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!”














Bake Sale Stand for Christmas

My granddaughter loves to bake and has been having small bake sales in the summer with her next door neighbor. I love going to them, not just for the baked goods, but it is a fun way to meet the neighbors and enjoy the sunshine.

Why am I writing about this now? Guess what some “Little” got as a Christmas present this year?!

There is pretty much nothing I wouldn’t do for my grand babies if it is within my power. So when this little and her friend, were asking me what they wanted me to build, this idea started to form in my head.

She is tall for her age right now so I needed to make sure that it wouldn’t be too short. I watched her as she stood next to my dining room table and measured it when she walked away. I decided to make the stand 3 feet tall. I used cedar fence boards as they seemed rustic and I could buy them in 6 foot lengths to cut in half. I cut the dog ears on the bottom halves to match the tops. I love the look of white wash so that is how I painted half the boards. (It is about 1/2 paint to 1/2 water.) It depends on my mood and what look I am trying to achieve.

I heard about another new way to add color to things from Debbie Doo’s. Let me just tell you how special she is to me. Not only does she have innovative new ideas, but she helped me when I was first starting this blog thing. I owe her for being so so kind. I wanted to try dying wood ever since I read about it and this seemed like the perfect time to try it out. I wanted to use yellow Rit Dye on the other 1/2 of the boards I was using.

I had this brainy idea, to add legs to one side and wheels to the other side, to make it easier to move from the garage to the yard but the idea was better than the execution. It became quite tippy and that would not work! I had visions of baked goods falling to the ground and girls trapped underneath. Needless to say, wheels have been removed!

I whitewashed a 1x12x10 board and cut it in 1/2 to make it 5 foot in length. Enough room to show those cookies and cupcakes at their best. I attached the fence pickets at the top and bottom but I made sure to recess the top shelf down to the notch to make sure nothing was slid off the front.

1x3x6 boards were dyed yellow and attached to the sides to hold the sign that I made out of the last  white washed fence picket. I hand wrote the “Bake Sale” and hung it on a slight slant to make it look more like a child made it. It seemed plain so I made a pennant from scrap material that had a spring/summer theme. I made a pattern from cardboard to make it easier to cut them uniformly.

I wanted to have it remain more rustic so I used twine to attach them to the stand.

I hot glued the inside to the twine so they would not come off. Briefly thought I would sew them.

Did I mention … briefly?! Hee Hee

I threw a large blanket over the top to hide until the Big Reveal …

“Christmas morning”

Yes, I also made a sandwich sign to go with it. That is a whole other post!

Nothing makes me happier than seeing “joy” on her face.


Making a Growth Chart Ruler

Somethings that I make, are super easy and fast and this is definitely one of those things! (Which is why it is surprising that it took me so long to make it for my daughter as she has been wanting one for about a year now.)  This Christmas, I made most of my gifts and included this fun project.

It is super cold here in Minnesota, so I do a lot of my work in my basement which might look crazy to some of you, but it’s warm, I can watch the Hallmark channel, AND work on fun.

You can find ideas all over the web by those who have done them but I knew I just wanted something simple so no pattern was needed. I had a 1x6x6 1/2 foot board that I wasn’t using, left over from another project, so I sanded down the board and stained it. I used a gel stain so there was less mess.

I measured the board starting at 1 foot because that is how high I will hang it off the ground. I used a Sharpie to make my marks.

I used a stencil I had to paint “Watch Gracie Grow”. I had been making marks on my wall that I used as measurements to mark on the board. I wanted to attach the paint pen that I used to the board so she could be consistent with what was started. I used twine and a small screw to attach it to the top and let it hang down the side.

One hour (or less) lighting project!

My bedroom, like most, needed reading light and I was NOT going to use bedside lamps! I want the light where I can use it. Not, leaning way over to the lamp on the nightstand where my back is sure to get a kink. Ask me how I know about that! Ouch!

I wanted to mount them where I would not leave them when I moved and since our bed happens to be BIG, if I mounted them to the wall, someone else would have to deal with either moving them to accommodate their bed size or remove them all together. I am going to attach them to my bed!

I ran to Ikea to find 2 lights that I could use and found these beauties.

Here is the easy part! Measure down how far you want the lights to be attached and duplicate it on both sides. I used my power screw driver to attach the mounts and then all I had to do was slide the lights onto them. SOOOOO easy!

I even incorporated the other “Joy” to help! She turned the light on for me to make sure it worked 😉

Master Bed3

Don’t you just love little hands?! Even the left over polish on the thumb nail!

“Houston, We have lift off!”

One for each side with their own on/off switch!

And …. now to kick back and enjoy some TV.

VERY easy and QUICK!

You have time to do something fast like this, with your extra hour of daylight savings time!


Happy Autumn!



A new look to an old front door

My daughter and her husband bought a home at the end of last year and since spring and warmer weather is finally here, she is anxious to make some changes outdoors.


Julie front door 1


Her first request was to paint her front door a fun new color. I have to give it to my girl, she knows what she likes, and how to find it. She found a photo of a door color that she liked on the internet and I used an app on my phone, ”ColorSnap” by Sherwin Williams, that will color match.


Julie front door 2


The color that she chose was Nautilus (SW 6780) and the work began. We took the door off its hinges and I sanded it down. Did you see how we used a hair dryer to get rid of the saw dust ? Hahahaha.  Who needs a compressed? Well, yes, that would have been nice! A repair of the outside corner needed to be done before we painted and since we bought a paint that had primer included, the transformation began.


Julie front door 3


My sweet girl is trying her hand at learning the ins and outs of home improvement. This is the first time that she has had an interest at doing it herself and I couldn’t be prouder of  how quick she learns. She is also very patient and gets the work done right. You can’t teach that! Even my granddaughter got into the fun. She is pseudo sanding. Is that a thing?!


Julie front door 4


After the first coat dried we had to wait a few days before I was able to come back and lightly sand the door again so that we could add a second coat. Correction. SHE added a second coat.


Julie front door 5

Julie front door 6


When I came back today to work on another project , the gorgeous door was the first thing I saw and it made me smile. I love a home that makes me smile!!!


Julie front door 7



Julie front door 8

(We had a freakish snow burst right before I took this photo)


Yes, we are working on something new here at her home. It was a gorgeous day here in Minnesota and it was glorious being out side with no coat and just wearing sandals! Bring on the sun!!!!

Hugs for a great day,



Installing a kitchen backsplash. Is it hard to do?

Have you ever started a project before you realized the timing of it was REALLY bad?

Yup, that was me, when I decided to put in a kitchen back splash the weekend before I was to host Easter dinner! In hindsight, it was great motivation to get it finished before company came the following weekend. But seriously, Yikes!!!

I got Mr Man involved with the lighting. It was divide and conquer time. He worked on disconnecting the lighting while I cleared the counters and assembled what I would need to get started. I usually work on this kind of project by myself but, I would have to say, it was quite fun to work together using our unique talents.

I found glass tiles online quite a while ago and I brought in a sample in with me to buy the grout. I had comments about how pretty and unique it was. I think it was mainly that they hadn’t seen it before as they don’t carry anything close to it. That is why I love it so much. It is not common and the pop of color is just what I need in my kitchen.

The starting point is so important. I had to make sure the black aluminum trim was set exactly level vertically because, if you have that off, everything that follows will be off. Take the extra time at the beginning to make sure that you have it right!!!

Going around ALL the electrical outlets was a colossal pain in the “you know what”!

For the most part it was fairly easy, but when you times it by 152 (ok, not that many, but it sure seemed like it). I took a sheet of paper and outlined the outlet, cut out the square, and then lined it up over the sheet of tile. I used a dry erase marker to mark the tiles that I was going to cut off the sheet because, when I finished, I could wipe them off.

If you find the tile is too close around the outlets after you have everything finished and dried, (*cough* me), you can use a Dremel with a diamond wheel to cut the tile. It is a bit tricky to maneuver if you are using it in a small space, but I found that if you start the line (score it) you can use a hammer and flat head screwdriver to separate the tile in a clean line.

There are extenders that you can buy made by “Ideal” to bring the electrical outlet flush to the tile. We found them at Home Depot. They are made to go in between the box and the plug like a washer but are made out of a hard plastic. I have tried electric box extenders before but I don’t like them nearly as well as these.

Sometimes I had to back butter the sheets of tile but for the most part I was able to apply it directly to the wall.

I waited 48 hours for it to dry and then I grouted. Once the grout was dry …

I don’t have time for all this drying, people! I have company coming for Easter dinner!

… I applied sealer. I read 2 schools of thought … some say you don’t need to seal the kitchen tile and that it could discolor the glass tiles if you did and some said you could do it. In my head (scary place that it is) I cannot imagine not sealing it. I want to be able to wash it down as needed, I don’t want grease splatter or whatever else to stain it , and I want it to stay looking nice for years to come. That means find a sealer that you can use with glass tiles.

I had a lovely new look in my kitchen in time for Easter. Now can someone remind me to check the calendar before I tackle a project just to make sure there are no potential holidays coming up in the next week? Hahahaha

Hope this finds you having a great day.