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DIY - Reading Nook

I'm just now getting around to posting this about our entertainment center turned "reading cave" <-- that is what Colton calls it :) 

After finishing this project I can't believe I let the entertainment center sit unused for years -4 years to be exact- when this project only took me 2 or 3 days!!! I looked and looked and looked for a picture of it before I started working on it and couldn't find hardly any! So this is the only one that really shows what it looked like with the doors on it. I had already used the shelves for book storage but just used the inside for actual storage (it was made for an old school big screen tv).

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Then once I cleaned it out and took the doors off I had my work cut out for me patching all the holes.


Once the holes were patched it was painting time! The painting is actually so much easier than the preparing! It's all that prep work that takes so long. I decided on some red paint to accent all the brown in the room and decided to paint all the wood dark cherry to match our trim. 

Once I picked out the paint colors I headed over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick out a good upholstry fabric for a giant seat cushion. I took home a bunch of samples and let Jeff pick the winner, which was actually the only one he liked out of all the ones I liked (isn't that usually how it works?!) At the time I don't think I realized how giant the cushion was actually going to have to be. My mom, the ultimate seemstress, had me measure the area so she could tell me just how much to buy. We were going to make a 5'x3' cushion. That is big. We had never made anything like this before so we just decided to wing it. I bought 30 pounds of fiber fil, which ended up being way too much. We only used 15 pounds. We laid out all the fabric and decided on a 10" thickness for the cushion. We were able to finish it in one night (the majority of the sewing part) then the next morning we had to stuff it!


We really just started piling the stuffing in there and trying to form it as best we could. Needless to say we ended up in tears from laughing so hard because it wasn't quite as sturdy as we had imagined. And trying to reach an arm down a five foot cusion to push fiber fil into the corners was quite a site. It was honestly a hilarious hour. Once we got the cushion stuffed we decided it looked like a giant blob. It had to be worked around quite a bit to look even. 

After we added it to the freshly painted nook it made ALL the difference! I instantly LOVED it.  Now I am really glad we chose the fiber fil because I love that it sinks down when you sit in it and you can really get comfy and lay in there. I went to Target to purchase throw pillows (my mom also made additional matching pillows, they just aren't in this photo!) and the transformation was complete!

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I absolutely love this nook! I think we have all fallen asleep in it already. The two giant drawers on the bottom I use for storage and I filled the rest with books! It has one big light in the middle of the ceiling and it really is a gem to chill out in. 

If you don't know what to do with an old built-in entertainment center, this is it!

What have you transformed in your house?!

Blake Questions.. Answered

Time to celebrate! Baby Boy Blake is ONE.  We celebrated his birthday today.  His sappy one year old letter is written and filed away.  I reread his birth story this morning while sipping on my coffee. And now it’s time for something fun and light, because I’m in a fun and light kind of mood.  J Upon meeting people for the first time with my youngest son we always get the same few questions/comments.  Shall we discuss?

How old is he? Insert answer. Now, I can’t believe I will be saying one.  Insane.  No more stating his age in months.  Nope, he is a year old.  I read an article the other day that referred to a one year old as a toddler. Let’s not push it people, he’s a baby…ok maybe just a baby to us.  Our baby.

PicMonkey Collage

Then almost immediately I get the… He’s so tiny followed by the person sizing me up.  Are they looking to see if I’m tiny?  Are they wondering if I feed him enough? No idea, but I usually smile and say Yep, and then just in case they are thinking the latter I confirm that he loves his food. And he does.  There hasn’t been a food he hasn’t liked and he has a big appetite. I just have tiny featured children what can I say?  That and he is On. The. Move.  The last few days he has been running laps.  No joke, running in circles for hours having the time of his life. Maybe he’s training for a Baby Olympics, or maybe he sees the rest of his family playing Xbox Kinect Sports and wants in on the action.  Yes he’s tiny but healthy.

At some point upon meeting someone, Blake will flash his mega-watt smile. There’s been a couple of times that he smiles and then shivers.  It’s like his body can not contain his happiness. This is followed with 

Is he always this happy?   I love this question as much as I love my happy baby.  Yes, 90% of the time he is happy guy.  He loves when people talk to him.  Love when someone is watching him.  Proud when he accomplishes something.  Watches his big brother in delight.  When he is happy he is really happy. Unfortunately, during those 10% he’s not, he really is not.  Like his mother, he’s not a happy camper when someone tells him no, or when he’s hungry, or tired. He does get it honestly.  But that 90% overshadows any fussiness.

Is he your only?  Nope, he has a six year old brother.  And then almost immediately the follow up Are you going to try for a girl?  This would be a no.  Thanks for asking though. ;)

Where does he get that blonde hair?  My husband and I are both brunette with a darker skin tone.  Denny has dark eyes too.  Blake is a blonde hair blue eye looker.  So we get this question a lot.  My whole side has blue eyes.  And Denny was a little blondie growing up.  I wouldn’t believe it myself if there wasn’t picture proof. 


Blake Martin is such a joy.  I continue to feel incredibly lucky and blessed for my lovely family of four.  This year has gone fast.  Too fast, but I have loved every day and now today I am mom to a one year old again.

Blake Collage 2

XOXO, Brandi

Goodbye 2013 {Brandi}

I always say time goes too fast.  Every. Single. Year.  And it’s true.  I’m constantly sitting in disbelief that yet another year has passed.   2013 was absolutely no different, in fact I think it went even quicker.  Last night marked the last day of this memory making year.  And, boy were memories made.

Today, on New Years Day we celebrated those memories as a family with our Memory Jar.  (Our plan was to do this last night, but a certain 6 year old boy fell asleep way too early from an entire day of non-stop play).  No matter, I don’t mind starting off the New Year looking backwards before I looked forwards.

Our Memory Jar

Our jar sat visibly on our desk in the kitchen. Clearly marked 2013 Memories. The insides contain little notes of our best moments, the things that made us smile, experiences that had us laughing, days we don’t want to ever forget. Of course all the big memories are never forgotten, but it’s the little joys we wanted to include in there too.  Post it notes capturing those sacred moments, wine corks from those special dinners, ticket stubs, pictures, little tokens that represent our family’s memories were jam packed inside our memory jar. 

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This morning after breakfast, we sat around the fire, popped open the jar, and dumped our year out.  We took turns reading, reliving, and remembering.  It was family bonding to the max.  It was so fantastic it’s already a documented first memory in our 2014 jar.

Memories Out

Don’t get me wrong everything wasn’t sunshine and roses in 2012, but I have learned from the negative experiences. Learned that my husband is my true partner in life. Was reminded how valuable genuine friendships are. Was inspired to do better, be better, and live better. To stay positive and strong. And I realized always be grateful.

And grateful I should be because overall 2013 was pretty incredible. So yes today we celebrated our old memories and now we are ready to make new ones.

Happy New Years.



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