2016 Project List- What’s Coming Up

How can you not be excited about a brand new year? Champagne to drink, resolutions to break….what’s not to love?

ny resolutions

I actually enjoy making a list of projects to complete throughout the year and looking back to see what we managed to check off our list. Last year was so difficult and full of upheaval and change that we didn’t complete much of anything. (You can read that gong show story here). Notice I didn’t say shit show? New resolution. Swear less.

Goals and Projects for 2016 from 24 Cottonwood Lane


I did manage to complete our main floor bathroom last year so I can scratch that one off of our list. Sort of.

Navy powder room gallery wall

Because that pretty gallery wall? Yah, it’s gone to live in Alabama without me because of the move that never happened. I thought I was so clever moving my favorite pieces and art down South. Now I have a semi-naked home and no good lamps. Add accessorizing to the list.

I also managed to finish Liam’s pirate room but since the boys are now sharing a room, we’ll need to do some tweaking in their as well.

Pirate bedroom on a budget


Without further ado, here are some of the projects we have planned for the next year that we’ll be sharing over the next 12 months.

First, y’all know I don’t take the best pictures so let’s start with learning that skill. I finally took the plunge and bought a DSLR camera but I have no idea how to work it. Even in auto mode, I still pretty much suck. Which is why one of my cook kids bought me an online photo course. I’m starting that later today! Hurray for daycare!

The playroom I started planning for has to be finished. It’s semi-functional but needs work. We need to complete the reading nook, add some storage, and dress up the walls.



I need to finish the master bedroom. I made great plans but, once again, I didn’t follow through. In fact, the room is worse than ever since I sold my furniture in anticipation of moving down south. So I’m kind of starting that one from scratch again. Because all I’ve got is a bed, a coral chandelier, and some navy end tables.

navy end table


Also, our foyer has been less than functional since I sold off the shelving unit was in there. I need to figure this one out since I have boys, it’s winter, and no one wants drippy muddy clothes in the coat closet.

I loved making over a thrift store table and chairs but it hasn’t worked in our new house at all. New. Ha. We’ve been here for almost 3 years. I’m going to be hunting down and finding something that works better in our space. I love these chairs by Lenny Kravitz but not the $600 price tag. Per chair. Ummm….no.

dining chair


I also need to make a small home office which will sit in my bedroom. Currently, I’m living and working on the sofa with files and binders all around me. So let’s add home office space to that list. Or even a workable desk would be fine. I think this desk would help me focus. Except it’s $3,095. I paid less than that for a car once. But I could definitely focus if there were polka dots. I’d probably tidier, too.

Kate Spade desk


Since we’re not going anywhere, I guess I could possibly spend some time fixing  up the backyard space. Right now it looks like Sanford & Sons with all the toys and play equipment. I’ve literally done nothing to make it pretty out there. Actually, I’m also thinking about finding a place in the country so we’ll see how things roll. And yes, that pool is lopsided. I ran into it with the lawnmower. If I could add a lawn boy to this list, I’d be delighted.



Speaking of outdoors, since we’re not moving, I’ve decided we’re not selling our glamper. Which means I can finish fixing it up, inside and out. Yay!

exterior of trailer

That baby is one of my favorite projects ever. I wish I loved camping as much as I love working on the camper. We’re definitely going to be looking for a different park. If I’m going to keep writing for a living, I need wifi and the current park doesn’t have that. Also, I need a park that doesn’t gouge me with expenses at the end of the season that weren’t in the contract. Just saying.

There’s a couple of other little projects like lighting switch ups, new window treatments and all that good stuff that I’ve been putting off to add to the pile. I also want to start writing about about blogging. I’m no expert but I’m a chronic researcher and have lots of ideas and sources to share.

So here’s the project list for 2016!

  • Finish master bedroom (ie start over)- dresser, art, lighting and accessories
  • Re-do foyer to make it functional
  • Re-do the dining area with new table, chairs, and lighting
  • Finish the playroom- add storage, decor, reading nook and art center
  • Home office space
  • Finish glamper renovation- master bedroom, bathroom, and outside. Also we had a leak so the bathroom floors need repair. Fun stuff.
  • Landscape back yard and make it more functional for grown ups
  • Figure out lighting in the living room
  • New media center (sold the last one!)
  • Recover those slipper chairs already since they were a project fail. And maybe sell them because they’re not terribly comfortable.
  • Tweak the boys bedroom to make it functional
  • Art for the powder room
  • Switch out kitchen lighting
  • Make a functional craft area in our unfinished basement. Because finding things is cool
  • Accessible and organized paint storage
  • Take better photos of all of these projects
  • Share blogging resources

I like resolutions that don’t involve putting down the wine or walking away from the cheese, don’t you?

Here’s to 2016 and our very lengthy to do list! Do you have ambitious plans for the coming year? Share them below and we can keep each other in check. Happy New Year!


Easy Handmade Christmas Coasters

Easy handmade Christmas coasters. Click through for the easy to follow tutorial. Makes a great gift for teachers or hostesses.

Earlier this week I shared some thoughts about what it means to make “easy” and “handmade” projects. In the interest of creating real posts for real readers, I decided to create whip up something that doesn’t require any fancy or expensive machinery or tools. These Christmas coasters really are easy and inexpensive and 100% handmade. They make a cute stocking stuffer and are a great hostess or teacher gift, as well.

Easy handmade Christmas coasters. No fancy tools required. Great teacher gifts.

Why are they easy? They require some craft paper, modpodge, scissors, and paint brush along with some thrift store  coasters.

Why are they cheap? Well, the coasters are pretty darn cheap when you get them from the dollar or thrift store. You can even use square tiles from hardware store. Check out our classy coasters from the thrift store before their fancy makeover.

before coasters

I skipped the Silhouette machine and grabbed some sharp scissors and cute craft paper that I picked up at Homesense. I actually bought 4 little booklets for $3.99 each because I’m addicted to pretty craft paper and couldn’t decide which one I liked best. #indecisive

christmas paper


Here’s the scoop on how to make these cute coasters. Affiliate links are added for your convenience.



  • For the square coasters, trace your coaster on the back of the paper and cut out the coaster shape. Trim a little extra to make sure the paper doesn’t extend past the edge of the coaster.
  • Apply Modpodge with a brush to the surface of the coaster and center the paper on top. Modpodge over the paper and set aside to dry.
  • I sanded these coasters just slightly to remove the brush marks and then sprayed them with a matte sealer to make sure they were waterproof. The sanding is completely optional, though, I’m just kind of neurotic that way.
  • For the round cork coasters I cut out different shapes from my craft paper. It takes some patience and a steady hand but that’s what “handmade” means, right?
  • Apply Modpodge to the center of the coaster and center the image on top. Modpodge over the cut out and the rest of the coaster. I added some white snowflake stamps around the cut outs just to up the cuteness factor.

Easy handmade Christmas cork coasters. Great as a teacher gift or for a hostess gift. Click through for the full tutorial.

Bam! Handmade Christmas coasters. Real life easy, real life handmade, and real life inexpensive. Sort of. Because as we know, craft supplies aren’t cheap but the coasters were around $1 for a set of 4 or 6. I’m liking that.

Easy handmade Christmas coasters make a great teacher gift. Click through for the full tutorial.

I made four different sets on a Saturday morning while the boys were bopping around me. They were super impressed…seriously. It was adorable how enthusiastic they were about my “work” as I called it.

Easy handmade Christmas coasters. Click through for the full tutorial. No special tools required

And just a note about those little snowflake stamps on the cork coasters. I didn’t actually have any white ink so I used one of my chalk markers. Actually, I didn’t have any ink at all because I didn’t realize I still had these stamps. Found them in my Christmas stash. Because I knew the chalk would run, I applied the “stamps” over top of the Modpodge and then sprayed with the sealer.

Handmade Christmas Coasters- Easy and Inexpensive tutorial included. No fancy machines required.

Four gifts down, 153 to go. 😉  Kidding. I think.



Affiliate links are added for your convenience. Read my full disclosure and affiliate link policy here.

DIY Pompom Garland

Two obsessions this year….pompoms and hoop art. Literally can’t stop. Today I’m all about the pompoms. If you haven’t tried making pompoms yet, what are you waiting for? They’re crazy easy and take no time at all. No fancy tools required. It’s just as easy and fast to use your own hand. Seriously….See how easy it to go from this…

Make a pompom garland.

to this….

DIY pompom garland. Click through for the easy tutorial. No tools required. Just yarn and scissors.



  • yarn
  • yarn needles
  • scissors


Start by wrapping the yarn around three fingers. Ignore the mess….I was on a crafting and sewing binge and I have my supplies everywhere. Obviously.

DIY pompom garland tutorial. No fancy tools required

I usually wrap it 50-60 times before sliding it off my fingers.

Slide the yarn off and lay it flat and then slip a piece of yarn underneath. Tie the yarn tightly around the middle.

tied off pompom

Take your scissors and cut the loops in half on either side.

cutting yarn

This is where it gets fun. Start trimming the pompom kind of like you’re giving it a haircut. Trim until it’s the size you want and the yarn is even all the way around. Now go and make 65 of these little sweeties. Turn on Netflix and start snipping.

Once you’ve got the number you need, take the yarn needle and start threading. Make sure the needle goes through the center or the pompoms can slide off. (True story).

DIY pompom garland tutorial


Hang your garland!

DIY pompom garland. Click through for the easy tutorial


DIY pompom garland. Click through for the full tutorial. No special tools required


DIY pompom garland . Click through for the easy tutorial. No special tool required.


Have you tried making pompoms yet? So much fun.


And for those of you who want to try out pom pom makers, grab em’ here!

UPDATE- For all of you who wanted to know where I got my deer head, it came from HomeSense in Canada. I found a similar one here.

Affiliate links added for your convenience. 


15 Handmade Christmas Gifts That People Actually Want

15 Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas


I love handmade Christmas gifts. Love making them, love getting them, love obsessing over them on Pinterest. Unless they suck, of course. Not to be ungrateful or anything like that but we’ve all seen some pretty cheesy gifts in our time. Obviously that was BP. (Before Pinterest). These days it’s almost impossible to make sucky gifts. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these fantastic handmade ideas!

Reindeer Beer or Reindeer Rootbeer

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas


DIY Mr and Mrs Rudolph Towels

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas


Sugar Cookie Sack15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- cookie sacks


Christmas PotPourri with Chalkboard Tag

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Potpourri with chalkboard tags


Cupcake in a Jar

15 Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas- Cupcake in a jar


DIY Gingerbread House
15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- DIY Gingerbread House

Antique Car in a Jar

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Antique car in a jar


Christmas Tea Trees

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Christmas tea trees


Candy Cane Sugar Scrub
15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Candy cane sugar scrub


Peppermint Bath Salts
15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Peppermint Bath Salts

Mason Jar Cookie Mix

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Mason jar cookie mix


DIY Foaming Handsoap

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Handmade soap


Peppermint Bath Bombs
15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Peppermint bath bombs


Metallic Dotted Tumblers

15 Handmade Christmas Ideas- Gold dotted tumblers

15 Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas That People Will Actually Want

Still looking for inspiration? Check out our Pinterest Christmas and Holiday Boards for even more handmade ideas.

Are you doing any handmade gifts this year?

Sharing this flip here and over at Finding Silver Pennies, Cedarhill FarmhouseFluster BusterBloom DesignsFrom My Front Porch to YoursTabler for Two, A Life In Balance, and Savvy Southern Style.

Christmas Pillow Covers

DIY Christmas Envelope Pillow Covers


I’m a throw pillow junkie and nothing makes me more pleased with myself than changing pillows up for the season. What makes me less happy is trying to store all the pillows I’ve accumulated over the years. Which is why I decided to try my hand at making Christmas envelope pillow covers this year. I figured I can put them over my regular pillows and when Christmas is over, I don’t have to find a place to store two extra pillows. If you want to use pillow forms, the cheapest place I’ve ever found them is here.

I’d like to tell you this was an easy project and it probably is for most people but I’m a non-sewer. And I don’t do math. So any time measuring, pinning, and a sewing machine is involved, I freak out a little.

Since I have no idea what I’m doing, I turned to one of my long saved pins from Krista at The Happy Housie. She does a great tutorial on how to make an envelope pillow cover that I followed as closely as possible.

I basically cut out two 18 inch wide by 42 inch long pieces of fabric just as she suggested and hemmed the envelope side before adding my applique. I used white muslin for these pillows as that was the least expensive and heavy fabric I could find. Broad cloth is cheaper but I was worried it would be too transparent if I was covering my regular patterned living room pillows.


I cut out two deer from a panel of cute Christmas fabric. Get ready….you’re gonna see this fabric a lot over the next few weeks. I heart it so much.

DIY Christmas Throw Pillows- Envelope Covers

Once the deer were cut out, I used Heat n Bond to “glue the deer to the pillow form. Excuse the blur….I sew in the basement.

DIY Christmas envelope pillow covers

For the first pillow, I stitched around the edges of the deer cutouts before sewing the red rik rak ribbon around the edges.

DIY Envelope Christmas Pillow Covers

Then I decided I didn’t like how sloppy that looked. For the second deer, I sewed the rik rak on without stitching the picture on first. I don’t think it mattered that much, I was just having a Jenna moment. (ie neurotic)

Once the deer appliqué was attached, I sewed around the edges of the pillow to make the envelope and popped in the pillows I had on hand. Bam! Christmas pillow covers.  Just like that. Except it wasn’t. Because I don’t sew all that well and it took me over four hours. Next time, I’ll be a total pro though 😉

DIY Christmas Envelope Pillow Covers


DIY Christmas Envelope Pillow Covers


DIY Christmas envelope pillow covers


DIY Christmas envelope pillow covers

Do you swap out your throw pillows during Christmas?

Find thousands of craft supplies online!


Affiliate links have been added for your convenience.