Thanksgiving Gravy – Pioneer Style

So I recently told you about my love of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman on Food Network. I’ve searched all her recipes lately to see if there’s anything new I need to try for Thanksgiving. And I found it!

I’ve never really mastered turkey gravy. But this is my year. She has a step-by-step process for making the best giblet gravy. We have two Thanksgiving feasts tomorrow, and for the first one, I’m in charge of the turkey! To go with my beautiful bird (I’m hoping she’ll be beautiful), I’ll be giving this gravy recipe a whirl. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Giblet Gravy - Pioneer Woman

Giblet Gravy – Pioneer Woman

Hope everyone has a family and food-filled turkey day! As I get ready for this special day, I feel very thankful for all of you who join Jill and me at We appreciate each and every one of you. We wish you the best Thanksgiving ever!



Custom Photo Gift on Wood

Each year I struggle to find the perfect gift for my parents.  The hope is to find a thoughtful, unique present that captures my gratitude for all that they have done for me and their continued love and support.  I thought I would share the present that I created with the help of the mister who created the custom frame and my adorable nieces and nephews.

Pre-Jonah arriving my parents had nine grandchildren.  In fitting fashion – nine letters creates, “WE LOVE YOU”.  How perfect right?!  So, assemble the minions (sorry been watching Despicable Me on repeat – it’s Dax’s favorite movie!)  Each grand child was given the duty to hold a single letter to make up the phrase “WE LOVE YOU”.

I grabbed large wooden letters from Hobby Lobby – lightly spray painted them a pretty metallic gold and set up dates to take individual photos of the kiddos.

Best yet, at the time, the mister and I only had Liam and Dax (Jonah as cooking in the oven) so they held the letters “W” and “E”.  The middle brother has four little ones so they held the letters “L, O, V, E” and my oldest brother has three kiddos so they rounded out the word “YOU”. IMG_6808IMG_6813IMG_6802IMG_6804If you look closely my oldest was holding the letter “W” and he is the one NOT smiling.  Four different tries at getting a smiling photo and well, that was as good as it got.  Temper tantrum and all.

With a little work in photoshop the individual photos got morphed together.  Since I couldn’t decide whether to print off the photo in color or black and white I did a bit of research and took the photo to wood, thus creating the ability to use both versions and a tad more uniqueness.

A simple DIY project later with the help of this video the image was transferred to wood and the mister assembled a custom frame.  A fun project that turned out pretty cute.

Oh, just so you know, if you decide to try this and you have an image that spells out a phrase be sure to reverse the image in photoshop before printing off – the transfer to wood reverses the image.


Home Decorators Collection Holiday Inspiration

Yesterday I was on the hunt for a large basket I could set next to our bed. The purpose of said basket is for my husband to have a place he can throw all the clothes he can’t possibly get into our laundry basket. I mean, the laundry basket is a LONG ways away in our closet. My solution to this battle is to create a space for him to toss everything.

Well, I didn’t find the basket I wanted. However, I walked into Home Decorators Collection, and fell in love with the Peacock-inspired holiday theme they had. My holiday decor is pretty neutral, so this was a feast for my creative spirit.

Peacock Holiday - Home Decorators Collection

Peacock Holiday – Home Decorators Collection

How fabulous are these peacock feather trees???

Peacock Feather Holiday Trees

Peacock Feather Holiday Trees

Regardless of the holiday theme, I so want this couch!!!

Peacock Holiday

Peacock Holiday

Right next to the gorgeous jewel-toned holiday setup was something a bit more in line with my home aesthetic. I want these salvage wood trees so badly. They’re $80 a piece right now, but I’m hoping to catch them on sale closer to Christmas.

Wood Salvage Tree Decor

Wood Salvage Tree Decor

And this side table is the perfect combo of reclaimed wood and metal. It’s even on casters! I should put this on my Christmas list.

Rustic Side Table

Rustic Side Table

Hope you all are having fun getting into the holiday decorating spirit!

I Brake for Yard Sales

For my birthday in October, I asked for some decorating books. I know I’m really exciting. And my wonderful friend, Amber, got me my latest favorite – “I Brake for Yard Sales” by Lara Spencer. Lara is a host on Good Morning America, she’s a decorator on the side, and she also hosts one of my favorite new shows, Flea Market Flip.

Even though Lara has to have loads of money, she’s definitely a redefiner (no, I’m not sure that’s a real word). She loves turning flea market and dumpster finds into new, fresh goodies. Most of the items she shows in her book are ones she found for less than $200!

Here are a few of my favorite inspiration pages from her book. You should pick one up or check it out from the library because it’s well worth it!

Lara Spencer

Lara Spencer

Lara Spencer Design

Lara Spencer Design

Lara Spencer - Campaign Buffet

Lara Spencer – Campaign Buffet

Lara Spencer Inspiration

Lara Spencer Inspiration

Lara Spencer - I Brake for Yard Sales

Lara Spencer – I Brake for Yard Sales


Layering Rugs

Outfitting a large room with a beautiful rug is plain out expensive.  I am talking even some 8×10 rugs and if you dare go 9×12 or larger forget about it – a couple grand at least for a quality chic rug.  Or do you have an odd shaped room?  Finding a rug in these situations is difficult.   SOLUTION - Use two or more rugs to create a layering effect.  Some options to achieve this look…

  • Use a textural rug such as a sisal or jute rug as your base and then layer a more colorful woven rug on top.
  • Piece together multiple woven rugs to create visual pattern and depth.
  • Multiple striped rugs will work together nicely since you are working with rugs that involve a stripe pattern
  • Use an animal hide on top to create an interesting shape and add a textural hide element






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DIY Advent Calendar

First, let me start today by shouting happy, happy, happy birthday to this little man.

He’s not so little anymore! Our perfect Kingston is a whopping 5 years old today. He brings more personality, happiness, and everything wonderful to our household each and every day than I could have imagined. We celebrated him yesterday with loads of family and friends, and we’ll continue the festivities tonight!

Now back to decorating! So I know we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet, and I shouldn’t be talking about Christmas. However, this idea requires a little bit of pre-planning. Thus, I’m sharing it now. My husband and I have never owned an advent calendar. But I think it’s really fun for kiddos to have a countdown to Christmas, so I think this is the year I’m getting on it.

Last year, I saw this DIY version from Our Vintage Home Love. It’s adorable. While I won’t be cutting, staining, and mounting my own wood, I’m thinking of doing a version of this with burlap. If I do it, I’ll have to get going in the next week or so. Add it to the list!!

Advent Calendar - Our Vintage Home Love

Advent Calendar – Our Vintage Home Love

I’ll keep you posted on if I can get this accomplished. But even if I can’t, maybe it’ll spark some DIY advent calendar ideas for your home!


Bathroom Bar Cart

Remember my post on the bar cart revival? I do have a slight obsession with them. So when I finally finished painting my master bathroom, I decided that the perfect shelf for that space was a bar cart! And I bet you can’t guess where I got it. Yes, of course it was at the West Bottoms Flea Market!

Bar Cart Shelf -

Bar Cart Shelf –

She’s perfect, don’t you think? I topped her with white towels, a pot from Anthropologie ($10), a tray on top from Target ($17), and some vintage glass (also from West Bottoms – $15).

Master Bath Updated

Master Bath Updated

Vintage Glass

Vintage Glass

And then I needed a piece of art for over my bathtub. I decided I wanted something that had “good morning” and “good night” sayings since my bathroom is the first place I go after waking up and the last place I hit before bed. I asked my artistic mom to help me out, and thankfully, she said yes. We brainstormed what we wanted it to say, and then she just did her thing.

Master Bath Redefined

Master Bath Redefined


DIY Artwork -

DIY Artwork –

I can’t even express how much I love it!! It’s so personal because we created it together, and the colors couldn’t be a better fit for the room. It makes me happy every time I see it. Thank you, thank you, thank you mom!

The last thing I have to finish in the bathroom is framing out our mirrors, and then I can show you the whole thing! Soon, I promise!

Table Setting 411

Entertaining is Erica’s forte no doubt.  So much so, she probably has the correct way to set a table in the back of her mind.  But for those of you like me – that are constantly trying to remember fork on the left?  Spoon where?  Knife in or out?  And who am I kidding, with the small kiddos their small forks and plates don’t necessarily fit into the “formal” place setting.

BUT with Thanksgiving right around the corner – EEK – two weeks from today, I thought I would share a quick reminder on how to set your table for those of you hosting the Thanksgiving feast.

And while you are at it – don’t forget the place settings.  Two of my favorite that are simple DIY projects…

For step by step instructions on these DIY projects – Visit Almost Makes Perfect  for the DIY gold dipped pear place cards and visit Spoon Fork Bacon for the rosemary spring place cards.

Kansas State Song + Paint = Art

A little tribute to the my home state of Kansas of “Home on the Range” – written by Dr. Brewster Higley (1876) was my inspiration for a recent Sunday art project.  This one took a tad longer than expected thanks to my oldest wanting to help and my indecisiveness with the background color.

Progression shots as you can see how I started off with a much lighter, more aqua toned background… IMG_6451




Did you notice the mister super excited holding the painting in progress above?  He wasn’t super stoked about me changing the background color three different times.  Sorry I didn’t take a photo of me free handing the words – I was in major concentration mode.  All in all it ended up to be a huge success and I was happy with the result.  Don’t be made at me if you are singing “Home, home on the range…” the rest of the day.

Carla’s Family Room Makeover

My friend Carla is a talented writer. So when she asked if she could write an article about Jill and me, we were humbled and incredibly flattered. As part of her article, she asked us to come into her home and help make her family room more functional. The way they were using it was somewhat of a pass-through room. Not really as a space that her family and friends could gather, relax, and play.

So Jill and I met up with Carla and her family at her house and got to work. The goal was to use existing items from around her home, so that we didn’t have to spend any money. It was so fun walking around Carla’s house to see all the great pieces she had already. We found a perfect area rug in her master closet of all places, and a really cool settee in her play room.

The goal was to brighten up Carla’s space while making it functional for her family of four. Here are the before and after’s.


Carla's Family Room - Before

Carla’s Family Room – Before

We used some throw pillows from my storage closet, rearranged furniture, and stole stuff from other rooms.

Family Room Progress

Family Room Progress

And after. With a rug to ground the space and furniture balanced on either side of the fireplace, we were able to create a focal point around the mantel.

Carla's Family Room Makeover - After

Carla’s Family Room Makeover – After

Mantel before

Mantel Before Shot

Mantel Before Shot


Mantel After

Mantel After

Entry before

Entry way before

Entry way before

Entry before - gallery wall

Entry before – gallery wall

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after - gallery wall

Entry after – gallery wall

We also reorganized her beautiful antique cabinet to showcase their family’s meaningful items more. Before, those special pieces were lost. We wanted to help keep the cabinet functional while still allowing their memories to shine. I obviously am doing a good job supervising here while Jill does all the had work.




One of the things we found while reorganizing was this adorable basket in the shape of Mississippi, where Carla is from. Jill had a brilliant idea to hang the basket on the wall with their heart-shaped hook in the middle for holding keys. Get it? Carla’s heart is in Mississippi? It’s so clever and cheesy that it’s fabulous! And it’s one of Carla’s favorite personalized additions to her room.

Heart is in Mississippi

Heart is in Mississippi

Without having to spend any money, we were able to help Carla get a family room that felt balanced, family-friendly, and stylish. She had great pieces all over her house that ended up being the perfect fit for her redefined space. Since the makeover, she said that her two, unbelievably cute daughters love having tea parties at their coffee table. Love hearing stories like that. And, I mean, how cute is Carla???

Carla's Family Room Makeover

Carla’s Family Room Makeover

Thank you so much Carla, for letting us share an evening of redesign fun with you and your family. We are so incredibly flattered that you shared our story with your readers of 435 Magazine. Next, we’ll tackle the mancave!

435 Magazine - Redefine Your Living Space

435 Magazine – Redefine Your Living Space





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