Author Archives: Amy @ this DIY life

Get Lit

I did something yesterday. I added lights to my deck and I’m sooooo in love that I had to share pictures. Yes, they are Christmas lights. Yes, they are still awesome. I think I’m going to add some to my three seasons porch too so I don’t need to turn on the big bug magnet lights all the time. 

It all started when I was sitting on my deck with my friend Amber and we couldn’t see anything. So we’ll blame Amber for this. 

One of my friends said “It looks festive. Tacos and margaritas on the deck.” My friends have incredible ideas sometimes. #TacosAreLife

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Did Ya Miss Me? 

A lot has happened in the past couple years. I’ll try to fill you in as I go, but I miss blogging. I have some big projects planned for the house in the near future. In fact, I started one over the weekend. My posts might short, but they’ll be here. Are you ready for a picture? 

Then I called to ask them to move it where I really wanted it. 

Now it’s time to fill it up! So much happening and I can’t wait!!!!

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It’s Been A While

It’s been a while right? I have a lot of excuses, but none of them are good enough. I intended for this blog to be about our house and our life and all that kind of boring stuff. Yesterday, it dawned on me that you’re probably reading this blog for one of three reasons. 1 – You are a DIYer (or an aspiring one) 2 – You are a designer (or an aspiring one) 3 – You think I’m the coolest. For those reasons, I thought I might share a little bit of what I’ve been doing. Way back in February I started a new job at McGregors Furniture. I get to help people design their homes and choose the furniture that makes them feel inspired…I sell furniture. I work in the store, but I also go to my clients’ homes and measure and choose and help them make their house into a home…and a stylish one at that. I’ve done a few designs since I started and I’m not sure why I haven’t shown them to you. Next week two of my absolute favorite clients are having their furniture delivered. I. Can’t. Wait. Until there are before and after photos to show you, I decided to share my moodboard and layout of their space. First the layout

upstairs layout


Now the moodboard. John & Sara are fun and contemporary and their style completely fits their personalities. redone

Eeeek! I’m so excited to see this! I created the board with Olioboard. Have you checked that out yet? It’s awesomesauce. Over to the right on this page, you’ll see a link to follow me there.

Time to go work on a layout for another client. Oh, and I’ll work on editing photos from re-screening our three seasons porch and staining the deck too. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probably already seen the highlights, but I promise a post that gives you the deets too.


Categories: It's Our Life | 1 Comment

A Reason to Celebrate

A little long while ago I shared with you a tutorial on how I made a wreath for my niece’s birthday party. We did a lot more for the party so I thought I would share with you some party pics today. It was a fabulous modern shabby chic party. These are the invitations I designed.

Shower Invitations-001

We coordinated a few other things with the invitation. Like the stickers on the cups and the ice cream dishes/cups and on the favor bags. It was difficult to find cups that were grey rather than silver but my friend, Amber was out shopping and found some lacy grey ones. She also won the hero of the month award for that and a shameless plug for her cookie business, A Cookie Family. Seriously, check it out. Girl has talent! Now, back to this party. Those little chevron bags are from Cute Tape and they have sugar cookies in them

Misc Edits-001

No shabby chic party would be complete without some doilies right? Well, they were on the favor bags for the kids and on the clear plastic plates

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic PartyThen there is lace. Lace is a must too, don’t ya think? Maybe some lace on the utensils?

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

The tablecloth was lace layered over a white tablecloth. And what about that absolutely adorable little birthday girl?

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

And I absolutely adore this lacy little bird that I found right before the party

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

We were going to make lace wrappers for the cupcakes, but I found some lacy looking cupcake liners that didn’t require sewing a bunch of lace so we went with those. That little grey owl was a bonus for my niece who has an owl room.

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

It was difficult to find the smokey purple color in a lot of things, so we improvised. We created some yarn balls/lanterns and hung them from the trees outside. And by “we” I mean my parents/Evalee’s grandparents, of course.

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

We used two colors of grey and that fab smokey purple. I also used those same colors of yarn to make a yarn pom tree for the table

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

In addition to this wreath that I made,


I also used the fabric strips to make a rag banner. I had to do a lot of shopping to find the right purples for this banner. It was a tough mission, but I took one for the team.

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

I found some cardstock in the right color so I made a pennant banner for Miss E complete with jute string and little clothespins. Post party, Evalee got to hang her name up in her room

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

I used the same cardstock for the labels on the beverages that were tied on with more of those fabric scraps

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

The fabric strips also proved useful for making the cans of whipped cream for the pancake bar look less like, well, cans of whipped cream. First they were wrapped in fabric and then Evalee chose the strips to tie around the middle. Don’t be concerned about the pancakes. They are supposed to look like that. We added purple sprinkles to the pancakes. It’s in the details right? I also bribed my mom into making little heart shaped pats of butter. I really need to just make a bunch of those and put them in my freezer.

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

The other food was apple slices with fruit dip and then there is my SIL’s absolutely famous tater tot casserole. When I say famous, I mean famous. It’s all over Pinterest. Seriously, I pinned this recipe a couple years ago and occasionally I still find it showing up being pinned by people I follow. So crazy that it’s still making the rounds! She usually makes it in a 9×13 pan and then a couple years ago, I started making it in a muffin pan because I have a love affair with my muffin pan. I suggested this for the party and Jenna loved it, so that’s what she did. My recommendation is that if you are going to make them this way use foil lined cupcake liners or no liners at all.

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

That’s the short of the party. It was absolutely adorable.Just like the birthday girl

Vintage Modern Shabby Chic Party

A couple weeks before Evalee’s birthday, she had an allergic reaction to her dog. Then she had one to her cat. The first reaction was a shock. They didn’t know she was allergic to the animals, but knowing the signs of anaphylaxis, Jenna gave her an epi shot and after a trip in the ambulance to the hospital she went home that night. Fast forward and she reacted to Jazmyn also. Another epi shot and Bailey and Jazmyn got new homes. Bailey, the dog, is now living with my aunt and if you follow me on Instagram you may be able to deduce that Jazmyn now lives with us. It’s sobering to think that if my brother and sister-in-law weren’t educated advocates for their daughter, we may not have been celebrating Evalee’s fifth birthday with her. It’s also a reminder that each day is precious and a gift. It’s up to us to make it count!






Categories: Everyone Loves a Party, Foodie Faves, It's Our Life, The Road to Understanding | Leave a comment

I Need S’more Time

There are usually two things that have starring roles in our summer. 1 – S’mores. 2- Grilling. I really, really love summer…I wish it was longer. Yes, Kristen, I know it would be longer if we lived in North Carolina. So, last fall I was not ready to give up s’mores or the grill. I found this uber cute mini grill made from an Altoids tin and showed it to the hubs.


He loves an engineering challenge so when I couldn’t find an Altoids tin, he hijacked the cats’ bowls and according to him they were willing to give them up because “it was for their mommy’s birthday present.” He also did a few other things different…like add a lid and not put holes in the bottom. But I thought I needed to share this



The grates are covers for computer fans and the “ash catcher” is the bottom of a soda can. It’s more for aesthetics and cuteness because there are no holes in the bottom of the grill. That means I can use it inside (fully attended) and it’s easier to get the charcoal to stop burning with the lid also.


Look how fabulously golden brown these are


And I got to have Birthday/Thanksgiving s’mores (my birthday was on Thanksgiving). See, I’m one lucky lady!


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Gettin’ Zinc-y

I love wreaths. I said it. It’s out there. Do I always get wreaths switched out? Nope…as in no way on God’s green earth. We currently have a gorg wreath on our front door and it’s not a Christmas one. Some people might see this as an accomplishment. Not this girl…it’s my Halloween wreath. Boo. So I love wreaths in theory. My favorite wreathy lady is Ms. Sweet Georgia Sweet. Have y’all seen her stuff?

Sweet Georgia Sweet on Etsy

Sweet Georgia Sweet on Etsy

What talent! Me? I don’t have the patience and I believe that Bethany must have the patience of a saint…so does anyone who makes jewelry. Seriously, I don’t know how y’all do it. I think the next wreath that dons my door will be ordered not made.

My niece’s birthday party was in February and I decided way too late to make her a wreath. In fact, you may have seen this on Instagram


Then it took me about half of forever to write a post. Since I got an iPad I rarely use my laptop anymore and I haven’t figured out how to post from the iPad (forgive me if this turns out bad!)

The whole process started with a wreath form from Michaels like I used for my coffee filter wreath. This time I painted it so if I didn’t cover all of the form with fabric it wouldn’t look as bad.


Then I cut strips of fabric about 2×7 1/2 inches and started tying them. I used eight different fabrics in smokey purple, grey and one was a bright pink. I didn’t exactly make them random, but I didn’t make it a specific pattern either. I just made sure they were scrunched together.

I also had some inspiration when I was shopping one day. I was at Laurel (if you live in Cedar Rapids, you have to check this place out) and saw zinc letters. They are just a few inches tall and I wanted a giant E for the middle of the wreath…since her name starts with E. First I painted the letter with a light blue green color then with silver. And when I say I painted it, I mean I told my mom how I wanted it painted and she did it (thanks Mom). Then I took some sandpaper and made it look a little distressed to go along with the whole shabby chic feel of the party.


I also found this giant silver flower thing one day and picked it up thinking “I’m going to use this for E’s party somehow.” So I made a hole in the top of the E and clipped the flower onto it.


Next step was to attach the E to the wreath. I just hot glued the corners of the E and centered it on the wreath and it was fab


The next morning I took it to my brother and SIL’s house and hung it on their front door for the party. That’s right, I decorated inside and outside of their house. Then I proceeded to forget to take a picture of it hanging on the door. Oops! And since I gave Miss E the choice of whether she got to keep it or it came home with me and I rarely say no to my nieces and nephews because I’m that aunt Evalee got to keep the wreath and I had to ask my brother to send me a picture of it.


Now I’m making one for my craft room. Since it will just be for me to see it’s taking me a long time due to the aforementioned lack of patience on my part. My letter is copper too so it will go with the copper in our house. Eventually between work, school and family I’ll get it done and show you the pictures. For right now, I occasionally look at E’s wreath and smile because it’s cute…and it reminds me that I have patience…even if it is only with my nieces and nephews.

Categories: Everyone Loves a Party, It's Our Life, Projects, Tutorials | Leave a comment

The Chair Seat Thief

Saturday morning I got a text from my SIL (sister-in-law) Lindsee. She’s pretty good at flattery…she must know it will get her everywhere with me.

Dining Chair Recover22

She sent me a picture that looked something like this one that I took when I got to her house

Dining Chair Recover1

Good thing she sent me the picture. We didn’t need the foam, just the fabric

Dining Chair Recover23

*If you don’t have the JoAnn app on your smart phone, you are missing out! Back to chair cushions. I met Lindsee at Hancock Fabrics on Sunday and we scouted out their remnant table. We found some that we thought matched the paint in their kitchen perfect so we snagged it. BTW, we were right on the color!

Dining Chair Recover7

Six dollars a yard! We got 2 1/2 yards plus an extra fifteen inches they gave her at half price because it was the end. Total for the fabric was less than $18. I’m going to use the extra fifteen inches to make some placemats and probably napkin rings. I’m thinking of giving them to my brother for his birthday. He’ll be thrilled…maybe not. Back to chairs.

We got to Lindsee’s house and got to work. I started taking seats off chairs with some help from my niece Reygan. It was also lunch time and when Auntie Amy takes all the cushions off your dining room chairs, you have lunch on the floor.

Dining Chair Recover6

I’m not mean. I promise. To compensate I brought them cookies. Plus they got to help! Poor Adicyn just wanted to sit in a chair

Dining Chair Recover18

To get the existing chair pads off, I took a screwdriver and unscrewed them from the bottom

Dining Chair Recover2

Then we were left with this

Dining Chair Recover4

…and this

Dining Chair Recover5

I numbered all the cushions and the chairs so we would know which one went where. It might not seem necessary, but it turned out to be good. Nothing is perfect so I knew not all the holes were going to be lined up the same on all the chairs. We could have recovered them one at a time, but then we wouldn’t have a dramatic picture like this one

Dining Chair Recover14

Or this one

Dining Chair Recover13

See? Totally necessary.

Due to the fact that the fabric had stripes, we needed to line it up. My CDO (OCD, but the letters are in alphabetical order like they should be) wouldn’t allow it to be any other way. So I had Lindsee (and Reygan) measure the middle of the seat.

Dining Chair Recover8

She also got to measure a couple kids in the process

Dining Chair Recover9

So I cut around the seats allowing an extra 3-4 inches around each side just to be safe and started lining up

Dining Chair Recover16

Then stapling

Dining Chair Recover11

 Hunter and Adi wouldn’t let Rey play with them. She was pouting (what a cheese)

Dining Chair Recover12

Until I asked her to help me

Dining Chair Recover17

Stretching and stapling and stretching and stapling and folding corners until I was all the way around it

Dining Chair Recover19

When I would get one done, Lindsee would put it back on after Adi would find the chair that matched the seat

Dining Chair Recover20

We also had to take a picture of a bunch of law breakers. That’s right, no tags on these chairs

Dining Chair Recover15

Hunter pointed out that only I would go to jail since I removed all the tags and handed them to them.

But the chairs all got finished and they look fab!

Dining Chair Recover21

Who doesn’t love a before and after side by side?

Dining Chair Recover B&A

Total cost was $17 (I already had staples for the staple gun). I think that’s pretty good. Thank you Lindsee for letting me invade your house and do this with you. What’s next?!?!?

Categories: Projects, Tutorials | Tags: , | 2 Comments

My Blogging Bestie

Finally!!!! My friend Kristen is finally blogging! If you love my blog (it’s okay, you can admit it, we’re all friends here) then you’ll love hers too. When we were getting ready to go visit Kristen and her fam last September Michael was concerned that he would have nothing to talk about with Kristen’s husband. My response: You’ll be fine. You’re married to the same woman! So again, if you love my blog, you’ll love hers.

She kicked off her blog by offering a FREE printable. See? Isn’t she wonderful?

Free printable from The Monogrammed Home

Head over to her site and show her some love. While you’re there, pick up a printable! Welcome to blogland Kristen!!!

Categories: Meet and Greet | 1 Comment

(Not So) Boring School Stuff

Remember me telling you I decided to go back to college? I’m studying interior design and since this blog is about design (when I’m not sharing random happenings in our life) I figure I can share some of my homework with you. Two birds, one stone kind of thing maybe?

A couple weeks ago I had to do a design concept board in a style from the 20th century. When we bought our house, there was a way cool table in a room in the basement that I’ve claimed as the future gameroom/soda shop and it’s definitely mid-century-modern, so I decided I might as well do a moodboard/design concept board for my own house right? Then I share it with you and m able to cross three things off my to do list with one project. Working smarter not harder here (most of the time it’s the other way around). So here’s the room as it was when we moved in (see the whole house beginning tour here)

Basement Game Room

See, cool table right? Right now that room is a workshop, but when we don’t need a workshop anymore, it’s a total game room space! Since that’s probably at least 5 years down the road, this moodboard might will more than likely change, but right now I’m loving it….and I don’t even like Coca-Cola, but I’m a huge Marilyn fan

Created with Olioboard

Whatcha think? I love! Have y’all tried Olioboard yet? Also love! You should totally try it if you haven’t yet! That’s a lot of exclamation points, so I’m hoping you can see how much I love this! I might just be a little melodramatic…or a lot…but that’s why ya love me right? Here’s me on Olioboard if you want to check out what else I’ve been designing. Hint: There might be a board called Mudroom Dreams. I also may have asked for things to complete my mudroom for Christmas. And by “might” and “may have” I mean that there is and I did.

Guess who got a new phone and can tweet, instagram,pin and post from her phone again?!?! It’s me! Guessed that one, didn’t ya? New phone=more engaged Amy! Woohoo! Or are you worried now? I promise, it’ll be fun! I hope y’all are having a wonderful start to your December. I know I am!!!

Categories: Best Laid Plans | Leave a comment

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