…on being thankful

some of my favorites…..

“i am awake.  it is a beautiful day.  and i am thankful”

“there is always, always something to be thankful for”

“take time to be thankful for everything you have.  you could always have more.  you could also have less”


“it’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy”

“thank God for blessing me with far more than i deserve”

“i am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, for friends that turned into family, and for dreams that turned into reality”

“i am so much grateful to God”

thankful on tree

“the secret to having it all is knowing that you already do”

“the best thing about waking up is knowing you get to enjoy another cup of coffee”

……..had to.

two years ago we offered these thankful tags as a free download…and they are finally available on our “print it” page.  get them now by clicking the image below

thankful for God close up


the worst blogger in the world

i really think i may be.  my last post was may 26th….of 2015, but still.  there are a handful of bloggers i follow that post like clockwork, i have their schedules down so i know when to head to their site even before i get the email.

i love the consistency, i am super jealous of it actually.  but i just can’t seem to get on track.

so i will just own it and tell you that i do in fact have barn sale pictures to post….i have done a few furniture projects that i am dying to show you….i have a plan for our master bedroom update…..but no, my entry way is not done yet.

i hope you appreciate the “real” in me and stick it out even if it appears i have fallen off the face of ever-lovin’ earth.

but where i am pretty consistent? Instagram. my favorite social media outlet.  like a mini blog post. super easy and just plain adorable. my favorite is my 10 yr old daughters feed (she tags me in every post by the way, which i think is the best).  so if you want to keep up with my shenanigans…..that’s where the party’s at.

insta collage


the very best ginger cookies

there are several things in life that really make me very happy.  one is coffee.  another is sharing the chateaubriand at El Gaucho with my husband.  a close third is a blazing fire in our wood stove.  but if we are talking baked goods, these are hands down my most favorite-ist in all the land.

these have been on our holiday baking list for going on twenty years…when i was nine. ok just kidding, that’s a lie.

last step copy
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

{courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens, altered slightly}

in a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.

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in a large mixing bowl beat shortening and coconut oil with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

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beat in eggs and molasses.

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beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.

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shape dough into 2-inch balls using 1/4 cup dough. Roll balls in the 3/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar.

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bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are light brown and puffed. (Do not overbake or cookies will not be chewy.) cool on a cookie sheet for 2 minutes. transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

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close up final copy
and you can get your own copy….plus one to share with a friend {might i suggest you give it to them with a batch of cookies}

recipe image for website
^^ click the image above to download the pdf file ^^


chalk spray paint you say?

as i wiped down my banged up, fork stabbed, dust collecting black kitchen table for the one-thousandth time….i was over it. pledge (the best invention ever, second only to amazon prime) doesn’t even begin to touch it anymore. what used to be gleaming and beautiful is now dull and destroyed.

so staying true to my impulsive crafting nature, i had my daughter help me haul it out the back door onto the lawn and i broke out the palm sander.  i didn’t even have a plan and i wasn’t sure what it looked like under that black used-to-be-glossy mess but to my surprise, this was a solid wood table #targetdoesitagain.

i wasn’t even going to share this because it was one of my more poorly planned projects but after i posted this pic on Instagram and got a few questions about it, i thought i should share my (un)official review.

instagram table

follow me on instagram @bydesignco

now i had my family’s main eating surface in my yard….and a couple cans of chalk spray paint in our shop.  what’s that….chalk spray paint?  could it be that the two greatest diy inventions of the century have finally joined forces? it’s for real and true.  and i found it while i was grocery shopping of all things.  to top it off, right next to it was spray wax.  

spray paint

real shock that i picked “classic white” but there are several other great colors to choose from.  and the wax comes in natural, dark brown and chalky finish clear sealer (i went with option c)

one of my favorite features of chalk paint is the lack of prep required on the painting surface. with the spray paint…not so much. i tested a little area on part of the table i hadn’t sanded yet and it didn’t stick….probably why the can tells you the surface needs to be “roughed up”. the can does not lie. i used an 80 grit sandpaper and a palm sander…i didn’t get every single spot but a good once over was sufficient.

as with any spray paint, of course do this in a well ventilated area (free from wind is also a bonus) the can says it will take several thin coats to get full coverage. this also differs from traditional chalk paint as you can usually get pretty good coverage with a single coat of paint. it took me three coats to get a nice even, finished look. it does dry really fast and i was able to do a second coat after about 15 minutes (though it was 75 degrees and sunny in seattle…not that i am bragging).

you need to shake the can a lot more than regular spray paint to keep that chalk dispersed. i shook it well about every 30 seconds and that seemed to keep it well mixed.

i started with the legs and i loved the ease of the spray paint in getting into all the little spaces without leaving brush marks. when it came to the top of the table however, i soon found it was going to take me 3 cans to get a good finish so i went with plan b. this plan only worked because i was using white….if you were using another color this would prove problematic. i mixed up some of my diy chalk paint and brushed on the top.

the spray paint definitely has a great chalky finish, some spots went on a little rough but that is where this next step comes in. i like that super smooth feel to my furniture so i do another round of sanding with an extra fine grit paper and the palm sander. this works great on traditional chalk paint, i assumed it would do the same on the spray version. and it did….sort of.

leg close up
the thing about spray paint is that it goes on in thin layers so there is not much room for sanding.  if you are trying to avoid a “distressed” look then you better put in lots of time with the spray paint because a couple thin layers will come off when you do your final sanding.  i try to go with the “semi-distressed” look so i ended up with three coats of spray paint and it worked well.

typically i would use my tried and true Annie Sloan clear wax to seal this up right nice but this is about trying new things so i chose the chalky finish clear sealer spray. again, i started with the legs….the touch part about this is you can’t actually see the sealer go on because it isn’t shiny so i was kind of flying blind. it went on well and dried smooth and definitely with a chalky feel and matte appearance. i applied two coats to the legs and three coats to the eating surface. the can promises not to cause “yellowing” and so far it has no signs of that but time will tell.

we have eaten on the table several times, food has been spilled, dirty fingers have been all over it and we had a major drink spill at dinner and all has wiped clean….well we did have a blueberry “incident” at breakfast that stained the table the very day i put it back in the house but a magic eraser did the trick and that blueberry stain is no more.

i will probably give this a good re-seal on the top every few months to keep it fresh…that will also give me a chance to do any touch up painting.

finished table
i think krylon has it right with this chalk spray paint….just maybe not for a huge project like a kitchen table. the spray sealer does get two big thumbs up from me though.  in the end i used two cans of spray paint for three coats on the legs and the frame that the top sits on so it did not break the bank.  I used only one full can of sealer, two coats on the legs and three on the top.

the pluses…..

  • convenience of chalk paint in a spray form allowing for getting into small detailed areas
  • no visible brush strokes
  • cost effective (especially for a small job)…$6.99 a can
  • lots of color options
  • easy easy easy to use

the minuses….

  • for a large surface area, you would need a LOT of spray and even more patience
  • goes on in very thin coats so be gentle when sanding and distressing
  • need to do a substantial amount of prep of the surface (sanding or priming)

so more pluses than minuses…that’s always good.  would i use this again? YES.  i think this would be especially great for a dining room chair (hmmmm…perhaps that’s next) and other small projects like lamps and picture frames.  krylon, you have my vote!


one room challenge {enter here} reveal week

welp. some would call this reveal week.  i guess i will call it that too but to be totally transparent my space is not 100% done.  i rushed rushed to get serious stuff done today {and i did} but oh minor details like hanging stuff on walls, perhaps painting a ceiling and overall staging didn’t really happen.

but i opted to suck it up and post my reveal of sorts anyway because i am leaps and bounds further along that i was six weeks ago and this is real life.  and in real life, sometimes pretty spaces take a back seat to my little people. and to laundry.

if you are new here let me refresh you on this journey.  the one room challenge is hosted by linda at calling it home and includes a six week room makeover by 20 amazing bloggers. for little bloggers like me, we get to participate in the equally incredible linking challenge. this is my third time participating in the challenge…you can find my other two rooms here:

office // laundry room

this time around, i chose our entry way and the last five weeks have consisted of this….

week one // week two // week three // week four // week five {or not}

now i know you clicked on every last link above {right?} but if you didn’t, here is what my entry way looked like before before pics

and come on in….

exterior front door

a little black paint and some new lights works wonders

front door close up

buffet and mirror 3

buffet close up

my lovely buffet painted by the talented cooper lane commodoties this functional piece houses backpacks in the cabinets and all our winter apparel in the drawers….it’s also where i hide the nerf guns and all those annoying darts…shhhhh.

buffet and mirror

world map

view into family room


my faux metal six that you can read all about in week three.

stairs and windows

these are to deter my kids from sliding down the stairs…just kidding.  their home is going to be hanging on the wall going up the stairs.

chalkboard 2

another chalkboard because they are awesome.


this rug is so much better in person than on the website and it passed the door pass-over test so she gets to stay.

front door into living room

i believe i hinted on instagram a couple weeks ago that i was painting my door black…and i was. but then i didn’t. and i like this a lot.


one of my favorite parts of the room…made by one of very talented barn sale vendors The ABC’s of Love.

front door

the most non-functional coat rack in all the world…..until she is hung up and then actual humans will be able to use it.


are you thinking….”i am pretty sure this belongs in the before pictures” you would be right.  i didn’t change out the light….i do have a plan though and it involves a major exercise in repurposing.

entry way from hallway

and last but not least, my very favorite view of this room.  it’s bright.  it’s clean.  and it just makes me happy walking into this room now.

and even if it takes me another 6 weeks {or months, whatever} to finish it, i accomplished so much in here….just painting up on that extension ladder was six weeks worth of work.

now here is where i tell you that you MUST go and check out some of the other fabulous reveals {it really is the funnest week} from these talents:







i got nothin’

that’s right. it’s week five of the six-week one room challenge and i posted nothin’ on my entry way progress. a fellow blogging friend even noticed i hadn’t posted anything and sent me a reminder last night…how sweet is that?!

i could have inconspicuously slumped off into a corner and not even brought this to light but then i felt like it was a missed opportunity. an opportunity to let you all know that i over commit to things. all things pretty much. i feel like God gave me the fantastic (and crappy) gift of being able to multi-task fairly well. he also gave me an ego that sometimes thinks it can literally do everything. everything. it turns out i cannot.

i knew committing to this round of the orc was a bit of a stretch. i am in a busy season of life that includes a part time job as a consultant dietitian, this little barn sale gig, a blog, high ambitions to exercise on occasion, two competitive gymnasts, a tee ball player, a tee ball coach (aka husband), a potty-training toddler, a PTA board position, three chickens, two cats and a garden. oh and friends that i would actually like to see and remember to text back.

but you know, it’s ok. it really really is ok. can you tell i am trying to convince myself? it bothers me when i can’t seem to do it all…why is this? it’s ridiculous.

i should add that when people ask me to do things for them, i am so happy. i truly am. i love helping people so if i tell you, “sure, i can do that for you” please know that i mean it. the person i have the hardest time saying no to is myself….paint my front door today, sure i can fit that in.  remove the shelf that our microwave sits on….yep, i can totally squeeze that in while the kids get ready for school.  take a shower….well, let’s not get carried away.

so today i am giving myself permission to be ok with not doing it all. to utter the words, “i can’t do that” ugh…i hate the sound of that.

i also feel like i might need this shirt.



one room challenge {enter here} week four

how are we past the halfway mark in this one room challenge? I am feeling a little overwhelmed and underfunded. there are lots of plans and ideas that will not happen in the next two weeks but i guess that is why it’s called a one room challenge.

here is what i have been able to accomplish…in case you need a refresh

week one // week two // week three

though i set out with no real budget for this little project, i did as any good designer does and asked for new door hardware for my birthday and a new area rug for mother’s day. and that my friends is how you get around a zero budget.  i scored a really cool vintage classroom world map on eBay and made a bid decision on the front door.

primed door

i primed this door last week with the plan to paint it black {the outside is black} but as i let it sit for a few days in this state, the white grew on all of us so i painted it white and it’s just lovely.  and these windows that i previously hated…i now really like….the door hardware, not so much.


i am sorry but it is impossible to get a good photo from an eBay listing so this has to suffice….i mean it still says “USSR” this is going to be a real history lesson.

door hardware

Kwikset Ashfield Handleset

i love this for several reasons…one it’s a rustic pewter finish which is more industrial looking that a brushed nickel but a good contrast to the black on the exterior of the door and the white on the inside.  two, it has the SmartKey system which means i can match the lock to my other exterior doors without having to have it re-keyed by a locksmith.  three, it was really affordable and with amazon prime, free shipping of course.  and four, the lines are just the best.


Light Gray Emilie Flatware Sweater Wool Area Rug

the dilemma i have had with area rugs in my entry way is finding one that my front door moves over easily.  i used to have a jute rug that you had to scrape the door over….i told my husband…just give it time, it will compact down and will be great.  i was totally lying and it never did.  so we have been rug free for months….until i found this gem, happy mother’s day to me.

buffet hardware

Clear Glass Knobs

the entry table got some fancy knobs…not really, but they look pretty fancy.

i have a plan for my cool haberdashery hooks {those ones that housed backpacks in week one} it involves an old farmhouse screen door, a sander and some paint.  a gallery wall up the stairs.  something that may or may not include another chalkboard and a little addition from one of my barn sale vendors. and that’s week four.  it’s like the calm before the storm….because in two weeks it’s time for reveals.  i know i have some favorite updates i am following in this one room challenge, some really fun projects going on over at calling it home….



one room challenge {enter here} week three

our host, sweet linda, from calling it home suggested that week three of the one room challenge focus on setbacks or happy accidents.  my one major setback…time.  man, i just don’t have enough of it.  i did finish all the painting of my extraordinarily tall entry way and the ladder is happy back in it’s home out in the shop.  i also primed my front door and did a little online shopping…or dreaming…whatever.

one thing i am very proud of myself for accomplishing this week….ok today, i did it to-day….was a little project i started a year ago.  i gave you a little hint last week when i included these great metal letters on my inspiration board:

but i didn’t want letters..i wanted a giant number 6.  i mean giant.  like over two feet tall.  and because i didn’t want to wait to find the perfect one by scouring second use stores and salvage yards….i decided on a cardboard one that i would paint to look like beat up old metal.  now if i were to ask you how easy it is to find said giant number six in the cardboard variety, would you say very, somewhat or not?  the answer is not.  not easy.

large letters exist and small numbers exist. large numbers do not.  so as any good diy’er would do i built one.  and i don’t have pictures of how i built it…oops, sorry.  that is what a bad diy’er does…take no pictures.  but here she is:


the front and back are made from white foam poster board, i hand drew the number six on them and cut out with an exact knife.  the side walls are made with strips of standard white poster board….the beauty is you can make this any height and depth you want.  this one is 26″ tall and 3.5″ deep.  it’s assembled with my body weight in scotch tape.  this is how far i got one year ago.  i have actually been displaying it in this state {embarrassing}.

so this part i will give you the low down on….how to make scotch tape nightmare look like a faux metal dream.

step one // cover the entire thing in masking tape.  good old masking tape.  my kids actually liked it this way so i guess if that’s what you are going for then this tutorial is over for you…go back to bed.  no…keep reading.  i used small pieces of tape and overlapped them in all random directions to give more texture once it is painted.

with masking tape

close up masking tape

step two // rust-oleum is my personal fave but any brand of metallic silver spray paint will do.  give it a good once over to completely cover every surface.  let dry completely.

spray paint

painted six

step three // using a metallic copper acrylic craft paint {of course i love martha} and a sponge brush, apply a small amount of paint all the way around the edges.  you want this really subtle so don’t use too much paint…if you do, wipe off any excess before it dries.  it should look something like this:

metallic bronze paint

bronze paint applied

step four // using a matte black acrylic craft paint, apply a generous amount of black paint all over the surface but working with small sections at a time. this does not have to be uniform…seriously just slap it on but make sure you get coverage all the way to the edges.

black paint app

step five // follow right behind with a damp paper towel..in a circular motion, wipe off the black paint until it achieves a look you are happy with. something similar to this:

rubbing black off

close up of finish

continue with this method all over until every surface is covered.  let dry and that’s it.  a faux metal number {or letter} or whatever really for less than $10.  and for a girl on a tight budget in this orc, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

final shot

i can not believe the amount of talent coming out of this linking challenge….149 other bloggers to be exact.  i am still trying to catch up on them all……





one room challenge {enter here} week two

any fans of “the biggest loser” out there?  if you are, you know about the curse of week two…where after losing the equivalent of a small child in week one, the contestants come out week two with like a 3 pound loss.  that was me this week….a strong ambitious start and then a 3 pound loss.  i had higher hopes for myself than what came to fruition this week but let me share what went down from the top of a 20 ft ladder….

and if you missed my introduction to the one room challenge and some sweet before pictures from last week, they are worth taking a look at….. you can see the goods here

and so sorry i shorted you this picture last week….you almost missed out on one whole angle

down the hall BEFORE

chair rail removal, hole patching and painting were my gig this week.  i think i like the white stripe better than i did the dark chair rail. and when you hang coat hooks, might i suggest really making sure you like them before completely destroying your walls…in two locations.

wall patching
up the stairs
front door and window
east wall
down the hall
what a breath of fresh air a new coat of paint can be.  or a nearly new coat….obviously i am not quite done although i am growing quite fond of the ladder as a fixture in my decor.

so it’s not the most exciting stuff so i will leave you with some more inspiration of what i am swooning over right now…..

inspo collage
and holy cow there were almost 150 linking participants last week….go check them out too



walking in that truth

are you as big a fan of HGTV’s fixer upper as i am?  for me, the love for it is expansive.  it’s not only the completely and utterly amazing houses, but the real-ness of it….sure it’s still a show and i have yet to see a Gaines child throwing a tantrum or a harsh word said between Chip and Joanna (please, let there be at least a little of that so i can feel ok about myself)….but as far as reality tv goes, this is pretty great.

as if i couldn’t be any more smitten, a dear friend who knows my heart so so well sent this to me this morning along with some awfully sweet words…..


did you cry? i cried.  i have struggled with finding my place and my purpose for so long….finding where the lines between work and family and mental health are drawn…..with really being still, listening and waiting when the answer is “no” or “not yet”.

in 2008 the most incredible opportunity to purchase a children’s clothing line came across my path.  a business i could have done amazing things with.  but a business that required money. and space.  i had neither.  i poured over the financials for this little baby trying to find a way to make it work. but i had a 2 year old and and new baby and i knew that in the end God was telling me, “not yet”.  i was devastated to walk away….i think of that little business often and wonder what could have been but i know that God knew better. i still pouted a little.

then when i thought the timing was right i jumped in again and it felt good.  accomplished.  and then in a blink, it was gone.  sorry, that’s vague but it’s all the detail you are going to get.  i was completely broken.  i threw my hands up and said, “fine God, i get it…i guess you just want me to a mom and that’s all”.  i actually said that…”just a mom”.  ouch.  what an insult to moms.

like a stubborn teenager, God let me a stumble a couple more times before i got it.   i finally came to a place of peace where i was ready to hand it over…..i soooo knew that God had a design for me but it wasn’t time to know so i sat.  waited.

and then one day, 2 years ago i was sitting…and waiting…. in the Target parking lot and i heard “use the shop”.  i am sorry but the what now?  i was pondering how to help some friends sell some stuff they were making and that was the answer i got…”use the shop”.  it was like a “build it and they will come” moment.  ok, so i used the shop….but i call it a barn instead because it sounds a little less like a venue for selling machine parts and tools.  two months later was hosting my first barn sale.  to say i had no clue what i was doing was a slight understatement.  but people actually came.

so then i had another one….and then a few more.  we now have to have a staff….like an actual staff, a parking diagram and parking attendants with neon vests.  it’s crazy to me what this has become 18 months and 5 sales later.

i have had some moments of panic, of insecurity and of “what in the world have i gotten into” and lots of, “you can’t do this”.  but that’s the lie the devil wants to let me believe….because for whatever reason i know that this is what i am supposed to be doing right now, and the very place i am supposed to be doing it….and all these amazing people that i am supposed to be doing it with.  i finally get that trusting God with my whole entire heart doesn’t mean that i don’t have to work for it but it does mean that i don’t have to worry about it and that my friends is the very sweetest truth you can walk in.

family final