The Coolest Small Town in America

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If you would have asked me a few years ago, my only idea of nature inspired beauty and paradise was a beach. While Panama City Beach, FL will always hold the title of my home-away-from-home and one true love, I have come to appreciate and truly treasure a different kind of surrounding. My boyfriend and his family have a cabin in Ely, which is in northern Minnesota, and I visited the quaint little town this time last year and again over the 4th of July.

My eyes were opened to an entirely new landscape and I already can’t wait to go back. Ely was voted The Coolest Small Town in America and for good reason. Its downtown is filled with small bars and restaurants, shopping spots, and lots of fishing/camping outfitters. I never expected to enjoy nature (or canoeing for that matter) as much as I did, but wow! I mean, you can bathe in the lakes there. We sure don’t do that here in Illinois/Missouri. You technically can but cleanliness probably isn’t your goal. So anyway, while I’m daydreaming about what Ely is like this time of year, I thought I’d share some photos from that trip (sorry for the overload).

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View from the deck of the cabin.

008 (2)The sauna!


Kawishiwi Falls on Kawishiai Falls Trail


221Jas and Adam!



The prettiest portage.




Again, sorry for the picture overload, but it was hard to cut it down to even this many! It’s such a beautiful place. Have any of you been to Ely or somewhere near it?

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Desk Revival

Hi friends. Here’s another “furniture flip” post, no shocker there. I found this desk at Savers, which is something like a Goodwill but slightly nicer in my opinion. And in my usual fashion, I didn’t take a before photo before tearing the thing a part.

Unfinished desk front EDITED

“How much did you pay for this fine piece of quality furniture?” I hear you asking. Well this was one of my luckier finds in that it set me back only $10. Yes, TEN DOLL HAIRS! So awesome.

Unfinished desk side angle EDITEDI noticed that it was solid wood and heavy, so it seemed of good quality. I just had to look past the atrocious paint job and stenciling. And you might be thinking that it looks kind of cute and distressed, but in real life, it wasn’t. It was kind of yellowing and dirty looking. Here are a couple of close ups.

 Unfinished desk front close up EDITEDUnfinished desk top EDITED

Surface of drawer- unpainted EDITEDI began by cleaning the heck out of it (thanks to Mom for pitching in on this part) with Murphy Soap, removing the drawer pulls, and using a palm sander in some places that needed it. Then I started painting with my main ivory color all over.

Drawers on lawn EDITED

Surface of drawer- painted EDITED

I have been in a coral phase lately where I’ve been wanting to incorporate the fun and summery color onto a piece of furniture. I thought if I used that as an accent color, it wouldn’t be overbearing, so I just used it on the trim and the under-side of the desk. I spray painted the drawer pulls black for a pop and here is the final product!

Finished desk EDITED

She is currently residing in all of her glory at the Sweet Ashley’s Cottage booth at the Alton Exchange and I think she would be adorable in a little girl’s room-or not. I just enjoyed finally using coral. (With the same paint, I also did this director’s chair:)

director's chair

Here are the before and after pictures one more time so you can see the difference:

Unfinished desk front EDITEDFinished desk EDITED

Although I bought the desk for next to nothing, it was a big time suck. What began as a labor of love slightly turned into a labor of hatred. I just wanted to get the thing out of my garage because I simply could not sand and repaint it for the thousandth time. But that’s the way DIY goes. Little money but lots of elbow grease is the life I prefer to lead!

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Side table makeover

Hello long lost friends. I took a little hiatus from blogging about my projects, but trust me when I say that the projects never stopped. Today I would like to share this little side table that I found at my secret stash (AKA Goodwill). The bones were in pretty good shape, so I decided to do a little cleaning and painting and make it loved again! Here is the table after cleaning and before someone allowed a paint brush in my hand. (As per usual, please forgive my awful photos. But I guess that’s what I should expect when I take pictures in a dark and dingy garage with a cell phone. You gotta do what you gotta do.)


I began by painting the legs and sides with a lovely robin’s egg blue that I scored from Home Depot as a “mistint” for $0.50. It’s creepy how excited I get about a good bargain. Here’s the table after step one.


Next, I painted the tops a creamy white color (also a $0.50 “mistint”) and busted out the sandpaper. I distressed the tops and legs to give it a worn look.


I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. I’m no expert in “furniture flipping,” but I think it’s way more beautiful than the retro table it once was. It’s now waiting to be adopted by a loving family at the Sweet Ashley’s Cottage booth at the Alton Exchange. What do you think? Do you love bringing furniture back to life too?



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4th of July Hurricane Craft

I am just beginning to realize that I get to decorate an entire house for the holidays. An ENTIRE HOUSE. My crafting and decorating mind can’t stop jumping up and down for joy. So it just dawned on me that Independence Day is just as great of a holiday to begin the madness that will unavoidably come forth. I know it’s last minute, but here is a fun little project to get you in the spirit for the 4th of July- a hurricane jar filled with red, white and blue lima beans!

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Here’s what I did:

I purchased my supplies at Wal-Mart (spray paint, lima beans and a candle) for about $10-excluding the hurricane jar, that came from heaven–I mean Marshalls.

IMAG1244 copyThen I laid the lima beans out as thinly as possible on top of plastic bags, which isn’t very flat while on top of grass, and gave them a coat of spray paint. I waited for them to dry somewhat and then flipped them around to try and get the other side. I definitely didn’t coat them completely, but I think the imperfections are ok for the end result.

**Note: I would NOT recommend spray painting on top of a plastic bag. Maybe I’m the only dumb one that wouldn’t think this through, but the paint made the beans stick to the bags and it was a big pain in my rear to get them off. Just a helpful little tip from someone who learned the hard way.

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Once they were completely dry, I began layering them in the dish.

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And here’s the final product! This project can be changed in so many ways for so many different occasions. I’m thinking of doing coffee beans or candy corn for the fall and the good Lord only knows how crazy I will go for Christmas. I love it and every time I walk into the living room, it makes me smile. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

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DIY Moss Topiaries



In an effort to bring the outdoors in (sans insects) and add a little color to my bedroom, I decided to give these DIY Moss Topiaries a try. I found them a while back on a blog that I follow and you can get the instructions here.

You will need the following:

  • Styrofoam topiary form
  • Terracotta pot
  • Packaged moss
  • Hot glue gun/glue


In the blog I followed, she suggested using the moss that comes in little squares and cutting them up and gluing them on, but I think using the loose moss might be a bit easier. But I used the sheet moss so what do I know.


Basically I just cut various sized pieces of the moss and hot glued them on the styrofoam balls so it would look natural and messy. Don’t forget to cover the base in moss as well.


Then I painted the pots with some acrylic paint to go along with my color scheme and that was that.


The link above provides more in depth instructions if you want to try this out yourself but they are a great spring/summer addition for home décor! 

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IMAG1208 copyI also made these little canvases just by messily painting strokes of various yellows. For each stripe I added a little white or a little gray (which is how I accidentally ended up with green-oops! Guess I missed the “mixing colors” day in art class in 7th grade.)

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Flea Market Find: TV Stand

Flea markets and garage sales can be your best friend people. I found a sturdy table at a local flea market that would serve perfectly as a TV stand because it had a shelf for my cable box and DVD player. I went to Home Depot and picked out two colors that I liked and got them in the little sample jars and set to work. I used a stencil that I already had from doing an accent wall in the living room to give it a little flair. Note: if you do a project like this, you might want to drill a hole in the back so that you can feed your cords through it.

IMAG1066Don’t mind my cords, I’m obviously horrible at staging photos.

IMAG1067(Here is my attempt at staging, notice the flowers. I know, I know… ooo, ahh.)


I wish I had a before picture, but it has been lost in the shuffle of the past few months of craziness. It was originally a hunter green and looked pretty scuffed up and masculine, so of course I had to do something about that right away.  I bought the table quite a while ago, but I believe I spent about $30 or $40 on it. All in all a pretty simple and inexpensive project that is very functional. A coat of paint can do wonders!

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