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2012 – A Look Back

Today, I am taking the time to look back, before I plan for the New Year. (2013) It is a good time to reflect on how I used my time and goal setting for the coming year.

This past …



Not just a Housewife

I entered a contest. Stacy from Not Just a Housewife hosted it and I was blessed to WIN with my Playhouse (that I built under my stairs). You can find that story {here} The playhouse was the reason that I started blogging in the first place. After looking for some ideas online and not finding what I wanted, I set out on my own to make what I had envisioned. A whole new world opened up for me in this land of blogging … I have made new blog friends and I have been able to share what I am working on. Just maybe it will inspire someone!

This was the winner … (thank you Stacy!)

Playhouse under the Stairs

A quick peek inside …

Playhouse under the Stairs

That month also found me redoing Mr Dog’s Space. His kennel was by the door, but was not very pretty to the eye. You can find the whole story {here}

I also started making a Murphy Bed. Wow, January was a busy month for me! I must have started the New Year at a full run 🙂 You can read about it {here}

It was started in Jan but it took me until April to have it fully finished. I got side tracked by doing other things … that’s just my way!

Murphy Bed



February found me with a slight interruption while I moved myself out of our shared office and built Mr Man a shelf in, what is now … his office.

(I have yet to make myself a permanent office space …  Do I hear a 2013 goal? 🙂 )

I also took some time to be thankful for my Father, and am so glad that I did, as he passed away September 25th. I miss him! (More on that later.)

Back in the day … this is My father and I building fence on our property. We used to have contests to see how many hits it took to drive in a nail. My best was 3. That’s right … started swinging a hammer helping my dad.

Mr Man and I spent 2 weekends at the “Home and Patio Show” and “The Lake Home & Cabin Show. Good Stuff there to dream about!



Mr Man and I went to one more show … “The Home and Garden Show” where I met Mr Chip Wade. I was in heaven! And of course, gathered more ideas!



I did something new in April. I joined a blog challenge. I blogged every day for 30 days and am proud that I finished. I am planning to do it again in 2013.

(Another 2013 Goal)

I finished the Murphy Bed that I started in Jan! Yay Me!!!

No big projects this month … but we did make a trip to “The House On the Rock” in Wisconsin.



May found the guest room completed. Not only did I make the Murphy Bed but I also painted and hung blinds. Nice change in that room!

I entered a “Mission Impossible” Challenge that you can view {here} A bit of work happened in our front yard 🙂



June was a busy outside month for me …

1. There was a mailbox that got a facelift and new planter {here}

2. Painting the house trim and sprucing up the garage door {here}

3. Including a new color for the front door {here}

4. I put window film on my dining room windows to keep out the sun damage on my wood floor {here}

AND … one of my most controversial posts

5. Staining my front walkway {here}



The month of working on my mudroom …

It started like this {here}

you can read about the new tile floor, washer and dryer, but the complete after will be revealed in Jan!

One of the small things I made was a HUGE hit. Go figure 🙂

It was an almost no cost to make … A laundry tip jar for the change that finds it way into the washer or dryer.



August was about all the small things. I didn’t have any big projects that I was working on, although I still have a mudroom that could be be finished!

We took our vacation and went to Door County, Wisconsin. You can read about that {here}

It was also when my dad had his stroke and I flew out to California to be with him.



September was silent on my blog. I hope that I didn’t lose to many followers but my time and attention was with my parents. Dad passed away on the 25th. I was honored to be with him when it happened but I have to say … it was one of the most difficult things I have been through. I am so thankful that he is at home with God and pain free!



 My first post back was about … yup, my dad {here}

Then I worked a bit on my laundry room, and then yay … I was back in the game again with …

Recovering my piano bench {here}

Before and After 🙂Piano Bench

 And, then there were all the chores to get ready for winter here in Minnesota. I didn’t take any pictures as I was work, work, working! 🙂



Whew, I am tired already!

November saw me moving my blog from Blogger to #Wordpress! That was a goal of mine from last year and I did it!!!

Mr Man and I took some time away for our Anniversary and went to “The Split Rock Lighthouse” {here}

It was time to decorate for Christmas … and out came a wreath that needed decorating {here}



December brought with it the idea for Miss Precious to have a Reading nook. Geesh, last year I made her a playhouse. How do you top that?!

I started by gutting a closet {here}  You can continue to read through the posts from there 🙂

My goal was to finish by Christmas and ….

(Woo Hoo) I made it. The reveal will be in January 1st and I will be hosting a giveaway to celebrate!!!

Hugs and enjoy the last day of 2012!


Newbie with a twist party

New Lighting at Christmas!

Everyone is running around shopping for Christmas presents, wrapping, baking, sending out cards … me?

Putting in new lighting in the Kitchen and Dining room.

Let me take you back …

Mr Man came upstairs with a sheepish look on his face and said, “I broke something of yours when I was getting down the Christmas decorations.”

With my raised eyebrow silently asking what was broken, he said, “You know your Thanksgiving pumpkin? If you tell me where you bought it I will replace it.”

(Let me explain that there are pumpkins and then there is THE Thanksgiving Pumpkin)

“Do you know what I would like MORE than replacing that pumpkin? New kitchen lights!”

My kitchen has been too dark for me, as all we have is a pendant light right over the counter/breakfast bar. Not enough to light the kitchen! Off in the truck we went, to find track lighting for the kitchen. I had it at our other home and loved that it lights up everything!

Let me show you what we replaced …


The “Salad Bowl” (nickname of the dining room light) drove me crazy too. I was just going to replace the kitchen lights but as you know … as soon as you do something, something else gets done too!


Mr Man did the honors (while I was working on the Reading Nook).

I ran in when assistance was needed but for the most part, it was Mr Man who changed out the lights.


Soooo much nicer than the “Salad Bowl” Light!!!

We noticed right away two wonderful benefits of our track lighting …


Second, removing the pennant light really opened up the area. Where once your eyes stopped at the light it now opened up the view into the kitchen.

Christmas  was interrupted but not stopped and I love my kitchen and dining room lights!


My Secret Santa …

Julie, at redheadcandecorate, coordinated a Secret Santa gift swap within a group of Bloggers in the HomeTalk BlogTalk group, across Canada and the US. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing group and even tho we have not met … yet … they support, encourage, and inspire me daily.


Secret Santa 2012


 While wrapping my gifts by the Christmas tree, the doorbell rang, and when I went to the door … a package was there.

I knew instantly it was from my Secret Santa! EEEEEE

My Secret Santa was Jennifer @ Town & Country Living! She has a beautiful blog and her Christmas kitchen is so great! She blessed me with this …

Come closer and see what this talented lady made for me!

I feel so special that she took the time to make something during this busy holiday season!

 A closer picture of the detail.

I don’t know about you but I am always in need of storage.

A huge thank you Jennifer! <3

I want to share a very sweet gift I was given from Miss Precious for our Tree …

and to wish you a special Christmas filled with love from Family and Friends.

An update on the Reading nook will be posted Saturday! It is really coming together …


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,

J … Japanese Maple


J … Japanese Maple


I have wanted to buy one for my yard since I saw it in a garden at “The House on the Rock” in Wisconsin, last summer.

Have you seen one? Delicate, breezy looking, and red vibrant color.

I was in love at first look!


Hang on … I will find you a picture 🙂


Japanese Maple Tree

What I learned …

  1. I want the dwarf variety and think ‘Fireglow’ is the one I want.
  2. These trees thrive in warmer climates but you can find varieties that will do fine in colder climates. (I did see it in Wisconsin after all!)
  3. I want to plant it by Miss Precious playhouse (the one I am building her this summer)
  4. I need to research it more, before I buy one, to make sure it will survive our winters.


For those of you who are really into plants and their botanical names I am including the information below. Me? I read blah, blah, blah.

‘Fireglow ‘Japanese Maple is all I need to know 🙂


Hugs and a BIG thank you to Mr Man for covering for me yesterday while I took medicine and went to sleep!

I Love that man!!!

Bloodgood’ 5-7 meters, upright red palmatum
‘Chikumano’ 3-5 meters, wide spreading palmatum deep, rich dark purple red, orange in fall, medium sized tree of spreading habit
‘Fireglow’ 4-5 meters, upright red palmatum
‘Italy Red’ 3-4 meters, upright red palmatum, description: This plant is very similar to ‘Bloodgood’ in leaf and habit except that it is slower growing and only reaches half its size. ‘Italy Red’ is very sturdy, tolerates wind and sun, and eventually forms a small upright tree up to 3 meters tall. It is worth considering for gardens in which ‘Bloodgood’ would be too large. It is thought to have been received from an Italian source, hence its name. This cultivar has also been misspelled ‘Haly Red.’ 
(This one may best fit a dwarf ‘Bloodgood.’)
‘Curtis Strapleaf’ 3-4 meters upright red linearilobum
‘Ko murasaki’ 3-5 meters, upright red matsumurae
‘Nigrum’ 4-6 meters, upright red palmatum
‘O kagami’ 4-6 meters, upright red palmatum
‘Shojo’ 2-4 meters, upright red matsumurae
‘Sumi nagashi’ 4-6 meters, upright red matsumurae ‘The Bishop’ 4-6 meters, upright red palmatum
‘Tsukushi gata’ 4-6 meters, wide red amoenum
‘Vandermoss Red’ 4-6 meters, upright red matsumurae