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BOOK REVIEW (and a few DIY projects): Love the Home You Have

By August 14, 2015 4 Comments


Love the Home You Have:

Simple Ways to Embrace Your Style, Get Organized, and Delight in Where You Are

By Melissa Michaels; Harvest House Publishers; $14.99

(Better Homes & Gardens Readers Choice Decorating Blog in 2014)


This was quite simply a delightful book! I appreciated her refreshing and encouraging perspective as well as her simple and creative ideas. The foundation of her book comes from Philippians 4:11, where Paul writes (from prison), “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.”

One special feature of this book is vintage style hand-drawn sayings and illustrations. These are available at her website as free downloads for your personal use. My particular favorite shows a globe of the world and says, “Our homes should inspire us to go out into the world and do great things and then welcome us back for refreshment.”

Each chapter starts with a motivational quote that goes along with the theme of the chapter. The chapter about creating a haven began with this timeless observation from Jane Austen: “Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” And Gretchen Rubin offers these encouraging words in the chapter about the value of daily routine: “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

She also includes handy lists, such as “Creative Concealments” and “Inspiration for Every Season”, that offer simple strategies that are thrifty and clever. In addition, there is room for notes and journaling and questions to think about and ponder.

I appreciated her concluding words:

“Contentment isn’t the result of arriving at the latest, greatest, cleanest, trendiest home…contentment comes when we embrace the life we can create right now in an authentic, warm, meaningful-from-the-inside-out kind of home.” Melissa Michaels certainly provides the tools to do exactly that!

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I would enjoy discussing the ideas of this book with you at the next Organized by Olive Book Club.

Mon Sep 21 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Text an RSVP to Olive @ 937-216-2952.

I look forward to the opportunity to welcome you into my home!

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The following are a few photos of DIY home projects that my daughter, Bethany, has in her home. They all illustrate the simple charm and personal touch that Michaels encourages in her book. We thought you might enjoy seeing and reading about some of her ideas, and that they would inspire you to try a few of your own!



These are some of my very favorite decor items in my home. I collected the antique windows from various places, knowing that I liked them, but not sure exactly how I would use them. I think I spent a total of $15 on all three – one of them was at an antique store, and the other two were at a garage sale. I didn’t mind that they were mismatched…I figured that would add to their charm and character. I finally had the idea to do some kind of photo series that would illustrate the “I AM” statements, spoken by Jesus, found in the gospel of John. I wanted those words to be in a place that would constantly remind me of who Jesus is, and that we welcome His presence in our home.



We asked my sister and mother-in-law, who are both very talented photographers, to take the photos that would illustrate each statement. They graciously agreed. Then we asked another friend, who is an artist, to paint and distress the windows so that they looked similar (they had all been various shades of bare wood). Then we asked yet another friend, who is a graphic designer, to format the text over the photos. (Moral of the story: if you want to do DIY projects, get yourself some artistic friends/family!) Lastly, my husband Bryan put everything together, by gluing the photos into the individual frames, and reinforcing the backs with simple cut-out cardboard. Not the most glamorous of methods – but I was thrilled with the finished project! We hung them in our main living room, and every I pass by them, I cherish their message, and all the people who contributed to their creation.



This is a piece we inherited from someone who simply didn’t want it anymore. When we got it, it was plain ivory, and was a mirror. We decided to replace the mirror with cork-board squares we bought at Hobby Lobby, and then we painted The Lord’s Prayer on the frame. I’m not a very precise painter, so the letters look a little crooked, but again, I cherish this piece because it’s something my husband and I worked on together. We have it hanging in our bedroom, to use as a prayer request board for people we’re praying for.



We recently moved into an older house (built in the ’50s) that has lots of sweet little details and character. One of those features is a built-in bookshelf in the office. This isn’t a DIY project necessarily, just an example of how to use unique spaces to display things that matter to you and your family. I use this space to display my Willow Tree angel collection, figurines that I’ve accumulated for each major life milestone like graduations, our marriage, and the birth of our children. I also have a framed invitation from our wedding in this space. The rest of the nooks I filled with oddly shaped books, and scrapbooks that I made in college. It’s not anything fancy, but it’s a happy little place in my home, a place that houses happy memories, and puts a charming little shelf to good use.  ~ Bethany


Olive Wagar

Author Olive Wagar

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Nancy Collins says:

    Love the ideas Bethany shared straight from her home! I want to read the featured book. Thanks for sharing!

  • This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Because I’m in a rental apartment, I’m somewhat limited as to what I can do here. Coupled with the fact that decorating ideas don’t come to me naturally, I find my surroundings less than inspiring. I will look for this at my local library.

  • Kathy McEwan says:

    I haven’t read the book yet but would like to. Thanks for the information. Love the antique windows/pictures idea!

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