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That Time Dreaming About Wine Paid Off

Last fall I had the honor of speaking for the first time at the DreamBank – an incredible resource located in downtown Madison, WI, inspiring and assisting people to discover and achieve their dreams.

Prior to my appearance I was asked by a DreamBank staff person (they call them “Dream Curators” – doesn’t that sound like the best job title ever?) to share a little bit about myself, including answering the question: “What’s your personal dream?”

I had a surprisingly hard time answering that question because I am beyond blessed to say I feel like I’m currently living my dream. Prior to quitting my job, I would have answered that my dream was to work from home, have more time to spend with my family, and evenings spent sitting around the dinner table with G and Kate, enjoying a homemade meal - and now that’s exactly what I’m doing.

As I was trying to think of how to answer this question I asked G for ideas, saying, “There’s nothing else I want. I’m living my dream.” He reminded me that the only other thing I still talk about wanting is a great big garden to grow our family’s food.

“That’s true…” I replied, “but we’ll have a garden at our new house when we move to Cambridge, so that dream will soon be coming true as well.”

Unable to think of any other ideas, I decided to stick with G’s suggestion in my reply to DreamBank.  Then – just before hitting send – the wine lover in me decided to DREAM BIG and add just one more thing.  Here is the reply I sent to my Dream Curator:

“Her personal dream is to have a garden and grow the food her family eats . . . aaaaand she wouldn’t turn down a vineyard.”

Two weeks later a friend of mine who already lives in Cambridge posted on my Facebook page that a new business – the Cambridge Winery & Vineyard – is coming to our idyllic little town.

Talk about THE POWER OF STATING YOUR DREAM!

That time dreaming about wine paid off.

Wine lover (and dreamer) for life.  {Photo by Melissa Oholendt}

Interested in checking out the DreamBank in Madison, WI? Come and see me there on Wednesday, June 3rd! I’ll be conducting a free event on the “Beginner’s Guide to Blogging” from 12:00-1:00pm. Register now!

DreamBank: Beginner's Guide to Blogging

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Simple Spring Centerpiece

For about $5, this Simple Spring Centerpiece can be created in a matter of minutes and is a great way to bring some color and drama to your spring home!

If you haven’t already found some branches to spray paint white, I highly recommend you give it a try!

I originally cut a bunch of branches and spray painted them white to use as decorations for Kate’s birthday party.  Since that time I’ve repurposed this simple DIY into a Valentine Tree, Easter decor, and a now a simple Spring Centerpiece for my 2015 Spring Home Tour.

To make, simply trim some tree branches (I trimmed the wayward shoots of branches that come up from the base of some trees that need to be cut off anyway) and spray paint them white.  I used {affiliate link} Rust-Oleum’s 2X spray in Glossy White and it worked beautifully – even in our January sub-freezing temps, which is when these branches were originally sprayed!

Next, I used 2 bouquets of faux flowers from the dollar store – one set of pink and one set of white.  The dollar store is a great place to find your faux flowers for this project.  Since you’ll only be using the buds and petals it doesn’t matter what the rest of the arrangement looks like, so go for the cheap ones.  To create this simple spring centerpiece:

  1. Trim the flower petals and buds off of their stems, as close to their base as you can get.
  2. Glue them to your white branches using a hot glue gun, spacing them out however you’d like.
  3. Hold them in place for a moment until the glue is dried and the flower petal stays in place.

Cutting the petals off their stems at a slight angle (versus a straight across cut) will get you more surface area for the flower to be glued to the branches, so give that a try if you have any trouble getting your flowers to attach to the branches.

For about $5, this Simple Spring Centerpiece can be created in a matter of minutes and is a great way to bring some color and drama to your spring home!

For about $5, this beautiful centerpiece can be knocked out in a matter of minutes and is a great way to bring some color and drama to your spring home!

For about $5, this Simple Spring Centerpiece can be created in a matter of minutes and is a great way to bring some color and drama to your spring home!

Like this project?  See more at the All Things G&D Home & Decor Gallery.

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DIY String Art

I love finding fun arts and crafts projects to do with Kate, and our latest DIY String Art wall hanging is one of our favorites!

Have fun and get creative making your own DIY String Art - a simple project for adults, and an exciting challenge for kids!

This project is a little more advanced than anything Kate has tried before, so if you decide to do this with your kiddos as well be sure to stay by their side to supervise and lend a hand.  Adults will find this DIY String Art to be a pretty easy project, and little ones will enjoy the challenge and fun of trying out “grown up” tools and supplies!

Have fun and get creative making your own DIY String Art - a simple project for adults, and an exciting challenge for kids!

Kate (age 5) getting our DIY String Art project started.

Have fun and get creative making your own DIY String Art - a simple project for adults, and an exciting challenge for kids!

One of this best parts of this DIY is having fun with the string!  Kate started out trying to wrap her string all orderly and in a pattern, but I encouraged her to get “wild and crazy” and have fun with it!

Have fun and get creative making your own DIY String Art - a simple project for adults, and an exciting challenge for kids!

Have fun and get creative making your own DIY String Art - a simple project for adults, and an exciting challenge for kids!

We hung Kate’s string art “K” in her bedroom above a framed sponge painted piece of art she created when she was about two years old.  I love seeing her DIY projects on display and the colors match perfectly with her bright and colorful bedroom!

Have fun and get creative making your own DIY String Art - a simple project for adults, and an exciting challenge for kids!

Click on over to Homes.com for a list of supplies and my step-by-step instructions for completing your own DIY String Art!

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Spring Makeover with Lowe’s

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lowe’s. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

If there’s something this Wisconsin girl knows, it’s winters.   I’m in the rare camp of people who love winter, although even I am ready for some spring weather at this point!  Up here it’s not uncommon for things to shut down due to severe winter weather – stores, schools, vehicles, etc. – but something else that often comes to a screeching halt once winter hits is home improvement projects. More than two-thirds of adults find projects throughout the winter that they need to complete in their homes.  Are you one of the many people who say there are things about your home that bother you every time you look at them?

If so, I’ve got great news – the snow is melting, spring has arrived, and Lowe’s is here to help!

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Lowe’s is partnering up with 10 bloggers – including yours truly! – to help our readers in the “10 Bleakest Cities of 2015″ complete home makeover projects that have been neglected or delayed due to extreme winter conditions.  According to the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) the following U.S. cities were the the harshest hit this past winter:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York, New York
  • Portland, Maine
  • Providence, Rhode Island

Do you live in one of these cities?  If so, tell us how you’d like to transform your home for spring!  We’ll check out your project ideas, and me – or one of my DIY blogging friends below – just might show up at your door to make it happen!

Each of us bloggers will be assigned to one of the 10 cities above, along with a team of Lowe’s volunteers, to design and complete spring sprucing up projects for the home such as painting, landscaping, creating outdoor rooms and adding curb appeal.  The projects that get selected will be easy refresh projects that can be completed in one day.  Need some spring inspiration?  Check out the Lowe’s DIY and home improvement gallery to see these project ideas and more!

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So what’s on your to-do list?  Tell us now!  We can’t wait to help you make it happen!

Click the button below to submit a home DIY project that will be considered for a Spring Makeover compliments of Lowe’s!  Submission deadline is Friday, April 17th, so don’t delay!

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To be eligible you must:

  • Live in one of the “10 Bleakest Cities of 2015″ listed above (or a suburb of that city).
  • Be the owner of your home.
  • Be 21 years of age or older.
  • Have a space in your home that you’re looking to fix up.
  • Be in need of expert design help from a participating blogger.
  • Have a project that can be completed within 24 hours.
  • Be outgoing, energetic and fun, with unique stories to tell.
  •  Be comfortable being on camera and/or interviewed by local media.
  • Be able to make quick decisions in order to keep to tight timelines.
  • Be available for a 2 day period to complete the makeover (between April 20-May 22).
  • Allow photos of your home to be shared online.
  • Complete the online application form and agree to the Terms listed.

Please note: We will only contact eligible participants.

You have until this Friday, April 17th to submit your project for consideration, so don’t delay!

I can’t wait to see which city I’ll be visiting and to share all the before and after details of my Lowe’s Spring Makeover project with you!

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A Small Town Love Story

There’s a remarkable little town in southern Wisconsin called Cambridge that G took me to shortly after we started dating.  His grandparents had lived there on the lake and G (who grew up in a neighboring town) had so many wonderful memories of being there.  He showed me the house where his grandparents had lived, and then took me to a beautiful hiking trail just outside of town.  Afterwards, we walked up and down Cambridge’s historic Main Street lined with antique stores, quaint coffee shops, and art and pottery galleries.

It was the most charming town I’d ever seen.

A few years later we bought our first house close to our jobs in Madison, WI…but Cambridge always called to us.  When driving to G’s parents’ house we’d often opt to “take the scenic route,” going the long way just so we could set our sights on that beloved little town.  We visited as often as we could and found it absolutely mandatory to get there at least once each autumn to explore our favorite hiking trail (Cam-Rock Park), unplug for a day and enjoy the views.

When it came time to purchase our second house G asked, “What about Cambridge?”

At the time I was working in downtown Madison and the 8 mile commute from our westside Madison suburb was unpredictable, lengthy and draining the life out of me.  I couldn’t imagine tacking another 20 miles on to it, so we decided to stay in Madison, close to our jobs.

Eight years and one little girl about to start kindergarten later, G and I were back to discussing where we were going to live.  This time around, however, the stakes were higher.  We weren’t just choosing a house - we were choosing our daughter’s school district, and a community we could call our home.  G and I are both from small towns and small schools and we knew we wanted Kate to have a similar experience, so we started looking at real estate in towns bordering Madison.

And then G asked, “What about Cambridge?”

We discussed it for weeks.

What about Cambridge?

That charming little town that we’ve always adored.  It was a lot further from the city than anything else we’d been looking at, but I no longer had a commute to worry about now that I work from home.  On the flip side, G’s commute would double, but he doesn’t loathe driving like I do and was confident he wouldn’t mind.  We’d be much closer to G’s parents and the rest of his family which was a major plus, although downsizing from a city of 250,000 to a town of 1,500 would be an adjustment – one that appealed to us more and more each day.  It was the small town life we’d been imagining for our family, with the convenience of the city only 20 minutes away.

The only question left was the school district.  We didn’t know anything about it, so we started researching and were amazed to discover it offered so much!  The elementary school, for example, has a school forest – utilized as an outdoor classroom – with a system of trails built and maintained by the students.  There is also a school farm, and many other extracurriculars.  In addition, the Cambridge School District is rated in the top 10% of school districts in our entire state.   It became clear to us from everything we’d read and through feedback from local residents that this was a town that valued educating its young people.

“So…what about Cambridge?” G asked again.  “Should we do it?”

We could do our research and weigh the pros and cons all day long, but sometimes it all comes down to a feeling – that feeling we both had so long ago when G first introduced me to Cambridge, WI and I fell in love with a town.

I’ll never forget that day.

As I mentioned above, we had just finished our hike and were exploring the shops along Cambridge’s beautiful historic Main Street.  And it was right there on Main Street, walking hand in hand, that we looked at each other and said, “Someday we’re going to raise our family here.”

I was 19 years old.  G was 22.

That feeling has stayed with us ever since, and it was stronger than ever when I looked at G - giddy as a teenager all over again – and replied, “Let’s do it!”

Cambridge, we can’t wait to call you our home.

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Kate, on a hike through Cam-Rock Park in Cambridge last fall.

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2015 Spring Home Tour & Giveaway

Even though my little patch of grass in Wisconsin is still covered in snow, I’ve heard rumors that spring has sprung, so it’s time to celebrate with a Spring Home Tour and a fabulous giveaway from Kirkland’s!  I don’t typically do a spring home tour post, but a few things happened this lion-like March to change my mind:

  1. The lovely Jen Migonis from Migonis Home invited me to be one of 25 fabulous bloggers on her Spring Home Tours blog hop.
  2. I stepped into a Kirkland’s for the first time and wanted to buy all the things.
  3. I shared last spring that G and I had set the wheels in motion to find our next house – our “forever home” – and the time has come!  Soon we’ll be packing up boxes and saying goodbye to this house we’ve called our home for the past 9 years, so I thought it was only fitting to dress her up one last time for some final photos.

Welcome to our spring home!

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

Things can get a little dark and heavy in here with G’s massive man TV taking center stage in the living room, so I lightened it up with some pillows, spring flowers, and a light colored throw draped over the ottoman.

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

The other side of our living room, looking into our kitchen:

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

I made this easy spring floral arrangement from a large glass lantern and floral filler found at Kirkland’s – I love this lantern so much I bought two of them!  (See the second one below in our kitchen.) The geometric wooden vase and faux eucalyptus filler, and porcelain bird are all from Target.

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

Fun with more spring flowers in the kitchen:

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

Another Kirkland’s obsession – this mason jar candle runner which I filled with fresh hydrangeas and used as an island centerpiece:

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

Fresh tulips, my other large glass lantern from Kirkland’s with a faux floating water lily inside, and a preserved boxwood topiary arrangement (also from Kirkland’s) that promises to be nearly impossible to kill.  (We’ll see how my black thumb does!)

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

The eat-in section of our kitchen:

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

To make this centerpiece I took branches I had spray-painted white, and glued the blossoms of faux dollar store flowers to them:

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

Kate fell in love with this cute little golden-eared bunny from Target, so we had to find a spot for her in our spring home as well.  She goes beautifully with our new gold sphere from Kirkland’s.

All Things G&D 2015 Spring Home Tour

Thank you so much for joining me on my very first Spring Home Tour!  Please take a moment to check out the fabulous bloggers that are part of this home tour with me, and make sure to enter below for a chance to win one of THREE $100 gift cards from Kirkland’s!

Kirkland's Collage

Monday

Migonis Home | Maison de Pax | DIY on the Cheap | Cottage in the Oaks | Town and Country Living

Tuesday

The Blissful Bee | Rain on a Tin Roof | Ciburbanity | Fox Hollow Cottage | Setting for Four

Wednesday

House by Hoff | Love Grows Wild | All Things G&D | Life on Virginia Street

Thursday

rooms FOR rent | Everyday Enchanting | The Happy Housie | Wicks Nest | Kindred Vintage | So Much Better with Age

Friday

Just a Girl and Her Blog | The Wood Grain Cottage | Jenna Sue Design | At Home with The Barkers | AKA Design

Giveaway Time!

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Easy Spring Floral Arrangement

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

I’m currently getting our house all freshened and flowered up for spring and couldn’t wait to share this easy spring floral arrangement with you all!

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

This is a beautiful, easy, and unique option for arranging long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems. And the best part is there’s no need to spend excessive amounts of time trying to get your floral arrangement shifted, shoved, and rearranged to perfection – you really can’t mess this up!

I started with this clear glass lantern from Kirkland’s that I scored on sale for only $12!  It was one of their “everyday deals” and  I’m totally obsessed with it.

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

For the filler I used faux curly willow and floral stems, also found at Kirkland’s.

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

To make, simply twist the bottoms of each stem into a large circle shape to fit inside the lantern:

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

Place inside the lantern with the bottom of the stem touching the bottom, and continue circling the rest of the branch in a circle shape inside the lantern, working it up to the top:

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

Next add a floral stem, curving the stem in the same circle fashion as the curly willow pictured above:

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

You can keep all of the stem entirely inside the glass lantern, or have some of the ends poking out at the top for a fun and whimsical look:

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

I love the overlap of the curly willow and the flowers, and the unique look it has all swirled and twisted together inside the lantern!

I used a total of two curly willow twigs and two floral stems for mine, but you could use more or less depending on how filled you’d like your jar to be. Like I said, there’s really no way you can mess this easy spring floral arrangement up!

An easy spring floral arrangement using a large glass lantern, long sticks of faux curly willow and floral stems - so simple anyone can do it! | www.allthingsgd.com

Like this project? See more at the All Things G&D DIY Gallery!

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