DIY Forsythia Wreath



We're happy to announce that Courtney Hamby from The Hamby Home has partnered up with to share some amazing DIY projects exclusively with Pursuit of Home. Enjoy!


Wreaths are a great way to add character to a home. I love switching mine up and moving them around my house. I have wanted a forsythia wreath for a while but never found one that fit into my budget so I decided to make one instead. You can do this with any long greenery stems as well.



Grapevine Wreath
Wire Cutters
 Floral Wire
 5 Forsythia Floral Stems


Step 1:
Trim all the stems about 2 inches below the lowest flower.


Step 2:
Lay the forsythia on top of the grapevine wreath,
you can wedge the end of the stem into the
wreath form or lay it right on top.
Cut a 4 inch strip of floral wire and hook it through
the wreath and around the stem, then twist to secure it tightly.
Clip the excess wire and tuck the ends into the wreath.
Each stem will need to be secured with floral wire
in 2 to 3 places to mimic the wreath shape.

Step 3:
Repeat step 2 for two more forsythias.
You should have full coverage with three
flowers with a few thin spots.
Step 4:
For the last two forsythias, cut them
in half to give you two short pieces to
fill in the bare spots.  
Wedge and secure with floral wire in
the areas where you need more blooms.
Step 5:
I had a couple areas that were very full
so I trimmed on little branch here and
there and dispersed the trimmings to any bare areas.
There is no exact place, just try to evenly
arrange the pieces around the wreath.

That’s all there is to it! There is no right or wrong way to arrange the stems which makes this a very simple DIY wreath! This one worked perfectly in our guest room to compliment accents of yellow, I just looped some green ribbon through the back of the grapevine wreath and tied it to a piece of old porch railing.


We hope this wreath helps beautify your home! If you've caught the DIY bug, try refurbishing a laminate dresser! And for even more DIY projects, visit our Pinterest page.

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DIY Harlequin Dresser Makeover


Hello again, my Beauties! It's time for another makeover! This time I am going to show you how to take a plain, old, boring nightstand and give it a makeover using some sample paint and a craft store stencil.


I started with an old nightstand that had been given to me by my sister-in-law. She had no use of it and told me if I wanted it I could have it. Of course I wanted it; I never turn down free furniture.


Lucky for me, it was in great shape and the top was in practically perfect condition. It was just a bit boring. This is where the fun begins!  I like to try all different paint colors and rather than buying a full-sized can, I buy the little sample pots so I can get a feel for the color before fully committing. The sample size was more than enough paint for this project.

I painted the base and drawer fronts with American Paint company’s Backyard Pond. It's a nice cool color. This paint is a mineral/chalk/clay based paint so it is water based.That means it has to be sealed with either wax or poly.

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I gave my table two thin coats of paint since I wanted a more distressed look. Before waxing the piece, I took a little sponge and wiped the edges where I wanted the old wood to show through. Then I waxed and buffed the piece to cure the paint and seal it.


This piece would look great if you were to stop at this stage, but I like to add a little extra fun to my pieces. For that, I chose to add a fun and funky little harlequin pattern.You can find lots of choices of stencils at your local craft store. Now since its hard to paint a piece and explain I will demonstrate the stenciling technique on this board. 

My board has been painted, waxed and buffed just like the dresser. For the stenciling I simple use a flat stencil brush, some acrylic craft paint, and my stencil.The key to stenciling is to not overload your brush.You actually need very little paint. If you overload your brush the paint will bleed through the stencil. I keep a rag next to me when stenciling so I can blot the paint off the brush before stenciling. You can see on my brush how little paint is actually on it. 

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The best part of the dry brush stenciling is that it’s very easy to go over it with a second coat if you wish to darken up the paint. It also dries very quickly because of the small amount of paint. When the stenciled area is dry you can wax over that and buff that up to, to give it an even distressed look. Once the stenciling is done, your piece is ready to be displayed!


It is now the perfect piece to accent a living room or a place to keep things next to your bed. So next time you see that boring, old, boxy piece of furniture, imagine it in a fun new color with a funky little pop of pattern!



For more amazing DIY projects, head to our Pinterest page, or check out an earlier post about upcycling a thrift store landscape painting! 

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Creating the Ultimate Guest Room


We're happy to announce that Bryn Huntpalmer from has partnered up with to share amazing interior design tips exclusively with Pursuit of Home.

For many homeowners, the guest bedroom is the last room to be furnished and decorated. As a result, any house guests you have to stay may be in for a less-than-stellar sleeping experience. Use these tips to convert your forgotten guest room into an oasis for friends and family.

Choose comfort. 
The best guest rooms have comfortable, large beds. Choose a neutral frame to suit every guest’s taste, but don’t be afraid to show your own style as well. Solid wood frames are durable and tasteful, so consider oak or pine frames when choosing your guest bed.

Spring for queen or king size beds if you can, because no one likes squeezing into a small bed after a long day of catching up and socializing. As far as mattresses are concerned, try to pick one with a medium firmness. A mattress that is either too soft or too firm will likely not suit one or all of your guests, so split the difference to be safe.

If you have money to spare, buy a memory foam mattress so everyone will have the ideal night’s sleep.

Lastly, if space allows, add a large armchair or chaise lounge for additional seating. Just because your guests are staying with you doesn’t mean they won’t need a little break once in awhile!

(Photo credit: Modernize)

Supply storage space. In order for your house guests to feel at home, it’s super important to have space for them to store their belongings while staying at your home. A large dresser is a must. If you're feeling extra fancy, a dressing table with mirror and chair would do double duty as a storage and vanity.

If your guest room doesn’t have a built in closet, a wardrobe would be an excellent addition for your guests’ more formal attire and larger items of clothing.

Don’t forget bedside tables with at least enough space for a lamp and a good book!

(Photo credit: Modernize)

Add accentsEven though you want your guest bedroom to be tasteful, you don’t have to hide all of your personal touches. A statement piece on a mantel and one or two framed photos of the local area, or somewhere important to you, can go a long way in personalizing the bedroom space without making it too cluttered and overwhelming.

Add a few vibrant cushions or throws to the bed to brighten up the space.

Surprise your guests and make the room even more inviting with a bunch of fresh cut flowers in a vase or water jug  to add a fresh element to the space. (Here are some accent wall ideas to help inspire you!)

Photo-3-BH-1(Photo credit: Modernize)

Provide amenities. Most homeowners know how to spoil their house guests, so furnishing and decorating your guest room should be relatively easy.

Make your guests’ space stand out from the rest by adding a few things they won’t have seen in other houses. A special amenity pack is a cute and original touch.

Use travel sized shampoos, conditioners, and soaps (in case your guests have forgotten their own), a selection of chocolates or other sweets, and a few good books or movies will have your guests coming back time and time again. 

Photo-4-BH-1(Photo credit: Modernize)

Now that you’ve created the perfect guest room, it’s time to get entertaining. Just don’t forget to tidy the house before your guests arrive!

The guest room is all set, now learn how to spruce up your entryway so your home gives guest a fabulous first impression. For more decorating tips, check out our Pinterest page

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DIY Laminate Dresser Refurbish


We're happy to announce that Cassie Bustamante from Primitive and Proper has partnered up with to share some amazing refurbishing projects exclusively with Pursuit of Home. Enjoy!


Something I have heard many times in my refurbishing journeys is, “Oh I had to pass because it was laminate.” The truth is that laminate is just a thick shiny coating, like a heavy coat of polyurethane on a solid wood piece of furniture.Like polyurethane, laminate can be painted.

Believe it or not, this dresser started out life with an ugly plastic looking speckled laminate top.


Wouldn’t it have been a shame to pass this piece up simply because of it’s hideous speckled laminate top?  It had so much potential! 


Here is a close up of the top so you can see its speckled glory….


I am not really sure why the speckled look was ever a thing back in the day, but thank goodness we have products (and skills) these days to cover it up.

To prepare this dresser for painting the process was simple and similar to prepping any other piece.

First, of course, I put on a mask to prevent dust inhalation.  Then using an orbital sander with 180 grit sandpaper, I sanded the entire laminate area so that it lost its shine.  If I tried to sand the entire laminate off, I would be sanding all day, and I would uncover most likely composite wood underneath which is not as durable.  To give you an idea of how much to I sanded the laminate, here is a look at it post sanding; it’s pretty similar to the above photo, just duller.


Once the laminate area was sanded, I continued with the rest of the dresser body.  I removed all of the existing hardware and put it aside, and used the orbital sander to lightly sand the body.  Because the drawers and legs had details that were inaccessible to the sander, I used a loose piece of sandpaper in the same grit and sanded those hard to reach areas by hand.

After the entire piece was sanded I used a damp rag to wipe away dust, allowed it to try, and was ready to prime. Because I prefer to keep things as clean as possible, I used a water based and low VOC primer.  I applied one coat with a brush, and allowed it to dry.  I then tested the laminate top by attempting to scratch the primer off, and found that it adhered beautifully.  (I do this on all pieces where there is a possibility of paint or primer not sticking; I call it “the scratch test”.)

With the primer sticking perfectly, this piece was ready for paint!  I created a custom mix with some General Finishes blues I had on hand and applied the first coat with a brush.


After one coat it was clear another was needed, so I continued with a second coat.  Once the second coat was dry, I used my sandpaper to lightly distress the edges.  This dresser had so many great details and curves that I wanted them to pop.  Distressing the edges lightly allows for those features to really stand out. 

To protect the finish I had worked so hard to achieve, and ensure durability, I applied a coat of satin finishing wax.
Finally, the crowning touch was putting the hardware back in place.  While the dresser’s paint was drying, I had sprayed the existing hardware with a gold spray paint to freshen it up.  I knew it would shine beautifully against the darker blue.

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You would never know that hideous speckled laminate top is lurking underneath the new finish. 


This piece now has an entirely new look and has been taken from 70’s faux-finish French to vintage hip.



We hope Cassie's DIY project helped ease your laminate fears! Looking for another project? Try this dining chair makeover. For even more DIY crafts, check out our Pinterest page. 

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Make an Entrance: How to Create a Gorgeous Entryway



We're happy to announce that Gabrielle Anschau from Trend Mogul has partnered up with to share amazing interior design tips exclusively with Pursuit of Home.

For such a small space, the entryway has pretty big boots to fill. It has to be practical and personable (plus, you'll want it to be aesthetically pleasing). Follow these tips for creating the ultimate entryway.


An entryway is a hub for coming and going and, more often than not, becomes a disorganized dumping ground for coats, mail, and shopping bags. Ward away clutter with hooks for coats and hats, baskets for shoes and benches for heavy bags. Consider the kind of foot-traffic your entryway will endure - for families with lots of muddy feet and paws opt for stone, tiles, or hardwood. Hang a mirror. This will not only make the room feel bigger but it also allows for a last minute glance before you step out the door!



Tip: If you don't like shoes being worn in your house and feel uncomfortable asking guests to take them off, set the example by providing a basket of shoes by the door - they will get the hint!



Create an intimate and welcoming tone for your home with family photographs and memorabilia. This will create a sense of comfort and familiarity for guests. A gallery wall of photos is a stylish way to display family memories.
Don't be afraid to be bold! Incorporate bold colors and patterns in the form of wallpaper, rugs and artwork. Intricate tiles, an oversized lamp, or an abstract piece of art will add a stylish flair to the space. Pick a piece that represents and flows with the aesthetic of the rest of your home.




Try and keep this space as open and flowing as possible. It is ultimately a room that serves no other purpose than to be practical. It is not a living space - so keep the furniture to a minimum. Even in large foyers - let the grandeur of the space speak for itself.



Make your entryway feel as large and refreshing as possible with bright, light wall colors. Create a subtle backdrop for artwork and other feature items with white, pastel, or pale grey walls. Additionally, try to incorporate as much natural light as possible.



If you only have a narrow hallway to work with then don't try and jam in large pieces of furniture or overwhelm the space with extravagant artwork. Respect the size of the space. Wall shelves or suspended shelves are a storage solution that will ensure the space remains both functional and organized.


I hope this post has inspired you to create a stunning entryway that wows your guests as soon as they walk in!


For more decoration inspiration, check out our Pinterest page or read our last decor post about shabby chic style

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Stuffed Chicken Breast with Alfredo Sauce & Roasted Red Potatoes


We're happy to announce that Alicia Pileggi from The Crafterglow has partnered up with to come up with amazing recipes exclusively for Pursuit of Home. Bon appétit! 

Over Fourth of July weekend I finally found myself with a little extra time and decided to experiment in the kitchen and make something new for dinner. Lucky for me, I have a boyfriend who feels right at home in the kitchen, so we threw on a Beach Boys album to brighten up the rainy afternoon and poured ourselves a glass of wine and went to work. The following is my recipe which made about five servings (One stuffed chicken breast per person).



Chicken & Potatoes
1¾-2 cup of fat free ricotta cheese
1 bag of spinach (uncooked)
4 sun-dried tomatoes
roasted garlic (about 2 heads)
1 roasted red pepper
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8-10 sliced white mushrooms
olive oil
¼  cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup skim-Milk Mozzarella cheese
Garlic powder
1 package of baby red potatoes (28 ounces)


Alfredo Sauce
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons flour
¼ cup of Parmesan cheese
Leftover of roasted garlic/sun dried tomato from earlier
Leftover of ricotta/spinach mixture from earlier

Preheat the oven to 350℉.
Then wash the mushrooms,
potatoes, and roasted pepper.
Slice the mushrooms and the pepper into strips
and either halve or quarter your red potatoes
depending on their size–you want them to be
about 1” size pieces.
Saute up the bag of spinach in a covered pan,
and slightly saute up your mushrooms
with a tiny bit of olive oil or butter.
Then make sure to drain out most
of the excess liquid from your sauteed spinach.
Prepare the chicken by thinning out the breasts.
You can do this by loosely wrapping each chicken
breast in plastic wrap then pounding them
with the smooth side of a meat mallet.
Once everything is prepped you
can start getting your filling ready.
Mix your roasted garlic cloves
with chopped sun dried tomatoes.
This is easily done in a food processor,
but could be done even by hand if
you chop up the sun-dried tomatoes finely enough.
(I was feeling a little lazy about roasting
 the garlic so I cheated and picked up
a few heads from a local Italian restaurant,
but you can easily roast some up yourself!.
Next mix up your Ricotta cheese, sauteed spinach,
and mozzarella cheese, with the roasted garlic/sun-dried
tomato mixture that you just finished.
Now you can add the “stuffing” to your stuffed chicken.
Take your thinned out chicken breasts and spread
a generous portion of the mixture on top.
Then take your mushrooms and pepper slices and throw
them on top of the filling–this is the time to get creative,
feel free to add different cheeses to the mixture
and add any vegetables you want!
Next you can roll up your chicken.
I folded one side slightly inwards and
continued rolling all the way around.
The stuffing held it together pretty well so I
just placed my rolled up breasts
side by side in a glass baking dish.
You may want to place a toothpick in them to
hold the roll together while it cooks to keep it
from  falling apart, but I didn’t have any problems without using them.
To finish it off  I made a quick Alfredo sauce
(this is an easy place to take a shortcut by
picking up a premade Alfredo from the
grocery store if you’d prefer).
Making the Alfredo is very simple, but the key
is to take your time adding the ingredients
so it gets nice and thick.
First, you want to melt your butter in
a pan on the stove top.
Then slowly whisk in your flour.
This will begin to create a roux,
which you will then add your low-fat milk to.
Whisk it in, making sure not to leave lumps.
Whisk while the mixture heats up
for about 3 minutes or so.
At this point you can add the Parmesan cheese.
Again, add it slowly and whisk while it
gradually melts into the mixture.
I then added about a couple tablespoons
or so of the leftover ricotta mixture that we
stuffed our chicken with into the sauce.
Once the cheese is melted, your sauce is ready! 
Add a couple tablespoons of the sauce to the
top of the chicken breasts and
pop the pan into the oven.
Cook for about 40 minutes until
the chicken is firm and cooked through.
After the chicken was cooked,  
I sprinkled about ⅛ cup
of Parmesan on top and
put it back in the oven on convection
for a few more minutes just to
get a little bit of that golden brown crunch.
Take the previously quartered mini potatoes
and toss them in some olive oil and Parmesan
cheese and spread them out on a baking sheet.
Feel free to add more cheese or
some garlic powder as well.
Then pop those babies in the oven!
You can put  them in the oven at the same time as the
chicken because they will cook in approximately
40 minutes as well when cooked at 350℉.
Now it’s time to serve!
Add some more of the Alfredo
sauce over top of the roasted potatoes
and chicken, and there you have it–a
beautiful and extremely delicious dish
sure to make any summer get-together a blast!


As beautiful as it was, it didn’t last long–it was as fun to eat as it was to make! ! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Happy eating!


For dessert, check out Mary Beth's apricot and blueberry cake, or head over to our Pinterest

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DIY Thrift Store Dining Chair Upcycle


Hello again my Beauties! I am so happy to be back with you again to show you how to update an old thrifted dining room chair. Today I will show you how with a little fabric, some paint, and a whole lot of fun you can change that ugly outdated chair into something fun and functional!

As you can see this chair had seen better days. The chair itself was structurally sound, just beat up and very outdated. Some of the veneer was missing and the fabric was a bit boring for my taste. The nice thing about these old chairs is that they are very easy to update.


When you flip the chair over you see that there are just four screws holding in the seat of the chair. I used my drill and removed the screws, releasing the seat from the chair.

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This is where the difficult decision of choosing the fabric comes in. I love color and I love patterns, so picking what I thought would fit best with the style of chair was the hardest part of the whole transformation. After laying out some of my fabric stash (which also, by the way, was thrifted) I finally decided on the classic black and white fun pattern.


To start, I laid the seat upside-down on top of my fabric and using my staple gun (about $20 at your local home store and worth every penny) I pulled  the fabric tight around the edge of the chair and stapled it in place. I start on one end lining up my fabric and then do the opposite side pulling it nice and tight.

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For the corners it’s like wrapping a present. Slowly make small folds one on top of the other and staple down. You don’t want to have big bunches of fabric sticking out on your corners.


When you are done, trim off the excess fabric. Now for the rest ot the chair. Since it had seen better days, I decided I was going to paint it. 


To give it an old world finish I decided to use a mineral/chalk based paint. This type of paint is water-based and can be found in almost all craft and home improvement stores. I chose a linen white color to coordinate with the fabric. In order to seal the water based paint,  you need to use a wax. The wax cures the water base paint and gives it that old-looking finish. You simply brush on the wax and buff it when it’s dry. (Depending on temperature it can take a few hours to dry.)

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buffed off the wax, giving the chair a more distressed look. Once the chair dries, use those same four screws you took out in the beginning and screw the seat back into place. Look at the difference! What once was a beat up worn out chair is now ready to be the center of attention.  I hope you enjoyed this simple and easy makeover!


 I hope you enjoyed this simple and easy makeover!


For more easy DIY projects, check out Karin's blog, Art is Beauty, or sign up to get emails filled with posts from our other DIY and home experts! 

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Style Defined: What is Shabby Chic?


There are a lot of different names for decorating styles floating around and one we've been hearing a lot is "shabby chic." It's super trendy right now but may not be well-understood by everyone, so we thought we'd clarify the term for you!

Wikipedia defines shabby chic as, "a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique." 


We think shabby chic style is a little more than just finding pieces of furniture that look old. That may cover the "shabby" part, but not the "chic" part. Shabby chic style requires finesse. If everything looks distressed the room won't look authentic, it will look staged. 

The above is cute for a little old lady in a fairy tale who frequently hosts extravagant tea parties, but to actually live in? Nope, too much. 
Shabby chic style requires restraint. Sure, you could go to a thrift store or yard sale and furnish an entire room, but don't do that. The trick is selecting one or two large antiques (or faux-antiques) to be focal points in the room. Everything else should match those main pieces, but they don't have to be antiques.
In the above picture, the dining table is distressed, slightly, and that's it. The chairs aren't distressed, they just have a country cottage look that pairs well with shabby chic. The rest of the room is decorated in muted neutrals which give the same antique feel but aren't actually distressed. 
Another important element of this style, as you've probably noticed, is the color selection. Shabby chic generally involves light pastels, whites, and ivories. Think about it, if you find an "antique" that is painted a bold color, it won't come across as an antique at all. The muted colors make the pieces look like they've faded over time.
Because of the somewhat limited color palette, it's hard to use dark wood in shabby chic decor. 
It's not impossible to use dark wood and achieve a shabby chic look, it's just more difficult. Dark wood can easily take a more traditional, classic route vs. chic and antique. The photo above, however, shows a very successful shabby chic room that uses dark wood. Notice, however, that the rest of the room uses light and airy colors to help contrast these dark pieces. 
Shabby chic takes a little bit of restraint and creativity, but, if done right, the results are beautiful. 

We hope this helps clarify shabby chic decor!
If you're looking for some shabby chic pieces, check out this post for an easy DIY shabby chic end table and don't forget to visit our site! 
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Thrift Store Landscape Painting Upcycle


We're happy to announce that Julie Grimmett from Coco and Cocoa has partnered up with and has come up with amazing DIY tips and tricks exclusively for Pursuit of Home. Enjoy!

Summer is for adventures. And spray paint. Embrace both with this DIY thrift store painting upcycle project.


Begin by heading to your favorite thrift store. It’s good to have an idea of what you are looking for before you arrive. Based on the adventurer quote that I wanted to use, I knew that I was looking for a painting that featured a landscape. I also wanted a fairly good sized painting. My thrift store had all of the painting stacked on top of one another on shelves. It took some digging but I was able to find this landscape canvas that is 16”x20” for just $3!


Once you find your painting you are ready to begin your upcycle. The other supplies that you will need for this project are: spray paint, vinyl letter stickers (you can buy them or cut them out yourself), paper, masking tape, and a place to spray paint.

Place the vinyl letter stickers down on your canvas. I used letter stickers that I purchased from a craft store. Take your time in applying the letters to make sure they are attached firmly.


To preserve some of the original landscape, I decided to do a little color blocking with my quote. I used regular white paper and masking tape to mask off the top and bottom of the painting. I wanted the center of the painting to be solid white with only the color from the letters showing through.


Follow the directions on the spray paint, using several light coats and allowing the canvas to dry between each coat. This will help keep spray paint from bleeding underneath the letters. When the final coat of spray paint is dry remove the letters.


Once the lettering was finished, I covered that area of the painting and did one light coat of spray paint over the rest of the canvas. My canvas was slightly dingy and this brightened up the whole piece.

Allow the final coat to dry, which should take just a few minutes. Then your upcycled canvas is ready to be displayed!


 You can use the same process to upcycle canvases for other parts of your home as well. Take a food still life, for example, and add a quote about eating. The possibilities are endless!



For more amazing and super easy DIY projects, check out the rest of Julie's blog, Coco and Cocoa, or head over to our Pinterest!

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DIY Old End Table into Funky Ottoman


Hello again my Beauties! I have such a fun DIY project for you today.Have you ever had and old end table that just wasn't your style but you just didn't know what to do with it? Well today I am gonna show you how to upcycle that old end table into a fun and funky ottoman! 


Now first things first.The easiest way to see if you can turn your old end table into an ottoman is to flip it over and see if the top is just simply screwed onto the base.You can see here that mine is. 



I just simply used my electric drill to unscrew the top from the base of the table.Once I had that removed I could start on the fun part.



Turning the top into the upholstered part of the ottoman. For this part you will need some batting (sold at craft stores), some fun fabric (also at craft or fabric store), scissors, and a staple gun. Lay your batting down and lay the table top face down on top of it. Now fold the batting over the edge pulling it taught and use your staple gun to staple it down.When you get to the corner fold it in like you are folding a present. Once you go all the way around just trim off the excess with your scissors.


Now, using your fun fabric do the same as above with the fabric. Go all the way around stapling down the fabric and trimming off the excess.


For the base I just chose and off white linen milk paint. 


When its dry, use the same screws that you took out to reattach the top to the base. There you go! Now you have a brand new (kind of) upcycled ottoman.


For more fun DIY projects, check out Karin's blog, Art is Beauty, or follow us on Pinterest

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Homemade Apricot & Blueberry Cake


We're thrilled to announce that Mary Beth from Cupcakes and Crinoline has partnered up with and has come up with amazing recipes exclusively for Pursuit of Home. Yum!

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be here today sharing my first recipe.  This one is an oldie but goodie!

As it was told to me, my grandmother, my father’s mother, was an amazing baker. I never had the pleasure of eating anything she baked but she was a legend in our family.  When I come across old recipes, or as I like to call them, heritage recipes, I always get excited wondering if she had baked anything similar, if not the same exact thing. 
This recipe is one of those ‘heritage’ recipes.  Since summer is in full swing and farmer’s markets and roadside stands are starting spring up you can find some fresh ingredients for all of your baking and cooking.


I chose fresh apricots and blueberries for this unique cake.  I doubled this recipe to have one for my family and another to take on a recent visit we had with some family and it was a hit!



Crust and Topping
1 ½ cups + ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅜ sticks of butter, softened but not melted
Cake Mix
1 stick + 1 tbsp. butter
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
Grated rind of one lemon
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 envelope vanilla instant pudding mix (small box)
1 pound fresh apricots
1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use shortening or
butter to grease 8 x 8 inch baking pan.  
For the crust, mix together the flour, granulated sugar,
vanilla extract and butter in a mixing bowl.  
Cut the butter into very small pieces and mix in by
hand to the previously mentioned dry mix.  
Be gentle ( and patient!) with this step!
You want to mix this in until it has a crumbly consistency.  
Spread approximately two-thirds of this mixture
into the bottom of your prepared pan pressing down firmly.
 Bake for 10 minutes.  
Remove from oven and decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
For the cake mix, place butter, granulated sugar and vanilla
extract into a bowl and beat on medium high until fluffy.
 Add the egg and beat until creamy.  
Stir the ricotta cheese, lemon rind and juice,
and pudding mix into the mixture.


Spread the above over the crust.
Halve and pit the apricots (no need to peel them)
and arrange on top of the cream layer alternating
with the blueberries in a diagonal pattern.  

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the fruit.
Bake for 30 minutes testing the center for done-ness adding
5 minutes to the time if it is not completely cooked through.  

Let cool thoroughly and cut into pieces.  
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
This is a warm, welcoming dessert 
for any occasion.

For more delicious treats, visit Cupcakes and Crinoline
or check out on Pinterest!
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DIY Vintage Suitcase End Table


We're excited to announce that Jessica Bures from Live Randomly Simple has partnered up with and has come up with amazing DIY tips and tricks exclusively for Pursuit of Home. Enjoy!

A while back I spied this bar stool sitting on the side of the road, sadly waiting for the garbage man to come and take it away. I knew it had to come home with me and I ran out to save it before the garbage man tossed it into his truck. The seat was no longer attached, screws still in it, and who knows what all over it. It has seen better days for sure. So I stuck it in my stockpile until inspiration hit.

Then last week at a yard sale I found this old beat up suitcase and the light bulb sparked. I am pretty sure the nice lady having the yard sale thought I was crazy when I squealed with joy when I spotted it. She tried to convince me it was too old and beat up to be saved. Little does she know I had a big plan for this little gem and the fact that it was old and worn just made it even better.



So I took it back to my shop and got to work. It was actually quite simple to put together and only took about 30 minutes total. Let's get started, shall we?

Start by giving the bar stool a once over with medium grit sandpaper. I originally was going to paint it, but after sanding all of the grime off I decided it matched the old worn suitcase perfectly and left it be.



The stool was a little wobbly so I tightened up all of the screws with my handy drill. To pop off the screw covers I just used a flat head, pried them off, then stuck them back in.



Next, I decided to add some extra support under the suitcase because even though it has a hard shell, I wanted to prevent any possibility of a collapse. (This step can be skipped if you find a hard shell suitcase that can be supported by the stool you're using.) I measured and cut a thin piece of board, to sit under the case. I recommend making the board about an inch smaller than the suitcase, on all sides, so it won't be visible.



Then I laid the board down, flipped the stool over and centered it on the board. I then traced the stool and determined where I was going to add my screws. Once I had it traced out, i flipped the stool back up. I laid the board back in place and drilled holes through the wood and the stool. Then, I glued the board in place using wood glue so it wouldn't move when I tried to screw the suitcase down. 



Next, I put the suitcase in place and screw it into the holes in the wood. I was so excited to see it finished that I forgot to take a photo of this step! The easiest way to line it up is to flip the suitcase upside down, lay the board on it with the holes already drilled. then drill through the suitcase. Once you set the board back in place you can eyeball through the tiny holes to line the suitcase up. Even if it is off a hair it wont effect the end result.


Take it in the house, decorate it, and enjoy your new piece of upcycled furniture. I am going to cherish this piece for years to come. It was so easy to construct and turned out beautifully. I love everything about it!

Added bonus: you can use the inside for storage!



So there you have it. A suitcase end table in just 30 minutes! Be on the lookout at your next yard sale so you can construct your own gem too!

We hope Jessica's DIY project inspired you! For more projects, visit Jessica's blog, Live Randomly Simple, or check us out on Pinterest!

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Thrift Store Nightstand Makeover


Hello again! So excited to be back again showing a totally simple way to update a thrift store find. 

I recently picked up this beauty at a local thrift shop for a couple bucks. I have a thing for these types of tables because of their size. They are the perfect height for a phone table, end table, or nightstand. Most of the pieces I find, however, have seen better days. I got lucky when I found this piece. This table was in great shape structurally, but the finish was looking a little beat up.


I decided to take it home and give it a fresh new look. It was really easy and I'm going to show you how to do it yourself. 

For this project you simply need a little bit of sand paper, some stain, and some paint.

I started by lightly sanding the old finish off the top with some sand paper.I used 60 grit to get the main portion off and then 200 to lightly sand over that. I wiped it off and applied a dark stain using an old t-shirt (any lintless rag will do). I chose to use "Dark Provincial" by Minwax because it's a dark stain that easily covers up most of the table's imperfections.**

Once the stain is dry and set you can get to the fun part. Cover the top with paper, or you can do like me and just flip the table over. Then simply spray it with what ever color spray paint you want. I chose a peach-colored Rustoleum 2x spray paint. It may require two coats depending on coverage.  (Also, be sure to always wear a particulate mask when working with spray paint!) 

** I actually recommend painting the legs before staining the top, in case you over-spray. You can always sand off the spray paint but you wouldn't want to restain the entire thing. 

Coral-legs-close-up  After-coral-legs

I love to add simple little accents to pieces. For this table I used my Divine Color Karat metallic gold paint and dipped my table legs into a small container of paint. I set the table on little blocks on top of a tarp while I waited for the excess to drip off.


Can you even believe its the same table? Next time you see a sad little misfit table, don't pass it by! It might end up being one of your favorite pieces of furniture for years to come.

Thrift Shop

For more DIY projects, check out Karin's previous post or head over to Pinterest

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How to Have the Best Game Night Ever


Game nights are the perfect way to throw a casual party without the pressure of entertaining your guests with witty stories and attention-grabbing anecdotes. All you really have to do is throw a couple of board games out and let the fun begin. There are, however, certain things you can should do in order to make your game night the king of all game nights. 

1. Provide optimal snacking options

Remember: board games, card games, charades-- hands are required to play all of these games. Nobody wants to be dealing with orange-dusted dice during a nail-biting game of Settlers of Catan, so provide snacks that are easy to eat and won't make a mess. Here are some good options:

a. Cut up veggies and serve them with a tasty dip

With a super scrumptious dip, even vegetables can be delicious. 

Ron Swanson Salad

b. Salty pretzels

Always a game night go-to. 

     Pretzel Factory

c. Chocolate chip cookies


Chcocolate Chip Cookies

d. Cake pops

The perfect one-bite dessert.

Cake Pops


2. Supply a mixed variety of games

Unless you're hosting game night in a fantasy land where everything is perfect 100% of the time, not everyone is going to want to play the same game. Rather than kicking the Chutes & Ladders fans to the curb, offer multiple options so that everyone has the chance to play a game they love. Here is a list of some of our favorites: 

a. Settlers of Catan

Learn it. You'll be hooked. 

Broad City Settlers of Catan


b. Monopoly

An oldy but goody. 

SNL Monopoly

c. Jenga

It's the fun kind of stress.

Bottle Cap Jenga

d. Sorry!

Vicious game, but at least you apologize.

Cat playing Sorry


Game nights are a fun, relaxing way to enjoy some friendly competition. We would recommend all of the above for the ultimate good time but any combination would probably suffice. 
For more game night ideas, check out our Pinterest board!

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5 Mouthwatering Dips to Make for Your Next Party

Who doesn't love a good dip? Whether they're sweet, salty, savory, or spicy, dips are the quintessential party food. We found five amazing recipes that will make all of your guests happy and we're sharing them with you.

*Warning: these recipes may provoke double-dipping.*


1. Goat Cheese and Artichoke Dip (via


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can of artichoke hearts,
thoroughly drained and squeezed with a paper towel
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
5 oz. (give or take) of goat cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Let the cheeses soften a bit and then mix
them all together thoroughly, along with
the garlic and the peppers,
using a fork or an electric mixer. 
Squeeze the artichokes with paper towels
until you have gotten most of the liquid out out of them.
You will be surprised at how much water the
artichokes are holding even after you have drained them.
Chop them up coarsely and then 
gently fold them into the cheese mixture.
Place the mixture into an oven-proof dish.
Kelly recommends using an 8.5 inch round
shallow baking dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dip is
hot and a little brown on top.
Remove from the oven and serve.
15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can of corn, drained
(or 1-3/4 cup fresh or frozen-then-thawed corn)
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 a red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, then minced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or to your liking)
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Zesty Italian salad dressing
Put all ingredients in a bowl, then mix to combine
and serve with tortilla chips. Can be 
made a day ahead of time.
Lasagna Sauce
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (optional)
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste (optional)
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika (optional)
1 tbs balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt and pepper to tasted
1 tbs basil, chopped (optional)
Lasagna Dip
1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 cup lasagna sauce (above)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 cup partially skim mozzarella, shredded
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook until tender, 
about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes,
and fennel and cook until fragrant, 
about a minute.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian
seasoning, bay lead, paprika,
balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper,
and bring to a boil. 
Reduce the heat, and simmer until it thickens, 
about five minutes. 
Mix in the basil and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 (F).
Cook the turkey in a skillet
over medium heat.
Add the sauce (above) and 
simmer until it thickens a bit, 
about 3-5 minutes.
Spread the cottage cheese over
the bottom of a baking dish, followed
by the sauce/turkey and topped
with the mozzarella.
Bake until the top is a light golden
brown and the sides are bubbling,
about 15-20 minutes.
1 box of Funfetti cake mix
1 container of Cool Whip
1-1/2 cups of vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rainbow sprinkles
Animal crackers
In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients
except the animal crackers and sprinkles.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator,
uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Garnish with sprinkles and serve.
(Animal crackers are for dipping.)
4 Snickers candy bars
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup Cool Whip
1 tbs peanut butter
Break the Snickers candy bars
into bite-size pieces.
Mix Snickers, cream cheese,
Cool Whip, and peanut butter
with an electric mixer on 
medium speed for 30 seconds.
Place into a serving
dish and enjoy!

Serve up some (or all) of these delectable dips at your next party! Don't
forget to check out our Pinterest Board for more great party recipes.

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What's Your Dad's Design Style?


The sun has finally decided to shine, school’s almost out, and it’s nearly summer. The time to honor and thank our dads for their caring support and quirky yet lovable dad-like habits has come. has the perfect living room furnishings for sporty dads to traditional dads and every dad in between. So why not pay tribute to your Dad with some new furniture to brighten up his day and enliven the home? Here are some suggestions.


1. The Sporty Dad

This type of dad is young (or at least young at heart), maintains ties to his favorite sports teams, and isn’t shy about putting his pride on display. He likes modern materials and enjoys inviting some friends or family over for a day or night of sporting event-watching, drinks and snacks. Maybe he even has a man-cave.

Our Touchdown futon sofa bed series is great for a basement or living area and is perfect for one of his buddies to crash on after a late game. Choose from several different teams, including the winner of the first college football playoff and 2015 National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes, and America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. Styled in the team’s colors, with the name and logo featured prominently on the front, this sofa features black faux leather upholstery, tufting in a grid pattern and chrome feet that exude accessible modern luxury.

Touchdown     Touchdown-2

Now, for the drinks and snacks part. That’s where the Boyd Percy bar set comes in. A foot rail lends it that true bar feel, while stemware storage slots and ample shelf space ensure Dad will have room for his preferred beverage and finger foods so he can fully enjoy watching the game at home.



2. The Entertainment-Loving Dad

This next dad is similar to the sporty dad, but he’s more into entertainment in a general sense. He's always looking to reproduce that movie theater atmosphere at home and pump up the volume on his jams.

The Frisco power home theatre sectional is perfect for a living room (or screening room) and comes outfitted with lighted cup holders and hidden storage on both deep arms. With this seating option, your dad and up to three friends can take in action flicks in seats that have a sleek, space-age vibe.


Combine this sectional with the Abruzzo white fireplace TV stand (with built-in sound bar) for ultimate media versatility and warm hearth appeal. Your dad can take full advantage of his (or your) music library via a docking port for an iOS device and plenty of storage and wire management for electronics placement.


3. The Traditional Dad

The traditional dad appreciates the finer things in life and would be described as elegant and refined.

If this is the case, try the Winchell sofa or three-piece living room package to fully furnish a room. The 100% Ieather upholstery shines through for steeped-in-luxury, sumptuous, and Italian-designed furniture. 


If you didn’t think you could give your traditional dad any more comfy luxury, there’s the Endicott chair and ottoman to round out the seating possibilities at the homestead.The chair (worthy of a men’s social club) even has a slightly curved wing back for added class. You’re old-school dad will be so pleased!


4. The Rugged Dad

This dad likes the outdoors, camping, fishing and maybe wrangling cowpokes in his spare time.

Whether his home is actually on the range or in an urban oasis, the Sierra sectional sofa and cocktail ottoman will fit his style perfectly. With room for the whole family, or the whole hunting party, this bonded leather piece of furniture is tri-toned for a distressed look that will fit in with his broken-in jeans and leather cowboy boots. The ottoman gives you even more seating space, or a place to kick up your feet, or even still a spot for a tray of wings or slices of brisket.


To go alongside this sofa, try the Kent chairside table, whose worn-in, handcrafted look is an ideal companion for your dad’s reading material, remotes, and any table lamps he might need to brighten up his space. The X-shaped stretchers give that extra rustic feel which reminds him of something he might have built himself.


No matter your dad’s tastes are, you can be sure has you covered for decorating his living area or updating his favorite room. C’mon, you know he’s done a lot for you over the years; lend him a design hand with our help (remember our Design Team is always ready to assist you with advice and insider deals) and celebrate your dad in style this Father’s Day.

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Furniture Tips from Moms on the Move: Meet Jessica


Moving around constantly can cause issues when it comes to buying and picking out furniture. To get a better sense of the challenges involved with moving around a lot, we interviewed Jessica, a military mom who has moved around a ton! Jessica shared her experiences with relocating and how to pick furniture that fits an unpredictable lifestyle. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Jessica and I am 41 years old. My husband and I have been married for 18 years and he joined the Marine Corp a year after we got married. We have three children; they are ten, eight, and four- two boys and a girl!

Before having children, I was a Special Education teacher. After our second son was born, I decided to stay home to raise the kids. Being a military spouse, with your husband deployed, or having to make frequent moves, can make it difficult to find a career. I am thankful I could focus on our family for the past 10 years, and now I have a business I can run from home.

I spend a lot of time making my house feel like a home, so finding the right pieces of furniture is important. 

2. How many states/countries have you lived in?

Since my husband joined the military, we have moved eight times. We first moved from Buffalo, NY to Dumfries, VA. From Virginia we moved across country to San Diego and were stationed at Camp Pendleton.

MapThen, my husband got selected for the Marine Aviation Program, so we packed up and headed to Pensacola, FL. After training there, we moved back to San Diego and Miramar Air Station.  After a brief time there, we packed up and headed back across the country to Bluffton, SC, where we started to lay down roots.

In fact, all three of my kids were born in South Carolina. My husband was deployed on numerous occasions, but the family was able to stay in South Carolina for nine years. We did join him at Camp LeJuene in North Carolina for 7 months, but when he deployed from there, we headed back to South Carolina. Our last move has taken us away from the coastline to middle America. We are currently stationed at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, NE.

3. What’s the hardest part about moving around so much? 

Our last move was the hardest, we had been in South Carolina so long, it really became our home. We had close relationships with friends, neighbors, and our church. We loved the community. Before kids, I was always up for an adventure but now I feel bad about uprooting the kids. The other hard part is completely starting over, finding new friends, a new place to live, and maybe having to find a new job.

4. What’s your favorite piece of furniture you currently own? How long have you had it?

Our kitchen table is my favorite piece of furniture! We bought it almost two years ago. I am a big supporter of family dinner nights and at this table we can gather as a family of five, or, if we put in one or two leaves, have the whole family over. It is where we start our mornings, do homework in afternoons, and end our evenings. 

5. What’s the hardest part about buying furniture for a family?

In the military you never know the location or timing of your next move so you have no way of knowing if your furniture will work in your next home. Sometimes you have to store furniture because it might not fit the same way in the new place. It's also hard to invest in good furniture, because moving can do some serious damage to your furniture. My Grandmother’s china is still with my parents because I am afraid of what could happen to in all the hustle and bustle of packing and moving. 

6. What do you look for in a piece of furniture when you buy it and why? 

With three young kids, the two things I look for are durability and comfort. Kids and furniture aren't always a good match so I want to make sure it will last!

7. What’s your design style of choice?

Traditional; I like dark woods and rich fabrics. I want my home to feel welcoming no matter where we are and traditional decor seems to elicit a sense of belonging. 

8.  What's the one piece of furniture you're most likely to leave behind and buy new?

I am ready for new end tables and a new coffee table. Ours have taken a lot of abuse over the past 15 years, and it is definitely time to replace them. 

Quote-19. What’s a furniture tip you have for other families that move around a lot?

Take photos of your furniture before it is packed. Furniture can get damaged, and moving companies don’t like to take responsibility for the damage. We have a slip cover for our couch that makes moving so much easier. We take them off before the move, and put them in a box so they don't get dirty. After the move, slip them back on and cover up any damage that may have happened along the way! Plus, you can remove them and clean them as needed. 

10. Where would your dream home be?

I fell in love with Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton,SC. It is a community that is right on the May River and it has its own cute little downtown area. You can bike all over the community, and they have an equestrian center and golf course. I love the southern charm and the style of homes that are being built there. 


For us, home is where the heart is. We hope Jessica's story can inspire and help you when you decide to move or buy furniture. has a great selection at affordable prices. So check us out!

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The Easiest DIY Painted Mason Jars


You don't need a ton of free time to be able to make something beautiful for your home. Mason jars are great for everything from candle votives to drinking cups but we love them as decor. Our goal with this DIY project was to take run-of-the-mill mason jars and easily turn them into stunning pieces that can stand alone on your shelf.



Mission accomplished. Love 'em? Need 'em? Have to have 'em? Well you're in luck because we're going to share our step-by-step process with you!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

We recommend acrylic paints because they'll adhere well to the mason jars. Also, you should get a variety of paint brushes so you can test out which one works best for you. Lastly, painter's tape (or really any tape) can be helpful, but not necessary. If you're good at freehand painting then you can probably pass on the tape. We were able to purchase all of these supplies online- so easy!



Step 2: Decide on a Design

There are a lot of different options for the design of your mason jars. For this first post we didn't want to get too complicated, so we stuck with simple designs and decided to make a half-filled, two completely filled, a watercolor, and a nautical striped jar. (We'll briefly run through the techniques for all of these in the next steps.)

Step 3: Start Taping/Painting

A. The hardest design of the five styles mentioned above is definitely the half-filled, so let's start with that. Some people use the technique of pouring paint into the jar and swirling it around to get the desired line, but we wanted to try a different approach. 

Inside-Tape  Painting-half-1-1  painting-half-2

Painting-half-3-1i. The first thing we did was put tape on the inside of the mason jar, making sure the bottom edge of the tape was about halfway up the jar. This part is a little tricky, but you can use a clean, dry paintbrush to help secure the tape to the inside of the jar.

ii. Next, we picked a vibrant coral color (duh, we love coral) and a sponge-tipped brush and got to work! We painted up to the tape and then carefully dabbed at the bottom edge. The tape won't have a perfect seal, so some paint may sneak through but don't worry about that! As long as you are gently applying paint to the edge, the line will be relatively clean.

iii. We recommend waiting for the first coat to dry, then painting a second coat to make sure you have no gaps.



B. The completely filled jars are by far the easiest to make and an added bonus: they always look great. We picked a gorgeous navy (actual name: "Wild Blueberry") and a minty/teal color (actual name: "Beach Glass"). 

     fully-filled-3    fully-filled-2

i. For this one, no taping is required. All you have to do is paint the inside of the jar. Again, we recommend two layers here. (A nice thing about painting the inside of the jar is that you can display it right away!)

C. Alright, now it's time for a slightly trickier design- the watercolor. 

watercolor-1  watercolor-2  watercolor-3

watercolor-4i. First, we picked a light color (Beach Glass) and made random, evenly spaced blotches on the inside of the mason jar

ii. Next, we picked a darker color (Wild Blueberry) and tried to connect some of the lighter splotches. Where the two colors meet, swirl your paintbrush in tiny circles to help blend the paint. Note: We only let it the Beach Glass splotches dry for about five minutes because we wanted to be able to blend the two colors together. 

iii. Do the same thing with two lighter colors. (We used a gray, "Lake Fog," and a green, "Mint.")

iv. After the the last color splotches have dried for five minutes, use white or, "Wedding Cake," to fill in any remaining gaps. The white paint can also be used to help further bland any hard lines that may have appeared as the other colors started to dry. Feel free to also go back and use any of the colors from the other splotches to touch up/blend any areas that may need fixing.

D. Last but not least: nautical stripes. 

Nautical-1  nautical-2  nautical-3


i. This one is a little different because we painted both the inside and the outside of the jar to prevent the colors from running. The first step is to tape horizontal stripes around the outside of the mason jar. 

ii. Next, paint navy (Wild Blueberry) stripes on the outside of the jar, between the tape lines. Gently dab the edges of the tape so you can maintain clean lines once the tape is removed. Again, we recommend letting the stripes dry and doing a second coat. 

iii. Once the navy stripes have dried, remove the tape. There may be some navy paint in areas where it shouldn't be, but you should be able to easily scrape excess off with your fingernail or a thumbtack. 

iv. Paint the entire inside of the jar white (Wedding Cake). Do one coat, let it dry, and do another. 

v. Lastly, paint to top of the jar red or, "Habanero." Paint the two pieces separately and wait for them to dry before assembling the lid. You may need to do more than two coats because the metal tends to show through.

See? How easy was that? Now you have beautiful accent pieces to fill an empty bookcase or sit on top of a kitchen cabinet. (We use them as pen holders all around our office!)



We hope you had fun crafting! For other DIY projects, check out our Pinterest board.

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DIY Vintage Artwork by Karin Chudy

I'm back! I am so excited to share my first official DIY post for the blog! If you've read my blog, you know I recently redid my art studio with the vintage brick wall being the focal point of the room. Knowing that not everyone has a brick wall to transform, I decided I'd show you how to easily create your own vintage graphic artwork to accent the furniture you already have.

Step 1: The first step* is to go to your local home improvement store and buy a sheet of faux brick paneling. The piece I bought looked a bit retro and cheesy, but knowing that I was going to alter it, I wasn't worried. 
Step 2: White wash the brick panel with latex paint and water. Before the paint dries, take a paper towel or rag and blot small sections of the paint off, to give the brick an aged look. 
The top half of the brick here shows the white wash effect, while the bottom half has no paint. See the difference? 

Step 3: Use gold metallic spray paint to coat picture frames. (I happened to already have these frames that I picked up at a local thrift store. While you're out getting the faux brick in *step 1, you may want to pick up some frames for yourself if you don't already have some.)
Step 4: Cut the faux brick panel to the sizes of each of the frames. Use a stencil (again, I have some already from previous projects, but you can find some here) and white metallic craft paint to stencil the image onto the faux brick. Make sure the stencil is flush against the panel and taped down so it doesn't move around while you're trying to paint. 
Step 5: Spray the panels with matte lacquer spray to protect them and wait for them to dry, then frame them!

With this simple and easy project you can achieve a vintage brick wall feel, even if you don't actually have a brick wall. I love how the deep red of the brick works with the warm brown leather of my chair. ( has some great leather chairs to pick from!) These are the perfect accent pieces for one of my favorite spots in the house. 

We hope Karin's DIY project will inspire you to do some crafting! If you're interested in more fun crafts, check out Karin's blog: and head over to our DIY Pinterest board for some other DIY ideas!
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10 of the Best Recipes for a Summer Dinner Party


Picture this: it's a warm night in the middle of summer and you've invited people to your place for a casual, relaxing dinner party. The patio furniture is set up, the place settings are ready, you've lit candles for a perfect mid-summer ambiance, and the subtle background music is the perfect balance of soft jazz and 90's love ballads. Congrats! You have all the makings for a perfect -- wait. The food. You forgot the food. What do you do? Order pizzasCancel. Panic. Read this post. We found 10 recipes that are guaranteed to please your guests and make you the go-to for future party planning tips.

Arugula Salad
7 oz. of baby arugula
3 peaches, cut into wedges
3 oz. dried cranberries
5 oz. sharp white cheddar, cubed
5 oz. glazed pecans
Simple Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
A dash of salt and pepper
In a large mixing bowl, combine all
5 ingredients. (Val recommends dressing the
salad separately so it doesn't get soggy
before being served.)
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar,
honey, dijon, and olive oil. Season with salt 
and pepper. (Val recommends doubling
this recipe.)

Spinach Salad
6 cups fresh baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 avocado, diced (can be doubled)
4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 a small red onion
Poppyseed Dressing
1/2 cup avocado oil (or any oil)
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs honey
1 tbs poppy seeds
A pinch of ground dry mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients together with desired
amount of dressing until combined.
Serve immediately.
Whisk all ingredients together
until combined.

3 large red bliss potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 stick of butter
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup parmiggiano reggiano cheese
1/4 tsp Italian parsley, fine mince
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
Cut potatoes into wedges, first by cutting
down the middle, length-wise, then cutting into
long pieces about an inch thick.
Toss in the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Place in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil.
Bake for 45 min. to an hour until just done.
Make the sauce by melting the butter over medium/low heat. 
Add in the garlic until just fragrant (about 1 min.).
Do NOT burn the garlic If it starts to turn a brown at all, 
take the pan off of the heat- it's done. 
Add in the cheese and let it melt down. Set aside.
Get the grill heated over high heat and oil the grates. 
Place wedges carefully on the grill over the medium heat.
Flip them over after about 5 minutes or untll 
grill marks start to form. 
Baste with the garlic sauce (watch out for flare ups)
When the potatoes have nice grill marks on 
all sides, they are done.
Take them of the grill carefully (they'll be fragile) and
place them in a bowl. 
Drizzle the reset of the garlic sauce over 
them and add the parsley. 
Toss until coated.
Serve and enjoy!

1 baguette, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided (2 tbs/2 tbs)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbs brown sugar, packed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place baguette slices onto prepared baking sheet.
Drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil.
Place into oven and bake for 8-10 minutes,
or until golden brown.
To make the balsamic reduction, add balsamic vinegar 
and brown sugar to small saucepan
over medium heat. 
Bring to a slight boil and reduce by half,
about 6-8 minutes.
Set aside and let cool.
In  a large bowl, combine tomatoes, avocado,
remaining 2 tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper, 
to taste.
Top each baguette slice with tomato mixture,
garnished with basil.
Serve immediately,
drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Creamy Pasta Salad
8 oz. salad macaroni
1 cup tiny broccoli florets
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup very thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp white wine (or plain) vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt, adjust to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
Pasta Salad
Cook the pasta according to the directions on 
the package, adding a generous tablespoon or
so of kosher salt to the water as it cooks.
Just before the noodles are done cooking, 
add the broccoli to the pot.
Let the broccoli boil for about 30 seconds
then drain in a large colander.
Rinse well with cold water
Add the pasta and broccoli to the dressing 
(directions below) and stir well to coat.
Add the cucumber, pepper, and onions
and stir again. 
Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Stir again just before serving. Enjoy!
Stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt,
pepper, and sugar in a large
mixing bowl.

2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1-1/2 lbs. skinless wild salmon filet, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 lemons, very thinly sliced rounds
Olive oil cooking spray
1 tsp kosher salt
16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
Heat the grill on medium heat
and spray the grates with oil.
Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin,
and the red pepper flakes in a small
bowl to combine.
Set spice mixture aside.
Beginning and ending with salmon, thread
salmon and folded lemon slices onto 8 pairs
of parallel skewers to make 8 
kebabs, total.
Spray the fish lightly with oil and 
season with kosher salt and the
reserved spice mixture. 
Grill the fish, turning occasionally, until 
fish is opaque throughout, about 8-10
minutes total.
Three Cheese Peach Prosciutto Pizza
1 (16 oz.) pizza dough, homemade or store bought
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. prosciutto
4 oz. ricotta cheese (1/2 cup)
5 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced into small cubes
2 oz. asiago cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 medium fresh peaches, sliced (thicker than 1/4 inch)
Flour, for dusting
Basil and Honey Balsamic Reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup slightly packed fresh basil leaves
Prosciutto Pizza
Place pizza stone in oven and preheat 
to 450 degrees (F). 
Let pizza stone preheat with oven
and rest for 30 minutes (assemble pizza
during last 10 minutes or so)
After preparing the reduction (below), lightly dust a with
sheet of parchment paper (about 14 inches) 
with flour. 
Stretch and shape the dough into a 12.5 inch round.
In a small bowl, stir together olive oil and garlic.
Brush mixture evenly on top of crust, working
to evenly distribute garlic. 
Season crust lightly with salt and pepper.
Layer prosciutto over crust into and
even layer, aligning pieces
side by side (if they overlap slightly, that's fine).
Dollop small portions of the ricotta over pizza,
then sprinkle with mozzarella cubes
and asiago cheese.
Layer peaches evenly over pizza.
Using a pizza peel, transfer pizza from the parchment paper
to the pizza stone in the oven.
Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly golden.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh basil, 
and drizzle with honey balsamic reduction
(store leftover reduction in fridge).
Cut into slices and serve warm.
Balsamic Reduction
Pour balsamic vinegar and honey 
into a large and deep skillet.
Set skillet over medium heat, allow
mixture to cook and simmer until reduced to slightly
under 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. 
(cookingclassy recommends using a silicone
spatula to stir, so you can scrape the bottom and
side of the pan while stirring.)
Stir mixture occasionally during first 5 minutes,
then stir constantly during the last 10 minutes.
Pie Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
5-6 tbs cold water
3/4 to 1 lb. fresh blueberries
3/4 to 1 lb. fresh peaches, sliced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how rip your fruit is)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs cornstarch
1 egg (for egg wash)
Sanding sugar
Vanilla ice cream (for serving)
Pie Crust
Sift flour into a mixing bowl.
Cut in shortening, using a pastry blender
or knife until mixture is the size of small peas.
Sprinkle water a little at a time over mixture,
stirring lightly with fork until dough is just
moist enough to hold together.
Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at
least an hour.
Pie dough can be made and
refrigerated 2 days in advance.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and 
then parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, lightly mix together fruit, sugar, 
lemon juice, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon.
Roll our pie dough on a well-floured surface 
(approx. 13 inches round, 1/8 inches thick). 
Transfer to your baking sheet and arrange
fruit mixture in center, leaving a 2 inch border.
Fold over border, leaving the center open.
Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle 
with sanding sugar.
Bake until golden brown, about 50-60 minutes.
Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes,
then slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Lemon Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
Zest + juice of 3 medium lemons
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or non-thawed frozen
1 tbs all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 tbs heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Lemon Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). 
Grease and lightly flour 3 9X2 inch cake pans with
nonstick spray. Set aside.
Using a hand held or stand mixer with a paddle attachment,
beat the butter on high until creamy- about 1 minute.
Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high
speed until creamed, about 2-3  minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Add eggs and vanilla. 
Beat on medium speed until everything is
combined, about 2 full minutes. 
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl
as needed. Set aside.
In a large-sized bowl, toss together the flour,
baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, 
lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Remove from the mixer and stir lightly
until everything is just combined.
Toss the blueberries in 1 tbs of flour and fold into the batter.
Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point.
Overmixing will lend a tough, dense-textured crumb.
Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. 
If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer.
Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes
or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely
before frosting.
The Frosting
Using a hand held or stand mixer
with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese
and butter together on medium speed until no lumps
remain, about 3 full minutes.
Add confectioners' sugar, 1 tbs cream,
vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low.
Increase to high speed and beat for
3 minutes. Add one more tbs of cream to thin out, if desired.
*For assembly directions, visit
One 5-oz. can evaporated milk
1 2/3 cups granulate white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
12 large marshmallows (halved)
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 cup grated lime zest (about 5 limes)
2 tbs key lime juice (5-7 limes, juiced)
line an 8X8 square pan with aluminum foil;
grease the foil with butter.
It's not a good recipe for a 9-inch square
pan as the fuge will be too thin.
Combine the milk, sugar, and salt in a large
heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Stir and bring to a boil; boil for 8 minutes,
stirring constantly at a boil.
Remove the pain from heat. 
Add marshmallows, chocolate, zest, and juice,
and stir until the marshmallows and chocolate are
melted and the mixture is smooth.
Scrape the fudge into the prepared pan.
Tip the pan to make sure the fudge
covers the bottom evenly.
Cool completely, then cut into 1-inch squares.

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