Our Family Unit
  • Archives
  • August19th

    burlap roman shade-1

    I love the look of burlap, I hate the look of mini blinds.  Finally, I figured out how to solve both problems at once.

    burlap roman shade-2

    My mom helped me with a little DIY project that I had been procrastinating on when she visited in July.  A burlap roman shade to cover the mini blinds in our dining room.  I LOVE how it turned out, and since it was SO simple, I thought I’d share how to do it.

    If you rent your home, rather than own it; more than likely you are stuck with the standard mini blinds hung from every window in the house.  Now you could take them down and try to store them somewhere and rehang them when you leave, or you could try to talk to the landlord about installing something better, but you might want to try this option instead.  It keeps the mini blinds in tact, providing shade, privacy and a happy landlord…but it also makes the room feel much more homey and you can customize it to your decorating style.

    burlap roman shade-6

    I cut a piece of burlap to the size of my window, actually to the exact width and about 2″ longer, and ironed it flat.  See how to cut burlap in a straight line here.  Then I folded the top down approximately 2″ to give me a finished edge and used Wonder Under to hold the folded strip down.  I attached a strip of mounting tape to the back of that fold and then fastened the top of my curtain directly onto the mini blinds front facing panel.  This gave me a nice, straight, finished top.

    burlap roman shade-7

    Then we used a needle and thread to tie the burlap to the actual strings of the mini blind.  Once on each side and then again in the middle, making sure to carefully count how many slats were between each fold.  For my curtain, we tied it at the bottom and four additional times at equally spaced intervals.  We didn’t have to take the blinds down to do this, although I’m sure it looked a bit awkward as we tried to fit between the window and the shade looking for the needle in the burlap sack.

    burlap roman shade-3

    Doing it this way allows you to still use the mini blind just like before.  When it is down, it looks likes a curtain, but when the blind is pulled up, the burlap poofs out and folds like a Roman shade.  I especially like the look of the contrast between the curtain and the lace doily table runner.  (More on the jar of popsicle sticks later)

    This, {read with Rob Lowe’s voice} literally, could not be an easier curtain.  Tape, needle, thread, fabric – that’s it!


  • August15th

    For those of you who follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed my recent obsession with living rooms.  Specifically, living rooms with a Rustic Industrial touch.

    pipe bookshelf

    Side note: Can I just tell you how excited I was when I finally realized that was an actual style!  My dad’s been calling my taste “Industrial Trash Bin” for years, and come to find out, he wasn’t that far off the mark.  ;)

    Back to the living rooms…I really want to revamp ours.  We’ve lived here 5 years, and although I love the things I’ve managed to do (reupholstering the garage sale chair and the Craigslist chair, the slip-cover for the couch, the frame wall), it’s the stuff I haven’t done that’s driving me crazy.  So, I’m looking for inspiration… Requirements so far:

    • Cowhide rug – the rancher’s daughter in me NEEDS it

    • Industrial / Unique lighting

    Jeroen van der Spek (eclectic vintage industrial rustic kitchen}

    • Lots of crazy drawers – my all time favorite furniture from Germany is probably out of reach, but a girl can dream…

    My hope is that with a little paint, creativity and a trip to IKEA, I could do my own version.

    IKEA PS 2012 Chest with 5 drawers/1 door IKEA Made of solid wood, which is a durable and warm natural material.

    • Finally, antlers.  Kyle has a couple pair from his grandfather, and I am just ACHING to paint them!

    Thoughts?!   Send me your ideas…

  • March4th


    So this little table runner project was a collaborative effort.  Again, I had pinned another idea I loved to my “Home” board, but was making no progress on it whatsoever.  My mom gave me just the push I needed…for my Christmas present I got to pick out some antique lace doilies from their shop.


    I came home with a fantastic pile of antique doilies, all shapes and sizes and styles.  They were just gorgeous.


    The first step was to iron and starch them all.  Then I started playing with layouts on my dining room table.  I started with the big center one and then just worked out from there.


    Finally, I tacked them together with a needle and thread.  I adore how it turned out.  My dining room has been pretty much neglected since we moved in and this gives it such a warm and inviting look.  My favorite parts are the imperfections, it’s beautiful in spite of them…just like us.


  • March1st

    Burlap Chalkboard-1

    This DIY gift  I loved so much, I kept one for myself…Stenciled Burlap Placemats and Chalkboard Coasters.  It’s super easy and contributed to my secret goal to incorporate burlap into every room in the house!

    I bought some burlap at JoAnn’s and cut it down to 13″ x 17″, an inch wider and longer than I wanted my finished placemat to be.  I followed this great tutorial for how to cut burlap in a straight line, and it saved me so much frustration!  Then I hand washed the rectangles to get rid of that weird burlap smell and soften their texture just a bit.  After ironing them flat again, I did a straight stitch around the edges, 1/2″ from the border, to keep them from fraying.  Then I purposely frayed the edges up to the stitching, just to give them a more unified look.

    Burlap Chalkboard-3

    At this point, they were ready to be stenciled.  I used my Silhouette to cut the stencils for my words.  By cutting out the word, rather than the letters, I didn’t have to worry about messing up the kerning when I stenciled.  For once, having very old craft paint was a huge win.  My black paint had been left over from my mom’s stash and I’m pretty sure it was purchased somewhere around 1987.  It was thick and clumpy, but it worked perfectly to give me very crisp letters.  The paint didn’t bleed out from under the stencil edge at all.

    Burlap Chalkboard-5

    I love chalkboard paint!  If we didn’t rent our house, I’d probably cover the entire kitchen in chalkboard paint.  For this project though, I limited myself to just the coasters.  I purchased the cheap tiles at Home Depot (16 cents each) and glued a piece of black felt to the bottom of each with a hot glue gun.  Then I gave each coaster two coats of chalkboard paint.

    I wanted each coaster to have a toasting phrase and originally planned to stencil that too.  But the font was too small and thin for that to work well, so I ended up tracing my stencil in pencil and then painting it free-hand.  Despite my shaky hand, I liked how they turned out.

    Burlap Chalkboard-6

    I’m so glad I kept one set for myself.  They’re my favorite way to set the table!

    Burlap Chalkboard-4