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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I 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!

1.20.2022

Controversial parenting topics: Sleep training

Welcome to post #2 in my series, of controversial mom things I did and didn’t do, and how I feel about them. (See the whole list here.) When I was in the trenches with a newborn waking up every 3 hours, and then a 4-6 month-old taking 30-minute naps, I read every single thing I could online and didn't think sleep training or teaching of some kind was that much of a choice. But since, I've seen some moms sharing they didn't do any sleep training, and figured maybe this topic was more divisive than I remembered (?) and maybe my perspective was worth sharing.

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1.17.2022

Controversial parenting topics: Breastfeeding

I have three friends who are pregnant right now and who I’ve talked to about my experience, common concerns, etc. I love when they ask me for opinions or help! But I often have a tricky time in the situation because I love love love to be helpful and share any wisdom I have, but I have been told occasionally throughout my life that I can come on too strong, and I definitely don’t want to offend or alienate or give unsolicited advice. Motherhood is particularly tricky for this kind of thing because there’s a lot of judgment out there at moms and I never want to sound like I am judging my friends if I ask them questions about what they’re planning on doing. But like I said I do think I have some helpful perspectives, so I figured I would just share them with the whole world instead! ;) 

I started writing down some thoughts about a few controversial/divisive topics in parenting/motherhood but the post got way too long fast. So I'm breaking it up into a series, about all of these:

Controversial mom things I did and didn't do, and how I feel about them

  1. Breastfeeding
  2. Sleep training
  3. Co-sleeping
  4. Babywearing
  5. Baby-led weaning
  6. Cloth diapering
  7. Daycare vs. nanny
  8. Transitioning from the crib
  9. TV time

So here's my first in this series of posts about my thoughts and experiences on these nine common often controversial decisions we make as moms/parents.

Breastfeeding

Background/intro/disclaimer... It was a personal goal/expectation of mine to breastfeed my kids long before I got pregnant. I think this goes way back, because my mom breastfed me till I was 2.5 and was very proud of that and had a very positive experience. I didn’t really understand pros and cons (and I guess I still don’t fully, scientifically), but when I got into the Paleo/real food/nutritional therapy/health community after I stop being vegan in 2012/2013, I was exposed to a lot of moms sharing how they had made ancestral-based choices for pregnancy and birth and had been healthy and successful. So I definitely valued it and wanted to give my babies all natural breastmilk, and eat a good diet to support that. 

But see even as I say this now I’m trying to be neutral! I do not judge other moms who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, but I guess what I’m trying to say here is that breastfeeding was really important to me. I really wanted to do it, and I, too have found a lot of joy in it. There have been really hard times… my supply was not great with Otto so I got stuck pumping a lot and was anxious about how much we were giving him from the pump supply versus how much I made that day at work. I tracked every feeding in an app for something like 9 months with him! I breastfed him till he was 19 months, when I got pregnant with Lucy and knew I would be too tired and sick to have one more responsibility (although by the end I’m sure he was hardly getting any milk at all and it was just a comfort thing we did before bedtime). He also never asked for milk! 

Happened to catch a glamorous shot of me feeding Otto once
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1.11.2022

Decor trends for 2022 (and a bonus!)

Since 2018, this time of year, I've done a Your Home Story podcast episode about home decor trends for the coming year, and what looks are heading out. I stopped co-hosting the podcast this past summer, but I couldn't not do this episode again! So I got to record with Ashley as a guest this time, our 5th design trends episode!

As always you can find the episode (this one's #199) in your podcast player of choice (here we are in iTunesStitcherSpotifyGooglePlay, and Overcast) or listen at the bottom of this post. But in case you don't have time, I'm also sharing some notes and photos of the trends we discussed here!


Home Decor Trends for 2022


2022 Trends

Home Renovations: 
  • More investments in the home office. Think: built-ins, actual office spaces with more people working from home. Moving away from guest bedrooms or unused spaces that were functioning to better looking offices. Zoom is still a big player. Homework rooms.
  • Multi-function rooms (office/workout room)
  • Game rooms--ping pong or video games.
Home Decor/Finishing
  • Textiles: wallpaper, shag rugs, … anything with a tactile feeling. Patterned/floral upholstery, tapestries. Colorful window treatments.
  • Texture: faux finishes for brick or plaster look, wall treatments, textured fabric, textured wallpaper
  • Going BOLD with decor styles and colors
  • 70’s colors, mod shapes, curves
  • Warm neutrals. Taupe, camel, rust, blush
Sustainability
  • More vintage than ever!
Technology
  • Smart home technology (we don't have many of these, but we did just get a solar-powered dusk to dawn outdoor lantern for our front porch!) 
  • Virtual staging
  • USB outlets, pretty switch plates
  • Performance fabrics
  • Movement in upholstery (e.g. swivel chairs)

Trends that are leaving in 2022

  • Open concept homes
  • Cheap replicas
  • All-white kitchens (again). Also waterfall kitchen islands.
  • Shiplap (choose wallpaper instead)

I didn’t see the terms Grandmillenial or Cottagecore in the articles we read, like we have the past couple years, but these trends are definitely still in those vibes. Maybe it's just trendy style now, not as much of a novelty!

A somewhat recent living room shot. That floral chair and couch really don't go together and I'll probably swap out one or the other, but they do both feel fresh! Oh, and I've since recovered those sconce shades with pleating!

Listen here or in iTunesStitcherSpotifyGooglePlay, or Overcast!

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1.06.2022

How to make a toddler comforter and duvet cover from a queen!

I am so excited about this project! And it’s so silly and was such simple sewing, but it’s really making me happy. All born out of the need for a toddler size duvet for 1-year-old Lucy. 

I started shopping for a down comforter and cover for Lucy and realized they are all very different sizes across brands so it’s hard to mix-and-match, and there’s not a lot of selection. It’s definitely more work, but I realized I could purchase a queen size comforter and turn it into two: one for Lucy, one for Otto, who until now has been sort of drowning in his twin size comforter. Then when I went to buy the covers, I knew the size would fit if I bought a queen sized cover in a cute pattern and made it into two also! And I found the sweetest little tan gingham that works great for both of their rooms. This is a really great easy sewing project and I’m sharing it step-by-step!
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1.03.2022

Real home tour! Classic colonial revival with organic and vintage touches

Sharing another Instagram account home tour! I absolutely love Jordan (@house_collected)'s aesthetic. She's updating her 1982 traditional colonial style home (one of my favorite layouts, I love the classics) in Michigan and I have so much fun watching her use slightly funky, patina-ed/rustic/English country pieces in a home with some traditional architectural elements. I just love some of the antique pieces she's brought in, and her daring powder room!


Vintage rustic vibes colonial revival home tour

Take it away, Jordan!

This is our second home and our forever home. Our first home as a couple was a placeholder while I finished my anesthesia training. We moved here prior to having our son Boden knowing we wanted good schools and a bigger home for raising a family. My husband found this listing at 4am we both had to see it right away. We got so lucky to win this home even though there were a few other offers. 
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12.29.2021

2022 house project and design goals!

I’m feeling a lot of energy to start a new year and do exciting new things and projects in our home! I always make a list of goals we have for house projects for the year and the past several years in this fixer upper they have been pretty practical, large things (like new roof, paint the house, etc.), so this is the first year where we’ve done most of that stuff already and I’m really focusing on design. And the basement! 

Other than that we’ve even touched basically every room in the house at least with some white paint, which at the time felt like what it needed to feel like ours. However I’ve been changing and my style is still developing and I’m going for less of a generic, big box, clean slate look and trying to add more color and interest. So I may be repainting some white rooms to another color this year! But even more than that…

2022 house projects goals


Exterior


1. Yard. We still have some exterior things to finish cleaning up. We made some huge progress on the yard last year, adding grass to areas that are previously bare or weeds, purchased some plants from a local nursery, stuff like that. We need to finish the very front part of our yard facing the street and possibly remove a very large Oregon grape cluster at the front corner that we’ve been debating about since we bought the house.

2. Front porch. Last year I stained the front door over a series of evenings after the kids went to bed but I didn’t do it fast enough to seal it as well before the weather got too cold and dark! And our porch light's broken so I couldn’t do it at night. Anyway I will hopefully seal the front door, and my dad is helping replace the light fixture on the post there, so I should be able to do that one pretty quickly and get the front porch looking better. Also need to power wash.
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12.22.2021

A quick holiday home tour and Christmas decorating philosophy

It is a magical and stressful time of year! I really enjoy having our home decked out for the holidays, but I've learned in recent years that it takes a LOT of time and I've put too much pressure on myself in the past. Today I'm sharing our little holiday home tour, and how I'm staying sane while creating all this holiday magic. :P


Holiday home tour


I focused on our living room this year. In the past (see other years here) I've done the dining room, kitchen, and downstairs bathroom too! And the arched openings between the living room and dining room and entry. Cedar garland looks great on those, but you have to soak it first, treat it with the wilt proof spray, etc... I thought about buying some this year but gave myself a pass. (Some other year when I don't have two very tiny children to watch by myself all the time.)

I focused on the essentials: 

  1. Christmas tree (this is a live Noble fir) with LOTS of lights, colorful mixed with gold ornaments, ribbon, and garland for a variety of textures.
  2. Mantel: this year I just used a lot of faux garland with a strand of lights mixed in, some bows, our stockings, and a nutcracker.

I also always love to bring out that plaid throw, and honestly those green velvet pillows don't really go but they feel special. This chair creates a really cozy, special Christmas-ey moment right now!

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12.15.2021

2021 house project recap!

It's almost the end of the year already and... I can hardly believe that in 2022 we will celebrate four years in this house! So I’ve done these project goals lists several times before for this same house… Over the course of a year, or several, the projects really add up and it’s incredible how much we’ve done! Little by little.

I checked back on my 2021 house goals/project list to see how we did. That was quite a list. Very ambitious. Especially since we had a 4-month old a year ago and Jason had just finished school and was about to start working. And honestly, this year has been pretty hard for us at times and after my June office renovation project when the stress really took over I decided to prioritize my mental health over checking things off, and we’ve really slowed down. So actually I would say my biggest/most important project in 2021 has been reducing stress. I quit doing the podcast, I’ve slowed down on blog posts to only once/week, I find myself with time to watch TV and fold laundry sometimes (luxurious for me!)… I’m still working on it but I have really felt a huge change since June. But that’s not a house project, so I will definitely still share this list!
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12.10.2021

Home tour! 1913 home with lots of new life and funky modern traditional neutrals

Hooray, another of my Instagram Home Tour series! I am particularly excited about this one because this is the home of a friend I've now met in real life, another Portland area home decor influencer, @ciarakenaston. Ciara and her husband moved from SE Portland to a small town south of the city a couple years ago and are raising their two little boys and doing some beautiful improvements to their 100+ year old home. Ciara's style is similar to mine, with a mix of modern neutrals and antiques with patina and character!

This home is so cute, it just belongs on the Internet in a more permanent place than Instagram. I'm excited to share!

1913 Updated Modern Traditional Home Tour


Some words from Ciara!

This house moved us out of the city. I’ve always been drawn to historic homes and this was in the perfect setting. Close to parks, close enough to the city, and close to family.

The house was built in 1913 and was luckily remodeled to fit its era. Swapping out lighting, painting, counters and adding tile have been some of the things we’ve done to make it ours.

I’m thankful we’ve gotten to avoid demo and continue to add layers of moulding and hard finishes. Some of the most charming aspects of the home are the original doors and floors.

My favorite project has been the scullery, which is our combined laundry room and butler's pantry. The cabinets are a pretty sage green, and the room feels so warm and welcoming. My husband and I added wall paneling, wooden pegs and antique decor. It really feels whimsical while still being functional.

I never imagined I’d live in this tiny town outside the city, but am very glad we landed here!


Thanks, Ciara!! 

Here's that utility space... you can see all the reveal photos in Ciara's One Room Challenge reveal post here. So much good storage! What an upgrade!
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