Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Southern Holiday Life Magazine: Spring 2016

Hello! Guess what time it is? It's SHL time! The new edition of Southern Holiday Life is available to view online. Once again, I got to contribute to this issue and I couldn't be more pleased with how this issue turned out! 

This Spring/Summer issue has lots of awesome articles! There are crafts, parties, recipes, and tons of great wedding and shower ideas! You won't want to miss this!

I had two articles this time; a floral monogram and a spring front porch. Here are a couple of sneak peeks!

Floral Monogram Craft

Spring Front Porch

Ready to read these articles and more? You can read Southern Holiday Life in its entirety HERE. Go check it out and tell me what you think! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An Organized Potting Bench

About four years ago, my husband built a potting bench for me using some free pallets we had. I used that bench off and on, but never on a consistent basis. Last summer, I stained it with some gel stain that I had left over from another project, vowing that I'd finally put this bench to good use. But, it still sat mostly unused.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I had been working in my yards, potting my planters with spring and summer blooms and I really needed a place to work that was organized and would make things easier (and confine the mess to one area). You may remember my potting bench inspiration I shared not long ago. I used those images to inspire me to pull together my own little organized potting area, and all on a budget. (Because I'd rather spend my money on pretty flowers!)

The large items I used, I already had on hand; the potting bench and the chain link gate. I knew I could use the gate to hang tools or other items from, and it had been sitting unused since we first bought our home and took down the chain link fence in the yard. 

I pulled all my pots and tools from all of their random stashes and brought them all together in one place. 

 I hung some fresh herbs by tying garden twine around metal pots (from Ikea). This is easy to change out if needed and easy to get to for cooking use.

My hubby attached metal plant hooks to both sides on the bench for me. I can hang actual hanging plants if I want, or in this case, an empty basket housing unused pots and on the other side, my watering can.

A bucket holds garden tools with plenty of room for more items if needed.

The lower shelf holds unused pots and buckets, and a few birdhouses for good measure. 

Shopping List:
*Galvanized metal chalkboard, Target Dollar Spot
*Metal planters, Ikea
*Metal "Garden" bucket, Target Dollar Spot
*Metal watering can, Lowe's
*Plant hangers, Lowe's
*Slate plant markers, Target Dollar Spot
*Metal bucket with scoop, TJ Maxx
*Mini clay pots, Dollar Tree
*Rosemary Wreath Topiary, Sam's Club

I'm so glad I finally got this done. It's a pretty and functional space I can use throughout the growing season and it cost very little to put together. Now, to go enjoy this beautiful weather and sunshine! 

Linking up to:
The Creative Corner at Curly Crafty Mom

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Am I Doing This Right?

Last night, my husband and I were watching an episode of Counting On on TLC (the Dugger girls' show). One scene showed Jessa, her husband Ben, and their little baby boy, Spurgeon. He was being changed and he started cooing and smiling at his Mama.

"Do you ever miss that?" I asked Jared.

"Yes." he replied. And he meant it.

I immediately started tearing up and getting emotional thinking about my two daughters. They are no longer little babies that we can hold and feed. We have long been out of diapers and haven't been subjected to a Doodlebops episode in years. (The Doodlebops were Katlyn's favorite when she was a toddler. She called them the Bop-bops.)

As hard as those years were for me, they were very precious and I'll never get them back. Time has flown by. This summer, my girls will be eight and ten and I can't help but wonder:

Am I doing this right?

Even though those first years were very tiring and I felt like I was drowning sometimes, it seems that the parenting part was a lot more simple. Now that I have two mini humans with thoughts and feelings and ideas and heart issues, I can't help but wonder if I'm directing their hearts in the right way. Am I doing more than giving them just yes's and no's?  Am I teaching our beliefs and values more than I'm demanding that they do their chores? Am I laughing with and enjoying them more than I'm fussing at them to clean their room and pick up after themselves? 

Some days I don't know. Some days I feel like I'm failing them. Some days are overwhelmingly more wrought with tears and frustration than sprinkled with laughter and smiles.

I'm figuring this out as I go and I pray that God would help me to teach them right from wrong and why those things are right and wrong (the heart issue) , to seek Him in all things, to be a good friend, to be unselfish and caring, to be loving.

It is overwhelming if I rely on my own strength. It's terrifying! But neither I nor you have to parent in our own strength.

Lord, help me to parent in a way that reflects Your heart for us.Show me how to navigate my girls' hearts as they grow and mature. 
Please help me to rely on Your grace and strength when I feel overwhelmed.
Please give Jared and I wisdom as we raise the precious gifts. Amen. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why I Blog


When I first started Cultivate Create, I had grand dreams of daily inspirational posts and lots of DIY how-to's. I planned to document taking our fixer upper from dated and drab to done and daring. While I have documented that, the fixing up process now comes in spurts rather than a steady stream. But, over the course of the last two and a half years, I've discovered my love for crafts, pretty tablescapes and parties. Because of my blog, I started being a contributor for Southern Holiday Life magazine and hope to expand that to freelance writing for other publications. I've learned a lot about photography and am still improving in that area. But, one of my favorite things is connecting with you! I love to get feedback from readers and  questions that hopefully I can help answer. I'm not an expert and didn't go to school for design, however, I love design and DIY and have become a student of it. I've immersed myself in that world, and while I'm still learning myself, I love to pass along what I have learned to you guys.

My Favorite Things About Blogging
*Sharing tutorials for DIY and craft projects.
*Learning more about home design and DIY.
*Writing! (I've loved writing since I was a little girl!)
*It motivates me to accomplish things around my home. 
*Sharing resources for shopping for your home.
*Developing Cultivate Create into a source of income for my family.
*Sharing ideas and motivation for making your house a home. 
*Sharing ideas about how to decorate on a budget. 
*It enables me to have a "portfolio" of my work and writing.
*Offering free printables and other ways to decorate for "free."
*Documenting our home and family life. 
*Using it as a creative outlet.
*Encouraging others.
*Sharing party ideas and DIY party decor tutorials.
*Sharing gardening and landscaping tips.
*Connecting with others. (people who are also passionate about crafting and DIY projects, other writers and bloggers, other moms and families, anyone at all!)

I've been thinking a lot about Cultivate Create's purpose and trajectory lately, hoping to soon migrate over to a self-hosted site with a new and improved design as soon as my web designer has an availability. I've also been brainstorming for future posts as well as preparing to share some projects I've been working on around our home. So, my question for you guys is:

What kinds of posts would you like to see in the future?
 More DIY projects? Tutorials? Kid crafts? Family friendly activities? You tell me!

I've asked this question before on my Facebook page and took note from there, but I wanted to again here. Please leave a comment below or you can comment on the link to this post on my FB page or send me a pm or email ( would greatly appreciate the feedback as I work to improve Cultivate Create. 

A challenge for fellow bloggers:
Want to reflect and remind yourself why you started blogging? Write your own "Why I Blog" post and share with hashtag #whyiblog. Be sure to let me know! 

Before I leave you today, I wanted to quickly share with you just a few of my favorite posts so far from this blog. Check them out. I hope you enjoy! Be sure to join this site or follow by email to never miss a post. (Both on the right sidebar.)

How to Stain Vinyl Shutters


DIY Fringe Party Backdrop

Dough Bowl Succulent Planter

Waverly Chalk Painted Dresser

Spring Monogram Letter

Thursday, April 07, 2016

10 Functional and Fabulous Potting Benches

The past couple of days, I've been working on my flower beds and planters for spring. There's so much that has to be done; weeding, pruning, mulching, edging. And the list goes on. My favorite part, however, is going to the plant nursery and choosing new flowers for my pots and landscape. I had so much fun picking out some new varieties this week! I can't wait to see how they do throughout the spring and summer growing seasons. 

A few years ago, my husband built me a potting bench and I've never used it consistently. This year, though, I wanted to change that. You see, flowers make me happy. And doing anything related to my flowers makes me happy. Give me the dirt and sunshine and I'm in Heaven! So, I decided to gather some inspiration in order to create my own little potting bench haven.  I hope this gives you some inspiration,too!

1. Trellis Backed
|| Via ||

2. Repurposed Fence

3. Green with plant envy
|| Via ||
4. European Goodness
|| Via ||
5. Simple with Sink
|| Via ||
6. Repurposed Nesting Boxes
|| Via ||
7. Pretty Palettes 
|| Via ||
8. Wood and Metal
|| Via ||
9. Shabby Chic
|| Via ||
10. Terra Cotta Heaven
|| Via ||
Which one is your favorite? I love something about each one!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Since I was a little girl, the ocean always inspired a sense of awe in me. I could stand beside the ocean, my toes buried in the sand as waves rolled in across my ankles, and think The same God who created this huge ocean created me,too. Wow! I always felt a closeness to God when at the beach, a true thankfulness for the beauty He created for us to enjoy. But, it wasn't until recent years that I developed that same sense of awe for the mountains. 

View from Clingman's Dome

My husband and I spent our Honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee eleven years ago, and were immediately hooked by the draw of the Smoky Mountains. We've vacationed there a few times since then, and it never ceases to excite and compel us to keep coming back. I get that same sense of awe there that I did as a little girl beside the ocean. I feel like an explorer. I am an explorer finding a new trail, an unknown waterfall, a forgotten stream. I look around at the vast expanse of sky, the ridgelines on the horizon and I feel small. I feel awe. I feel the amazement of seeing God's vast handiwork and knowing that I'm a piece of His handiwork as well. 

Last week was Spring Break for my kiddos, so we made the eight hour trek up to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. We packed a lot in while we were there, including Dollywood, Dixie Stampede dinner show, eating at our absolute favorite restaurant for breakfast, The Apple Barn. We visited The Island in Pigeon Forge, perused the Arts and Crafts District in Gatlinburg, and made a couple of runs to The Donut Friar in downtown Gatlinburg. (If you've never tried The Donut Friar, you have to next time you visit. It's in The Village area of downtown Gatlinburg. Grab a couple of donuts or a dozen, and then walk around the corner and buy some amazing coffee from Coffee & Company. You won't be disappointed.)

But, I was most excited about spending an entire day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Usually, we spend a good bit of time at Cade's Cove, but this time, we bypassed that and went to other areas of the park we'd never explored before. 

And just a couple pieces of advice. 
*Use the restroom before you enter the park. There are few places that have rest areas once you start into the park. 
*Pack a picnic lunch. Really taking your time in the park doesn't lend for a quick trip, especially if you're going up and over the mountain into North Carolina. 
*Take the time to stop at pull off areas and take it all in. Don't have too much of an agenda. Be willing to explore and discover areas that look interesting to you. 

Chimney Tops

Chimney Tops has a picnic area and a hiking trail to the top. The way the clouds look here really look like the mountain is smoking like a chimney. 

Newfound Gap

On the North Carolina/Tennessee border, this is a must see area. There is a restroom here as well. The views are gorgeous and it has some wonderful history. The Appalachian Trail continues here as well.

Clingman's Dome

Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the park. I wish all of my photos did this place justice. It's breathtaking! You can see for miles and miles and are at eye level with the clouds! My kids were terrified that they would fall of the side of the mountain. They didn't even want to get out of the car because it's so high up. Just a word of advice here. Pack warm clothes! It was around twenty-five to thirty degrees cooler up here (and pretty cool at Newfound Gap too). It was also very, very windy making it feel much colder. It was downright frigid. Keep that in mind when you come here, especially when walking up the very top. (And by the way, there are restrooms here.)

Mingus Mill

We just happened to see Mingus Mill and whipped in to see what it was all about. There were restrooms here, but they were closed when we were there. Anyway, you walk back on this trail and come upon an old mill. It was so cool to see how they redirected the water from the river into a trough to feed the mill. It's worth the stop!

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is right outside of Cherokee, North Carolina. In addition to restrooms and information, there is the Mountain Farm Museum and a trail that runs by the water and around the museum or you can take it into Cherokee. This is also an elk viewing area. (We didn't see any elk this trip but we saw lots and lots of turkey.)This is definitely worth the stop. 

Other Areas

We did go on into Cherokee, North Carolina. It's an Indian reservation and was interesting but some the attractions weren't open yet. We tried to stop all along at areas we found intriguing and just explored and took pictures. This is my favorite part! And I need to mention that there are lots of hiking trail all throughout the park, but we didn't have time to tackle any of those this trip, but they're on the list for our next trip. 

Have you ever been to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? What are your favorite places to visit? I'd love to hear so I can put it on my list for next time! 

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