Yesterday I got the most amazing comment from a wonderful reader.

She asked me how I came up with new projects day after day and decorated rooms and organized everything and kept my house clean and managed four children…

….and could I please explain how I got it all done.

And when I read the question….I had to stop and think for a moment.


I stopped and I thought…..

…..and then I laughed and laughed and laughed. 🙂


And so to celebrate 2014 and  I thought I would share all my tips with you on how I manage to get it all done.

Are you ready?

Are you listening?

You might want to grab a pencil and paper…..

……so you don’t miss a word.


Okay….here goes…..

….I don’t.

Not even a little.

Never.  Ever.

I’m the friend who is always late……who opens her mouth and inserts her foot….who accidentally brings a boy gift to a girl baby shower…..who just tripped over four pairs of mud boots and an umbrella in the back hallway and  then proceeded to track mud all over the house…..who brings slice and bake cookies to the pot-luck….

….still in the package.


I’m that girl.


And since we’re friends and all…..and it’s a new year….

….let’s just keep it real.

My house is sometimes messy.

My hallway is full of tracked-in mud right now.

My front porch still has silhouette pumpkins on the side.

My hair is on rare occasions amazing….but most of the time it has a mind of its own.

And my projects don’t always work out.


But at the end of the day…..I can say…..

….I’m always trying.


I’m trying to be the best mom I can be.

I’m trying to create a haven for my family from the storms and challenges of life.

I’m trying to take each day and drink every drop of every minute… I don’t miss a thing.

I’m trying to smile…..when sometimes no one smiles back.

Because really….just between us….I think that we are so busy sometimes looking at all the things we haven’t done or finished or made or created….

….that we miss all that we have truly accomplished.

We miss the little victories of the every day.

And that is the wonder of this incredible life that we live and this journey we are on together….that true joy and satisfaction and contentment…..

….can often just be found in the trying. 🙂


PS  If you want to try something new today….

…’s an easy lettered chalkboard project for you.

My sister made this chalkboard for me for Christmas by taking an old oil painting that she found at a thrift shop and adding a saying made out of stickers.

Then she made a conversation bubble out of painter’s tape and painted the whole thing….frame included with chalkboard paint.

When she peeled off the stickers….the colors of the oil painting underneath showed through.

May your day be full of joy…..

….with an extra helping of trying. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for gina gina

    Love your family's homemade gifts. And yes, you seem to put most of us to shame with all you accomplish! You are amazing!

  2. Image for Winnie Winnie

    Thank you for this post Kari-Ann. It puts life into perspective. As women, mothers and homemakers we tend to be so hard on ourselves.

  3. Image for JR JR

    You're the best KariAnne! You always tap into just how I feel in such a kind and accepting way. Thank you for your uplifting post and I love the chalkboard. What an awesome family you have! Cheers!

  4. Image for JoAnn JoAnn

    Really cute idea!! Ok, so you have your messes and bad days like all of us.....I think the question is how do you get as much done as you do?? You're incredible!! Love your blog!!

  5. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Great Post! Thanks for your dedication to this blog! Thanks for always trying! Thanks for encouraging all of us to try!!

  6. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Bravo, KariAnne! When my kids were in Preschool and Elementary, I was always trying to be the perfect homemaker. I love decorating and crafts, and I love to be a stay at home mom, but I was always worried about how I looked or is the house perfect when friends came over, being room mom and planning the perfect class parties that went off without a hitch. And I found out that people never noticed those little hiccups in the party or appreciated the tiniest of details I had fretted over. Friends who came over were coming to spend time with us, not see how I had arranged my flowers or if my floors were clean. I also realized that if I wanted to cook something that seemed amazing that took a long time, or spent a long time on a craft it was ok, as long as it made me happy and the kids were taken care of. For some people that would be cleaning instead, but not me. Thank you for keeping it real in 2014 and having such a good sense of humor!

  7. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz karianne....while reading your confessions...uh, I mean your POST....I was thinking, WHAT? WHAT?....are you telling us....wait! sshhhh...did you hear that??? THAT was the collective sound of bubbles bursting all around the country.....WHAT?? you really aren't perfect? LOL, I don't think even Mary Poppins could accomplish everything you do and live in a perfectly ordered world on a daily basis.....sigh, at least I hope not. That means there is still hope for the rest of us mere mortals! You know, I've told you before that you are an amazing young woman, wife, mother....person in general. But it's those memories you are making with that adorable husband of yours, and those 4 young lives depending on you for their well-being, that makes you a gentle giant and heroine in the "real world" that matters the most. Of course, you could slip in a picture of your muddy floors occasionally, just to reassure us.....just sayin' :)

  8. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Now this is truly unique and it looks fabulous! What a creative idea, I'll have to pin this, thanks karianne. Good for you for keeping it real. Happy 2014!! Debbie :)

  9. Image for Elisabeth Elisabeth

    Karianne, it's good to know that you have messy days, too, but I really like your positive attitude. "I’m trying to smile…..when sometimes no one smiles back." That's a winner, an overcomer and I know your kids and husband appreciate that in you. What an interesting idea - to use an oil painting. Never would have thought of doing that.

  10. Image for Sandy M. Sandy M.

    Karianne~You know you can hear a pin drop when you speak! Thanks for all your honesty. I truly can't wait to read your posts!

  11. Image for Beverly Beverly

    OK, I LOVE this idea and I am totally doing this. First thing though....get through this deep freeze that has our farm completely covered in ice....then get to the thrift store for a picture!! THANKS!!!

  12. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Thanks so much for not only the chalkboard, but more importantly, the words about "trying"....truly moved me.Thank you

  13. Image for Amy@{A*very} Cottage Home Amy@{A*very} Cottage Home

    Miss KariAnne! I think you hit the nail on the head! The thing about having a perfect life is not in the idea of "perfection" it is in the trying and the doing and the trusting and the loving and just plain living life. Your spirit runs through all that you do and you give all things a warm, bubbly spin that allows all things to be a win. That's true living and that is what is "perfection."

  14. Image for Kris Kris

    Amen! I think most of us do only one or two things well and do a "good enough" job on the rest of it. I became a parent "later in life" and have the sense that time is fleeting and I need to soak in these parenting years now, before they are gone. So my home is "decorated" right now with mittens drying on the registers and puzzles on my kitchen table. Too soon my house will be quiet and neat. How boring.

  15. Image for Linda Marsh Linda Marsh

    I love that you and your family give each other home made gifts! I would love to see the gifts you made for them:) sometime on you blog posts. You all are so talented and creative. I love how each gift is so thought out and made from the heart. Many blessings for 2014 Linda Marsh

  16. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    It's so easy to focus on what we DIDN'T get accomplished, that sometimes we gloss over what we DID! Guilty here, too! Love this project. I do think your family got an extra helping of crafty! Enjoy your snow day - well, COLD day! :)

  17. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I'm reminded of the house looked like that too...'cept there were only three sets of muddy boots! It's all a magic if you ask's a shell game! You shove the dirt and toys in a closet or under the bed...and hope that no one will think badly of you. Everybody understands...everybody does it...some just better than others. Love what your sister did with that chalkboard...she is so talented! Stay warm! ;)

  18. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Yes, please drink it all in, it goes fast and if you blink you do miss it, or worse - as the years go by you 'forget'. But please for the love of God, quit being the lady who brings the ready to slice cookies to the pot luck.... at least while still in the bag.

  19. Image for Winnie Winnie

    I do believe the problem many of us have is (at least I do!) starting multiple projects at the same time instead of doing one, completing it and then moving on to the next.. This surely contributes to a feeling of never getting anything done. But we have to be who we are, after all! We just put too much pressure on ourselves!! Love you all, and thanks to KariAnne for this blog!!

  20. Image for Sami Sami

    What a clever idea for a chalkboard. Creative kudos!! As for getting it all done, I'm pretty sure no one can do it without staff! Do what you do well and enjoy the journey. Sometime before my family arrived for Christmas I did manage to get most of the trippable stuff hidden because that always gets pointed out along with phrases like 'broken hip'.

  21. Image for Sarah Sarah

    Thanks for the honesty! I smiled at the confession of the pumpkins. I've got a group of pumpkins sitting on the back terrace. They were just too nice to toss out, so moved them from the front porch to the back. That way I continue to enjoy them without the world wondering why I still have pumpkins out in January. '-) Love the gift from your sister. Very clever idea. I'm going to remember to look for a colorful painting at the thrifts. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  22. Image for Sandy Sandy

    You always take the negative I sometimes feel in my life and make me smile, sometimes laugh out loud. Bless you .

  23. Image for Karo Karo

    I loved your intro ... and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Of course I had to read on and found such inspiration in your words. I spend too much time worrying about the things that aren't done and too little enjoying the moment. New Year's Resolution..... read more of your words and relax a bit. Thanks so much.

  24. Image for Michelle B Michelle B

    KariAnne, this post is so perfect for me today. Sometimes I have that "grass is greener on the other side" complex thinking that others are able to accomplish so much more than me. It's always good to know that there are other women out there like me that just keep trying!! I try my best with my daily juggling act of being a good mom, good employee, good wife and try to find time to be good to myself.

  25. Image for jan g. jan g.

    and THIS karrianne is why I follow your blog and share your blog and love you so much... because I KNOW it's REAL... and you'll always be just one of us "normal" girls...

  26. Image for Nan, Odessa DE Nan, Odessa DE

    Thanks for your honesty! You are blessed to have a sister and a chalk board. Every blogger is talking chalk board this and chalk board that BUT NONE seem simple to me - where can I buy one? Seriously!!!! No smart alec intended - just give me a chalk board. HA! HA!

  27. Image for Sandra Boyd Sandra Boyd

    Back in October I was searching for ideas for burlap Christmas crafts. Your burlap crafts site popped up. I had been in a slump...could not get inspired about my house....the minute I saw your house.. I loved it...the neutrals...the "found" objects turned into home decor... I of course looked at all the pictures...the paint colors before I even read your blog. I have never read anyones blog before....but I have popped in everyday since to read yours. Then I was looking through the Cottage Style Magazine at the store....and there you were....a full page size picture of.your entryway. I don't know how or why you started your blog.... but !hank you!!! I will send pictures of my transformations when there complete. Sandra

  28. Image for bethanie bethanie

    But when Im decorating, or crafting I like to think...WWKD?! Love you friend. And please tell me you have little piles of "stuff" sticking out from SOMEWHERE in your house. I swear, in order for it all to be tidy, there is serious stuff in hiding somewhere!!! You brighten my days.

  29. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    You know one day, (my favorite day of the week incidentally) we should combine your free hallway mud and my free hallway dog/cat fur and figure out a project using the 2 ingredients. Then we could casually say to one and all with a spontaneous graceful wave of the hand “this mud and fur, oh yes that is for a very important project all hush, hush you understand”. I am just going to have to be careful I don’t fall over when I spontaneously wave my hand. 

  30. Image for Barbara Barbara

    You make everyone here smile and have such a positive outlook. I love the line about always trying to smile, even when no one smiles back. We're all here just doing the best we can. And that's enough. Thanks for the encouragement!

  31. Image for Shirl' Anderson Shirl' Anderson

    Love your post today, as always! The chalkboard....what an amazing gift. I'm going to be on the lookout for a colorful picture as well! How cool! Happy day to you my friend!

  32. Image for Mary S Mary S

    I enjoyed the post as well. I liked the saying too... however, I would recommend your readers go to the web and look up information about Mr. Mandella... not what he appears to be. I was surprised when I learned about him. Just saying.

  33. Image for Jenna Jenna

    Your sister is very talented/creative/clever too! It's perfect! Thanks for keeping it real~I spend a lot of time mentally beating myself up because something didn't turn out perfect or I didn't get something done, when in the big picture no one cared but me :) P.S. I just don't believe you arrived with slice and bake cookies that were still in the package, I just don't!!

  34. Image for Kiri Kiri

    Did you hear those collective gasps from all around the internet!! Here we were, wondering what we were doing wrong. In all seriousness, thank you for sharing this. In the online world we often see 'polished' versions of people. As others have said, love that you're keeping it real. But please don't stop with the pretty pictures and amazing projects :)

  35. Image for Gwen Gwen

    I just about cried reading your post. I don't know why. Are people mad because you can do such cute fun stuff in great bright lipstick??? I don't know. Are people jealous when you shared your own personal story of your twins birth?? I don't know. Do people think its wrong to have a post that is beautiful plus fun and inspirational?? I don't know. But I think of the parable of the talents. You've been given talents and you are not hiding them in a hole in the ground you are using them to further Gods Kingdom. I'm reminded of some verses God gave me this fall. Above all love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others (you do)...if anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. I Peter 4:8, 10a,11b--NIV I think Wow!! Do you see? God has given you strength to accomplish more than say I can do, who has a traumatic brain injury and my projects move along slowly. Yet in it all, you and I can use our projects as a starting point to give hope, encouragement and inspiration even beyond the project. You bring laughter. Gods Word says laughter is good medicine. You share design. God laid out the design for the ark and the grandness of the Temple. You share God's Word, family stories...all these in the strength God gives YOU. Period!!! PSI rather think your white pumpkins look rather like giant snowballs since it is January!!

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