Throwing a Gender Reveal Party! It’s a…

The day FINALLLYYYY arrived!!! On Saturday we had our gender reveal party for Baby R, and I seriously felt like I’d been waiting YEARS! Okay, not quite, but since the beginning of June I’ve been Pinterest-ing like crazy, planning the decor, menu, and activities for the big day. I even made an Excel spreadsheet to stay organized – LOL! Anyway, the day finally arrived and I was oh-so pleased with how it all turned out! Oh, and beyond ready to find out whether I’m carrying a little girly or a little boy!

Gender Reveal Dessert Table

Gender Reveal Decor & Voting

I wanted to have a few activities planned for the party so our guests were entertained. When they arrived, I brought them over to the voting table to cast their vote! I created a poster with gender predictions based on old wives tales and let them cast their vote on a chalkboard. Which, PSST, I bought a few of those chalkboards for my wedding and I LOVE reusing them!!

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Chalk Painting an Antique Mirror Frame

I’ve heard from some of my family members that you can chalk paint pretty much anything. Seriously – my aunt chalk painted an antique scale and my mom chalk painted a cushion. I had only tried chalk painting wood furniture up until last weekend when it alllllll changed. Dun, dun, dun…….

My dear gramps passed away a few months ago and as my mom and aunts were going through his belongings, they kept texting me to see if I wanted stuff. Leaf blower? Sure! Bread box? Um… okay! An old mirror they always had from way-back-when? Mother Bird said I could chalk paint it, so I said, “OK! New challenge!” She wasn’t joking when she said way-back-when… she sent me this picture for proof – she was about 16 here!

Chalk Painting Antique Mirror

Cutie!

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Planning Our First Nursery!

In case you missed it, last month we announced we’re expecting our first babe at the end of November! And guys… I didn’t think planning our nursery would be THIS much fun!! It’s an excuse to put together a whole new room for the best reason ever. Eek!

Pregnancy Announcement in the Woods - Nursery Planning

We hadn’t thought much about our nursery during my first trimester, but now that I’m feeling semi-back-to-normal we’re checking things off our list! Even though we don’t know baby’s gender yet, we’re starting to work on the big-ticket items – like picking a room and finding furniture!

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6 Essential Steps When Painting Furniture

Alright, friends. I’d like to have a little chat about painting furniture… I have seen tons of tutorials and projects on Pinterest and I’m deeply saddened to see the results! Don’t be fooled by those posts that say, “No sanding or priming required!” Sure, skip those steps if you want your furniture to look good for less than 10 minutes.

Here’s the gist: Whatever way you do it, it takes work to paint furniture. So if you’re going to put in the effort, make sure you do it the RIGHT way! No shortcuts!

The hubs and I have refinished lots of furniture over the past year and (after some trial & error) here are the steps we make sure to take each time so we get a good finish that lasts.

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Knobs, Pulls, & Finishes: Choosing the Right Hardware

Have you ever thought about the impact that hardware can have on a room? By hardware, I mean knobs, pulls, handles, faucets, and other things that are usually metal. They’re often overlooked but can have a massive impact on how your room pulls together (pun intended). Heck, they can be statement pieces if you let them!

*Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy an item after clicking a link, I may receive a small commission from the purchase at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep this blog up and running. Thank you!*

Our Bathroom Hardware Inspiration

When it comes to choosing hardware, we tend to pick brushed nickel because it has a simple, clean feel (and it just goes with everything), like in our guest bathroom:

Guest Bathroom Makeover - Faucet

Shop this faucet

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Our Biggest Adventure Yet!

Well HELLO there! Happy Spring, almost Summer! I’ve been a little MIA lately, and I’m only kind of sorry… because we have some really big, really exciting news! Can you guess? I’ll give you a hint!

Pregnant - Pregnancy Announcement

YOU’RE SEEING THAT RIGHT!!!! IT’S A BABY!!!!!!! A WEE LITTLE ONE!!!!!!!!!! AND IT’S OURS!!!!!!!

In light of this eXciTiNg news, I’m going to mix things up a little bit! I’m starting a new “category” on Rise and Renovate for pregnancy and baby – I’ll be blogging a bit about my pregnancy and lots about creating our nursery and baby-fying our house! The countdown to November 28 begins. Let the baby-bloggin’ commence!

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10 Easter + Spring Decor Ideas You’ll Want to Copy

Well hello, friends! We’ve had a crazy few weeks traveling to Italy, Germany, and England, but I’m back at it! March has absolutely flown by. Bring on April! Can you believe Easter is in two weeks? Mind. Blowing.

Alright, I have a confession. I find most Easter decor kind of hideous. For example, I very rarely find a cute, non-tacky-looking bunny. No joke, one time I came across this bunny at Hobby Lobby. I wanted to tell someone that I think it was meant for Halloween, not Easter.

Ugly Hobby Lobby Bunny
The Easter and Spring decor either have disturbing bunnies or, well, hideous colors! You can’t just throw pastels or brightly colored plastic eggs into any room and think it will look okay. Like this. Please never make this:


All that being said, I don’t usually decorate for Easter. Sometimes I’ll get some fresh flowers for spring, but that’s about it! But since I’ve been following some other bloggers this year I’ve been inspired! After seeing some nice, fresh decor, I decided to put up a few decorations myself and share some other Easter & Spring decor that’s inspired me!

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Bathroom Makeover #3 – the Biggest One Yet!

Ciao from (probably) the other side of the world! We are in Italy right now and I’ve been trying to get this post up for about 5 days, but WiFi has been so intermittent and shoddy that I’ve had a little trouble. But alas, here it is! PS – it is BEAUTIFUL here!!!

Us in Venice

Alright, guys. As you might know, we’ve been on a roll with our bathroom renovations this year! They all needed a serious facelift and we’ve finally finished our THIRD and FINAL bathroom! We started over New Year’s weekend with our master bathroom, in February we finished our guest bathroom, and just this month we finished our upstairs bathroom makeover which is what I’m revealing today!

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Refinishing Wood Furniture with Stain and Chalk Paint

I think 2017 is the year for makeovers for us! First, our master bathroom, second, our guest bathroom, third, these coffee tables! We haven’t had much success refinishing wood furniture over the past year, but I’m happy to report that this time was a success! It took a bit of elbow grease, but as you can see these coffee tables were in desperate need of a little lightening up:

DIY Coffee Table Before

These were hand-me-downs from my parents that kinda needed a facelift. I was Pinterest-ing awhile back and found an AWESOME project from Nifty Thrifty Mama where she put a new wood top on an existing coffee table. It seemed like the perfect solution for our coffee tables since I wanted to do a natural wood on the top and a clean white chalk paint on the bottom.

EXCEPT, we went to Home Depot to buy some oak wood, and it cost over $150!! Um, no thank you. I could buy new coffee tables for that much. And these aren’t even the nicest tables to begin with!

I conferred with my DIY Sage, AKA my mom, and she said the tables actually had a wood veneer underneath the paint, so we could strip it off and stain the wood. Hmmm… 🤔

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DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign: Iowa Roots

Heelllloooooooooo, friends! It’s a rainy weekend here in Arizona, which means it’s perfect blog-writing weather! And, omg, I am ridiculously excited to share my latest DIY project with you! An adorable wood sign, made using our new Cricut Explore Air 2, a little paint, and our reclaimed wood from Porter Barn Wood. It’s probably my most favorite sign I’ve ever made.

DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign - Final

My mom and I have made plenty of signs in the past, but we’re always looking for the best method to getting our designs onto the wood or canvas. We’ve tried transfer paper, cutting out and tracing letters, free-hand painting, etc., but it’s either a huge hassle or not the prettiest. So, on Thursday, we decided to go half-sies on a new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine (they’re a little pricey, on sale at JoAnne for $250)! It’s this machine that cuts out text and shapes, as well as draws with a marker. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch. I’ll show you a video in a bit.

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