Wednesday, March 26, 2014


You guys, we’ve been busy. Like, work all day and then come home and work until midnight every night busy.

What started out as a quick little bathroom remodel has turned into a complete, gut the bathroom remodel. And painting/furnishing the extra bedroom that we’ve never used. And redoing the kitchen backsplash. And redoing the kitchen cabinets. And while we’re at it, the cabinets in the other two bathrooms. Oh, and replacing carpet in the living room with hardwood. And updating the fireplace mantle. And painting all the door and window casing (and all the doors) white. In the entire house. And upgrading the crappy orange oak baseboards to nice, new, taller white baseboards. In the entire house.

I think that’s it. God, I hope that’s it.

We are terrible at taking things slowly, so we started all of these projects at once. Our house has been a construction zone basically since mid-January. Nothing is completely finished. There are some things that aren’t even started. (Yep, the bathroom -- the project that started it all -- we’re still in the design stages there.)

We’ve been working and working and working, and feeling like nothing is really getting accomplished. But just when I was starting to feel like we’d be sanding and painting until we retired, I started to notice the change. I’m starting to see glimpses, tiny little peeks, at just how great it’s all going to be when we’re done. Things are s l o w l y coming together and there are beautiful little spots where the light hits just right and I think, Woah, this is really happening.

Our hope with this project (these many, many projects) was to create a home that was brighter, more modern, and more to our taste. We’re going to be here awhile, so why not really love the space we’re living in?

I’m not going to say it has all been sunshine and roses. My husband and I have very different approaches to home projects and we have had our fair share of spats, disagreements, all out fights, and hurt feelings. I’ll be the first to admit I was building up a hefty little store of resentment and anger throughout this process. But then Ryan said something to me the other day that completely changed the way I’ve been looking at this.

I’m doing all of this for you, so you’re happy in our home. I just want to make you happy.

Well, that just about did me in right then and there.

He’s picky about brush strokes showing and paint dribbles because he wants it to look as nice and professionally done as possible. For me.

He’s working himself to the bone because he wants to create a home that I love. For me.

We bought 14 paint samples for the guest room because he wants it to be perfect. For me.

He’s doing all of this for me. I guess you could say it’s his love language.

It finally hit me - I’ve been selfish. Yes, I haven’t had time to knit or bake or putter around the house hardly at all. Yes, I’m irritated that I can’t sit down at the dining room table because we’re using it as a staging area for painting. But this guy has been working almost every single night and weekend. The least I could do is shut up about having to go to Home Depot for the third time that day. I’m really trying harder to show how truly grateful I am for all of his work. For his efforts. For everything he does for me. I’m trying to show up, jump in, and be more helpful. For him, because he does so much for me.

Monday, November 18, 2013


These words are really hitting home lately. Since reading the post a couple days ago, I've gone back to re-read it at least three times. There is so much that I suck at (um, 31 Days, anyone?). But it is so important to remember that while we all suck at something, there is something that each of us is good at, too. And it's ok to suck at stuff. None of us is perfect. I don't know a single person that is good at everything. And that is ok.

I need to say this again.

It's ok to not be good at everything.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Time Away

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me post this picture Saturday morning, tagged #happiness. We spent the weekend camping with friends, and despite the frigid temps, we had an incredible time.
Campfires that never got a chance to die down, sipping warm drinks out of tin mugs, long underwear, sleeping in hats and mittens, kiddos snuggling on all of our laps, listening to the Badger game on the radio, french press coffee, crunchy leaves, beautiful views, crisp air, great hikes, storytelling, and lots and lots of laughs. 
And the best part? I came home feeling so incredibly inspired. We're in the home stretch of 31 Days, and I'm hoping to finish strong with some fun projects ahead.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Just a quick update today, to show you that I am indeed making progress. A little before bed crafting + knitting session last night was definitely good for the soul.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Making Plans, and Changing Them

I had lofty plans last night, plans I was excited about. I’d come home, whip together a quick dinner, and head upstairs to my office/studio for some serious crafting until bedtime.

But when I got home, I could tell that my husband had a rough day. He looked tired, and stressed, and a bit on edge. And I could tell that what he needed was some good wifeing.

You see, I’ve been inspired lately by Domestic Fasionista’s series about serving her husband, and so I’ve been making a more concerted effort to serve my husband in a mindful, nurturing way. Well, suffice it to say when I saw how furrowed his brow was last night, I knew that the right thing for me to do was change my plans and give him some attention.

So what did I do? I changed gears. Instead of a quick dinner and escaping upstairs, I went through the house and picked up all the clutter while Ryan was finishing up some work. I cleaned up the kitchen, and set to work on a nice dinner for the two of us instead of the quickie dinner I had planned. Nothing special, pork chops with onions, mushrooms, and garlic, roasted cauliflower, and baked sweet potatoes. But he loved it.

I poured us each a glass of wine for dinner and really listened when he talked about his day.

Did I finish a project? No. But do I feel really good about what I accomplished last night? You bet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halfway Point

Here I am, halfway through the 31 Day challenge. I wanted to take the time to reflect on what I have accomplished so far, reevaluate if needed, and make a plan for the days ahead.
Truth? I haven’t achieved as much as I had hoped.
Sure, I'm getting a few things done. I’m better at making phone calls right away, and I did paint that old owl finally. And I'm thrilled with my new and improved workspace. Which is something. But still not where I thought I would be at the halfway point.
I find myself still in the gathering and preparing stage most of the time. I’m stockpiling frames for a gallery wall I’d like to do, but I haven’t actually hung a thing yet.
I’m spending more time than I’d like thinking about, writing about, and listing the projects I want to accomplish, instead of just doing them.
I bought supplies for a new project last night, but still have so many things already purchased that need to be worked on.
So why all the apprehension? I still think part of it is fear. Just because I say “I’m going to conquer my fear of failure” doesn’t mean that I automatically start fearing it less. Sure, I can easily start a little project because the internet is waiting for me to write about it, and I will have accomplished something. Win for me. But I have to do the actual work in my heart to face my fear. And friends? That’s a whole lot harder to do. I’m going to keep working at it though. And keep plugging away at my projects.
One thing I'm starting to realize is that when I'm in a "funk," I buy lots of things to foster creativity (spending money on crafty things is my "feel better" fix, as is eating Trader Joe's pumpkin ice cream and hunkering down in the house and avoiding all unnecessary interactions with people). It's as if I think that bringing home a new project to do will pull me out of depression. Honestly, though, it rarely does. Instead I just get overwhelmed by all that I have to do and end up shutting down. It's an ugly little cycle and it usually gets worse this time of year when the days are getting so very short and I start spending full days without seeing the sun.
I've been struggling with this for years, but the difference now is that I'm finally able to start recognizing the signs before I'm so far into a funk that I can't pull myself out of it. 
Today is a rainy, gloomy day. Instead of calling in sick and spending the day on the couch (which is what I had every intention of doing this morning), I made it into work, switched on my Happy Light, and am going to try to be productive. And I'm planning a crafty night tonight to work on a few projects.  
I might not get everything on my "master To Do list" done this month. But I'm ok with that. I'm making progress, and that's all that matters.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Radio Silence + Work Space Reveal

I apologize for the radio silence over the weekend. I had every intention on logging on to post, but what my soul needed instead was to be unplugged for a bit. It was so rejuvinating and I'm super excited to share some of my latest projects with you this week.

In the meantime, remember that messy desk we talked about? Well, it took me a bit longer than I intended to get through the piles of procrastination that had been hanging about, but I finally got through it all.

Inspired by the clean new slate I had to work with, I spent some time sprucing things up a bit. and making the space more "me."

Remember what it looked like before?

Stuff everywhere. Multiple cups and mugs, a bowl, piles of work I needed to deal with. No wonder I felt like I could never get anything done.

This is  so much better:

  I rearranged things a bit, giving me a much greater area of "clean space" on the left, which I really love.

I added a new, more clearly-defined In Box with a pretty label that I whipped up in 5 minutes using colored card stock and an Avery address label.

I also brought a few things from home and created a little vignette with a faux potted plant, our wedding picture, and a blue yarn M. This is my favorite part of the new arrangement and I catch myself smiling whenever I look at it.

To the left of my computer is my favorite coffee mug, which is parked on a little knitted mug rug in my favorite colorway (Malabrigo Tortuga, if you're wondering). To the right I have my stack of in progress work (organized by category), my Happy Light, a picture of my niece, and the cutest little crocheted pumpkin ever (a gift from my sweet friend).
 While this new set up doesn't make me dislike my job any less, it does make it a hundred times more pleasant to be here.
While I'm disappointed that it took me longer than I had hoped to finish this project, I'm proud of myelf for seeing it through and sharing with you all in true Don't Think, Just Do fashion.