We DO NOT regret our investment in new hinges.

I’m not gonna go into full detail on the process, there are PLENTY of blogs out there for you if that’s what you’re looking for.  I will, however, make a “tips & tricks” post at some point.

Derek removed all the doors and hardware for me, and we numbered them all with painters tape.

The guy at our local paint store was a HUGE help.  He pointed us to Stixx primer, a primer that literally just attempts to stick to anything and everything. We had to clean the cabinets REALLY well with TSP, and even sand off some of the remaining grime (eww).  But we didn’t have to sand every inch of every cabinet, which we had expected – so that’s another month saved 🙂  He also recommended (alongside most of the Pinterest community) using Benjamin Moore Advance paint.

I took off work the week of Thanksgiving break to get a FULL week of cabineting in. (Yes, cabinet has become a verb in this house). In that time, I got all the existing hardware holes filled and sanded down, as well as new holes for the copper hardware drilled.

I think I also got nearly all of the priming done that week… but the rest of the timeline is blurry so I’ll just show you the basic steps…

One coat of primer on everything…

2 coats of topcoat on the bases and drawer faces…

Starting to see some progress, right?  Well, this is where it REALLY slowed down. The DOORS are what ate up the time.  Each door had to be meticulously painted because of that middle panel.



At some point, I made the executive decision to do the doors in shifts.  There just wasn’t enough room in my workspace (aka the sunroom), for all 21 doors to be spread out.  We started with the pantry (which didn’t involve those pesky middle panels)…


Then moved on to the rest of the doors in shifts of 4-6.  Here you can see my condensed workspace… much more livable!

It took roughly a week to finish each shift, and we took a few more “cabineting” hiatuses when we just weren’t feeling it. If you’re dreading it, you won’t do a good job.  So we took a week off once or twice just to refresh.

I also realized, once I reached the top cabinets (the ones with hardware), that I had mistakenly assumed ALL cabinets open left-to-right… THEY DON’T.  So we had to go back in time… fill nail holes, sand them down, drill new ones, re-prime, etc….


I can not tell you how disheartening it was to see bare wood at this stage in the process.  I’ve quite possibly never been so irritated with myself.

But we got through it, and eventually, they were done! Adding the hardware was the final touch…


At this point, we remembered there was trim to paint.  I had another slight panic attack, then realized it wasn’t a big deal (comparatively speaking).  I got them cleaned, primed, and painted in a day.  Hanging it was kind of a nightmare (maybe we should have done this before our beautiful new cabinets were in the way?), but we managed.


And wa-la! We LOVE the transformation.

Before After WHOLEBefore After WHOLE 2Before After Pantry

We still plan to go in and caulk some seams, cover nail holes in the trim, etc.  But those all feel like minor things, and non-urgent things, so for now… we consider them complete!



Home Transformations: The “Den”

We’ve officially completed another room transformation!  Luckily, it’s the room we undoubtedly spend the most time in… the den!  I used to call it a “living room,” but Derek always calls it the den – and I think that sounds cute and cozy 🙂

Here is what it looked like when we moved in…


I’m sure the first thing you’ll notice is that wonderful work of art on the wall.  We actually kind of had fun with that mural.  It was an oddly ambiguous landscape… some people saw a beach, some saw a desert, some saw mountains… Anyways, despite all the fun it was to speculate… it had to go!  Rather than paint the wall the same pale gray that coats virtually every wall in the house, we decided to go with an “accent” wall.  We chose a gorgeous charcoal-navy color.  We had to sand down the mural a bit before we painted.



Once that was complete, the rest of the work was mostly just decorating – aka the fun part!  Our theme in this room is kind of rustic geometric – is that a thing? It’s a lot of neutrals, both tans and grays, with pops of deep blue and gold accents.  We also prioritized coziness, of course!

We hung some bold pieces of graphic art (designed by yours truly) in rustic frames above the couch.  The bookend pieces are from Target, and match the rustic vibe.


This little nook was screaming for some corner shelves… so we obliged.


Naturally, the pillows all needed to be recovered (most of them were the defaults that came with the couch).

And of course, the accent wall needed to be dressed up.  We added a console table as an entry piece.  We actually bought it (from Target) for the kitchen, but didn’t like that it covered our wainscoting.  We styled it up with a large fabric basket, also from Target, and some odds and ends that we either already had or picked up at Hobby Lobby.  I got some plants for either side, and the plant stands are actually bamboo hampers from Wayfair.



My pride and joy on this wall is the big beautiful gold window frame.  I scored this guy on Craigslist for $20.  We dressed him all up, with lights and everything!  I’ll do a separate post about the whole process later.


Here he is all lit up at night…



And the rest was just details…

I’m also kind of lumping the dining area in with the “den” post, since they are attached – here’s what it looked like pre-transformation:

Haha I’m really making myself look good by using “before” pictures that still have moving boxes everywhere (not to mention the window unit we were using cuz our HVAC busted!) 😉

Anyways, we added a small dining table (that doubles as a cutting table) from Wayfair – and some tall chairs from Target.


And over my grandmother’s beautiful sewing machine – we added a little inexpensive and interchangeable art display…


Amazing what you can do with some twine and clothespins 🙂

Anyways… the overall transformation is pretty dramatic! We love it!



COOKIE BUTTER Haystack Wreaths – A Delicious Christmas Treat!

Soooo I am OBSESSED with haystacks.  They are my favorite little treat to make, especially in the fall.  But since they are so incredibly easy, I wanted to find a way to Christmas them up this season.  The solution?  Little haystack wreaths! How cute, right?


Anyways, I thought I’d share the recipe I use, because it’s unlike any haystack recipe I’ve found online.  The basic ingredients are always butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and chow mein noodles.  But I always like to play with ingredients, so here is my favorite cast of characters:

  • butterscotch chips
  • cookie butter
  • chow mein noodles
  • heath bits
(Disregard the salted caramel chips, I could hardly taste the difference)

For the wreaths, I also used some sprinkles and mini M&M’s to decorate.  But the above ingredients will get you a DELICIOUS basic haystack.  I’ll go ahead and just tell you, the cookie butter is the real MVP here.  I first tried cookie butter at Trader Joe’s (store brand), and Biscoff makes a variety that is sold at Kroger.  TRUST ME HERE – it is worth the search.  You can usually find the Biscoff brand somewhere in the bakery area at Kroger, and sometimes they have a little display towards the checkout aisles.


You start by melting your chips and cookie butter together.  You can do this in the microwave, a double boiler, or just over medium-low heat in a saucepan (that’s what I do, just be careful not to overheat).


Heat until creamy and smooth.


Then stir in your chow mein and heath bits. Mix well.

At this point, normal protocol is just to drop them in little stacks onto wax paper. I like to use cookie sheets under the wax paper as well.


If you want to make wreaths, find a small round object to build them around.  I used the end of a cheese knife that came with our cutting board, but I imagine a marker or anything that size would work just fine.


Carefully place your mix around your round object until you’ve made a full circle.


Wa-la! A wreath! Before the chocolate completely dries, add sprinkles and mini M&M’s to decorate.  I went in small batches – I’d build 5  or 6, decorate, repeat.

I also made A LOT of cookies. I ended up with 40-45 cookies, and the wreaths are inherently larger than a normal haystack. So I think the recipe below (which is half of what I made) should give you around 20 wreaths, or 30-35 regular haystacks.

These little no-bake treats are always crowd-pleasers, and so easy to whip up anytime of year!


  • 2 cups butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup cookie butter
  • 3 3/4 cups chow mein noodles
  • 1/2 cup heath bits
  • green sugar sprinkles
  • mini M&M’s to decorate
  1. Melt butterscotch chips & cookie butter together until smooth (can be done in a microwave according to package instructions, double boiler, or over medium-low heat in a saucepan)
  2. Stir in chow mein noodles and heath bits
  3. Drop onto wax paper in stacks, or build carefully around a round object to form a wreath shape
  4. Decorate with sprinkles and M&M’s
  5. Allow to dry/harden
  6. Serve & enjoy 😉


Kitchen Revamp Part 1: The Walls


When we were house hunting, the kitchen was always my make-or-break factor.  Of course, I knew I wouldn’t get everything I wanted – like quartzite countertops, dark hardwood floors, a giant island, gas stove, walk-in pantry… you get the idea…. BUT I needed to see potential, and I needed a little bit of elbow room.  I was done with apartment kitchens.

Here’s what we got:

Original1 Original2

Plenty of space, nice hardwood floors, LOTS of cabinets, and only a tiny bit of wallpaper remaining.  All we’d need to do was spend a night scraping the last of the wallpaper from the soffit and then we could paint, right? SO WRONG. That tiny little bit of wallpaper took weeks to remove…..


Turns out, there were multiple layers of wallpaper, and they’d probably been there for a collective 50 years. Of course, the wallpaper had bonded to the drywall prettttyyyy well over the years.  No matter what “tried and true” method we tried, it came off in tiny little flakes, and brought LOTS of drywall with it.  We scraped on it for 2 days, with a nasty end result…


Obviously, we couldn’t “just paint” over that… so we enlisted the advice of our friendly neighborhood Home Depot…

Oddly enough, the first step was just to paint over the whole ordeal with some primer.  It kinda made the really bad pieces curl out and get crispy, so then we were able to trim those off with a boxcutter.  We primed over that a second time, and sanded it all down.

Then I became a professional drywaller, using joint compound to smooth over that wreck and sand some more.


In case you were wondering… drywall dust is the WORST.  We kept a shop vac under the sander throughout the whole process… it was no match for this dust.


Trying to minimize the damage….

2 rounds of this, plus some drywall primer (Home Depot again), and here we were…


It’s not perfect (maybe I’m not a professional after all haha), but it ain’t bad… like I said before, it is “just the soffit!”

Now on to the actual painting… ya know, what we thought we’d be doing 2 weeks before that…

Since the walls were a mess (thanks again, wallpaper), we had to use an oil-based primer – which was very stinky – but got the job done.  We also had to caulk all around the crown molding.  We used a product called “Big Stretch” – which is supposed to prevent cracking since it stretches.

We had previously removed the old chair rail, and since we knew we were adding more, we were admittedly lazy there… oh well… but now we could finally put some color on the walls.  We did a nice offwhite color for the top half, and a gorgeous dark gray on the bottom half.


IT WAS HAPPENING!  From there, we had to enlist some help.  A very generous coworker of ours offered to help with our wainscoting.  We painted the chair rail and molding, he cut it for us, and he pinned up the chair rail.


I finished nailing in the chair rail, then started using “Liquid Nails” to do the wainscoting.  Unfortunately, on our old bowed walls, the glue alone wasn’t cutting it.  So I ended up using more nails to pin them in, obviously not into studs, but they at least served to hold them in place while the glue dried.


Not bad, huh?  After that, we were just a few finishing steps away! More caulking, nail hole filling, and a little touch up paint…








We are pretty pleased!

Now, we’re painting the cabinets – if I don’t spend the rest of my life on that, maybe someday you’ll get to see…… 🙂

Our Homemade Wedding

August 7th, 2015 was a perfect day.  Surrounded by the people we love, we vowed to the Lord that we’d belong to one another for the rest of our earthly lives. That is what made our wedding day perfect.

The rest was just delicious buttercream icing on the yummy lemon cake… [more on that below :)]

Our wedding was representative of our whole attitude towards marriage.  From the moment we seemed to decide we were getting married, before we were even engaged, we knew we didn’t want a big wedding.  We wanted to focus on each other, and our marriage that would follow.  It seems like, anymore, some people get so swept up in planning weddings that they forget what comes next.  We didn’t want that, and we also couldn’t afford that.

When Derek asked me to marry him, we were ready to get married.  That’s the point of getting engaged, isn’t it?  Had we opted for a big wedding, there would have been a lot of saving money involved, and that would have taken time.  We didn’t want to wait.  We were ready.  Enter our hand-crafted, intimate, and (in my opinion) beautiful wedding.

The Venue:

We chose to get married on a Friday evening at the Bodley Bullock House in Lexington, Kentucky.  We saved major dollars on the venue by choosing a Friday – and we like to think it was nice for our guests to still have a whole weekend ahead. Speaking of guests, we invited around 25 people total.  It wasn’t an easy choice, and it’s not for everyone, but we loved the intimacy of having such a tight-knit group.

We held the ceremony in the garden outside – breathtaking.

Venue1 Venue2

And the reception was inside the house, which was built in the early 1800s and boasts a stunning interior.

Venue3 Venue4

The Look:

The whole shindig had a classic vintage feel – very 50s.

I decided that, for the look I wanted to achieve, a tea-length dress would be appropriate.  Plus, the wedding was in early August and I knew it would be HOT.  And who wants to be all sweaty on their wedding day??  But finding this kind of dress was no easy feat.  Tea-length dresses aren’t all too common anymore in general, but I had visions of one with three-quarter length lace sleeves, a sweetheart neckline with lace covering, and other very particular things.  For example, here were some of my “pinspirations:”

But even these weren’t quite right – as I’d look like a little girl with that full of a skirt.  And anything in the ballpark would have cost me out the nose.  Enter a sweet lady named Kathi.  She runs a costume shop here in Lexington called Life’s Masquerade.  I honestly can’t remember how or why I came across her name and gave her a call – but let’s call it fate.  Kathi MADE my dress.  From scratch.  I designed it by bringing in pictures of tops and bottoms that I liked, and she created it.  It was such a fun process and get this… under $300!  This was my wedding miracle.

I can’t thank Kathi enough for this beauty…

Dress1 Dress4 It was perfect.

To set off the look, I had some pink shoes with adorable little shoe clips from Daisy Club on Etsy…  Shoes

Some very glamorous earrings from LuluSplendor on Etsy…


A lace cuff that I made myself…


The perfect hairstyle, compliments of Hayley at ChaCha’s..

And wonderful pinup style makeup, done free of charge by a good friend and makeup artist, Kim…Makeup

Derek kept with the look as well, with some very classy suspenders (NoSlipSuspenders) & a wool tie (HeySir)…Derek 1



…along with some adorable shoes that he already had, but had rarely worn…


My maid & matron of honor wore navy lace dresses.



The Flowers:

We went the DIY route with flowers.  I had a lady at The Fresh Market hold about 5 dozen pale pink roses for me, and accompanied them with some baby’s breath.  My amazing friend/wedding planner Jenny did all the arrangements and bouquets.

Seriously, she is amazing

Flowers1 Flowers2

My centerpieces were very simple (vintage soda bottles from the flea market!)

Flowers3And my matron & maid of honor carried a single rose with some baby’s breath, tied up with twine and a vintage brooch.

(Forgive the phone quality – photographer didn’t get a tight shot of these)

We went the DIY route with the boutonnieres as well – which was a really fun project. Ordered succulents from 5starsucculents on Etsy, read a bunch of tutorials, and gave it a shot!

I think they turned out very well…


Again, forgive the phone quality – AND the moving boxes in the background 🙂

The Decor:

Obviously, a “handcrafted” wedding means lots of homemade decorations.  But honestly, this was my favorite part of planning the wedding.  It felt overwhelming at times, but it was fun.  Here are some of my favorites…

Handmade marquee letter with some vintage milk glass…


Vintage makeup case to hold cards (another flea market find)


Succulent favors in tiny gold-rimmed pots with a handmade sign…


What’s a garden wedding without some moss letters? And our birthday/anniversary guestbook…


Our favorite engagement photo from our shoot with Kentucky Belle Photography, accompanied by a couple of adorable baby pics…

Picture Frame

There were more projects, but some of them you’ve already seen (jewelry, flowers), and some are below!

The Food:

We went light on food.  We had a caterer from close to my hometown do heavy hors d’ouevres – things like pinwheels, benedictine & pimento cheese mini sandwiches, a cheese plate, a veggie plate, etc.  My mom and aunt picked the food up on their way into town that morning.  Again, saved major dollars here.  And it was yummy.

Our cake was done by an independent local baker.  It was lemon with buttercream icing.  I’m actually not big on cake but HOLY MOLY it was the best cake I’ve ever had.


Made the cake topper myself… and look how adorable our cake was!


For beverages we had bottled water, coke in glass bottles, bottled beer…


…and A SANGRIA BAR.  Sangria is my favorite. I made the base sangria mixes myself, then people could add in fruit as they chose (fruit not pictured).

Lots of handmade decor here as well… I did the chalkboard (painted the rim and did the lettering with chalk markers), fancied up both of the “drink stands” (one is a basket, the other a cake stand), and printed out one of our favorite retro engagement photos.

Here we can be seen enjoying said sangria (it was delicious).


The Sentiments:

These are the things that we’ll remember, things that made our wedding special and unique to us.  Let’s start with the fact that I have no remaining grandparents, but I wanted each of them to be a part of our wedding.  Here’s how we made that happen…

For my paternal grandparents, my aunt gave me Gran’s original engagement ring to wear.

I am still floored by this gesture.


And for Grandad, she found a penny in an old jewelry box of his – I kept it in my shoe for good luck.

I tied my maternal grandmother’s pearls around my bouquet, and had one of her old blue buttons sewn into my garter


And for my final grandfather, I had one of the buttons from his old uniform sewn into my garter.  My mom didn’t know I was doing this, so I surprised her with it.  Her reaction was priceless.

You can actually see the button in her hand here


Another memorable moment was finding out that my mom had a surprise of her own.  She had gotten us a Bible, with our names engraved and everything, and found a way to get it to our preacher in advance.  So it’s the Bible he used in our ceremony, and now we have it to read forever. How cool is that?



The last sentiment was something we couldn’t really capture with pictures, but it’s one of my favorite things we did…

The week prior to the wedding, we went fragrance shopping. You know how they say scent is the strongest sense tied to memory?  Well I’ve always found that to be true, so we thought it might be neat to have signature smells tied to our wedding day.  We sniffed around for a while, making sure we both liked each other’s scents and our own.  Then, we wore them for the first time on our wedding day.

And I’ll tell you what, it worked. I’ve worn the perfume on a few special dates since, and when I spritz it on it takes me right back to that special day.  And when Derek wears his (he always surprises me), it is absolutely intoxicating.  It’s the coolest thing – can you smell love?  ‘Cause that’s what it feels like is happening!

I imagine as time goes on it will take us back to the general time frame of “being newlyweds,” rather than the specific day of the wedding.  But I hope we can make the bottles last for years and years (or buy more, I guess 🙂 ).

All in all, our wedding day was perfect.  At the end of it all, I was married to the man who has surpassed all of my dreams.  We are so blessed to have found this amazing love, and we are so thankful to everyone who has supported us along the way.  We pray that we can return the gifts we’ve been given in some way.  God bless!

50s Pink Bathroom Refresh

We are celebrating the small victories!  The guest bathroom is indeed the smallest room in the house, and it’s also the first one we are considering “finished!”  Of course, nothing is ever “finished,” but this room is the closest!

I think the retro pink tile in this bathroom was honestly a selling point of the house for me.  As I’ve said, we are notorious lovers of all things vintage.  So we didn’t even entertain the idea of redoing it, we just refreshed it!

The previous owner had removed the wallpaper, leaving a big mess for us.  We sanded, primed, and went with a “moonlight white” – which was an offwhite with a teensy bit of pink hue to it.

Here is a picture of the walls before we got a hold of them…


And after…


Hard to tell but trust me it’s a MAJOR improvement.  We also replaced the ancient shower head with a fancy new one…


From there we went with black and white accessories, and added a couple neat retro wall decorations. This one is just a poster we found on amazon, I think it’s a pretty common image – but how perfect, right?


And this is a vintage ad from 1917, bought off Etsy from Rescued Page


I think the decorations really make a difference – particularly because it’s such a small space!

Someday we hope to redo the floor, and paint the vanity cabinet black to match.  But for now, we love our retro pink bathroom!!!