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Fall Stand Up Sign for Porch

This blog post may contain affiliate links. You are not charged anything additional but the small fees I earn from these links make it possible to continue to bring you content like this.

I made this stand up sign a couple of years ago for Christmas and had envisioned finishing the other side for Fall so it could be reversible. The sign was made out of a section of our old privacy fence, just like the shutters we did for the lake cabin (read about those here). I looked and looked for ideas on Pinterest and never found anything that I absolutely loved so I put the project aside. How many of you start a project and then don’t finish it?!?! Please tell me I’m not alone!

After our recent move, I decided to finish this project once and for all! I looked on Pinterest and found an inspiration photo. Then it was time to shop for the letters and leaf. I found the maple leaf on Amazon and had it the next day. You can find it here. I stopped into my local Jo-Ann Fabric to find the letters since I wanted to see and touch them in person, while comparing the size with the leaf.

I’d already painted the sign an orange color a few years back (that was all the farther I’d gotten) but I knew the orange color was too bright for my decor. So, I went into my garage and found a copper spray paint and a brown spray paint. I sprayed lightly over the orange color to get a different look, but not knowing exactly how it was going to turn out! I was feeling creatively brave that day clearly! 😉

I decided I’d spray the letters with a spray paint I had that was close to the color of my front door so it would all tie in. Then, for the leaf, I decided on a cream color close to the trim color on the house. Again, for the cohesiveness. 😉 Don’t overthink these projects, ladies!

spray painted letters

Now, it was time to spray paint these puppies and let them sit for a half hour or so. According to the directions on the can, I was probably supposed to let them sit longer but who has time for that?!? I was anxious to see this done after ALL these years! I took some E6000 glue and adhered them to the wood which you can find here. If you do not have this in your tote of glues, you’re missing out! I use it almost weekly! I know what you’re thinking, I must break a lot of stuff…maybe… 😉

And here’s the finished project! I put it together with my milk can (that I found last year at a garage sale for only $5…score!) and a lantern I’ve had for years and an old metal Home Interiors Pumpkin lantern from when I sold Home Interiors. I love pairing new and old together and changing up my door each year but not spending much.

I’d love to see your front porch decor! Send me an email or message me on Facebook.

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Curtains-A Simple Hack on a Budget!

clearance curtains

When we moved into our lake house and had a lot of upfront expenses, as anyone does after moving into a home, let alone a second home! I wanted our Master Bedroom to look put together but man, it had a lot of windows and a large sliding glass door. The price for curtains for the windows would add up fast!

I found two sets of panels on clearance that were the right colors, navy and blues. I purchased them, knowing I would need all four panels for the sliding glass door alone. What would I do for the five other smaller windows that needed valances? I walked around the store and debated how I was going to make it work.

clearance curtains

I decided to go back to the aisle and see if there were more packages of the panels. The other windows didn’t need long panels, but I could make them work! I found more packages of panels! So, I took them home and cut the panels into 14″ long panels, but kept the width of each panel. This limited the number of hems I had to do. Honestly, the first valance I cut, I used the existing rod pocket so I didn’t need to sew that either.

For the other valances, I simply folded the top down and sewed it to create a rod pocket for the curtains. The length of the valance curtains and the size of the rod pocket depends on the size of your windows and the size of your rod so this can vary. For the bottom of the valance, I folded it about a 1/2″ and then stitched across to create the hem. This is a very simple valance and you can of course make it more complicated!

valances and pillows

This was a very easy to make ‘almost matching’ valances on a budget! The only reason they didn’t match is because they were stripes and the stripes didn’t all match. But you can see in the pictures that they were close enough to coordinate!

This was the first day we moved in.

I also had leftover fabric so I thought I would make matching pillows. The tutorial I used is here https://www.heytherehome.com/how-to-make-an-envelope-pillow-cover/. Since the day we moved in almost 5 years ago, I’ve since repainted and decorated. Just this past weekend, I recovered a headboard I’d used in our old home and put it up, but as you can see, I’m still using the original pillow covers I made! I love how it’s complete now and there are many patterns with the nautical feel.

I’d love to know, have you made your own curtains or pillow covers?? How do you decorate on a budget? Email me at lesliesdivinedesigns@gmail.com.


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Meatloaf in a Digital Pressure Cooker

meatloaf and potatoes and carrots

It’s getting cooler here in the Midwest so it’s time to start making all the comfort food like meatloaf. Anyone else think that comfort food is definitely part of the glue that holds any good marriage together?? Ok, maybe it’s just me but it works!

(–This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to use any of these links, I will make a small commission, which will help me continue to bring you posts like this.)

One of my favorite comfort foods is my Dad, Terry’s homemade meatloaf. Now, this isn’t the meatloaf with ketchup on top that your Grandma used to make. This is really good meatloaf that could literally go with just about anything. I never liked meatloaf served at potlucks but this meatloaf is different. I once made this for a friend going through cancer and her family. She commented to me that her entire family loved it and that they needed the recipe pronto because they’d never had meatloaf like this in their life! Ok, have I gotten my point across that it’s different?

Something else that I’m loving these days is my Digital Pressure Cooker or what some of you know as the Instant Pot. Now, I purchased mine long before the Instant Pot was famous and have been loving it and figuring out cooking in it for a few years now. I especially use it in the winter when I make roasts, soups, etc. because I can make them so quickly! Now some people are huge CrockPot fans and honestly, I’ve never been a real fan of CrockPots because the meat is always grey and gross in them, in my opinion. But this Digital Pressure Cooker is different! You can brown meat ahead of time and do everything in one pot, which can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup!

I looked up a basic meatloaf recipe for a Digital Pressure Cooker and tweaked it using my Dad’s recipe. I find I do this often just to get an idea from someone else on the time it may take to make the meal. 

Terry’s Meatloaf Recipe (altered for the Digital Pressure Cooker)

  • 2 lbs Ground Pork
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 sleeve of Saltine Crackers crushed
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 yellow or green pepper (your preference) diced
  • Salt/pepper to your taste
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 lb of small bite-size golden potatoes
  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 2 cups of beef broth or stock

Find yourself a large bowl and combine the following: pork, beef, beaten eggs, crushed saltines, onion, pepper and salt and pepper. Now, you’ll see that the onion, pepper and saltines need chopped/crushed. I find the easiest thing to use is my  Food Chopper. I used it for the onion first, dumped it out in bowl, then the pepper and dumped out in the bowl, and then the saltines and dumped them into the bowl; took about 5 minutes and that’s all!

Mix up everything with your hands and be sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Form it into a big ball; it’ll look a lot like a bread bowl (Mmmm…you may want to pick up some bread or make bread to accompany this dish too!). Now, get out your steamer basket that came with your Digital Pressure Cooker and place the meatloaf into it. Now, no, it doesn’t technically look like a loaf but it’s more like a mound of meat, but go with me here… 

Sit the steamer basket aside for a minute and place the potatoes, carrots, one can of the Cream of Mushroom soup and beef broth in the bottom of your Digital Pressure Cooker. Now place your steamer basket inside your Digital Pressure Cooker. If it’s this model, it will rest gently at the top. If you have a different model, you may have to alter the recipe just slightly depending on your setup. Basically, you want your potatoes and carrots in the broth in the bottom and your basket above them. 

Set your pressure cooker to high pressure for about 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, do a quick release. What this means is once your timer goes off, grab a towel and put it over your release valve, then take some long tongs and through the towel, turn the release valve to open to release the steam. Stay back, hence the long tongs, and never put your face or body near the hot steam. My model has an extra safety feature and will not open until all steam has been released. Now, once open, check your meatloaf for doneness. You can even use a digital meat thermometer and see if your temperature in the middle is at least 160 degrees, since we’re using pork. Once it’s done, take out the steamer basket and set it aside on a plate.

meatloaf in steamer tray above vegetables
I checked it for doneness after about 40 minutes and you can see it wasn’t done yet, but close!

Set your Digital Pressure Cooker to Saute and add the other can of Cream of Mushroom soup to the liquid in the bottom, to help thicken it. You can of course strain out your veggies first if you prefer but no real need to. Stir for about 5 minutes until your ‘gravy’ is thickened. 

Slice your meatloaf in the steamer basket or transfer it to a cutting board, whichever you prefer. Then place a slice of meatloaf and some potatoes and carrots on a plate and cover in the gravy you made. Serve with a hot roll and butter for the ultimate comfort food! 

meatloaf and potatoes with carrots on plate
The finished product! So easy and I made it all in one pot. Cleanup was a breeze!

Have questions on using a Digital Pressure Cooker? Reach out to me! I’m not an expert but I love food and my Digital Pressure Cooker and have been using one for quite sometime now and have figured out a few things. Have suggestions to the recipe above or did you try it? Leave your comments below! 

Looking for some fun, DIY projects? Check out this one where I upcycled a couple of old chairs!

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Reclaimed Wood Shutters

reclaimed wood shutter stained and unstained

In this blog post, I’ll show you how we took our lake home from drab to fab with these awesome reclaimed wood shutters! When we purchased our lake home, we knew it had good bones, but knew the exterior needed some updating! The home colors were originally brown with mustard stripes and mustard trim (see below). We freshened the house up by painting it with PPG 1027-4 Olive Gray for the body and then a creamy off-white for our trim. We loved it after painting it but we knew it still needed something. 

This post may contain affiliate links, which only means I may make a small commission from the sale, but you will not be charged anything additional.

exterior of house before

Remember the fence boards we did for the wall in the basement? If you need a refresher on how we cleaned and prepared those boards, here’s the link to the blog post . We decided to use some of those boards to make reclaimed wood shutters! I wanted a simple shutter-nothing real fancy because it wouldn’t fit with the simple style of the home. We measured the windows themselves and made the boards the same length as the height of the windows (not the frame) and then spaced the boards out about a 1/2 inch apart. Then, we cut a cross-board to attach the three boards together. We used our air nailer to attach the boards together, with minimal hardware exposed. 

Here are the reclaimed wood shutters after we put them together. Then, we decided on a stain that we had leftover from a recent deck project. I brushed it on with a throw-away chip brush. The wood was so old, that the stain was absorbed rather quickly! I chose to do all of this project on our concrete driveway because the weather was great and I didn’t have to worry about getting it anywhere. Below is a picture of the stained reclaimed wood shutter. Big difference, huh??

reclaimed wood shutter one stained and one not

Then, we took the reclaimed wood shutters to our lake home. We finished touching up the paint (top picture) and then put the reclaimed wood shutters on the home. Due to the simplicity of our home’s exterior and the varying heights due to the batons (little boards running horizontally), we decided to just use some long screws to screw the reclaimed wood shutters directly to the home. See the bottom picture? That’s the finished project! 

before and after of cabin without shutters and with shutters
Well, what do you think?? Think it made a huge difference? For a simple lake home, we love the difference it made! Have you made shutters for your home? I’d love to see them! Email the before and after pictures to me! 
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It’s Back to School Time!

Here to help with gift ideas!

As summer is coming to an end, Moms everywhere are either ecstatic or a bit sad that their littles are heading back into the classroom soon. Whichever one you are, the year is sure to be kicked off right, if you can send your little with something for their teacher on their first day of school! 

Teachers receive so many gifts so you want yours to stand out, right? Why not give them a personalized item? Something that shows you put time and thought into the gift and didn’t just run out and buy something last minute! There are so many options for gifts they’ll use. Below I’ve listed some ideas for you

Gifts Teachers will LOVE & Not Throw Away!

Option 1-A personalized 30 oz, 16 oz or even coffee cup tumbler. These come in many different colors and I have most in stock for quick turnaround. Below are a few of the sayings one might include for a teacher.

  • His/her name: Mrs. (blank)
  • I’m Kind of a Big Deal, I teach Tiny Humans
  • You Are the best teacher.
  • The influence of a good teacher can never be erased.
  • Live, Love, Teach
  • Teachers change the world one child at a time.
  • I Teach, What’s Your Superpower?

Personalized Keychain

Customized keychains are a great, inexpensive gift for a teacher! I could easily do an apple and his/her name, initial, monogram, or #1 Teacher. I have these in Lily Inspired prints, clear round, sports balls, pineapples, dog paws, and mermaid tails. Contact me for more choices than are available on my website and to personalize your keychain! 

I can also put together gift boxes or cute items with tags and ribbon. Contact me for a quote! Below is one idea of a Sunshine Box I did recently. This could be tweaked easily for a teacher.


So many great options…how do I order?

The best way is to submit the Quote Request Form below. This way I’ll have all the details from the beginning. We can discuss your timeframe, budget and options based on those things. I am happy to ship items if you are not local to Kansas City.


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Plants…keep them beautiful with this ONE secret!

deck with beautiful plants

Something you may not know about me is that I love beautiful plants and flowers. After one summer of owning our lake home, I knew it was missing something…  I had no plants or flowers in containers. I love plants and flowers so much! They bring me joy and it feels good to know that I can keep them alive. 🙂

(This post may contain affiliate links. These are provided for your convenience and therefore, I may make a small commission from the sale, but rest assured, you will not be charged any more.)

So, the second spring in our home, I started doing some research on irrigation systems. I just knew there had to be a way! I mean, do you ever drive down those Main streets lined with beautiful hanging baskets and wonder how they look so beautiful?? You’re kidding yourself if you think someone comes through and waters those baskets every morning! They use a drip irrigation system!

After researching, I found out that I basically only needed a few items and about $40-50 and I could have a complete set up. I found an awesome Starter Kit that had the basics in it that I needed and honestly, it was way cheaper than purchasing everything separately! It had the faucet connection, the tubing, and the actual drip heads. I hooked up the faucet attachment to the spigot on the side of the house closest. I didn’t have enough tubing to go all the way to my deck and around so I ran basically used a leader hose to give the tubing more length. I used cable/zip ties to help secure the tubing to the deck because it was so easy and held it securely without damaging the pipe.

Given the amount of tubing and how it needed to run, not to mention that I wanted to be discreet about my watering system, I had to really plan out where I wanted my potted plants. Can I be honest? I was all excited about this system and wasn’t sure I’d get my husband on-board if I didn’t have the tubing hidden! Once he saw how neat I laid everything out, he was all in and thought it was the greatest thing! See it in the picture below, ran along the deck with zip ties? I know, you have to look hard but it’s there, right? 😉

I started with four potted plants the first year and placed them all across the front of the deck so it would be the easiest. I used a tool that came with the kit to pierce the tubing and inserted the drip attachment. I did that 4 times and then at the end of the tubing, I folded it in half, like you kink a hose, and slid this attachment around it (that also came with the kit) to hold it in place and stop the water. This year, I added two hanging baskets which was easy to do! I just pierced the hose and added in 2 more drip attachments where I wanted the hanging baskets. The tubing is 1/2″ so it doesn’t seem to lose pressure towards the ‘end of the line’ either and can handle all 6 containers.

picture of deck with hanging flowers

Now, since I’m not at this home full-time, I obviously needed a timer to turn the water on while gone. This is a huge lifesaver, but one tip I should mention before I forget…you may want to get in the habit of replacing the batteries each year, so you don’t visit and find your plants haven’t been watered. Yup, that happened and it was a SAD day! Live and learn, friends, but I did end up saving them… I hide my timer behind some cannas too! Remember, I said this is a SECRET! Not everyone needs in on the secret. Ha! Until you have friends over on the deck and it’s 7:00 and your plants start getting watered. You’ll then have some explaining to do, but it makes for a fun conversation and you’ll quickly be the envy of your friends!

digital timer picture

Ok, so this timer is simple to use. You basically just turn the dial and follow the directions. You set the current time and set the time you want your water to come on. Then, you determine how long you want it to come on and then how often to water your flowers. I, personally, set mine for about 10 minutes every 12 hours and it works. This will of course depend on your plant pots and how big or small they are. Remember, small pots dry out very fast so I always recommend BIG pots!

I would honestly use a timer at my full-time home too, because we’re all busy and everyone takes summer vacations or a long weekend, right? With this system, there’s no more asking a neighbor to come over and water for you. I mean, most will agree and smile, but everyone’s time is precious and we’re all busy, right?!? There are other kits out there that use the same types of tubing and attachments but are for gardens and smaller container gardens so once you have this down, you’ll be able to tackle those easily! If you try this, please send me a message! I want to see those beautiful plants and how much FREE time you now have!

deck with beautiful plants

Want to see other DIY projects? Be sure to check out my other blog posts, like the Reclaimed Wood Shutters we made for our cabin!