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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

11.28.2020

9 Christmas shopping ideas from small businesses during quarantine

It's Small Business Saturday, and more important than ever this year to support small businesses locally and around the Internet. But it's also harder than ever to walk around downtown and pop into local businesses in-person. I've come up with 9 ways to support small businesses safely in COVID/quarantine times, and am sharing my favorite local Portland-area companies, many of which you can shop from anywhere!

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9 ways to support small businesses at Christmas 2020 (gifts and more!)

I've gathered some ideas for gifts as well as other holiday season purchases you can choose to make from small businesses instead of the big online shopping machines. 


1. Coffee subscription or gift set. 

A lot of coffee roasters offer a subscription that would be a great gift, or have gift sets--Nossa Familia is a really wonderful coffee company in Portland and they have these great gift sets!

2. Small shops online. 

But leave extra time for shipping! Unlike Amazon, it takes more than 2 days for a lot of small businesses to pack and ship orders, so plan ahead. 

Re-Play recycled plastic dishware are the only dishes we use for Otto. We have plates, bowls, cups with two different kinds of lids, and utensils. They come in every color in the rainbow (but of course I just get the white, ha). They're made in the USA and super affordable, but are 20-30% off for the holidays! They also send hand-written notes with every order. Great company.

There are also a bunch of small candle shops with great gifts. Wandering Lark is one I tried out last year--my mother-in-law is a connoisseur of authentic evergreen-scented candles and I got her a sample set. Wandering Lark's O' Christmas Tree was a big hit!! She loved it!

3. Subscription or share from a local farm.

If you want to get a really generous, useful gift and support a local business and farm... you could buy a 1/4 cow as a gift! Or just plan ahead for yourself and spend your dollars locally this winter. It often takes months for a share to be ready, so this is a gift that you'd print out at Christmas and redeem later. Our favorite in the Portland area is Kookoolan Farms. You could also do this with a CSA veggie share for the summer!

4. Fitness club membership.

A lot of gyms are small businesses and many are closing these days. Some of the barre gyms near me offer virtual classes right now, though! A month or two of a nice fitness club would be a great gift.

5. Get holiday meals or gift cards from local places.

Since you're probably not hosting or going to any big family dinners, or going out to restaurants, or spending hours in multiple grocery stores... if you want some fancy food, order Christmas Eve dinner or any special meal from a local nicer restaurant. Here are some incredible options in Portland for Thanksgiving dinner that you could try any time this season.

Take out gift cards are also an AWESOME gift--my parents got us some gift cards to our favorite local takeout place, a Hawaiian place called 808 Grinds, right after we had Lucy and we so appreciated it.

6. Etsy.

You could easily buy all your gifts on Etsy. There's so much variety there's seriously something for everyone. A few Etsy shops I have personal experience with or have my eye on:

7. Winery club.

Gift someone a membership to a favorite local winery! Wine clubs usually give you a couple bottles a year, discount on any more you purchase, and unlimited free tastings at the winery. It's hard to use those right now, but hopefully in 2021... This would be a great luxury gift for someone who has everything else!

8. Small shop gift cards or shop online by phone.

There's an antique store in our town that does a Black Friday discount, and I would have loved to go this year but I just don't feel comfortable going out any more than necessary. I'd love to support them, though. Check with local businesses like this to see if they'll sell you a gift card or merchandise credit to use later or give as a gift--my mom would love that! 

  • Local toy stores also could do this. Piccolo Mondo is the one near us (although you can also shop them online!).
  • The shoe store in the town I grew up in, Gimre's, also sells online and has good brands you can buy elsewhere, like Birkenstock, Dansko, etc. They ship and offer curbside pickup.
  • For smaller stores that may not have much of a website--call! They may be able to describe products to you, or may sell things they've featured on their Facebook or Instagram.

9. Make your own gift certificates. We've done this for my parents and in-laws in the past. Often they'd rather spend time with us than have more stuff, so we type up a little homemade gift certificate and add logo and words for what it is--tea tasting at Smith Tea is a really great one! Then they can "redeem" it on a little date together whenever you both have time. In this case, whenever quarantine is lifted and it's safe to go out!

Hope this has been fun and helpful!

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11.27.2020

The THREE Black Friday sales I am shopping this year

I am keeping it real simple this year and only shopping these three places for Black Friday/BF weekend sales! Sharing some of what I'm shopping below!

With one exception, I realize I'm only buying (slowly) consumable things because we have everything we need that lasts longer. I don't need new pots and pans or vacuums or whatever else is usually on sale for Black Friday, but I do need clothes for my growing children and things for me and Jason that wear out or are a new style. Plus, I keep a pretty minimal wardrobe and household (I don't usually want to own two of the same purpose spatula or too-similar shoes, e.g.) and our budget isn't huge for seasonal spending. So, here are the stores I've found my favorite pieces and deals at, and what I'm shopping for!

J.Crew Factory. Everything is 60-70% off plus an extra 10% off at checkout (or 20% off if you spend $100 I believe. Plus free shipping. I ordered these jeans yesterday cause I really wanted to get them before they sold out, and free shipping no minimum so why not! I've been wanting some like this a while.

Old Navy. 50% off everything and $4-5 thermal tees today. The prices below don't reflect the extra half off. Free shipping when you spend $50.

Target. Lots of great women's sweaters 30% off! Plus toys are buy one/get one 50% off, and there are a few electronics-type deals I looked at--we bought this TV mount for 50% off for some changes planned for our living room!

There you have it! Hope you have a great long weekend!

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11.24.2020

Getting ready for fall and winter with an organized coat area/drop zone

We all want that organized drop zone, that beautiful mudroom, or a built-in bench with coat hangers for all our family members, but sometimes, that’s just not an option. 

This week on the Your Home Story Podcast, we're talking about how to create a drop zone for fall and winter gear that’s actually attainable for most. Whether you implement a new system for your gloves and hats (which we will give you a few options for) or learn how to corral what you have in a new way, you’ll walk away from this episode ready to tackle the space you have with a fresh set of eyes!
Image source

Inspirations that we talked about:
  1. We love this DIY cubby built-in. It’s a very custom, but doable DIY for most and uses the GARAGE!
  2. My Instagram post about shoes in the house
  3. Using the garage as a mudroom again, this wire system could be put up and utilized in just one weekend!
  4. If you don’t have a space to create closed storage for your drop zone, consider storing all your necessities in plain site! We love this moody entryway filled with a bench and hooks - the perfect starting point for a great drop zone!
  5. Baskets can be great go-to’s for hiding those pieces that you don’t necessarily want to display. Check out this more minimal drop zone that is still full of storage!
  6. IKEA’s shoe storage cabinets are great for shoes but think outside of the box with them as well! We love how Charlotte used an Ikea shoe cabinet for mittens and hats!
  7. If you have at traditional coat closet in your entryway, don’t forget about the vertical door space for storage. Hats and mittens can be stored on the door, not only is a great way to store them but you can let them dry out there too!
  8. Amazon has lots of affordable over the door storage options.

You can find us on our blogs or connect with each of us on Instagram:
@suzannahstanley
@biggerthanthethreeofus
@yourhomestorypodcast

We’d love to hear your questions and thoughts! Join our Facebook group here and email us at yourhomestorypodcast@gmail.com.

Listen here or in your favorite podcast app: iTunesStitcherSpotifyGooglePlay, or Overcast!

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11.23.2020

Versatile modern canvas art DIY/repurposing tutorial

I think this is my fave DIY project of 2020!! Not including our recent bathroom reno, but that's a different category... anyway I recently did this very quick and easy (even for me, with a newborn and toddler) DIY art piece and I LOVE it!!

When I got this leather bench (to add seating and nicely fill this corner by the door), I decided I really had to stop dragging my feet about art for this wall. We have two mirrors in this room, and used to have some small vintage-look oil paintings, so I wanted something that was definitely different. I've seen abstract black and white prints and paintings in decor for years, and this is heavily inspired by... a bunch of them. It's definitely not an original style of art, but it was a fun creative experience doing it, and this exact one is unique!

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11.17.2020

5 versatile home items to use in your Christmas decorating

We are all about making our homes festive for the holidays without going overboard! We’ve put together a list of 5 beautiful items you may already own or can use outside of Christmas as well. We also share a few all-time fave Christmas decor tips, plus elements we avoid.

This week on the Your Home Story podcast...

Image Source


Links we mentioned (contains affiliate links)
  1. Ashley’s front porch for Christmas
  2. My Christmas decor last year: kitchen and living/dining
  3. Wilt Pruf to keep cedar garlands fresh
  4. Mittens and greenery
  5. Vintage-look bells you can buy online: rustic or classic
  6. Mini live evergreen branch/vase
  7. Live greenery branch vase and terrariums
  8. Episode 147, Interview with Myquillin Smith, The Nester, about her new book Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round
  9. Episode 97, exterior Christmas decor ideas
  10. Episode 47, modern Christmas decorating ideas

You can find us on our blogs or connect with each of us on Instagram:
@suzannahstanley
@biggerthanthethreeofus
@yourhomestorypodcast

And you can join our Facebook group here to connect with other listeners and ask questions!

Listen here or in your favorite podcast app: iTunesStitcherSpotifyGooglePlay, or Overcast!

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11.15.2020

Cute baby gear! One thing that's easier about having a newborn in 2020

This post is sponsored by Ingenuity. I received a complimentary product and payment in exchange for my candid review.

Having a newborn is not easy! But things have actually changed a lot since I did this last. In just 2.5 short years, some things have really changed!! There are a few pieces of desirable and necessary baby gear that are way more available--cuter, more affordable, more varied. Having the right stuff can make parenting more fun, and easier!

This post is sponsored by Ingenuity™ but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

One way having a newborn is easier in 2020


The cuter stuff is so much more available!

I put a lot of value on the look of my home as well as function. I feel good in a peaceful, tidy, well-thought-out, decorated space. So bringing in a bunch of colorful or plastic-ey baby stuff kind of stresses me out. With Otto I bought as many neutral items as I could (solid white changing pad cover, solid color baby blankets, etc.) but most of the more neutral things were grey/white which was sort of too modern and cool-toned for our house and still stuck out. The alternatives were designer wood baby products, expensive! I know I might sound picky, but the good news... 

There are so many more options for affordable, attractive baby things now! Example: the baby play mat. When Otto was a few weeks old I realized I could get a play mat for him, to entertain him and give him a safe, clean spot to rest on the floor. I looked around... my options were bright, gaudy, plastic-ey, cartoon-ey ones for $50 or so or beautiful wood and pastel ones for $150. You could find the nicer ones at high-end shops or handmade sources, but I got confused by the handmade ones that came without toys, with multiple parts sold separately. 

We did get a simple playmat for Otto, but it wasn't cute and I was happy when he outgrew it and we could get it out of our living room! ;) 

But a lot has changed since then... there's a new product out this year that we just tried out for Lucy: the Ingenuity Cozy Spot™ playmat/play gym. It's a machine washable round playmat and gym, for ages 0+, with a nice pad in the middle so it's extra soft and comfy. It's reversible and it transforms into a storage bag to take on the go. The product has been popular and selling quickly but is back in stock now and I love the gender-neutral Loamy color (it practically goes with our living room rug!). Teal "Loamy" in stock (link).


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11.13.2020

4th trimester update & going back to work from home

Lucy is 12 weeks old now and I go back to work on Monday. Whew. It flew by but also, with Otto too, I feel like the newborn phase (the hardest) just lasts foreeever. Here's how we're doing!

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11.11.2020

Modern traditional historic bathroom renovation REVEAL and cost! One Room Challenge Week 6

It is such a good feeling to finish a room!!! We've been renovating this house corner by corner over the past 2+ years and now almost all the hardest projects are done... and now we get to enjoy two beautiful bathrooms!

Over the past 5 weeks Jason and I have been working on our upstairs half bathroom as part of the One Room Challenge... it's been exciting, tiring, and satisfying. It is DONE now and I'm sharing the glamour shots, before photos, and total cost with you here!


New here?


If you're new to this blog from the ORC site, welcome!! I'm Suzannah, a longtime DIYer and design lover currently making over our 1937 Tudor revival style home, our second fixer-upper. I have a 2-year-old and newborn, but my husband and I have done almost all of the work on our homes ourselves! I've blogged about all of it so you can check out my tutorials page and room reveals to see. You can also follow along with me and my projects on Instagram! I also co-host the Your Home Story podcast!

See all my posts about this ORC here! And see:

Modern traditional historic bathroom renovation REVEAL


Where do I begin... if you remember from my Week 1 post with the before images and design concept, this is a half bathroom on the second floor of our 1930s home. There are two (and a half) bedrooms upstairs as well and we're moving our rooms up there this week!, now that this bathroom is done. We explored adding a shower which would have been a huge plus, but the cost and steps involved just aren't possible for us. That would not be a DIY project in this case and would involve reconfiguring a lot of walls and possibly the exterior.

So, we decided to just make this the best half bath we can!! Welcome in, I'll show you around!

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11.10.2020

3 tips for getting anything done with a newborn and toddler!

Parenting two kids is not easy!! I have so much respect for all parents out there these days... it's still stressful for me sometimes, but I'm picking up a lot of new skills and I have some tips for how I manage to be/seem so productive still. (Your words, not mine. :P I get compliments about that a lot and I guess I do get a lot done... not always as much as I'd like, though!)

This post is sponsored by Ergobaby.

Here are my top 3 tips for being productive with a newborn around, with a 2.5-year-old, too!

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