House For Six

Introducing, Lily Joy Designs...and a Giveaway!

Deme Crinion2 Comments

Last week a long time "someday" dream turned reality....and it's with all the excitement (and nervous stomach) I have that I introduce our new little shop baby, Lily Joy Designs!

Opening a shop has been in the back of my mind for awhile now. Like years.  I've made quite a few art prints and organization printables over time and whenever I saw a shop pop up offering those things, I would think "Hey, I could do that!".  So, that was always the plan - open a little shop with inspirational art and organization prints for the home. 

But I wasn't an expert in the programs used to make them (so it took me forever to create the products) and the art ideas didn't always come readily.  They usually seemed sparked by other ideas instead of my own, except the ones born out of necessity, like our printable moving binder or the prints I designed when I couldn't find what I was looking for elsewhere (that never quite turned out the way I envisioned them in my head).

If I were to open a shop, I wanted it to be 100% ideas, my concept, my design.  And the timing up to this point never seemed right.  Every time I made a push to open the shop, some sort of road block or other sign popped up that say No.  Not now.  Not that way.

I started to get frustrated with myself.  Deme, just make the commitment and do it already!  The timing will never be perfect!  

Today, I'm so grateful that I didn't push forward with an idea that wasn't supposed to be.  Waiting sucks, but when it comes to waiting on God's timing and vision, it's always worth it.  The shop we launched this week is totally different than the shop I thought I would open. 

We're making a physical product, which I was totally against.  I wanted to create something once and then have it available for digital download.  No dealing with keeping an inventory, supplies, continuous production, and (heaven forbid) the POST OFFICE. 

white beads

But I have to confess, this has become one of my favorite parts of this business.  I personally love getting something in the mail and opening it up to fun, thoughtful packaging.  I love being able to add personal touches like a handwritten note, and help someone with sending a meaningful gift, packaged with as much love as went into to making the gift itself. Etsy really does make the mailing easy and I laugh now that the very thing I avoided like the plague has turned into a great joy.

Here's how it came to be...

I remember wanting to find a special gift for my godson last year, but struggled to find something that felt modern and unique, while still carrying the all the tradition of our catholic faith.  What I really wanted was something his mom could hang near his crib, that would grow with him throughout the years.  

I thought of the faith-inspired pieces of art in my own home and quickly came to my very favorite one:  a large wall rosary made of dark wood beads and a lovely depiction of the Blessed Mother with Child in the center made of ivory.  It was beautiful in it's simplicity and striking in it's size.   And I had never seen anything else like it.  

I loved the idea for my godson, but dark wood felt too grown up for him.  What could I use that would be kid-friendly and give a youthful, whimsical vibe?  Felt Balls!  There were so many colorful options and when I thought of how I wanted to assemble the piece, I realized we could have a lot of fun using smaller beads to hide the string and create a more substantial piece.  We made the rosary, and then my daughter asked if she could make one for our friend's Confirmation.  Then another friend asked if we could make one for a gift, and which point, I realized we might have created something that people really liked.

Those first rosaries weren't quite the product that we offer today.  We've spent a lot of time since then researching quality materials, learning better techniques, and finessing the details that make a product superior in quality and design. We've also created a whole additional line of products using natural birch wood beads that we hope strike that magical combination of beauty + meaning when it comes to home decor. And that last part is what hits the heart of my passions:  encouraging one another as we make our homes a beautiful, inspiring, and peaceful haven for our families....even amidst the laundry bombs. 

When I became Catholic 10 years ago, I had a difficult time finding religious art that I related to.  Most people that grew up in catholic homes with traditional art probably found comfort in those things, but they were foreign to me at first, and therefore made me feel a little uncomfortable.  That's not the effect we're looking for when it comes to art in our homes, especially art meant to spark our faith.  As I've grown in my catholic faith, the more historic sacred art speaks much more deeply to me now, because it holds more meaning.  But I still enjoy finding modern catholic art pieces that can be incorporated into our home's particular style without sacrificing any of the beautiful tradition.

My hope is that we can offer modern, unique, faith-inspired decor that will be treasured pieces in your home for years to come. 

So, what's ahead?

In prepping to launch the shop I thought I would pick a few colors schemes and make multiples of those items, but instead I decided to have fun creating a bunch of different color and material combinations for this first launch.  You can see them all here.  I'm also reserving 8 spots per month for custom orders.  So, if a color/style you like has sold out for the month, I can make that for you or you can pick any color/bead combo you like. I will restock the more popular colors with multiples monthly along with seasonal/holiday collections. 

The felt ball and wood bead wall rosaries are the signature item in the shop and what started the whole thing....but later this week we're rolling out 2 other designs:  smaller decade versions of our beads and a more general prayer beads for catholics and non-catholics alike.  

prayer beads

So, that's what we've been up to!  We would love for you to stop by Lily Joy Designs and take a look around!  We've set up a separate account on Instagram @lilyjoydesigns for the shop, so that shop stuff doesn't take over House For Six.  We'll only be sharing occasional shop updates here, but do hope the two will compliment one another. To celebrate the launch we're running a giveaway on the shop's Instagram account for one custom wall rosary (ends at midnight!!) and everyone can enjoy free shipping through the rest of the week with code LJDFREESHIP.   Enjoy!


Dusting Off The Blog and Some Big News!

Deme Crinion8 Comments

Hey, look!  This thing still works!  

I came in with my virtual Swiffer ready to dust this place off after a "short hiatus" and realized it's been 5 MONTHS since my last post.  How did that happen?!?! I think that should win some sort of Slacker Blogger award, or at least an honorable mention.

Even though it's been quiet around here for a loooong time, a lot has happened in our neck of the woods! Not so much in the way of house projects (we're just starting to gear back up with those!) but more...well, life. 

pool walks

I had such great plans for the blog and around the house this summer, but quickly realized that I would be sacrificing precious time with these growing kiddos if I attempted to squeeze it all in.  Funny how this happens e-v-e-r-y summer.  I'm finally noting the memo and going into future summers knowing that it will probably be a time to push pause on blogging and projects.

summer forts

With my little hiatus, I had plenty of time to think about the direction of the blog. Because, of course. It's what I do.  I analyze, and over-analyze, and analyze some more.  But the truth is I've felt stuck in a blogging rut for awhile now.  I've always teetered the line between a DIY blog and a faith/family/mom blog. I've looked around at what other DIY blogs have done, and I've looked a faith-based mom blogs and lifestyle blogs that cover a bit of everything. 

I've always worried that if I shifted my focus, I would lose my readership who found me because of the house projects we like to tackle.  But fear never got anyone very far, did it? People change and the things they are called to change. It's natural for blogs to evolve along with that.  The way some blogs have evolved as they've grown didn't feel authentic for us, so I finally stopped looking around for some sort of universal formula and just asked God what He had in mind.

He answered with a totally new endeavor that has only been a faint "someday" hope in the back of my mind.  The mission of this new project, helped me edit the focus of the blog so one can support the other.  The blog's focus is not a huge departure from where we've been, but more of a shift in weight.  Permission to write more about family, beauty, faith, simple living, momming...things I love talking about with all of you!  I feel so excited and relieved.  As a DIY blog, the pressure to complete projects at a pace that made my family want to kill me, was a huge stress.   

For those that like our home project posts - they aren't going anywhere! We just aren't able to churn them out at the rapid rate.  So, they'll be more of a subcategory than the main star...and hopefully we can dive more into the thought behind creating home and not just the how-to's and pretty room shots.

So! The quick recap of the past few months.....I spent the summer with my kids, have a clear vision for how to go forward with the blog, and finally stepped out in a dream I've had tucked away for a long time.  I cannot WAIT to share it with you!  It's all happening on the blog next week, but in the meantime you can catch some sneak peaks over on Instagram.  

Dining room chalkboard wall

How about you?  How was your summer?  Have you transitioned into the fall/school routine?  Is your weather still as confused about what season it is as Ohio seems to be??

The Year Of Stewardship: Don't Ignore The Discomfort

Deme Crinion1 Comment

I'm just going to be straight with you here. When you feel the Holy Spirit prompting you to look at what kind of steward you’ve been of your life, and you agree to whatever means He may employ to reveal what is lacking and renew what’s been neglected , well....just strap on your seat belt and get a firm grip on the “O Crap” handle.

Stewardship: Don't Ignore The Discomfort

At the start of the year, when everyone was thinking about resolutions, all these different areas of my life came to the forefront. And the word that kept accompanying them over and over again was “stewardship”. What was I doing with what I had been given? 

My time, my health, my relationships, my home, my marriage, my talents, my faith, my finances…..all gifts.  Was I treating them as such?  Was I nurturing, maximizing, tending, investing?  Or was I wasting, neglecting, abusing, coveting, indifferent?


When God begins to move, He allows a shift.  A sudden level of discomfort with something that needs attention. Until we turn to it with eyes open willing to confront it, that feeling will not go away.   Suddenly there were several areas of my life that seemed to be making me shift uncomfortably in my seat, and I knew this would not be a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination. 

But no worries!  I had it all planned out!  We would look at one topic each month and I would share what I was learning in a monthly series here on the blog............phfhaaaa!!!!!!!

Seriously. When will it sink in that God does not work in the neat organized lanes I create for Him?

I wrote a few intro posts (How I landed on "Stewardship"  and the lies we believe).  And then came Lent.  It seemed only natural for my Lenten commitments to fall in line with those themes, and thanks to a friend's encouragement and accountability, it was my most radical Lent to date.  Not at all neat and tidy, and really only the beginning.

I’ve struggled with how to continue this series on the blog because the work of renewal is messy, painful, and very personal.  While I’m all for sharing the good, bad, and the ugly so we can all grow, I also need to be respectful of the other people this process involves. I'm still figuring that piece out, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I just want to encourage any of you that may be avoiding that holy discomfort. I did for a long time.  Sometimes it feels safer to keep buying into the lies that rob our joy and purpose, than to allow God to peel back those layers of false protection.  While we know He offers us something far better, the life we have settled for is familiar; and familiar is comforting, even if we know it's a twisted version of what is good.  

Fear and complacency just might be Satan's most effective weapons in the battleground of our mind.  He would like nothing more than for us to avoid confronting those areas that God wants to redeem.  So he will convince us it's best not to ruffle the waters, and that compared to everyone around us, we're doing just fine. But God is not a God of just fine.  He calls us to abundant life, and man is He ever faithful to pour out His grace at our first motion back toward Him.  It may not be easy, and it probably won't be quick, but He will be there to help us every step of the way, and promises to see that process through to completion if we continue to trust in Him.  If you're there, Friends, my prayers are there with you.

Entry Progress: Herringbone Brick Tile Floors

Deme Crinion9 Comments

After all sorts of drama between us and the contractor approved by our insurance, we finally have new floors in our entry!  We ended up cutting ties with the old company after several weeks of waiting and miscommunication (drama! drama! drama!) and were able to use our own contractor for the job.....our contractor who may never do anything for us ever again after this time consuming labor of minutia.

Actually, I think the whole crew was quite proud of it by the end of the project.  And we could not be happier!

Last we left things, the old company had ripped up the damaged floors (from a toilet leak) and we were left with the exposed plywood subfloor.  All along we had planned to install the leftover wood flooring we had used throughout the rest of the main level of the house, but after taking all the measurements, we were two boxes short. 

Just order more, right?  Well, I originally got that flooring on a mega sale with free shipping since we bought in bulk.  The current price for 2 boxes was now more, and the shipping costs were as much as the product.  

Which opened up the possibility for us to do something totally different.  Because if we were going to spend the money, I would rather spend it on product/labor than shipping fees. Once we went down that Plan B rabbit hole, we knew that doing something other than wood was the way to go.  We really wanted to use something distinctly different from the surrounding wood floors, so it didn't look like a sad attempt at matching up two different but similar products.  

To quote the husband, "If we're going to do something different, then lets go bold".  I love it when he says that.   

But bold can also carry a hefty price tag.  This project had to stay within the amount covered by our insurance company. We had already come out of pocket for the deductible/plumbing repair and this entry makeover was not planned in our budget.  

Color and patterned tiles peaked our interest, but they were also pricey and ran the risk of losing our affection over time.....yet other options felt too safe.  I've always loved the idea of brick pavers (also $$) but stumbled on this brick tile via Home Depot.  It was neutral but had a great natural feel to it.  I thought if we laid it in a herringbone pattern it would add enough interest to keep a timeless material feeling fun and unique.  It would also be a nice nod to the larger grey tiles we installed in a herringbone pattern in our mudroom.  

When our contractor walked in and saw my little test groups of the teeniest, tiniest tile he just stood there quietly staring at them for awhile.  Finally, he pointed to the herringbone and said, "You want that one, don't you?" I knew it meant way more work on his part, and almost defaulted to the standard brick pattern because I felt bad (story of my life).  As I stood there waffling, one of the guys asked if I would regret not doing the herringbone.  Yes.  Yes, I would.  

tile layout options

So, I said "yes", to the herringbone, pleaded for them not to run out the door as what was supposed to be an easy 2-day job turned into a painstakingly detailed 4 1/2 day job, and quickly ran to grab a few bags of Chick-Fil-A chocolate chunk cookies for the crew as a peace offering. 

Thankfully, they stayed and we now have this beauty...

herringbone brick tile floors

This obviously wasn't a DIY job, but I tried to document the process along the way as best I could with my phone camera.  For those that asked for specifics....

-The tile is actually a glazed porcelain but feels very rustic and like natural stone to the touch.

-Each tile is 2 1/3" x 10" and had to be set individually.....the reason I can't call our contractor for at least 6 months (or until he forgets his back pain).

-We used 1/8" spacers

-The grout color is Dove Grey.  We didn't want too much of a contrast but didn't want anything too dark either.  

Ok, let's get into the weeds a little.  The first order of business was deciding where to start. When laying tile you always want to start in the center of the wall, but this space is not a simple square or rectangle.  There are lots of angles and doorways.  So, did we want that first row to line up in the center of the front door or the center of the doorway that leads to the kitchen/family room?   

plumb line

Since people are primarily transitioning through this space to other areas of the house, it made the most sense for the first row to be centered on the doorway leading to the most used area of the home.

In the photo above you can see where they found the center point in the doorway and made a chalk line down from that point to the opposite wall.  Fun tip:  they asked me for a can of hairspray to set the chalk line so that it wouldn't smudge.  It took just a minute to spray it and let it dry. Who knew? 

first rows of herringbone brick tile

They used all sorts of handy angle tools to ensure the first tile was set at a 45 degree angle and they laid out several tiles before securing them with thin set (mortar).  This gave them a chance to see how the pattern would hit the doorways and edges before we fully committed.  And they did lots of stepping back and eyeballing to ensure they were straight. 

Those first two rows took the longest to get in, but once set it was pretty easy to continue the pattern out from there. 

herringbone brick tile floors

This flooring extends into a coat closet (door on the right in the above photo) and a 1/2 bath (door on the left).  Our insurance covered the wallpaper removal in the bathroom (hallelujah!), so we now have a totally blank slate in the bathroom.  With the absence of any natural light, I'm leaning towards a darker color on the cabinet base, light walls, some fun art, and eventually swapping the counter out for a wood top. 

herringbone brick tile floors

I really appreciate the thought the crew put into the path they worked.  We obviously couldn't walk on the tile while it was setting, but we did need to access the stairs.  

herringbone brick tile floors

They made it a point to leave that patch in front of the stairs for the last day and made sure it would have enough time to set before the kids came home from school.  The kids quickly learned that they could walk on the areas where the spacers had been removed (set tiles) and stay away from areas with spacers still in....though we tried to keep them off the area as much as possible.  This was a feat in itself as Liv took to saying "hi" to them every single time she walked past (approx 754 times a day)...and they were sweet enough to greet her back every time.

herringbone brick tile floors

They were thrilled when they came home and the floor looked like this.  No spacers = dance party on the tile.

herringbone brick tile floors

Even without the grout and before they had cleaned, it looked incredible.  The grout just took it over the edge.  And grouting was an all hands on deck affair.  The grout dried quickly and if it wasn't wiped down well in a timely manner it would be a pain to clean.

We had just a fine layer of dust that disappeared after another day of wiping it down. Once the floors were installed, the very earth-toned wallpaper became a hundred times more noticeable to me.....and my rockstar husband said "Let's go ahead and finish the entry" (happy wife, happy life #somethinglikethat).  Which means the magic of trim and paint are transforming this space even further. 

trim work in progress

I'll break down the trim installation in a later post once it's all painted out, but for now we have the trim up and I'm aaaaaalmost done patching, sanding, and caulking. (I don't really have any fingerprints left after that, so James says I should probably transition to a life of crime). 

You can see that we didn't we take down the wallpaper first. This is something I could totally regret, but is a worthwhile gamble in my book.  

The crew used a steamer to take down the wallpaper in the bathroom and it came off so easily. I was hopeful that the entry wallpaper would follow suit but we tested the steamer on one of the seams and it would not budge.  Even after holding the steam on it for a good long while we could barely peel even a corner back.  Which makes me semi-confident that a few layers of paint would not cause the paper to bubble and peel.  

The wallpaper goes all the way up the stairwell into nooks and crannies that would be really difficult to take down. This would be an inch by inch process and I think we value our sanity too much to tackle that much wallpaper. 

Normally when doing a board and batten type wall treatment, we would paint the walls first, then put up trim.  But we thought covering up those wallpaper edges with trim (instead of paint that could seep through) would give us a better chance for success.  Fingers crossed.

Once all that goes white, I'm thinking the door needs a fun, green, blue, black?  The kids have deemed me "The Color Thief" as of late....which is ironic because I'm a color lover at heart.  I just need a nice neutral base and then we can bring in the color we all love.  I'm not going to decide on a door color until all the walls are painted, but these sure look fun...

blush pink door
mint green door

Photo by Light Locations

grey and black interior doors

Grey or black door

We also have plans for the stairs!  The carpet is coming up, a runner is going in, and well, there's more painting in my future.  I'm so glad that James gave us the push to see this area done to completion.  Those herringbone floors are just too pretty not to address the things around them.  I know this was not exactly a thorough step-by-step but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer!