How to Paint Stained Wood

My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years and we have had this one book shelf the entire time of our marriage.  I have used it in every room in our older home and only a few rooms in our current home. It has been used as a different kinds of storage almost every time.

I wanted to use it in my dinning room that I have been converting into a school room but the color of the wood was not the look I was going for, so I decided to paint it and still have this one piece of furniture stay a part of our home and in a room that I have yet to have it in.

How to Paint Stained Wood |

The first step is to take the furniture apart, by removing any hardware. Put the hardware in a safe place for when the painting is finished.

Once you have the hardware removed, you will want to sand down the entire furniture, including underneath and the back. We used an electric hand sander to make the job go quickly and smoothly.

how to paint stained wood |
After you have sanded all the parts of the furniture, be sure to clean the woods with a damp wash cloth to remove all dust from the woods surface.

Be sure to place a drop cloth down on your working area (we used our dinning room table, so it was easier on my back).  Stir your choice of paint really well and have a high quality paint brush ready for the job.

how to paint stained wood |

We took a door of a new piece of furniture to match the paint exactly that we are using to store our children's school supplies in to keep our formal dinning room looking inviting to guest but functional for our everyday needs in our homeschooling. It worked perfectly!

We purchased the paint with primer already in it, so it was a faster project and a better finish.

We did two coats on parts of the furniture and waited for about 2 hours in between coats.

How to Paint Stained Wood |

Once the paint has dried completely and set for at least 24 hours, you are able to put the furniture back together. Yes, my 5 year old was thrilled to be apart of the finishing project and get to use a screw driver.

How to Paint Stained Wood |

In the end, you will LOVE the new look to your once stained wood, but with a paint color that you will love to compliment your home with.

How to Paint Stained Wood |


We absolutely love the new look to a cherished piece of furniture. Hoping it stays with us for another 20 plus years!  However, I'm sure that I will repaint it at some point.

How to Make a Manger

Have you ever considered having a manger to celebrate Christmas? If you are looking to make a manger yourself, here is how we made ours.

How to Make a Manger |

Our daughter wanted to make her own headboard out of barn wood, so my husband asked his relative in Pennsylvania if they had any laying around that she could use. He blessed us with many planks of 100 year old wood that was harvested on the family land, which makes it have it own history for our family and beautiful.  We decided to make another manger with our left over wood.

How to Make a Manger

Here is what you will need:

  • 2 – 25 inches long wood, at least 8 inches wide
  • 2 – 12 inches long wood, at least 8 inches wide
  • 1 or 2 pieces of wood to make the bottom
  • Angle tool
  • A table saw or another saw to cut with
  • Nail gun or hammer
  • Nails

Manger angle the cut |

My husband angled each cut 12.5 degrees. You can either use an angle tool, like above or an attachment on the table saw, like below, to easily do the cut.

manger table saw cut |

Once you have two pieces for the long side (25 inches before the angel cut) and two pieces for the short sides (12 inches before the angle cut), you can begin to construct them together, using a nail gun or hammer and nails.

manger putting it together |

After you get the walls of the manger put together, you will need to put a bottom on it. Measure yours to be certain of the length and width needed. You can use one or two pieces to make the bottom. You can see that we used two pieces of our scrap wood to make our bottom.

manger bottom |

That is all it takes to make a manger!  It took us about an hour to put ours together and we absolutely love sharing the story of how we got the wood.

manger complete |

Check out Why a Manger Replaced Our Christmas Tree.

How to Make Your Own Disney Character Cake

How to Make Your Own Disney Character Cake

There is nothing like seeing the face of you little one light up when they see that you are making your own Disney character cake for their special day.  We wanted to do a theme cake for our little guy turning 4, to go along with his new Planes movie and Planes figure toys he was getting for his birthday, but they hadn't came out with the pan… yet.

So creativity took over and the result was pure joy for our little boy!

Here is how to make your own Disney Character Cake:

Copy Your Disney Character

We first copied one of the packages from his gifts. We enlarged it to take up more of the cake. We cut out the plane only.

Trace Your Disney Character

Once it is cut, lay it on your cake.  Take a tooth pick and track the outside of the character.  Carefully remove the paper once you have traced the entire outside of the character.

Your Traced Disney Character Becomes Your Template

Then use the graphic to make lines for what is inside the graphic.  Don't fret about being perfect! There were several mistakes on our cake, but my little guy never noticed!

Make your frosting to match the colors to the character the best you can.  I used Wilton's Buttercream frosting for the best results.   We also love using Wilton's Gel Icing Colors. We also use the disposal pastry bags for easy clean up and our decorating tips.  Don't forget to purchase couplers, which holds the tip in place.

Decorate with a simple tip

Use a different pastry bag for each color and a different tip, but similar, for each bag.  I used tip number 16 and similar tips. I also used a tip number 2 for straight lines.

Make Your Own Dusty from Disney's Planes


If you don't think you can still do this after the tutorial, you could buy a generic airplane cake pan and use the colors of the character you are wanting to make or just buy the cupcake toppers to make that special day brighter!


DIY Menu Center

DIY Menu Center

I wanted something to help me in my meal planning, while eliminating the ‘Mom, what's for breakfast?', ‘Mom, what's for lunch?' and ‘Mom, what's for dinner', that I heard all the time.  That is when I gained a little ‘pinspiration' from Pinterest and took some ideas that I liked, but didn't quite fit what I was looking for and created my own.

Here is how you create this DIY Menu Center:

  1. Purchase a cork board – I got mine for about about $15
  2. Decide on what color scheme you desire and go fabric hunting – You will need about 1 yard (I will share another project that I did with the left over material)
  3. Purchase complimentary ribbon, thumb tacks, double sided tape, two colored card stock, foam stickers (I got mine at the Dollar store in the scrapbook section), small clips and recipe cards (or use my FREE printable PDFs for subscribers)

    DIY Menu Center

  4. Print out the days of the week onto a colored card stock that goes with your color scheme, cut out the squares (set aside)
  5. Using thumb tacks, attach the fabric to the cork board
  6. Cut 3 lengths of ribbon: one for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner
  7. Use thumb tacks to put the ribbon across the board starting about 1/4 of the way down

    DIY Menu Center

  8. Using the form stickers, attach 4 of the to the corners of the letter for the days of the week
  9. Apply the days of the week to the second card stock color
  10. Attach the days of week to the top of the board using double sided tape
  11. Print or purchase the recipe cards or meals (this is how I do it) and then laminate them

    DIY Menu Center

  12. Using the small clips, attach the meals to your breakfast ribbon, lunch ribbon and dinner ribbon for the whole week
  13. I place my unused meal cards into an index card holder until I change the menu the following week. I have colored coordinated the dividers for the kinds of meals these are

    DIY Menu Center

If you like this DIY project for the home, you will love my DIY Chore System (notice the fabric in this project).

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DIY Chore System


DIY Chore System by

Do you need a cleaning system for your busy house? Try creating your own DIY chore system that is tailored to the weekly and monthly chores your individual home needs. This is a system that has worked for my family and not only was it fun to create, the kids enjoyed seeing what was left to do and allowed them to be flexible with what they needed to help with around the house.

Here is how to create your own DIY Chore System:

I like to have things pretty when they are displayed on my wall, but function is important when creating your DIY chore system. I used a piece of fabric, with a red piece of card stock paper to write ‘weekly' and ‘monthly' on. Once I had that completed, I warmed up my laminator and placed my fabric with the centered card stock into a laminating pouches  and gave it a push through for a sturdy system that will last through my children.

I then punched holes in each of the top corners and tied ribbon through each one, allowing it to hang on a large thumb tack.

Once I had that completed, I wrote down a chore on each clothes pin, being sure that I had evenly placed them on both sides to keep it balanced on the wall.  Put everything you can think of that needs attention on a weekly and then a monthly basis.

Flip the clothes pins over when chores are completed. DIY Chore System by

Once you have positioned all the chores on the weekly or monthly DIY chore system, be sure to flip each one over to write ‘completed' on the back.

As a chore is selected by a child (or yourself) and is completed, simply flip the clothes pin over and show that this chore is completed. In our home, we expect all the clothes pins to show completed by Fridays for the weekly and by the last day of the month for the monthly.

Mark the date for the monthly chores on the DIY Chore System by
To help us with the monthly DIY chore system, I placed dates for the months for specific chores to be sure that they were done throughout the month and not all on the last week. I would put 1st and 15th on some and leave others blank and left to the discretion of the ones who were doing the chore. Having my own chores on this DIY chore system helped me stay focused on what was important and remember what needed my attention to keep my house maintained.

Display the DIY Chore System in a Central Location by
The last thing that you will want to do when implementing your own DIY chore system, is hang it in a central location so that it can be visual to all the members of your home and allow them to build responsibility and accountability easier.

At the beginning of the week or monthly, simply flip the clothes pins over and start all over again.

How to Create Your Own Photo Books

How to Create Your Own Photobook
In the age of digital photos, we get so busy and keep all of our precious photos in our devices rather than actually get them printed to share or enjoy the way photos have always been enjoyed… in our hands and pasted down from one generation to the next. I was so thrilled when I learned about photo books and I want to share that joy with you, as I share with you how to create your own photo books.

Blurb Designer Photo Books

Here is how you create your own photo books:

    • Give them as gifts – I love creating personalized gifts for my family members. These become cherished immediately and easy to display and share with others. Some great ways to gift them are for birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, anniversaries, Christmas and my favorite… just because I was thinking of you!

I hope you are inspired and excited for the great opportunity to give memories in the form of photo books to yourself and those you love!