September 28, 2017

Welcome to a new little series. I had the idea to begin doing some personal posts about a whole mix of issues. And let’s be honest, sometimes popular culture BECAUSE I HAVE THOUGHTS. I love doing things by the seasons, so we’ll plan to share one that often.

I like the idea of them being a kind of unexpected bonus post. Maybe I will post them on the summer solstice or spring equinox or whatever. Just so you’ll really forget when they’re coming and be surprised. Or is that weird to blog based on the moon?

AND there will be some re-occuring categories such as: “netflix-ing,” “unpopular opinion,” “all is vanity,” “into it!,” and “I am not tech-y, but.”


Netflix-ing: We finished one season of The Great British Bake Off off on Netflix. Gosh it is quaint. It’s like what I like about other cooking shows minus the contrived drama. It really is just a group of docile Brits baking. (Although there is one host who is too crass.) I want to read this book, How to Bake by Paul Hollywood, a judge for the show. He’s a really serious, masculine guy who is (likably) cocky about baking. And can you handle that that is his name?

Ugh, this chair: I am not a gray person. There’s not really any gray in our house now, or in my end vision, but I saw this chair at target and flipped. It is an amazing price ($280) for how wide it is. So snuggle inducing. It’s got good lines for when I have a room that needs a modern element to mix with the traditional. Maybe I should make a gray exception? If you are into gray should you, like go for it? I’m this close to buying it for the office. And oh no wait, this rocking chair is actually gorgeous.

Musics: Have you listened to Taylor Swift’s new songs? By choice or by twitter forcing you to? I don’t think they are as bad as many are saying. Is this a case study in the enduring truth that unbridled anger leads to bad (songwriting) decisions? I’m going to give the new album a look-ski. 1989 was genius and I liked Red. My all-time favorite song by her is still probably Mine.

I’m not tech-y, but: I want a new laptop. I am averse to paying for a new laptop. IF YOU HAVE AN IPAD, you have to see this case that makes an iPad into a laptop for $55. Will I buy an iPad and then this keyboard case instead of a laptop? That is a brand new mac product laptop set up for only $385. Instead of like a $1,000. Previously I haven’t been interested in iPads because I do not like typing with my thumbs and also one of my main laptop uses is streaming movies. And that must be done in the customary laying down with a laptop on your upper tummy position.

More like GREATreads: We recently discovered goodreads and our response has been anything but restrained. I think it is my new favorite social media. It is nice to keep track of books on our to-read list and having a couple friends who use it regularly makes it really fun because you hear about good books and are sort of on-goingly having a little book discussion. I always feel gross after I look at facebook (hiss), and goodreads is kind of the social media opposite. I feel mentally stimulated and inspired. You can set a reading challenge for the year and update progress as you finish books. It has got me reading faster since starting. Feeling a surge of powerfulness from writing reviews. I love it all!

Reading, watching: On that note, a few books I read over the summer were: Upgrade by Kevin Swanson, Eve in Exile by Rebekah Merkle, and Good and Angry by David Powlison. (Loved all three of those). And some of the books I’m planning to read this autumn are The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, Death by Living by N.D. Wilson, and The God Who Is There by D.A. Carson. ALSO, I am not above lower art forms and have autumn movies I need to watch too. Like I have been craving Silver Linings Playbook lately because that movie’s overcast fall backdrop is my favorite weather and it just overall gives me happy feelings. (I skip the bad scene! I need to tell you that.)

Camera guilt: Like most people, I kind of think of getting out my DSLR as “work” a little bit. So I never really grab it out and take everyday pictures on it. That is one of my autumn goals, to take more photos with the DSLR. Or maybe better yet I have just accepted I don’t like doing photos that way since finally I bought that instax polaroid camera.

All is vanity: I had the pleasure of finally finding the BEST dark circle under eye concealer just in time for having staying up late with another newborn. It is only $7!


September 25, 2017

Alternate title: This Was So Much Faster Than Shiplapping. When we began work on converting our guest room/junk room into a guest room/nursery, my first step was to bring some character to the walls with classic board and batten. I knew I wanted a quite petite version. This room is about 12 x 10, so something too big would look bulky and disproportionate (and therefore probably bad diy, I-can-tell-you-did-this-yourself because it doesn’t seem original to the house.)

This means it’s that special time when the look I most preferred also happened to be the cheapest. And I mean like, so cheap. One thing I learned from researching and preparing for this project is there are truly one thousand ways to do board and batten. All that variety comes from there being lots of different materials you can use and lots of ways to design the battens and ledge and such.

I think the method I found is the actual 1) least amount of work and 2) least inexpensive!


metal bedblack & white bed sheets | white knit blanket | white faux fur throwgray patterned rugrug pad | green seagrass basket |  wooden stacking toy

The material I chose was 2 x 4 sheets of mdf board. I loved working with it because it was so lightweight. Having only four foot strips made for some extra cutting and nailing because my battens were taller than four feet, but the manageable-ness of working with these small, lighter pieces was such that I could do almost all of this project myself (like, seven months pregnant).

At home depot I had them rip the sheets into 2.5 inch strips. Wider strips (maybe like four inch) looks more rustic, but in here I am going for more of an additional neo-trad architectural detail.

I installed the horizontal top of the battens at about 60″ up from the baseboard with liquid nails and one inch brads from our nail gun. Lots of times you see board and batten about half way up the wall, but I love the look of when it goes about 3/4 of the way up.


Then I installed the vertical battens down to the baseboard. Another reason I chose this mdf was because it is only 1/4 inch thick, which means there would be no overhang on the baseboards and I would never have to remove them!

Figuring out measurements and spacing was probably the only tricky part of this project. An important concept is that each wall’s battens do not have to be the same width apart. My baseline was twelve inches, and then I would go a little plus or minus for each of those as would best suit the wall’s width. You don’t notice fluctuations like that when the room is complete and it gives you freedom to navigate around obstacles.

The easiest way to do make your calculations is to first install the first and last batten on each wall. If you want a math equation for figuring out exactly how to space your battens, here it is! All of my battens were 2.5 inches wide, so that is where that number comes from in the equation.

batten spacing = (wall width – (width of first batten + width of last batten)) – (number of battens x 2.5) / (number of battens + 1)

You just try plugging different numbers in for “number of battens” variable until you get the closest you can to the batten spacing you desire (in my case, 12 inches). Don’t include the first and last batten in that variable. To give you an idea, our ten foot wall had eight battens.


ATTENTION: the mathematics are over now. We placed a line of cove molding level with the top of the original horizontal line of boards (using liquid nails and the nail gun again).

On top of that we put a 1 and 1/8 inch wide piece of mdf for the top ledge. Those pieces we did on our table saw instead of going back to home depot. The mdf does really well cutting smoothly even at home.


After spackling nail holes and caulking, I primed the boards and then covered with three coats of ralph lauren “chalk white” in eggshell. (The walls in our house take so much paint. I don’t know what it is.)

If you do like me and skip covering the whole walls with the “board” part of board and batten (just nailing right into the existing drywall), I recommend using the least sheen possible on paint. Higher glosses make differences in material more noticeable. For us the eggshell looked really good and all the materials appear to match.


An even coat of pure white paint and some architectural details like the crown and ceiling medallion (love), plus all the little things like: replacing old outlets, putting the light on a dimmer, and removing and patching phone jack outlets made this room a pretty palette for us to build on.

In summary, the things that made this version of board and batten so easy and inexpensive were:

  1. Using mdf board, which is lightweight and inexpensive
  2. Using battens only 1/4 inch thick so the baseboards did not need to be removed
  3. Skipping a horizontal line of board installed above the baseboards (as people include with some styles)
  4. Skipping nailing flat boards into the drywall under the battens.
  5. The mdf board not needing to be caulked, except at corners and where it touches the cove moulding


I love the slim profile of this batten and the dimension it gives. Same with our living room millwork, I expected this treatment to make the room seem smaller and am again shocked with how the space actually feels bigger and with so much more visual interest. It must be that added depth and continuous color.

You can see the nursery and guest room’s full tour and all the sources here!


September 21, 2017

David has been known to even eat just a roasted sweet potato for breakfast. We are pretty big sweet potato (and butternut squash!) people. Almost always we used fresh ones, and my only knock on it is that they are kind of a pain to roast. And microwaving can be cool, but never as good of a texture.

I ventured into canned sweet potatoes. (Or “yams.” I feel more like they should be called “yams” when talking about canned ones.) And I don’t know why I wasn’t reaching for them sooner because I am all about the convenience (no peeling!) and quickness.

A perfect application for canned ones is this thanksgiving and christmas classic – sweet potato casserole. (This crumble topping is unreal.) It calls for 40 ounces canned, which about two pounds if you go the fresh route.

Serves 5 to 6

Sweet Potatoes
40 ounces canned sweet potatoes, drained
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Crumble Topping
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Stir in butter, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Transfer mixture to a greased baking dish. In a separate bowl, make topping by stirring together flour, brown sugar, salt, and better. Layer crumble over sweet potatoes. Arrange pecans on top of crumble. Bake for 30 minutes.


  • Sweet Potatoes
  • 40 ounces canned sweet potatoes, drained
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Crumble Topping
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Stir in butter, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Transfer mixture to a greased baking dish.
  3. In a separate bowl, make topping by stirring together flour, brown sugar, salt, and better.
  4. Layer crumble over sweet potatoes. Arrange pecans on top of crumble.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.


Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2017