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Crafts creativity

the walls

Round two of simple creativity for our apartment walls consisted of empty wine bottles, clipboards, feathers, and sticks! I seriously spent hardly any money on the stuff I made for the walls. I balanced things out above the bed by mounting a piece of board with a wine bottle attached to it onto the wall. The tutorial for these are here. I did have to get creative since I couldn’t get some of the supplies here in SA, but they still turned out great. Unfortunately, these photos don’t show flowers in the vases, but they really pop with those bits of color in there.


Next up was the simple way of hanging photos using clipboards. I taped off half a section (diagonally) on each clipboard and painted it using paint I had lying around. Then I just clipped some art to it. Easy! (Those printables are found here and here, if you’re interested.)

clipboard art

Then there was the feathers. My dog hates these, but I love them. I found a wooden lad (that’s what we call them, anyways) left from another project and simply tied feathers to it. I love how these blow in the cool breeze.

feather art

The last bit of wall art consisted of a branch I found outside surrounded by various framed art. I swear the guys hanging that branch thought I was crazy, but I love the texture and shape of a branch hanging on the wall. Best of all, it was FREE!

wall art

That’s the wall art for our lovely, little apartment!

creativity Travel

the chairs

Last week I showed you my very fun creative project with our artsy Africa apartment that we have listed on Airbnb. It has been a busy week for us as we’ve hosted 4 different sets of guests with 2 more sets coming this week! What fun it has been meeting people from all over South Africa, The Netherlands, and France! I love it!

I mentioned showing off the inexpensive way we decorated this space. Part of the creativity in it for me is not only making things but finding ways I can re-purpose or make something beautiful out of stuff I just have lying around. That’s how the chairs got a breath of new life. Can we say ugly? I mean, seriously, how much tan can you pack into one piece of furniture?

Chair before

Even though these chairs are old, I loved the bamboo and the shape, so I set out to give them new life. First, was simply spray painting them white. I love how white gives such a clean feel which is why I chose it a lot. (Tip: a glossy finish also makes it super easy to clean!) Next, I found this fabric, which I love, and recovered those pillows. The covers come off easily for washing, if need be.

Chair after

I was going to find fabric to cover pillows, but when I happened upon these black and white feather pillows for the equivalent of $2 each, I knew they were the perfect addition to these chairs and the room, AND it saved me time!


I absolutely love how they complement the room, but even better, I love that I was able to re-purpose something ugly and make it beautiful!

creativity Hospitality Travel

our beautiful african artsy apartment

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that, if I don’t have some kind of fun, creative project going on, I feel like I’m suffocating inside. The ability to create and think outside the box, to make something beautiful, just feels so good. 



The end of last year I found myself in the middle of a creative project that was just plain fun. An apartment opened up on our property, and we decided to turn it into really nice guest housing that we could profit fun. It was already quite beautiful. A little paint on the walls to lighten it up and some tasteful decor to complement was all it needed to create a comfortable place for guests to stay.



I sewed the shower curtains, the window curtain, bed pillow covers, and new covers for the chairs. I also got to work plotting and planning artwork that I (or someone else) could make without breaking the bank. My favorite piece is the kudu head. While I wish I could take credit for that one, the only thing I did was put the boards together and communicate what I wanted on it. My talented friend, Phoebe, did the beautiful part. She also painted the 3 piece scene of Cape Town above the bed.


living room

I painted an old bunkbed ladder and hung Masai blankets from my recent travels to Kenya. I also took a branch I dried out and screwed that into the wall for FREE art! While the walls still need more (a map, for one, because I sure do love maps), I’m so happy with the way this space turned out. I’ll be sharing more later this week about the simple and inexpensive art projects I did to create eye candy for these walls.

living room view 2

living room view 1

In the meantime, do check out our listing on Airbnb and visit the article I wrote on making travel affordable at Petit Elefant. Not only has this project been incredibly fun, but we’ve met some great people traveling through on their way to Kruger and it has provided income for others and Ten Thousand Homes. Win, win!

Please feel free to come stay with us when you’re in South Africa and please pin, tweet, and promote our listing to your little heart’s delight! That’s my shameless plug!

creativity Kids

it’s the end of the year

Time goes by faster the older you get, but seriously I don’t know where 2015 has gone. It seems to have gone by faster than previous years. Perhaps it was the kids starting a new school and the busyness that school brings. Perhaps it was all the gymnastics competitions and karate championships we watched. (Side note: Joshua just advanced to purple belt, and Emma Grace won gold at her recent Rock and Roll competition! Scroll the photos at the bottom of this article, and you’ll see her in action.) Whatever made it go fast, I’m choosing to savor this season that is upon us so as not to rush into 2016.

We're busy making end of the year teacher gifts to say thank you. She's busy sewing while I'm baking. #teamwork

Monday the kids and I flew to the states and met Jeremy in Dallas. I was happy that we breezed through immigration in S. Africa with all the new laws regarding traveling with children. Perhaps that’s a post for another time. We endured four flights, but the kids were troopers, the benefits of traveling with older children.

thank you, teachers

The days leading up to our departure were full, making the days pass faster until we saw our much loved husband and father. The kids wrapped up their school year with end of school parties and awards ceremonies. I am so proud of them for doing so well as third culture kids in a new school. They made friends quickly and did well in their academic studies. My biggest shock was Emma Grace receiving academic excellence in Afrikaans. This girl had to take two languages. Apparently she has a knack for them. She spoke Afrikaans to me the whole way to the states. When I try to answer back, she just laughs at my accent. I’m not so good at languages.


We also made sure to thank our teachers for such a job well done. My kid’s education is our responsibility, as parents, and I’m so thankful for the teachers that put in so much time investing in our children. Combined, the kids had about 14 teachers we needed to thank, so I had to think of something that was lovely but could be mass produced. We settled on some homemade goodness with cloth gift bags stuffed with chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, and jam thumbprint cookies. A little beaded keychain was attached for that extra flair. Emma Grace was a master seamstress as she sewed all the bags…just a simple dishtowel cut in half and then sewed up the bottom and side with a ribbon sandwiched in between. We printed thank you cards from here and here, and the kids and I wrote our own words on the back. Emma Grace also made lovely name tags for each gift. We packaged it all together with recipe cards for each cookie. Thank you, teachers! We appreciate you!

We are now in full holiday mode, decorating the tree, making our annual gingerbread house, and squeezing in a game or two here and there. I hope you are having a lovely holiday season, savoring the goodness all around you!

creativity House Project

outdoor pallet coffee table {diy}

outdoor pallet table

Some of you got wind of my pallet project(s) on Instagram. It’s slow going, but I’ve had the table done for a couple of weeks now, and I think it’s high time I showed you! It’s super simple, y’all, and as you’ve probably gotten used to, I have no photos of the process. I really tried. I even brought my camera out, but I get so carried away that I forget to pause and shoot.

This, however, is the most simplest of things to make. Really, it is. I’ve never made furniture except the occasional IKEA piece. I do believe if I can do it, anyone can.

Supply List

  • 2 pallets – any size, it just depends how big you want your table to be
  • hammer or crowbar
  • drill & screws
  • 4 wheels
  • primer & paint OR varnish to seal the wood
  • paint brushes


1. Using a crowbar or hammer, start by taking all the top pieces of wood planks off of the piece that is going to serve as the top piece to your table. You can leave the two ends. You will also need to take off about every other plank from your second pallet. This step is totally optional, but I didn’t want such huge gaps in between my planks of wood. This is, by far, the hardest, most time consuming step.

2. After you get your wood planks off, arrange them on the top piece, trying to make it as flush as possible. Mine still had a little gap after I added about four planks of wood.

3. After you get the planks arranged, drill them into the pallet. You’ve already made your top piece!

4. On the bottom side of your second piece, screw a wheel into each corner. This is also optional, but I wanted wheels to make it easier to move around and sweep the verandah.


5. After your wheels are screwed in, flip that second piece over and put the first piece on top of it. My pallets were so heavy that there was no need to screw the pieces together. VoilĂ ! Your table is finished!

6. Finish your table by sealing the wood. I chose to prime mine with wood primer and then paint it white, because that’s what I had on hand.

outdoor pallet table

I’m making plans to start making the outdoor couch and chairs, so stay tuned for more amateur furniture making coming up soon!