About jolenebalyeat

I am a wife and mother who is constantly designing and creating prototypes of things that inspire. Whether it is through graphic, interior, or product design, I love to innovate. I am drawn to things that are beautiful because I believe they point to the Ultimate Designer, my heavenly Father and the source of all creativity.

A Home for the Holidays

WelcomeThere are seasons in life where things feel pretty predictable and then everything turns upside down and you realize, as you are tearing down a surprising path at mock eight, that before you had only been on the slow uphill climb of a roller coaster.  Holding on is all you can think of, because the adventure just got real.

Sometime this past summer, my husband had a co-worker transfer from Missoula, MT three hours away to an office just outside of Bozeman.  Jake had just been there for business and remarked that he couldn’t shake the feeling every time he drove into town that it felt like home.  As he had been saying things like this for 3 years, I suggested we explore whether it was God’s will for us to move.  I kinda hate open files and Missoula always felt temporary to us, so the uncertainty of where we were to be was getting old.  I called his co worker on the spot (who was driving a moving truck at the moment) and asked how they knew, how they planned, etc.  To my surprise, they just picked up and went.

Then things got crazy.  As I was coming downstairs someone was knocking on the door of our little house.  It was a realtor, asking if we might be interested in listing.  Surprised, I said, “no” but as I went to tell Jake how bizarre it was that a realtor had just been at our door, it hit me, maybe this was a “God-thing.”  So I opened the front door again to step outside.  This time my neighbor, a mortgage broker who was working in her yard, hollers over, “Hey, don’t list your house with her, I may be interested in buying it.” This was just too much to be a coincidence in my book, so Sunday we drove to Bozeman, were able to stay at a lovely inn, meet a mortgage broker getting pre-approved, find a realtor, view houses, visit the fencing (sport) club, interview at Petra Academy, a private school for our kiddo, and return home Tuesday…with no pre-planning.  Bozeman was definitely not a “closed-door.”

I updated pictures of our house on Zillow, and without officially listing it, we had a lot of interest right away; agents emailing us that they had clients who wanted to see it and would we consider a finder’s fee, etc.  We ended up listing with a friend, and selling to a cash buyer who needed us to be out within 3 weeks.

The craziness included Bozeman’s hot housing market, in which one could make a full price offer remotely on a place that had been listed for mere hours and still not get it because of multiple offers coming in.  Bottom line? We had to sell our place without having any idea of where we would end up: house? apartment? condo? car? homeless?  I don’t wish that kind of stress on anyone, as it makes packing a nightmare.  But we did discover a unique system that was very helpful.  Perhaps a future post about how to move when you don’t know where you are going or how long it will take to get there would be in order?

It turned out that IF you could find a house, appraisers were booked out 60 days and livable apartments just about as far, so our week long stay with relatives turned into 2 months.  If they were knighted “Saints of Hospitality” it wouldn’t be overstated…at all.  Miraculously, we saw a brand new home pop up as an open house.  We stopped by, and I teared up as it was the first house I had seen that had the exact sparkling quartz counter tops on my dream list.  Learning that it may come back on the market as the sale was falling apart, I scarcely dared hope that things could work out for us to live here.  But God’s goodness exceeded our wildest expectations, and the day we were scheduled to sign a lease on a microscopic apartment, instead we submitted an offer on our lovely new home.  God blessed us with a home for the holidays, and every day my heart overflows with gratitude for his provision.  Hope you enjoy the photo tour!

Exterior FrontLiving RoomChristmas Tree Horizontal

Livingroom Couch Corner Vertical

There is a story coming soon behind this up-cycled coffee table!

Kitchen EntryKitchenBanisterKitchen VerticalHallMaster BedroomMaster Bathroom ArchFaux Fireplace CornerMaster Bathroom VanityMaster Bedroom Arch HorizontalMedia Corner HorizontalMedia Corner to OfficeOffice Corner with ChairOffice CornerOffice to BathroomJack and Jill BathroomBunkBed

Cat ArtCat CurtainsLegosInspirational Scripture: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 ESV











Sweet Dreams

BedAfterThere are a couple things I kind of dread: When my husband is going to be out of town for business, and when I have a project captivating my imagination that is going to require tearing up an entire room, and perhaps a week of a mess, to complete. So why not combine the two, right? (Only a million reasons, I know!) But sometimes reason has to be put in its place for the sake of vision. And I’m happy to report that in this case, it was done successfully!

The last few years have been a bit of a wild ride, and to make a long story short, with a move for additional schooling, a career change leading to more moves, and a brief adventure (read 8 months) of living in and remodeling an RV leading up to the purchase of our current home, we loaned and gave away a few belongings. One was our bed. I don’t regret it at all, but after about two years of sleepless nights sharing a double bed, which was actually my son’s “grow with me crib”, my husband decided we needed a king.

OldCribBedThe funny thing is, although lovely, our house is quite small. A queen barely would have fit upstairs, and the double left enough marks going down that some drywall repair is needed (still!) Anyway, the dream of sleep won out over practicality, so we got the king bed and decided it was worth removing the window and sacrificing floor space to ensure a peaceful slumber. Providentially, we got this headboard from Craigslist for around $50, just in time to get it in through the window while it was out. I had intended to paint it from the start, and so after my gracious husband raised the headboard 9″ higher so it could be more visible above the pillows, I finally completed it this week!

BedBeforeBedDuringPaintFor the process I used Rust-oleum’s Cabinet Refinishing Kit, and although it says you don’t need primer, we have done a kitchen, fireplace mantel, desk, file cabinet, 2 credenzas, and a bookcase, with this product, and like the result with the primer much better than without. One of these days I’ll have to blog before and after photos of my kitchen, so you can see what I mean…I didn’t prime the cabinets, and the wood grain shows too much in my opinion. Anyway I modified their process: light sanding, deglosser, rinse, prime with a random Zinsser product, bond coat, bond coat again, glaze (antiquing), clear coat sealer.

So far I’m loving the results! The crown pillow is one of my design prototypes on which I’ve been thinking of doing a tutorial. The story behind the design of the crown can be found in the post Crown of Beauty.  I’ll have to update this post if I decide to make the pillow project available on Spoonflower.  Should it be a DIY kit or a finished product? Let me know what you think!

BedAfterIGInspirational Scripture: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:2 (NIV)

Reflection of His Love


More than 20 years ago, I saw a beautiful stained glass window depicting the outstretched arm of my Lord on the cross. When I approached to take a closer look, I was overwhelmed to catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror glass that the artist used for the nail piercing his wrist. It was powerful. Back then I understood that my sin put him on that cross. I’ve grown to understand that it was his love for me that kept him there. His love for each of us. I wanted to try to share that experience, and because the little church we attend in Hamilton, Montana encourages art as one of many expressions of worship, I have been slowly learning about pastels. In the post Anticipating Spring, I described my crazy hunt for a mirror material.  Now you know what pastels and mirror have in common.

If you are like me, trying something new requires risk for there is a huge gap between starting the learning process and any sort of proficiency where communicating through the art is possible. I’ve met people so secure in love and unbound by fear that they have no worries of failure. I aspire to be one someday. In the meantime “punch fear in the face” is a motto I say to myself when I have to get to the other side of a chasm and fear is the first obstacle to overcome. We can overcome fear with a reflection of his love.

For months this piece was forming in my mind, and as I planned out the project, I felt a nervous excitement welling up inside. Would my novice attempt be able to illustrate at all what love looked like? Sunday morning came and everything culminated during the worship service as stroke by stroke I once again saw you and I, beloved of his creation, reflected in the suffering of his incomprehensible act of love. He laid down his life with hope that you and I would accept his gift. I am so glad that filled with the Father’s love, he overcame fear, sin, sickness, death, and the grave. Aren’t you? Thank you, Jesus, and Happy Valentine’s Day, from one who loves you back, with all her ideas, doodles, and drawings.

Inspirational Scriptures:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Anticipating Spring


I get a kick out of going to the hardware store fully intending on getting something to use for a purpose the manufacturer never intended.  This hardware store hack flowerpot makeover was an accidental discovery. Here is how it began.  I was looking for a silver metal tape that is usually used for duct work in order to use it on a pastel painting.  (You’ll have to wait for my blog post to find out why a mirror surface was needed for my pastel painting!)

As we exited the Duck tape aisle, I told my Lowes personal shopper that you would think they would call it “duckt tape” (Yep, it sounded funnier in my head.)  When we found the duct tape, it had 3M stamped in red all over it which wasn’t going to work and the other brand was not very mirror-like.  So I grabbed some Underlayment Tape just in case I couldn’t find the perfect solution.  As I was leaving, another personal shopper suggested I try an auto parts store.  (Yeah, I know that Lowes’ employee’s aren’t technically personal shoppers, but they sure can be a ray of sunshine on a cold winter’s day… even more so if their courtesy extended to laughing at my jokes.)   Anyway, he was brilliant and so I did.Underlayment Tape

At the auto parts store I found a Cut-to-Fit Mirror Replacement Sheet that will work perfectly for the pastel painting.  So I went home to try it out.  Alas, before I could return the underlayment tape, I spied my little flowerpots across the room and they begged me to give them a quick makeover.  So here is the world’s fastest tutorial: Stick pretty tape on plastic terracotta pots.  The End.  They were shiny silver in minutes and I love the added texture from the crinkles.  It was so quick and easy, I just had to share!

Oh, and this little suitcase was quite the find for 50 cents at a local theater’s prop sale!  It is so sweet recovered with my favorite Birch Gift Wrap from Pier1. Hopefully they will carry it again this next Christmas!


Inspirational Scripture:
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” Song of Songs 2:11-12 (NIV)

Rediscovering Dinner


I am loving my dining room!  Now if only some of that love can rub off on my feelings toward cooking!  I’ve met beautiful souls who love to cook and others who love to entertain.  Sometimes these characteristics exist simultaneously in the same person, but for me its the entertaining part of hospitality that I love…the people.  So for the sake of the food, we’d better hope that I managed the meal before everyone arrives, otherwise well… meal shakes anyone?

Busy lives can lead to a sad disconnect from the people around us.  Many people are missing meaningful relationships and conversations.  The effort of getting together is so worth it!  When we found our little house a few years ago, I wanted to create a space where we could share dinner as a family and still have room for guests to join us.  We collected the various pieces over quite a few months, and now we have been enjoying each opportunity to connect with friends, both new and old.

Pier 1 is having a Share the Love Photo Contest on Instagram, and I had to laugh because sooo much of my decor in this room came from their lovely store. I finally created an Instagram account and would be over the moon if I won so visit and favorite my photos! The boxwood wreaths, vintage chic chalkboard (to which I added one of my favorite quotes), champagne colored ornaments suspended from the chandeliers, napkins, napkin rings, glasses, glitter chargers, and salad plates either are or were available from Pier 1.  The French script ribbon used to hang the wreaths came from another favorite of mine, Ballard Designs.  I custom made the linen skirts (inspired by this pic on Pinterest) and sashes for each chair so that I could wash them when little ones come over, and not have to worry about the combination of pizza, or red velvet cake and linen.  The table was inspired by another picture on Pinterest, and in collaboration with a builder, I customized the design to fit our space.  Finally, after months of searching I found a set of vintage Mother of Pearl flatware on eBay, just in time for the holidays!



Inspirational Scripture:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 (NIV)