The Great Brick Chimney Adventure

In every homeowner’s journey, there have been…questionable decisions. Mine involved brick and came about a year ago during a three-day long hiatus from school during a terrible snow storm. It just kept snowing and kept being so far below zero outside that school was not able to be in session… so I did something risky. Very risky. In the corner of my dining room, there was a bump out that I knew was a brick chimney. It ran from the attic to the basement. It was gorgeous light brick whenever I saw it exposed on the upper and lower levels of my house. I had pinned COUNTLESS ways of how to expose brick on le Pinterest but was just too scared to mess up my amazing house. Well…. During these snow days, I took a hammer and chisel to my plaster wall and just…. went for it! Literally… I picked up a hammer and just started beating the wall. It was scary and I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing because, what if it was a catastrophic failure?! I used a heavy-duty chisel, a normal hammer, and a sturdy wire brush. I cleared all the furniture out of the dining room and closed off door ways as best I could… But chipping away plaster is a dusty business. Here is the first photo I took once I remembered I should probably be documenting this! I placed tons of cardboard all around the floor to capture the falling debris and it worked really well! Some of the plaster came off super quickly and easily and some took a LOT of elbow grease and more than one smashed thumb. The coolest thing about this old plaster from 1929…

Hookin’ Up a New One: Second Big Blanket!

Another amazing friend from high school was tying the knot with her high school sweetheart!! Melody and Alex have been married for a few years now and have two stunning little girls. Melody told me their colors were going to be teal, purple, and brown – kind of a peacock theme! I was so excited to expand my horizon and try something new. I ventured into the realm of….. the GRANNY SQUARE! Now, I decided to just choose two of the three colors because, woah, baby steps here… I was still a crochet noob. A Granny Square is a type of crochet pattern where you make small, or large depending on your project, squares starting from the center and working outwards. Once you get the hang of it, it is one of the easiest patterns to mess with. Here is a photo of the start of the different Granny Squares and the pattern I decided upon! Obviously it is quicker and easier to make a Granny Square in all one color because you don’t have to stop and switch colors! But…. it is also a lot more boring. Once you figure everything it out, you just calculate how many of each type of square you need… and crochet, and crochet….. and keep crocheting. When it is time to start to attach the squares together, there are a number of ways I researched to do it. Some of the ways left visible ridges, some of them added an extra length in-between the squares… but – I FINALLY found something called the “invisible seam.” You use a color yarn that it is already in your blanket and a darning needle and you sew them together loosely. Then, you pull the yarn…

Completely Free Cork Board Map Craft

I am not one to let something perfectly good be thrown out. That is why when I saw a friend put a perfectly usable cork board by the trash, I snagged it! It was big, had a silver metal frame, a little bit of writing on it, and some left over stickers… but it was in great shape. I’d had in my mind, for some time, to make a map of the United States and use pins to locate where all my family members and dearest friends live!! There really is no “before” picture because there really isn’t much to this craft! You snag (or purchase, I suppose) a bulletin board/cork board and follow the steps! 1. Once I peeled off the stickers and removed the push pins, I painted the cork portion a simple white color. The white covered up the writing in one coat! I already had the white paint, and I didn’t want to spend any money. : ) 2. After the paint dried, I stuck the bulletin board in my car and took it to school with me. Then, during my lunch break, when I needed to do something creative, I put a simple map of the US up on my white board using my projector! I positioned the cork board so the map was centered, grabbed a sharpie and traced it! It was so simple and didn’t take much time! I wanted to include Alaska and Hawaii so I found a separate map that included our outlying states and added them to the bottom left of the map. You could also just trace a paper copy of a map if you don’t have access to a projector! 3. The now fully mapped bulletin…

Christmas Musings and Holiday Reflections 2016

I truly love this time of year. People are forced to cuddle indoors by the weather and families and friends are brought together by holiday time off from work or saved up sick days and REALLY good food! My family is also brought together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But as we live all over the place, that means a lot of driving. Lots and lots of driving. As a kid we tried to go see family in Nebraska and Texas every year! As we’ve grown up and especially now that my sister and I are adults, we made the decision to travel every other year. However, this time last year, our year to travel, I was pretty much bedridden for most of the time. We weren’t able to take our scheduled trip to the heartland to see our family because my body was in such bad shape and no one could tell us why! There were some very scary potential diagnoses being thrown around, but through divine intervention and the kindness of my friend Dana, I made it to a doctor who put me on the right track. I was finally diagnosed with SLE, otherwise simply known as Lupus. I am not quite out of the woods yet as there are still weeks and months I am quite ill, but comparatively speaking – I am SO much better than I was!! Some of the medicine has side effects that leave me feeling a bit self-conscious, but I suppose that is better than feeling terrible, right?! Because I am doing so much better, this year we were able to make the trek from the north central part of the country down to Nebraska to see my dad’s side of the family. The…

Easy Christmas Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

Is there anything more Christmas-y tasting than gingerbread?! I love it. I am partial to gingerbread when it is softer and less crunchy. That’s why when I came across this recipe for these amazing Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites, I was sold! I found the recipe through le Pinterest on a blog called Created by Diane. You can find the link here! Her recipe is super easy to follow. Unfortunately, I had to make one change because the dough she calls for us to use isn’t sold in any store around me! Diane’s recipe is as follows: Pillsbury gingerbread dough found in the refrigerated section 2 cups powdered sugar 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla Now, I scoured my local groceries for the Pillsbury dough, or ANY pre-made gingerbread dough and was really struggling… then I finally found Nestle Toll House “Rolled and Ready Gingerbread Cookie Dough Sheets” What I did was break the pre-rolled sheets and roll them into balls the right size to fit my mini-cupcake baking pan. That is something else you need: A mini cupcake/muffin pan. They won’t really be “bites” if you use a normal sized cupcake/muffin pan. There are also super cute liners for these mini pans. I wonder how many times I can use the word pan in a short paragraph… pan, pan, pan : ) Place the rolled balls in the liners in the pan and use whatever you have lying around to make the indentation. Your thumb, the end of an apple slicer (<- that’s what I used), the end of a rolling-pin…. whatever floats your boat. Then you mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla…