Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Felt Car Air Freshener

I'm so sorry I didn't post this Tuesday, this week has totally gotten away from me. But, I wanted to get on here anyway and wish you all a Happy Easter! I'm really excited to get a little extra time with my husband and possibly do a little yard work!

Also, I thought I'd share this little craft that I just finished today. I'm very happy with the way it turned out even if it's not as fancy as the one where I got the idea from, you can check out the entire tutorial at Design Sponge.

But, I'm really happy I made them (one for my car, one for my husband's) because its something that you can keep using by just putting a few drops of essential oil on the felt. I filled mine with the suggested lavender flowers and then I put about six drops of lavender essential oil in each just to make it extra strong smelling.

I was originally going to make a flower for myself, but then I saw these on Pinterest and thought what a nice alternative because it would be something my husband wouldn't be embarrassed to hang in his car!

I hope you give them a try!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My First Real Attempt at Indoor Seed Starting

I'm calling this my first REAL attempt at indoor seed starting because a few years back I tried starting seedlings indoors in egg shells. I put them by a sunny window, watered them faithfully and saw no sprouting whatsoever. So, this year now that I have my own yard, a nice sunny one at that, I'm ready to have a real garden. I'm still sticking to raised beds, but I plan on a good harvest and since we are poor first-time home buyers we need to save where we can, so I really wanted to start my own seedlings. I think the biggest help that I've had in doing this well three things to be exact. First being that the previous owner left this awesome grow light, I had to put new bulbs in but it was all put together. I rigged it up in a closet with hangers and hooks above a bookcase. Its pretty sturdy and most important is that my daughter cannot reach it : )

I started off with some old herb seeds in the tins and made newspaper pots for the new seeds. This is where my second helper comes in. My sister-in-law introduced me to this book called Little House in the Suburbs it is full of great information on making your home and yard sustainable no matter where you live. So, I scoured their website for gardening information and came up with these newspaper pots which I thought were such a great way to save money and they were fairly easy to make if not a little time consuming.

And as you can see after two weeks my seedlings did begin to pop out! Now, for my third helper in this story. I don't know if they would have popped out so soon if it wasn't for my sister suggesting a little celophane over top of the pots. As soon as I put a layer over them it kept them moistened longer and very soon they started to come out of their shell. I really think the celophane did the trick with these ones. I keep a spray bottle full of water right next to them and spray them a few times a day. I feel like they are my little children because I keep checking on them all day seeing if they need water and who has come up and who hasn't. It is so much fun! 

Only one of my herbs survived which I'm excited about because they were old seeds. I just don't know what herb it is! 

Well, as you can see I'm truly a beginner in this arena and would love your advice, comments and thoughts on how you go about starting your seeds or if this inspires you to start your first seeds. Like I said I got most of my information from scouring Little House in the Suburbs website. You will find most everything you need right there to start your own seeds and garden.

I will keep you updated on how my seeds do in the future!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My First Furniture Makeover with Chalk Paint

I'm really excited to share this makeover with you today! First, because it was my first time using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint, which is a very unique paint and was extremely different than anything else I've ever used. Second, because I am so thrilled with how the piece turned out and finally because I want to inspire you to do something of your own!

I picked up my piece of furniture at the second hand store for $50, it was nicked up and chewed up by a dog, it smelled old and was ugly, but it was the right size and look I wanted for this project. The nicks and chew marks got covered up by the paint and at the same time brought some character to the piece. This dresser is now in our bedroom and I plan to put a mirror above it which I'll show you next week.

The paint was extremely easy to work with and distressed so beautifully it was almost like magic watching it come off so perfectly and revealing just the right kind of distressed look I wanted. I spent the extra $50 for a glass table top because I like the protection it provides but more than that I like the sophisticated look it brings. I have two other dressers with glass tops and love them. The hardware was really difficult to figure out, I didn't want to spend anymore money on this thing than I already had, but I wanted something really pretty of course! My neighbor had a bunch of hardware that she let me try, but nothing was working so I ended up just washing the old hardware and using that. I like the kind of dirty worn look it gives.

Okay, so enough about the piece and how much I like it! I want to give you my thoughts on the chalk paint and a resource that I found really helpful.

 Don't water down paint unless that is the look you want: I first tried watering down the paint thinking it would make it last longer, because that is what I had read. But, instead for this piece it did not provide the coverage I was looking for and I think I ended up using more paint because I had to go over it a third time to get the coverage I needed since that first watered down coat didn't do much.

Shellac especially if you are unsure: On the container of the paint can it tells you a little about shellacking older pieces that might bleed through the paint. I was pretty sure that my piece wouldn't do that, but it did, so I ended up having to use more paint to try and cover it up and the few spots that I couldn't get covered is where I had to distress to mask the spot.

Apply more paint to get a smooth finish: Because the paint tends to dry quickly I found that applying more paint and doing one final smooth stroke across the entire surface helped me get a smoother finish. You can see more about this on The Purple Painted Lady you tube video. I was getting a lot of yucky brush marks when I tried to apply the paint in sections because that is the advice I read about. Also, the paint doesn't dry as smoothly as everything I'd read suggested, so this technique really helped get a smoother finish.

So, as you can see I kind of struggled while painting and I kept regretting spending all this money on one quart of paint, but when all was said and done, I absolutely loved the results! It was the look I've been wanting, it was easy to work with, it was not smelly, I could work with it anywhere in the house, it was easy to clean up (soap and warm water) and it really does turn out so beautiful. I would highly recommend this paint to anyone who wants to do a lot of furniture repainting in their home.

The website that really helped me go into this with a little knowledge is the blog Perfectly Imperfect she has a lot of great tips and videos to help you get started!

I sure hope you give this a try if you haven't already and if you have I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for using chalk paint!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Things I'm Loving

First, I apologize for not planning this post earlier, because this is one that I'm just throwing together at the last minute, another "things I'm loving" post! I'm currently in the middle of some really fun makeover projects/craft projects, but just don't have them put together enough to post about. So, for now I'm just going to share about some things that I'm currently loving right now!

Right now I'm enjoying one of my new favorite movie's! Frozen has been surprisingly enjoyable, funny, sweet and moving. I was very turned off by the previews and refused to see the movie at the theater because I didn't want to waste my money. But, I just rented it to watch it with my daughter and was so surprise at how much I enjoyed it, and now I want to buy it so I can hear "Let it go" whenever I want!

For some creative down time I've really been enjoying Elise's blog post's on watercolor tutorials, which you can see at Grow Creative. They are so simple and beautiful. I think that she makes it easy enough for anyone to accomplish. I have a small amount of experience working with watercolors, but she puts her tutorials in such a way that made me interested in picking up the paints again and I love the results!

This is the item that I'm most excited to share with you! Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint has opened up so many creative doors for me. I can see so many makeover's that will now be so much easier and accessible because I will be able to accomplish them on my own with this amazing paint! I confess it is pricey and with the first purchase you also have to buy the wax, but it was totally worth it. I will share soon my first makeover with this paint, but for now you will just have to trust me when I say that this paint is awesome! You can check out Perfectly Imperfect Blog for more info.

I don't know how I came upon this blog, but I'm so glad I did! Jenni RainCloud has so many amazing homemade skin care recipes that are inexpensive and truly effective. The latest recipe that I tried is this oil balm cleanser.  If you are interested in detoxing your toiletry products for all-natural ones this is a great website to start with!

So, that's it! For now anyways, I really enjoy doing these post's about my latest favorites, so you'll probably be seeing more of them!

Let me know what you've been enjoying lately, or if you end up try any of these!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Buying Local

 I have really been impressed upon to start buying as many of my products from small local retailers as possible.

It started with a conversation with a friend who owns a small shop of up-cycled furniture and gifts. She was telling me how she buys everything from small local retailers like herself. Now that she has a store herself she knows what its like and how important it is to support one another and to have support from the general public. She said that she hadn't been to Target for a long time and doesn't intend to shop there anymore.

I thought that was pretty amazing and inspiring. I don't own a shop and do not fully understand where she is coming from (because I shop at Target a lot) but I'm trying to make a side business out of selling my homemade lotions and salves and understand how important it is to have the communities support. 

I love unique items and my quest in this venture has turned out to be extremely rewarding. I'm not only finding unique items that I love, but I'm supporting my community and building relationships. It is much more exciting shopping at a small local store than going to somewhere like Walmart and just feeling so insignificant and not getting the individual help you may need and buying cheap run of the mill products.

For example, I bought this lovely handmade pillow from my friends shop that I mentioned above. It fit perfectly with my daughters color scheme and brings comfort to her glider.

This antique lamp I bought at a similar store as my friends and just love it! It was exactly what I was looking for for my daughters room and I love the fact that its one of a kind!

My friend also offers craft night's at her store in the evenings, which is such a welcomed activity in our community. A lot of mother's needing a break from home come out and enjoy an easy craft that anyone can accomplish. This one below is a decoupaged canvas. We first painted the canvas, let it dry, then sanded it along the edges for a distressed look. She then had many, many petals cut out for us to design a flower. I laid out my design and then using modge podge glued each piece down. Then we finished with coating the entire picture in modge podge. I did mine in the colors for my daughters room. This was such a fun activity and such a nice way to get out of the house and relax!

So, I encourage you to look more deeply into what your community offers as far as local retailers, maybe farmers markets, and activities. Its a great way to support your community and get involved!

Do you already support your community? In what ways? I love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Decoupaged Bins

I'm still on my quest to reinvent our new home. I have been taking whatever I can from around the house and trying to up-cycle it/reuse it in a different way before I just go buying new stuff. These decoupaged galvanized bins was one way I could add color to my daughters room without spending too much money and also recycling at the same time!

This is what the bins looked like before I decoupaged them with scrap-booking paper. 

They were fine, I had purchased them a few years back from Target. It just wasn't the color scheme I was going for in my daughter's room, but they were perfect for holding her stuffed animals and other miscellaneous toys. So, I bought some paper and glued it on! As you can see with this one I cut the paper into squares, but I only got so far with doing that. I would have loved to do them all like that, but it was just too much work! So, the other side is just a plain sheet of paper.

The one below show's how I did just the one sheet of paper and then the sides with various squares in order to get around the handles.

Over all I'm very happy with the way they turned out. I especially like the paper I picked out, it was a little more than I would have preferred to spend, but some of the paper has white glitter on it which makes it really pretty for a little girls room and adds texture.

What do you think of this re-do? Do you decoupage a lot? What is the craziest thing you've ever decoupaged?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Inexpensive Curtains

First of all I apologize for not having very good pictures and very good content today. I feel like now that I'm only posting once a week I want that one post to be excellent, but that just isn't going to happen. I don't have the time nor the quality camera that I would like to produce amazing photo's, so for now PicMonkey will have to do.

I must say that I've been enjoying the extra time with my daughter, working on my house and putting new items on Etsy. I feel just a little bit more carefree, which I'm not naturally prone to feel. I even got a massage!

I know that this is probably not new to you, but I found this post on Pinterest at A Home West that used sheets for curtains. The idea really intrigued me especially after making my daughter's curtains which you can see here. I really thought that this might work. Looking at the pictures now I see I might need a little improvement. I know that I definitely need to paint the wood work around the windows white, but I think I might need some curtain hold backs as well, at least on the larger window. The picture below shows off our awfully old and beat up bedding and also reveals that we are in desperate need of a headboard. We are waiting on a king-sized bed and currently are holding an rod-iron bed frame for when that time comes. So, all in all I think it will turn out looking alright. If not, the curtains were only $20 and the rods were $26, so if I don't like how it all turns out in the end I won't sweat it : ) 

What do you think of using sheets as curtains?

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