...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Dear etsy,

I like you. Especially your art, handmade treasures, and vintage textiles & knick knacks. I just want you to know that you’re appreciated.


And now for some stuff I recently bought on etsy…

etsy stuff


1 – vintage indigo jar ($20) I store garlic bulbs in this lil’ cutie and keep it next to the stove.

2 – red sliced wood garland ($30) This crazy cool garland is going in the boys’ room. (An update on their room is coming next…) I probably could have made one for less but who has time to paint a wood dowel, cut it into a million pieces, then string and knot each slice? Apparently, not me.

3 – hanging planter ($57) The boys requested more plants in their room. To optimize floor space, I thought a hanging planter would be the way to go. Again, I decided to leave the tedious task of knot-tying to someone else. WHO AM I?

4 – vintage Hmong fabric ($35) I bought two Hmong pillow covers a while back for the mudroom and ever since I dream of covering my house in Hmong fabric. It has the best patterns and patina in a denim-like indigo color. I’m going to sew more pillow covers and fill my house with them. Because I do have time for sewing but not for knot-tying??

5 – vintage kilim pillow ($55) I put this beauty in ‘my favorites’ weeks ago and would stop in daily to gaze longingly at it. Then I decided life was too short to love a pillow virtually when I could love it in real life.

6 – New Zealand panoramic photography print ($145) I’ve slowly been adding black and white photography prints to our home. (I spy three from my desk right now.) I guess I’m into them. The scale and orientation of this panoramic should be perfect for what I have in mind.

I go through phases of browsing etsy and curating ‘my favorites.’ Then every once in a while I pull the trigger on items I’m especially drawn to. I have to have a clear purpose or spot for each item. That’s the one caveat. There’s no room here for buying first, thinking later.

What about you? Any recent etsy purchases? Any etsy shops I should know about?

images: polyvore collage by Dana Miller

nook after

I’m calling it. The mudroom / dining room nook is D-O-N-E. Done.

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We added two freestanding wardrobes to this room as a storage solution. The addition of a custom bench and modern sconces in between the wardrobes gave this wasted space a purpose.

nook collage

Accessories like the woven shade, hmong pillows, textured blankets and a floor basket give it a style.

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Sources: PAX wardrobes // bamboo shade // Jonathon Adler wall sconces // hmong pillow covers // knit tassle throw // faux fur blanket from West Elm, discontinued but similar to this one // woven basket

My goal was to create a cozy spot for reading. I filled a large basket with my favorite shelter magazines for spontaneous inspiration and covered the rustic bench with pillows and throws for comfort. I considered adding a cushion to the bench but decided against it for now while my kids are little and likely to get mud and dirt on it. This room is part mudroom after all.

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While my older boys are at school and my toddler is napping, I try to sneak in a few minutes of reading in the afternoons. But sometimes a certain pint-sized bibliophile wants to join me and I have a hard time saying no. Mabrey loves to sit on my lap while I flip through a glossy. Atta girl.

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She also loves the camera.

The little nook provides a secondary purpose as well. The neighborhood bus stop is a few houses down and Layne takes pride in walking down to catch the bus in the mornings. Everett and Mabrey are usually still sleeping so I perch on the bench like a mother hen and watch him through the window.

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Our standard 1950’s rancher doesn’t boast many architectural details so carving out little moments in nooks and corners makes it feel special.

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Why, hello there, special lil’ nook. You make me happy.

Thanks to Wayfair for supporting my habit!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

I bought a canvas art piece from our home’s estate sale before the house was officially ours. {The previous owner was a painter and there were dozens of pieces up for sale.} We had originally planned to hang the piece above our mantel in front of the flatscreen TV and install a remote pulley system that would raise / lower the artwork to reveal / hide the TV. But then we {and by we, I mean mostly me} decided that was a little much. Like we were trying too hard to do something cool and different when, in reality, the best option would be to keep it simple. Now the plan is to install tongue and groove planks horizontally above the center of the mantel all the way to the ceiling and frame out the TV. Not sure exactly when that will happen but that’s the plan. FYI – We discovered a minor leak around the chimney so we’re keeping the wall above the mantel open until we’re 100% positive it’s fixed.

What to do with the artwork? Well, it’s a pretty large piece and the size limits our options. We don’t have a ton of blank wall space but there was a corner of our bedroom just begging for some art.

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Do you remember me mentioning it in this post? I have always wanted that mirror to reflect large scale art on the opposite wall. The estate sale piece was the perfect size but, sadly, everything else about it wasn’t doing our bedroom any favors. I leaned the painting against the wall in our bedroom for months trying, really trying, to make it work but it never did. I started thinking about tweaking it to make it work for us.

HH’s sister is a curator for an art museum in Cincinnati and when we first bought the piece she was curious and checked up on the artist, our home’s previous owner. The estate sale had mentioned some of the artwork being shown at local galleries but, in fact, that turned out to be false information. Liars! Knowing that the piece hadn’t been part of a gallery at some point in time made me feel a little better about tweaking it but I was still feeling apprehensive and guilty about ruining another person’s work. Until, one day, I just couldn’t stand it any longer.

I tried to make the piece work. It didn’t. Now it was time to suck it up and do something about it.

canvasart 1

Clearly, I am going to hell for this DIY.

I paid $95 for the canvas art and now, looking back, obviously that was steep. Hindsight is 20/20. Shortly after closing on the house, we learned that all proceeds from the estate sale and the sale of the house were donated to Hospice. I feel good knowing our money went to a worthy cause but I wanted to keep this project’s cost to a minimum to offset the $95. Ouch.

I painted over the original art with Benjamin Moore white dove leftover from our trim and ceilings. I drew up a bunch of sketches, settled on one then taped it out on my blank slate. There was very little measuring and lots of eyeballing involved. I mixed together two different shades of Martha Stewart gold paint – golden pearl + metallic gold – because I’m a gold snob. Even with all of the dozens of gold paints out there, I have a hard time finding exactly what I’m looking for. The ratio was something like 1:2 – golden pearl : metallic gold. I already had the golden pearl and I bought a 2 oz. bottle of the metallic gold for less than $3 – the only out-of-pocket expense for this DIY. I applied the gold paint with a 2″ brush, keeping the brush fairly dry. I wanted there to be movement and imperfections within the taped off areas. I wanted it to look handmade.

After everything was dry, I hung it in a corner of our bedroom.

canvas art 2

Here’s where I say, “Guess how many triangles are in this picture!” Wouldn’t that be a fun game?! I’m sorry. I get excited about shapes.

I am beyond happy with the artwork. The large scale chevrons pick up on the smaller patterns of the kilim pillow and the saddle chair. {Look Lauren, it’s THE CHAIR!}

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And now the aforementioned mirror has something to reflect instead of just a blank wall. This is also why I chose to paint a symmetrical image. It’s palindromic art!

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The edges of the chevrons are crisp but I like that you can see brush strokes within them. It almost makes the chevrons look like they are being revealed from behind the white paint. I thought about painting the wood frame black but I really like the aged patina so I’m keeping it as is. Go figure.

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If it’s any consolation, the leaning art on the dresker is an untouched piece from the same estate sale / artist and I don’t plan on changing it one iota.

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If this is bad, I don’t wanna be good.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking