Saturday, May 30, 2015

{ Mason Jar Lamp Makeover }

Last weekend when we were in Lexington visiting my grams we went junking! If you know me then you'd know I like anything that is vintage,rustic,different or needs some TLC! I spotted this little mason jar lamp at one of my grams favorite little junkin shops in the town next to her { Croswell }! It's the cutest little shop & just as we were about to leave I spotted this lamp among many other treasures tucked away in a little corner. The tag said $15 & I offered $10 & got it! I know these are pretty common, but for $10 with the shade, & lighting kit  I couldn't pass it up. See what I did to this little gem below!!!

**Excuse the picture quality in this post ..sometimes when I'm working on a project or I'm in the moment photographing is an after thought ha-ha. Hey, we're keeping it real here right?! I mean, I'm a -Practical- blogger....Thanks for understanding guys!!

I really did like the before!! It reminded me of an eclectic farmhouse lamp, but unfortunately it didn't match for where I wanted it! I had a spare white shade, so all  left to do was DIY the mason jar bottom!!

There was no need to paint it perfectly as I was  going to distress it anyway ;)!!

I painted the whole mason jar in Americana Decor from +Michaels Stores  chalk paint in Everlasting & then sprayed the inside of the jar with some off white spray paint to take the coastal blue away! After all that was dry I went over the lettering lightly in the color Yesteryear & then went over that with a black Sharpe! After everything was dry I distressed the whole jar with a copper brush { Dollar Store } & then hit it with some dark wax  to age it a bit!! 

This was the simplest little DIY ever & I just love the cottage feel especially for summer! It's small enough & neutral enough to use in a few spots in our house which is always a bonus with anything decor related.

Have a great Sunday Funday loves!

Dolen Diaries

Friday, May 29, 2015

{ Beachfront Home Tour }

First, happy Friday everyone!! This week skipped by with the 4 day week, right?! Memorial weekend we traveled north to my grams home in Lexington,MI for some fresh country air & gorgeous scenery!! I forgot how awesome some fresh scenery & inspiration feels!! While we were there I snapped some lovely pictures of some stunning vintage/new/beachfront homes - Yeah, I was in total 'Ahh' !! Sit back & join me for a little tour in the cutest little country beach town!

How light & charming is this grey & white vintage charmer?! I love the wrap around porch & the stain on the door!

This beauty comes with a guest house & luscious gardens too!  I told my husband we're moving  in the guest house haha!

I love this rustic colonial style home!! For some reasons it screams quaint & warm holidays ! I'm a huge lover of evergreens &  white fences so this one was love at first sight!! I can see it now, my husband tangled in lights trying to wrap those evergreens for Christmas  {he hates evergreens } hehe!

The cute little garage is to the left in front of the home on a  little black road..I mean can this be any more perfect?!

Honey, we're moving in was my first shout when we pulled up to this gem! It reminds me of an old barn/farmhouse that they beautifully  remodeled, yet kept the charm & appeal.

My hubby loved the barn/garage in the back!! It's so country & I believe there is some type of living space above the huge barn/garage! I mean  with the french windows, fence, mere steps to the beach - I'M SOLD!

White beauty { Yes, I named her } sits on a secluded corner lot with lots of history!! It's been a family favorite since my grandparents moved up there! The overall simple white/mint undertone is so classic & chic! I'm not exactly sure the history on it ,but it's an old generational home with a few history plaques out front { Note to Self- read next time we're visiting } !

This home is about 20 minutes north of my grandma! It's right on the shoreline of Lake Huron in Port Sanilac! My grams told me they just refinished it, sure is lovely!! Those views to wake up to each morning could cure anything!!!

The marina is to the left of this picture!

This is another direct beachfront home in Port Sanilac. This is my personal favorite on the tour! I just love the look & the views are indescribable!! I love that they picked according colors & finishes for the style & location!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of some amazing homes { I wish I could have taken you guys inside}!  I think we all need these stunning homes in our lives & the views, right?! A girl can dream..:)

Have a great weekend guys!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

{ Simple Sun Tea! }

Today was a warm & sunny productive Tuesday!! The heat was kicking my bum & that's when I decided to make some simple ,yet refreshing sun tea! I used to make sun tea all the time when we lived in our condo. I would set the jar out on our screened in porch & the sun would drench the jar in a matter of minutes leaving us with some delicious tea for days!! I must say I haven't made sun tea in almost 3 years , but why not today?! My grams gave me a glass mason jar dispenser so I put it to use today! For this simple recipe keep reading below...


. Glass jar
. 5-8 Regular Tea bags
. 3 tablespoons honey
.3 tablespoons sugar { Optional }
. 4 sprigs of mint
. Lemon { Optional }

** This is my own recipe, so you can tweak the above ingredients to your liking!  

Fill the jar with cold water { You can boil the water first too } & add the tea bags & mint! Let the jar sit in the sun until the water is tinted, this usually takes 1-2 hours! After the tea is done, add the honey, lemon & sugar! Put the jar in the fridge until cold . The tea will be a refreshing low calorie beverage that will last for days!

Both the lemon & mint are great for detoxing & bonus they're refreshing! You can use fresh lemon or bottled lemon { NOT from concentrate }!

Serve with some sugar free butter cookies or a light snack & you have a refreshing summery snack! After being outside with the puppies all day & spray painting I needed this!!

Have a lovely evening everyone!


{ Life is Beautiful - A Cottage Story & Tour! }

Let me first start off my saying this has been one of the most relaxing & memorable weekends!! The hubby & I planned this little trip about a week ago & couldn't be happier we took it! We traveled north to my grandma's cottage off of Lake Huron  in the little quaint town of Lexington, MI ! It was like the first time I was seeing everything again & it sure was eye opening! It had been 3.5 yrs since we had been up there in the summer time  & so much has changed...I can remember going up there every summer/ weekend as a child & loving the sandy shoreline & the Petoskey stone filled lake!! I remember going for walks on the beach with my grams looking for Petoskey stones & vintage colored glass that washed ashore, penny candy store & bonfires! Things sure have changed since those everything in life does ! I had been putting off going up there for a while due to the emotions &  overall change the time has brought. It no longer is a warm vacation area filled with people, memories & excitement, but more of a memory of what was or used to be. As much as I love what my life has become & as thankful as I am, I miss the days of hearing my papa say " Go out to the garage & grab me a jug of water "..  { they have well water } ! I can't believe it's been 11 years since his passing.. I was reminded this weekend that I've always loved writing { old poem & paper about my papa's passing } & that blogging is where I'm suppose to be in life.
Sit back & enjoy some lovely pictures from what was a small non-livable 4 room cottage with no heat or washing machine to a gorgeous memory filled cottage/lodge inspired home built by the two best  grandparents!



I inherited a lot from my dear grams, but not her green thumb or my papa's gardening skills!! Her gardens are so gorgeous, unlike my faux ones hehe!


Cute, cozy & charming!


The raccoon carved out of a tree stump has always been the talk of conversation! As a kid this was my favorite thing about the deck!! I mean who can say their grandparents have a 6ft wood carved raccoon?!

Can you guys see why I love this space & where  my love for old vintage & rustic goods come from?! Flea market mornings will always be engraved in my memories from up there!!

This was the original outhouse that was converted into a workshop/potting/storage shed!


- Angels Shall Guard Thee -


My grams has an eye for junkin' & refinishing anything old !


The whole little original cottage is paneled in knotty pine! 


One of the guest rooms! I always told my grams she should have started a Bed & Breakfast!!!

My grandmas sitting room in her bedroom upstairs { Newer part } ! Her whole room is decorated in vintage shabby chic items!

As a kid I always thought junking & making the old usable again was 'lame', but now I can see the beauty in the pictures, & the charm in the old & used! My grams is one of my most favorite people on earth other then my hubby { we're so much alike }! She's one of a kind with her kindness, need to give & her eye for old & worn goods and turning them into beauties! Though I'll miss this cottage as I still call it, I can't wait for her to move downstate with us again. Growing up with her behind us until I was 9 was a blessing & I can't wait to have her back so close!! Lexington,MI will always hold a spot in my heart for more reasons then one, but new memories are around the corner as with anything in life. I hope you've enjoyed just a peek into this amazing little cottage & journey that has touched our family since 1989! Take the memories in , because time doesn't slow down!

Have a great week guys!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

{ Entertaining with Simple Spaghetti Bake }

Hey guys!! I'm sharing a super quick & simple recipe that ANYBODY can make  without using hamburgers & hot dogs this memorial day weekend!! I had a huge leftover loaf of bread from church so I had to come up with a thrifty & delicious recipe right?! We're just like most, we love having little barbeque's & enjoying the company, but entertaining for some can be hectic & downright flustering!! We've all  been there're having people over & you reach for the hot dogs & hamburgers...right?! It's just natural to reach for easy outdoor food that most EVERYBODY likes! We're no different then the next couple  { Well, I am, I eat veggie burgers } but you get the picture ha-ha! Instead of the same thing, I'm sharing SIMPLE SPAGHETTI BAKE . Bonus it's super thrifty, yummy & fast, and who doesn't like spaghetti??


.................................Things You'll Need................................

.1 can of 5 cheese sauce
.1 box noodles
.1 small bottle of V8- use 2 cups
. 1/2 lb beef
.1 stick of butter
. Olive oil
. 1 large loaf of bread { Ours is from Panera }
. 3 tablespoons of garlic powder
. 2 teaspoons of salt
.1 bag parmesan cheese
. 1 Tablespoon of onion powder
.1 pinch black pepper
.1 pinch red pepper
.1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
.1 tablespoon olive oil

Note: You can add any ingredients you like, fresh veggies, more spices etc..


Start cooking the 3/4 box of noodles, adding a few pinches of salt to the water. Next get the meat { If you're using beef } to start browning in a pan { 1/2 a lb }. Grab a mixing bowl & start combining the above ingredients! Once the meat is browned, drain & add to the sauce mix with all the above ingredients! Next drain the noodles & cut with kitchen sheers into about 4 inch pieces!  Combine ALL ingredients into the mixing bowl & add the cheese of choice! Next take the bread loaf & cut down the middle & scoop out all the excess bread filling on both the top & bottom! This will make a 'cove' for the beef spaghetti mix! Fill the bread loaf & top with more Parmesan cheese & 3-4 little round scoops of butter & close! Bake for 25-45 minutes on 400 degrees! 

Once the loaf is done you can pop the top off & cut the bottom up into sections. The top now becomes crispy buttered bread to scoop up the leftover sauce goodness on your plate! Hence the reason why we added some butter on top of the mixture & then closed it. This is the easiest recipe & can be modified to your liking . We actually used veggie beef crumbles!! With a few staple ingredients you can feed an army a delicious hassle free Italian dinner! 

Have a happy & healthy long weekend everyone! Please remember to give a blessing & BIG THANK YOU to all our TROOPS & VETERANS this memorial day weekend!