7 Clever Ways to Bring the Outdoors Inside to Your Decorating

Mother Nature is a true artist, painting a beautiful picture around her and letting her natural decorations shine. As the seasons warm up, we often want to let a little bit of the outdoors inside. I know I love stretching my time outdoors as much as I can, and when I do come inside, I want to remember all that joyful beauty. So here are some clever and unique ways to let Mother Nature guide you in refreshing your home.

1. Grow Real Grass Indoors
Love the look of new green grass? Wheatgrass is super easy to grow indoors! Plant seeds in pots, or sow directly into a unique piece such as this wood sugar-cone mold. Let the grass grow for about a week or two, and then use it as part of a living centerpiece. You can keep trimming the grass and continue growing it for as long as you want.



2. Make a Metal Gate into a Fireplace Screen
Brighten up an out-of-season fireplace with a decorative garden-gate screen. Use a wire brush to remove any rust from an old metal gate, and then dry brush it with white paint for a light, timeworn look. Decorate the gate by wiring on small flowerpots filled with colorful blooms. Be sure to secure the gate to the fireplace if you have children or curious pets.




3. Add Sticks and Stones to Furniture
Make over a tired cabinet with hardware sourced from your own yard. For the drawer pulls, cut two birch branches and use spacers and screws to attach them to the drawer. To make rocks into knobs, wrap rocks with wire and insert the wire ends through the existing screw holes. Secure the wire inside each door by wrapping it around a small dowel rod. Decorate the door panels by covering them with cut-to-size sticks, using hot glue to secure.




4. Stack Watering Cans Around
Introduce watering-can whimsy to a wide windowsill. Arrange a grouping of white pillars topped with mini watering cans, flowers and colored candles. Lay sheets of moss around the pillar bases to nestle in more watering cans and accessories. For even more interest, hang a few watering cans from ribbons tied to your curtain rod. You could even glue a little string of crystal beads to the spout to make it look like water is pouring from the can.




5. Give a Strawberry Pot New Life
Repurpose a glazed strawberry pot as a handy organizer in the kitchen. The open top and side planting pockets make it easy to accommodate various sizes of utensils.






6. Grow Strawberry Plants in an Old Sieve
Vintage kitchenware make interesting containers for plants. Combine the outdoors with old tools for a repurposed planter.




7. Add a Nest and Branches as a Nature-Inspired Valance
Twining branches along your curtain rod gives you an interesting take on a valance, and tucking a little bird’s nest with glued-on faux eggs into the corner highlights the scene.






What are some of your favorite ways to bring the outdoors in? We’d love to hear about them. Share them in the comments!

(Photos from Country Sampler Farmhouse Style magazine.)

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What to Consider Before Renovating an RV or Camper

Sarah used blue paint, a stick-on tile and gold hardware to transform the kitchen of this 1997 RV.

One of the features in the Summer 2022 issue of Farmhouse Style is “At Home on the Road,” which shares a peek at three RVs/campers that have been revamped into cozy living quarters on wheels. One of the RVs we showcase was rehabbed by Sarah Lemp of All Things with Purpose. Sarah is an experienced RV flipper and has renovated dozens of the vehicles to resell, from vintage Airstreams to 1990s-era Class A motorhomes. She has offered virtual design assistance and done commissioned renovation work in the past but has put that on hold for the time being. Her blog offers lots of resources and she even wrote a book, All Things Camper Renovating (available on Amazon or as an e-book via her website). Sarah offers the following advice to those looking to DIY an RV renovation:

· 1. Get familiar with RVing and/or camping in general. I’m always surprised when someone tells me they’re interested in flipping an RV, yet they’ve never traveled in an RV or camped a day in their life. I highly recommend taking some time to experience it first to see if you like it and to gather a better feel for the unique lifestyle and needs associated with RVing.
· 2. Make sure you have lots of free time. There is no real way to fully convey how much work it is to renovate an RV. It may look easy on Instagram, and the end results are very rewarding, but it can be slow and painful progress. The ugly side to renovating is not for the faint of heart and can easily take you hundreds of work hours to complete.
· 3. Evaluate your DIY skillset. On top of the need for general construction, plumbing, electrical, painting and sewing skills, there are so many things that go into renovating an RV. You may choose to hire some of these things out, but the more you can do yourself, the more money you’ll save. Research, research, research. Watch YouTube videos, call a friend for help, ask an expert, read books and join a renovating Facebook group like mine (All Things Camper Renovating).
· 4. Recognize that renovating an RV is different than renovating a house. Some of the differences you have to take into consideration include; lots of movement, fluctuating temperatures, proper weight distribution, safety on the road, and more. All these things impact your choices in materials and techniques.
· 5. Be prepared for the unexpected. RVs are notorious for leaks and water damage. If you are buying an older RV, it’s best to assume it has leaked or is leaking somewhere. Water damage can be sneaky and destructive. When purchasing an older RV, the previous owners may have no idea there is water damage hiding somewhere. It’s up to you to play detective and look for the signs: rippling walls, soft floor, musty smell, staining, sagging ceiling, etc. Even after all that, you may not know water damage is there until the demo is underway. Be prepared for surprise damage that will only be uncovered after you have started your renovation. Test everything and watch for leaks. Be prepared for things to break and need repair, which can add up and make your project more expensive than anticipated.

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Spring Is a Time of Renewal for Ourselves and For Our Home Decorating – Here are Several Quick Ways to Freshen Your Home for Spring

Wildflowers in crate

Gather a few wildflower blooms and arrange them in glass bottles set in an old crate. (Designed and photographed by Elizabeth Jones of CountryPeony.com)

Just as spring brings new life to nature, it prompts us to give a new look to our homes as well. When the days start getting longer and temperatures rise, it’s time to throw open the windows, bring out the light and sunny decor and imbue our spaces with warm-weather charm. Giving rooms a springtime update doesn’t have to be involved or expensive. It can be as simple as wrapping a wide pink or green ribbon around throw pillows or swapping out winter kitchen towels for light linen ones. If you tend to have fuller arrangements of florals and greenery, try some wispy bouquets of wildflower blooms and fern fronds.

Spring table with gingham

Set your table with a cheery gingham tablecloth and sunny linens. (Designed and photographed by Fabiana of CiaNewportBeach.blogspot.com)

Even a few cut branches of forsythia in a white earthenware pitcher can provide a cheerful touch to a table in no time. Accent your fireplace mantel with springtime favorites: perhaps a bird’s nest with tiny eggs set on a stack of whitewashed books or a few creamy yellow pillar candles tied with a bright polka-dot ribbon.

In the Spring issue of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, there are lots of ideas for adding seasonal charm to your home as well as general inspiration for revamping your rooms. Consider displaying your spring blooms with fun pieces, as we did with an assortment of old crates. Crates have such wonderful personality and can be used in all sorts of creative ways. In addition to the swaps already mentioned, consider other places to add light touches.

Floral lampshade

Wrap some spring-feeling fabric around a plain white lampshade for an instant update. (Designed by Nancy Borsodi for Country Sampler Farmhouse Style)

Replace a heavier pendant shade with a wispy wicker one, or use some floral fabrics to update an existing lampshade. You can even drape some sweet little hankies across a shelf for a nice touch, or throw a fun gingham tablecloth on your table to brighten up the kitchen. If you want to get even more creative, why not paint a piece of furniture in a bright spring color. You’ll smile every time you see it.

Pink painted Windsor chair

Paint a piece of furniture in a light springy color, like this Windsor chair featured in our spring issue of Farmhouse Style. (Designed and photographed by Elizabeth Jones of CountryPeony.com)

Spring is a time for new growth, and there’s no better place to start your life blooming than in a refreshed look for your home. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Spring issue of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style for lots of great ideas or purchase your copy here. And if you’re not already a subscriber, come join us! Subscribe to the magazine so you don’t want to miss any fun ideas throughout the year.


Red and white checked picnic

Create a fun picnic lunch or snack to start capturing the warmer weather. (Designed and photographed by Fabiana of CiaNewportBeach.blogspot.com)

White pottery in cabinet

Add sweet antique linens to a shelf display as Emily Altier did here. Emily’s home is featured in the Spring issue of Farmhouse Style. (Photographed by Gridley + Graves Photographers)



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Our Top Sweet Ideas for Celebrating Valentine’s Day

I just loved these heartfelt little pillows made from scraps of fabric and lace that I saw at a local vintage shop.

Hello from Farmhouse Style managing editor, Lisa Sloan. Are any of you sweet on Valentine’s Day decorating? Granted, it’s a short holiday, and it may seem like you’ve just packed up the last of your Christmas decor, so why bother? Where I live in the Midwest, the early winter months feature a lot of gray skies and slushy roads, so it brightens my spirit to pull out cheerful pinks and reds for Valentine’s Day, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks. So if you’re looking for a little February fun, I have some creative and cute ideas for you to help celebrate this day.

Flower frogs are great for holding up vintage cards in a display.

This year, Target stores stocked their “dollar” spot with loads of cute heart-themed decor, and I was able to nab some Cupid-approved baking dishes, cake stands and cutting boards that will make charming displays. I never was able to locate any of those vintage-style pink ceramic love birds I coveted though (but I did see them selling for six times the sticker price on Marketplace—ugh!). I also adore old-time Valentine’s cards, and I have a few local shops I visit every year to add to my collection. I look for cards that have charming graphics and silly sayings, and I display them with the help of my metal flower frog collection. If the Valentine’s cards are in good condition, I don’t mind writing on the back. In fact, I actually love thinking about the long-grown kids who signed their names on the back in their best printing or penmanship. Whether you discover these old-fashioned cards or just pick up a box of the dime-store versions, decorating with Valentine’s cards are an easy way to romance your decor. You can showcase the cards in photo holders or small frames, pin them to ribbon dangling from a window or doorway or simply gather them together in a charming basket.

It’s so fun to add a few festive pillows to the mix, whatever the occasion.

One of my other favorite ways to add Valentine’s style to my rooms is by bringing in themed accent pillows or pillow covers. I try to look for a variety of shapes and sizes. A few of them are neutral with textured motifs, so I can even leave them out a little longer. There’s also a woodworker in the next town over who makes seasonal plywood “door sitters” that rest on the tops of door, window or even mirror frames—no nails required—so I purchased some cheeky cherubs that add a splash of color and whimsy.

But beyond decorating, I enjoy sharing the day with friends and loved ones. I prefer meaningful messages and thoughtful treats over grand gestures. I have such happy memories of swapping cards and receiving small tokens, like the box of conversation hearts my mom would place by my plate on Valentine’s morning. I’ve always tried to do the same for those I love, especially my three daughters. This year, I found heart-spangled fuzzy socks and I’ll be wrapping them up with a candy treat and a gift card for coffee or ice cream. I even found a special treat for furry family members. Our dog passed away last summer, but I know my mom’s pup will enjoy some conversation Milk Bones! I’m sending my parents a treat, too—locally made gourmet popcorn.

A thrift-store cherub perches on a stack of wooden books.

If you’re looking for decorations for your home or small gifts to make, you’re sure to find something you like in our Farmhouse Style Spring 2022 issue, which includes a “Farmhouse from the Heart” feature on page 98. Pick up your issue today at newsstands or through our website and give yourself a treat this February!

Trading on nostalgia, these conversation biscuits are great for a special pup.

These adorable Valentine girls decorate gift bags filled with treats for my daughters.

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Nature’s Influence Brings Trends in Color, Materials and Patterns to Today’s Home Decor

green painted entryway

Behr’s Breezeway, its 2022 Color of the Year, is an uplifting sea-glass green.

As we begin 2022, it’s time to fling open the doors and let the outdoors in. In fact, nature is influencing today’s home decor in a big way. Perhaps it’s because so many of us spent the last two years stuck in our homes, or maybe it’s a desire for calmness in our lives, or perhaps it’s just a natural swing back from the all-white neutral look of the past. Either way, nature’s hues, as well as some richer tones, are making their way into our decorating. This year, most top colors chosen by major paint companies are variations of green. From soft, almost airy hues to those with a bit more depth and spice to them, these colors definitely help bring nature’s sense of calmness to our rooms.

On the lighter end, Behr brings us Breezeway, which the company describes as a “relaxed and uplifting sea-glass green expressing peace and tranquility.” Breezeway is indeed a peaceful color, and one that should be easy to incorporate into your homes. Benjamin Moore offers a similar shade that’s light and relaxing—October Mist. The company describes the color as “a gently shaded sage that anchors and uplifts.” Whereas Breezeway tends toward a blue hint, October Mist has a touch of gray in it.

green painted home office

October Mist, the 2022 Color of the Year from Benjamin Moore, is a gentle sage color.

Glidden’s color of the year is Guacamole, a more vibrant green that Glidden says is “spirited yet soothing” and “brings an organic energy to any space.” This is a brighter green; one that will make more of a statement on your walls but still provide a sense of peace. Moving into a darker hue is Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog, a mix of green meets gray with just a touch of blue. The company describes it as “simple and sophisticated, yet soothing and subtle.”

green entry wall

Guacamole is Glidden’s 2022 Color of the Year.

Even though green hues will be appearing everyone, that’s not the only popular color chosen for the year. Nature’s blues are making an appearance as well. HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams chose Aleutian, a washed indigo that feels like a wonderful wave flowing over you, and Krylon is touting its Satin Rolling Surf, a strong blue green that is punchy and optimistic. The color experts Pantone went in a brighter direction and looked to more purple hues for this year’s color, Very Peri. A bursting-with-color periwinkle blue with violet undertone, this is a dynamic and bright color. It’s reflects the joy and happiness of the floral vine that inspired it.

Pantone Very Peri

Pantone’s 2022 Color of the Year — Very Peri — reflects joy and happiness in its bright blue-violet hue.

The all-white homes of the past are bringing in more color, and we’re already seeing strong greens coming into play. But expect other colors as well. One hue we saw a lot of at home decor shows was a blush color; expect to see this more on pillows, throws, and even walls.

Nature is influencing home decor trends in other ways as well. We’re seeing an increased interest in wicker and rattan again, especially in furniture, end tables and lighting. The material is earthy and textural. Raw woods, especially on countertops, mantels and beams, are becoming popular in kitchens and other rooms. And we’re seeing more dried grasses and stems used in decorating. If you haven’t heard of pampas grass before, you definitely will this year! And the ultimate in natural influences—living elements themselves—are all over today’s decorating. Expect to see plants winding up walls, decorating shelves and filling corners. Succulents had their moment, and although still popular, you’re going to see more ivy, olive trees, palms and other big leafy arrangements. It’s that Scandinavian influence coming into play.

pampas grass tree

Home decorators are using more drieds in their styling, especially pampas grass like this tree from Thrifty & Chic.

round dining table with rattan chairs

Round dining tables are coming back in fashion, and rattan and wicker furnishings bring natural texture to homes.

As we move away from neutrals, more patterns and textures are taking hold. The once ubiquitous white shiplap walls in farmhouse-style homes across the country are making way for more color and pattern, especially in board-and-batten paneling and wallpaper. Yes, I said wallpaper. Its day has come again. Today’s wallpaper is so much easier to use than the sticky mess of decades ago. And the patterns are simply lovely! We’re seeing a lot of floral prints in soft hues, somewhat reflective of the old wallpapers from the 1940s. In fact, this desire to incorporate the well-loved pieces and elements from our grandparents’ days is a trend in itself.

floral wallpaper with blush colored paneling

This sweet floral wallpaper called Birdsong Cassis from Fiona Howard reflects the trend toward small prints and florals that the Grandmillenial and Cottagecore trends favor.

Called Grandmillenial, it’s a turn away from the sterile impersonal aesthetic of recent home looks and embraces nostalgia. Ruffled bedding, tea sets, antiques, vintage florals—they all combine into a look the young generation is embracing (of course we knew about its joy all along!). Sharing space with this trend is the Cottagecore look, a love of the sweet nature themes: woodland animals, mushrooms, daisies, flouncy aprons, etc.

As I said, we’re seeing pattern on the walls with paneling as well, especially board-and-batten. Many homeowners are swapping out their shiplap for this and painting it in a decidedly bold hue. It’s an accent wall for sure.

blue board-and-batten bedroom

The board-and-batten design from this bedroom takes on a different look with the angles. The paneling is enjoying a resurgence in home decorating. (Photo from Life with LeeAnne)

herringbone tile and flooring kitchen

Herringbone is becoming increasingly more popular for tile and flooring. In this kitchen from Wren Kitchens it’s paired with popular Shaker-style cabinetry.

Other trends in pattern include herringbone tile and flooring, intricately patterned colorful square tiles, and organic ethnic-looking patterns in rugs and pillows. On kitchen cabinets, the simple shaker look has taken hold, especially when accented with bar-style pulls. Also in the kitchen, the accented stove cover is a strong focal point, and for dining, the table of choice is now a nice round one. And we’re starting to see wood countertops coming back into fashion.

deconstructed sofa

Park Hill Collection’s Capital Hotel Chesterfield Sofa features the deconstructed nature of this popular look.

In general, furniture pieces are seeing more curves, but a couple trends really stand out in the farmhouse style. Structured cushions with a boxed look will be favored for dining chairs, benches and outdoor furnishings. Indoors, one trend that has people either loving it or hating it is the move toward deconstructed furniture. What is that, you say? Imagine an old couch with half the upholstery missing, some stuffing showing and other parts redone in a different fabric. DIYers are creating their own deconstructed furniture, but some manufacturers are doing this on a mass-market scale, where framework or padding might show through a newly constructed piece.

structured round pillow chair

Structured furniture upholstery seats and pillows like this accent chair showcased at a recent home show are coming back in vogue.

blush colored bedding

This velvet tufted comforter from Pottery Barn comes in this sumptuous blush color.

It’s always interesting to see what trends are coming into play in home decor, but one tenet interior decorators abide by: you must love what you live with. Just because something is trending, doesn’t mean you have to redo your whole room to accommodate it. It’s good to be aware of the trends, but overall, you do you. So maybe deconstructed furniture isn’t for you, or rattan end tables make you cringe, but you swoon over a beautiful floral-print wallpaper. Go for it! Make your home exactly that—your home.

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There’s a Christmas Decorating Style for Everyone—What’s Yours?

hoop orb ornament

Country Sampler Farmhouse Style designer Nancy Borsodi created these mini orb ornaments from small embroidery hoops. Get the full instructions in the Winter 2021 issue.

I’ve always loved that Christmas decorating comes in so many different styles. Yes, there’s the traditional red-and-green color scheme, but there’s also a more elegant glittery gold theme or icy cool blue look. There’s even a rustic all-natural cabin feel or a bright and fun retro style. Holiday decorations come in so many different designs and materials that you can easily change up your style from year to year (and many of you do!).

lit-up cabinet with christmas trees

Michelle Olson added string lights to highlight the wintery look of her milk glass collection in this old cabinet. See all of Michelle’s home in the Country Sampler Farmhouse Style Winter 2021 issue.

My holiday decorating style has evolved through my life, but at a slower pace than every 12 months. When I was younger, my family had a tree with a very rustic country, handmade look. We were smack-dab in the country-loving ’80s, and our home reflected it (pineapple wallpaper, oak paneling, pine quilt shelves—you get the picture). Plus, back then our family worked toward stretching a dollar. For our Christmas tree in those days, my mother cut strips of red plaid fabric and tied them into bows on the tree’s branches. We made ornaments out of pinecones and cinnamon sticks—and how could I forget the salt-dough creations? Those handmade designs never came out quite the same way we envisioned them in our heads (talk about early Pinterest fails!). Nevertheless, my mom lovingly hung our creations on the tree. Several years later, my mother began festooning the tree with strands of gold beads and icy snowflake ornaments. I still love adding the gold beads to my tree today. I like how they add that extra bit of glitz.

gingerbread mug place setting

Carleen Gorr enhanced her rustic holiday table with these edible mini gingerbread mug toppers. See all of Carleen’s woodsy-inspired home in the Country Sampler Farmhouse Style Winter 2021 issue.

When my own kids were little, we had quite the hodgepodge of decorations. Of course, the tree proudly displayed my kids’ handmade picture frames or paper-doily angels, but we also had whimsical figurine ornaments like Santa relaxing in a garden chair or the Easter Bunny pooh-poohing the holiday. At that point, I also had red velvet bows and sparkly garland. Two elements that always stayed in place, though, were the angel on top of the tree and the Nativity below. No matter how many decorating styles I went through, the real reason for the season stayed prominent in these two items. As different Christmas trees came and went, and different houses got festooned in holiday finery, the angel stayed on top of the tree and the Nativity was always nestled below.

sheet music holiday nook

Sarah Dodson transformed a nook with pages from her grandmothers old books to create this charming holiday corner. See how she decorates her entire home in Country Sampler Farmhouse Style Winter 2021 issue.

The Winter issue of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style that’s out now is filled with all sorts of farmhouse Christmas inspiration. I already found several creative ideas I want to try out, including the sheet music wall, the mini gingerbread mug toppers and the tiny hoop ornaments. And, oh if I had a cabinet like the lighted one here, I would definitely create a glowing scene like that! What is your favorite holiday decorating style? And what treasured keepsakes do you lovingly set out each year? I’d love to hear all about them and learn how you enjoy the season as much as I always have.




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My November Intentions — Be Thankful of the Little Things and Enjoy and Appreciate Life

November Intentions

November intentions from Thuraya Elizabeth on Instagram.

I have kept a journal on and off since I was in seventh grade. Back then I wrote about silly things, like if the new boy in art class liked me or whether I was going to be able to stay up all night at an upcoming sleepover. When I moved into high school, I wrote longer entries, often several pages per day. Some of those entries were still about boys, but others were about growing up and what was happening in the world. In college I could easily fill a whole journal in three months. When I got married and had kids, my journals were all about my family. However, I noticed as I grew older, the entries grew farther apart. It wasn’t that I didn’t have as much to reflect on; it was just that life seemed to get continually busier, and journaling took a back seat. When the idea of bullet journaling came about, it appealed to me. I could quickly jot down my thoughts to at least create a pinpoint in time. But I missed the deep inner reflections. Now, I am getting into monthly intentions. I don’t do it every month, but when I do, I really enjoy it. With November starting, bringing us into a season of thankfulness, family and giving, I thought this would be a perfect month to focus on monthly intentions.

November Intentions

Intentions from Let’s Live and Learn.

If you aren’t familiar with monthly intentions, do a quick search online. You’ll see all the creative ways people put together intention sheets or boards. They are often hand-written or drawn, or perhaps hodge-podged together in scrapbook format. They can be colorful, whimsical, elegant, or straightforward, but overall, they should reflect your personality. And then you simply write down all your intentions for the month. What are the intentions? Things you want to focus on, or do better at, or simply be aware of. Maybe these are steps you want to take to move you in a certain direction. Maybe they are just quiet reflections. Your intentions could even be just something you want to try or do more of. Setting intentions—and writing them down—helps to manifest them. If you don’t know where to start, follow these simple tips:

  1. Reflect on your life and what you’d like to see happen. How do you want to feel?
  2. Turn those reflections into words, phrases or actions.
  3. Write them creatively on your board, giving them emphasis.
  4. Post your intentions board in a prominent spot and review it often.
November Intentions

My November intentions, highlighting what I want to focus on this month.

For November, the overall theme of my intentions is to recognize and be thankful for the little things in life. I get too busy caught up in the everydayness of life. At times I focus too much on what the world expects of me. I don’t take enough time to smell the roses. For my November intentions board, I started by focusing on a few simple, but powerful words that get to the heart of what I want: Simplify, Appreciate, Let It Be, Enjoy, Breathe. I then spent some time individually thinking about what each of those words mean and how I can manifest them. Simplify: Don’t overschedule, allow free time. Appreciate: find joy in the wonder of nature, a child’s laugh, the wagging tail of a dog; talk with my friends and family more. Let It Be: understand that I can’t control everything—and that’s okay. Enjoy: do the fun things, linger over a decadent cup of hot cocoa, take a spin on a scooter, or as one of my favorite quotes says, “buy the ticket, take the ride.” And Breathe: take deep breaths, sit with yourself, let it out.

Your intentions, of course, will be different as they are your intentions. Maybe this November you’d like to try making an apple pie completely from scratch, or maybe you just want to relax around a campfire more often. Perhaps you want to start learning a new language or take up yoga. Maybe you want to host a Thanksgiving dinner all by yourself. Or maybe you just want something simple, like to start each morning with a quiet cup of tea. Monthly intentions don’t have to be elaborate, but they should be items meaningful to you. They should be something you want to do for yourself. So for the month of November, what would your intentions be?


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Make Your Own Farmhouse Style Fall Decor with Tommy Art DIY Paint System

This post sponsored by Tommy Art DIY Paint System

Rene’s sunflower sign is just one of the several fabulous fall DIYs she demonstrated in her Facebook Live video.

Don’t you just love crafting your own home decor? One of the best things about DIY is that you can create items that perfectly reflect your personality. Don’t want to hang up the same pumpkin spice signs that everyone on your block has? DIY your own! With the many great products available on the market today, it’s easy to create one-of-a-kind decor that will make you proud of your skills, and perhaps make your friends a little jealous. 🙂

Country Sampler stylist Rene Haines partnered with Tommy Art to create some inspired fall projects on the Farmhouse Style Facebook page (click here to watch her Facebook Live video: https://bit.ly/2XlhCxy). Using Tommy Art’s 3D Dust Crackle mixed with some Tommy Art paint and a stencil Rene made a darling dimensional sunflower sign that just brightens up fall days. The 3D Dust Crackle gives paint the consistency of a paste, which as Rene notes, makes it easier to work with the stencil (no bleeding paint underneath!). As a finishing touch, Rene sponge-painted the edge of her yellow sunflower on the wood sign with Metallic Copper paint. Oh, that little bit of shimmer just makes your sign shine! And as we’re seeing in the home decor world right now, copper is hot. So definitely add some copper touches to your home this fall. Rene’s sign included wording, which she added to her sign easily using a simple transfer technique and Tommy Art’s Transfer Gel. There are various ways you can do transfers (and many different materials you can transfer on). Tommy Art’s Transfer Gel makes it easy. Watch Rene to see how easy it is, and you’ll be wanting to transfer all sorts of designs around your home.

Want something even simpler than making a fall sign? How about just embellishing inexpensive plastic pumpkins? Upcycling dollar-store finds is a quick and inexpensive way to get your own fabulous decor without overspending your budget. And your friends won’t believe you did it yourself! In the video, Rene shows how cheap plastic pumpkins can look like designer decor when just touched up with some dabs of dark paint and copper accents. Simple, but sensational!

Isn’t this copper-rimmed chalkboard sign perfect for fall? See how Rene created it in her video.

A final easy-to-craft project is a fall chalkboard Rene made from an old metal tray she had around. With a coat of copper paint around the edges and chalkboard paint in the center, this past-its-prime tray easily became a fun chalkboard accent.

It’s easy to fashion your own fall decor, as Rene showed us. And with Tommy Art’s DIY Paint System, your creativity will know no bounds. Try your hand at a fall stenciled sign, painted inexpensive pumpkins or upcycle a tray. We’d love to see your own creations!


Here’s a look at the Tommy Art products Rene used:


Tommy Art 3D Paint System Products:

Transfer gel: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/transfer-gel

3D Dust Crackle: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/3d-dust-crackle

Rock paste: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/rock-paste

Neutral wax: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/neutral-wax


Tommy Art 3D Paint System Mineral Paint

Pure orange: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/pure-orange-mineral-paint

Sunflower: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/sunflower-mineral-paint

Brown black: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/brown-black-mineral-paint

Avocado: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/avocado-mineral-paint

White: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/white-mineral-paint

Metallic Copper: https://www.diypaint.com/shop/copper-metallic-paint


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Enjoying Extended Family—Reunions, Get-together and Good Old-Fashioned Sunday Dinners

I grew up in an Italian-American family. My grandmother was a true Sunday-gravy-on-the-stove, family-means-everything Italian grandma. For most of my early childhood, we lived in an apartment built above Nani and Papa’s garage in a Chicago suburb. And although we were constantly around our grandparents, we would still love getting together for big family celebrations with not only Nani and Papa, but also aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents and nearly anyone who was deemed “family.” We never held family reunions as most people think of them, or like the large annual get-togethers southern families enjoy, but every holiday, every wedding, every funeral, every religious event was a reason to get together as an extended family.

Family grilling

Family reunions include fun, family and food! (Halfpoint / Shutterstock.com)

In other parts of the country, people were enjoying the same tight-knit family camaraderie. Midwestern farm families had large Sunday dinners where everyone put work aside for the day and relaxed. Southern families would plan extended family reunions every summer where kids delighted in seeing their second cousins or fun uncles. But at some point it seemed these family get-togethers and reunions started falling out of favor. Families became farther apart geographically as sons and daughters moved away to strike their own path. Couples became busier, children’s schedules were packed with traveling sports and lessons, and generations seemed to focus more on their immediate family.

But lucky for us who enjoy being with their large families or getting together with extended relatives, the genealogy trend hit. Now people wanted to connect with their families again, to hear the stories from Great Uncle Alfred or to learn to cook recipes from Grandma Millie. And as a result, family reunions are back on the rise.

Family Reunion Cookbook images

Diana Petrillo of Adirondack Girl at Heart designed free templates to create your own family cookbook for Farmhouse Style readers. Download them here or with the link at the left.

Our Summer 2020 issue of Farmhouse Style has a great article on hosting your own family reunion with tips on how to go about it, plus a list of websites that can help you plan. Today’s reunions can be designed any number of ways—as special weeklong cruises or vacations, or as simple Sunday picnics at the family homestead. The events usually include large dinners, conversation time, family-history telling, and even fun reunion accouterments, like special T-shirts, glasses or such. Another fun way to share memories is to create a cookbook filled with family favorites. One of our designers, Diana Petrillo of Adirondack Girl at Heart, created a download to make your own recipe book, complete with personalized cover, recipe pages, food labels and more. Have family members send in recipes ahead of time and compile them in the cookbook to hand out at your event. Click here to download the cookbook template and instructions:

Family Reunion Cookbook Download

Whatever you do to get your family together can go a long way toward keeping that bond. And while we certainly wouldn’t condone hosting a large family event now during the Coronavirus outbreak, you could certainly start making plans to have a family reunion later this summer or in the fall. After this all passes, people will want to reconnect with all their loved ones, and a family reunion, large Sunday dinner or casual get-together will be just the balm we’ll all need.

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Creating a Summer Oasis in Your Backyard

A few weeks ago was National Hammock Day (July 22). One of my all-time favorite aspects of summer is relaxing in a hammock and listening to the sounds around me. As long as I can remember, we’ve had a hammock in our house. Years ago, when we had a traditional rope one as kids, we used to play a game where we’d try to flip the hammock over completely while one of us tried to stay clinging to it for a full circle. Nowadays I’m much more reserved in my hammock sitting. I like to sit out there with a chilled glass of iced tea and just enjoy the summer day. I put up a couple new bird feeders this year, so when I relax in the hammock, I can hear the birds twittering near by.

Bead suncatcher

The beaded suncatcher I made from a small cut branch and strung beads.

I bought the bird feeders, but I did DIY myself a small bird bath to hang near the feeders. I went to the local dollar store and bought a wire hanging basket frame and a cheap plastic serving bowl. I took out the coir insert of the basket and replaced it with the plastic bowl. Then I simply put a few rocks in the center, filled it with water and hung it near the bird feeders. Simple, quick and inexpensive. The kind of projects I like. I also decided to add a little glam to my garden and made a simple suncatcher with a small branch and beads. It took less than 20 minutes let adds a nice touch to the yard that I can enjoy when I’m outside.

Mailboxes as planters

These mailboxes make great planters!

Our Farmhouse Style Summer issue is out now and includes creative ways to pretty up your porch. One of those ideas is to take old rural mailboxes and set them on end to fill with flowers. I love this idea because I love thinking outside the box to find different containers to hold flowers. In our Gardens issue, our stylist created a planter that used river rocks and a wire basket. The beauty of nature shines through in this piece! Some other great ideas I’ve seen for creative plower planters include hanging metal colanders, rain boots, picture frames, painted tires, old stumps, purses, birdcages and more. I’ve always been thrilled by walking around a garden and finding unexpected delights throughout. I made a dragonfly stake from flexible copper tubing and beads and every time I see it among the plants, I smile to myself. Not only is it something whimsical and sweet, but it is also something I made myself, which makes it extra special. Another thing I absolutely love about it is that as it ages, the copper takes on a wonderful verdigris patina. So it’s something new to look at all the time!

Flowers in Rock Basket

I love this idea from our Gardens issue!

That’s what a garden, a backyard, a porch, or other special place is supposed to do for you—allow you to relax and smile. It’s a place to kick back in a hammock and enjoy a warm breeze, or to wander down a garden path and pick a few flowers for an impromptu bouquet. And for me, that’s a lot of what summer is about—enjoying those special quiet moments. What is your favorite spot to enjoy the warm summer days?

copper dragonfly stake

This dragonfly DIY came out so cute!

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