Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Hairpin Leg Desk / Picture Ledges / DIY / Gallery Wall

Winter Spruce Up: Self Care and Shiplap

4th January 2016

Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Five Projects with BIG Impact!Oh my goodness, the Gieses have been some kind of busy for the past month! Normal busy, of course, with the holidays, wrapping up the fall semester (taking classes for me, teaching classes for Ben), and typical work and family stuff. But we’ve also been making some progress with the house! I mentioned when we moved that we chose this house in particular was because all of the big things (kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, layout, etc) were exactly our taste, meaning I just get to dig into fun projects that reflect our style and make the house our home. The past few weeks have really allowed me to flex my DIY and décor loving muscles. Before getting into the updates, here’s a reminder of what the space looked like a week or two after we moved in. I also posted a video tour here of our whole house this summer after we had done a little more. Second House Living Room - Before Second House Living Room - BeforeI’m so happy with the changes we’ve made from there, I just wish I had the time to tackle this stuff more quickly! I am absolutely loving school and feel so at ease in the choices I’m making with my education and future career. This is honestly a weird feeling for me because for years I was so uncertain about what my core interests and strengths were and what to do with them. I have to say, it feels damn good to be making concrete progress toward something I’m passionate about. The downside is that being enrolled full time doesn’t allow a lot of free time to devote to the things I love to do just for me—writing, creating, watching Real Housewives…the really soul filling stuff. Okay, so maybe not the last one, but it’s a guilty pleasure and I regret nothing. I read The Fringe Hours, which is a game changer, and listened to a hefty number of podcasts on the subject of self care and I’m finally buying into the idea that it actually does need to be a priority if I don’t want to turn into a crazy person. I think sometimes we fall into the trap of believing that if what we’re doing doesn’t serve a greater purpose or someone else that it’s a waste of time. What we have to understand is that a dry well serves no one. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to those we love, to make sure we are nourishing our curiosity and doing what sparks us. In case you missed it, that was your permission slip to go do something you love for no other reason than you love it. Get down, girl.get downSo, as part of my dedication to making time for me, I decided to take advantage of my break from school and focus on some fun DIY projects! For me there’s nothing more satisfying than creating something that I can use or see and enjoy every day as part of my home. In the past few weeks I installed a shiplap accent wall, built a desk and two picture ledges, hung a new gallery wall, made and hung new curtains, and refurnished/rearranged our living room. I made a mess and had some fun with it, and it was just what I needed to recharge. I’ll post more about some of these projects over the next couple of weeks, but I was just too excited not to share a little bit of what I’ve been up to!

First up is my shiplap wall. This was a super simple project in term of complexity, but did take a bit of time with attaching it to the wall and cutting the planks to size. I still need to caulk by the ceiling and the baseboards and I’ll also be repainting it a slightly warmer shade of white to match the trim more closely. Overall, call me obsessed. I would cover my whole house in this stuff if I could. Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! White Shiplap Plank Wall / Accent Wall / DIY Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! White Shiplap Plank Wall / Accent Wall / DIY Next up is the gallery wall. I moved most of the pieces that used to live on the plank wall to this new arrangement and I love it! I’m trying to hunt down a thrifted buffet to put under it that is narrow enough to leave enough room for the chairs, but this is working for now. Also, the blank pieces of wood on the gallery wall won’t be blank forever. I may try out some hand lettering on the big piece of barn wood and will probably try something more abstract on the little piece. I’m totally open to suggestions for a quote or a word to put on the big piece! I’ve been toying with “gather” since it’s in the dining room, but what would you choose?Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Gallery Wall / Barn Wood / Reclaimed / DIY Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Gallery Wall / Barn Wood / Reclaimed / DIY We also rearranged and refurnished! After trying out a couple of configurations and thinking about how we really use the space we decided that a big comfy sectional was the way to go. We actually got the same one as our best friends/neighbors because we loved theirs so much and it was one of the few options that fit our budget. Sectionals are expensive, you guys! I’m a copycat and there is zero shame in my game. We also moved the mint dresser (aka my favorite piece of furniture ever in my life!) to be the TV stand. Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture!These curtains are the easiest little project I’ve ever done. Ever. It took me less than 10 minutes to go from naked window to wintery-ikat goodness. I used this tablecloth from Target, cut two rectangles, folded to the top to fake a seam, and hung those suckers up. I still have plenty of fabric to make a table runner and probably a throw pillow cover! I was joking with a friend that this collection at Target was made for me…mint + gray + navy + ikat = all the heart eyes. Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Curtains / DIY / Ikat / KitchenLast, but definitely not least, is the desk and picture ledges! Ben has declared this his favorite project of mine to date. There’ve been a lot of projects over the years, and while he has a famously unreliable memory, that’s a pretty big declaration. Both of these were super easy and I’ll post more about them later this week, but I’ll tell you now that including shopping, building, painting, staining, and installing all got done in about 5 hours. I love DIY with a quick turnaround time, so this was beyond satisfying. Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Hairpin Leg Desk / Picture Ledges / DIY / Gallery Wall Five Projects with BIG Impact! Shiplap, Curtains, Gallery Walls, Building, and Repurposing Furniture! Hairpin Leg Desk / Picture Ledges / DIY / Gallery Wall I hope you enjoyed this update and maybe got some ideas of your own! I can’t even tell you how energizing it’s been to get all this done and get creative again. Self care has to be a thing. The world is better when we’re not frazzled and insane, okay? It just is. Don’t forget about that permission slip I gave you earlier! Consider it your personal invitation to invest in your joy. Do something you love today, friends.

One Little Word 2016

A Whole New Year

30th December 2015

After nearly 27 years of life I know some things about myself. I am mostly an introvert. My downfall is laziness. I have a lot of big feelings. I also know that New Year’s Resolutions turn out to be a list of things that will definitely not be happening in the new year. Lose 20 pounds? Be an organizational master? Nail down a budget and stick to it forever? That’s precious…not gonna happen. As optimistic as I am (sometimes blindly so) I know enough now to realize that some things just don’t work for me. Resolutions are one of them. I’d like to be one of those set your mind to it, write it down and it will happen, kind of people. But I’m not. And that’s going to have to be okay from now on. Rather than fighting my personality, I’m embracing a new approach that I hope will still lead to the personal growth I’m seeking without the self shaming and failure feelings.giphy

Despite my rocky past with resolutions, I do love the fresh start of a new year. Something about it is undeniably motivating. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to set a vision for myself, so to speak. I’m joining much of blog-land and jumping on the “one word” bandwagon. Basically, the idea is to choose a word that sort of guides you for the year. It could be an idea, an action, an adjective…anything. For a girl who seems to operate best when things are flexible, simple, and memorable this is an idea I’m excited to play with. After some brainstorming and prayer my word to guide 2016 is Whole.One Little Word 2016“Restored” “complete” “healed” “unbroken”-I can’t think of another way I’d like to approach this year. I also feel like there’s this connotation of groundedness and authenticity associated with whole which I really like.

This word goes beyond trying to make it to the end of the year in one piece, which, let’s face it, is basically my goal every day. Just to get through it. I enjoy my life and my days (mostly) but there’s also a lot going on—marriage, friends, children, school, home, church, and myself (the afterthought). All good things, essential things, beautiful things. But at the end of the day I often feel fragmented-like bits of me have been scattered but haven’t added up to much.

I think wholeness in practice looks a lot like gratitude and mindfulness. I don’t know exactly how all this will play out, but I do have some wide angle ideas for how I want to grow this year. Using wholeness as my guide, I hope to be wiser with my time, not necessarily to accomplish more items on my to-do list, but to end the day satisfied with how I spent it. I also hope to care for myself better physically, not with rigid schedules or weight goals, but by developing a healthier relationship with my body and with food. I also know that I am not whole without God. He holds this whole mess together. I’m interested in learning more about the practice of Sabbath and creating time to rest with Him. This episode of the Sorta Awesome podcast explained Sabbath in such a beautiful and relatable way if you’re interested in learning more too.goals for 2016I think it’s important to work out what whole isn’t too. It isn’t about the elusive idea of the perfect life balance, but instead about living according to the values that make me whole. This year, I’m excited to live more mindfully and presently just for the joy of living that way, not for the promise of an outcome that I’m not entitled to anyway.

Is anyone else doing this one word business? I’m curious to know what yours is or what your thoughts are on this practice. And if you’re a resolution kind of gal, I’d love to hear what yours are too! I love sharing these bits of myself with y’all and would love for you to share too.

Holden Beach Sunset

Holden Beach 2015

22nd November 2015

Holden Beach Sunset

My family is a beach family. We never did the theme park thing, or the camping thing, or the skiing thing when I was growing up. Since my parents’ honeymoon, my family has spent their vacations with lounge chairs firmly planted on a Carolina beach. It’s our thing and the source of countless memories I hold so dear. I posted last year about our first trip to Holden Beach, a little island in North Carolina just between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. We love the family friendly environment, the calm surf, and the laid back feel. This year we scheduled our trip for mid September and it was absolutely perfect—low rates, no crowds, and warm water without 100 degree weather. This year we did venture to some surrounding areas on overcast days when the weather was not ideal for beach bumming. USS North CarolinaThe guys took a trip to tour the USS North Carolina battleship in Wilmington. My granddad, who was an officer in the Navy, loved sharing his knowledge and stories with all the guys. Ben and my brother Carter are also big military history buffs, so it was the perfect way to spend a day. Ben and I also took the kids to Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Say what you will about super touristy places like this, but if it captures a toddler’s interest and parents can enjoy it too then it’s going on our vacation agenda. Alayna was a little too enthusiastic and ran from exhibit to exhibit, so we didn’t get to spend as much time there as we would have liked to. But I think if we go again next year we’ll have even more fun. JellyfishRipley's AquariumOne of our favorite things on the island (aside from the beach itself, of course) is the playground by the waterway. It’s an awesome setup for a wide range of ages, but when we went there was nobody else there so it was super fun for our littles. It was really fun for us to see Benji go into adventure mode and really start climbing and exploring all on his own. Holden Beach Playground Holden Beach Playground Holden Beach PlaygroundOne fun feature of Holden Beach that my mom and I discovered this year was all of the little thrift shops and home boutiques. One misty morning we hit five little shops all within a short 10 minute drive from our house. Our favorite was The Memory Cottage. It was full of beachy, rustic decor that I love. If we had more room in the car I definitely would have come away with much more. The Memory CottageThe Memory Cottage Of course, the real reason we travel here every year is the natural beauty of the beach. From fishing in the early morning, to sandcastles in the afternoon, to sunset strolls in the evening-the beach is my happy place. Holden Beach 2015 Holden Beach 2015We had such a great time this year, so in addition to this post I also threw together a little highlight reel of the week. Photos are great, but after I made the video for Alayna and Benji’s birthday I realized how fun it is to have something like this to pull up and watch as a family from time to time. We can’t wait to make memories for years to come at this little slice of paradise!

DIY Toddler Boy Haircut

Benji Boy’s DIY Haircut

24th August 2015

DIY Toddler Boy HaircutWe’ve hit another baby milestone in the Giese house and this mama is, predictably, weepy about it. I also, predictably, took a million photos of the occasion. So just be warned. This is a photo heavy post, y’all. Benji is 14 months now and I gave him his first haircut over the weekend. As much as I loved his shaggy, soft, blond hair I knew deep down that it was time to trim it up. The back had definitely gotten a little out of hand (the mister was calling it a mullet) and I also wanted to trim around the ears a little. But I also decided to keep the top long enough to sweep over and long enough for me to play with during snuggle time. Gotta keep mama happy, right? Here’s the before and after.

DIY Toddler Boy Haircut DIY Toddler Boy HaircutI decided to just cut it myself because I’ve been cutting my own hair for years and some friends have even trusted me enough to cut their hair. So while I am so far from a professional, I felt confident that I wouldn’t completely screw up his hair. That said, I had never cut boy hair before. The whole blending short hair and cutting around the ears things was totally new to me, so I did the only rational thing and took to Google. I found a remarkable lack of tips for baby hair cutting tips specifically, but I did find this video pretty helpful. Despite my research, Benji seemed a little skeptical of this whole hair cutting business.DIY Toddler Boy Haircut DIY Toddler Boy HaircutThe best tips I found were to separate hair vertically to get it to blend well, and using your fingers as a guide to length. DIY Toddler Boy HaircutI’m glad Ben snapped this picture. It’s just so typical of our kids. Benji is just laid back and cool with anything, and Alayna always has to be in the middle of the action. DIY Toddler Boy HaircutWe also found that a little Netflix (Penguins of Madagascar, if you must know) is pretty helpful in keeping the wiggles of a one year old under control.DIY Toddler Boy HaircutHe looks so much older now with his hair cut short! It makes me feel like I really don’t have a baby baby anymore. It’s so much fun reaching these new milestones and watching them learn and grow brings me so much joy. I just can’t help but get a little teary eyed when I look back to a year ago when Benji was a newborn and Alayna was barely talking and just learning to run. The days can feel awfully long sometimes, but the past year has flown by. I feel like I’m going to blink and they’ll be grown up. Ok, I’m setting the crazy mama emotions aside now. Let’s just look at how cute this little man looks with his dapper new hairdo. DIY Toddler Boy Haircut DIY Toddler Boy Haircut DIY Toddler Boy Haircut