Collaboration with Glyn-Mawr Winery

Today is the day! I can finally reveal my latest project, and I am so very excited!

Recently, I had a local business reach out and request some of my personalized book sets for their winery and tasting room that has a small merchandise area stocked with items from nearby artisans. Prior to this meeting I had never been to Glyn-Mawr Winery or their tasting room/storefront ‘the local’, but I quickly fell in love with their farmhouse and country style decor (and might have picked up something for my laundry room remodel). I snapped a few quick photos, and you will see what I’m talking about!

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Here are a couple examples of the book sets I made for their shop…

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The entire town has a 4th of July antique festival, full of vendors and food trucks and the like, and if you are local to eastern Iowa it’s definitely worth the drive. Weather permitting, I will be there myself tomorrow, so feel free to stop by and say hello!

Thank you for stopping by the blog today, and have a safe 4th of July!

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DIY - Bug Repellent Mason Jar Lanterns

Hi friends! Today I have a really easy DIY for the outdoors! Gnats and mosquitoes can really put a damper on outside activities, and bug spray works great for an individual person but I wanted to find a solution for a larger area such as driveway/garage.

I did a bit of research and trial and error, and the results are these cute little mason jar lanterns. They are super easy to make, and extremely budget friendly. I have tested them out myself and can personally say they do actually work, and last quite a long time.

Step by step instructions are below, or feel free to click on any picture to pin this post for later!

First, gather your materials!

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You will need:

-A mason jar of any size, complete with lid

-Rope wick

-Liquid bug repellent

I grabbed a few different jars that I had laying around, and then went to Target for the rest of the materials. They are currently having a decent sale on their patio/outdoor items so I was able to pick up the rope wick (came in a package of two) and the liquid bug repellent for under $10 total. I chose the ‘clean burn’ version of the liquid repellent, which has less smoke/flame but maintains the same effectiveness of the standard version. You could use any bug repellent/torch fuel that is designed to be burned in this manner.

Next, its time for assembly!

I had Adam use a drill bit to puncture a hole in the mason jar lid, and fed the rope wick through the opening. You could probably use a hole punch too, but I just didn’t have one on hand. Then I filled the jar about 1/4 of the way and trimmed the wick so it was just a couple inches tall. It took a few minutes for the wick to soak up enough of the liquid to ignite, but once it did I snapped this picture…

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I really like that there is no smoke/soot coming from this ‘clean burning’ torch fuel, as that was one of my biggest hesitations to ever investing in the traditional ‘tiki torches’.

Last step…Enjoy!

I made a few different lanterns with a few different sizes and colors of mason jars, and set them out on the front porch when we were out there the other night. Not only did they look cute, but they served a great purpose too!

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Quick safety note, these jars do get warm after being lit for a long period of time, so be sure to let them cool before handling them. Also, I like to put them in a metal tray or on concrete (or anything non-flammable) just in case they were to be tipped over.

That’s all I have for you today! I hope you are enjoying those long summer evenings and if you are having a biting insect problem like we were, you might give these lanterns a whirl! As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today!

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Homemade Insect Repellent

Hello friends! It’s finally sunny and dry here in Iowa, which has been in a bit of a cold and wet weather system for a while now. Hopefully it will stay sunny so my plants and grass can dry out!

Today I am bringing you a homemade recipe for natural insect repellent, which is just as necessary as sunscreen during the warmer months! I often joke the mosquito should be the state bird of Iowa! But in all seriousness, the diseases that mosquitoes and ticks carry make me cringe at just the thought, especially with a very curious 1 year old that will not accept being indoors when the weather is nice. In addition, traditional bug spray often has harsh chemicals that I would prefer to keep off of my child and pets.

So, after a bit of research and some testing (because it has to actually work!) I found a bug spray recipe that I really like. Bonus is this recipe is super budget friendly and I already had everything on hand except for the $1 spray bottle.

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I have been using this recipe for about a month now, and I regularly spray the covered porch area where my child plays (deck furniture/pillows/etc) prior to her being out there and so far I have not had any issues with pests. When the whole family is outside, I apply to myself and the dog, and usually just give a spritz to my child’s clothing and that seems to work well. Since it’s all natural I don’t mind if it was on her skin, but she normally has sunscreen on and I would prefer not to have a greasy mix of the two!

Well, nap time is almost over and that means it’s time to get ready to head back outside. Thanks for stopping by the blog today and feel free to pin this recipe for future use! Hopefully you can enjoy the sunshine wherever you are located!

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Our Re-Purposed Pantry Door

Hi there! I hope today finds you enjoying sunny Spring weather! Today I am sharing a little behind the scenes info on our pantry door that received so many questions on Instagram the other evening. Here is the photo I posted in case you missed it.

This pantry door is from an old carriage house that we had to tear down due to irreparable wind damage. The structure was two stories tall, with an attic/loft above the area that held the horses and equipment. Here is a photo I found of the carriage house that I took right before we took it down.

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The wind damage is not visible from this angle, but this building had such a lean to it that it was no longer safe. I did venture inside for a quick photo of the ceiling, which served as the flooring for the loft area and appeared to have already been re-purposed.

Here is the photo :

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We tore down the entire structure and have reused the materials to make all sorts of things. For example, these 2x4 beams (shown horizontal in photo) are what we use to make our custom farm tables and gas pipe shelving units. Now there’s some history to talk about at the dinner table!

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This next photo isn’t the best quality, but it’s an action shot of Adam cleaning out the second story of the structure before demolition could begin. Side note: this door that you see is often featured on my front porch!

Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of our pantry door before it was removed, but it served as the door between the first and second floor, as a ‘hatch’ of sorts at the top of the stairs. The metal ring on the front of the door was used to pull it open from the second story. I lifted the ring on the next photo so you could see what I am talking about. The hinges are also original hardware.

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We attached the door, using the original hinges, to the custom frame we had built with unaltered barn wood we had previously obtained from a different structure. I really enjoy the barn wood door frame in it’s original state, showing nail holes and chipped paint of both red and white.

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Well, there you have it! I hope this post answered your questions and provided a bit of history along the way. As always, thanks for stopping by the blog today and I look forward to interacting with you again soon!

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My (No-Cost) Entryway Table Decor

Hi all! I have (quite unexpectedly) found myself in the middle of a January heat wave here in Iowa, and that has brought about inspiration to purge all things winter, clean, and organize. Now depending on where you are from, you might not think 50 degrees is a heat wave, but to an Iowan this kind of weather calls for opening windows and doing some spring cleaning!

Now if you follow me on Instagram, you know that recently I tackled the large entryway table to my home and cleared all Christmas decor and started fresh. This table has always been challenging to decorate, partially because it is so large and also due to the rest of my entryway being so bare, making it the focal point for all visitors.

Also, being that I was in a cleaning and purging mood, I didn’t want to have to leave and purchase any decor items and interrupt my motivation so I decided to style the table with only items I had on hand. If you have been following along for a bit you might remember that I took this same ‘no-cost’ approach to my front porch this holiday season and that blog post received the highest traffic of any that I have written, so I know you all enjoy my re-purposing and budget friendly take on decorating! If you missed that post, I will link it here.

OK, let’s get to it!

I tackled this large table in sections, pictured below is the right hand side of the table.

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Here we have a vintage birdcage that we used as a card holder at our wedding, as well as an old spool (from a friend’s basement clean out), a tray of pine combs, and some twine. Easy!

Up above the birdcage, and on both sides of the table, I have these copper lanterns I purchased years ago at Hobby Lobby, and they are both hanging on iron hooks that were in an old carriage house that we tore down after it sustained wind damage beyond repair. These hooks held the bridles and other equipment for the horses that resided in the barn. You can see an up close picture below.

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Next up, the left side of the table!

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This end has quite a collection of miscellaneous items! I have absolutely no idea where the basket is from, I have had it for so many years. I filled it with a metal canister I previously picked up at a thrift store, a distressed mason jar that I made, some wood slices and a wooden sign that I had laying around.

Now for the finishing touches and final picture!

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Here is the finished table! In the middle I added some additional wooden signs, a small bit of greenery, an old re-purposed shutter and a metal ‘hello’ sign (it’s an entryway after all!).

This metal sign I picked up at JDH Iron Designs down in Waco, Texas when I was there almost two years ago to see the Magnolia Market. If you followed along on the HGTV show Fixer Upper, you might remember that Jimmy Don and JDH Iron Designs made all of the metal signs that were featured in the market and in the finished homes. My sign is even autographed by Jimmy Don! If you ever make it down to Waco I highly recommend visiting his shop. (Not a sponsored post, I just really like his work!)

The actual sawhorse table was built by Adam and APS Construction, I think it might have been the very first piece of furniture he made.

Well, I’m off to take advantage of this warm weather and tackle a few more things outdoors before it returns to January around here! I hope this post has provided you some inspiration for decorating your own home and I will see you guys soon!

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The Epic Barn Beam Bed Frame!

Hi all! We are in the home stretch leading up to Christmas and many of you are probably already on break for the holidays (this season seemed like it flew by faster than previous years). I have one final post for you before we transition into full Christmas mode at my house, which will consist of a few days computer-free to enjoy this time with family. So if you are sitting in an airport waiting to travel to your holiday gathering, or maybe need a 5 minute ‘break’ from all things Christmas, I have just the post for you!


Recently, we finished up a client project that turned out to be the biggest piece of furniture we have ever created, thus the title of this post. This bed frame required long hours of prep, assembly, take down, haul to its final location, and reassembly, but as you will see it was well worth it and turned out stunning!

The materials for this project included authentic reclaimed barn beams and these were SOLID 8x8 beams, which made them very heavy.

Prior to use, the beams had to be cut, sanded and assembled at our shop to ensure they all fit together properly and weren’t warped by the last 100 years of extreme temperatures of Midwest weather. a simple frame was assembled to keep the beams up off the floor in the client’s room.

Next, each beam was secured in place. To eliminate some of the weight of this piece, an alternate framing technique was used to comply with floor joist specifications and it was completely covered by the mattress and otherwise not visible once assembled.

Here the frame is being finished up and mattress added.

To show you just how big this bed frame is, the mattress pictured is king size!

Pictured below are some up close photos of the wood details on the headboard and beams, each of which are unique. There is just something about the look of authentic barn wood that cannot be recreated with other materials.

The finished project photos!

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This bed frame turned out truly stunning!

I absolutely love how it all came together. A sincere thank you to the client who chose us to make this item for her!

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The 'Great Outdoors' Project

Winter has arrived in full force here in the Midwest, and that means all outdoor projects have to be wrapped up. If Iowa wasn’t such an extreme weather state maybe we could work outside into December, but once the air hoses and tools start to freeze/not function properly, we call it quits for the (outdoor) season.

We did get to finish up one last project for the year, one which completes a series of outdoor renovations at a particular client’s home. This home is situated next to a golf course and has stunning views of the surrounding landscape, however the grading of the back yard and limited outdoor space made enjoying this little slice of heaven challenging.

The projects at this location included a new and expanded deck, new retaining wall and extensive dirt work/grading, as well as a complete overhaul of an existing screened in area to make it weather proof and fully functional addition to their home. All of these renovations were completed by adam and aps construction.


The Raised Deck

Original Deck Photos

As you can see, this deck was functional but small, and showed wear from the elements over the years. In the last picture, you can see the screened in area in its ‘before’ state as well.

New deck photos

This project was completed with cedar boards and aluminum spindles, check out that view!


Retaining Wall and Yard Grading

This part of the project was very important, as it produced level yard space that could then be used for additional structures, fire pit, you name it! Here are a few before/after shots.

As you can see, not much of this part of the yard was usable due to the terrain, but that is no longer a problem!


Screened in porch overhaul

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The final leg of this outdoor project was to update the existing screened in porch/patio area underneath the raised deck. this room was not being used to its full potential, since it was at the mercy of the harsh Iowa weather.

New and improved four seasons room

With new framing, insulation, windows, doors, and stacked stone vinyl siding, this room is now ready for the elements and can be used to enjoy the golf course views and Iowa sunsets year round.

The completion of this project brings our time outside for 2018 to a close, but that doesn’t mean our schedule slows down. we simply transition to more wood working projects, furniture making, and various other items that can be completed indoors. And of course, snow removal, because this is iowa after all!

1st Annual Budget Friendly Holiday Farmhouse Decor Guide

*Note: This post uses affiliate links, click here to see my full disclosure.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means all things plaid, burlap, and little red truck inspired!

It’s November, and at this house the Christmas décor has started to creep out of the basement. I haven’t dug deep into it yet, I have just been going through things and seeing which lighted items no longer work or need new batteries and so on. However, I did bust out the red paint, and if you missed my DIY Christmas Lantern craft you can find it HERE.

If you are an overachiever and have everything decorated and the cookies out for Santa, (can you believe I already received a Christmas card?) then this post is probably not for you!

HOWEVER, if you are like me and want to get started decorating but also want to keep things easy and budget friendly, then you will want to grab some coffee and a notepad (or pin this post for later)!


I love amazon for many reasons, but most of all for their vast assortment of affordable farmhouse and vintage décor! Here are my top picks under $25 for this year (and these make great gifts too!)


Pillows are so easy to decorate with, and these covers are not only affordable, but they are super easy to store since they lay flat and don’t have the bulk of whole pillows. Added bonus, the black and white buffalo check can be used for fall too!*


I love using ornaments as a package topper, or just giving them as gifts themselves! Here are a few cute examples.*

PS. If you are stressing about gift wrapping already, have no worries I will be posting a simple and cute how-to guide soon!


Next, lets talk table décor!

Arguably the focal point of your holiday decorating, aside from your tree of course, your table décor should flow with the rest of your house but on a more subtle scale. I have always been a fan of the ‘less is more’ phrase for the table, as there is nothing more annoying then having to move decorations so that guests can see each other when seated.

Personally, I just have a simple runner with a short tray (its actually an old metal chicken feeder) that I put down the center of the table and I fill it with different items for each holiday/season. For the holiday season (fall and winter) I use a simple black and white buffalo check runner.

Ok, enough chatter, let’s get to the good stuff.*


Finally, the finishing touches. These are items that don't necessarily go with a particular collection in your home, but pop up now and then on a bathroom counter or laundry room floor or anywhere you like to add a little touch of Christmas. Personally, I like to purchase a couple of these ‘random’ items a year, that way I can build my Christmas décor and also stay on budget!

I have put together several of my favorite items below, and remember everything in this post is under $25!*

Note: If you are looking for an easy guide to chalk painting these unfinished candlesticks, check out my tutorial here


Ok, you might be thinking where are the Christmas trees? Garland? Wreaths?

Well it turns out I have expensive taste in those items, but I will link a few of my favorites below for those of you looking to splurge on an item or two.

*Remember, these are affiliate links, and you can read my full disclosure here.


I hope this post was able to inspire you to start thinking about your holiday decorating, and dont forget to sign up for our mailing list so you are notified when my budget friendly gift wrapping (like a pro!) tutorial is posted!

See you soon!

xo,

Rachael

6 Low Cost Tips to Decorate Your Farmhouse for Fall

Fall is upon us here in the Midwest and that means it’s time to spruce up the front porch and put out décor! Here are my 6 totally EASY and budget friendly tips :

 
  1. Get a bale of straw from your local farm store, these are usually around $5 and you can re-use for future years if stored in a cool/dry place

This one is from Theisens!

This one is from Theisens!

 

2. Grab a couple items around your house that you can repurpose, maybe an old milk can or crate, a bird cage, or wooden tray you were using for something else. Gather all these items together to make it easy to see what you have to work with. REMEMBER: If you are putting items outside make sure they won’t be damaged by the weather or sun!

Old milk can that I found at a flea market, stuffed with some dried grass!

Old milk can that I found at a flea market, stuffed with some dried grass!

 

3. Buy re-useable décor at the end of the season and save it for next year! My favorite locations for discounts on décor are Hobby Lobby and Target, often items will be up to 90% off after the holiday!

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4. Take advantage of what nature has provided! Pine cones, dried flowers, dried grasses, branches…the possibilities are endless, and FREE!

Wood slices from a wedding!

Wood slices from a wedding!

 

5. Rummage/Estate sales: I am always surprised at what people are parting with at rummage, garage, or estate sales. Check your local facebook groups or craigslist!

This apple crate was less than $5 at a local estate sale!

This apple crate was less than $5 at a local estate sale!

 

6. FREE Printable Décor! Join APS Design’s mailing list for your free FARMHOUSE printable, take it to your local print shop for larger sizes or just print it at home!

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No time for thrift shopping or scavenging your woods?

No problem! Check out these budget friendly fall items that can be shipped right to your door!

Boom! Done!

Take me to the online things! <——

Disclaimer: the above link contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if an item is purchased, however this never results in an increased cost of the product. The commission earned from affiliate links help pay the fees to keep this blog running.

Now, lets put it all together!