Thanksgiving Tablescape Tour {cozy and fun}

Day 3 Collage

Shades of Blue Interiors | Jeanne Oliver Designs | Zevyjoy | Liz Marie Blog | Julie Blanner


What is not to love about a holiday all about family, friends, good food and just being together!?

When my friend Bre of Rooms For Rent asked me to be a part of her Thanksgiving Tablescape Tour I jumped on the opportunity.

Before I put the table together I thought about how could I make our table a little different this time, make use of our space (yard), incorporate colors of the season and use decor I already owned.

My hope is that you would also “shop” your own house and incorporate the beautiful things you already own. Maybe a little foraging too:-)

You will never regret making your holiday about the people that join you around that table.

Have fun!

You can purchase the gorgeous vintage chandelier at Authentic Home and Lifestyle in Castle Rock, CO.

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Art of Home | Modern Simple Living Begins Tomorrow!

 Tomorrow the online course the Art of Home | Modern Simple Living will begin!

We would love to have you join us as we celebrate home and simple ways to create an artisan lifestyle.

Here is a peek into week one…the Art of Farm To Table.

(Keep in mind that this is only week one! What an fun and rich course this will be)



I grew up with a large garden, morning cereal often had fresh berries from the backyard, clothes hung on the line, the sound of the sewing machine filled our home and my mom’s homemade grape juice is still one of my favorite things on earth. I have always loved home and home is the place I want others to feel loved too.

Over the years I have also heard other women talk about things their moms or grandmothers did to make their homes special and practical. Torn knees were patched, everything was made from scratch, fresh produce was preserved for winter and someone was stitching something sweet and lovely. I think that many of us want to make sure we preserve some of our favorite memories and make them a part of own modern lives. We want to create an artisan home!

When we can embrace our handmade home and see the beauty in the little things then our homemaking becomes art! It is not perfect and the beauty is actually in embracing the imperfection. It is following my Grandma Jeanne’s advice to only surround yourself with things you truly love and use. It is pulling out your prettiest things and not saving them for company but lavishing your family daily. It is not apologizing when your home is messy and inviting friends and neighbors in anyways. It is about allowing your home and gifts to be used to do something sweet in you and those around you! It is about sitting down with moms and grandmothers and grandfathers and hearing about their stories and finding your story in the midst of it. It is about passing on the best of it to our children and grandchildren.


Here is a little bit behind the heart of the Art of Home!


This course came about while talking and cooking with my mom and sister. My sister and I both couldn’t stop smiling about the heart of the course which was including the older people in our lives and listening to the ways they were taught how to make art of home!


Art of Home | Modern Simple Living will be about some of the lost arts of caring for our home and family.

Each week will contain step by step videos with decorating, cooking, gardening, entertaining, housekeeping and more…so much more!

The following will be shared: The Art of Farm to Table, The Art of Gathering, The Art of Domestic Moxie and The Art of Reclaimed Style.

This four week course is your favorite home and cooking magazines come to life!

Maybe it will even bring back sweet memories and we will all learn from each other.

Come join us…

Lissa Whitlock



Breanne Doucette

Kennesha Buycks

Jennifer Rizzo


and Jeanne Oliver



Week One
The Art of Farm to Table

This week is all about gardening, cooking and preserving food.

Week Two
The Art of Gathering

This week is all about opening your home and creating a space where people feel loved and special.

Week Three
The Art of Domestic Moxie

This week is all about creative and fun ways to keep your home.

Week Four
The Art of Reclaimed Style

This week is all about using what you have and finding new uses for found objects.

The registration price for this four week online course is $64.95. This course will begin on September 15, 2015 and you will have LIFETIME ACCESS* to the videos.

To read more about what you will learn in the course or to register please click HERE.

If you are new to our creative network here are easy steps to get you started…

1. Register at (this is free).

2. Once your account is active you are able to take advantage of our free courses, series and even pay for courses.

3. Go to and along the top header click on “COURSES” and you will be able to view all three pages of online courses and free series.

4. To purchase a course please choose your course, click on the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be INSTANTLY in the classroom.

5. All videos can be found along the right hand side of the page under “COURSE CONTENT”.

*as long as we manage this site

Photos by Kimberly Taylor


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Where Do I Begin? {if I love decorating, diy, cooking and homemaking}

There are so many awesome online courses out there and sometimes it can be hard to know which one to choose!

I know that your time and money is so important and that is why I wanted to make finding the RIGHT online course easier for you.

The first step we did was create an online digital catalog that would allow you to look at most of our courses all at once and in a beautiful format.

The second thing we are starting is the Where Do I Begin? series!

This will be weekly posts that help you find the best course for you based upon your lifestyle and form of creativity.

Easy and so convenient!

This week we are helping you find the perfect courses for you if you love decorating, diy, cooking and homemaking.

Our home courses have been some of our most popular courses and I believe that is because of the HEART and DEPTH behind each course.

So, let’s show you how you can connect with all of the home courses we have available…

* If you are interested in Art of Home | Modern Simple Living

* If you are interested in Creatively Made Home | Home for the Holidays

* If you are interested in Creatively Made Home | Creating a home that reflects your heart in everyday living


How do you get started?


If you are new to our creative network here are easy steps to get you started…

1. Register at (this is free).

2. Once your account is active you are able to take advantage of our free courses, series and even pay for courses.

3. Go to and along the top header click on “COURSES” and you will be able to view all three pages of online courses and free series.

* If you are interested in Art of Home | Modern Simple Living

* If you are interested in Creatively Made Home | Home for the Holidays

* If you are interested in Creatively Made Home | Creating a home that reflects your heart in everyday living

4. To purchase a course please choose your course,  click on the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be INSTANTLY in the classroom.

5. All videos can be found along the right hand side of the page under “COURSE CONTENT”.

*as long as we manage this site

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leave me a comment.

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Top 6 Social Media Tips For Creating Balance {For Home and Business}

(These photos have nothing to do with the post but what fun is a post without photos? I thought you would understand.)

When you are a stay at home mom, homeschooler and entrepreneur with a home office… your worlds start to collide.

There are days that without everything right here at home I know I wouldn’t be able to do all that we get accomplished.

Then there are the days when everything coming at me can be a little too much.

The most frequently asked questions that I receive are about how I get so much done, how our family works with a business and how I stay organized.

Over the next months I thought it would be fun to share some of the ways that I have found to bring focus, balance (is that even real) and intention to the day.

I wanted to first talk about social media and the pull that we can feel all day from Facebook, blogs, Instagram, email and just having a phone with us.

Whether you run a business or not…the above pulls are a part of our lives (whether you like it or not) and we need to learn to manage it without letting it manage us!

Here are some of the top ways I TRY to keep social media from running my life.

I know this sounds silly but it is a major time saver.  Sometimes we just need to check one thing real quick BUT if you sit down you could lose more than a few minutes.  Facebook goes to Pinterest goes to email goes to….you get the picture. Unless you are working on an actual project or need to do some serious writing my recommendation is to do it standing and then get on to better things.



Imagine constantly checking your phone, Instagram and email over a two hour time. Now imagine setting a timer for two hours and at that time checking everything and then getting back to better things.  That is what I do ALL OF THE TIME!  I don’t want my children to remember me as the mom always texting, checking emails and instagram while we were hanging out. I want to be present and that means setting boundaries for myself.  I get lots done because I am very intentional with my time. Now don’t get me wrong…I can waste a day with the best of them but I don’t want that to be my norm.  It is about being distracted and I need when I am making art to really make art, cooking a meal to be engaged with what I am doing and when I am spending time with my family that they know they have my attention.  When the timer goes off I check work stuff, personal stuff and within 15 minutes everything has been taken care of and to think that I could have spent that two hours constantly checking. The sad thing is…I would have!



Lose your phone. Leave it in the car when you go to a restaurant, leave it upstairs while you are watching a movie and tuck it into a drawer while you are reading.  Give yourself a break to not worry who is calling, texting etc.  Losing your phone intentionally may be the best thing you do for yourself each day. The world will live. Promise. Unless you are a brain or heart surgeon…then you can keep your phone on you:-)



I will call you out on this if you are my friend (and they know it).  When you are eating dinner with your family, at a restaurant with clients or having coffee with girlfriends…for the love of all that is good…keep your phone in your bag!  You have someone right in front of you that wants to talk to you.  Let them know you love and appreciate that by actually listening to THEM!

I interviewed a man not too long ago for a small job for my business and the whole time we were talking he kept checking his phone.  I felt invisible and we never really made it past the interview process.  This is make and break stuff in business and definitely with relationships. Don’t just save your attention for clients and friends.  Keep it in the bag with your family the most!



Remember when people used to read a book in bed or get it on at bedtime?  I am serious…this stuff happened!  Nothing like the soft glow of your phone to lull you to sleep. In all seriousness, as a business woman I need to not have work being the last thing on my mind before bed.  I can’t see at 10:45pm that someone can’t get into their class and then feel like I need to get out of bed to see what is going on. Remember that whole brain and heart surgeon thing from before?  I promise you that most people will live until morning.  I have excellent customer service but we also can sleep too.  Do you remember working hours?  It is healthy to have a time of night when work stops and rest begins.  Don’t let your phone be your last contact at night and the first contact in the morning.  This has made a huge difference in how I sleep and the peace I feel as I am going to sleep.   Maybe we can all read more books and do some other things too:-).



You want to know the biggest game changer for our family?  We have chosen Sundays to be our family and no tech day. No joke.  That means no computer, phones, texting, work etc.  There have been a few huge deadlines when we had to do some work after the kids went to bed but for the most part we really honor this.  We go to church or hike or watch a movie together or play games…but together.  No one else is interrupting our day and no one is going off by themselves to work, text, face time etc.  I love what I do so much and I could work 24/7.  When you love what you do it can be hard to stop working sometimes.  This day was put in place for Kelly and me as much as it was for the kids. We are trying to teach our kids all of these things about social media and technology because they are the ones that are growing up in it.  One of the mottos in our home is “People before technology”.  How can we say this if as parents we don’t live it and they don’t believe they come before work or distractions.    Giving up technology for one day a week can be hard for everyone at first but after awhile you just may love the freedom you feel.


Technology and social media are here to stay and I LOVE them!  I am so glad I can keep up with friends that live all over the world, see glimpses into the lives of the people I admire, work from home, take creative classes no matter where I go and instantly know where my kids are.  I just want to also read, take walks, create art, have a quitting time each day and to look at my children and husband when they are talking with me.

I am still working on these things but these are some of my most useful tech and social media tips that have made the biggest impact in my day to day. What about you?  Do you have some tips to share!  Please leave your thoughts below.

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Step by Step Kitchen Cabinet Painting With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

One of the questions I get asked the most is regarding how I painted our kitchen cabinets and what do I think of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

I have waited until now to share my opinion because I thought we needed to really live with the cabinets to see how they wore with daily use and to give me time to give an honest opinion.

Before we start let me be honest that if I had contacted many people to come and give us quotes to paint the cabinets. I have the worst track record of getting contractors to either show up or get back to me with quotes. I did NOT want to do this job. Not even kidding.  I really tried to find someone else but I didn’t have any luck and that is when I decided that the only way I could do this was by using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP).

The reason I had the guts to undertake such a huge project was because with ASCP I wouldn’t have to sand all of the cabinets.  Maybe a silly reason but it was the one thing that really helped me to feel like I could do this.

I am a hugely externally motivated person and the main reason I had the motivation to FINALLY get this project started was because Fifi O’Neill and her crew were coming to photograph our home for different magazine.  They were arriving just days before I was leaving last summer to teach in Italy and I had some huge time constraints to get this job done.

Before we started the project we first met up with the owners of Shades of Amber and they gave us private lessons to put both Kelly and I at ease.  They gave us such confidence and shared exactly what we needed to start. I am so grateful for their kindness and patience with us!

So, first I will share all of the step by step instructions and then at the end give you my honest opinion about our cabinets and if I would do it again.

Trying to figure out what colors to go with.

(Sorry for the dark photos but most photos were just on my phone. Without these I wouldn’t have taken many progress photos.)

Step One:

Wipe down all of the cabinets using Krud Kutter. This is to make sure you don’t have grease and oils on the cabinets before you paint. Don’t skip this step. I did this while they were still on the hinges and hanging to make it easier.

Step Two:

Take all of the doors and hardware off the cabinets.  Make sure you are careful in how you organize and save the hardware to make it easier when it is time to put it all back together.

Step Three:

I bought the two sizes of ASCP paint brushes and I am glad I did. I ended up mostly using the smaller one though.  Before you start I would recommend flipping through the brush a few times to get rid of loose bristles.  Make sure you shake the can well (in our case we mixed one part Old White with one part Pure White).  You may not believe me until you do this but the best thing to do at this point is to just dive in.  The paint is forgiving and even thought the first coat may have you freaking out…the second coat will make you start seeing where this project is going.  We started with the cabinets (Who am I kidding? I started with the cabinets) and did the doors last.

I waited until each coat was dry before I added another coat.  I ended up doing three coats to everything and I think I should have done four.  Without our deadline I know I would have done that. I was so sick and tired of painting and I just wanted it to be done. Don’t do this. Don’t skimp during the process because you will regret it later.

Step Four:

Once your surface is painted you can choose to age the wood a bit with 120 grit sandpaper. I wasn’t sure if I would do this or not but because of the shape of our cabinets it actually looked good.  Keep in mind that we have three kids and they were going to do it anyways with daily use and it makes the new marks just look like part of the charm.

I used the 120 grit sandpaper on the edges only and never on a flat surface.

Step Five:

At this point we put the whole kitchen back together before I waxed all of the cabinets and doors.  I think it made the process easier but that is a personal preference.  We used the ASCP clear wax and I LOVED it!  I have used it on so many other things since (including my art).  To apply the wax I recommend working in small sections (2 ft x 2 ft sections). I also recommend purchasing the wax brush because it is just soooo nice and makes the process easier.  You dip the tip of the brush into the clear wax (dark wax too if that is your thing) and in circular motions you get into all of the nooks and crannies of your piece.  You then take rymplecloth (cheesecloth) and wipe the excess wax off.  Your cabinets and doors should not be gooped with wax. This is a sealer and you want to treat it as such.  Using the wax is gorgeous!  It not only seals your cabinets but also gives is an awesome matte appearance.  After 24 hours you can add a second coat.  I have to be honest that we still have to add our second coat (more about that later).

Step Six:

Buff the wax if you want a sheen.

Those are the nuts and bolts and now to the raw truth about the whole process, what we think as a family and would I do it again.

The process is a biggest pain in the butt! Serious! So much work and it is easy to start to rush things because you just WANT TO BE DONE. I have heard people say that just broke it down over months to make it not as bad. No way!  I wanted this done and I wanted my kitchen back together. That is so not my style. That being said…I should have done that forth coat. Dang it!  It is not something that anyone else has commented on and my husband doesn’t know what I am talking about but I see it.  After 10 months I have to tell you that except for the cabinets where the garbage and recycle cans are…they have held up AWESOME.  I have some touching up to do on a few cabinets but not anything that will take me too long.  To do a touch up after you waxed just use the ASCP mineral spirits to take up the wax, touch up, let dry, re-wax.  Not too tough.  I am planning on doing the touch up within the next few months and also finally get that second coat of wax on whole thing;-).

Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!  It transformed our kitchen!  Our home is so much brighter and now our whole house flows better.  It was hard to convince my husband to paint over our expensive cherry. Keep in mind that we built this home and we both still remember how much of an upgrade the cherry cabinets were.  If we ever get sick of the paint then you can strip them and do something different. It is just paint. Serious. Live a little!

I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

If you are interested in more posts about our kitchen remodel (and we still aren’t finished)…

Ikea Hack: How We Built our Kitchen Island

Kitchen Remodel Before and After

My Thoughts on Our Marble Counter Tops

Adding Open Shelving

Ripping out the built in desk

Living Room Makeover

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Creativity Takes Courage {Cat Bude}


For those of you that are new to the blog I want to tell you a little bit about the free series.

My creative network offers free videos, new online courses, live “chats” and now interviews with courageous lovelies from around the world.

Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to interview some of my favorite creative women and business owners.

You can see the talented list of interviewees over on my creative network under Creativity Takes Courage.



This month we are talking with Cat Bude all the way from Normandy, France!

I have had the absolute joy of getting to know Cat over the past three years.  I always leave my conversations with her inspired and with a smile on my face (and with another idea ready to take off).

I admire her love of family, home and faith.

She is a PNW transplant that has dived into the adventure of a lifetime and in the process saved everything that mattered to her.

Join us for an interview that will walk you through her family’s move to France, starting a business and finding her greatest voice.

Come on over and transport yourself to France!


To watch the video you just need to be registered at (registering is free).

Once you are on the site you will find this series, free videos (business and art) and new online courses along the left hand side of the page.

You will find all of our courses/videos under the COURSES heading.

If you want to watch Cat’s video:

1) Go to COURSES along the left hand side of the page

2) Click on Creativity Takes Courage {interviews with courageous friends}

3) Click the +join button on the upper right hand side

4) All of the details are on the page and you are all set.

Tell your friends!

We want to create an online community where you can create, connect and be inspired.

Come on over and check out the interview!

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How We Celebrate Valentine’s Day {and a huge giveaway}


I think when it comes to Valentine’s Day we are pretty chill around here. Maybe it is because I don’t like people telling me what to do and when to do it.  I can be annoying like that.  When it comes to LOVE…I am all over that!



We are quirky, may dance a little too much and often make up songs throughout our day that sometimes resemble rap (and they are not good).  We laugh a lot and spend a lot of time together because these people within these walls are the ones I love being with more than anyone else.



I sure don’t need a special day to love on my family but sometimes it is nice to have an extra reason to remind people what makes them so special.



My husband Kelly is the one that makes sure we are all OK.  He protects us and takes care of us.  He makes sure we have breakfast in the morning and hot coffee ready for me when I wake up.  He believes that my ideas are incredible and that none of my ideas fail (which sometimes they do).  He wakes up early to do devotions with me and prays over our kids at night.  He is kind and good and believes in the best in people.  He is fiercely protective of me and will be the first to come in between me and harm (of any kind).  He is fun and adventurous!  He is my best friend and the one I always choose first.  He is a total hottie and he tries to use his dimples to get his way.  He loves the Lord and desires to honor him.  He is everything that I always dreamed of.



It is easy to take the ones we love the most for granted and everyone loves to be reminded every once in awhile that they are pretty amazing…even if it is with paper hearts:-)





 Courtney’s brand new book!

I’m excited to participate in the #shareyourheart campaign and especially excited because you have a chance to WIN a pretty awesome prize! All you have to do is find Courtney on Facebook (, and SHARE the Paper Hearts Book Trailer with your friends…Then enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below! That’s it, easy as pie! 

For bonus entries, create your own paper heart and share it on Courtney’s wall and tag your post with #shareyourheart 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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