Ceiling Our Fate

It’s been awfully quiet around here lately. I apologize (or maybe you were enjoying the silence–in that case, you’re welcome. I do what I can.).

Excuses time!

First of all, a few weeks ago we went to Maui to watch our beautiful friends get married. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. More on that, soon!

And then, of course, Halloween happened.

And then, without skipping a beat, we dove into a very enormous house project. After six years, and countless excruciatingly high professional estimates, we are painting the 15 foot tall vaulted ceilings on the main floor of our house. Ourselves. Gulp.

Painting the 15 foot ceilings at Farmhouse38.com

Now, I know I’m gonna get a lot of hate about this. For painting over wood. And trust me, I love raw wood ceilings. I love stained wood ceilings. I love reclaimed wood ceilings. They have their place. Just not in this house, where every lick of trim is white. My design for this house always included white plank ceilings, and if we had had a hot second when this ceiling first went up, I would have painted everything while it was still on the ground. That would have been the smart thing to do. But things moved very fast in those days, and we always assumed that at some point we’d be able to afford to pay someone else to get up there and paint those damned tall ceilings. But, as it turns out, it’s super expensive for someone to risk life and limb over paint.

So, as usual, we are taking matters into our own hands. Scaffolding and all.

Painting ceilings at Farmhouse38.com

Painting ceilings at Farmhouse38.com

That’s me. Up on the scaffolding. Hanging out with the ceiling fan. Holding on for dear life.

As usual, the dogs have been extremely helpful:

Sunhounds at Farmhouse38.com

When they’re not doing that, they’re standing under the scaffolding catching drips with their faces:

Paint puppy at Farmhouse38.com

And when they’re done with that they have to recover:

Resting pupfaces at Farmhouse38.com

Such hard workers.

Painting ceilings at Farmhouse38.com

Because his reach is longer and his fear of heights is slightly less debilitating, the Texan gets all the really crappy shifts. Here he is perched on an 18″ wide ledge that hangs over the two story drop down our staircase. Such a relaxing weekend for him.

We’ve also chosen this opportunity to deepen the color on the walls, as well as tie up a whole bunch of missing molding and trim projects. In a nutshell, we are finally finishing the great room. Six years of staring at our main living space and wishing it was finished. It’s happening, people. I’m beside myself. And also very sore.

So stay tuned for after shots, coming really soon. Yes. Soon. I promise.




Thing 1 & Thing 2

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Dog Halloween Costumes from Farmhouse38.com

A day late, but there’s still time for a Halloween chuckle: this is what the dogs put up with this year.

And the white dog’s expression in this photo about sums it all up:

Thing 1 and Thing 2 dog Halloween costumes from Farmhouse38.comHope you all had a happy Halloween!


Feeling Halloweenie

Halloween light display at Farmhouse38.com

As usual, we’ve got to keep up with the Joneses for Halloween. Our little town goes crayons for Halloween, so we always feel ‘pressured’ to assimilate. It’s the town’s fault. Fer shure.

Man, how I love those purple LED lights in the wisteria. I wish I could leave them up all year without being that person. Photos just really don’t do them justice. They are magical.

Purple and orange Halloween light display at Farmhouse38.com


Halloween lights at Farmhouse38.com

Lots and lots of lanterns help set the mood.

I love lanterns with flickering candles. I am all about the battery-operated timer candles that turn themselves off and on; their lovely amber light is the perfect complement to the purple LEDs. We also swap out the bulbs in all our permanent light fixtures to orange/amber bulbs so that they coordinate, as well.

One of my favorite, favorite things to put out are our blinking eyeball lights in the hedge. They’re called Peep’n Peepers and you can now get them on Amazon.

Blinking googley eye hedge lights at Farmhouse38.com


Our hedge eyeballs in action:

Halloween wreath and decor at Farmhouse38.com

A few orange battery-operated lights illuminate a black wreath. Our orange front door really loves this time of year.

Halloween decorations at Farmhouse38.com

A tree branch, spray painted black and decked out in lights. And a couple of lurkers.

Clearly things are a little more exciting at night, but there’s plenty to see during the day, too:

Halloween front porch at Farmhouse38.com

Love those amazing scarab pillows from Ikea.

Front porch Halloween decor from Farmhouse38.com

That orange front door just begs for a black wreath, doesn’t it? This one is available seasonally from Grandin Road. The raven doormat is from World Market (also only available when Halloween swag first hits the shelves. So…June).

But yeah…the nighttime really is the righttime.

Halloween light display at Farmhouse38.comHope everyone has a fabulous Halloween!

Halloween Mantel Makeover

A Halloween fireplace mantel makeover from Farmhouse38.comLet me start by saying that our living room mantel situation is and always has been kind of the bane of my existence. I am a big fan of the fireplace. In fact, this is the first house that we’ve even had one in (and we had to put it in) and I was SO excited for that mantel to decorate! But you know what I am not a big fan of? The TV hung in prime position over said long-pined-for fireplace mantel. It really sucks the focal point joy out of the focal point, ya know? But, unfortunately, in our teeny little house, there is just no other place to put it. Trust me, I’ve tried. Oh, the brain cells I have lost thinking and rethinking the floorplan to get that darned TV off my fireplace. To no avail. So…BEHOLD: giant, glaring TV.

Now that I’ve brought your attention to it and it is all you see, let’s ignore it and look at the mantel, shall we?

A Halloween Mantel Makeover at Farmhouse38.com

The ‘Before’ mantel. Or let’s just go ahead and call this the ‘Usual’ mantel.

The ‘usual’ mantel decor tends towards a little bit of a mess; a rather haphazard collection of objects and books that I’ve really only stuck there temporarily. This is because we aren’t actually finished building our mantel ‘situation’. The intention is, and always has been that we will be building shelving all the way up to the roof on both sides of the fireplace. But we just haven’t gotten around to it. For six years. It’s on our list for this fall…but until then, let’s Halloween it up in here a bit, shall we?

A Halloween fireplace mantel makeover at Farmhouse38.com

Ah yes. Much bettah.

First and foremost, I needed to get those bookshelves handled. I’d been wanting to swap out my odd assortment of coffee table books for a display of my antique and reproduction book collection. It just so happens that the jacket covers on these books play towards a much more somber color story. Perfect for Halloween.

Vintage book collection at Farmhouse38.com

I love vintage books (and vintagey-looking books), and they are rather inherently haunted-mansiony, don’t you think?

And then, of course, I had to have some miniature bunting…

Simple, miniature halloween fireplace mantel bunting at Farmhouse38.com

Bunting is always essential. This is just black and white grosgrain ribbon bits hot-glued to white, cloth-covered wire.

And an odd assortment of bottles, lanterns, candlesticks, and mercury glass.

A Halloween-styled mantel at Farmhouse38.com

Halloweeny odds and ends.

My “fresh picked” sign above the TV is now replaced with a handmade “Nevermore” sign, with a few accent wall spiders (plastic spiders just stuck on with earthquake putty).

DIY Halloween Nevermore chalkboard sign by Farmhouse38.com

This sign was a snap to make: a reclaimed piece of MDF board coated in spray chalkboard paint. Then, using the Farmhouse38 Sign Painting method, I transferred the lettering and then colored them in with white grease pencil for a permanent ‘chalk’ look.

A tree branch spray-painted black is a perfect perch for craft store crows. I love how the clock face kind of winds up looking like a full moon. I meant to do that. Yeah, totally.

Halloween Mantel Decor at Farmhouse38.com.


Underneath the tree branch is one of my favorite little things: my terrarium that I like to mess with every season. Time for a tiny Halloween scene!

A Halloween terrarium featuring tiny skeletons, a tiny graveyard, and tiny tillandsias at Farmhouse38.com.

Tiny skeletons emerge from a tiny graveyard amongst tiny tillandsias.

The rest of the room has gotten Halloweened, also.

I swapped out some of our more colorful throw pillows for darker tones:

Throw pillows and misc. Halloween decor at Farmhouse38.com

The lefthand pillows are from Pottery Barn and the green stripe is from Ikea. I don’t remember where I got the cute, framed Trick-or-Treat embroidery, but it is one of my favorite things. Another craft store crow sits on top of the mirror.

Chalkboard black-painted pumpkins with black glittered stems at Farmhouse38.com

A simple coffee table centerpiece of tiny punkins painted matte black with black-glittered stems.

A Halloweeny collection of thrifted brass candlesticks with glittered black candles at Farmhouse38.com

My odd assortment of thrifted brass candlesticks look very fun with black, glittered taper candles.

A Halloween floral centerpiece of black silk flowers in a silver urn at Farmhouse38.com

An all-black floral centerpiece sits in the middle of our table. And hey…what’s dropping out of the light fixture?

Faux spiders dropping down from a light fixture for Halloween at Farmhouse38.com

Spiders. Spiders are dropping out of the light fixture.

Faux spiders hanging out in a light fixture for Halloween at Farmhouse38.com

Oh. Oh there’s more spiders.

Halloween spider surprise on the inside of a light fixture at Farmhouse38.com

Surprise!!! There’s a lot more spiders. (cheap plastic spiders rings–with ‘ring’ removed–hot-glued to small magnets and stuck to the metal fixture).

Gosh darnit, I love me some Halloween.

A Halloween fireplace mantel makeover at Farmhouse38.com





Oh, Sierra Water Gardens, You Complete Me

Reno's SierraWaterGardens.com

I’ve been hearing about this place for awhile now. My Reno friends visit often, and talk it up. They bring home the loveliest little garden bits every time that they go. So, I started following Sierra Water Gardens on Instagram, and then on Facebook…and there was no turning back. On my latest trip to Reno, I had only one request: I. Must. Go. To. There.

And you know what? If you are ever in Reno, I’m telling you, you must, as well. Take a little swing down Dickerson Road…you’ll know where to park: right next to the old Hudson. The one with plants cascading out the windows.

Old Hudson turned into a planter at SierraWaterGardens.com

This is taking upcycled garden art to a whole new level of awesome.

Through the wisteria-covered steel beam archway (you know I love me some rusted steel, people), is a secret botanical wonderland. You just don’t see it coming; the loveliness that unfolds in front of you as you step off the road and through that entrance.

Visiting the magical Sierra Water Gardens. sierrawatergardens.com

Immediately, you are immersed in container-garden and water-feature heaven. Everywhere you look are pots overflowing with lush greens and splashing water. My eyeballs could not even keep up.

Lovely water feature at SierraWaterGardens.com

Potted water feature at SierraWaterGardens.com


A mosaic succulent wall hanging at SierraWaterGardens.com

There is just something wonderful about the variegated green mosaic of a succulent wall hanging.

Sweet resident garden doggie, Copper, at SierraWaterGardens.com

It’s at about this time that you’ll probably get greeted by the resident garden dog, Copper. As if I didn’t love this place enough! Sweetest boy.

Stop by the Succulent Bar and find all sorts of goodies to create a DIY garden in a found object container:

A rusted toolbox succulent planter at SierraWaterGardens.com

More upcycled container-gardening. Rust and succulents are always a brilliant combo.

Succulent display at SierraWaterGardens.com

Succulents waiting for their turn at the Succulent Bar.

Once you have wound your way through the container garden moment at the front of the property, the true magic of Sierra Water Gardens unfolds:

'Hello Love' letter succulent planters at SierraWaterGardens.com

The main pond at SierraWaterGardens.com

Water lilies at SierraWaterGardens.com

Gotta take a Monet moment here.

The main ponds at SierraWaterGardens.com

Lush, vine-covered seating area at SierraWaterGardens.com

Koi fish at SierraWaterGardens.com

Happy koi.

It is simply breathtaking to stand and take this all in; the ponds, the waterfalls, the bright koi fish, the lush greenery, the secret little nooks and seating areas. And all the while you’re wrapped in that yummy hum of running water. No joke, I could just stand still and look for hours. It’s one of those places that you just want to be.

But, wait. There’s more!

Reclaimed wood sliding barn doors on the adorable potting shed at SierraWaterGardens.com. Doors by BoneyardDesigns

Check out the UHmazing doors on this potting shed. Reclaimed wood gorgeousness designed and built exclusively for SWG by Boneyard Designs.

Let’s just talk about this shed for a moment, shall we? Those salvaged wood sliding doors are phenomenal.

Detail of salvaged wood design in the potting shed doors at SierraWaterGardens.com


And the reclaimed, rusty corrugated metal roof is killing me. Killing me.

Phenomenal reclaimed wood sliding barn doors and vicious guard dog at SierraWaterGardens.com. Doors are the creative genius of BoneyardDesignsReno.com

Copper digs it.

But also–the inside of that shed is not to be missed. Treasures!!!

Tillandsias displayed in rusty old tool bin drawers at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Tillandsias displayed in rusty old tool bin drawers.

The mouth of a big, glass terrarium with a belly full of lovelies at SierraWaterGardens.com.

The mouth of a big, glass terrarium with a belly full of lovelies.

Tillandsias displayed on a rusty mattress spring at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Tillandsias displayed on an old mattress spring. Joy.

Stained glass window in the potting shed at SierraWaterGardens.com.

A reclaimed stained glass window glows in the back wall of the shed.

Potting shed light fixture at SierraWaterGardens.com.

I’m in love with the shed ‘chandelier’. Casual, industrial, and so delightfully colorful!

A giant tillandsia at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Excuse me, Miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* tillandsia. Laura of Olive and Love displays the newest addition to her airplant family.

Reclaimed wood and chalkboard potting shed side door at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Look at the side door to the shed. Just look at it! GAH!

Back outside, I fell in love with these:

Succulent heart planter at SierraWaterGardens.com.

And took one home. :-)

I also fell in love with these:

Shop kitty Fig at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Shop kitty #1. I disturbed Fig’s catnap.

Shop kitty, Newt, at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Shop kitty #2, Newt, assists me in exploring the gardens.

I thought about taking them home.

Oh, and when you wander to the back of the property, you find that the whole thing backs right up to the Truckee River:

Reclaimed wood garden gate leading to the Truckee River at SierraWaterGardens.com.

I love that charming reclaimed wood gate, too. The river’s not bad, either.

And, in addition to the all-around awesomeness that is Sierra Water Gardens, they also do live music on Saturday nights during the summer season, featuring independent local musicians. You bring your wine, you bring your cheese, and you sit and soak it all in.

Summer Saturday night live music at SierraWaterGardens.com

The vibe on a summer Saturday night is absolute bliss.

Shop doggie, Copper, loves live music night at SierraWaterGardens.com.

You may get some Copper love while you’re enjoying the music. Especially if you have cheese.

Musician Tyler Stafford (TylerStaffordMusic.com) plays at SierraWaterGardens.com's Saturday summer live music event.

Musician Tyler Stafford was the incredible talent for the night. Check him out at TylerStaffordMusic.com.

A blissful evening of live music at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Like I said: BLISS.

Undoubtedly, you’ll meet these two smiley faces:

Sam and Sutter of SierraWaterGardens.com.

Sam and Sutter; they run the joint. Oh, and they also live there. Oh, and they’re also the cutest couple EVER. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Stremmel).

So YES. Put this place on your must-stop list if you are in Reno (between April and October, they are understandably closed in the winter). Sit a spell and soak in the tranquility. Hit the succulent bar and build yourself a sweet little garden somethin’-somethin’ to take home with you. Buy a couple of koi for your pond. And say ‘hi’ to Sam and Sutter for me. And Copper, Fig, and Newt, too.

Oh–and you simply have to find them on Instagram and Facebook–two of my favorite feeds. A lot of gorgeous photos getting got over there.








Phoebe’s 1st Birthday

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com

I cannot believe this little lunatic is a year old! And in true Farmhouse38 fashion, we couldn’t let this moment slip by without a little party. So Phoebe donned her finest tutu and tiara, and I whipped up a really simple and adorable layered pupcake. And before anyone freaks out, the flame on the candle in the above photo is photoshopped in…a tutu on a tasmanian devil next to an open flame: how’s about NOPE.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com

I do have to say: for a tasmanian devil in a tutu and tiara with a tantalizing snack right in front of her nose…she was so super patient and obedient while I took hundreds of photos.

After a successful photo shoot, it was time for cake:

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com


-1 can of wet dog food of your choice that keeps its ‘can’ shape (I use Blue Buffalo brand and it really doesn’t keep its shape too well, so you gotta sorta improvise)

-3 slices of whole grain organic wheat bread

-Approx. half cup of organic, no salt creamy peanut butter

-a thin sheet of cardboard or cardstock

-some cute, heart-shaped training treats or kibble as decoration

This cake was super simple to make. I started with a can of wet dog food: the gross, meatloaf-y kind that sorta keeps it’s shape when you shake it out of the can. Before I removed said gross dog food from the can, I actually used it to trace a circle on a thin sheet of cardboard (I stole a piece from the back of a notepad…none of my notepads have cardboard backing anymore-I always steal them for random projects like these). Cut out this circle and build your cake on it–this makes it easier to slip a spatula under it and move the cake around when you are done (you know…in case you are doing a long, drawn-out photo shoot with it).

Open your dog food and shake it out onto a plate so that it preserves its ‘can’ shape (Thanksgiving cranberry dressing-style). If it doesn’t keep its can shape, you can still kind of cut a piece and smush it together. Now use the opening of the can as a cookie-cutter to cut three crustless circles of bread.

Place your first bread circle directly on top of the cardboard piece and center. Now, using a sharp knife, carefully cut a slice of wet dog food (I cut mine approx. a half inch thick) and gently set it on top of the first bread circle. Follow that with another bread circle and press the layers together gently. Add another layer of dog food and top with the final piece of bread. Again, press all the layers gently together.

Now, ‘ice’ your cake with the peanut butter. It may help to heat the peanut butter to a consistency that allows you to easily spread it without mauling the cake structure. Once you have it iced, top it with a few kibble or treat ‘sprinkles’.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com

This actually cuts very nicely into cake slices.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com

Brown dog and white dog wait patiently for their cake.

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com

Those slices didn’t stand a chance.

Each of my dogs was only allowed one slice of cake–I think it goes without saying that this is a once-in-a-blue-moon treat and not something they should be fed frequently (and I don’t recommend that anyone feed this whole cake to one dog). Bread isn’t that good for dogs. In small doses, it can actually be a good source of fiber–but please don’t make it a habit to feed your dogs this on a regular basis. Most bread has added sugar and salt and all sorts of stuff that is just not good for doggie tummies. Raw, unsalted peanut butter is considered by most to be a healthy treat, but also proceed with caution. Just like people, some dogs can be deathly allergic to it. But…ya know…sometimes even doggies gotta treat yoself!

Phoebe's 1st Birthday at Farmhouse38.com

Happy, happy birthday to this silliest little girl. Never a dull moment.


A Quick, Lush Mason Jar Arrangement

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com


I think we can all agree that flowers in mason jars are pretty much the bee’s pajamas. The cat’s knees. Yah. You get what I mean. Sometimes, though, I see mason jar arrangements that are pretty sparse and vertical: too tall flowers being shoved in to what amounts to a pretty small container. There’s a better way…I’m gonna show you how to get a lush, mounded composition easily. The secret? You gotta make a bouquet (check out my bouquet-making tutorial here).

STEP 1: I selected a wide-mouthed quart-sized jar (courtesy of the Ball® Canning Heritage Green Collection). If you want to do a pint-sized arrangement, just scale it down accordingly. Start by filling whatever jar you choose 3/4 full of clean, cold water.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Love them green jars!

STEP 2: Select and prep your ingredients. Have a wide variety of materials to choose from, and clean and strip the stems of all leaves, thorns, and misc buds and stems that might fall under the water line. If you like the look of leaves and buds in your arrangement, allow a few to remain attached close to the blooms.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Strip your materials and return them to their buckets.

STEP 3: Begin assembling. Gather a few blooms in your hand to act as the ‘center’ of your arrangement.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com


Randomly add other blooms and fillers working in a circular pattern around the center blossoms.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Keep working until your bouquet is approximately a foot in diameter (for a pint-sized arrangement, work towards about a 6 inch diameter):

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com


Step 4: Clip your stems. Hold the bouquet in one hand, and in the other hand use good, sharp shears to cut the stems straight across. You want to cut them so they are just shorter than the height of the mason jar (which is about 6.5 inches for a quart jar–so cut the stems to 6 inches or shorter. For a pint-sized jar, cut stems to 4.5 inches or shorter). When you insert them, you want to flowers to be resting on the edge of the jar, you don’t want the stems to be holding the arrangement up away from the jar.

Optional Step 5: You can wrap a single strand of waterproof florist’s tape just above where your hand holds the bouquet. This will ensure the arrangement holds its exact shape. Be sure that the tape wraps around and adheres back onto itself.

Step 6: Carefully insert the stems into the mouth of the jar and drop the entire bouquet into place. If you don’t tape it, you can play with the blossoms a bit to make them fuller or correct any pieces that might have gone wonky.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Step 7: Now, you can assess the entire composition and decide if you want to add a few more things, which I did. I added some geranium leaves after the fact. I do what I want.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com



Don’t forget the old adage ‘The thriller, the filler, and the spiller’ as a general guideline for your composition. Choose anywhere from one to three ‘thrillers’ (something eye-catching and bold), anywhere from one to two ‘fillers’ (something less showy to fill the space between thrillers), and one to three ‘spillers’ (something drapey or spiky to create movement). You’ll notice I did no ‘spillers’ in this arrangement. None of these rules are set in stone. And I like to break my own rules.

Now go! Make some gorgeous centerpieces! I’ll wait here.


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