Guest post from Sharon Hines, author of “Creating Success at Home”

Creating Success at Home 2D book cover


BJ has hit the nail on the head with her tagline “Finding joy in my DIY journey.” Most of us want to skip to the end and move on to the next project when really there is so much reward in the journey itself.


Appreciating that journey requires the right mindset, which BJ obviously has. When I think of BJ, her home and her blog, I think “delightful,” “joyful,” “pleasant” and “nice.” Isn’t that a great way to approach life?


I’m reminded of this quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Home is the nicest word there is.”  I think about what it must be like for BJ’s granddaughter who gets to enjoy the under-the-stairs playhouse built just for her, and everyone else who lives in or visits BJ’s home, and how they must realize the truth in that statement.


But, I also know that not everyone feels that way about home.


I’m helping to plan my 30 year high school reunion this Summer. Once we created a Facebook group for all of our old school friends, people began to reconnect and share. Some shared stories of hard home lives and going down dark roads in life and how that they overcame to create pretty good lives for themselves. But one person spoke up and said, “Not everyone just gets over what happened in their childhood.”


Unfortunately, my classmate is right. Not everyone moves on. Not everyone starts new or builds a better life. I don’t know what happened to her as a child, but I do believe that we were created to overcome and that “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” In other words, God is for us. As a friend of mine often says, “God is for our joy.”


Because of my faith and because I believe that our homes are so foundational in shaping our lives, I took the opportunity to tell some students to whom I was speaking that if there is something they do not like about their current home life, then they can make a change as adults in their own homes.


BJ actually touched on this very idea in her post “When a Parent Moves In.”  She mentioned not quite fitting in with her family in her childhood home. BJ went on to say that she found ways to work through her feelings and develop a good relationship with her parents.


Our childhood homes have such an impact on who we become in life, for better or worse. And, just like I told those teenagers, we really do have the ability to choose “better” which makes me so proud of BJ as I follow along with Joy 2 Journey. She has created what I call success at home.


Thank you Sharon for the kind words. I learned a lot about making a house a home, and for me, here were 3 things that stood out the most for me in your book.

  1. “The Dish Towel” – You will have to read about it in her book! She is right in that it is all about the waiting, and the everyday, that make the special times that much sweeter.
  2. In Chapter 25 – “Defining your style” for me means I don’t have a name for what my style is, and I am ok with that! I am casual but I like to be surrounded by things that I enjoy and make me smile. Whether it is photos of my family (I hold them dear to me) or a pig that my husband bought for me, as a surprise, that I had really wanted!


My style … and my pig 🙂

   3.  In Chapter 27 – “Overcoming Indecision” is what I have learned about myself over the years. If I have to think about it too long, I know it is something that I will regret buying. It is almost as if I am talking myself into it. BUT, if I fall in love and just have to have it … I will never regret the purchase.


Sharon was so sweet in agreeing to share a sample chapter!

You can click here to read it.

For one week, we are going to let those of you who want to win a copy of the book, comment below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You may also click here to buy it right away.


Old table/New look!

I bought a table and 4 chairs. Around 2010 sometime. So long ago that I forgot where I bought it. Maybe GoodWill? It was a great deal though … I remember that part. I bought them all for $25!!! It sat around for years being a utility table for all my other projects. Unfortunately, I was loading it down with anything and everything and it ended up pretty messy. In fact, when I went back to find a starting photo, the only one I could find was one that is actually cleaner than it normally was. But hey,

Creativity gets messy!

(You may quote me.)


I digress…

My mother moved into her independent living apartment in October and needed a dining room table. She sold her table when she moved here to Minnesota and now is eating on her card table. I am in awe of how simple and content she lives. I would want to have pictures and color on my walls and of course a table to eat on. A real table. She is content that she has walls, white is fine, and her card table is a table.

You already know that I happen to have a table that is not being used and l wanted to see if I could make it into something that she would be proud to have in her home. I needed to keep it simple, so she would welcome it into her home. Simple doesn’t mean it won’t be classy!

Oh, and it was a Christmas present for her.

The finish was so bad on it that I decided to sand it down to see what I had to work with. There was grime to wash off, old paint and varnish to remove, and I was pleasantly surprised to find gorgeous wood underneath.

(Sorry for the bad lighting. I was working into the night with only the patio light to see.)


What we don’t do for love. Night time is cold here in Minnesota even though we are having a warmer winter than normal. You can see some snow on the ground. Brrrr!


I love working on projects. I usually have some noise going in the background (this time of year its Hallmark movies) and I get lost in my thoughts. I see what is developing and think about what I can do with it. I was going to stain the wood but I thought the contrast of the light wood and darker legs would be a pretty. I decided on a clear coat. It shows the definition of the wood without making it too dark.


I also had to tighten bolts, add missing nuts, and fix the back of one of the chairs (it needed the old dowel  drilled out and a new one placed).

It became sturdy again and I was getting excited to see something beautiful emerge. I found myself wishing I could keep it for myself as a game table downstairs. Maybe I should run out and buy her something different? Hahahaha. No worries, I didn’t.

The last thing that I did was to distress the edges. It was looking too plain and the distressing helped bring out the lines of the furniture.


In a throw away society, I enjoy finding something that can be revamped and used again.


This was a project made with love, knowing that my mom would be able to use something that I did for her, every day. I hope it reminds her of how much I love her and enjoy caring for her.


I am working on another project for her that I will post soon. As you get older you have different needs and I am having fun trouble shooting those needs to make her life easier.




What you can do when it is cold outside …

In my case, when it is cold outside, two things happen …  I clean and I work on things I haven’t had a chance to work on in a while.

The blog is one of those things. I have been taking an on line class to learn about enhancing my blog and it has been a fun hair pulling experience. Mr Man laughs at me, as I have the patience of a gnat when things in technology don’t work for me. (Mostly my fault of course) This is his super power but not mine!

Did you see my new header? Of course how could you miss it? That took an afternoon. But, I learned a lot! And, I added a profile photo of myself and the other Joy in my life.

My namesake and why I started to blog ♡

My namesake and why I started to blog ♡


I also cleaned my carpet. Even staying inside and giving a room a deep clean gives me joy.  We have two dogs who we love dearly …


but they leave dirt where they lay.


But after using my Hoover carpet cleaner and Hoover Pet Plus cleaner my carpet now looks like this …


A fan running helped dry it out quicker, although my Hoover cleaner can rinse, and has great suction. The living room is put back together again and if it doesn’t warm up soon, there will be more cleaning in my future!




Sewing machine chair refreshed

Inspired by …

“What inspires me?”  Anything that is unique and has a story. My Mom’s Antique Old Sewing machine cabinet and chair. I love old pieces with character, or in this case, a history. I grew up learning to sew on this sewing machine and spent many, many hours sewing my clothes. “Simplicity” and I had a love affair that went on for years.

I remember one Christmas getting a Simplicity pattern and fabric from my Mother. I was disappointed that my sister had the better pattern and material, but I fell in love with my new dress while working on the sewing machine and table. Honestly, I ended up with the cuter dress after I added the rickrack and other embellishments. My sister was asking to borrow mine all the time. (Just for the record … Rickrack was the “in” thing in the 70’s!)



It has been a busy month moving my daughter and family into their new home, and then a week later moving my Mother into her independent apartment. It was with haste and not much sleep that I pulled the chair apart and dove into this project.

The legs unscrewed and needed to be sanded and the tips painted. I had a great idea to wrap the legs in plastic bags from the store since I had extras, but, the bag seemed to get in my way. I wrapped the next ones with shop towels that I was able to use later to stain the legs and screwed them into a box to spray paint.

Don’t you just love how the stain brought out the grain in the wood? The seat needed  cleaning, sanding, staining, and a new covered seat cushion. The back of the chair was layered with grunge from hand oils and dirt from the many times I pulled it out and pushed it back in. For the inside under the lid, I placed cork to give it a more polished look, but I love the look of wood and cork together. Seems earthy 🙂

I also used cork inside on the bottom to line it and I love that my Mother still has her original #Kenmore sewing machine kit.

I wanted to redo something for my daughter that would mean something to her. Inspired by the past and the generations of women who went before her and sat in this very chair. Now with a bit of updating it will fit into her new home.

Refreshed in love! ♥

Materials used in this “Refresh“…


Rustic Mist Metallic paint and primer in one (tips of chairs)

Special Walnut stain (all wood)

Zinger primer (seat base)

Coffee Metallic Glaze  (to bring out the texture of the seat base sides)

Goodwill pillow sham for $1.99 to cover seat and ribbing.

cork on a roll (lining the seat inside)

and new hinges (old ones broke while disassembling)



Furniture Refresh

 Loading InLinkz …

Update on Stained walkway

I have had so many questions on this one post.

Click here →  Staining a walkway

The #1 question?

“How is it holding up?”

I think a lot of you are interested not only in the ease of application but that it looks so nice when it is finished. But the BIG question remains … How is it holding up, after more than 3 years? 

I love it!

I live in Minnesota where we have more winter than summer. Ice and snow. Shoveling and ice melt to put on the walkway for safety. In other words, “We are tough on our sidewalks here!” I have two spots where it has finally worn through because of water and ice melt from our roof. That being said … do you want to see it?! First, a close up of the two areas.

It doesn’t peel, (That was the #2 Question) It is just sort of wearing. A quick touch up will restore it to the other areas. Here is my walkway over 3 years later with the two spots marked for point of reference.

Not bad for 3 years, right?

Hugs and make it a great day,








Making an Easy Patio Garden


My daughter and Miss G wanted to have a patio garden but space on their patio is limited. Fortunately they don’t have anything on it, so it allowed me to build them a small tiered garden.


Off to one of my favorite stores to get supplies #HomeDepot. I used 1×6 boards and 4×4 posts. Since this garden was going to be on her patio and not on ground I had to put a plywood base on it. No leaking all over the patio and into their garage!


I wanted to build as much as I could at my home, and as you know, my workshop is located on my driveway in good weather. I am sure my neighbors don’t even blink when they see me out with power tools anymore. The design was easy. 4 feet wide and 6 feet front to back. Easier to do math that way!


How do we get the patio garden to their home? Mr Man’s truck! He is such a great husband and is very patient with all my ideas. I thank God daily for him ♥


Set up happened fairly quickly and then to make sure there were no leaks I added a heavy plastic to line the bottom. I stapled it in to hold it in place. It can be removed later when they move to their new home.

(Coming soon … Sept 25th!)


And what was Miss Joy doing while we were working?

Hahaha, being a kid of course!


Soil added, seeds planted, and before you could blink, vegetables where sprouting. It was an amazing place to put the garden as it got a lot of sun and was easy for her to water being right outside of her front door.


I think, one of the most fun things for kids to see is the plants as they start to grow.

Knowing that the time and energy they have put into it, is worth something!


Little visitors may even come to visit from time to time …

Do you see them?

Look closely.

There are two!


I asked the girls to send me a photo of how the garden was doing and they sent me this.

Looks like someone has a green thumb.


Since this photo was taken they have a few pumpkins and gourds ripening on the vine, tomatoes that she is giving away to me (who knew that she wouldn’t eat them!), beans, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, and fresh basil. I say all this to really say, It is amazing at how much bounty you can get out of this small space!

Hope this inspires you to make one of your own!



When a parent moves in


I had heard about children moving back home after college. In fact, one of mine did, until her wedding day. It was great and I loved every minute of it. Have you heard about parents moving in with their children? I had, but when it is not something that you think will be part of your future, you tend to not give it too much attention. For Mr Man and I, it was to be until my mother’s independent apartment became available. 8 months with no movement on the list gives one pause.

To her credit, it has to be hard to move into a home that is not your own. I hear daily, “What can I do?” What I hear is, “You need help because you are failing at keeping things up around here.” I try to hear her intent instead of my interpretation, but I fail sometimes, and it causes hard feelings. I also work 4 days a week and it takes Forever a REALLY long time to get to work. Road construction season is here in Minnesota and they have decided to work on EVERY route I can take to get to work! So I know that she waits to have me home so that she can share her day with me, but she doesn’t get a lot of time. It has to be hard for her but all I feel is the pressure.

I think it stems from our relationship in years gone by. I was 17 when I graduated high school and left for college. I never looked back. Like most kids that age, I felt misunderstood and unloved. My family is not a warm fuzzy feel good family and I am almost a Pollyanna. Great combo. Distance helped me work through my feelings along with some counseling and we forged a great long distance relationship with visits in between that always went well. When my father had a stroke in 2012 and then 5 weeks later passed away, my mother and I talked about her coming here to live so that I could help when needed.


I would do anything for my family. I also believe in the Bible and it says that we are to “Honor our parents”. 

Eph 6: 1-3

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.…

When we are children we are called to obey. When we are adults we are called to HONOR. Interesting to me that it doesn’t say to LOVE them. Maybe love happens when you honor?

Honor … being respectful of them. Hard to do when I am being pulled in “one” more direction. Hard to do when something is said in a manner that is not polite. Hard to do when I have my own hobbies and things to do and I have to do something for her instead. My selfishness gets in the way.


I am trying. It is a battle I fight everyday. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose, only to come back and fight better the next day. My projects are still happening but blogging about them is difficult in the busyness of my life. I am trying to change things up but still don’t have a good handle on how to make that happen. Thank you for your interest and for being patient as I try to get my life into some sort of routine. This is not a forever situation and I remind myself of that. There will still be plenty of time after my mother is able to move into her own place. Until then … thank you for sharing in my journey.

Any helpful tips or thoughts are welcome!




Easter Boo Boo Bunnies with FREE Printable!

I have 6 adorable littles (aka Grandbabies) who I wanted to love on this Easter.

I went looking on my Easter Pinterest board for inspiration and found something that I had pinned earlier that seemed quick and easy.  Two of my favorite things!

This was the original pin

I was hoping for a pattern, but she made them free hand, so I went about reinventing the wheel …

I coercedbribed, asked, if my Mom wanted in on the fun. She agreed, and while I made the pattern and traced around them, she cut them out for me.

I have the bestest Mom ever! Thanks Mom!

I had a few false starts.

I wanted my ears to be fatter, and we won’t even mention the times that I sewed the ears on wrong!


They are filled with rice so they are able to go in the freezer or heat up in the microwave for my  littles. They will be tucked in boxes and baskets and leaving Minnesota tomorrow for other states.

One other thing that I did differently … I stenciled my littles first initial on the bunny belly so that there are no mixups or arguments about who’s bunny is who’s.

I was a mom once! 😉

In one family, 3 boys and 1 girl (aka 2 polka dots, 1 blue, and 1 pink), and 2 more families with 1 girl each (1 pink each).

I didn’t want you to have to come up with your own pattern, if you just wanted something simple to copy, so I made a free printable that you can download to your computer.


Happy Easter to you and your families and  a special thank you to the woman who gave me the inspiration


Building a “Milk Crate” coffee table

An easy “Do-It-Yourself” project is this coffee table. This is not a new idea and it has been done over and over again by others.

My Minnesota daughter found the idea on Pinterest and promptly let me know that this was something that she would like me to make for her. I pinned it to my Pinterest board for a time when I could make it. Her 9th Anniversary was this month and I thought this would be the perfect time.

Home Depot had a sale going a few months back on wooden crates, so I bought them, and set them aside. They were a bit heavier in construction than the ones I saw at Michaels. Better for a coffee table!

I had the conversation of “if” and “when” I would make it … would she like it painted or stained? And what color paint or stain? She decided she wanted a dark stain which was perfect, as I had Jacobean by Minwax, on hand.  This is the first project that my mother has seen me work on so I had company while I was making it.

I have plywood of all shapes and sizes left over from various projects so I didn’t have to buy a special piece to use as a base and I purchased swivel casters to make it easier for my daughter to move when she was vacuuming or exercising.

Stagger the milk crates and screw them onto your 1/2 inch plywood.

Hide said gift around the corner, in the downstairs, so that the surprise is not found.

This child of mine finds everything before she is supposed to see it!

I added 4 “L” brackets, for a piece of plywood to sit on in the middle, and then decorated it with rocks and a candle that is battery operated.

No burns for my grand daughter!

Finished and ready to be delivered.

The little one has already deemed this a fire pit for her toys. Hahahahahaha.

Hope this finds you having a GREAT day!