A Tour Through Blogland

Hello Sunshine! Last week I was invited to participate in a Tour Through Blogland by my friend Katrina of Chic Little House. I had the pleasure of meeting her, in person, this summer at Haven. Her blog was one that I started reading many years ago before I had even started one myself. I watched her rebuild her home during a time she likes to call 'through the fire.' Her home is beautiful and her style classic or should I say California Modern Casual.

The way the tour works is, I answer four questions to give you a behind the scenes glimpse into my work and creative process here on the blog, then introduce you to a couple of my favorite bloggers. Next week those bloggers will then do the same. Lets dive right into the questions, shall we!


Much to my husbands dismay, I always have at least 3 to 4 projects going on at any giving time, if its just planning or actually making those plans come to life. Sometimes our budget has to catch up with my plans, so bigger projects take a while.

Currently I'm working on our laundry room. My cabinets arrived last week but we have to plank the ceiling and paint before those can go up. This week I plan on addressing our hall closet so it will be ready to all the jackets Fall brings, moving all the stuff out of the laundry room, organizing many years worth of school artwork, and dusting off my sewing machine for a fun little project for my youngest.


This is a tough question to answer. Every blogger has their own unique style and I draw so much inspiration from so many different bloggers and designers. For me, I am a lifestyle blogger, I tend to blog about everything that makes me happy and not one specific topic.

Many of you know we live in a small house and with that comes certain challenges. Everything that goes into our home has to have purpose and multiple uses. As well as the projects I complete, they too have to have purpose. I cannot just do a project for blog content.  Everything you find here on the blog is something that I have chosen because it will in someway benefit myself or my family.


I started ChippaSunshine as a way to share my projects with my family back home. We moved away 10 years ago. You should have seen some of my text messages trying to explain how I did a certain DIY project.

Now almost two years later from pushing my first publish button, I find sharing my thoughts refreshing. I've always felt I was a terrible writer and this blog as helped me to find my voice and my confidence in sharing myself with the world even if it's just through a craft. 

I never would have thought the friendships my blog would help me form. I have found this world of like-minded individuals that truly gets me and why I love to make my home beautiful but functional. Some of us are from all over the world and even if we never get to meet we share a special bond.


Being a busy mom, my thoughts are always all over the place. With so much on my plate, list and notes are my best friends. I keep a small notebook in my purse at all times to jot down blog post ideas, to do lists, drawing of sketches, measurements, etc.

When the planets align and I'm ready to start a post, I gather all my supplies and get to work. I take a ton of pictures from different angles. This part takes a long time for me. I am no photographer but I play one on this blog! Lighting is my biggest culprit for setting back a post other than the writing part.

I tend to sit on my projects for a bit before I share them and other times they are hot off the presses. I usually write my post the same day I publish them, most of this is because I have all these ideas but no words. Writing isn't my strongest suit and doesn't come naturally to me so I write, rewrite, delete and sit blank in front of the computer for a long time.

Enough about me, let me introduce you to two wonderful bloggers that I know you'd love to meet and explore their blogs and pour over their endless pages of inspiration.

Meet Alissa from 33 Shades of Green
"Hello ChippaSunshine readers!  I'm Alissa and you'll find me at my blog 33 Shades of Green.  I am an Interior Designer and have worked for an architectural firm designing commercial interiors for 15 years (but I love helping friends and family with their residential projects!).  When I'm not working I love to cook (and eat!), travel, sew, craft, and decorate.  I also love photography and am always trying to improve my skills.  I usually have a million projects in my head and can't ever decide what to start first! My blog is a creative outlet where I share a combination of all of my favorite things.  Thanks, Darnetha, for inviting me to your blog hop!"

Alissa has the most beautiful feed on instagram. I always tell her she makes my home state look good! She recently built a Lake House with her sister that I can't wait to see pictures of. The views however are to die for. Alissa also posts the most delicious looking recipes, many of which are from my favorite food group. Fresh!

Kelly of Simply Kelly Designs is a former software engineer turned stay at home mom. She spends her days chasing around two young children, designing digital scrapbooking products, Zumba dancing, crafting, volunteering and blogging about it all. Kelly shares quick and simple projects so you will have time to do more of what you love.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly at the Haven Conference when she pull Katrina and I out on the dance floor! She was putting those Zumba moves to work! She was a blast to hang out with, such a genuine, kindhearted person.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into how I create and check out my group of amazing blog friends.
See ya soon!

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By The Front Door

Hello Sunshine! As many of you already know my home doesn't have a foyer. Our front door opens into our living room and we have deemed our entryway the wall parallel to the door. That wall hosts our newly painted console table, a mirror and our command center.

The wall by the front door is what we call the TV wall. It houses our buffet table turned TV cabinet. The area beside our TV was always empty. I never could decide what should go there since our door opens up in front of it. Benches and cute round baskets for shoes were out of the question, plus it was a small area.

For years, the only thing that hung on that wall was a sunburst mirror that I got from a yard sale for $2. It wasn't until after Christmas, when I removed all the decorations and the area was bare, that I had an idea for the area.
What He Wants
My husband, Dr.Jay, does not like stuff to crowd the TV. No vases, no pictures, no knickknacks. He loves the area on-top the buffet on either side of the television bare. He also wanted a place to hang his hats and anything else was fair game.

What I Want
I envisioned a simply styled area with a few pictures on the wall, a plant and a bowl to hold spare change, jump drives or Lego men.

The Compromise
Combining both our visions of the space was easy. A single potted plant and a small bowl placed beside the television, a couple of picture frames flanking the door with a 4-hook rack hung underneath and a basket to hold books ready to be read for our youngest to grab easily.
Our style as a couple continues to evolve and I love the direction it is moving in. We don't always agree nor have the same taste in design but it blends well together. I really love how this tiny spot turned out. There's not much to it but it still packs a big punch.

Get This Look Source List
Wall Color | Camouflage by Benjamin Moore
Frames | Marshalls
Feather Art | Free printable from Oh So Lovely
Artwork | Brush Stroke Silver on Natural Paper from Paper Source
Wall Hook | Container Store
White Planter | Target
Plant | Succulent
Bowl | Goodwill

See ya soon! 

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Make It : Lazy Susan Homework Caddy

It's that time of year again. The kids are heading back to school. Our schedules are about to be kicked into overdrive with everything from sports practices, music lessons to open houses. We are all busy trying to get everything in order so we, as well as our kids, can be organized and prepared. One way to prepare and organize your kids for this years workload is to make a Homework Caddy.

I turned a plain Mason Jar Caddy Kit, that I recieved from the Home Depot at Haven, into a swiveling Homework Caddy. I filled it with all the supplies my crew uses on a daily basis to complete their assignments. It makes homework time a little easier when everything is located all in one place.

Here is how you can make a Lazy Susan Homework Caddy for your crew.

Materials Needed
Caddy build kit | Here are plans to a similar caddy by Ana White
Paint plus primer | The color I used was Sparkling Apple by Behr in satin
Lazy Susan
Pine circle plaque
8 #6 screws
Ball canning jars
Homework | Art supplies

You can buy a ready made caddy or make your own. If you make your own, follow your plans directions for cutting and building. Sand, prime and paint. Allow to dry.

Center the lazy susan hardware on both the bottom of the finished caddy and circle plaque. Mark and drill holes according to instructions. Attach lazy susan to top of the circle plaque using 4 #6 screws.

Rotate lazy susan so that it looks like a star and mark holes. Drill through plaque using a large drill bit, big enough for the screwdriver to pass through. Blind attach the lazy susan to your caddy, this will take some finessing.

Flip caddy over, fill with supplies, and give it a whirl!

Tip : Drill on top of a scratch piece of wood. You wouldn't want to damage your work surface.

Happy Back to School! See ya soon!

If you want to see the caddy in motion, I made a little video of it over on instagram

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Health & Wellness Journey Chronicles | Flat Feet

I knew something was wrong but I tried to continue on day after day. It all started in zumba class. I'm about fifteen minutes into the workout when I get this burning sensation in the bottom of my feet. It hurts but I try not to let on, it's only been fifteen minutes and I have forty-five minutes left. How could this be?

I pause a few hundred times but jump right back in, trying not to let on that I am in pain. I think nothing of it and chalk it up to being unfit. After several Saturday classes full of pain I stop going. I picked up T-25 and that was a good fit for me. My feet only hurt during only one of the workouts so I was fine.

After upping my workout plan to walking three miles once a week is where I couldn't ignore the problem any longer. Almost immediately after starting my weekly walk I would have to stop and stretch. Not only were the bottom of my feet hurting but my shins were also. It was almost unbearable. I tend to pride myself on having a high tolerance for pain but this was a bit much.

My daughter is my walking buddy and she stated that she thought I was experiencing shin splints. I told her, "yeah okay" and continued on my walk trying not to have to stop again. After 48 minutes I was finished and totally proud of myself. I did it, I didn't quite, but I was still in pain.

I mentioned the pain to my husband and he thought the same thing as my daughter. Shin splints. That just couldn't be so I did a little homework and discovered that my flat feet was the culprit. My flat feet was causing all the discomfort. Dr.Jay decided to take me to Fleet Feet so that they could help me analyze my particular situation.

Colleen was extremely helpful and very informative. From our little meeting I discovered that when I walk I overpronate. Meaning that my foot rolls significantly inward. She checked my foot strike and the tightness of my calve muscles.

The combination of my muscles being tight, a flexible flatfoot, overpronation, wearing unsupportive running shoes, all lead up to the shin and foot pain. She prescribed me with a foot massage using a ball before I start working out or walking. Most importantly I would need a stability running shoe that would help prevent overpronating and a carbon insert to help support my arch.

I could feel the difference immediately. After our meeting, I continued to workout with the addition of doing my foot messages but I stopped walking altogether until I can get my shoes and inserts. I can injure myself and I don't want to do that.

I hope to be back walking and even lite jogging by the middle of August. Those blasted shoes are expensive plus I am still doing research on which ones will best suit me and my bank account.

Have you had any workout woes that bothered or caused you pain? Do you know of an excellent stability shoe? See ya soon!

Health & Wellness Series:

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A Trip To The Mountains

Family trips are a great way to fellowship with the people you love and have fun. In the past, my husband’s family would take an annual trip. Since his family is so large we used to have a caravan of cars parading towards the beach once a year.  It’s been a decade since our last trip therefore my mother-and-law and a few grand kids decided to reinstate the tradition.

Back in June, we took a family trip to Pigeon Forge. Pigeon Forge is a mountain resort city located in Sevier County, Tennessee. It reminded me so much of our trips to the beach with all the attractions and shops.

It was great seeing everyone again and all in one place. My husband has 4 sisters, there are 15 grand kids, 2 great-grands, and all us spouses! Since we no longer live near the family, we hardly get to see everyone, so this trip was special.

Our cabin named Movie Theater Lodge was beautiful and enormous. I had never seen a cabin as big as this one. It was 4 stories tall, had 8 large bedrooms, a shuffleboard and pool table, loud arcade games, a movie arena, balcony's to take in the view, and lots and lots of annoying stairs.

We grilled out and my brother-in-law made his famous barbecue sauce. I would have totally commandeered some to take home with us but he used it all. A group of us went on this coaster that dangled off the side of the mountain. Crazy scary but fun! I would do it again and that's saying something.

We took a couple nephews to a multilevel outdoor go kart. I won! Lol! I don't remember the restaurant we went to but they served drinks in the biggest mason jars I've ever seen. Even though we didn't do a lot of activities we spent some quality time with one another and that's the purpose of these trips.
See ya soon!

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Laundry Room Layout

Hello Sunshine! I am back with another laundry room update. Two weeks ago I announced that we're redesigning our laundry room and shared some inspirational spaces. Today I will give you an idea of how the room will be laid out and our overall plan.

Before committing to any design plan I believe it is best to live with the room as is for a while. This simple step will allow you to see how the room is used and the things that should live in it. Our laundry room is not only used for washing and folding clothes but we also use ours for additional storage.

Living in an older home has its fair share of storage dilemmas and we have spent a great deal of time minimizing and streamlining clutter but some things we just can't get rid of and they need a home. That home is our laundry room.
Current laundry room layout
Our current laundry room houses the washer|dryer, freezer, water heater, and large storage cabinet. Besides adding the storage cabinet, drapes, new light fixture and hanging a shelf above the w|d, that has recently fallen and started this whole process, the room pretty much looks the same as the day we moved in.
New laundry room layout plan
This is what we envision for the new laundry room:
  • Built in cabinetry
  • Heated tiled floors
  • Freshly painted walls
  • Planked ceilings
  • New molding all-around
  • A sentimental art installation
  • New curtains
  • Counter-top for folding clothes

We plan to do this makeover in stages and take our time. I like for our house to develop organically and over time. I am in the process now of picking out the cabinetry, looking at flooring options and paint samples. When I narrow down the look we are going for I will share our mood board.

Until next time, see ya soon!

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How To: Square Foot Gardening Soil

When I started my garden last year I went out to a local company and picked up 1 cubic yard of soil. It was what they called Ultra Soil, which is perfect for raised beds. I did not like the quality of the soil, it was full of clay, so I added peat moss and compost to it in hopes it would improve the quality. Needless to say my garden did not survive and I blame it mostly on the soil conditions.

When I started planning my garden this spring I knew I had to assess my soil situation. I looked everywhere for good quality soil that I could buy in bulk but ended up empty handed. I remembered a book I saw that explained how to make my own soil after having a conversation with my friend Nicole. Her husband's garden is beautiful and they have a great harvest each year.

Making your own soil is not difficult but it is labor intensive and you may have to go to a couple of nurseries to find the different components at a decent price. I must say that choosing to make my own soil was the best decision I have ever made for my garden. My plants have thrived and grown beautifully however I have a gang of squirrel bandits that have literally eaten most of my harvest. That's a another story for another time.

The Soil
Square foot gardening soil is often referred to as Mel's Mix. Mel Bartholomew is the author behind the popular All New Square Foot Gardening. There are only three components to this soil. Compost, peat moss and vermiculite.

Compost provides the nutrients your plants need to grow and flourish. A good compost contains 3 to 5 different sources. Each source benefits your plants differently. I found out that lobster compost is very beneficial to tomato plants. There are many different sources of compost like cow manure, poultry manure, coffee grounds, wood chips, leaves, worm castings, and many others. Blending 3 to 5 different sources of compost will aid in a more balance compost that will benefit your plants.

Vermiculite is a natural mineral. It has many uses but for us it is a soil conditioner. It helps keep the soil light, allowing for good air flow and aids in absorbing and retaining water. Vermiculite is available in many grades, for soil you should use the course grade. Peat moss is also a soil conditioner. It regulates the moisture and air around plant roots.

The Recipe
Equal parts compost, peat moss and vermiculite

1/3 vermiculite
1/3 peat moss
1/3 compost mix | I used a blend of cow manure, worm castings and mushroom compost

This is done by volume. The amount of soil you need depends on the size of your raised planter bed. The SFG method only requires 6" of soil. If you have a standard bed that is 4' x 4' x 6" you will need 8 cu. ft. of soil mix. The equation is L x W x 0.5 = ___cu. ft.

In my case I needed 16 cu. ft of soil mix (8 x 4 x 0.5). My beds are 12" deep and since it isn't necessary to have more than 6" of soil mix, I kept most of my previous soil intact and only removed what I didn't need. This also keeps the cost down.

Once you have calculated the amount of soil needed, divide that number by 3 and you will have the amount of each component needed to make your soil.

Mix It Up
In addition to your components you will need a tarp | wheelbarrow | 5 gallon bucket

In a large wheelbarrow, mix together your different sources of compost.  Remember a good compost is made up of 3 to 5 different sources.
On a large tarp, add equal parts each of vermiculite, peat moss and compost mix. Do not add all 8 or 16 cu. ft. to the tarp. It will be crazy heavy and almost impossible to transfer to your raised bed. So I'm about to drop some knowledge on you, from here on out just measure each component with one of those 5 gallon buckets. Makes life so much easier and your back will thank me later!

Add one bucket full of each component at a time to your tarp. Peat moss is usually sold compacted, break it up before adding it to your bucket. Mix to combine. The best way to mix is to have a partner. Each grab an end of the tarp and gently mix by walking towards each other so the mix starts to fold on itself. You will do this several times.
I found it helpful to mist the mixture with water to help weigh down the peat moss a bit. Pour mixture into bed, wetting it down as you pour. You will be making several trips to your raised bed so do all your mixing next to your bed. Once you have fill the bed up with the soil mix, plant and water.

You may have to utilize a couple of your local nurseries and big box stores to find all your components to make your soil.

Vermiculite | $41.94 each
Peat moss | $11.97
Compost Mix | $23.94
Total cost | $77.85

I still have a wheelbarrow full of mix that I can use next planting season. This is a one-time expense so don't let this price tag scare you. The good thing is after your bed is filled, the only thing you will ever need to add is a trowel full of compost each time you plant a square.

I hope you found this how to post on how to make your own soil helpful. See ya soon!

Build a Raised Garden Bed
2014 Spring Garden Plan
Starting Seeds Indoors

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