furniture up cycle: TV cabinet into armoire

For many years we used a pine armoire to house our TV.

armoire upcycle

When we upgraded to a larger flat screen TV that no longer fit in our armoire, I wanted to find a use for this piece of furniture.  I hate to throw things away if I don’t have to.

furniture up cycle TV cabinet to armoire

Well, it was a good thing we held on to this armoire.  The room we decided to use for a bedroom for our daughter has no closets.  Enter the up cycled armoire.

furniture up cycle TV cabinet to armoire

We loved it in raw pine back in the day, but it was due for a facelift.  So, painted in white and distressed, it matches her thrifted Jenny Lind bed frame.

furniture up cycle TV cabinet to armoire


All it took to convert this piece into a useable closet for our daughter’s room was a clothing rod.  Hubby attached it with a block of scrap wood on each side of the rod for further durability.

furniture up cycle TV cabinet to armoire

Since little girl’s dresses are so short, it is working just fine right now with extra room at the bottom for baskets of linens and such.

So if you’re looking for extra clothing storage (or crafting storage, toy storage, game storage, kitchen storage!), look no further than your local thrift store or yard sale and pick up one of these “old” armoires.  Sure, you might not put a TV in them anymore, but you might be able to pick one up for cheap and give it a new life.

furniture up cycle TV cabinet to armoire

Great on the budget.  Super cute.  Love to prevent needless waste.  And create a personal piece that works for you.

What is your favorite TV cabinet up-cycle?

Colorful Painted Kitchen Table and Chairs

Over the past decade I have slowly left the safe harbor of beiges and black accents and embraced more color.  I find that color in my home has an energizing and happy effect.  

painted dining room table & chairs

So when my kitchen table and chairs were getting tired looking, I pulled out some spray paint and went to town.

painted dining room table & chairs

There was just too much brown in this space.

painted dining room table & chairs

So, here’s my ho-hum table and chairs before…

painting dining room chairs

painting dining room chairs

…and after!

painting dining room chairs

Now, granted, this is a. lot. of. color.

painting dining room chairs

But it can always be redone if it just isn’t working.

The last time we stained this table, it turned out too orange for my liking.  But it was so much work, that we just left it as is for several years.

painting dining room chairs

This time, I used chalk paint in Castle Gray that I found at Walmart.  I was going to use the Rustoleum brand from Home Depot, but it would have cost $40 to paint my table.  That was before buying the wax for finishing.  The Walmart bottle cost under $10, then the wax was another $5-10.  I still have some left over.

I used a simple foam brush to apply the chalk paint.  It took several coats.  After lightly distressing, I finished by brushing on the wax, then buffing it with a clean cloth when dry.

How is it holding up?

painting dining room chairs

Well, just how you’d expect for our table with a toddler and four boys doing school at this hub each and every day.  But it’s not too precious of a piece of furniture.  I will just redo it (probably another color!) when it gets too shabby looking.

As for the chairs, the boys have strong opinions about color, so I let them choose their own from my stash.  It they have to sit in these chairs for school each day, why not have some fun?

painting dining room chairs

I used Rustoleum spray paint and one can in each color was plenty.  Just took them outside on some cardboard, turned them upside down and painted that direction first, then stood them right side up and finished up.  Because they were black originally, some of the lighter colors took several coats to cover the black.  And I know these aren’t perfectly painted, but they’re working for us right now.

painted dining room chairs

I recommend choosing a spray paint that includes primer.

What do you think?  Would you ever spray paint your furniture?  Do you embrace color or are neutrals more “you”?

painted dining room chairs

I’m learning to embrace what makes a cozy home for my family, even if it does break all the conventional decorating rules.

colorful painted kitchen table & chairs


Make a Memory Jar for Mom

{This post originally appeared on on May 4, 2014}

Mother’s Day is almost here!  If you’re like me, you struggle with what to buy the mom in your life that adequately communicates how special she is to you.  And what do you buy for her without cluttering up her house with more trinkets?

Several years ago, I stumbled on an idea that I found in a magazine.  This was before Pinterest, and before Ann mentioned a similar idea on her blog.  My sister and I got to work.  My husband and his siblings made one for my mother-in-law as well.  
make a memory jar for mom
It is so easy, but so full of love!  If you don’t have much time, this is still very doable.  Best of all, I can’t tell you how many times my mom has mentioned that this is one of her most favorite gifts.
What could be this great?  A memory jar!
make a memory jar for mom
The concept is simple.  Write down on slips of paper any wonderful memories from childhood, family traditions, funny stories, things you love about your mom.  One memory per slip.  Have all your siblings do the same.  Then, gather them into a pretty jar and present it to mom on Mother’s Day.  The idea is that every day, mom will pull a slip out of the jar and read a memory.  We tried to put enough in for one year of memories without repeating!

How wonderful it is to honor our Mom in this way.  I hope that when my children are out of the nest they will make a memory jar for me!
make a memory jar for mom

3 Gifts that Give {Mother’s Day}

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and I am so late in writing this post!  Having a new toddler around the house is making for some crazy days.

But I wanted to share these special companies if you’re still undecided on what to give mom for Mother’s Day this year.

3 gifts that give {mother's day}

Each of these companies is a favorite of mine.  While getting a great product, you are also supporting women around the globe who want to provide for their families.  We have so much, and this is just a small way to bless others.

{mother's day} gifts that give

One of my favorite organizations to support while I shop is 3cords.  Last month I purchased a beautiful bag to use as a diaper bag for our Anna.

{mother's day} gifts that give

I have always been happy with my purchases from this organization — and my money is being used to employ women in Haiti who lost limbs during the earthquake in 2010.  Read their amazing story here.

gifts that give {mother's day}

I love the work behind Punjammies.  I have yet to purchase a pair of these fun PJ’s — but I’m hopeful my hubby will ask me what I want for Mother’s Day and I’ll just go ahead and buy my favorite pair!

The sad fact is that modern day slavery still exists.

3 gifts that give {mother's day}

International Princess™ Project’s mission is to create pathways to freedom for women escaping the ravages of sex slavery to achieve lives of hope and dignity.”

3 gifts that give {mother's day}



Hope Soap is another great way to fight human trafficking all while purchasing a unique product.  How about buying a bar or two of this fun soap, then gathering a bunch of other spa & bath themed items into a gift box for mom?

{mother's day} gifts that give


I love buying gifts that keep on giving!  How about you?  Do you have any great organizations you could add to this list.

For more ideas, check out my “Gifts That Give” Pinterest Board.

thrifted frame LEGO storage solution

{This post originally appeared on and continues to be very popular on Pinterest!}

If you have boys, you probably have Lego.  And Lego comes into the house by the hundreds, it seems, so good storage is a must.  We have 4 boys under 10, so you can imagine the amount of Lego we have accumulated through the years.


I spent some time looking for great storage solutions, and came across this idea quite a bit:  Framed Minifigure Storage & Display.  Here’s a Pinterest experiment that was a success, not a fail!

 thrifted frame LEGO storage l

Honestly, the mini figures are so fun to look at, why not display them prominently in your boys’ room, instead of hiding them away?  I’m still looking for great ideas for the thousand other bricks we own, but the mini figure problem is solved for now.

I found the best source for this idea here.  I modified it a bit by using thrifted frames and keeping the glass in them.  Ours aren’t perfect, but my boys think they are!

Check your local thrift store for some great frame options in large sizes!  It will only set you back a few dollars.  We bought the bricks (2 x 2) at a Lego store.  For 100 bricks in the 2×2 size (that gave each boy 25 bricks for his display), we spent about $10.  So, project total cost with thrifted frames was no more than $20 for all 4 displays.

thrifted frame LEGO storage l

Each boy picked the paint color for his frame.  We just inserted scrapbook paper, card stock, or nothing (!) into the frame for the background.  Then, I spaced out the 2 x 2 blocks and glued them on the glass with E6000 glue, (affiliate link) which is pretty much amazing stuff.

thrifted frame LEGO storage l

thrifted frame LEGO storage l


thrifted frame LEGO storage l

Where previously we had some vintage world maps framed on the wall (because I LOVE that kind of stuff!), my boys were ready for something that looked like their tastes.  And now it’s fun to put the minifigs away at night 🙂

thrifted frame LEGO storage l

thrifted frame LEGO storage l

thrifted frame LEGO storage l

Have you found any great ideas for Lego storage?

Taming the Laundry Beast — the simple system that works for our large family

I used to be lost under piles of laundry every day.  Wash.  Dry.  Fold.  Sort.  Put away.  Repeat!  With a family of six, soon to be seven, this simple system helps keep our sanity when dealing with the amount of dirty clothes a family of boys accumulates.Check out my full post over at Satisfaction Through Christ.How do you tame the laundry beast at your house?  Share your great tips and tricks below!

Organizing memories:  making keepsake notebooks & memory bins

Disclaimer: If you love to scrapbook the official, correct way, then this isn’t for you. Carry on.  You’re doing a great job!  If you love the thought of having scrapbooks for your children’s memories but don’t have the time, talent, or budget for the supplies, then this is for you!Today I’m sharing how I organize keepsakes and memories for my 4 boys. This system is tried and true, as I’ve done it this way for 11 years and wouldn’t change a thing.


There are three super-simple steps to this process:  Find Supplies, Gather, Upkeep.

1.  find supplies for your system

I use 3-ring notebooks for paper keepsakes and plastic boxes with lids (Memory Bin) for larger items.What do I put in the 3-ring notebook (“Keepsake Notebook”)?

  • school work
  • artwork
  • pictures
  • journaling pages (cute sayings; favorite food, color, toy at each age)
  • clear sleeves filled with small keepsakes, ticket stubs, brochures from trips
  • another option:  file box with folders by year or grade

What’s the Memory Bin for?

  • keepsake baby outfits or blankets
  • larger souvenirs
  • family heirlooms or gifts for when they’re older
  • key to choosing box:  practical & durable, not necessarily pretty

2.  Gather

Designate a landing spot to put all the papers, artwork, and keepsakes you want to save.A couple times a year go through your pile of memorabilia, file and store.  Your kids can help you decide what they want to keep.

Print photos a couple times a year to include in the notebook.

3.  Upkeep

Repeat the gather step as often as makes sense for you. I used to do it 2-3 times per year, now it’s more like 1-2 times per year.  Whatever works.  Don’t be a slave to any organizing system — make it work for you!It’s definitely a lot of fun to get the Keepsake Notebooks out around birthdays.  My kids love to look through books that are all about their lives.And when my kids leave the nest,  it will be freeing to be able to hand them their Memory Bins & notebooks!

How do you organize all those keepsakes in your home?