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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