Zimmerman Shoes

vintage inspired handmade children's shoes

I’m such a sucker for shoes. Shiny shoes, tiny shoes, tall shoes, small shoes. Give me all the shoes. Lucy joined in on my excitement when we opened up a special package from Zimmerman shoes— handmade with love, and so beautiful! She lined them all up in a row and exclaimed, “They’re so soft!” And so beautifully crafted. We had to share them with you.

My favorite are the plum nubuck mary janes. They go with practically any autumn ensemble, adding the perfect pop of color. They’re keepsakes for sure!

vintage inspired handmade children's shoes

(After the above picture was taken, Lucy rearranged all of the shoes to create a train and narrated, “Choo chooooo!” I’m not kidding. This kid is obsessed.)

vintage inspired handmade children's shoes

vintage inspired handmade children's shoes

Zimmerman shoes

vintage inspired handmade children's shoes

vintage inspired handmade children's shoes

“Look how orange my tongue is, mom!” This kid will do practically anything for a sucker. It was a problem during trick-or-treating when we just wanted her to take all of the Reese’s cups so we could sneak them later. Oh well. In any case, she was such a compliant photoshoot subject! Thanks, Lucy! And thanks for the shoes, Zimmermans!

making nice in the midwest

Disclosure: Zimmerman is not a sponsor of Making Nice in the Midwest, but the shoes were a gift.

Mandi Makes a Dollhouse

1:12 Modern Dollhouse Project

A month ago, I thought it would be really fun to make a dollhouse for Lucy’s Christmas present. I was so inspired years ago by Nicole’s dollhouse, and others who followed along with the I’m a Giant Challenge, and finally I have an actual excuse to make a dollhouse. It’ll be fun, I said. It won’t be too difficult, I said. I’m laughing at myself now. This project has basically consumed my life! For starters, I built a dollhouse that was the wrong scale (too small for the furniture I wanted to put in it), so I had to find someone to buy it to recoup my money, then I had to buy a new one and rebuild. (Kind of embarrassing to admit I did that!) So that’s where I am now. Working on finishing details to the interior before the next stage begins- decorating!

I haven’t been doing the best job at documenting this project, because it’s just nice to not have to worry about that all the time. Hashtag blogger problems! But you can see some photos on my Facebook page and at the Instagram hashtage #mandimakesadollhouse

1:12 Modern Dollhouse Project

Here’s the inside! You can see it before I did any painting here. I wanted to place the furniture before deciding on wall placement and colors for each room. I still haven’t settled on a color for the bathroom or other bedroom on the second floor. I figure, things should be colorful, because this is a kid’s dollhouse, after all! It’s not just for me to play with, though make no mistake, I will be playing with this beaut when it’s finished. I’ve decided to generally stick to pink, orange, and yellow for the main colors, with natural colored accents thrown in. Maybe I will do more of a neutral color scheme for the first floor, pinks and rusts in the second floor, and yellow on the third floor. That’s my plan so far, but as you can see, I’m still working on painting (masking tape still in place), and haven’t added trim or stairs yet, so anything is fair game at this point!

The dollhouse kit I decided on is pretty basic, but I decided to buy two dormer kits to add to the attic space. It was a bit challenging to add dormers that didn’t belong to my dollhouse kit, but I definitely think it was worth it. Cutting out angled holes for the dormers, sanding and wood filling my heart out until they were perfect, and then wallpapering one and caulking the other was no joke! Sometimes I feel like I’m building a real house. Each tiny little detail needs to much attention. Each little stair spindle and trim piece. So much priming, sanding down the primer, priming again, painting, and sanding between coats of paint. And let’s not forget hand scribing each individual plank into the plywood floors and staining it in layers to try to get the look of wood flooring. What?! Yes. Perfectionism at its finest. (Sanding down tiny clapboard is best done while frying out your brain to Gossip Girl episodes on Netflix.) I suppose it doesn’t need to be that much work, but I figure if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right.

DIY dollhouse accessories

I still have to add exterior details, like windows, shingles, etc, but am not looking forward to that so much. I’m really chomping at the bit to add trim and fill the interior with all of the fun things I’ve been making and collecting along the way. Some of the little things are vintage, found on eBay, and other things I made myself (I’ll share a couple of easy DIYs later), but here’s everything I bought new. I found some of these things at local craft stores (Pat Catans and Michaels) but I’ve linked to everything you can buy online:

1-12 dollhouse accessories

Dollhouse Kit (not pictured)
Dormer Kit (not pictured)
1. Bookshelf with miniature books
2. Porcelain bathroom set (this is getting glued down)
3. Cuckoo clock
4. Kitchen set (I painted mine)
5. Dollhouse rugs (I bought three from this shop, and am making the rest.)
6. Miniature tea set
7. Miniature Amber glass jars (I actually found mine in the jewelry section at a craft store.)
8. Step stools
9. Bathroom flooring
10. Nursery set
11. Attic wallpaper (scrapbook paper)

Here’s the Calico Critter family that will live inside:

calico critter cat familycat family available here / cat family babies available here

Wallpapered dollhouse dormers

Wallpapered dormers! This intimidated me so much, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. (I thought it would be impossible, and it turns out it was just mildly challenging. hehe) I did decide to caulk the corners of every room that wouldn’t receive wallpaper. It was easy and took care of any little cracks, making it look really nice and finished. It’s a good thing I have all of those random supplies already on hand (like wood glue, super glue, caulk, wood stain, and interior paint), or else I can see how all the costs would really add up!

Dollhouse Dining Room

How cute is this dining set! I made the table myself, and the chairs are vintage found on Etsy. I kind of want this to be my actual dining room!

Dollhouse Dining Room

So excited to get everything inside! I’ll share more progress soon. Thanks for following along!

Goin’ Glamping


I’m about to share something that may not come as a shock to you. I’m not really much of a camper. When people ask me if I’m a happy camper, of course I will say yes, but that’s about as close as “happy” and “camper” get in my day-to-day life. I’ll be honest— I’m just a little bit too high maintenance for camping. I like to sleep on a real bed, wash my face at a real sink, and warm food in an instant with a real microwave. So when Glamping Hub approached me about partnering on a camping trip in North America, I was hesitant— but only for a split second! This is glamping, folks! This kind of adventuring was made for me!


As I checked out the types of glamping available through Glamping Hub’s website, I noticed there really is something for everyone! High maintenance folks like me can rent luxury cabins, treehouses, or even large farmhouses, while more adventurous campers can rent anything from a luxury tent, to a tipi, to an Airstream van. There’s also a nice selection of in-between venues too, if you’re moderately adventurous, like luxury yurts, mini cabins, and pod hotels. (Yes— POD HOTELS!!)


I’m really excited to be getting out of Dodge, as they say, this coming week to a treehouse I’ve selected from the Glamping Hub website. I’ll be staying with a few friends, decompressing, escaping, but with all the modern amenities. We’ll be embarking on a little road trip to get there, and I’ll be sharing bits of my getaway on Instagram. Follow along, if you’d like!






Autumn In Our Home

fall decor in a modern home

I’ve never driven a pick-up truck or enjoyed listening to country music, but every time this year I look around and notice my life’s gotten a little bit country, and it gives me all the warm fuzzies. I love bringing pumpkins inside, making garlands with natural elements, and giving center stage to my two favorite colors: orange and yellow. Pop a spice cake in the oven, warm some mulled cider on the stove, and I’m in paradise!

I thought before all the leaves have fallen and Christmastime is here, I should take a moment to remember what Fall looks like in our home, and share a few photos of the fam.

hay ride

I’ve always enjoyed decorating for Fall and Christmastime, and now that Lucy’s old enough to enjoy the decorations, it’s become so much more special! Her favorite is the pumpkins, and she hasn’t even decorated one yet! That’s next on the docket, and I think it might blow her mind. Of course, it’s really not just the colors, but all the fun activities that make this time of year special. We’ve been to pumpkin patches and apple orchards, experienced hayrides and bonfires, and I really enjoy the coziness that abounds with nights in together as a family in warm sweaters with hot drinks in our hands.

The look on Lucy’s face (above) during our hayride really captures the wonder of it all. Fall really is the best time of year in the midwest. I never want it to end!

maize valley pumpkin patch

childhood in the fall

rustic style in a modern home

fall decor in a modern home

rustic storage cabinet in a modern home

glass pumpkins

fall decor in a modern home

rustic style in a modern home

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