back porch dining table

Yesterday we had the annual power washing festival.

You know.

Where you lug out the power washer and the water hoses and start spraying off the winter coat of green and gray and cobwebs and bugs the house has collected since November….

….and somewhere along the way you get wetter than the house.

This is what it looked like when we were done.

The rugs and furniture and porch are soaked and sparkling clean.

The trees are just starting to leaf out and the daffodils are poking up their heads through the bits of grass and the sun is setting over the meadow and sending sunbeams to dance across the painted deck.

Spring is here.

So in honor of spring and the festival and sunshine, I’m sharing my newly power washed view and a little story again about going home.

I couldn’t help it.

Joy made me do it. 🙂


Sometimes in life there comes that awful, agonizing moment when you realize you can’t go home anymore.

I’m not talking about this home.

I’m talking about the home where you grew up.  Where you played hopscotch and taught school to your dolls and climbed trees and decorated your room with Laura Ashley wallpaper and watched your mother make pancakes every Saturday morning.

And where you first kissed your boyfriend.

And years later walked arm in arm with him up the back steps after you said “I do.”

That home.

back porch thistlewood

The home I grew up in was full of life and laughter and joy.

It was a hub of bustling activity with a project in every room.  My mother tiled the kitchen herself.  My father kept his giant rock collection in the library.  My sister had everyone sign the wood floor in her room.  My brother built a giant marble machine that covered the entire family room.

here were speeches and performances and dancing and debates and stories.

And oh…..the stories we would tell.

The halls of the house rang with them.

thistlewood farms signBut eventually we grew up and left home.

Life moved on.

We all started our own families and the house was left a little sad and forlorn.  It became too much for my mother after my father passed away and so she made the very difficult decision to sell it. So we packed up our stories and our memories…..

….and started a new chapter in our lives.

birdhouse before picture

And as we were cleaning up the house and getting ready to move my mother to her new home.

I discovered this.

Dirty and broken and barely salvageable.

bird house before pictureIt was the remains of a birdhouse.

This birdhouse once perched on a stand in the middle of the backyard at that wonderful home where I grew up.

It was there when I ran out the door to meet my friends after school.

It was there the day I chased the chickens around the yard.

It was there when I graduated from high school.

It was there the day I got married.

It was there the day I brought those precious twins home from the hospital.

And now?

birdhouse back porch

It’s refinished and refurbished and recreated and rebuilt.

It’s been given another chapter in its journey.

Now it lives with me.

My husband surprised me and rebuilt the new and improved birdhouse for our back porch.

He spliced the pieces together.

And rebuilt the inside and painted it white and used leftover shingles from our roof for the top so it would match the house.

A little bit of old with a little bit of new.

sign thistlewood

Now it sits on our back porch.

Just like my home growing up.  Just like before.

Because sometimes when you realize you can’t go home anymore….

….you discover something even more important.

Wherever you go.

Wherever you land.

Wherever the journey takes you.

You can always bring a little bit of home with you along the way. 🙂

Hancock Party

PS  If you are coming to Paducah for Quilt Week, I’m having an event at Hancock’s tomorrow!

I’d love to meet you!

There’s free fabric and giveaways and door prizes.

Just follow the red lipstick. 🙂

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


  1. Image for SheilaG- Plum Doodles SheilaG- Plum Doodles

    You have such a way with words, karianne. I love that your hubby rebuilt that sweet little memory for you. Your porch is beautiful- I would want to sit out there all day and sip lemonade and wear a big floppy hat. And I have never "sipped" anything or worn a big floppy hat.

  2. Image for JudiV JudiV

    You never fail to bring a smile to my face! Thank you. Driving to Nashville on Saturday from "the Atl" hopefully I'll get ther in time to see you on stage! Any idea when you're scheduled to appear?

  3. Image for cindy cindy

    It was stories like that, that made me name my blog the way I did:) You had something that was a Beautiful memory, but she was Old. Then someone decided that underneath her rough edges, she needed just a little love. Her beauty once lost, but now Reclaimed, has made her New again:) I grew up in a house like mother was a painter, and my father was Mr. Fix-it! LOL! I guess they passed that on to me;) Your house sure looks purdy now;)

  4. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    What a precious reminder that life does go on and that new happy memories can be made! And what a sweet gesture by your hubby to remake the birdhouse for you!! You added a little sunshine to this very rainy South Texas morning. Thank you, as always, for sharing, Karianne :-)

  5. Image for jae jae

    Pollen almost over here in GA so this week is our pressure washing your humor, and your porch is sparkling and lovely! Only thing better than the recrafted birdhouse is that your hubby understood its significance and reworked it. What an generous act of love! Best wishes with your Paducah trip. Wish I could be there!

  6. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    I'm so glad you have all that JOY in your heart, Miz karianne, and that you love sharing it! I love birdhouses, especially weathered ones that remind me of growing up with my grandparents. What a sweet labor of love it was to refresh and restore that precious piece of you heart's memory! He's a good guy. And some day, when you host a soirée closer to me, I'm going to be there. Paducah is slightly farther than McKinney, girl! Lol Hope it's bright and sunny's raining here, but we need it. Great day to you, little one.

  7. Image for Ariel Ariel

    Oh, come on...I was not expecting to cry reading this! Haha. But I did, because I can relate to every word you typed. Home is still there for me, but it isn't the same since my mother died 2 years ago. longer filled with her joy and light, but I still have all those wonderful memories and adore the way new ones are being made with my children. Each time I go home, I take a little piece of home back with me, a little piece of my mom. Little things that make me feel whole and good, these things now sit in my home and will be apart of my children's memories. And it makes me so happy. What a sweet, wonderful husband you have. The birdhouse is beautiful and made me smile, knowing how you must feel every time you look at it or the bowl made from your father's tree. Isn't it strange how something so small, can make you feel so nostalgic and make such a big impact on your heart? Have a beautiful week!

  8. Image for Sherry Myers Sherry Myers

    And there is no place like home, even it is sweetly tucked away in our memory bank. Beautiful story. How blessed you are, and how fortunate we are to share the joy of your blessings! Thank you so much

  9. Image for Julie Julie

    Thanks Karianne......I shed tears over this story as it is so familiar and "real" to me and most of us I'm sure. While many of us did not have the "constant" in that my parents moved us many, many times over the years due to my father's job, I still have small pieces of memories in the form of a beautiful crystal cream and sugar set that was originally my great-grandmother's, passed down to my mother and then to me, along with many other various pieces that I have setting around our home to remind me of my wonderful family and those wonderful "growing up" years.

  10. Image for Jeanne @ I Dream of Jeanne Marie Jeanne @ I Dream of Jeanne Marie

    Good morning KariAnne, What sweet memories of your home and how wonderful you bring them to life. I enjoy your writing so much and WILL be looking for your red lipstick tomorrow! Can't wait to meet you! Is the "stage" you mentioned at Hancock's just something they've set up for you? I don't recall them having any stage before... Oh well...I'll find out, I guess... See you soon! Blessings, Jeanne

  11. Image for Leona Leona

    Sweet and sad at the same time. It was I who made the decision to make my parents sell their beloved home and move to an assisted living/nursing home. The birdhouse my Mom loved was so bolted to a pole a hurricane would not blow it off. My Dad made sure of that. Sadly nor could it stayed. To this day its hard to drive by the home I grew up in. And now you live in a house that once held another family or two. How happy they would be to see that the owners who live there now have taken care of it and filled it with their own precious memories. Have a fabulous time at Hancocks. I am sure you will WOW them.

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

    Love the story and I certainly wish I could be there -- right in front-- smiling and waving to you. I know you'll be great! I wish you would take videos of the events and then show them here -- how about Pay per view?? :-) A new star is born!! Have a happy day!

  13. Image for gina gina

    Oh, Design Rock Star, how funny that the sweet bird family that fills the bird house is non the wiser that their place of refuge was featured and admired all over the internet! Sweet. Innocent.

  14. Image for Jenifer Scherlin Jenifer Scherlin

    I don't even know your name, but I feel a kindredness with you! I live in Wyoming, also have twins (my boys are almost 24!), love to decorate and I really enjoy reading your thoughts! Thanks for allowing strangers into your life!!

  15. Image for Jane Jane

    I love this story! Hearing about the home you grew up in and the good times you had with your family, I can see how you ended up making such a happy home for yourself and your own family! Love it! jane

  16. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Sounds a lot like what I was doing this weekend! Bought new cushions for all the patio furniture, washed and cleaned it all and will be putting it together tonight. I sprayed all the new cushions with Never Wet this time!

  17. Image for Ellen Ellen

    KariAnne you never fail to bring smiles and sometimes tears with your beautiful stories. I read them, save them, and often reread them. They are so full of love and the joy of family. Thank-you for sharing.

  18. Image for Janet Arden Janet Arden

    Thank you for sharing that story, and what a wonderful husband for helping you recapture home. Although I had no brothers or sisters, I also grew up in a happy, busy home, full of daily and friends. My dad was quite the woodworker. Today my kids and I each have pieces of furniture he crafted. My mother sewed and decorated, and well, you know where I get these genes about making a home.

  19. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    That made me feel very nostalgic and a tiny bit sad. I have an oak tree I dug up as a tiny seedling from my grandmother's. It's my pice of "home". That and several flowering plants from my childhood house. I'll be digging the iris, amaryllis, etc plus a new seedling to take with me to the farm. I'm so glad your husband rebuilt your birdhouse. Such a sweet story with your beautiful photographs.

  20. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, dear friend. It's so hard transitioning from the home where you grew up. A while back one of my classmates bought my childhood home...and I share life through Facebook photos... it warms my heart that his sweet family love and share memories there. Love that sweet birdhouse. Thanks for sharing... And power washing begins here this week!

  21. Image for DeMarie DeMarie

    What a loving thing for your hubby to do. While not all of us had an idyllic childhood, it always does my heart good to know others did. Reading these poignant stories restores my faith in the goodness of man.

  22. Image for Lori Lori

    Lovely story...I felt that way about my grandmother's house because we had moved a lot and her house was a permanent and secure address. When she moved out and sold it, I was overseas and never was given the few things which were to be my piece of home...still makes me feel a bit sad.

  23. Image for Amy @ Lake House Living Amy @ Lake House Living

    Love this reflective post. This glimpse of your childhood abode gives insight into why you are the sparkly, homey person you appear to be. You know, sparkly kind of like your newly power washed deck. I share your joy. Last year I asked for a power washer for mother's day. Really and truly. My family may have thought I was crazy. But for me, the excitement of 1500 psi of water cleaning everything in sight trumps a dozen roses every time!

  24. Image for Kathi Kathi

    Well, shoot! I would love to meet you and I'm only an hour from Paducah, but I'm just now reading this and it isn't going to happen. Please keep us posted of similar events. I would love to meet you sometime. Until then, keep up the good work. Love your blog!

  25. Image for Michele Michele

    You make me cry, then weep for joy - then feel SO MUCH PRIDE about your new fabric line, KA. We're all rootin for ya, rock star! Hugs and prayers! ♥

  26. Image for Terie Terie

    Such a thoughtful post! Was in BG for the weekend with my daughter- wish I had known about your event on Tuesday. Not a very good reason for me to cancel classes :) But I sure would've considered it ! Instead of " reading day" - a " meet and greet" fabric day? Just kidding! ( maybe) I hope it was a GREAT event for you!

  27. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    Oh Karianne, this post made me just freak out! In a good way. I grew up on a farm, luckily!! My brother made a multi-story bird house which he mounted way up high on a pole with shingles that matched the farmhouse. When my parents sold that property, they bought another and the birdhouse came along. Well, now both my parents are gone and we are selling the property. The birdhouse is in pretty rough shape it being around 50 years old? I am going to try and salvage husband was ready to toss it and I just screamed...he thinks I'm nuts...well I am have brought me happy memories. If the weather EVER gets warm and stays warm in Michigan, I am going to work on my birdhouse and it will go along with me to my new home. love, Linda

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