Monthly Archives: July 2015

Handiwork in the Home

I like handmade things in my home. Someday, I hope to paint murals on my wall and make quirky furniture of my own design. I think of myself as creative. My friend Mariah, however, is the crafty queen! She is one of those people who can take any space and, with a little paint, glue, and pixie dust, turn it into something straight from Pinterest. She really does paint her walls with murals, and she and her husband really do make their own furniture. She just finished painting all the counters in their home silver to look like stainless steel. It looks amazing, as you can see on her blog here:

While we’re renting, I’ve managed to make our home uniquely ours with some of my own creations on a small scale. Here are some of my favorites:

The one on the left was actually inspired by Mariah. She uses jars to hold her dish soap instead of the plastic Ajax bottle. I don’t like the bottle on my counter and while my great-grandma’s crocheted soap bottle aprons are cute, they don’t match my kitchen. A jar is the perfect solution! Goodwill has a wonderful variety for a dollar apiece, but I already had this cute little round bottle.

I found the jar soap dispenser idea on Pinterest, and since it matched my dish soap jar, I decided to go for it and add my own twist.



1. You will need a mason jar, a plastic soap dispenser with pump, super glue, and soap.

2. Create a hole in the lid of the jar. it only needs to be big enough for the stem of the pump to go through. I used a screwdriver and a hammer. I’m sure there is a much better way to do this. Make sure any sharp edges are pointing up through the top of the lid.

3. Place the pump from the plastic dispenser into the hole. Test to make sure that the stem is not too long. If it is, cut it.

4. Lift the pump and apply glue to the jar lid. Press pump firmly and hold.

5. When the glue is dry, fill the jar with soap.

6. I like to fill my soap jars an inch or two deep with river rocks, shells, glass beads, etc. It adds interest!

After making my kitchen brighter with my soap jars, I decided that the bathroom needed a little extra charm, too.



1. You will need small shells, hemp, glass beads, a bottle, and a soap pump that can screw into the bottle

2. Fill the bottom of the jar with shells. Ours have a special memory to go with them. We gathered them by Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, where we were engaged.

3. Fill the jar with soap. Choose a clear of blue soap.

4. Screw on the lid.

5. String glass beads onto the hemp. Wrap it around the neck of the bottle and secure. Arrange beads to your liking.

My sister-in-law gave us some organic hand soap for Christmas, so I made a matching soap dish from half a clam shell (also from Lake Tanganyika).



1. You will need half a large clam shell, two small stones, and super glue

2. Set the shell face down. Glue the two stones an inch and half or two apart on the outside edge (away from the location of the hinge) of the shell. When upright, it should be stable.

3. Let it dry well.

4. If needed, trim your soap to fit.

Painted jars are pretty! I made a jar soap dispenser for my mom and painted it with sunflowers. Most craft stores sell special paint for glass. One of my friends collect water bottle caps– she gives them to an organization that recycles them into medical supplies for African hospitals! We’ve been collecting them, and I needed somewhere convenient to let them gather. I painted this jar with One Stroke technique.


     I’m excited to start redesigning a home on St. Maarten! Since we’re not taking much, I have the opportunity to practically start over on décor. I’ve decided on a beach house theme. I should find plenty of inspiration and craft supplies right there on the beach! I can’t wait to show you pictures of what I come up with.

A New Home

We’re about a month from our move to St. Maarten! We already have an apartment ready for us to move into when we land. We’ll be living in Rising Sun Apartments, a two minute walk from Ben’s medical school and a five minute walk from the beach. It is a one-bedroom and is 490 square feet, bigger than our current apartment, which is nice! It’s also almost twice as expensive, which you have to expect from a touristy island where nearly all the area’s apartments are owned by one single company. I’m planning to fix it up like a beach cottage and get crafty with shells and rocks that I find on the beach. Our place is close to the airport and also conveniently near to two or three shopping centers. We don’t plan to have a car– shipping our Kia would not be worth it, so we’re selling it to my sister. Public transport on the island is supposed to be pretty good, anyway. We don’t use public transport in Phoenix– the city is so spread out that the bus system is not as effective as it is in other big cities. Getting used to using buses will be a new adventure! We liked using buses when we were in the Bahamas last summer. I wonder if it will be similar.


Here is a video that shows the sights of St. Maarten. You can get a feel for where we’ll be living if you watch this. We will NOT, however, be sandblasted by jets landing and taking off near Maho Beach! Not our idea of fun… we’ll be surfing.