Small town feel, big town dreams

Drone View

We just bought our dream home in Peoria. It’s much bigger than our last home and we sold most of our furniture when we moved from St. Louis. Now we know where we’re living, it’s time to pick out some furniture. Check out the pictures from the listing!

Front of house picture
Here is our dream home! I can’t wait until it’s spring and I can see all the great landscaping in bloom!
Second Living room Picture
This room is huge! We are trying to figure out how we want to arrange it.
Kitchen
This is truly my dream kitchen!
Family room picture with fireplace
I can’t wait to have a fire in the fireplace and snuggle up with a good book!
Guest bedroom
One of three guest bedrooms.
Guest bedroom 2 - Pink
Second guest bedroom. There is a third guest bedroom on the upper level too. One of these will inevitably become Kyle’s IU room.
Hall bathroom
I love the decor in this bathroom! The tile in the shower continues the brown and blue theme.
Master bedroom
These rooms are so big! I will probably need a bigger bed!
Master bathroom
The master bathroom has a unique style, and I am all here for it!
Master closet
This closet is a dream!
Laundry Room
A great laundry room with a custom, hand-painted mural. The washer and dryer are practically new!
Basement Bar 2
A shot of the basement bar area. Custom painting, copper sink, mini fridge. A great place for entertaining. The door to the right of the bar holds the utilities and irrigation system controls and a crawl space.
Basement Den Picture
The door at the bottom of the stairs is great unfinished storage with tons of shelves. The den will be a great hangout space. Now we just have to figure out where the foosball table goes.
Basement bedroom
One of many guests bedrooms. There are built-in storage and desk; this room will likely be a guest/craft room.
Basement Bathroom
Elegantly styled basement 3/4 bathroom with custom shower curtain.
Backyard picture 2
Backyard and patio picture. Stunning professionally landscaped backyard. Twinkle lights adorn the pergola with a great wooden swing.
Kitchen Picture 2
Great apron sink, concrete countertops, marble-topped island and a Sub-zero refrigerator.
Kitchen 3
The stove will be my pride and joy! A Viking double oven with a flat top!
Another picture of the kitchen
I am very excited about the Miele coffee system!
Dining room picture
A beautiful chandelier graces the center of the formal dining room.
Study room picture 2
A smaller room which was formerly used as a study or an office. How will we use it?

Let me know if you have any ideas how to arrange the rooms. I am open to suggestions!

How To Make String Art


Are you looking for a cute wall piece to liven up your living room, or a cute meaningful gift for someone that is hard to buy for? Why spend a ton of money at a department stores for decorations or gifts, when you could simply make them yourself!

I have always been one for arts and crafts, and with pinterest constantly filling my head with crafty ideas and do it yourself projects, string art just looked and sounded something cool to do! If you know how to handle a hammer and can tie a knot, this project should be easy and fun.

Here are my steps start to finish to help you to successfully make a beautiful and one of a kind string art project perfect for a gift, or simply as a decoration in your own home. Trust me, people will be asking where you got them.

 

Lets Get Started!

 


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

First you must decide what kind of material you would like to work with( wood, canvas, etc.), and collect all of the supplies you will need. In this project, here is a list of the supplies used:

  • Wood (size is optional, however it must be at least a half inch thick to ensure nails can be        hammered deep enough to prevent them from coming loose)
  • Nails- (16mm-25.4mm long)
  • String (color is optional)
  • Printed string art pattern or stencil
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Wood Stain (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

 

 


Step 2: Hammer Time!

For this project, I chose to print out an outline, and tape it to my surface. If you would rather, you can draw the image straight on the surface, and follow the lines that way. The benefit of taping your outline onto the board is that you can remove the stencil later on and not have unwanted lines left behind. It also makes following the pattern very simple and easy.

As you can see in the pattern above, the lines are quite complex. If this is your first time attempting string art, I would suggest a less intricate stencil, and work your way up to more difficult patterns.

When hammering the nails, space them about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart.

Once you have finished hammering, go back through and make sure each nail is secure. This is VERY important to do to ensure that while stringing, the nails will not be pulled out, or loosen. This is also crucial to do before the outline is removed because when pulling the outline off, nails that are not secure will come out.

After removing the outline, I chose to stain the piece of wood in order to create a more bold background for the string to stand out from. This step is optional, however, it definitely adds to the piece.

 


Step 3: Ready, Set, STRING!

For this project, I decided to do a thick cross string pattern.

Essentially, there is no pattern to follow, simply begin by tying a double knot around one nail, this will be your starting point. Be sure to leave a long tail to connect your end piece of string with. From there, create the outline for your pattern by looping the string around the outer points of the pattern.

Once you have the outline strung up, begin crossing the string through out out the nails and fill in the pattern. Decide whether you want your pattern to look more ‘holey’, meaning the board beneath is visible, or more filled in where you cannot see the board.


Step 4: Finishing Touches

This step is just for tying up all the loose ends. (Literally)

Be sure that the string is tight and you have gotten the look you want. For extra securing purposes, use a hot glue gun to glue the two trimmed end pieces that are tied together. This is of course optional, however it does help the piece to last for years to come.

Katie Buckley is a University of Montana Senior in pursuit of a Marketing Degree as well as a certificate in Event Management. She loves Pinterest and gains a lot of her DIY inspiration from the creativity of others and hopes to share her own ideas projects with the world and inspire others.

Montana: by a Northern Californian

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-47-46-amIt is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).

“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan

“Sacramento, California!” – Me

“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan

“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me

Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”

I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.

By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor

5 Things I’ve Learned From Moving

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Over the course of my lifetime I’ve made three major moves across the country. To some people moving is ridiculous. They cannot believe I’ve had to leave the town I grew up in! At the same time, there are people that don’t bat an eye at this many moves because they had already moved ten times by the time they were in high school. However you might look at it, I view this as a pretty cool experience in my life because every place I’ve lived has been so unique and different from the last.

For me, it all started in the Midwest, Northwestern Iowa, to be exact. Then, my family moved south to Tennessee. Now, we are located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. I hated moving at the time. It felt like being torn away from everything I had known and learned. Now, looking back, I am so glad that I was able to experience these different parts of our country. I feel it has given me great perspective. So, I would like to share with you all 5 things I’ve learned from moving.

  1. Beauty is Everywhere
    Depending on where you grew up, you probably have different connotations of beauty and where it is or isn’t. For example, when I was growing up in NW Iowa I thought that the lakes around that area, where my family used to go camping, were gorgeous! Now this isn’t to bell lakesay that they aren’t in their own way, but my standards have changed a little since I’ve hiked to the top of a few mountains in Montana. With that being said, if you spend enough time in any area, you will be able to find some beautiful views, people or experiences (however, it might be easier in some places than others).
  1. Most Stereotypes are Bullsh*t
    In this day and age, you can’t really stereotype any group of people or place. America is one huge melting pot with all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Whatever stereotype used to be, is probably no more. Iowans don’t only eat corn and not all Montanans ride horses.
  1. Southern Hospitality is a Real Thing
    I realize this contradicts my previous point but, can you prove me wrong? If you haven’t been “Down South” you need to go to experience how nice a person can be. The majority of “Southerners” are raised to be respectful and welcoming. It’s infectious too! When you have children and adults alike addressing you as “Sir” or “Ma’am” all day long, you start doing the same. All of us “Northerners” can take a lesson or two from these tea drinkers.
  1. Rednecks are Everywhere
    Whatever you define a “redneck” as, I promise you they are not bound by any state line. I’ve seen bird dogs, fishing poles and garages full of tools and beer in every state I’ve visited. If you think rednecks are scarce where you live, just go down to any gas station that sells worms in the same cooler as drinks and wait ten minutes. Listen for a diesel.
  1. Family is Consistent
    The older you get the more you will begin to realize that your family is one of the most consistent things in your life. Whether you move with or without your family. When you start a new job and hang out with new people in a new place, one day you will call your mom or dad and, most likely, IMG_1805talk about the same old things. Which is nice when everything else around you is moving at 100 mph. I have definitely learned to better appreciate my family and all that they do/have done for me the older I get. This lesson really rings true when moving away from family. You know the old adage, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” Mom’s cooking and dad’s stories are a couple things that fall into this category.

Don’t get me wrong, I have learned more than 5 things in 23 years, I just think these are a few of the good ones. Agree or disagree? Let me know what you think!

Written by: Nate Christoffels

27 Things I wish Someone Told Me About Greek Life at UM

My name is Spencer Lawston and I am a senior and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon here at the University of Montana. While I also enjoy grilling on the front lawn and drinking PBR, I will be the first to admit I look nothing like Zac Efron.

When I first came to school I never pictured myself as a “frat guy” and to this day I am still amazed that I decided to go through recruitment. Looking back now, joining a fraternity was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but Ill talk about that a little later. When I first joined I had no idea what to expect, and to this day I am still surprised by some things. This article is all about the 27 things I wish someone would have told me when I decided to join Greek life at the University of Montana.

 

  1. Float building during Homecoming is chaotic- Houses get paired up and have to come up with a creative float idea to match the same homecoming theme every year. It’s always a chaotic rush to finish before Saturday morning at 8 because we don’t start until Friday night typically.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.41.54 AM
  2. You can move into your house as a freshman- Instead of living in a cramped dorm room with a random roommate for another semester, you could move in to your immaculate, lavish, and spacious chapter house (for those that have them at least).
  3. Every fraternity and sorority has a “sweetheart” and it takes a lot of time and effort to become one- It usually takes a year of campaigning and a lot of participation from the entire chapter as well in order to win (no wonder SAE hadn’t had a member be a sweetheart in like 15 years).
  4. You can get J-boarded twice, in one year, while you’re already on probation, and stay on campus Somehow SAE got J-boarded for actually following the rules and enforcing a guest list at one of our “Unregistered Functions”. We also somehow managed to meet all the terms of our probation (shout out to Drew Hossle and Flagship) and get off of probation.
  5. Griz Mornings are a thing, and they are awesome- Nobody tailgates earlier, harder, or better than the Greeks do.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 3.55.17 PM
  6. Theta Kickball is the best philanthropic event in the universe- Seriously, who doesn’t like playing kickball all day? And all the money raised goes to charity, its a win win.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.32.56 PM
  7. Elections are the longest meetings of all time- Every semester we have to elect new position, and it always takes upwards of 3 hours. 3 hours of candidates telling you the same thing and asking for your vote.
  8. Greek life advisors change pretty frequently- Maureen gave way to Julie, who gave way to Caitlin (temporarily), luckily Caitlin is officially hired and will hopefully be here for a while.
  9. In 4 years we’d have 3 new chapters on campus- I mean two (R.I.P. Pike).
  10. Moving into the house for the first time is absolutely insane- I had no idea what I needed for my room when I first moved in. Moving is always difficult, but when 25 people are all trying to move into the same house at the same time, things get crazy.
  11. SAE’s Toga Party is the absolute best party of the year- This is pretty self explanatory, TOGA TOGA TOGA!!! 
  12. Senior games are a hilarious tribute to the seniors, at the expense of your underclassmen- Every senior loves getting schmoozed for a week. It’s a great way to celebrate making it through college, kinda.
  13. SAE would eliminate the pledge process all together- It was a huge announcement that completely changed the entire makeup of one of the largest fraternities in the country. It has forced us to completely re-organize our entire member education process and has increased the workload required by every member of the chapter.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.34.40 PM
  14. I would be in charge of recruitment- Somehow I got put in charge of running Fraternity recruitment. I had to scrap the old process and come up with an entirely new process. Everything went well and the new system is still pretty much intact. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my time here.
  15. I would tell a room full of parents that “we pretty much party every weekend”- I went into the presentation saying that I was going to be honest, and when a parent asked what the social scene was like, I responded honestly (I was actually scared for my well being when I looked over and saw Caitlin and Julie).
  16. The above statement would lead to one of the largest recruiting classes we’ve ever gotten- We got 117 new fraternity men that year, up from 30 in the previous year.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.36.42 PM
  17. Being VP of your house makes everyone hate you- Nobody likes you when you tell them that they have to follow the rules.
  18. Cupcake would become IFC President- Cupcake is arguably the most likable person in our Greek system so seeing him, and working with him, on an executive board was quiet the experience.
  19. The Dad bod would become a thing- And I would fully support and embrace it to the dismay of manyScreen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.25.22 PM
  20. I would lose the Mr. Anchorslam competition several times- I have been called the DG troll by some, and my friendship with pretty much all of the Delta Gammas is well known. In my early years I thought that I was a lock for Mr. Anchorman, clearly I was wrong, three times.
  21. Overnight functions are the best functions- It took 3 years but we finally went on an overnight function as a chapter. We rented out a huge house near Flathead Lake and stayed for 2 days. These two days were ridiculous and I cant really write anything else about it.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.27.49 PM
  22. Going to National events is an absolute blast, and you learn some stuff too- I myself have been to Vegas, Miami, and the Bahamas on a cruise ship for national leadership schools. These events are located in highly desirable locations and have hundreds of other members in attendance. It gives you a chance to meet members from around the country and network with them.
  23. The entire Greek system can continuously come up with creative and unique themes for social events- It is a constant struggle for houses to come up with themes for social events but UM doesn’t disappoint. From highlighter and jungle, to the Harlem Shake and construction, UM Greeks show that they can stay creative and innovative.
  24. I would spend $1,000 on a bar tab at formal- We’ve all had nights where we come back from downtown and realize we spent way too much money. In most cases thats like $100. My Junior year at our Violet Ball Formal at the Ranch Club I somehow managed to rack up an $1,117 dollar tab. Apparently I told everyone in attendance I would buy their next round and also told the bartender to only use top shelf alcohol. Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.21.47 AM
  25. I would finally achieve my college long goal of becoming Mr. Anchorman- After 4 years of campaigning and probably $500 in spare change, I finally achieved my goal and was awarded the coveted prize, it was the best day of my college career, hands down.
  26. Greeks would be so rowdy during homecoming that all alcohol would be banned in Greek life- Never mind what actually happened and what the actual punishment was, TFM, The Kaimin, The Missoulian, and every other news agency in Montana ran with the headline “Alcohol banned in all Fraternities and Sororities”. #SoberForOctoberScreen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.23.58 AM
  27. Greek life at UM is a tight knit community- In the end, we’re a pretty small Greek system and we’re all tight knit. We all have friends in different houses and can all come together when we need to.