farmhouse kitchen organization

I spent this past week in McKinney, Texas at a trunk show for the fabric line.

It was held downtown right off the historic square in the cutest quilt shop known to man called Happiness is Quilting.

There was laughter and a food truck with dinner and cookies that looked like the fabric and giveaways and slideshows and a local crew from the high school filming the event.

And mid-way through the event, someone suggested I get up and talk.

That’s how I ended up in front of a group of people, surrounded by quilts, waving my hands, wearing red lipstick and fancy earrings talking about fabric and the little blog that started it all.

The very beginning.

The very first post.

And how I ended up where I never thought or intended or even planned.

All because of a Christmas tree.

kitchen farmhouse style

I started this blog on December 11, 2011.

I was an avid blog reader.  I never missed a day.  Every morning I would wake up with my coffee and run to my computer to see what bloggers had posted.  I was inspired and encouraged and challenged and fascinated.

And so when we finished renovating the farm house, I wanted to share it with the world.

So I started a blog.

replacement windows

It was going to be super fancy like some of the blogs I read.

You know.

You’ve seen articles like that.

I was going to tell you how to layer in textures and neutrals into a space with style and distinction.

And how high your chandelier should be over your table.

And when to introduce color and pops of geometric pattern for dramatic emphasis.

Extra super knowledgeable.

dining room and living room spring

And I was going to fill it with glorious pictures and never use exclamation points.


Except I couldn’t really take pictures.

I had a camera that was yellow and you threw it away after you turned it into Walgreens to get your pictures out of it.

And when I tried taking pictures with it they were blurry and lopsided definitely not blog worthy and looked like they were taken by someone adrift at sea.

laundry room

And so I hired a photographer to come out to the house and take pictures.

I cleaned for days and got everything ready and straightened and fluffed and primped and karated chopped all the pillows because that was kind of a thing in 2011.

And he spent the afternoon taking pictures and sent them to me a week later.

I was in awe.

I was in love.

The pictures were incredible.

first picture ever

This is the picture that started it all.

The very first glimpse of the farmhouse I posted on the blog in December of 2011.

Let’s pause for a moment in the way back machine and unpack this photograph.

There’s so much that is different about this room now, but that is not EVEN the point of anything about this story except to tell you I needed to calm down with the over abundance of evergreens on the mantle.

The point is that when I first saw this picture, I fell in love.  I couldn’t wait to show everyone the living room at the farm house.

And I sat down to the computer ready to post and talk super fancy and tell everyone my pearls of decorating knowledge.

And then I saw it.

Do you notice anything missing in this picture?

first picture of house

Here’s another glorious angle in case you missed it the first time.

Look at my WalMart Christmas tree.

Standing there with silver poinsettia and white ornaments and glitter reindeer and silver swags of beads and pine cone ornaments…..

…..and plastic WalMart feet.


Decorator heal thyself.

How in the world was I supposed to give any one advice on anything when I couldn’t follow Christmas Decorating 101 and add a skirt to cover my plastic feet?

cropped first picture

And so I went with what I had.

I cropped my picture to look like this.

Then I introduced myself and my skirtless tree and told the world I was starting a blog and I was 100% not fancy and I was off on my blogging adventure.

Just me.

A farmhouse.

And a little red lipstick. 🙂

PS  Good thing I went with the whole keeping it real thing, because when I went to post pictures of my dining room, there on my hutch with all my white ware and the prettiest nativity set…..

….were my white pumpkins from Thanksgiving. 🙂

PPS  If you are looking for some fun spring planting ideas, be sure and check out how I planted my herb garden over on

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


  1. Image for Design Chic Design Chic

    And that, my friend is why we all love're just like the rest of us...human! We are such fans of your images, but it's your storytelling that gets us everytime...happy Thursday!

  2. Image for Barbara Barbara

    And look how far you have come!!! I love your photos, but the story that goes with it is what pulls me in every time:)

  3. Image for Jenny Jenny

    Lol, the first thing I noticed was the plastic feet on the Christmas tree and as I was reading, I was thinking I am such a jerk for noticing that. The room was/is beautiful and even with those plastic feet, the tree was pretty! So glad you started your blog, I really enjoy reading it :)

  4. Image for Terri Terri

    lololololol.... I am almost speechless!!!!!!! ALMOST.... I busted out laughing over the camera comment.. ( you know... spitting coffee kind of laugh!!! ) and then I was began to speak to the computer... "Ummmm.. she forgot to skirt the tree" ... NO WAY!!! lolololol.... BUT... BOY OH BOY.... am I glad you started that blog!!!!! and really ???? ( My road trip bucket list?? Well it just happens to include the Historic District in McKinney Texas!!! :) ... Thank you so much for sharing your "humble beginnings" ... lol

  5. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Just like Design Chic said....just proves you are human! You know...your post about the Macaroni Kitchen is the one that hooked me! My, my....look how far you've come! ;)

  6. Image for renee renee

    Great story always! If it's any consolation to you I still have a white pumpkin on the table in my foyer. (It's a real pumpkin and I don't have the heart to toss it out as nothing is wrong with it, so.....) I just love how you decorate and have used so many of your ideas in my own home. Thanks so much! and keep going girlie!! :)

  7. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love you, my friend!! And am so very thankful that you continue to bless us all with the real, zany, happy and heartfelt moments of your life. Your inspiration of farmhouse design and living life to its fullest- priceless. With much beauty, love, life, laughter and a touch of red have made my introduction to the blogging world pure joy!! I am grateful that it all began with this picture. Keep on spreading the love!

  8. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Hi KariAnne, what a lovely look back. We've all evolved in our blogging, right? Honestly, I didn't even notice the "missing" skirt. How nice that you've been able to go evolve in so many new directions you probably never thought you would... thanks to pushing the publish button on that very first post. Hope you have a great day. It just stopped raining cats and dogs here... so mine is looking better (smile). Lisa

  9. Image for Debbie W Debbie W

    LOVE it!! When I noticed the Walmart feet, it made me smile...take a deep breath, and think don't sweat the small stuff. So put on your lipstick and a smile and carry on! Also, just wanted to note that I love your facebook shares and posts - so positive and uplifting!

  10. Image for Rebecca Turner Rebecca Turner

    Keeping it real is endearing...because very few people can attain perfection in their decor, (or otherwise) but we can all hope and dream, and plan and execute, and make mistakes and persevere...and have fun in the process! I'm so glad that you started your blog! I love your farmhouse, of course, and your creative and unique ideas, but it's really your gift of writing that I'm following. Thanks for the many smiles that you've put on our faces!

  11. Image for Debera Debera

    Your blog is what I look for everyday! I love how you share yourself, family, knowledge, crafts, pictures....etc.... In fact, I love those light colored area rugs you have! I am trying to duplicate them in my living room....please tell me where you got them and what color they are called as I have ordered from Overstock twice but they come to me a green beige for seagrass......bummer!!

  12. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Thanks for the morning laugh- I look forward to your blog everyday. Thanks for including us in your life!

  13. Image for Ellen Ellen

    I am so obsessive compulsive that I saw the plastic tree feet right away! The picture was so beautiful anyway- and shows the beginning of a terrific blogger. I love and save almost every post because they are so perfect, and I often revisit them too! You have created a wonderful blog as you are a born storyteller. I love following your family life and your many adventures. Don't ever stop! I save the best for last-reading yours with a cup of coffee and always a smile. Thank-you!

  14. Image for Toni Toni

    I am so glad you decided to keep it real - being yourself! I love reading your post, always smile and nod my head - she is a real person. Thank you for sharing the farm, your family and all the tips but most of all sharing you! (Yes, I have a bit of a crush on you! Hope that's not too weird!!!)

  15. Image for Ardith Ardith

    Storytelling at its best, KariAnne, along with a sunny disposition and an enviable sense of humor...these attributes are why I come to visit your blog. Oh, yes, there is also that whole decorating talent thing. Cheers, Ardith

  16. Image for Carol Lander Carol Lander

    So sorry I missed coming to McKinney, but daughter and grandgirls were in town. I did notice the "where is the tree skirt", but I'm kind of crazy that way. It obviously didn't matter because look at you today. We have to laugh at ourselves, don't we? Thanks for being so honest and making us all chuckle at our own foibles ~ I'm using big words today! Glad we had some glorious weather for you on your Texas visit.

  17. Image for Dianne Bell in Michigan Dianne Bell in Michigan

    KariAnne, you gave me my chuckle for the day. I've been there with the plastic feet also. We're so pleased with ourselves with what we've created, that we don't see the whole picture, hence the plastic feet. And hey, the pumpkins on the hutch thing, well they Were WHITE so they kinda went with the Christmas theme anyways. Have a lovely day. I'm gonna try. It's cold and rainy and soggy and grey with a chance of snow here in Michigan. But your post lifted my spirits. Peace. Dianne☕️☔️

  18. Image for Wendy Johnson Wendy Johnson

    I noticed because you said to look. With so many other things,,,So glad you have come so far and stayed the same.

  19. Image for Janet Arden Janet Arden

    This is serendipity! I just began blogging at and it's so less than perfect (I inadvertently clicked publish before my Pinterest images were posted!), but I know now it will get better. I love your blog and your style. I'm a fan. (And, yes, early morning with coffee and the blogs is a great time of day!)

  20. Image for Carol Killian Carol Killian

    I noticed, but only after you insisted I look. It proves you are human. I have been with you since the beginning. Also, I look forward to meeting a rockstar in Lebanon. Sending sunshine from middle TN!

  21. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Isn't it fun to see how far you've come? Just like my blog tag line states..."the journey to creating home". It's a journey and our skills and design style evolve over time. I laugh when I see the first pictures I ever posted! haha.

  22. Image for Shirley Shirley

    What I love about your blog is you are so honest & natural. I never noticed the feet. I was thinking about how beautiful it looked & wondering how long it took you. This last Christmas I had a wooden sleigh hiding the feet on my tree ( and a puppy chewing the lights& my cat half way up knocking ornaments off the branches! ). The quilt shop sounds darling. Congratulations on your fabric line.

  23. Image for Leona Leona

    Funny how we can look back at our decorating from another decade or so.....and sit back and laugh. Not only decorating but the clothes we wore AND the hairstyles. We have all been there , done that. Good to read and see that you are confident in your own skin to post pictures and reveal another side of Kerrianne. You have come a long way since you first blogged and should feel very proud of yourself for what you have accomplished and created ( and that includes your babies). I like your other readers look forward to your posts that bring us laughs, tears, and inspiration. And may this all continue for you.

  24. Image for Peg Peg

    "Perfect people aren't real, and real people aren't perfect!" I'm so happy you decided to write a blog because I love you!! : )

  25. Image for Karen Karen

    Two hours later, after trying to fine tune my first post, when I read this I finally remembered to breathe. You are such an inspiration!!!

  26. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    You DO know that this is what endears you to all of us, don't you? You are almost as imperfect as we are, and yours is a blog that we can all relate to (see, I even ended that sentence with a preposition, instead of using proper grammar!) Keep up the good work and real-life!!

  27. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Ad long as you always remember were it started, you will never struggle knowing where you are headed. So glad you started the blog and are seeing success in your many endeavors.

  28. Image for FrenchGardenHouse FrenchGardenHouse

    Ha! I love this, because that is why we all love you. Keeping it real. Because out in our blog land, everything always looks perfect, but reality is different. Your home is just beautiful, filled with things you love. Like me, you believe in creating spaces for family and friends to feel comfortable in, to laugh in, and to create memories in. I'm having a GIVEAWAY for a great new book by Kristy Woodson Harvy , hope you will enter! It's a fantastic read. :)

  29. Image for Peggy Peggy

    And keeping it real has made you a Rock Star with the most heart! I am an avid blog reader too and hands down, you are my first smile with my cup of coffee in the morning.

  30. Image for Donnie Donnie

    As always, delightful. Smiled through the whole reading! Look how far you have come. Blessings to you for the joy to bring!

  31. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I'm so glad you keep real girl! I just adore you and your house, and I'll take the plastic Christmas tree feet any day:D Have a great day friend!

  32. Image for Debra Milam Debra Milam

    I love your blog! Your style is why when at the beginning of the year (due to new time issues) I had to discontinue a lot of my e-mail subscriptions, your blog is the only one I kept. You are the best!

  33. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    And just look where that photograph has taken you! I look forward to checking out your blog each day to see what new and wonderful things you have come up with, and I have not been disappointed yet. Looking forward to the 23rd with great anticipation!

  34. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    Yes, you are my first Blog Smile of the Day too. In fact, Thistlewood Farms was my inspiration for my foray into blogging...I have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying every minute of the ride. Isn't that what it's all about? By the way, until you specifically pointed them out, I still didn't see those plastic feet... :)

  35. Image for Emily Emily

    Gotta love ya! Hate to admit it but I never even noticed the plastic Walmart feet on the Christmas tree - obviously I wouldn't since I still has Easter bunnies sitting in my sunroom. Thistlewood and coffee always start my day - admitting you make mistakes (even if we don't see them), well, that makes me not feel not so bad about the bunnies.

  36. Image for Chris Chris

    You've been blogging since 2011? I just discovered your wonderful blog this last year so I missed out on so many of your wonderful stories. Archives? So glad you started a blog because it is such a pleasure to read. A fancy home can range from look but don't touch, to just using coasters under your juice glasses. Your home is fancy but in a warm, welcome way that says it's a family home that gets used and loved. I joke that Martha Stewart has a junk room just to hide her staff of 25 when company comes over! As I glance out to my patio I smile at the 8" orange pumpkin sitting there from Halloween. If you don't cut them they last a long time here, usually until July unless the raccoons visit. I love pumpkins, and like the comment from Renee, I just don't have the heart to toss them when they are still good. Love your stories, love your pictures, look forward to many more years of following your blog.

  37. Image for debbie debbie

    Keepin it real... that's why we visit with you everyday; enjoying our tea and chatting about finding the right shade of red lipstick, and other equally pressing worldly matters

  38. Image for Sue B. Sue B.

    And the silver lining to this story is that you went ahead with your blog and everyone loves you (and your pictures) just the way you are.

  39. Image for Patty Marker Patty Marker

    I remember when you didn't take your own pictures but even if you had shared the fuzzy ones your wit and realness are what keep us coming back...and your gorgeous home of course.

  40. Image for Jessica Jessica

    I love this! It makes me so happy to hear how you started your blog! And I love the picture with no skirt on the tree because it is so you! Simple, classic, and real! XX, Jessica

  41. Image for Suzann Suzann

    Karianne as I was looking at the picture honest to goodness I noticed the feet, I thought to myself I should sew her a tree skirt. As I've made several Christmas tree skirts for my friends. I had no clue the story was going to be about the tree skirt and cropping the pic. If you haven't gotten one yet let me know. I love your post ! I look forward to reading your blog everyday, I feel like your a close friend ☺️

  42. Image for Dale Deacon Dale Deacon

    How fun to read about your beginning, your start and how you have come full circle, now inspiring others as you share your very full life journey. Love what you have created!

  43. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    You know we are like Lucy online sisters! Love you just the way you are. Funny... Fantastic... And Fabulous!!! Rockstar you are and bless you For reminding all of us we are too! Halloween pumpkins got Me hahaha love it sounds like me. When kids were little you never knew what decorations could be found so always said Welcome to Holiday World haha. Keep smiling and sharing sweet girl.

  44. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    How couldn't we NOT love you when you are so down to earth. I stand in awe of what you accomplish but I don't think you would know how to keep a person at arm's length. I love your humor, your sense of humor, your red lipstick, your dangly earrings, and last but certainly not least -- your exclamation points. You are not ordinary narrative. Yours is not a questioning narrative. Your narrative is bigger than life and FULL of exclamations!! Big super hugs!!

  45. Image for Gail Gail

    I didn't find you until last year but I have enjoyed getting to know you and your home. Cant wait for June and all that new fabric.. Biting at the bit.

  46. Image for Sheila Sheila

    I enjoy reading about your escapades. I know I will end up chuckling or have a full throttle laugh. On another note, what are your paint colors throughout your home? I look a bit on some of your projects but never saw where you would have mentioned wall color names and brand. Thank you and keep the laughs coming! GG

  47. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    You, my friend, are amazing! I love that you forgot the tree skirt and pumpkins and couldn't take photos. There's hope for the rest of us yet. :-) Love your stories and someday, I'm driving to McKinney to meet you. Happy weekend, friend! Cecilia

  48. Image for Vicki Vicki

    If you had never changed a thing in that room, I would still love your design today just as much! It is a beautiful room and I am so glad I found your blog - and I even met you once! On purpose! Lol! I love your style and it is the one that speaks to me the most, of all others I have ever seen.

  49. Image for Lela Lela

    I just love this post so much! What a great story. I am so happy you started this blog back in 2011, and so happy to call you my friend. Hugs!!!

  50. Image for Velia Velia

    Karianne, you never fail to capture my attention with your incredible writing and creativity in decorating your beautiful home. Thank you for "keeping it real".

  51. Image for Laurie of LoLa Builds Laurie of LoLa Builds

    You are an inspiration. My friend Lori and I are just starting out with our love of all things wood, fabric and power tools. I also run to my computer each morning to see what you amazing bloggers have been up to, and count on you for inspiration. Thanks for the morning smiles!

  52. Image for Annie Annie

    I very rarely comment on blogs. I very rarely read blogs on a regular basis. Except for YOURS. I may be late to the party, having just recently discovered this magic land called Thistlewood Farms, but I am a fast reader. I absolutely love everything about your blog, and how amazingly you crystallize my thoughts in your posts. Please never stop! The world needs more Kari Anne:)

  53. Image for Jean McGee Jean McGee

    I was sooo busy thinkng how much your room had changed that I did not notice the "Walmart feet" and then my first reaction was whaaaaat "walmart feet"????? I am still smiling about that one - even though I had to hunt for them. I soooooooooo enjoy your blog, your style, your sense of humor annnnnnnnnnnnnd YOU!!! I miss you the days you do not blog. Jean McGee

  54. Image for Tonya Tonya

    OMG! You were in McKinney, Tx! I live about 20 minutes from there and if I would have check I could have come. May your ventures continue to prosper. I love your blog! I was thinking of contacting you for designer help on my open concept house and how my living furniture should be arranged.

  55. Image for Sarah @ Tomfo Sarah @ Tomfo

    You my girl, have come along way since those first arrows, I just love your creativity and your beautiful house. I love how it is always evolving. But most of all, I love your stories. Happy weekend lovely lady all the way from Oz x

  56. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I am so glad I was able to hear you tell this story in person last week!!!!!! You give hope to us all in our home decor journey! XOXO Lisa

  57. Image for Mary L Hershberger Mary L Hershberger

    I know the feeling. I've taken pictures of at office buildings and later see my camera bag perched in the corner. Ugh. I love your mixture of dark wood and white/light gray. I could sit and stare at the photo of the stairway and dining room (4th pic) all day!

  58. Image for Julie Julie

    Ha ha! I didn't even see it - which is why I don't have a home décor blog! Confession time, we never have a tree skirt, I just pile present up and that covers the legs - is that really bad? I have about 7 months to research and then make a tree skirt before the tree goes up again - should be long enough!

  59. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I LOVED seeing this and the picture that started it all:):) You are so sweet and honest and that is why EVRYONE is so attracted to you, your blog and your fabulous, amazing stories. We all love you. XO

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