The Pallet Box Centerpiece: Worth it.

I am excited about this one.  I made this pallet box centerpiece last year on a whim and it continues to be one of my favorite DIY’s I have ever done.  If you do any DIY project this year, let this be it and I will tell you five reasons why.

#1.  It’s the perfect scale and height for my dining table that seats eight, or other long tables.  I am sure it would look great under a TV (not filled as tall as mine), on a sideboard, sofa back table, etc.  It’s just the width of a pallet board, not really a lot of wood cutting except of for the end pieces. It’s just right.

#2. Its low enough to where I hardly ever have to move it while we are eating.  I can still see my kids’ faces on the other side, no more moving the centerpiece on and off the table.

#3.  We can enjoy nice Sunday candlelit dinners without any effort at all (or birthday dinners, or Holiday/Valentine dinners…I could go on). Since making this, the kids have absolutely looked forward to our “fancy” Sunday meals.  Usually it’s just the centerpiece that makes it fancy as we eat tacos or pancakes by candlelight.  If I get it together enough before church we *might* have a crockpot meal with fancy plates and goblets which is always fun for them (note: smaller kids get plastic goblets). And yes, it might have inspired some sneaky table setting and etiquette training…and maybe British accent training…and drinking with our pinkies up, all in the name of fun. I didn’t foresee that, but it’s amazing what a styled centerpiece and some candles can do!

#4.  Its pretty easy to make and it made me feel like a boss with the reciprocating saw. Have you ever tried to take a pallet apart with a hammer and/or crowbar? Holy moly, I thought I was going to kill myself and I consider myself a pretty handy gal. Obviously this is my first time, so if this is old news to you veteran pallet crafters, feel free to skip along.

After working one pesky board for what seemed like hours, I went to the internet, found this video and then felt pretty dumb. With a reciprocating saw and a nail cutting blade, you can cut through nails like butter.  Life changer.  Side note: I haven’t ever used a chainsaw it looks kinda scary…so I took that bad boy reciprocating saw out to my yard this fall and did some major damage to the forest overtaking our yard.  My husband came home to a HUGE pile of limbs on the side of the road. Yeah, I did that (like a boss). Get yourself a reciprocating saw. Mine is the Skil brand and got it at Home Depot for like $60 which was cheaper than amazon and Lowes so bonus!

Anyway, back to the centerpiece. After I wood glued it and nailed it together, I sanded it and stained it.  To get the distressed, warm weathered look, I put a conditioner on the wood first, then Miniwax’s Special Walnut, wiped it off, then put on Minwax’s Weathered Oak, wiped it off. I love the way it turned out!  For a deeper/darker walnut color you can leave the Special Walnut on longer to soak in before wiping it off, then put the Weathered Oak on, let it soak in and then wipe it off. Add cup handles to the sides and congrats, you are now a carpenter!

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#5.  Last but not least, it’s so perfect and fun to fill up with seasonal decor.  What you see here has been on my table since just before Thanksgiving and I feel like it’s still relevant in January.  I tried to simplify and create something that would last for months.  Mid-September up until Thanksgiving I did mini pumpkins and gourds with some fall berries, pinecones and leaves. It was adorable, but I forgot to take a pic.  Before that it was dried hydrangeas from the yard.  You get the idea.  I will be posting every time I change it so you can get filler ideas. It’s fun to fill up and if you have any other filler ideas, I would love to see them!  This one in particular though has been my favorite so far.  I did some constructing tricks as I put it together to make it look tall and full.  I wanted the deer (source: Martha Stewart brand at Home Depot last year Christmas clearance, $10!) to look nestled in.  When I take this apart to put spring decor in, I will be updating this post to show you exactly how I constructed the arrangement underneath using stuff everyone has in the kitchen so stay tuned for the update!

I hope you are inspired to create! If you need help along the way, just ask and I will be happy to help. Don’t forget to check back to see the materials I used inside the box to give it a full/tall feeling, I will be deconstructing it all with pics soon!

Happy Styling!


Photo Styling: Tree Farm Family Outfits

So, I am a little obsessed with Tree Farm Style.  The buffalo plaid, the evergreens, the classic but trendiness of it all, it just makes for the perfect “christmasy” mood.  While I didn’t want us to be all dressed in the same plaids, I knew I wanted to incorporate several different patterns and textures.  I am pretty happy with the way it turned out!

I created a collection of Polyvore sets that can give you ideas and sources for every outfit in this styled photo.
If you would like custom coordinated outfits that match your style and budget for your next family photo, contact me and we can discuss your vision!  You will get your own Polyvore collection customized for your family WITH SOURCES! Family picture day is stressful enough, I am here to help.

Please share and let your photographer friends know how I can help their clients, and I would love to hear what you think of Tree Farm Style!

Love Life…Styled!


Family Outfits: Tree Farm Style


Christmas Magic on a Budget

I love Christmas.  I am not going to lie though, it’s overwhelming.  In years past, I have felt like the Grinch, not wanting Christmas to come, dreading all the extra work. There are days that I might not get there and just need to not think about it…but if I focus on the ability I have to create a beautiful backdrop for lasting family memories, then I am motivated to make it just right.


This year was just that for me.  I felt inspired to start early and when some unexpected personal trials hit close to the holidays, I thanked my past self for listening to my heart and going for it.
When I was feeling consumed with my personal problem, we would drive up to the house with squeals of toddler delight over simple blinking snowflake lights on our porch. Our older kids commented several times how great the house looked all lit up.  I don’t think they will ever forget it and it’s motivated me to make new traditions to create Christmas wonder around us in simple ways every year.

HOT STYLE TIP:  Think of simple ways you can do this for your family.  I add little touches every year.  Last year, it was the lit window wreaths.  This year its the snowflake lights across the porch and the birch LED trees. Those twinkling snowflake lights are $9 regular priced at Wal-mart! 9 BUCKS!  I needed three strands, but the impact was well worth it.  Also, I found the 4′ LED birch trees for $25 and the red balls are from the dollar store.  I was THRILLED when I saw these trees because the same exact ones are at Target for $50 each, which was tempting when compared to the Restoration Hardware price…ugh. The same birch trees at RH are $85 for the 3′ and $155 for the 5′. So $25 for a 4’….SOLD!!!


But who knew, Wal-mart?! And this isn’t even a paid post.  $25 trees + $9 lights = Magical Christmas Wonderland at the Golden house.

Love Life…Styled!



HOT TIP:  Make your trees taller by getting a tall planter and putting bakery frosting buckets upside down inside for the trees to sit on.  You can usually get these for free at your local baker or for $1. Get the 9′ garlands for $8 at Walmart to wrap around the base, cover the buckets and fill your planter.  Stick holiday floral picks in the garlands, hang the balls, DONE!