Framing Sentimental Souvenirs

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. We had family visiting from out of town and it was wonderful to spend time outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather here in West Michigan.  We also found a great new sandwich place that I can’t wait to share with you on Wednesday!!


It has been a while since I gave you an update about the Gallery Wall/Gallery Hall.  I still have a lot of empty frames and a few DIY canvas projects to work on, but I did fill three more holes this weekend using pages from a calendar. My brother and his wife recently went on a trip to Ireland and brought back some really neat items to put in my hallway.  One of the items they picked up was a calendar from The Trinity College Library Dublin featuring artwork from The Book of Kells. This is a great option for artwork because you basically have a set of 12 prints to create a cohesive look in your home. I grabbed three of my favorites, gave them a little trim and popped them into a 5×7 frame.


Folio 290v The four symbols of the Evangelists


Folio 291v Portrait of Saint John


and Folio 2r Canon 1 The Four Evangelists

They also gave me a beautiful ink drawing of the Cliffs of Moher but I’m thinking about getting a custom frame. I think this is a great option for souvenirs from a vacation, you could even frame favorite postcards (I have a few from Chicago) on my wall already. Have you ever framed pages from a calendar? What about postcards or playbills? Or do you prefer pictures, paintings, or mirrors to decorate your space?






I ♥ Fall: Yankee Candle

This weekend marks the first official day of Fall! I love fall food, decor, fashion and scents. I just put away all my favorite summertime candles and pulled out my old fall standbys.


Here are some of my favorites from Yankee Candle that I keep stocked year after year.

Yankee Candle

Macintosh. Wow! This is one of my all-time favorites. I have not found an apple scent that holds a candle to this one. Pun intended.  I burn this candle year round in my home.  I just started a new jar and I have another one on stand by in my “decoration station” (Ok, its a cabinet in my kitchen jammed full of candles and vases) at all times. However, during the fall I move this candle to prime real estate in my living room. The scent is really fresh and pure apple.

Yankee Candle

Apple Cider. I am about halfway through the large jar of this candle. It is burning in my kitchen. I like placing this candle in a room adjacent to Macintosh because they compliment each other so well! This has a fresh apple scent with a little bit of cinnamon and spice but it is not too overwhelming.

Yankee Candle

Pumpkin Buttercream. I have this candle in my dining room at the moment. I’m about 1/3 of the way through and it is a rich pumpkin/vanilla/cupcake scent.  To be honest, it is not my favorite. I am really picky on pumpkin scents. I had a beautiful Pumpkin Cheesecake candle from Hallmark in college and I haven’t been able to find anything that would beat it yet. If you have a favorite pumpkin candle, please share! Do you have any other favorite fall scents that I should check out?

Do The Creep: Planting Creeping Mertyl In Our Front Yard

We are getting our creep on!

Creeping Mertyl that is. Let me take a few steps back and catch you up… When we last left the front yard, we had pulled out all of the bushes and weeds that had been taking over our front yard like something straight out of Jumanji.


After the mass excavation is was looking a little more like this…. there was actually a house back behind all of that! Whew knew?


As I mentioned before we had gone back and forth about what to do next. We tossed around leveling the ground and planting grass or putting in mulch, but we eventually landed on a low maintenance ground cover to ease our way into the whole landscaping thing. I did a lot of research and landed on Creeping Mertyl, not to be confused with Moaning Mertyl.

(Five points to your house if you saw that reference coming!)

I like that it is a hardy, fast spreading plant but it seemed a little less invasive and easier to control than something like English Ivy. Creeping Mertyl is a low laying ground cover that gets little purple flowers in the spring. I picked up 50 plugs from a seller on Amazon (before finding out that a bunch of people at work have free Mertyl that they could have given me… lesson learned!) It came in two bunches which we had to separate.


Kurt went through an lightly tilled up the soil to loosen everything up and then it was time to plant.


We spaced the plugs about 6-10 inches apart based on what I was able to find online.


Lets step back a little


I may be able to get some more plants from coworkers to help fill things in a little and then we won’t have to wait as long for nice coverage. We were thinking about using pavers to edge but some of the gals at work have a bunch of hostas that they will be digging up this fall. I think that could be really pretty to frame our the Mertyl and add a little something else to the front yard.

West Michigan Wednesday: “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” at Muskegon Civic Theatre

One of the things we love most about our home is the location! I wanted to create a series that explores some of the great things that West Michigan has to offer.

west michigan wednesday

Kurt and I met while working on a play in college. We love being involved in the local theatre community and we see shows  in the area whenever possible. This weekend Muskegon Civic Theatre is kicking off their season with “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”

This is a tiny musical with a big punch. The cast is small with only seven in the ensemble but the songs are a riot; spoofing music from several genres. The plot centers around the residents of Armadillo Acres, the most exclusive trailer park in Florida. Trouble starts for Norbert and his agoraphobic wife Jeannie when Pippi the stripper moves to town followed by her jealous ex, Duke. The action is moved along by a hilarious trio as our greek chorus and narrators.  We actually had a chance to sit in on a dress rehearsal this week and the show is really funny! The music is modern and the plot is surprisingly touching. I had no idea what to expect going in and we had a great time!

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” runs September 20-22, 26-29 and October 3-5.

Buy your tickets here!


After moving in June we decided to focus on things inside the house and getting settled for this first summer. This way we could start fresh with landscaping with almost a year under our belts. We thought it would be fun to see what kinds of plants pop up this summer and take some the pressure off. (OMG we have a HOUSE and a YARD to take care of now!?!)

However, as the summer progressed we had a couple of  problems holding to this commitment. Here they are:


In case you can’t see past the big mess of green, that would be two giant, overgrown bushes, lilacs, hostas, and a whole lotta weeds just chilling in our front yard, completely blocking the house. All summer we toyed with the idea of transplanting the bushes, trimming them down or pulling them out completely. I did love how pretty the lilacs were on moving day but we just didn’t have the man power to transplant that beast of a bush.


We landed on removing everything from under the trees just to make it less overwhelming. I was worried that it may turn into a bigger mess if we waited until spring to clear everything out so we took advantage of a Sunday off and went to town.  Literally, we had to go to town to buy more yardwork-type-stuff. My thought process: Yardwork… Shopping…. Yay!! So, Tyler lopped off the branches of the two bushes and dug out the first stump while Kurt and I went to get supplies (rakes, a shovel, gloves, and five guys burgers)


Meanwhile, the giant lilac bush had a giant root system that would not budge. So, the guys tied a rope to the car and pulled that puppy out! They continued to rip out and dig up while I dragged the branches to the back yard. My thought process at this point: yardwork…yay. Now I remember why I would fake an injury when we would work on stuff outside growing up. So I took a little break and tried to teach Daisy how to bring in the newspaper… It did not go well.


However, we had to press on. We spent the next few hours pulling out all the plants and spreading out the dirt to make everything more even.


You can actually see the house!! It makes such a huge difference to clear that stuff all out of the way. I have been spending a lot of time researching different landscaping options to prettify the front yard. We have been talking about leveling the ground and laying grass, low maintenance ground cover, woodchips, stone, or something else entirely. I think we finally have come up with a plan and will be taking advantage of nice fall weather to plant this week! Of course I will be back with the details!