DIY Tutorials

DIY Butcher Block Kitchen Island


When we started the kitchen renovation, I searched high and low for a kitchen island that would work in the space. Our kitchen isn’t huge, so I didn’t want something that felt too heavy or took all the attention away from the rest of the kitchen. I had a hard time finding exactly what I wanted, so instead we decided to just build the island ourselves. Lowe’s sells precut butcher block tops which was the perfect start to our island! I loved using the iron pipes for the base. They matched the style of the shelf brackets and the simple design felt complementary to the rest of the kitchen. I think it was the perfect fit! Try it out yourself!! This idea could also be used for a dinning room table or coffee table.


Precut Butcher Block 25”x48”
4 x 1”x30” Black Iron Pipe
6 x 1” Black Iron Tees
4 x 1”x8” Black Iron Pipe
4 x 1”x2” Black Iron Nipple
1 x 1’x36” Black Iron Pipe
8 x 1” Black Iron Floor Flange
2 x Rust-oleum Paint and Primer In One flat black spray paint
Valspar Flat Premium Finish Spray Paint
Watco Butcher Block Oil and Finish
Sanding block



1. Gather all your pipes and pipe fittings. Clear an area so you have room to work. Work on attaching all pipe fittings and pipes together to create the base. I started with the middle 36” bar and worked out from there. Although they’re standardized, precut pipe, there is always some variation in threading. It’s a pain but if you know that going in- it helps. Make sure you gently tighten pieces at first, remembering that you’ll need to loosen and tighten some of the connections to get matching lengths later on.

2. Add tee fittings on each end of the 36” pipe. Followed by the 4, 8” black pipe pieces in each end of the tee fittings. Set aside this “I” shaped assembled piece.

3. Work on creating the 4 legs. The order will go flange, nipple, tee, 30” pipe, flange. Repeat this 4 times to get the 4 legs of the island.

4. Attach each leg to the middle “I” piece to finish the base.

5. Tighten or loose connections to make all legs the same height. It takes a bit of finessing!

6. In an outside location, spray paint the entire base with the flat black spray paint. When completely covered and dry (may take 2-3 coats) spray a top coat of the premium finish spray.

7. Place butcher block on top of pipe base. Drill screws through holes in the flanges into the butcher block to secure together.

8. With a rag, follow directions on the Watco Butcher Block oil and seal and finish the butcher block. Will take 2 coats, with a light sand in between.






Note: This makes the island 37” tall. I wanted a slightly taller island for ease of food prep but you will have to plan accordingly for stools. A counter height stool is a bit too low and a bar stool is too high. The answer is a stool with a swivel top! We wanted them anyways because of the kids, now everyone can adjust their stool height to be perfect for them. I like having mine low so I can cross my legs and I raise Finley’s way up so she can be close to the butcher block. Works out great! Our stools were from Urban Outfitters.

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Professional and Lowe’s. All opinions and pictures are my own.

Shibori (indigo tie dye) With Kids!


One of the things on our summer bucket list that I was most excited about doing with the girls was tie dying. I’ve really been loving the indigo dyed trend that’s been going on for a little while and wanted to give that a go instead of your traditional brightly colored tie dye. I ordered this kit off of amazon and got a bunch of muslin and white pillow cases to dye. I wanted to use the pillow cases on our bed and make the girls a dress or skirt with the fabric. These cloth napkins would be awesome to use as well. Wouldn’t your table be so cute with dyed napkins?

I am not going to get into super detailed instructions because the kit comes with them but here are some pictures from our process.



1. Indigo Tie Dye Kit (comes with dye, gloves, wooden squares, instructions)
2. fabric, pillow cases, etc…
3. Elastics
4. Popscile Sticks
5. 5 gallon bucket


1. Gather all your materials. Read instructions. Mix dye. It needs to sit for at least an hour (I think) before you use it. The indigo dye is so much cooler than just a regular rit dye. When you first dye the fabric it’s green until the air oxidizes it.

2. I did a lot of pinterest looking to see how best to fold and tie fabric. There are lots of techniques out there and really you can’t go wrong (this was super helpful). I found that the best way to get results is to stick with some type of accordion fold with the fabric and then use popsicle sticks and/or elastics to bind it all up. The girls had a lot of fun (and it really kept them entrained for quite a while) folding the fabric and using the elastics. Of course I had to go back and make sure everything was tight enough to actually work with the dye but for the most part they created their own designs.


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3. You’ll notice an oily looking top layer with a yellow-greenish colored liquid below. This is when you know the dye is ready. You need to soak all your knotted and bound fabric in clean water first before you submerge in dye. This is a great job for your little ones to do.



4. Once everything is soaked you can submerge into the dye. This part I did myself only because I had one pair of gloves but otherwise I would have let Rowan help as well. When you put the fabric into the dye you sort of massage it around a bit, making sure the dye seeps all the way into the center of the bound fabric. Keep submerged, working the fabric for about 5 mins.

5. Again, when you first bring out the fabric it will be this neon green color. As it sits in the air it will turn that deep indigo color. It’s really cool to watch. The girls loved that part, they thought it was magic! You can repeat the dye process if you want a deeper darker color.



6. Let the fabric sit for at least 20 mins and oxidize in the air. Then you can open it up and hang it up to dry. Some parts of the inside may still be green when you open it but it will turn blue very quickly. You can wait till it drys completely or you can throw it into the wash partially wet. Wash on cold with a gentle detergent. Hang to dry.


7. If you dyed fabric try using this tutorial to make the easiest and cutest skirt for your little ones.





Hand Painted Photos


I love creating gallery walls and collections of family photographs around the house. There is something so special about filling your home with beloved photos. We’ve had this blank space behind our dining room table for 2 years now just begging for some photos. I decided to hang some simple white shelves and then teamed up with Canon USA to create a photo wall. To punch it up a bit, I printed all the pictures and then got a little crazy and painted on top of all of them. It was totally easy with a super big impact! Love the way the wall has so much character now. The hand painted details really give it a personal feel compared to if you just added text or a color overlay on the computer.

Let’s get to it shall we?



Canon PIXMA iP8720 printer
poster board
craft paint
paint brushes
washi tape


1. Having a large format printer really comes in handy for projects like these. I was able to print some large photos on my PIXMA iP8720. Love the added dimension and height these large photos gave to the wall. Glad everything didn’t have to be 8.5″x11″. I printed all of the pictures out on poster board so they would hold up with the added paint.


2. Once you’ve picked your pictures and printed them out (I chose to do a handful of color and b&w photos), you can start planning out what colors you want to use and what you will actually paint on the pictures. I decided to use a limited palette to create a cohesive collection for the wall.


3. I always like to practice writing out the saying first, trying a few variations before I commit to the final design. You kinda go with the flow though too- don’t get stuck on it being perfect! I love the dry brush strokes a paintbrush can leave. Some pictures I painted a saying and on others I just painted a solid stripe of color. Have fun! Get creative! There are no rules, they’re your pictures!




5. When you’re all done. Trim up the edges and get them ready to put in frames. I chose to do a combinations of in the frame and then also just taped up with wash tape inside an empty frame. I like the combo of the 2 styles.


6. Add a few details (like succulents or figurines) for styling purposes and Voila! You’re done. Sit back and enjoy your new awesome picture wall!






Let’s Make Puzzle Sticks


Have you ever found yourself at a busy restaurant with restless kids, slow service and your blood pressure rising? No? Just me? I feel like I find myself in this predicament quite often. Rowan is always pretty good (I love 4!) but Finley is still a loose canon. Why do the coloring sheets restaurants give kids not entertain them for longer? Anyway, at that moment I am always wishing I had some sort of magic to pull out of my purse to keep them occupied. Today I am teaming up with Canon USA today to bring you this very sort of magic… PUZZLE STICKS!!

My girls LOVE puzzles. Carrying a puzzle around with you in your purse isn’t really easy though. They’re usually too big and bulky. That’s why these puzzle sticks are so great. They 1. have a personal picture on them and 2. are super small and easy to through in a ziplock bag and keep in your purse. I promise your kids will love doing them!


Popsicle sticks/ Tongue depressors
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
X-acto knife
Printed out pictures
PIXMA MG7520 Printer
Masking Tape

1. I found some pictures that I thought my girls would really like making puzzles with. I tried to find pictures that had good use of color and didn’t have too much tiny detail. I wanted to keep the puzzles at their level. Then I wirelessly printed the pictures quick and easy from my laptop to my PIXMA MG7520. Next you will trim all your pictures.



2. Line your popsicle sticks up, making sure the edges are all perfectly aligned. Run a piece (or 2) of masking tape across the popsicle sticks to keep them in place.



3. Flip over the sticks and lay down a thin layer of Mod Podge over the front of them. Align and lay down your picture on top of the popsicle sticks. With your sponge brush, lay another thin coat of glue on top of the picture as well




4. Let the picture dry. Once dry, flip it over and remove the tape from the back. With an x-acto knife, run the blade between each popsicle stick to slice the picture on the front.



5. Finished! Puzzle is ready! You can number the sticks to help make it easier if need be. You can also use tongue depressors to make it a bit easier for a younger child. We decorated one of our puzzles with a sharpie as well. Throw them in a ziplock bag and you are ready for those restless moments that sneak up when you are out with your kids.







Super Sized Pop-Up Valentine’s Day Card


So if you haven’t guessed (you know by my blog name and all) we love Kev over in these parts somethin’ fierce. We are 3 lucky ladies and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, we wanted to make an extra special card for him. What better way to show someone how much you love them then by making them a super sized card? I wanted to make it a pop-up card as well because why not right? Let’s add all the fun into one giant card.

Anyway, I teamed up with Canon USA again this month to create this cute super sized pop -up card. The girls were so excited about the idea. Pop-up books are their favorite right now. Our poor Peter Rabbit pop-up book has seen better days though. Rowan thought it was hilarious when I told her it was going to be a pop-up picture of her.

Let’s get started!


Canon PIXMA iP8720
2 pieces of white poster board
white Glue
a bit of cardboard
hot glue
sweet potato
paint brushes


1. Take pictures of yourself or your kids for the card. It helps to take the pictures on a white background. You’ll want to pose your hands in a way that makes it look like you are holding something.


2. It’s awesome having a large format printer so you don’t always have to print at the standard 8.5″x11″. Using our PIXMA iP8720 we were able to print the pictures of the girls at 13″x17″. Hello super sized cards!!


3. Cut your figures out of the paper and glue a piece of cardboard to the backside. This will help the photos to stand up straight in the card.



4. Fold a large white sheet of poster board in half, this will be your ‘card”. Decide where you want your figure to stand in the card. With a pen mark on the folded edge of the paper. Cut two notches (about 1.5 inches in length and about 2 inches apart) along the folded edge of the paper. You will have to do this for each of your figures.


5. Open the card half way. Use your fingers to push the flap of paper into the card so that the flap lies between the two layers of the paper. When you open the card, a box-like shape or step will pop up at you.


6. Hot glue your figures to the front of these box shapes. To complete the card you will fold another piece of poster board in half and glue this to the outside of the card. This creates a finished backing for the card and adds some support and strength to the card.


7. Now you can decorate your card anyway you’d like. I decided to cut out some sweet potato stamps and let Rowan stamp patterns onto the card. We made a heart, an X and a dot. We also cut out some gold letters to create a banner that we strung between the girls that said “WE LOVE YOU”. I glued dowels to their hands and tied the string to the top.








8. The messier you get the better! Have fun and remember whoever you are going to give it to is going to love it no matter what!




Happy Valentine’s Day!!

p.s. Just in case any of you were in the market for a new printer… There is a promo until Feb. 14th for $50 off the Canon PIXMA iP8720 and $5 off the Canon SELPHY CP910.


Make Your Own Photo Accent Pillows


Over the past few months I’ve been slowly redecorating our room. Ever since we moved into the house (2 years ago) it honestly never really got finished. The kid’s rooms always took priority. We did paint it in a mad dash before Finley was born but that was about it. I love our room. It has vaulted ceilings, lots of space and pretty morning light. I love the idea of your bedroom feeling like a little retreat. Anyway, i’ve been buying a few items here and there to create a more finished feel. Mostly plants. I’ve wanted to keep everything bright and light feeling. Lots of white and neutrals. Our bed was feeling a little sterile though. That’s when I came up with the idea of creating some fun accent pillows for the bed with some cute personal touches.

I teamed up with Canon USA to make these pillows come to life! I was planning on just printing onto some transfer paper BUT did you know you can print right onto fabric from your printer?? How cool and convenient is that?! All you need is freezer paper. I was totally jumping up and down when it worked.


Materials needed:

Freezer paper
Rotary cutter
Embroidery floss
Batting/pillow forms
Kids drawings
Craft paint (optional)
Pixma MG7520 Printer


1. Cut a piece of freezer paper to 8.5×11″ (or whatever size your printer prints). Iron the freezer paper to a piece of muslin that is slightly bigger than 8.5×11″. That way you can trim it exactly to the size of the freezer paper after you iron it. You want the edges to be lined up perfect so that it will feed through the printer right. The freezer paper gives the fabric some “weight” to be pulled through the printer. Make as many fabric/freezer paper sheets as you want photos printed. I ended up making 3 – 8.5×11″ sheets to use in the printer.



2. With our PIXMA MG7520 printer I was able to print the photos right on the muslin/freezer paper sheets I created. I printed 2 b&w photos and then I even scanned a piece of Rowan’s artwork using the scanner on the printer. It made the coolest pattern fabric when it printed. Make sure you load your fabric paper the right way. You want to make sure the photos print on the fabric side NOT the freezer paper side.




3. When everything is printed, peel off the freezer paper back and discard. You will now be left with the printed fabric. The world is your oyster! I’m going to make pillows with mine. How cute would little patches for your kids jeans be?


4. Here comes the extra fun part! Since I wanted pillows bigger than 8.5×11″ I was able to get creative and think of some fun ways to design the pillows. For the first one I cut 1.5″ strips of fabric to sew around the square picture. I sewed the checkered strips first, then added the polka dot fabric creating 2 borders to enlarge the front of the pillow. You will also need to cut out a backside piece of fabric for the pillow.



5. Before you sew the pillow together add any embroidery/details (buttons, paint, etc…) that you want to the pillow. I decided to stitch the words “sweet dreams” onto the front. After you finish, pin right sides together and sew the edges of your pillow together. Leaving a small opening at the bottom to turn and stuff.



6. To finish it off I added some tassels to the corners of my pillow and then stuffed it full of batting. Hand sew the opening closed at the bottom when you’re done. You can really have a lot of fun coming up with your own pillow ideas. The possibilities are endless!!









Simple and Fun Advent Calendar


I will admit that every year I have high hopes for a great Advent calendar. Last year I never got around to making one and the year before that I was hugely pregnant and motivation was loooow. My sweet, sweet friend sent one in the mail to Rowan that she made (there were lots of tears when I opened that package- she is the best!) The year before that I made one but honestly didn’t finish sewing all 25 houses. I had them all cut out but not all made it on the branch. This year I was determined to make something…Anything! I decided against gifts, wanting to be focused more on family activities and service projects. I came up with a list of 24 things and also added a Bible reading for each day as well. I wanted to make sure we focused on why we personally celebrate Christmas and not just focused on gifts and being “good” for presents.

I printed out each day’s Bible reading and activity and cut them down to size. I also ran some kraft paper through the printer to print out the daily numbers. I made all the squares 4.25″ x 4.25″ and then sewed the edges together with that day’s activities inside. I strung all the numbers on some branches I had found on a walk in the woods last week and hung them up on the wall. Rowan couldn’t wait to open the first one today. Our first activity is making Christmas cards for our friends near and far. She loves sending mail!!



Here is the list of our Advent activities…
Dec. 1st: Make Christmas cards for friends. Read 1 John 1:1-5
Dec. 2nd: Pancakes for dinner with whipped cream and berries. Read Isaiah 9:2-7
Dec. 3rd: Make salt dough ornaments. Read Isaiah 11:1-10
Dec. 4th: Call local food pantry and see what in particular they are in need of. Go shopping and donate. Read Jeremiah 33:14-16
Dec. 5th: Paint with special shaving cream sparkle paint. Create painted snowmen. Read Luke 1:5-10
Dec. 6th Make Gingerbread houses. Read Luke 1:11-17
Dec. 7th: Mommy and Rowan date to go Christmas shopping for Daddy and Finley. Read Luke 1:18-25
Dec. 8th: Work on doing special chores from now till Christmas to earn money to donate on Christmas Eve at church for local charity. Read Luke 1:26-38
Dec. 9th: After dinner let’s get our jammies on and head to Albany to drive through the lights at the park. Hot Chocolate is a must! Read Matthew 1:18-21
Dec. 10th: Make a special holiday card for the mailmen and leave it in the mailbox for him. Read Matthew 1:22-26
Dec. 11th: Make Borax snowflakes. Read Luke 1: 39-45
Dec. 12th: Christmas crafts with popsicle sticks! Read Luke 1:46-56
Dec. 13th: Make desserts for Ronald McDonald house. Bring over some new markers and coloring books as well. Read Luke 2:1-5
Dec. 14th Sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Read Luke 2: 6-7
Dec. 15th Stay up late watching Christmas movies. Read Luke 2:8-12
Dec. 16th Go through our closets and find clothes we can donate to local shelter. Read Luke 2:13-14
Dec. 17th: Bake and decorate gingerbread men. Read Luke 2:15-18
Dec. 18th: Make stitched ornaments for the tree. Read Luke 2:19-20
Dec. 19th: Sleepover in the living room by the Christmas tree. Read Micah 5:2-5
Dec. 20th: Ice Skating in Empire Plaza. Read Matthew 2:1-2
Dec. 21st: DISNEY PRINCESSES ON ICE!!! (shhhhh its a secret!- good thing Rowan can’t read) Read Matthew 2:3-6
Dec. 22nd: Picnic dinner on blankets by Christmas tree. Read Matthew 2:7-8
Dec. 23rd: Paint pinecones. Read Matthew 2:9-12
Dec. 24th: Make homemade marshmallows. Hot cocoa party at Meme’s house. Read John 1:14






p.s. just because I think this is hilarious… Finley is totally buck naked from the waist down in these pictures. Oh the joys of potty training!!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev