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Top Posts of 2013

2013 has come to a close, and I thought I’d share a round up of the top visited new posts on my site for the year. It’s always fun for me to see what was most viewed, and in case you missed some things that I shared, you can catch up! Last year I shared Top 12 posts in 2012, so I thought I’d share the Top 13 posts in 2013!  I’ve also got a little giveaway and link to my bloggy friends top posts of the year, below. It’s a great way to get to know some FAB bloggers, and their best posts!

Now, for my top 13:

Top 13 Posts of 2013 by Kristen Duke
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Pink Wood Planked Walls

I knew I wanted to use hot pink for my Girls Fancy Room Makeover, because they love it so much (so do I). I’d describe what was in my head to my friends (creative bloggers and locals) and I’d get this look of….”Oh, that sounds interesting.” I fell in LOVE with the wood planked wall look and had seen it a lot for accent walls, but wanted to fill the room with more of it than that. I’d mostly seen it white with some grays or browns. But I wanted Pink, and PINK is what we have!

wood walls

Though I’d been dreaming up the details of this space since September when we didn’t win the Vintage Revivals room makeover (we were top ten), I didn’t get up the nerve to ask my husband start the project til December. I honestly couldn’t think of anything I wanted for Christmas (we’re too cheap to spend over $100 and anything under that I can buy myself) so I said, “Hubby, all I want for Christmas if for you to help me with some home projects” and more specifically the wood planked walls in the girls room.… Continue Reading

Big wooden custom signs as room decor


I started painting my boys room over a year ago with big plans in my head that just aren’t getting executed quick enough. They’ve sat dormant until now. My goal is to show you the room reveal by the end of January–I’m so close! For now, here are 2 huge signs we hung in their room over the weekend. They love both BYU and UT, so both are represented;)

There was some major empty wall space that needed to be filled, and my favorite way to do that is to GO BIG!!!! I had my friend Chelon at Chatty Walls created a vinyl stencil for me because I wanted the painted look. If you’re not sure how that works, I did the same method for my You Are Loved canvas (and show how I did it). The final board size was 48 inches wide by 28 inches tall.

painted wood

I then wanted a bit of a different look for the UT sign with jagged edges. This would look great with real worn wood as well, but this one was stained a brown and the longhorn was also painted around a vinyl stencil. If you want to make either of these, contact Chelon at Chatty Walls, she’s already got them made! If BYU or UT isn’t your school, she can custom make any design you’d like.

wood sign

My boys faces when they saw these were priceless–brought me joy, I tell ya!

The signs altogether were SUPER heavy! I did a little research and decided to use D rings attached on the back and anchor them to the walls. The package said they’d hold up to 100 pounds, I’m thinking these were 50-70 lbs. (I’m the worst judge of guestimating).


My hubby rocks, he’s gettin’ this done!  He has a much steadier hand than me, and well…power tools and measuring scare me (though I did hang several other things in this room).

wall art

wall decorThis is just a little peek into the fun room we are creating for our boys.  Now go make something BIG to fill those empty spaces on your walls!


Linking Up!

2013 Blog Goals

Ugh, I’m the worst at setting goals. I like to think that I’m constantly in a state of self improvement and don’t need January 1st to start the ball rolling for me. But it is a great time of year to be reflective on what I’d like to do differently in the new year. So I’m going to share a few of my thoughts on how I’d like to improve my blog today, then in a few days share a few personal goals. It’s a spot to hold myself accountable.

{This is me juggling life and the blog. My real goal that I’ve maintained pretty well in 2012 is to blog when my youngest is in pre school and late at night. It continues for 2013.}

When I say blog goals, that encompasses everything from my photography business to my book sales to the projects I share on this blog. I’ve gone through 2 different blog transformations this past year with my logo and name change, and feel much more organized with the LOOK of my blog thanks to some wonderful behind the scenes helpers like Cyndi Marie and Happy Potamus Designs as well as a few of my sis in laws.

{Re purposed frame}

Home Projects

About 2 months ago, I pulled out a sketch book and wrote every room of my home on it’s own individual page. On each page, I listed various ideas I had for that space. Anything from painting the walls to window treatments to wall art to organization. I just counted through that list, and found there are 75 items.

I have 4 rooms in my home that I’ve been working on the past 6 months or so, that I consider 85% done, and just need some finishing touches FINISHED, and I can consider it DONE. Then, I will of course reveal it to all of you dear sweet friends out there. In my dream world, I’d say I’d have a different room reveal each month. Lets call that a “dream” goal. For a realistic goal, I’ll say 2 home projects a month. I’m being very liberal with my self expectations while having a dream world in the back of my mind. So here are a few goals for the home:

  • Reveal a room project each month
  • I am going to build something with wood, and not have my husband do it
  • Try wall stenciling
  • Make chalk paint
  • Learn how to distress furniture correctly

{Photo shoot in Philadelphia}


  • I REALLY love photographing families more candidly. I’d like to have more in home/playful photo sessions this year, while still holding my mini sessions for the “mom” shots that we all love;)
  • I have 2 workshops planned in the next month. One in Austin, one in Houston. I’m traveling some this summer, but not quite sure where yet. I love teaching and helping others Say NO to Auto and take more beautiful pictures.
  • My cute little books. I have plans. Dreamy plans. Too dreamy to share. I am pretty happy about Say NO to Auto being on Amazon, and I need to prep Get Focused and get it up and on there, too! I want to find ways to break out of the blogosphere to sell it, and being on Amazon was one way…if you have other ideas, I’d love to hear!
  • Start an affiliate program for my book.
  • learn how to edit video

Blog, misc.

  • I’m already signed up and headed to 2  conferences to mostly meet up with my bloggy friends, but to also tap into creativity and organization.
  • I want to commit to share more photography posts, since this is where it all started!
  • I want to READ more inspirational blogs and not just write mine!
  • Start a newsletter
  • share a few videos
Lastly, my goal for this blog is to HAVE FUN!!!
This blog started for fun, and it is still fun for me, but sometimes I feel self conscious or compare myself to others. It’s reality, people. I need to compare myself and this cute little blog to ME, and no one else. No hurt feelings, just fun. There, it’s a goal, it will be done.
Here’s to a fun 2013!!