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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reclaimed Wood Wall Art–Pottery Barn Knock Off


I have a really fun DIY project to share with you today!

pottery barn painted pieced wood wall art knock off

The Iowa Turkey Federation is at the end of a long kitchen and board room remodeling project, and we needed something for the space above our buffet counter in the kitchen.  So we decided to do a knock off of the Pottery Barn Painted Pieced Woodwork.

pottery barn painted pieced woodwork


We measured the space and decided to go with three large panels under the DIY pendant lights.  I purchased a cheap piece of 1/4 inch plywood (sometimes used as underlayment for floors) at Lowes and had them cut it to size.

Then, I collected pallets from around our farm and brushed on different colored paints from my collection.  I cut them apart using a jigsaw, then circular saw, then sawzall.  The sawzall was definitely easiest, although it left the roughest cuts.  So then I used my compound miter saw to even up the ends.  Sounds like a lot of work, but it really wasn’t. And it could have been done with just the jigsaw, although it would have taken a LOT longer.

(Some people disassemble the pallets by prying them apart.  I didn’t do that because a)it’s a heckuva lot of work b) I had plenty of wood so I didn’t mind some going to waste and c) I needed short pieces, anyway.)


Next was the design.  I laid out the wood pieces in a pretty random pattern.

DIY pottery barn pieced wood wall art

When the big spots were filled in, my friend helped me measure and cut pieces to fit in all the small holes. 

DIY pottery barn painted pieced wood

We tried really hard to make sure the colors and size of boards were balanced.  In a few places, we cut down a larger board into skinnier or shorter pieces to vary it a bit, and I got out my paints and repainted some of the boards, too.

reclaimed wood wall art

After fitting all the pieces, and gluing them down with Gorilla Wood Glue, I rubbed stain over the entire piece.  (I wish I had stained the plywood base first.  Instead, I used a spray stain to get in the cracks between boards.)

diy reclaimed wood wall art

In the picture above, you can see the difference the stain made.  The panel in the foreground was not stained, but the back two were.

After the stain dried overnight, I brushed on two coats of polycrylic to seal things up and give the panels a little richer sheen.

DIY pottery barn wall art

And then, just in time for our first board meeting meeting in the remodeled office (today!) my coworkers and I hung the panels.


Pottery Barn knock off wall art

Our cost:

(compared to Pottery Barn’s $399)

Plywood: ~$13/sheet x 2 = $26

Wood glue: ~$4

Paint, stain and poly: Leftover from other projects

Hardware for hanging: ~4

Total: $34 for three panels (two 32 x 45, one 46 x 45)

pottery barn pieced wood knock off

Time: 8+ hours over three days to allow paint, glue, stain and poly to dry

DIY reclaimed pallet wood


paint & brushes

reciprocal saw (jigsaw or circular saw would work)

miter saw (jigsaw or circular saw would work)

measuring tape

wood glue



hardware for hanging (we used a picture frame kit with eye hooks and wire)

Reclaimed wood art

One last shot to show the other wall in the kitchen.  We’ve still got plans for that rainbow canvas, and I have another remodeled room (and the cutest seating area!) to show off, too!


I’ve had such a fun time working on these spaces with my coworkers and we’re just hoping our board of turkey farmers and industry gurus will approve!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Important HomeShed News

As I prepare for a HomeShed sale this weekend (September 5-7) I have some important news to share.

Oct. 3-5 will be the last HomeShed sale at Red Granite Farm.

And it’s all because of the turkeys.


“Help Prevent Disease: Please do not enter without permission.”

One of the most important ways we keep our turkeys healthy is by limiting their exposure to germs.  Avian & poultry disease can be spread in many different ways…from birds flying from farm to farm, to rodents, to bugs, to visitors carrying germs in on their clothing or shoes.

Limiting germ exposure is called biosecurity.  It’s the reason why we don’t let many visitors in our barns.  It’s the reason why we have a separate pair of boots for each barn.  It’s the reason why Bart showers in between barns.



And it’s the reason The HomeShed, as we know it, is coming to an end.

You see, Red Granite Farm has chickens.  And IF those chickens were carrying a disease that could make my turkeys sick, and IF I happened to step in chicken poo or get a feather stuck in my hair, and IF I then contaminated our barns, it could be devastating.  I know, I know…that’s a lot of IFs.  But it’s simply a risk we can no longer take.

This is so hard to explain to people, so I’m sure you have some questions.

Wouldn’t you know if the chickens were sick?

Maybe, maybe not.  Remember chicken pox? There’s an incubation period, where the affected person carries the germ but isn’t showing any signs of illness.  By the time the symptoms show up, they’ve already spread the illness.  It’s one of the reasons ebola is such a problem in Africa right now.

Second, although chickens and turkeys are both poultry, they have very different immune systems.  One disease that is going around (Mycoplasma gallisepticum) doesn’t seem to bother chickens.  They can carry the germ, but they don’t get sick.  Turkeys, on the other hand, suffer greatly from MG.  In some cases, farmers have lost more than 1/2 their flock to MG (thousands of birds) and then have had to euthanize the rest of the birds (depopulate) in order to disinfect their barns.

Why now? This wasn’t a problem the last two years? Why is it now?

It’s always been a concern, but things are changing at Red Granite Farm and it’s about to become riskier. RGF has expanded the number of chickens they have, and because of that, they’re going to build a new chicken coop closer to the end of the barn I use.  More chickens + new location = more risk.

Is this really the end of The HomeShed?

No!  I will keep my booth at Antiques Iowa, and may do some shows.  I love picking, collecting and decorating, so I’ll keep doing those things in some way, forever!  The last few days, working in the Shed, have convinced me this isn’t something I can just quit doing!

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So, come on out this weekend. The HomeShed will be open Fri & Sat 9-5 and Sunday 11-4, and I’ll probably be marking down a lot of my merchandise so I won’t have as much to move after the October sale!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Blogger Book Club: Dark Places


You guys, I did it.  I read a whole book last month (actually, I read two!)

I saw that some of my favorite bloggers started a book club, and I decided to join in. These gals are all home d├ęcor/DIY bloggers most of the time, but started a book club as a fun way to read with friends.

In August, we read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  I haven’t read any other novels by this author, who also wrote Gone Girl, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

What’d I think of Dark Places?  Well, it was…um…dark.  I love mysteries, but usually from the detective's point of view. This story focused on the victims’ family and the events that led up to the family’s murder. It was a sad story, with amazingly believable characters, and for me, it was just too much.  The characters’ pain, both before and after the murders, were too intense for me, especially knowing that there was no happy ending.

That said, Gillian Flynn is an amazing author, and I really enjoyed the background about the farm crisis and how it led to the devastation of a family.  It feels wrong to say I enjoyed reading about the farm crisis, but it was just so interesting to hear how it affected this family.  Although I wasn’t born until 1984 and didn’t start farming until 2009, the farm crisis of the 80s had a big impact on my family and agriculture in our area.

I know from a few emails back and forth that at least a couple of my fellow book clubbers liked this book more than I did, so be sure to check out their reviews, too!

Carmel @ Our Fifth House

Kirby @ Kirb Appeal

Cassie @ Primitive and Proper

Next month’s pick: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Read along with us, or suggest a book for our club.  It’s my turn to pick in October and I’m so far out of the reading loop, I don’t even know where to start!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear College Freshmen,


In many ways, I envy you.  You are so young.  You have so much to look forward to.  You are entering one of the best phases in life.

And yet, I worry about you.  You are so young.  You have so much to learn.  You are entering a defining phase in life.

I was in your shoes 12 years ago, and the last thing I wanted was some 30 year old giving me advice.  But, that’s exactly what I’m about to do… (because I’ll sleep better at night knowing I tried to help you.)

So here it goes, my advice for college freshmen:

1.  It's okay to change your mind. Change your major. Dump your boyfriend. Set a new course. Now is the time to do it!

2.  Don't get caught up in the petty behavior that seems to follow groups of girls. Judging, gossiping, backstabbing - the sooner you quit doing those things, the better friends you’ll have and the happier you’ll be.

3.  Surround yourself by people you want to be like. If you see yourself taking on attitudes or habits or behaviors that remind you of someone else, ask yourself if that’s who you want to be.

4.  Others will make mistakes.  Forgive them.  Others have faults.  Love them anyway.  It’s no fun being mad all the time.

5.  You have faults. Love yourself anyway.  You will make mistakes.  Forgive yourself.  You will make more mistakes drunk than sober. Remember that.

6. Find an older woman you can identify with, and listen to her advice. Your boss, your coach, your advisor…she’s been there and can be your tour guide. In every phase of my life, I’ve had amazing women show me the way, and I am so thankful for that.

7. Don’t aim for perfection.  Perfection is psychotic.  Decide what’s important to you and do your best at those things.  Decide what’s not important to you, and lower your expectations in those areas.

8. Learn how to use tools.  Google how to fix your washing machine. Change your own oil.  You don’t need a man to do things for you.

9. Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have.  Think hard about whether or not you want to be a parent, and if you do, take that into consideration when you choose a career path.  Because when you have a full-time, stressful job, and your children are a full-time, stressful job…well, it’s a lot to handle.

10. Do things that are good for your soul, not your ego.  When you feel overwhelmed or overcommitted, make your soul a priority.

I could go on and on, and the lessons you learn on your own will be endless.  When you emerge from this place four years from now, you will be a better woman.  You will have had your share of struggles and joys and you will be ready for the rest of your life’s journey. 

Carpe diem, my friends!


*Photo courtesy From my Front Porch.*

Thursday, August 21, 2014

10 Favorite Turkey Recipes


The Iowa Food and Family Project is talking all about turkey this month! 

Turkey JMJ -Subway-32

I got to be a part of the fun in June when Iowa Girl Eats went behind the scenes at a local Subway.  Kristin (Iowa Girl Eats) is an amazing food blogger here in central Iowa.  She works with the Iowa Food and Family Project through Join My Journey.  We farmers would love to have everyone out to our farms to visit, but it’s just not feasible.  So, Kristin has visited farms and shared her “journey” through her blog on the IFFP website.


Kristin toured a turkey farm in Iowa last summer, but I just met her for the first time when we on live tv together in June.  Our favorite local morning show, Great Day, invited us in to talk about Iowa Food and Family Project, turkey and Subway!

Why Subway? Well, Iowa turkey farms (including mine) supply all of Subway’s turkey nationally!  In fact, West Liberty Foods, where our turkey goes, supplies over 80% of the other meat nationally, as well.


I have to say, Kristin was just as cute and sweet in person as she appears on her blog!  We had a great time talking blogging, food and kids at the Great Day studio and at Subway the next day. 

2014_06_20_10_47_56(rev 0)

At Subway, we all got to meet the franchise owner, Joe Fisher, Kristin made her own sandwich, and then Kristin signed (and gave away) cookbooks!

The Join my Journey blog on the Iowa Food and Family Project website has more videos and information about the Subway “Journey,” including Kristin’s perspective.

But I wanted in on the action, so I submitted a blog post to their website, too!  My post showcases my Top 10 Turkey Recipes, so click over to find out what they are!


top 10 turkey recipes

Monday, August 18, 2014

Peek at Recent DIY Decorating

I’ve sort of been on a roll lately, working on my house.

But, I seem to go through periods of “doing” and periods of blogging.

This, apparently, is a period of “doing” because although I’ve done a lot of projects, I haven’t blogged about them.

So here’s a sneak peek at some of the projects, and when life slows down, I’ll (maybe) do some more in-depth blog posts about it all.

Nesting tables for The HomeShed

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China cabinet (in progress) for The HomeShed

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Nightstand for The HomeShed using my new favorite: General Finishes Milk Paint

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New wall color in the play room

2014_07_07_11_54_22(rev 0)

Canvas-Sticker-Paint art for Adam’s Room

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Barn Wood Leaning Mirror for The HomeShed

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Antique Door Coffee Table for The HomeShed

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Shelves that fell off the wall in the play room. Oops.

2014-08-07 06.25.51

New paint in Isaac’s room

2014-08-03 16.30.03

So I guess I DID get something done this summer, huh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Becoming a Runner…(and winner of the Color Fun Fest 5k giveaway!)


I used to think that there were two types of people: people who can run and people who can’t.  I was in the 2nd category.

In college, I ran 1.5 miles around the track one night.  It was amazing.  I still remember the feeling of accomplishment when I finished.  I was downright giddy.

In the following weeks, I tried to keep up the momentum.  I mapped out 1/2 mile of city blocks, and tried to run there – downhill – and failed multiple times.  I used the treadmill at the rec center, and again was unable to run nearly as far as I had that night.  I remember a football player running next to me (I was a cheerleader) telling me I just needed the right music, and offering me his headphones.  (I was so embarrassed, I didn’t realize at the time that he was flirting with me, even though I couldn’t run.  A couple weeks later, I further mortified myself in the rec room by failing to bench the bar.  But that’s another story.)

My husband, Bart, was in cross country in high school.  We ran 1/2 mile together once.  Twelve years ago.

One of my teacher friends was the track coach. She tried to help me.  I made it around the block.  The next day, my shins hurt so bad, I gave up for another few years.

(This story has a happy ending, I promise.)

Last summer, I took part in a diet/fitness challenge, and I decided that running seemed like a good way to burn a lot of calories quickly.  I downloaded RunDouble on my phone and started out with a good friend.  The first time we ran, a chunk of my shoes literally fell off.  The only tennis shoes I had were used for gardening and farming, and too many trips through the washing machine led to part of the sole coming loose mid-run.  Turns out, bad shoes lead to bad pain.  My hips hurt so bad I could hardly walk the next day.

The next week, I got new shoes (Asics Kayunos) and started again.  Much better this time around, and the next week was a turning point.  I was on week 2 of Couch to 5k, thinking I was going to die, when I started chanting to myself, “It isn’t any harder than walking. It isn’t any harder than walking. It isn’t any harder than walking.” (except, it sort of is.) I completed the run, and for the first time, I felt confident that I could complete the training program and become a runner.

But then, another turning point.  I ran on a crappy treadmill, and my knees wouldn’t forgive me.  By the time they decided to cooperate, it was cold and icy.  I ran inside a couple of times over the winter, and started again with C25k in the spring.

And then, another turning point.  I wanted to see if I could make it from my house to the highway.  Four tenths (.4) of a mile.  So I set out one day, ran to the corner, and then ran back home.  It ended up being nine tenths total – further than I had run since that night in 2002.

Since then, I’ve been running fairly regularly, although I’m taking it slowly and am only up to week 4 (of 9) of Couch to 5k.  My shins have been bothering me the past couple of months, and it’s making me crazy.  My shins are holding me back.


Finally, last week, I bought new shoes (again.)  I went to Kyle’s Bikes, in Ankeny, where Bill (marathoner x19) used the Dartfish Gait Analysis to choose 4 different pairs of shoes for me to try.  I ran for a minute on the treadmill with each pair (which is an accomplishment in itself – couldn’t do that a year ago!) and chose the ones that felt the best.

I chose Brooks Pureflow 3, because of the way they felt on my feet and shins when I ran.  I’ve only ran in them once, but so far, I’m smitten, and ready for my first “race!”

(Kyle’s Bikes did not, in any way, compensate me or sponsor this post. I’m just one happy customer!)


So anyway, the moral of the story is this:

You can run. 

If you…

Start slowly…really slowly. I repeated week 1 of C25k three or four times before I was ready to move on.

Buy good shoes.  But don’t just pick your own.  Find an expert that will “fit” you to the perfect shoe.  Shoes can make or break you.

Find the right music.  That football player was right.  I prefer 80s cardio type, but whatever works for you.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the winner of the Color Fun Fest 5K giveaway is (drumroll, please…) SHAUNNA!

Shaunna just happens to be a fellow Iowa blogger who’s blog is called (get this) Mama’s 13 Minute Mile.


If you didn’t win and still want to participate in the run, buy your tickets from the Color Fun Fest 5k website using the code CREEK20.  Your registration will only be $20! (Thanks to the Color Fun Fest 5k for sponsoring the giveaway and discounted tickets!)

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