fort // Minecraft club

My lil’ guy loves forts.  Outdoor forts, indoor playroom forts, forts above his bed, forts built in the closet with cushions, etc.  So,  my husband spent a few weekends building an outdoor fort underneath our deck for him and his friends.  I won’t get into the step by step, since we are by no means professional contractors, but will opt to show you some before and afters.

First, the BeFoRe…

_MG_1771 _MG_1772

Now, for the AfTeR…


We purchased a $5 door in the scratch and dent section at Home Depot.  I applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint.  The hubs added molding that I had stained and hung it with some hardware from the plumbing section.  Add wheels on the bottom, a handle also from the plumbing section, and you have a sliding chalkboard door.


We painted the outside to match the outside of the house.  Looks like I still need to caulk some nail heads and do some more painting…

This is what it looks like now that my lil’ guy and his friends have been playing in it for a few months.

outdoor fortYes, my lil’ guy is just a wee bit obsessed with Minecraft these days, so the fort is currently home to The Minecraft Club.

We added a bell and a peep hole (lil’ guy circled it in the photo above), so no one gets in unnoticed…


Here is a quick peek inside, which as you can tell, still needs some DIY love.  The hubs added a ladder with a bed in case the lil’ guy decides to camp outside one night, and two chairs that can be folded up when not in use, some prayer flags, and more chalkboard wall for “the writing of the rules.”

IMG_1615 IMG_1614As you can guess, this fort has seen a lot of love already.  Hope you enjoyed this tour of The Minecraft Club.  And of course, it is not complete without a welcoming mat.


Tracking Travels With 3-D Butterflies

I love adding little details to my house to make it feel more like my home.  In my guest room, I recently added some 3-D butterflies to the wall.  I originally got this idea from the Young House Love book #134.  They used pages from an old book for their art, but I chose to use maps.  My family loves the outdoors and adventures and the hubs makes maps, so it was a no-brainer.  Here is all you need:  a butterfly cookie cutter, a pencil, a map of the area you have travelled, a pair of scissors and some little pins.  I used little red map pins.

Needed supplies

Needed supplies

No detailed instructions are needed.  I simply opened the map and folded it in the area I wanted to use, traced half of the butterfly on the fold, and cut it out.  When you cut it out, you will have a complete butterfly.  I cut out multiple butterflies in some of the areas we have travelled, and then pinned them to the wall above the bed.    This is a small way to keep track of our adventures.  You can see another way we track our adventures by clicking here.

3-D Adventure Butterflies

3-D Adventure Butterflies

Here is a close-up.

Map 3-D Butterfly

Map 3-D Butterfly

If you noticed in the above picture, I paired these little beauties with a Katie Daisy print that displays words my family and I live by:  The World is a Playground. I chose butterflies because they mimicked the butterflies in the print.  However, you can choose any shape you like.  Every time I look at these little butterflies I know they depict some of our many adventures, and I smile.  I hope my guests enjoy looking at them.  Sometimes, it is just the little things.

Have you repurposed old book pages or maps to make something for your wall?  How do you track your adventures or travels?  Please share.

Here is one way my family sees the world as a playground.

Hiking at Chicago Lakes

Hiking at Chicago Lakes

Accessorizing Completed

I love small projects that pack a big punch.  I love them even more if they take very little money from my pocketbook.  For awhile now, I have been admiring a certain cracked glass LED outdoor light on a house at the end of my street.  Oh how that light shines with a nice brightness and cool pattern.  We like it so much that we even approached the owner when he was outdoors one day to ask him where he purchased it.

When the hubs and I went to the local Home Depot this weekend looking for a mini fridge, I found a cracked glass LED light, not just like my neighbors but oh so nice.  In addition, I had recently pinned a certain little garage door makeover from the Garr Den of Love blog.  In my logical way of thinking, I figured if we were changing out the light fixture right beside the garage door, we may as well add some accessories to that said door.  Here is what we purchased.

Hampton Bay Cottrell Collection Wall Mounted Outdoor Aged Bronze LED Powered Lantern

Crown Bolt Traditional Decorative Garage Hardware Kit in Black

I will not go through a step by step for you because the instructions to install the accessories are listed on the Garr Den of Love blog post that you can find here.  As well, the instructions are listed on the back of the package.  I will say that the accessories were on sale for $10 bucks.  Here is our before.



And after a little magic from the hubs, here is our after.



We have plans to add some stone work to both sides of the garage door and add another one of those LED babies to the other side.  What do you think?  I ran outside twice last night just to see that baby shine.  So, we have glammed up our garage door area without spending a fortune on a brand new Carriage style door and I can now lust after my own lighting.

Have you made a small change to the outside of your home that took little time and money?  What “big bang for your buck” projects have you completed?  Please share.  Small projects with little effort and money just make me smile because sometimes, it is the little things.

And before I leave you, this little guy greeted us this weekend.  Are you ready for spring?

Spring, Anyone?

Spring, Anyone?

Washi Love

I am in love with WASHI tape.  I use it on little gifts, like these message bottles I put together for N’s friends for Valentine’s Day.

Washi on Gifts

Washi on Gifts

I wrote a post about how I use it here on our Reading Tree.

Washi on Reading Tree

Washi on Reading Tree

I used it at Christmas time to make my N an Advent Calendar.

Washi Tape Advent Calendar

When N’s grandmother and great grandmother visited from Florida during Thanksgiving, I used Washi tape to welcome them.

Washi Welcome Sign

My latest Washi inspiration came from a pin I posted on Pinterest.  This creative person used Washi tape as an inexpensive, simple picture frame.

Washi tape frames from Design Sponge

These are so cool!  So, I decided to use this idea in my guest bedroom.  So, I grabbed a card that inspires me, a picture that my son created, and a Katie Daisy print.  I then grabbed my washi tape that I had on hand and began taping.

Washi tape frame

Washi tape frame

Washi tape frame

Washi tape frame

Washi tape frame

Washi tape frame

Here is how they all look together.

Washi tape frames

Washi tape frames

I think my guests will enjoy this artwork display.  It will show them that they are welcomed and loved.  Hopefully, it will make them smile as much as it makes me.  Sometimes, it is just the little things.

Do you love washi tape?  What uses have you found for this amazing tape?  Do you have a way that you frame cards, artwork, etc. other than using traditional frames?  Please share.

Cashmere Banner, Anyone?

I was going to share with you today a tip I use in my home to organize gloves and hats, so we are never searching for them.  Well, never is a strong word.  However, it is a sunny, warm day here in CO, so I had a little “spring fever” running through my veins.  I have been saving the J.Crew Italian Cashmere catalogue for some time now because I was absolutely drawn to the pastel colors.  So, I grabbed that catalogue along with some additional supplies:  scissors, a pencil, letter and shape stencils, thumbtacks, twine, and miniature clips.

Needed supplies

Needed supplies

I had all of these supplies on hand and readily available.  First, I opened the pages of the catalogue and chose the pages that appealed to me.

Aren’t these colors so refreshing and cool?  I then traced the letters onto the backside of the page I wanted to use.  Being careful to flip the stencil, so that when I cut them out, the letter would be correct.  I traced the letters on the backside of the page I wanted so that when I cut the letters out, I would not see my pencil marks.

Trace the letter stencils

Trace the letter stencils

I then proceeded to cut out all of my letters, along with five ovals in the shape of Easter eggs.  I cut the length of twine that I needed and tied each end around a thumbtack.  I then placed the twine above my fireplace where a mantel will eventually sit one day.  Finally, I used my miniature clips to clip the words and egg shapes to the twine.  And voila!

Easter Banner made from a J.Crew catalogue

Easter Banner made from a J.Crew catalogue

Here is a little closer view.

OK.  Not a “knock your socks off” kind of banner, but certainly an inexpensive and quick one that just makes me smile.  Sometimes, it is just the little things.

Do you repurpose catalogues or hang on to one just because of the amazing graphics or layout?  What is your favorite catalogue to get through the mail?  You know, the kind where you grab a cup or glass of your favorite drink and dare anyone to bother you.  Have you started decorating for Easter?  If so, please share some of your simple decorating ideas.

The Reading Tree

As some of you know, my family moved to CO less than 9 months ago.  Since that time, we have been making various changes to our house to make it more of “our home.”  We have painted a majority of the walls and replaced the carpet with hardwood floors.  Once the walls were painted, the hanging began.  Well, hanging of pictures, that is.

When you walk in our front door, there is a huge blank wall.  That blank wall kept beckoning me to do something with it.  We kept thinking about what we could put there.  I have an amazing one-of-a-kind painting on the wall adjacent to the blank wall, so I wanted NOTHING to compete with it.

Ryan Bradburn Original

Ryan Bradburn Original

This painting was given to me by an extremely talented coworker who has gone on to do even more amazing things.  You can check out his website at  Here is another view to help you get oriented.

The wall opposite the windows and front door is the blank wall I am referring to.  Don’t mind the small desks in that room.  We have plans to purchase a long table that we can use when we have friends and family visit.  The table will also double as mine and N’s desks.  But that is for another day.

My hubs decided that a decal would be great.  Specifically, a decal of a tree.  I loved the idea and it was fairly inexpensive.  So, here is the wall now.

This decal also came with a quote:  “Do not be afraid to bite off more than you can chew.”  We have not decided yet whether to add that quote to the wall.  Oh, and see those little pieces of paper?  N decided that this would be his “Reading Tree.”  So, every time he finishes reading a book, he writes the title and date on a piece of paper and uses a small piece of  washi tape to place it on the tree.

N's Reading Tree

N’s Reading Tree

Win, Win.  I decorate my wall and N is motivated to read more books.  Here is how it all looks.

What do you think?  We will be adding a light above the painting soon.  It has already been purchased, but still sits in its box.

I love the tree decal.  Now, when I walk in my front door, I smile.  It also looks great from the outside at night when my desk light shines on it.

Do you have a big wall decal in your house or have plans for one?  What do you think about adding the quote to the wall, as well?  I love when things come together, even if sometimes, it is just a little thing.

Well, Hello…

I love doing simple things around our house to make it feel more like OUR HOME.  I often get my ideas perusing the web and reading various blogs, magazines I subscribe to, Pinterest, Houzz, etc.  While reading through the  Young House Love book, I discovered my love on page 320 where they put a vinyl decal on their front door.  They decided to put their house number.  However, I opted for something a little different.

Front Door

I purchased the vinyl decal from this Etsy shop.  Don’t pay attention to the fact that I have no wreath currently hanging on my door or the fact that I desperately need to change out that light fixture.  Here is another view from the road.

My "Hello" Door

My “Hello” Door

See how well it shows up even from a distance.  Looking up at that door when I am outdoors playing with my N and his friends, just makes me smile.  The best part…it took a little less than $7 and about 15 mins out of my day.  After all, sometimes it is just the little things…  I hope it makes my visitors smile, as well.

Have you added something to your front door that just makes you smile?  A new paint color or perhaps a new wreath?  Have you used vinyl decals anywhere in your home?  I am thinking of getting number decals for my stairs indoors.  What do you think?

Somewhere to hang your hat (or coat)…

I am somewhat addicted to the Young House Love blog.  If you don’t subscribe to this blog, you should.  Sherry and John Petersik take you on their journey as they make their house a home.  What is especially nice is that I can actually do some of the DIYs and a great majority of them fit into my budget.  On occasion, they also do a “home crash” where they visit someone else’s home and allow us to come along.  Via one of these “crashes”, I fell in love with this simple coat rack.

Mudroom coat rack from Richmond Homearama via Young House Love blog

I do not have the luxury of having a “room” for an entrance, but I do have the need for a coat rack.  You see, since moving to Colorado, our house is usually filled with at least one of my son’s friends.  They have a boot tray in which to place their shoes, but coats always end up on the floor by the front door.

So…. I took a trip to the Home Depot and purchased a piece of wood and 3 water valves.  Some may say that I am a little lazier or a little more impatient than the designers who spray painted the valves in the above mudroom.  I call myself lucky because I found some valves that were already red, and they were less than $2 a piece.   I stained my piece of board with some Oak stain to match the existing woodwork in my home.  I then (well, the hubs) screwed the valves onto the board with wood screws and washers.  It then got attached to the wall.  Not as elaborate, but simple and useful.

Kid's coat rack

Kid’s coat rack

Have you been inspired by someone else’s project but made little tweaks to make it your own.  I love projects that are simple, inexpensive, but end up being extremely functional.  Again, sometimes it is just the little things that make me smile.