Golden for Goldie

I recently teamed up with HomeGoods to help share some sparkle this holiday season.  I absolutely love HomeGoods, and I love partnering with them even more.  Their goals of spreading happiness through creating beautiful homes is something I truly believe in.  That’s pretty much my life vision statement.

When they challenged me to create a gift basket for a deserving person in my community,  I saw in my mind exactly who it should go to.

Without divulging too many details, I’ll just say it was a friend of mine who lost a daughter this year, a beautiful baby girl named Goldie. It’s been absolutely devastating for her. As a friend, there’s not a more helpless feeling in the world. What can you possibly do? Send a card? Take flowers? Drop off a dinner? Will any of that mop up utter heartbreak? Of course not, but we try as best we can.

This time of year is especially tough on those dealing with the loss of a precious loved one, and while I know a gift basket full of treats certainly won’t take the pain away, it can maybe bring a little ray of golden sunshine to light up a dark day. So that was the plan.

gold rush

HomeGoods is currently busting at the seams with golden goodies, perfect for a gold-themed gift, perfect for honoring little Goldie.

The hard part was narrowing down the choices. So. Much. Gold.


gift basket gold


This basket was the first thing I grabbed, followed by this gold-dotted table runner. I love the designs on both!


table runner

There were tons of sentimental gifts: journals, photo albums, picture frames, memory boxes, but I kind of went in another direction with a loose “Christmas Morning” theme.  I did get this journal though. (I loved it so much I got two and gave one to myself!)

gold foil journal

Other items include a gold-wrapped box of chocolates, a ceramic muffin tray and muffin mix, hot cocoa mix, a cozy blanket and a golden mercury glass Christmas tree.

I love that HomeGoods has such a varied selection. Need a tea kettle? And a gift for your best friend? And a new set of sheets? And an enormous gingerbread man cookie cutter?

giant gingerbread cookie cutter from home goods

They’ve got you covered.


Look, I made a gif! This is my first one ever. Here you can see the step-by-step creation of the gift basket, a very technical process that required this gif. (Not really, but it was fun. Click over if you are in a reader and can’t see it, and really want to see it for some reason).



home goods golden gift basket

I topped it all off with a big golden bow, and took it over to my friend.  Based on the amount of hugs she gave me, I think she really liked it. She took the bow off and put it on top of her little golden-themed Goldie tree, which put a tear in my eye. So bittersweet life can be.


gift basket home goods


Thank you HomeGoods for being so generous, and for spreading happiness, and for helping me bring a little golden sunshine to a friend who could use some.


gift basket close up Happy Saturday.


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Movie Trailer

((This makeover a little out of the norm today, but I loved it so much I just had to share!))

I have an unhealthy addiction to celebrity gossip magazines, and one feature they all have in common is candid pictures of celebrities living their everyday lives.

“STARS! THEY’RE JUST LIKE US!” They pump their gas! They buy groceries at the store!! They take their kids TO THE PARK!!!

It’s true. Sometimes celebrities are just like us.  Sometimes they live with a space that they hate for so long, that they eventually become blind to it.  Such was the case with Grey’s Anatomy star, Ellen Pompeo and her depressing work trailer.  It was boring, outdated, and had not a shred of personality. She’d been using this trailer for ten years!

She hooked up with a designer who helped her transform it into a super chic space worthy of any celebrity superstar.  And the best part is they did it on a budget too – there is plenty of IKEA in the mix. They really are just like us! I feel like Ellen and I could totally hang out in here and paint each others nails and talk about life and our favorite things to buy at IKEA. (meatballs, duh).

More to see from this makeover over on Domaine.


ellen pompeo trailer makeover3


ellen pompeo trailer makeover4


ellen pompeo trailer makeover2  ellen pompeo trailer makeover

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Chest Bumps

Sweet tarnation, this before chest is giving me the sweats.  If you’re new here, you may not know that I have a mild phobia of knotty wood. I’m shuddering just looking at it! Quick, let’s scroll down to the after.


wood chest before


Wood Chest - to - Gray Buffet - Makeover |

Phew.  This I can handle. Better After reader Angi received this chest from a friend who was about to toss it.  Who can turn down orphan furniture? Not our girl Angi! Problem was, she didn’t need another chest.  But she realized with a few modifications, it would make a perfect buffet for holding linens and tablewares in her dining room.

I’m including her process here, since she doesn’t have a blog.  (PS: did you know you can always send me your makeover submissions, whether you’re blogger or not? I’d love to see them! Shoot me an email at betterafter@live(dot)com).

Angi says:

  • I removed the top and stripped off all the finish. I soaked in a bottle of mineral oil and then used 3 coats of Watco Butcher Block to re-seal and finish the top, lightly sanding in between. I wanted to be able to use the top for food prep.
  • I also wanted to be able to access the buffet from the top and from the front. I had to cut the front off the chest, and shorten the length by 1 inch so the front would rest in front instead of inside. I attached it with some cabinet hinges so it would lie flat when opened for additional surface work area.I built the inside from another old cedar chest, and created drawers from wine boxes.
  • I added legs to bring it up to a height I liked and tapered the legs to mimic other mission/shaker pieces I have. I also added the framework to the front.



This makeover also started life out differently, first as a piano bench.  What good is a piano bench with no piano?  Well, it’s actually perfect for when I play my air piano, but I haven’t done that in years. I wish I would have stuck with it. I could be playing at air Carnegie Hall right now.

But regrets aside, this bench is still serving a functional purpose, now as a distressed coffee table.

Debbie didn’t mess with much, just shortened the legs and built a new top right on top of the old top, hip hop ya don’t stop. She also added a shelf on the bottom for extra storage, and since it still opens up, there’s storage a-plenty.  Can’t ever have enough of that.  Check it out on her blog Painted Therapy.


piano bench before


Wood - Stained  - Top - Piano to Coffee Table - Makeover |


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Custom Playing Cards for Kids

I wanted to make something extra special for my niece Mylin’s fourth birthday this year. I thought I’d share it with you today, because it could also be a fun little Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.

Lindsey, the suspense is killing us, you’re saying. What is it?!

Calm down! I’ll tell you. It’s “Mylin’s Family Matching Game,” a deck of custom playing cards with pictures of our family!

Customizable matching card game for kids | betterafter.netThis is not my niece, obviously.  This is my nephew Kale, such a cutie.

Mylin and Kale live far away from all their grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles, so this is a fun little way they can see our familiar faces everyday.

Make customizable playing cards with family pictures |

When the idea popped into my brain, I wasn’t even sure it was possible.  I mean, I’ve seen custom playing cards that are just a regular deck of cards, with a custom image on the back.  But I wanted to customize every single card with a photo, plus make an image for the backs too.

Luckily, in this day and age, anything is possible! I found a company that does just that. I actually found a lot of companies that will do that, but most of them required a minimum bulk order.

But (who is not sponsoring this post, or has ever heard of me at all) will let you customize the fronts and backs of all your cards with as many images as you want, with no minimum order.

They have design tools so you can add text and colors etc., plus they have tons of size and shape options from mini-cards to 3x5s to circles to hexagons, all customizable.

Custom photo matching game |

Since a typical deck has 54 cards, I made 27 pairs for the matching game. It was tough trying to squeeze every person in the family in; Mylin has about a million cousins, but I made it work as best as I could.  That was the hard part!

make customizable playing cards! |
Then I just uploaded my pictures to the site, designed the backside, and chose from a few other options, including box style and card finish: smooth, linen, or plastic. I went with plastic which was a teeny bit pricier, but I wanted these things to be durable.Create custom playing cards for kids. |

They turned out so great! The photos are bright and clear and the plastic cards seem like they’ll last a long time. I had them shipped directly to her house, and my sister reports that are a HIT!  (Don’t be fooled by Mylin’s somber gaze, she is having the time of her life, I swear).

Create custom photo playing cards! Great gift idea. | betterafter.netThe grand total came to under $20. Not bad at all. I would love to see yours If you decide to make some too!

Happy Saturday!

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