Home Sweet Farmhouse Home, Episode 6: Fireplace reveal!

Hi dear friends! Thank you for stopping to read this final episode of this summer, and part 2 of last week’s Home Sweet Farmhouse Home.

(For all the episodes of Home Sweet Farmhouse Home click here.)

If you remember, last week I showed the first stages of our fireplace surround makeover. It was a nice fireplace, but it was ten years old. Besides that, I’m FREAKING OUT because my firstborn is going to COLLEGE in less than a month and so I’m redecorating my house to cope. (Because nothing helps stress like adding more stress, right?)

Also, because my third novel is set on a farm, I want to pretend I live on one, too.

Here are three more of the inspiration photos I found on Pinterest. You can see all my decorating pins by clicking here.

Dream fireplace #1:


Dream fireplace #2:


Dream fireplace #3:


Those are some lofty goals right there.

But I love a challenge.

Last week I showed you how I chose the river rock for the bottom of the surround.

Below is the wood planking I found at Lowe’s to use for the shiplap.

While it would be an expensive product for covering an entire room, it was perfect for the tiny space above the mantel. I only had to use one and one-half packs. The pieces are pre-cut into various sizes and they fit together tongue-and-groove style.

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I didn’t have to make any cuts to these planks because I got lucky and they fit the space I needed them to perfectly.

And I used basic trim nails to hang them.

See how they come in different sized pieces so that a staggered look is made simple, too?

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The other thing I love about these planks is that they are really thin.

This helped the 1×3 poplar I chose to frame them compliment them perfectly.


All up and caulked.

I love caulk.

Caulk makes everything better.

Even amateur carpentry.


Because the planks I used are not traditional shiplap and I wanted to create a patina of age and wear, I painted the grooves with plain black acrylic paint.

Then when I painted over with white, I purposely left imperfections.


But before I show you that…

…on to the grout.

I was terrified to put the grout on the stones. I was afraid it would run all over the carpet or that I’d picked the wrong color or that the stones would “get lost” in it and I’d never be able to wipe it off right.

I didn’t need to be skeered, though.

The Kind Man from Lowe’s and the directions on the back of the stone tile were most helpful. Here are some of the products and tools I used.

NOTE: Make sure you get SANDED GROUT. There’s a HUGE difference between this and the un-sanded variety and take it from me, it’s not pretty.



Here’s the grout, all mixed up.

The consistency reminded me of cake batter.


Below is a shot of the first stages of grout application.

This is when I started to get skeered again.

The rocks disappeared!

It was so messy!

I had it in my hair and in my teeth and all over the dogs.

I felt like I was a little kid who got out of the ocean and rolled in the sand.

That’s how messy it got.


Lots of wiping and sponging is involved.

And more wiping and sponging after that.


But finally, I started feeling like I was getting someplace.

Someplace wonderful.





This whole project reminds me so much of the way my novel-writing goes.

I get inspired.

I dig in.

I freak out.

And somehow, after the giant mess of it all…

…something beautiful emerges.



Here’s the before picture again:



And here’s the after.

I thought I might need a new piece of art to hang in the middle of the shiplap, but I really love this print of the man and woman praying.

On a farm.

So I kept it.



Now I have a farmhouse-ish fireplace to match my farm-inspired book. (Have you read it yet?ūüôā )


What about you?

What inspires you and your creativity?

What DIY projects are you working on at your place?


Thank you for reading this fun little Home Sweet Farmhouse Home blog series. I’m taking the rest of the summer off of projects so I can finish my fourth novel and carve my heart out of my chest get my firstborn off to college. But after that, I may have some more projects to share with you. Would you like that?


And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17


Home Sweet Farmhouse Home: Collections

Home is where the heart is.

That’s for sure.

I don’t know about you, but especially during these times of social uncertainty and unrest, I am finding a particular comfort in my home.

While my¬†other Home Sweet Farmhouse Home posts have focused on projects, I wanted to write a little bit about collections. The sort of collections that make a home…well…home.

Luke 2:19 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, and especially since becoming a mother:

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

So much love, so many memories were happening all around Mary when Jesus was born. She didn’t have a¬†Creative Memories scrapbook¬†consultant (I was one back in the 90’s!) down the street to help her save¬†all the memorabilia, or a smart phone to document the visitors and events in real-time. So she pondered, cherished, and held the memories close in her heart. I’d be willing to bet she pocketed perhaps a smooth stone, a swatch of fabric from baby Jesus’ swaddling clothes, a snippet of wool from the sheep they shared the cave with.

Similarly, here are a few ways I’ve collected “memories on display,” if you will, in our home, visual reminders of travels and places and people we cherish:



I love farms.

I love barns.

My ancestors were farmers, and several of my cousins still are today. Indeed, if you’ve read Lead Me Home then you know that my dairy-farming cousins were the inspiration behind this novel.

No wonder I collect paintings of barns.

These paintings in particular, belonged to a friend’s mother, so not only do they remind me of my heritage, they remind me of the special place from which they came as well.




One of my dear friends, Sharon, painted this barn (below).

Isn’t it gorgeous?

You really should check out her work here. She’s pretty amazing.

All of my barn and farm paintings are in my dining room.

That’s one thing I’ve learned about decorating with collections: grouping things makes them stand out.




Like these pretty glass jars.

I don’t have a particular memory associated with them, but I like them.




Same thing with these vintage tablecloths.

Some of them belonged to my grandmother.

Others I’ve just collected over the years.

Putting them together in a little antique wire basket makes them look neat and special.




I have two of these chicken egg crates, and I use them for books on my bookshelves.




These rocks belonged to my grandfather, who was a hobby lapidarist. He cut and polished these himself.

He was also the inspiration behind my novel, Then Sings My Soul.

Keeping these beauties in a cigar box in the basement wasn’t doing them any good.

Now they are front-and-center on my mantle in a bowl I found at Goodwill.

I smile and remember Grandpa’s glee at showing us a new stone he’d been working on each time I walk by these.



Sea shells!

Who doesn’t have a few of these around from a trip to the beach?

We love our trips to the beach. The vase of cotton sprigs and these shells, all together in a cake stand, remind me of steamy southern nights on the Alabama gulf coast.

No wonder I was inspired to set my first novel, How Sweet the Sound, in southeast Alabama.



This painting also belonged to my grandpa, the lapidarist. He spent a lot of time on¬†Lake Michigan, and I am sure he liked having this in his home to remind him of the lakeshore when he couldn’t be there.

This also inspired me to set Then Sings My Soul in South Haven, Michigan.



The glass lamps have beach pebbles and pieces of driftwood in them that my family and I collected during our own trip to South Haven, Michigan.



I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the ways I’ve used collections in my home sweet home.

What do you collect?

How have you used collections in your home?

May the Lord bless your home and the precious memories you ponder today and always.


So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self  is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)

Home Sweet Farmhouse Home Episode 2: Settee remake

Did y’all like the first episode about the kitchen table remake? That was so much fun!

I thought I’d follow that up this week with another furniture re-do, or upcycling, as I like to call it. (I promise to show you the overall room one day, but right now the house is a disaster because we’re having a big ol’ bash for my oldest son who’s GRADUATING from high school! I think I might have mentioned that once or twice…#proudmama)

So here’s the piece I started with.

This settee is so charming and I loved the colors in it when this room (and much of my house) was more of a french country cottage feel. But alas, yellow and green and red don’t work with farmhouse style.

(Big white dogs evidently do…)

Now I’m no Joanna Gaines, but my theory about farmhouse/industrial style decorating is that it’s simple (because there’s too many chores on a farm to be fancy), it’s cheap (because there’s too many mouths–human and otherwise–to feed), and it uses what’s around.

That’s why I try to stick with these three tools and a glue gun.

(Never mind that I can’t sew and have destroyed three machines trying to learn.)


The only thing I bought for this project was a few yards of white cotton duck/canvas from Hobby Lobby. I doubled the thickness of the material to make sure the old pattern doesn’t show through.

I left the original bottom cushion on as it was, fabric and everything, and stapled the new fabric to the sides, careful to keep the material pulled tight as I worked my way around. To help the fabric stay more even,  staple in the middle of one side, then the opposite side, then the two ends. Then staple everything in between.


The back of the settee features a post running down the middle, and of course on all four corners. In these spots, I used the scissors to split the fabric, folded the rough edges under, and stapled some more.


Once the big piece was in place, I used the leftover fabric remnants to make the little skirt, which is cute (IMHO), but serves a larger purpose in covering up all the staples. 

First I cut four strips from the leftover fabric.


Then I ironed a little pleat along one side of each fabric strip so that the top of the ruffle is smooth and won’t fray.

The bottom of the ruffle was left with raw edges because it’s kinda farmhouse style (IMHO) and I think a frayed edge adds charm and a bit of an “aged” or at least “well-loved” appearance.

(Also, if my cows dogs rough it up it will look like it’s supposed to be that way. )


After ironing the fabric for the pleat, I grabbed my glue gun and stuck it on, pausing ever couple of inches to fold the fabric back onto itself to create each little pleat. You could measure out the spots where you want the ruffles if you want to be precise, but I just eyeball it because I don’t have time to be precise. I have a herd of cows dogs to tend.


Here’s the end result.

I did fold the side edge of the ruffle where it met the arm/leg of the settee so that the vertical edges would be clean.


Another view of the back ruffle.


And here’s the finished bench.

I’m so thrilled with how it turned out.

And I really need to go get some Scotch Guard. Because of the cows dogs.

I’m using it in my dining room at the dining room table, which I’ll show you once the grad party is done and my house is clean again. But I just love the look of a cozy chair or two pulled up to a country table.


I hope you liked this episode of Home Sweet Farmhouse Home!

Now for the contest!

To be eligible for a chance to win a prize package like this, including a signed copy of Lead Me Home and a milk bottle full of candy, make sure you:

  1. Repost and share this blog post on your social media sites, along with the hashtag #LeadMeHomeNovel.
  2. Leave a comment here on the site, below. Feel free to share and/or link back to a farmhouse project or something farmhouse that you really like!

I’ll let the post and contest run through Friday and notify a winner Saturday, when I’ll put everyone’s names into a computerized random name chooser.


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)


Thank you so much for stopping by today.

Stay tuned for a more episodes of Home Sweet Farmhouse Home this spring and summer.