Buddy helped me decorate the front porch yesterday morning.



He’s the creative genius behind most of this blog.

He watches over the projects I create and paces behind the scenes of every photoshoot and comes up and lays his head on my knee when I’m working and nudges me when I’m lost in thought on the next word to write on the post.

I was thinking as I was decorating that I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared the story about Buddy.

I think about it all the time.

How perfect he is.

How he holds our family together.

How he knows what each of us needs and keeps watch over all the humans that live here with him.

And to think it all of that might have never happened.

But Buddy knew better.

So today is all about simple easy front porch projects that I’m sharing with Homes.com and the story of a dog that we weren’t even looking for…

…that knew that we needed him all along.

Thirteen years ago we lived in a farmhouse in Kentucky.

The house sat on 13 beautiful bluegrass acres with a pond and a creek and blue skies and deer and salamanders and frogs and a symphony of crickets and a tortoise named Fred.

It was perfect. And idyllic. And picturesque. And peaceful.


Except for one thing.

Our family wanted a dog.


Everyone else wanted a dog—except me.

You see. When you live on 13 acres, there’s mud and dirt and mayhem and snow and rain and pasture and creek that all gets tracked into your home. It is a full-time job just keeping up with the footprints. I already had six sets of footprints I was trying to un-mud from the 100-year-old floors.

And I didn’t want another four.

Never, I said.

We’d get a dog one day, I said. But now? I had too many footprints on my plate.

And so to assuage the little humans and to quiet the roar of discontent, I agreed to visit our local animal shelter.

Just to look, I said.

We’d hug the dogs and make them feel special and get in our puppy hug and go on our merry way.

Every dog needs a hug, I said. They just don’t need to come home with us right now.

So we went to the shelter and hugged all the dogs and covered our faces with slobbery dog kisses and cuddled the puppies and then we turned to leave. Just as we were about to head out of the kennel area, I noticed one dog off to the side by itself.

Why is that dog over there, I asked. Why is he all by himself?

A family just brought him back, they told me.

They said he was too hard to handle. He was too hyper. He was too exuberant.

Simply put, he was too much.


Those words bounced off the center of my heart and boomeranged into my soul. Too much? What? They brought him back because he was too much? That’s what people always say about me.

I’m too much.

I’m extra.

I’m over-the-top.

What if someone brought me back?

I couldn’t stand it.

I asked them if they could open the kennel and so they did and 60 pounds of golden fur came flying out of that door. He rushed over to us and jumped on all of us and wagged his tail so hard that I thought it might fall off and jumped and spun around and barked.

And I think I even saw him smile.

He was a lot.

He was over-the-top.

He was joy and exuberance and ebullience and effervescence all rolled into 60 pounds of tail-wagging EXTRA.

Just like us.

Buddy came home with us that day. That was the name that the shelter gave him and it stuck. He’s the center of the family and the glue that holds us all together.

And the best part?

He’s 14 now and he acts like he’s 4.

He’s still extra after all these years.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂

I’m sharing all the step-by-step for the Christmas front door projects over on Homes.com today.

You can see them here.

How to make a buffalo check bow

Click here for the project

How to make a eucalyptus garland

Click here for the project

How to make monogrammed planters

Click here for the project

How to make a twig wreath

Click here for the project

How to make a monogrammed doormat

Click here for the project

How to make a magnolia wreath

Click here for the project

disclosure: This post was sponsored by Homes.com.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my advertising page for more information.






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  1. Image for Mary Mary

    Your porch is beautiful, and so is Buddy. I remember your story from a while ago and how you almost lost him. I'm so glad he's there with you.

  2. Image for Cynthia Miller Cynthia Miller

    You are the world's best storyteller, Karianne! Who else could weave a tale about a heartwarming tale about a dog into a holiday porch blog? You truly are amazing!

  3. Image for Nancy at Adams and Elm Home Nancy at Adams and Elm Home

    Such great ideas for the porch. I'm sure my neighbors would love for me to implement some of these great ideas. Two doors down is a huge lawn display people drive in to see. This year I'm going to step up my game in a classy way. Thanks for the ideas. Nancy

  4. Image for Lori Lori

    Aww Buddy..now I'm hoping everyone here will go out and get them a Buddy at the local shelter:0) They need us..well we need them more but lets not let them in on that secret..right!LOL!!!! Love your porch and will practice my bow making. Can't believe we have 3" of snow already..my pumpkins are covered:0)

  5. Image for Erin Kaven Erin Kaven

    I ALWAYS look for Buddy in your pictures. My Gracie (Golden) holds me together most days too. Plus at night I get to say "Say Goodnight Gracie".She licks tears, insists I get fresh air every day and just loves everyone because that is her job, and all dogs need a job.

  6. Image for Catherine Taylor Catherine Taylor

    I love the story of how Buddy won your heart. They do that, which is what makes it hard to just "look" when you go to a shelter. Your porch is glorious......and Buddy is the crowning touch! P.S. I love all of your ideas!!

  7. Image for Jill Jill

    As I write this my 90 pound Assistant is laying on my lap. He is ready to get in the car and get to work scraping and painting our new house. Although a Chocolate Lab, he is currently speckled with ceiling paint and the SW Polite White that is warming my sunroom. He is the champion of exercise and fun. Also on a rainy day, he will snuggle in to read a book. But he is a lot! Last week for the second time, he was so overjoyed he broke his tail from over wagging. I am so glad Buddy found your family. Dogs bring a special heart to all things. Your porch is adorable! Can’t wait to get started on mine! ❤️

  8. Image for Jayne McLeod Jayne McLeod

    beautiful buddy and some beautiful ideas too ! Thank you for sharing ... have a wonderful CHRISTmas season and a lovely new year, to you and yours from me and mine !! Jayne

  9. Image for sue sue

    Oh, Karianne!!! Stop it! You had me in tears yesterday with your lovely daughters and husbands singing. And again this morning, with your Buddy tale. I've gone through have a box of tissues and nothing has gotten done around here. Luckily you also make me laugh most of the time. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself. Hey, before I forget, I made a trip to Walmart the other day to check out the Christmas decos and stock up on bird seed....and they were handing out coupons for up to 10% off orders. Yay! Here in Upstate NY, it is 21 degrees and we have about 4 inches of snow- my front porch is thankfully enclosed with windows all around, so I always dress it up- love the twinkly lights shining in the dark nights.

  10. Image for Linda Linda

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story on Buddy. You know I love him ! I have the two Golsens as well. Merlin and Scobbie. We all love our furbabies ! So happy he chose you and your family. Stay warm...we have a inch of snow on the fallen leaves and it was 15 when I got up here in Indiana

  11. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Mom has ALWAYS said that I should have been a farmer's daughter because of my love for all animals! But, my heartstrings are especially pulled towards dogs!!!! What a lovely story! And, what a fitting comparison...Buddy to You. That was especially touching... 🐕

  12. Image for Kathy Menold Kathy Menold

    The first thing I asked my husband for when we settled in our first apartment was a dog. We have had one all our,52 yrs of marriage and they have almost all been over the top. Our latest dog was a rescue dog who had flunked twice out of" a leash on life" held at a local prison . My daughter who volenteers at a rescue knew we were needing a dog after we lost our lab to cancer. Over she came with a 3yr old 70lb yellow lab and we had another over the top dog. Tansy is now 7yrs but still a puppy at heart addicted to tennis balls and walks. Also likes to visit the neighbors so now we have invisible fencing!! Love her to death and right now she is barking at me to go play ball.

  13. Image for Loryl Loryl

    Our 80 lbs golden named Wrigley was also a shelter dog someone couldn’t handle. We got him at 4 months old. He is now almost 2 and the 💕 of our home. I always look for Buddy in your photos. They are such wonderful dogs. And your porch looks fabulous too😉

  14. Image for Cathy Cahill Cathy Cahill

    You are so lucky to have Buddy and he is lucky to have found you. Dogs just let us be and help us to be better. Beautiful porch and I too think Buddy is the best decoration.

  15. Image for june june

    Love the porch! Today however loving Buddy even more❤️. Darn you as I try to type with tears. Missing my granddog...at least he face-times me everyday. What would we do without our fur biddies🥰

  16. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    My best friend's family used to have a Golden Retriever named Buddy, and he's gone now. He used to lay under a tree right by the driveway, on his side of the invisible fence, and greet everyone when they drove up. We never go over there but what we don't say, "I miss Buddy, the dog!" Such a precious story! Now I'm heading over to see how you made that lovely bow! ;)

  17. Image for Karyn H Karyn H

    I love this story about Buddy. He is a perfect fit! I don't know what I would do without my two pugs. There is definitely nothing like the love of a dog.


    Tears again!!!!! The Buddy story.....just had my 21 year old furbaby Emma (also the glue of the family and a rescue) die....the rest of us (5 other rescue furbabies and husband) have been trying to cope without her. 21 years were not enough. Glad you found Buddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the front porch decorating ideas-love how it looks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Image for Mindy Boggs Mindy Boggs

      21!!! You were a very good pet mama! Hugs to you. My sweet 11 year old black lab Emma was diagnosed yesterday with cancer, Our hearts are broken.

  19. Image for Susan Barfield Susan Barfield

    You have such a gift with words. I am a recent subscriber, and have actually only read your last two posts, but they both brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing your life so beautifully and making me more mindful of the blessings in mine!

  20. Image for Calypso in the Country Calypso in the Country

    Awe, such a wonderful story! We have a golden and she is the love of our lives. Dogs bring so much happiness into a home and I think being "too much" is a good thing! Also, I think it's perfect timing that you would show your Christmas porch with your dog named Buddy. After all, if you are a fan of the movie Elf, then you know that his name is also Buddy! And he's definitely too much! Cheers! Shelley

  21. Image for Terry Terry

    My heart skipped a beat when I read the family brought him back. How sad. It was meant to be that y’all were at the shelter that day. Buddy and your family’s lives were changed, no, enriched on that fateful day. Dogs bring us so much joy. We said goodbye to our 17 1/2 year old sweet boy earlier this year. The house isn’t the same without him.

  22. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Rescue dogs are some of the best!!! Sounds like he needed your family and you needed him too ❤️ He has a sweet face! LOVE the front porch.....natural and beautiful!!

  23. Image for Carol Carol

    Thank you for giving that beautiful dog a home. I can't bear the thought of him sitting there wondering where his family was and why did they leave me here? He was waiting for the BEST family!!!

  24. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    Our Wilson was a private re-rescue also. His owner died. He was "too much" for his first rescuer who had 4 other dogs. I've had golden retrievers since 1980 & thought I was done after my Riley died but I couldn't resist a gorgeous 7-year-old golden retriever. He's my 70-pound lap-dog! So glad your Buddy is still hanging in with you all. A porch always looks better with a sweet fur-kid waiting to greet you!

  25. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    KA!!!! How can you write such a wonderful story about Buddy and not give us more PICS of him????? I kept looking - saw amazing gorgeous awesome pics......but need more BUDDY! Give his sweetness some pets from mid Ohio. ♥

  26. Image for Susan Takeda Susan Takeda

    I just had a chance to read this post and it made my heart smile. I have an 80 lb "too much" dog. He is my frustration and my love. He is also my shadow and I can't imagine my life without him.


    Such a precious story about your Buddy! He was definitely meant to be with your family! So glad you decided to come home with him! Our pets are so much a part of our family and bring us so much joy! So happy that Buddy is doing well and you are all spoiling him! Keep it up! Bless you all!

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