DIY Wedding Guest Book Alternative

This past week two of my loveliest most awesomest friends got married in a small ceremony in their beachy hometown. Instead of a wedding guest book, they opted for a piece of art. Made by yours truly!

plywood and wood canvas art  Originally, they outlined an idea for a frame with a suspended canvas in the middle of it but that would have required maybe a grommet maker or a lot of hook and eyes and honestly I just wasn’t that confident I could do it- I can build anything, but I’m not so much a crafter. So I took some artistic liberties and this is what I came up with:

rustic wood and rope guest book art

The frame is made of 1×2’s  mounted on a half inch thick sheet of 24x24in plywood. I glued the 1×2’s onto the frame with Gorilla Wood Glue and since there was a little overhang I added some staples to the seams (from the back) as well. I adhered the canvas with Gorilla Super Glue and it worked great- I just put some weights on it overnight to make sure it set well.

gorilla glue- wood and super

The frame and plywood is stained with Minwax Special Walnut. Depending on the type of wood the stain might go on with a little bit of a greenish undertone, but that totally fades once it dries. On the 1×2’s it had the undertone, but on the plywood it didn’t- it must be how quickly it absorbs or how it looks wet. I’m not sure.

Once all the glue was dry I cut and hot glued about a million strips of rope onto it- just about 2 full packs of this rope. I could get the curves sharp enough, which is why I glued individual strips.

DIY wedding guest book - close up

I love how it came out! Very rustic and a great looking piece of art while still being sentimental and full of meaning.

**Gorilla Glue supplied me with the wood and super glue, but honestly I would have used it anyway because it’s a go to product for me. 

Landscaping the front yard

One of the problems caused by the freak accident at our house was damage to the front lawn. To access the pipes that needed repair, a portion of the lawn was bulldozed. Insurance gave us money to use towards adding new sod, but we felt like new sod in only one area of the yard would look a little weird so we decided to take the opportunity to landscape.

dug up front lawn

Our front lawn is not level with the street because we’re on such a big hill, but it is a spot we use when we entertain and an area that really wasn’t very pretty. The grass was in rough shape, it was covered with weeds, and it wasn’t doing us any favors.

before landscaping

Matt & I spent HOURS digging up old grass, leveling the land, and putting in a whole bunch of new stuff. We added:

  • A stone and mulch walkway from the front door to the bed you see all the way on the left above (6 bags of mulch just for the walkway!)
  • 2 hydrangea bushes (twist and shout variety) & 1 hydrangea tree (pinky winky variety)
  • 4 juniper shrubs
  • rock border (because holy cow we dug up a lot of rocks)

We bought a huge roll of weed blocker and put that down under the entire walkway and as much of the landscaped bed as possible, so hopefully that’ll help everything stay nice.

Even though no one ever uses the front door, aesthetically this is just nice to have. I think it helps make everything look a bit more polished. Note: we’re going to bury the drainage pipe, the store was just out of a part we need to make it happen.image

The windows in the foundation are for our basement movie room, which was also seriously damaged in the accident. I didn’t want to block out all the light form that room, so I planted the hydrangea bushes about 4 feet out from the windows. In that left corner there’s already bleeding heart plants, so I let them stay- they’re hideous once they’re done for the season but I think eventually the hydrangeas will grow to cover them more and they’ll all end up blooming at different times.

The bees found the tree almost immediately, which I’m pumped about because my garden is on the other side of the fence and I think that’ll really help things grow well next year.

Our backs are going to hurt for at least 92 years, but it’s totally worth it!

Four Years In

This past Sunday marked my 4 year “blogiversary.” I can’t believe the leaps and bounds this little journal has hopped in the past few years– from less than a hundred views per month to over 10,000 regularly. Wow!

diy blogger

I’ve had a lot of fun chronicling our home and watching it change and grow on in these posts. And I’ve had some amazing opportunities too… working with some of my favorite companies like Minwax and Gorilla Glue. Being featured in This Old House magazine. Attending a HGTV Magazine party last summer (and again in a few weeks). Meeting some of my favorite people, fellow bloggers that love all the same stuff as I do.

home made stretched canvas art

Life has changed drastically in the past four years too- I got engaged, then married. We added a fourth pet (and had 3 foster dogs along the way too). I have 2 new nephews, and I’ve lost some friends and family members along the way too. I went from working 32 hours a week to over 50, which is both good and bad.

take your pleasure seriously charles eames quote

All this to say… in case you haven’t noticed yet… things need to slow down here on the ol’ blog. There’s so much more to focus on in my life, and this will never be a full time career (nor did I ever intend it to be). I went from posting 5 days a week, to 3, to 2, to one, to now maybe once every other week. And it’s not that nothing’s happening around the house, in fact so much is happening. But between the doing, and the pausing to take pictures, and the editing the pictures, and the writing the posts, and the running of the social media, and the unstoppable desire to refresh my stats— oof. It’s got to give a little.

I’m still going to check in once or twice a month for sure, and I have hundreds of posts in the archives to dig through. I’m so happy so many of you have stopped by, and continue to stop by. So I’ll catch ya at the next check in… and if you want to be notified when that is just follow along via Bloglovin or pop your email in the box on the right hand side of this page. I’m also mildly obsessed with Instagram, so you’ll always find that regularly updated. :)

xo. Stephanie.

Freak Accident Update

The past few weeks have been a little insane around here. I alluded to some house trouble in my last post (here), then a few days after it all went down we left for vacation, then we came back from vacation and are back to working with the insurance company to get our house back in order.

To better explain what happened- basically, a distracted driver hit a telephone pole outside our house so hard that it caused a surge of electricity into our home. It knocked out half our power, fried some of our electronics, then made it’s way into our ground wire. The ground wire was connected to our plumbing, and the surge burned a whole in our pipes which then flooded our basement. WHEW! It was an intense few hours while we waited for the water to be shut off to our house. Luckily, we live on a hill and have a drainage pipe in our basement we were able to open up pretty quickly so we ended up with about 5 inches of water at the highest point (and had we not had the pipe, there would have easily been over a foot). Also, the driver walked away perfectly fine (though I suspect the car is totaled)

We filled our dry vac 4 times once power was restored.

Also luckily, everyone we have been working with on this has been amazing. The night of the accident we had 2 firemen, 2 water department employees, and our plumber all in our house. The next day a clean up crew, electrician, and construction crew all came. Within 48 hours we had electricity and water restored.

You may wonder why we needed a construction crew. Wellllll…. the pipe burst outside the house, underground on our front lawn. So a regular plumber could not repair it. Our front lawn got dug up to replace the pipes.

water being restored

What you’re seeing above is a bulldozer thing digging up the lawn, one crew member in the hole repairing the outside pipes, one crew member in our house jack hammering through our sub-floor to get to more pipes, and the spot where the pipes busted.

This has been an insane mess.

On Monday this week, the insurance company came out (Liberty Mutual) and I have to say- they have been so amazing to work with. I have uploaded about a million pictures to the claim site, as well as the police report for the incident and all of my invoices. Because the cause of the flooding was so complicated, I also had my electrician write a statement explaining what happened and I uploaded that as well. Having done all that in advance really helped the process go smoothly and the adjuster was able to assess the damage and start the process of reimbursing our money right away.

So! The good news– we have some really nice electronics that were all ok because they were on high end surge protector power strips. All those power strips took the brunt of the surge and burned out, but have now been replaced. Our computer has now been replaced and the data transfer from the fried computer was successful. We have a new stove arriving on Friday. And we bought a new rug last night.


Still to come: all of our basement walls need to be redone. We have 3 built in closets that need to be sanded and retextured and all of our wood work (which includes paneling, chair rail, casings, and molding) needs to be sanded down and restained.  Stay tuned!

… I think that’s a long enough post for now. :)

Goings On & Freak Accidents

I meant to have a much better blog post this week, but I think when you see what I’m working with over here you’ll understand… either way, I thought I’d hop on and share a few things. Let’s start with the freak accident and work our way to the good stuff:

  • Tuesday night there was a crazy car accident outside my house (no one was hurt), and long story short it caused a huge surge of power to hit my house that temporarily blew out our electricity and also flooded our basement. Electricity is now restored but the surge fried our stove and my husband’s desktop computer as well as a few surge protector power strips (thank goodness we had them, or the damage would have been much worse!). Our (finished) basement currently  has 14 industrial fans in it drying out the flood (for the next 3 days) and our water should be fully restored today- it was damaged outside of the house so our lawn had to be bulldozed to access the pipes and a section of our basement got jackhammered as well. The whole thing is a mess and once insurance is settled I’ll share more. But yeah, it’s been a long few days. If you follow along on Instagram you’ve seen a few peeks of it all.

industrial fans to dry out a flooded basement

  • Before this whole mess went down, I spent my Saturday painting my heart out at my friend Nate’s house. He recently bought 100+ year old country style home and I’ve basically insisted that he let me help with it’s updates because I’m obsessed. When we went to see it he mentioned he needed to paint all window sashes white and I casuallyyyyyy recommended maybe he do them black because I would die if they weren’t black they’re so perfect for it and I’ll even do it myself pleaseeeee. I’m a woman of my word, so I spent 6+ hours painting and it was glorious.

black window sashes with white molding moulding and light walls- country kitchen farm home

The kitchen has these 3 windows, 3 more on a perpendicular wall, and I painted 2 doors that lead to the sunroom to match as well. I’m also on team yellow walls, but not necessarily that particular yellow.

Also, look at this perfectly aged and chippy coat closet door at the house’s entrance. UGHHHH. I don’t even really like the country style but it’s so perfect here that it makes my bat my eyes and grow wide. I’m 97% sure Nate doesn’t look at this blog, but if you do- do not get rid of this door! It’s what dreams are made of! And the brick floor? I’m dying.

chippy aged wood coat closet door and brick entryway floor

  • And to end this post on a super high note…. my husband and I will soon be headed to the Bahamas with a few of our friends! I can not freaking wait, after dealing with all this house stuff it’s just what we need. We’re going to an all inclusive resort and the whole thing is paid for so I’m excited to just show up, get a drank, and sit on the water. Oh, and we’re also going to go swimming with these cuties:

swimming pigs of exumas bahamas

Hopefully our house will be in good working order before we leave!! If not, I guess we can just go snorkeling in the basement… :( womp womp.

Tie Dye Onesies- An Awesome Baby Shower Activity

This weekend I hosted a “drizzle” for my sister-in-law in my backyard and we had a blast. It’s her and my brother’s second baby boy so we just had myself, parents, and grandparents over to celebrate and restock their diaper supply (no need for a full “shower”).

Even though there were just about a dozen of us I also really wanted a fun activity, so I hooked up with Tulip and their #TyeDyeYourSummer campaign to make tie dyed ones for my nephew-on-the-way. You guys, we had SO MUCH FUN. My 80+ year old grandmothers making their great grandchild onesies in my yard was so lovely and adorable.

tie dye onesie station- baby shower party activity idea

This kit is super easy, it comes with 18 colors in squirt bottles (just add water), elastics to make your pattern with, plastic gloves, and even a tablecloth. It’s a party in a box! I laid everything out on a few different tables and wrote steps on some white tiles (you can use dry erase markers on ceramic tiles- I do it all the time at parties to label food and write out directions), the kit comes with instructions on how to make specific patterns so I laid that out on the table too.

I got 2 different size white onesie packs, a white 3T shirt for my nephew, and Tulip sent a bunch of large white t-shirts for everyone else.

tie dye onesie baby shower activity

Everyone just kind of did their own thing, and most of the onesies came out super adorable. Others though, not so much. Careful with the red dye, haha.

tie dye onesie oopsPoor mom, she just wanted to make a heart for her new grandson.

The tie dye needs to set for 6-8 hours so we all just put our creations in a plastic tub I had then went off and ate a bunch of cake and ice cream. I ended up leaving it overnight and the next morning just rinsed them off in the tub then threw them in the washer on hot to set.

My nephew’s going to be the cutuest little hippie baby that ever lived.

one step tie dye kit

…but I’m not biased or anything. ;)

Thanks Tulip for sending me the one step tie dye kit! We had so much fun, and everyone loved it! *Even though the kit was sent to me, I was not paid for this post and all opinions/ideas/adorable onesies are my own.

Stalk Tulip all over the web for so many fun ideas and projects:

Facebook //  Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Tumblr // Google+ // YouTube

ilovetocreate tulip tie dye


Looking for more baby shower ideas? Check out my the owl themed and jungle themed parties I threw:

owl themed baby showermonkey decorated cupcakes

Living Pretty with your Pets feature

Hi all! Today I’m over at Cuckoo 4 Design guest posting all about my brood of pets, hop on over and check it out here.

three cats and a dog petsIf you’re here from Julia’s blog- welcome! You may want to check out my DIY Hidden Litter Box or Raised Pet Food Stand.

And don’t worry you’ll get used to seeing my animals pop up in just about every post ;)

striped wall room with painted furnitureThings I Didn’t DIY 

upcycled cabinet inside

Upcycled Kitchen Cabinet

tree stump end tablesTree Stump/Log End Tables

Happy Weekend!!