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'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


Our powder room makeover moodboard (in progress--what would you do?)

Since we've made so much progress on the new house in the past two weeks!!, I'm feeling optimistic and have moved on from obsessing about the paint color, floors, lighting, and kitchen and am now getting excited for what will be a second-tier, but still soon, project: redoing all 2.5 bathrooms.

I think we're going to start with the half-bath (powder room) downstairs. It's not a super critical room to redo since it's currently functional, but oh-so-ugly and so far a room we've used a lot! And it's small and doesn't involve tubs or wall tile, so should be pretty simple compared to the other bathrooms.

It's a small, darkish room with no windows, so I want to reflect light and brighten it up with white tile floors (I think).

While I love the look of a classic pedestal sink or console sink, unfortunately I think we really need the storage space a sink cabinet will bring. I would looove to have a cool vintage wood one, but I don't have much time for shopping for it or even know where to start so I think we may go with something white with plain lines.

We did order this fabulous light fixture from Schoolhouse Electric, the Princeton Sconce. Their sconces are the thing in pretty bathrooms right now. ;) I couldn't quite picture how it would look with anything other than one of those cool metal-legged old-fashioned looking console sinks, though... but I think it will look good with white! So I'm thinking these simple elements.
Wallpaper bathroom source / console sink bathroom source
Still undecided: the faucet. I have no problem mixing metals, so probably don't need to go with a brushed brass like the fixture--keep it traditional with polished nickel, maybe? What would you do?

I also think I need to add some color or texture (unless I can find the perfect antique cabinet to do insted of a plain, white one). Any ideas?

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#Stanley90sreno week 2 update: wall repair, texture, and painting the entire house

It is amazing how far we've come in less than 2 weeks of owning our house. I'm calling this the week 2 update but really the week 1 one was only a few days in. We've made SO much progress! I bet you'll even be able to tell from these photos!

We wanted to paint right away, but the walls were so damaged we had to do a massive effort of patching and texturing first.

We filled holes with 40-minute setting compound ("hot mud"), which we had to wait to dry for a day. Some areas were just large nail, drywall screw, or screw holes, but in other places we had actual holes (such as three in the master bedroom, one with the postive end of a storebought extension cord coming out of it, no idea why!!) and we covered up some old cable outlets, so we filled things with spray foam and had to wait for that to dry before hot mudding.

Once sanded, the hot mud is really smooth.

So many holes and old patch jobs! How could they hang so many things on the walls?!?

In some places the walls had been poorly patched with some rough kind of concrete. These were almost impossible to sand with the oribital sander. We covered them up with hot mud and did our best to blend them.

It took a couple days (and several volunteers while we were at work! #sograteful) to get everything filled, hot mudded, and sanded smooth. And the sanding made a huge mess everywhere.

Then Saturday morning, we were able to texture! My uncle is a pro at most thing home reno so he loaned us tools and gave us lots of help and advice on all of this. He had a sprayer that we used for texturing the smooth areas to blend with the rest of the walls. We sprayed joint compound on all the smooth areas in a texture that we actually got pretty close to the original.

Some areas needed lots of patches of it! We blended it between patches.

Then Sunday morning, most of the joint compound texture was dry so we were able to paint. (I asked if we needed to prime the new texure; uncle said no. And we were on a tight timeline so we went with it.)

Oh, also--ideally we would have painted the trim first, but I have big plans for that trim and it will take more coats and time than we had. We really wanted to get the whole house painted first so we can start to move in--we can paint the trim a little more gradually.

We taped off all the trim, light fixtures, and rooms we weren't spraying in (bathrooms, kitchen) and used my uncle's airless paint sprayer. We went through 21 gallons of paint. (We had to go back to the paint store twice to get more 5-gallon buckets.)

The paint sprayer is amazing for painting big areas, and since our ceilings and walls are the same color (Benjamin Moore White). One person sprays; another follows along with a roller to even things out.

The paint overspray gets everywhere so I literally tied a plastic bag on my head to protect my hair. How cool do I look??

My uncle did most of the spraying cause he said I was too slow. That's okay, I had plenty of other things to do. We actually had my parents, my coworker, and Jason and my uncle there that day working on stuff. And we got ALL the painting done between 10:30am and 3:40pm, not incluluding taping prep and sprayer clean-up! Isn't that bonkers?!? The airless sprayer is SO fast!! And it put a pretty good coat on there, so we will only need to do spot touch-ups rather than a full second coat.

We turned all the fans on and are airing out the house now. We'll go over after work this week and work on getting carpet staples up and re-installing closet rods, etc. (and hopefully some fab new light fixtures!! Watch my IG stories, I already shared a peek!) after work. Next weekend the goal is to sand, prime, and maybe even paint the trim.

We did have one setback Friday evening... as we were loading the dumpster we ordered with the old baseboards and carpet we'd pulled out last weekend, I stepped on one of the long nails in a small piece of carpet tack strip as it was getting dark and rainy and I was wearing TOMS. Bad idea, I know. Luckily the urgent care clinic was a mile away and we were out of there in less than 30 minutes with a clean foot and a tetanus shot. Hoping that's our only medical emergency this project!!

I have been sharing a bunch of behind-the-scenes on my Instagram (mostly stories), so definitely go follow me over there if you're interested!

Any tips for removing carpet staples or sanding oak trim and doors? ;)

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One BIG decision for the whole house: the floors

It's beyond time for us to choose a floor color, and it's such a big decision, I'm wavering a little. I could  use some help!

When we picked out the finishes for our townhouse 4+ years ago, I knew I wanted three things: grey walls, white cabinets, and dark floors.

The builder and our realtor talked me out of the grey walls because it's cloudy in Oregon and we didn't have any side windows. We ended up with the lightest grey on the paint card which looks like white. I'm very happy with it now because the grey wall thing was sort of a trend and the light, almost-white is a lot more neutral and versatile.

The cabinet supplier offered 5 shades of medium-honey brown for the cabinets, all very dated and not at all what we wanted. Painting them white rather than staining them medium-brown would have been an extra $2,000. Staining them dark brown was my second choice, but that wasn't an option and they wanted to charge us extra for that, too--till I made a stink and they agreed to just use a darker stain.

The builder and our realtor warned us against dark floors because they show dust and dirt. We'll see everything across the room, they warned; it will drive us crazy, they said. And since we had dark cabinets instead of the white I wanted, dark floors would bury the cabinets. So we went with a very nice medium-brown floor with lots of variation. They actually look fantastic and are also a nice versatile, neutral choice, but husband and I have always felt a little cheated out of the floors we both knew we wanted. And, I wish I could see the dirt more on them!! It's hard to tell when the cat hair is building up.

So this time... we get to renovate the whole house and do whatever floors we want everywhere! We were so sure we wanted dark ones this time... but now I'm torn. A lot of the images I've been pinning are of historic homes that have been renovated but have original hardwood floors, stained medium. I don't love the floors but I do like a lighter look.

The floor samples we got are dark or darker. I made a loud, happy groan when I opened the box--I looooooove them both. Now I'm so torn!

So I went back to my pinboards and looked for images with dark floors. I think it's still possible to achieve the light, open look with dark floors... right?

Here are the floors we're thinking about, from Select Surfaces.

I can't decide if the "dark" is dark enough, and will look more intense when we have whole rooms and floors of it... or if it's more of a warm brown than a true dark brown, maybe too yellow/warm. Maybe the "darker" is more neutral?

What do you think? Do you have super dark, or medium-dark floors, and do you like them? Any suggestions for making this decision??

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#Stanley90sreno week 1 update: move-in, paint prep, flooring #demoday (and video!)

It's finally here! We've been full of anticipation for undertaking this huge fixer upper project and now, we're in the thick of it. We got our keys last Thursday, moved on Friday and Saturday, and started renovations right away. I'm excited to finally have photos and even a Fixer Upper-inspired video about the house to share with you!!

I want to be real with you guys about this project. For a year and a half now I've been wishing for a "cosmetic fixer" we could update with paint, flooring, light fixtures, and other more fun improvements. Now we finally have this opportunity!! On a good house we got a good deal on, and most of the updates will be those cosmetic things. But, now that we're really in it, we are already learning SO much and I was definitely feeling like we were in over our heads on move-in day.

Here's the living room in its "before" state (well, minus the baseboards which I had already removed on Thursday). My mother-in-law had already started work removing switch plates as husband, brother-in-law, and I loaded the first truck load into the garage.

We FILLED the garage with our stuff and hurriedly got out of our townhouse for to turn it over to our renters. Then we shifted our attention to the new place.

Once we got everything moved in we were able to think about allllll the work we need to do. It started to sink in as we drove away Saturday (to my parents' place where we're staying)... how much work we need to do, how many new things we found just spending a little more time there unloading... going beyond the "fun stuff." I was still excited, but started thinking, "what have we gotten ourselves into????"

Then Sunday. Our first day devoted to the remodel. My generous parents came to help tackle the first things on the list, and my experienced home renovator uncle came by in the afternoon. In just a few hours we got ALL the carpets out of the house, and my mom painted the master closet so we can move our clothes in soon and have access to what we need to wear to work. We even started patching wall damage and figured out how much prep we need to do before painting. (I shared Instagram Stories throughout the day--follow me on IG for more real time updates!)

We were feeling so good getting all the carpets out and making so much visible progress, we were having fun and recorded a talking heads segment à la Chip and Jo on Fixer Upper.

Monday I had the day off and my generous dad and I spent most of the day at the house again, taking care of some important things from the home inspection and doing more wall prep (like removing the most disgusting air filter and air vents in the ceilings). I also found a literal rat's nest in a drawer in the kitchen. [Insert grossed-out emoji.] Now, we get to spend spare evening time at the new house scraping and patching drywall (the previous tenants hung shelves and art everywhere and the drywall is super damaged throughout) so we can hopefully do a massive painting effort this weekend.

And, I will probably keep daydreaming about light fixtures and new rugs, since that's more fun than the slightly depressing reality of the minor construction project ahead of us!

I'd love to hear about your home renovation surprises and efforts!

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Finding (and blending) our style for the new house

You guys, we close today. If all goes well... the sale will be recorded at the County this afternoon and we will have our keys!!

We will begin a weekend (and several months) of hard work to make our new home our own! We've been planning for this for a year and a half now, kind of, and are using our inspirations (and what we learned with our townhome) to renovate and decorate the entire home! It's been a challenge to combine our tastes and design preferences and start shopping for new home elements, but we've found some shared favorite inspirations that have really helped.

I've really jumped back into collecting home decor ideas and pinning lots of inspiration photos. Jason, on the other hand, has gotten a lot of his recent decor taste from Fixer Upper and honestly, Joanna's style is sometimes a little too girly for me! The muted tones, the vases of natural things stacked with antique books (backwards), the shabby chic... I've been leaning toward white and black, clean and modern, a little industrial-inspired but not too much, with a few super bright colors. And saturated color antique rugs.

So, Jason told me to send him links when I found non-Magnolia styles I liked.

Early into my design and brainstorming process I came across this home makeover by Amber Interiors. I decided, omigosh, this is fabulous, I like everything about this home.

But Jason thought, too white, too formal, too bare. (I was pretty set on white walls, so this was a problem.)

This happened a few times--I sent him links of images he totally rejected. I was getting worried! But, a few links in, I found some that he also kinda liked. Two things changed: I started to pick up on what made white walls look less stark to him, and he started to feel familiar with the more modern, simple style I liked.

It was a huge win when I sent him this home tour that I LOVE (also by Amber Interiors) and he replied, "I really like it!" This home also had white walls, big oriental rugs, and plants, but had more edgy black, vintage, and rock and roll elements that I think he liked.

Good news is, I now like the home we both like more than the earlier inspiration Jason didn't like. I am really excited to have a few images of a place we both are inspired by tucked away on my pinboards and I think the exercise of looking around for inspirations and looking at lots of different styles has helped us both figure out what we want. I also think I'm getting close to a few keywords that define my ideal home style--I'm thinking "clean," "fresh," "west coast," and a tiny bit "eclectic" describe it. Having some key terms for our style will help me make decisions--"Does this fit our goal aesthetic?"

Check out my recent pins for more of our recent home inspirations!

How have you blended design styles in your home?

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4 ways to lower stress in busy times

TWO days till we close on our new home and we are purely excited!! We got a lot done this past weekend but have had some very busy weeks and have definitely put some focus on staying cool, calm, and collected.

When I changed the name of this blog to Create/Enjoy I knew I wanted to talk about more than sewing and decorating. I still love those things but I also really care about living an intentional, happy, healthy, grateful, low-stress lifestyle. (I do have several posts about stress and overcoming it.) In this exciting but crazy time of our lives, it's even more important to me to take steps to keep the stress down.

This post was sponsored by Rescue Remedy (the timing was perfect since we have a lot on our plates right now!).

I've found four key tools for staying sane while shuffling the home purchase, working, blogging, working out, cooking for our family, and more! These tips will be helpful even if you're not buying a house!

4 ways to lower stress in busy times

1. Keep the same routine. For me, this has meant I've continued my 3x/week at-home workouts and making time to cook. And going to bed on time. Keeping the physical stressors and surprises down makes it much easier to shoulder mental stressors. I feel so much better when I stick to my routine and move my body, eat real food, and have energy! It's worth the lost time that could be spent packing or working. Except in extreme examples, I prioritize sleep and other habits and it really helps.

2. Give yourself healthy treats. As Gretchen Rubin explains in Better than Before, treats energize us and improve mood and self control, but indulgent ones can have negative consequences. Healthy treats are treats that actually make us feel good in the long-term, not just in the moment. Healthy treats for me are baths when I have time, comforting tea (I love Calming and Kava Stress Relief from Yogi Tea), and reading one of the many magazines in the pile I'm usually behind on.

3. Make lists. And take list-making to the next level! As you can probably imagine we have a LOT to do in the next few days... the paper list on the counter was just not cutting it. We have tried to put EVERYTHING on a list and check or cross off as we go. We started a shared Google Sheets to-do list with tabs for "before moving," "ASAP [once in house]," and "later [house to-dos]." That way we can put all the things either of us could do in one place--and we can both track which utilities we've transfered over and when we've reserved the rental truck. (I know there are a million apps for to-do lists, like Wunderlist and Todoist, but I like to keep things simple even with technology!) And, it feels so good to cross something off!

4. Get (and appreciate) help. I am so grateful to husband when he's around to unload the dishwasher, carry things to my car, clean up a little... but I've had to remember to ask! Asking for help is so important--you really can't do everything yourself, and everyone needs a little help sometimes.

Other "helpers" include to-do lists, phone alarms (I set a timer while packing books the other day so I knew I would stop in time), and stress relief tools like massages or Rescue Remedy. You might think of a glass of wine every night as a helper in a stressful situation... but that may have some negative side effects that will hurt you in the long run! There are more gentle chemical methods like spritzing some Rescue Remedy spray when you drop a heavy box on your toe or are late running out the door!

Rescue Remedy sent me some products to try including the stress relief spray. I've tried the drops before--they have a much stronger flavor than the spray so it's a lot easier and less medicinal-feeling to use. The pastilles are also great because they last longer than one spritz, so I can remember I'm trying to be calm the whole time they're in my mouth. ;)

My mom is a big fan of Rescue Remedy and used to offer it to me when I got hurt or upset. I sort of forgot about it now that I'm on my own, but I have my own stressful situations now and sometimes feel anxious and a tightness in my chest. I usually do pretty well with practicing relaxing breathing and slooooowing down, but I'm glad to also have the stress relief spray and pastilles for particularly challenging times!

Rescue Remedy actually has a line for pets and kids as well so you can find just the right product for whoever's under stress. You can buy it at a number of drug stores and natural grocery stores--try typing your zip code into this store locator if you're not sure what's nearest to you.

There you have it! Four things that are keeping me calm and happy as we make this huge, messy, physically and mentally challenging change! Here's to staying positive and saying "no" to the stress!

What are your favorite stress relief methods?

You can shop the products in the post here or use the store locator for stores carrying the Rescue Remedy line!

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Grain-free, naturally sweetened pancakes (gluten-free, Paleo)

As I shared on Instagram the other weekend, I was recently inspired by one of our friends to master grain-free "blender pancakes" and make this super fun weekend breakfast element!

One of our friends, who never cooks during the week, has a tradition of making creative, many-ingredient grain-free pancakes in the blender with their 2-year-old on weekends. He throws in all kinds of stuff like maca and unflavored grassfed protein powder and MCT oil and they usually turn out. (We've been over there on weekend mornings twice now and we've had them!)

I've made banana/egg/almond butter pancakes before but I wanted to try something more cakey and I remembered I'd used a coconut flour recipe before with modifications like banana for sweetener. So I made them again, noting the recipe I used, and am glad I remembered my changes!

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes


  • ¼ c. + 2 tbsp coconut flour 
  • ½ c. + 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • Butter for pan


    1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.
    2. Heat butter in a frying pan and pour pancake batter into pancake shapes in pan. Flip when bubbles appear.

    Makes 4 HUGE pancakes or 6-8 smaller ones. (Serves 2.)

    Serve with more butter and toppings of choice! I love a little nut butter and maybe jam for a treat. Of course maple syrup is good, too!

    You can't taste the banana flavor hardly at all; the bananas just give a nice sweetness.

    So tasty and nourishing! We ate them with bacon from our hog share and leftover sautéed zucchini from our CSA (because I love to have veggies at every meal). I highly recommend them for your next quiet weekend morning breakfast!

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    Trouser flare jeans makeover!

    This post feels like a throwback! But it's not, it's brand new. I used to share jeans and thrift store find alterations all the time. But now, years later, I'm still modifying unflattering jeans using simple techniques I honed all that time ago, before I wrote a book about it! In fact, this project is in DIY Wardrobe Makeovers (the take-in-jeans project on page 70) but this is a great variation!

    So last week I made this pretty ruffle-edge trim loose top out of a fun print. I thought, wow, this would be perfect with 70's-ey high-waisted flares. But I didn't really have those. Saturday morning I went to Goodwill to look for stuff for the new house (I've decided I should just regularly pop into the Goodwills near me to see if the perfect furniture, lighting, etc. shows up!) and instead I found these HUGE trouser jeans. Huge in the legs, that is. I'm not a short person but these were too long for me even on high tiptoes! And the legs were massively boxy.

    They were nice quality, with top stitching on the inseam and outer leg seam, so I definitely had to use the technique I describe in DIY Wardrobe Makeovers for demo-ing and recreating the seams when you want to take them in and change the shape! I added shape to the knees and reduced the flare a little. I also redid the hem, of course... I didn't think trouser jeans needed a typical, small jeans hem so I gave them a 1.5" (I think) standard hem which also works better with the scale.

    Here's another before/after. Before: comical. After: Great for wearing with tall wedges!

    Before... (seriously, who were these made for?!)

    Yeah, that hem looks way better!

    As you can see, they worked great with the printed top!

    On these side views you can kind of see where I started the tapering and redid the side seam. Luckily I had a heavy navy thread that matched almost perfectly!

    You can pin for later! You may want to do this to a pair of jeans sometime!

    If you like the look of these jeans, I did find some similar ones you can shop here. And if you think you'd like to DIY this or other easy, common clothing modifications and re-style projects, PLEASE check out my book, DIY Wardrobe Makeovers! (You can now get a new copy for only $10.99!)

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