A year in the making – 1 Year Blogiversary

365 days ago, a dream of mine became a reality.TFP Sign

It started probably a year before that when I stumbled across a blog called House of Hepworths. Who even knew DIY blogs existed? It was the first one I’d ever heard of and I was instantly infatuated with Alison and her amazing DIY skills. I was hooked. I read every post she’d ever written and waited anxiously for new posts to be published (yeah. . . I was kind of a creeper). I began to dream and really think, I could do that!

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At the time we lived in a tiny 2-bedroom duplex whose owner barely let us install a ceiling fan (it had NO ceiling fans. . . in the middle of west Texas. . . . yeah, not smart) so I knew a DIY blog was out of the question as long as we lived there. Time went on and I began to follow other blogs like I Heart Organizing and Primitive and Proper and as the DIY bug grew within me and I worked on small projects around our home.


In January of 2012 this all changed when, through a series of God sized events, we bought our first home. I was ECSTATIC. Long before we moved my head began to spin with renovation ideas, paint colors and flooring options. (Side Note: I didn’t join Pinterest for a long time because my friend Katie told me it was like my brain on steroids. She was right.) I immediately knew the time had come to launch my very own blog, and that my friends is how it all began.

I was so excited I had probably 2-3 posts written before we moved. That’s right, in two weeks time I packed our entire house, we cleaned our new house, did all the techy stuff that goes along with starting a blog and I wrote several posts. Maid Easy offered a good house cleaning option. Oh yeah, and we both worked a full time job. Needless to say, we were pumped about this dream coming true.

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Over the past year we’ve learned a lot. A LOT. We’ve learned about working together and communication. We’ve learned that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink. We’ve learned that I am a mouse. . . .and I want a cookie. We’ve learned that I have big dreams and can always see the final product where as Phillip never sees the final product and often says things to me like,

“You aren’t finished with that project. . . are you?”

“You want to paint what?”

“Those things don’t match.”

Yet he always loves the result. It’s been an entertaining year of growth and discovery.

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I’ve learned 3 things about myself over the past 12 months;

  • I love to dream up big projects and see them through to completion.
  • I love writing about what I’ve done. I do the staging, shooting and editing. . . .so that I can write.
  • I love that there are people out there whom I’ve never met who actually read the things I write. It never ceases to amaze me.

So to you, faithful reader, thank you. Thank you for reading, dreaming and learning with me. You are the reason that I continue to write so thanks for the encouragement and love.

Speaking of love . . . . wouldn’t you just LOVE to win a new purse?? I thought so.

Daily Tote Giveaway - thefrontpoarch.com

Without further adieu, the winner is. . . .Heather Jernigan!

Heather be sure to check your email for prize details.


Here’s to many, many more DIYing years to come!

We bought a house!

{Myself, Phillip and our fabulous realtor, Patty}

Yup, it’s official, as of September 7, 2012, Phillip and I (and the bank) own our very first home. Here it is!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you buy this house is February? Isn’t that why you started this blog in the first place?”

For those of you who don’t like to read, here’s the short answer: yes and no

If you like to read, get comfy because you are in for a great story! Here’s the long answer.

Background: Since our graduation from ACU in 2009, Phillip and I had been working vigorously to pay off our student loans. We’d made good progress and were on track to be debt free by June of 2012, which went that we would hopefully be looking to buy a house in the spring of 2013.

In January of 2012, our church participated in what’s known as the Daniel Fast. The concept is like that of any other fast, abstaining from certain foods and seeking God’s heart. We went into this 3-week fast asking God to reveal to us his plan for us in terms of location, specifically asking if we were supposed to be in Abilene long term or if He was calling us to another city. During these 21 days we didn’t really hearing a resounding “Yes” or “No” but the day after we broke the fast things began to fall into place quickly.

The Daniel Fast ended on a Sunday night and Monday afternoon Phillip happened to be in a co-worker’s office explaining how we hoped to be in the market for a house in the coming year. She immediately replied, “Well my family has a house for sale, would you like to buy it?” Phillip was hesitant at first and tried to explain again how we weren’t looking for house right now, how we didn’t have any cash for a down payment, etc. (Side note: this house belonged to the co-worker’s mother-in-law and we had actually been to the estate sale in the fall of 2011.) In a series of unexplainable events, that I can’t accurately remember, Philip came home after work and told me the story, we went to see the house and the family offered to rent it to us for a few months and close by the end of May. We found a real estate agent first thing the next morning made an offer on the home (with a delayed closing) and they accepted!

We moved in the middle of February and things were going great!  We even did some minor repairs and had the home appraised. We were in perfect shape to close by the end of May until one really, really rainy night, we discovered a small hole in our roof as part of our living room ceiling began to sag. The seller graciously agreed to fix to roof but the repairs (as always) took longer than expected and we missed our May 31st deadline. The closing was then set for the middle of June until the family discovered an error on the deed which had to be corrected and like everything else, it just took time. July was looking good until we ran into more legal issues and had to wait for a will to be probated.

So that brings us to today. Today, after months of waiting, after expecting to close and being delayed by situations where we had no control, after patiently waiting for God’s perfect timing, today. . . . we are home owners!

So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Front Poarch!

PS – If you live in Abilene and are looking to buy or sell a home we HIGHLY recommend Senter Realtors and especially our Realtor, Patty Knight.

Punch List – Part 1

Now that you’ve seen our house in it’s current state, I thought I’d share with you my dreams for this home. To avoid picture dumping on you, I’ve split my list into 2 parts. Enjoy!

Front Poarch:

  • 2 white rocking chairs (or one these bad boys)
  • a small patio table
  • a few potted plants
  • update the front door
  • replace the screen door with a storm door


  • refinish telephone table
  • paint the walls (maybe with chalkboard paint?)
  • replace the light fixture


  • remove wallpaper
  • paint
  • refinish cabinets
  • replace hardware
  • sell the kitchen table
  • built my dream eat-in kitchen
  • refinish wooden chair at recipe nook
  • run a water line for the ice maker
  • replace light over sink
  • replace window covering
  • replace countertops
  • create baking tray slots
  • replace hood

Dining Room:

  • paint
  • purchase & install shelving
  • window treatment

Living Room:

  • paint
  • remove blinds
  • purchase/build an entertainment center
  • replace couches & recliner
  • reupholster reading chair
  • create additional storage for reading nook
  • refinish coffee table
  • uncover fire place
  • make a window treatment for door
  • repair coocoo clock

Back Porch:

  • Hang chalkboard
  • Create storage for grilling supplies
  • Organize outdoor games
  • Work on glass jug display
  • Replace screen door
  • Replace windows

What do you think we should do first??

Dyson Adventure

Leah and I have wanted a Dyson from the first time we saw the tv commercial.  It looked so cool and they must work well because they’re German, right?  We even added one to our wedding registry but we had no luck (they’re a tad bit expensive).  As we were moving from our old house to our new house, a great friend of ours let us borrow her Dyson and, after spending countless hours with it, my love for Dysons soared once again.

Ubenounced to Leah, I setup a search agent on my Craigslist App in hopes we could find a deal.  Two weeks later as I entered into my weekly tradition of eating Friday lunch at New York Pizza, an alert popped up for a Dyson, for sale by owner.

I couldn’t believe my eyes because they rarely come up for sale, and best of all it was only listed for $100! (Dysons brand-new are $400).  I immediately called the seller and learned that it was 7 months old and a friend had given it to him.  He lived in Carbon, TX which is about 60 miles from where we live.  Luckily I was having lunch with my Craigslist partner-in-crime so we made a plan to pick it up that afternoon.

Around 4 PM that Friday we left Abilene and head to Carbon, a hopping town of 224 men, women, and children.  We turned off the main highway on to a gravel road and soon pulled up to a 3 bedroom lean-to nestled next to several mobile homes and abandoned houses.   The situation was sketchy at best and the Dyson seemed very out of place in the house.  We had our normal pleasentries then it was time for the test.  I plugged it in and started vacuuming the floor and it made this horrbile screeching sound.  The seller was very distraught and started taking things apart to find the problem.  He thought he found the problem and tried it again, no luck.  As he took it apart a second time, I pulled my buddy aside and asked what was wrong with it.  My friend was pretty sure it had been put together wrong and therefore it wasn’t sealing correctly, but the motor was fine.  I went back into the house and it was still making the same, horrible sound.  That’s when I knew this situation was about to turn into Craig’s List King magic. Here’s what happened next:

CLK: So no luck on fixing the problemn?

Seller: Nope, I don’t know why it’s broken, I feel bad that you came all the way here to get it.

CLK: Well since I did drive out here I might as well buy it.  In its current condition, what’s the best price you can give me.

Seller: How about $60?

CLK: Deal.

A $60 Dyson? I couldn’t believe my ears! We quickly loaded up the vacuum and headed home.  Once I got home I decided to vacuum the whole house and after about 20 minutes the sound almost completely went  away and it worked like a charm!

This is a classic example that things aren’t always as they seem. When you encounter situations like this, remember to use it to your advantage – negotiate! Often a broken part or missing piece can lead to a BIG discount and with just a little elbow grease, you’ll have something that works like new at a fraction of the cost.

So, what about you? Any great stories of how you’ve gotten a BIG discount on something that was ‘broken’?