DIY decor / recycle those used hardback books

Here’s a fun & easy project! Buy hardback books at a garage sale, thrift store or at a used book store. Paint the binding with chalk paint to cover title. Use a Cricut to create perfect lettering, or use a chalkboard pen for freeform handwriting. Add your favorite saying or quote. Glue the books together and wrap tightly with twine. Such a cute idea for your mantle or side table!

Resolving Drainage Issues Around Your Home

Spring is a wonderful season!  But, it is also the season for water issues in, and around, your home.  Water intrusion issues can always be resolved, and there are several things to look at:

  1. Are your gutters clear?  If not, get them cleaned out and keep them clear.  Water can pool and dump over the sides, creating more issues along the foundation of your home.
  2. Are your gutters large enough?  There are over-sized gutters on the market now, and that may be a necessity, depending on the pitch of your roof.  A gutter expert can assess the situation.
  3. Do you have adequate gutter extensions on your home?  If not, add extensions. Six to eight feet is usually adequate, provided enough room exists.
  4. Is the dirt built up around the base of your home?  The ‘rule of thumb’ is a drop of 1 inch per foot for 6 feet away from the home.
  5. If you have been unable to resolve the issue with the suggestions listed above, you may want to consider a French Drain along the exterior of the home where the issue persists.  This can be done by a talented homeowner, or by a professional landscape company.  Here are some reasons that you might need to add a French Drain; A) If you have a problem with surface water, such as a soggy lawn. B) If water is getting into your basement. C) If you’re building a retaining wall on a hillside. French drains provide an easy channel for water to flow through. Water runs into a gravel-filled trench, then into perforated pipe at the bottom of the trench. Water travels freely through the pipe, which empties a safe distance from the house. The trench bottom should be sloped about 1 inch for every 8 feet in the direction you want water to flow. Depending on your situation, the water can be diverted to A) a low-lying area of your property, B) a drainage ditch, C) the street.
  6. You can also resolve the issue with an interior drain tile system.  This can be done by a professional basement waterproofing company. This type of system involves the installation of a drainage system against some (or all) of the exterior walls of your basement beneath the basement floor; therefore, digging outside the home is not required. The system drains water at the footing of the foundation in much the same way as exterior weeping tile does. An interior weeping tile system allows water, which has pooled in a concrete block / cinder block foundation, to drain behind a membrane on the wall; thus eliminating the risk of water seepage onto the basement floor. By draining the cinderblocks and evacuating any ground water, the interior weeping tile system helps to extend the useful life of the foundation. Properly installed, an interior weeping tile system will keep your basement dry for the life of your home. 

    Take care of your home and it will take care of you for many years to come!

How to Remove an Ice Dam

This has been one tough winter! Here are some tips from ‘My Old House’ to handle those ice dams.


Can I Reduce My Property Taxes?

Is your property assessed incorrectly?  An adjustment in the assessment value of your home could mean lower property taxes.
Some notes from the Omaha Area Board of Realtors:
  • In a perfect world, every property across the county (and the state) would be assessed at its market value, this is the job of the County Assessor in each of Nebraska’s 93 counties. The Nebraska Constitution states that the valuation must be equal and proportionate.
  • If a property’s total assessment exceeds market value, then it is incorrect.
  • There is a process to protest the assessment of your property.  Check out this document from the Omaha Board of Realtors – oabr-tax-assessment-information.

Your Home Archive

I recently spent hours researching my home’s history in the local newspaper. It is amazing what you are able to find and learn about your house. Some times you can even find old line drawings of your home. Your public library has all types of old archived local news. If you live in Omaha here is the process to find out your home’s historical past:

1. Get an Omaha Public Library Card
2. Go to the Omaha Public Library Website:
3.  Once you are on the OPL main page find and click on “Resource Center” —- “Genealogy” — “Historic Omaha World Herald Archives”— “Search”
4. Enter your library card number
5. On the left you will see “Omaha World-Herald Current and Historical”.
6. Type in your address in quotes into the search field
Enjoy your search!

Finding Inspiration in your Home

Styles change. Something that you may have liked a few years ago just does not appeal to you anymore. That is what happened to me with this wall art that I had bought at Hobby Lobby about 5 years ago. I would sit on my couch and look at it and it was just boring. I appreciate pieces in my house that make me happy or are creative. It just wasn’t doing it anymore.  It was uninspiring. So on a snow day stuck inside with kids, I decided impulsively that it must be changed. I looked through the internet but couldn’t find anything that I liked enough that I would pay for. I started pinning things that were refreshing to me. Recently, I have fallen in love with the concrete tiles like this:


I kept coming back to this abstract art designs. That’s when I decided that I would just do it myself. I had acrylic paint left over from another project and white wall paint in the basement. No canvas though and we were snowed in. So I grabbed the uninspiring canvas off of the wall and painted it white:

Let it dry and started my design inspiration.

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When I was done, I lightly brushed a stain over the top.


We hung it up where the painting had been. Aww, fresh and new. Happy with the end product and love that it is something that my husband and I made together. Inspired!



Is Your Home Secure?

Recently, our neighborhood has had a few burglaries during the day. This served as reminder for us to update some of our home security features.


We have had a security system through Monotronics for years now. It allows us to have sensors on all of the doors and windows. If any of these entry points open a loud beep goes off for 1 minute before the alarm is triggered. At that time, a message is sent to the security company and they call police. We can also set the alarm when we are away so that sensors go of if someone is walking around the house. The feature that makes me feel the best is the fire alarm. If our fire alarm goes off then the fire department is dispatched to our house. We always set our alarm at night but at times we do forget to set the alarm when we leave for the day. Our company also allows you to set the alarm through your cell phone. There are so many different companies available. SimpliSafe offers many of the similar features.

We have also considered getting RING.COM so we can see who is at the door.

A quick google search and you can find different companies in Omaha that offer a variety of security systems


When we purchased our home we inherited some drilled out deadbolts that needed to be replaced. After replacing the deadbolts we decided to also add another security feature (for those times we fail to set our alarm), Dead Bolt Secure. Apparently for a few bucks it prevents “lock bumping”. Lock bumping is a fairly simple way for thieves to enter your home.



If you have a sliding glass back door, here are some options for you:

  1. security bars
  2. double bolt locksdownload-11
  3. sliding door lockdownload-12
  4. door sensor

Ideas to prevent thieves from breaking glass:

  1. window film, blinds, or curtains so they can’t see in
  2. glass break detectors that sound your alarm systemdownload-13


We often forget this is another point of entrance.

  1. Motion Lights above your garage
  2. Window film
  3. Secure your doors emergency release with zip ties
  4. Don’t leave your garage remote in your car
  5. Frequency changers – Modern automatic garage door openers now feature rolling-code technology. Prior to this thieves could just drive through a neighborhood pushing their purchased transmitter. If they had the same brand that you purchased than your door would open. 
  6. MyQ alerts when a garage door opens.

    Hope these few ideas help make you feel safe and sound in your home!


Front Door Update

When we moved into our current house, we inherited an outdated front door. At first we thought that we would replace it. We priced out some front doors and quickly realized that a new front door would have to wait. Fresh paint and updated hardware would have to do for now. As with any old house repairs, none of this would be easy. Here is what we started with:0710161347

A few problems here. 1) The door is hollow. 2) There is a hole for a deadbolt at the bottom of the door. 3) The lead of the glass has been painted. 4) The window leaks when it rains 5) The antique door knocker that was given to me screws do not line up with the current door knocker holes. 6-8) problems that we would find out later as we put in the new hardware.

Knowing the obstacle that lie ahead, I ran down to my local ACE Hardware. Luckily, I was helped by an older man who was very experienced in home improvement. He set me up with some good products.


Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty = awesome! This product comes in a powder form which you mix with water to the desired consistency. So I took the deadbolt out, stuffed with newspaper, puttied, and sanded.

Then I puttied and sanded the door knocker and sealed the window with caulk. I also scraped the paint off of the lead of the window.

After everything dried I painted the door the same color as the brown trim.


A couple months have past and we recently added new hardware and worked on a better seal for the bottom of the door. Here is the finished product which cost about $150. A little hard work saved us some money!  Final product with a little fall decor.






Table and Chairs Brush Up

About 15 years ago, we purchased a formal dining room set. Over time the dark cherry wood became worn and the cream colored fabric that lined the seats had been stained. It was dark and needed a face lift.


I decided to paint the side chairs, table apron, and legs.  I have had luck with using Annie Sloan chalk paint so I decided to use French Linen for this project.  It took two coats to cover the dark wood.  I distressed with a sanding pad and applied the Annie Sloan clear wax.  The chairs were recovered with updated fabric.  For now I decided to leave the Captain’s chairs the same color as the tabletop however I might change my mind and paint them too. imag3029

Here is the finished product.  It definitely lightened up the dining set. Next up… center a new light fixture over this large table!



11 Best Omaha Boutiques

11 Best Omaha Boutiques

If you have a free afternoon in Omaha, we suggest you spend it exploring some of the best local shopping boutiques in the area! Whether you’re in Old Market, West Omaha, or you’re venturing all over the city, you’re sure to find something for yourself, for your home or for the Husker lover in all of us.

Your shopping trip will be made much easier with our guide to the best Omaha boutiques. We know you’ll find something spectacular, vintage, and adorable on your next shopping spree with a visit to one of these great local shops!