Window Blinds and installing them yourself …

As you know, there wasn’t enough good lighting AND there were no curtains or blinds on the windows in this new/old home of mine. The funny thing is, I did not realize just how well others could see in my home until I was out with my dog in the early morning and my bedroom light was on! It was just creepy to me that anyone could see me walking around in my home. (Before your mind goes there … I have cellular shades in the bathroom so that was the room I was using for privacy.)

I needed to figure out something quick for 5 windows! I’ve had good luck buying blinds that are cut to the size I want (right in the store) and the installation is something that I can handle on my own. So, off I went to Menards with gift cards and measurements in hand. I love that they are the ones to figure out what size to cut them!

So … risking life and limb … I climbed out on the ledge and installed the hardware first. My mom was here while I installed this window blind. She was hilarious!

She asked, “What am I supposed to do if you fall?”

“Um, dial 911?”

Seriously though, I WAS a bit nervous. I ended up with some pain in my lower back for a day or 2 as I was hugging the window with my tummy but had to lean out a bit with my shoulders, arms and head. This was, by far, the hardest blind to install EVER!

Totally worth the couple days of a sore back …

I still have to shorten them. They come with instructions and diagrams on how to do it and it is pretty easy. As the saying goes, “This is not my first rodeo”.

The sitting area in my bedroom … don’t you just love the blue walls? I have big plans for this room but the blinds are a good start!

Blinds in the living room where I am putting the TV that is not up yet. I will be installing the valance that comes with the blinds but it was cut just a bit long and I need to take it back for them to do.

I chose vertical blinds that open to the side for my large front window.

Installing blinds is something that is good for a beginner, and if you are looking for an easy change that makes a huge difference, this one is a good starting point for a DIY’er. Building confidence in the small things helps when wanting to move on to the next level. My mother loves to tell me that the reason I do home improvement myself is because I believe that I can do anything. There is some truth in that statement but, I am aware of my limitations in knowledge (think plumbing) and my desire to learn about something that I have not done before (think plumbing).

My main goal in writing this blog is to let you see that if this Grandmother of 7 can do these things, you can too! “Where there is a will there is a way.” Necessity moved to me to start doing things myself but passion has kept me continuing to do it all these years.

My best to you on YOUR journey,

An easy to make kitchen display shelf

I wanted to share something that is fast and easy to put together for those of us that like to see instant results! My last post showed my new kitchen pendant light that I hung, but the area behind it was so bland that I knew I wanted to figure out something interesting to put behind it.

I went to the internet for ideas … I wish I could tell you where exactly I found this photo. Sadly, I just took a screenshot on my phone and cannot credit the rightful owner of this kitchen. My apologies.

Some things that spoke to me in this picture are the shelf, the old scale, and the burlap. So I went to Menards for the metal shelf brackets, bought burlap at Michaels to wrap over the curtain rod that I bought from Target, and when I was visiting a friend in Duluth I found a scale in an antique store. Sounds like more running around than it actually was as I had to go to these stores for other things and I love to find special finds to remind me of great friends and amazing trips.

(Just for the record … this was all before Covid-19)

Before …

After I installed the shelf brackets … I grabbed a 2 x 6 scrap board, and started adding things. I had a pig and the scale that had I bought in Duluth, MN, and I had the colander that I found at Target in the dollar section. I already had the iron wallhanging that I put behind it all. I liked the way it was looking but wanted to find a piece of barn wood to make it look rustic.

Fortunately for me, my boss and his wife had a piece that was just the right size! Thank you Jim and Deb. You both are the best!

There is a natural notch in the wood at just the right place, where the pendant cord hangs. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried. I will be redoing the kitchen cabinets and probably the molding around the window so for now I am leaving it the way it is. I hung the burlap but didn’t like the look. Much too rustic for what I had in mind. I am thinking about what I want to have as a window covering. I’m not in a hurry …

Gone is the yellow and in its place is the new interior color that I am painting. You get a sneak peak ☺︎

I hope this finds you all well and happy in your homes as we “Shelter in Place”. Hugs,

Installing new lights

I like to joke that I think the previous owners had to be bats as it was so dark inside the house! I like my home to be light but also have the option to dim if needed.

You already saw my old kitchen light here, but in case you forgot …

My daughter loves this light so it will be installed in her home above her kitchen sink at a later date. Covid-19 has us waiting for a lot of things these days.

I found a new kitchen light that I loved online but when it arrived I was surprised to find it was a pendant light. You know … the kind that plugs into the wall. I had to adapt it to be able to hardwire it to the ceiling and find the right mounting cover.

I am loving my new light! It matches my mason jar drinking glasses 😎

Before we were “Shelter in place”, I bought new clear glass sconce replacements and new light bulbs to go with the modern farmhouse that I had in mind. I had my lovely assistant, AKA my mother, hold them up for me so I could make her famous (hahaha) and show you the difference.

The bulbs and glass sconce made a huge difference. As Batty Koda from the movie Fern Gully said, “I can see! It’s a miracle!” Seriously tho, I saved a lot of money by not having to buy all new sconces. There were six in all that I replaced. I am loving the new look!

I found the perfect light to go over my stove, but , let me remind you what the old one looked like first …

I have a most amazing friend, thank you Deb, who stood on the counter while avoiding the stove to help me get this beauty up. It was a lot of work but let me tell you, every time I turn it on it makes me smile. I am in love with each of these changes.

I bought the same one for over my dining table that will hang just a bit lower. Spoiler alert: I ran into quite the problem …

Until next time, Stay well and safe,

Downsizing and moving in

Downsizing has its problems. Raise your hand if you understand my pain. I thought I had sold, given, donated, recycled and trashed years of accumulation before moving but finding places in my new/old home posed some problems. Older homes have less space as the rooms are smaller in size.

It seemed overwhelming when I looked at all the boxes!

The kitchen

For me the first order of business, after setting up my bed for the night, was to get the kitchen up and running. This adorable little kitchen does not even have a pantry!

I have a friend who offered to come over and help set up and organize it with me. It was fun to hang out with her and get a lot of work done. A win/win for me.

For now, this is my make shift pantry. We were able to get a lot in this small cupboard!

I was running out of room for my dishes and my friend came up with the idea of using one of my bookshelves and making it a coffee bar. It really freed up a lot of space and it is a cute area on an empty wall.

I have to laugh when I see all the colors someone painted the walls. Yellow, green and blue. Something I will be changing soon!

A few things of note in this photo… both kitchen lights have to go. The one over the stove and the stained glass one over the sink does not go with what I have in mind so I will be changing them out. I want the inside of my home to be “modern farmhouse.” If I remove the back door (you can see it on the left side of the photo) I will be able to build a pantry in that space. AND, don’t look now but there are forks, knives and spoons for cabinet pulls.

Even though emotionally it is hard to be taking this journey I am excited as I see things starting to change. It is so dark inside this home so I think I need to tackle the light situation next!

New/Old home on Knollwood Drive

I went house hunting and saw 4 homes my first day out … one was a twin home, one was a town home and two were single family homes.

The first home / twin home did not have a front room and overlooked a hoarders back yard. Not the view that I would like to see when I am out on my deck enjoying the great outdoors. I wasn’t sure if I would miss having a yard since being outside is what I love the most. Next …

The second home /single family, was cute and I thought I might have found a little gem, when to my surprise … there was no dining room. No place to eat in the kitchen either!!! I am not kidding you! I asked my realtor, “Where would I eat?” She pointed to the living room. Um. No.

The third home / town home was nice. It was fully finished and move in ready. It had yard and snow removal taken care of with homeowner fees. My thoughts were, “What would I do with my free time?”, “Where could I add my own touches to make it mine?”, “Could I live in something this small?”

The fourth home / single family had been on the market more than a month which is a long time for around here. It was seemed unique in the photos and I wasn’t sure that I would like it, but my realtor persuaded me to at least look at it. It was adorable! I fell in love instantly but since this was my first day looking and I had only seen 4 homes, there was no way that I could have found my forever home. Right?!

I couldn’t stop thinking about this home however, and since I was questioning my judgement about a lot of decisions I had made in my life I asked my daughter if she would go back to the home on Knollwood Dr and look at it with me. We walked through it again and she told me it was perfect for me and she understood why I was in love with it.

The home I fell in love with?

The journey that I am on doesn’t look like I thought it would, but I am looking forward again to the possibilities. I am looking at making changes and making this home mine. The neighbors are nice, helpful and I don’t feel alone here. I have many things to be thankful for and I am trying to focus on the positive. Things I have. Not things I have lost.

Thank you for being on this journey with me,

Ripping off the Bandaid

It’s a crazy title when this is a blog about creating spaces/building. This is not the easiest post for me to write. I have had some life altering changes, not the fun kind, over the past two years. Life and decisions were hard and I found myself isolating myself not only from the blog but in my normal life as well. I have found the solitude to be comforting and a shell that protected me until the healing could begin. There are only a few that I let in to see my pain but as my daughter told me the other day … I “need to rip the bandaid off.”

I recently went through a divorce and on Thursday I am moving to a new home. All the fun spaces for Joy2 are being left behind for the new owners. And while they are excited to be buying a home with fun things for their grandchildren, I am sad that a big part of my history is being left behind. the stairs playhouse
©joy2journey “Under the Stairs Playhouse”

More than a few tears were shed by Joy2 … and me. Broken hearts are healing but it is a process and I am trying to be patient in the process. Nook
©joy2journey “Reading Nook”

Joy2 is losing a relationship, a 2nd home to her, and the spaces that were made with her in mind. I assured her there would be a space in my new place just for her. A more grown up space now that she is older. Although it doesn’t take away the pain that she has felt, it is something for her and I to look forward to doing together.

I found a home that is perfect for me and it even has a space for us to create together. Want a sneak peek?
joy2journey “She-Shed”

A three season porch that will be “our Joy2 space” A she-shed. I can see it all in my head right now and while I am waiting to move into my new home I am dreaming and sketching out how I plan to turn this house into my home.

I am looking forward to being able to start working on those things that bring me joy, and sharing them with you. (And chickens. I can have chickens!)

The bandaid has officially been ripped off,

Reading nook revisited …

Many of you have wondered if the little one still uses the reading nook that I made for her. It is a resounding “YES” and it warms my heart to see that she knows it was made for her. I think it is important to let children know that they are special. We all do it in our own way and I feel blessed to be able to share things I make with her.

Looking for how it was made? Check out how here …

A Reading Nook Idea

Reading Nook Construction Begins

Reading Nook Wood Finish

Reading Nook Decor

Reading Nook Staining and Painting

Reading Nook Before and After


I hope this inspires you to create your own fun space even if it is just for you 😉



How to paint a VERY high wall

True confession time. I, too, run into times where I am not sure of the best way to handle a situation. I look it up on the internet, ask a friend (who also happens to be a handyman), or go on a trip and forget that said problem is waiting for an answer.

Boston, MA

To be totally honest … it was about a full year that my upstairs great room sat unfinished.

My options were to get scaffolding for the stairs, buy or rent a “Little Giant” ladder, or use an extension pole. I chose to try a 16 foot extension pole, with a “Shur-line” Edger Pro, and a paint roller. My logic?  What is the worse case scenario? I mess up and get paint on something that will need to be fixed. I am no worse off than I am right now!

I could not take another moment of it not being finished!

I started to cut in using the Shur-line Edger pro, and because I read the complaints, I watched that I didn’t get paint on the top edge. I had to take the pad off 2 times during the project and really clean the plastic holder. When you see the amount that I had to cut in with the pad, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.

I ordered a Homeright Paint Stick, but I had a roller and an extension pole so I decided to go for it and started to paint. It was far easier than I thought it would be and was able to finish in one afternoon. Why did I wait so long?!

One word … Fear.

I almost let fear stop me from having a completed room that I am in love with and a sense of accomplishment that goes along with it. The funny in all of this? Mr Man was gone when I did it over a week ago and still has not noticed! Hahahahaha. I guess it only bothered me!

Now to find the fresh air return cover and install it! Where oh where did I put it?


Stencil a wedding gift

I love to give a wedding gift that is personal. One that I made and one that is one of a kind. Most brides love receiving something that has her new last name on it. (If she is taking his last name that is) For this bride I used a 1 x 6 board that I cut to 2 feet in length. I used Jacobean stain and after it was dry, I used 4 inch stencils that I bought at JoAnn Fabrics, and white acrylic paint. I wanted the name to pop in contrast to the stain.

(Tip: Make sure to check the correct spelling of the last name BEFORE you start!)


After your finished with stenciling, let it dry, and then you are ready to embellish it. I chose 2 red heart buttons and jute twine for the left side. Easy to attach and knot into place.


I have to admit that I permanently borrowed a key from here!


I was going to use a thumb tack to hang it the key (it had a wood thumb press) but since I am all about transparency … it came off and I liked the small nail effect better. I threaded jute through the keyhole to match the other side and then hot glued it into place as I didn’t want it to just to hang straight down.



The whole time I am working on a project I think of the people that will have it hanging in their home.

Like the wedding shelf I made here or here

It brings me joy and adds fun to making the gift. Can any one else relate?

The finished sign! (and yes, I added 2 hooks on the back for them if they choose to hang it)


I pray their marriage will be blessed,

Stair building made easy!

Twas the 1oth day before Christmas,

with the temps oh, so cold,

had the new puppy shivering

and not feeling that bold.


And, this is where I come into the story … my daughter had a sliding glass door installed this past year but there were no steps leading into the back yard. A new puppy, a LARGE new puppy, joined their family and they needed an easier way to get her into the backyard than to carry her. It is a Mastiff and heavier than any puppy I have ever held!

The joke in my family, is that my most favorite date, would be going to a home improvement store. The smell of wood makes me happy… What can I say?

I need to knock this out in one day so I went with the precut stringers. Thank you #Menards, for more than just having them available, as they so graciously cut the wood I needed so that it would fit in the back of my new car! It was also so very nice of them to find all the things I needed as the barn was super cold.    

Did I tell you that it was 23°?! Brrr

I brought everything to my workshop (aka. outside on their picnic table) and assessed what I was working with in terms of how I was going to attach it to the house. As you can see, there is a vent (that is a fresh air intake to the furnace and I am sorry but I don’t have the time to move it right now) and cable for their TV. Since I am not moving the vent yet, I am not going to go through the trouble to move the cable. Let’s wait till it warms up!!!! Plans change … free standing stairs it is!


The stringers were placed against the house with care,

in hope that some stairs soon would be there.

Boring diagram below, I know, but it does show the elements that went into making this.

I also attached a 2×4 to the 4×4 posts at the bottom for stability. All the wood is green treated except for a piece that I used on top that will be replaced, again, as soon as it warms up!

The things we do for LOVE ♥

After making sure it was level (have you ever tried to level frozen ground with a shovel?!) I did have to add a board under the front left corner (as you are looking at it) until again, it warms up!

My feet are now frozen, no feeling in my toes,

everything is feeling cold including my nose.


I did want to share with you a trick to make it easier to attach the railing. I precut a piece of wood that I put in-between each rail to make it go quicker. I also pre drilled the holes so that I would not split the wood. (I learned that after I split 2. Ugh) And my sweet girl helped with the railings so things went quicker. My toes thank her.

Yay, the stairs are finished and in use right away.

I hear my mother, “Get your coat on girl!”