Thursday, December 31, 2009

Before and After

Another Before and After - I love these!

A dark wood shelf redone in white with a shabby chic touch.  It was a lot of work: sanding and painting in all of the small curves.  I am very happy with how it turned out.





Hang hang in one of two directions with a groove on one side.  Display anything: decorations, plates, pictures...or use as a spice rack.  Great versatility!

*See complete listing at:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tutorial: Affordable Gifts for Kids to Make

My son loves crafting and enjoys giving gifts to cousins and friends.  I don't believe in giving a gift for the sake of giving something.  I want it to be useful and fun!  So last year for the holidays, my son started making gifts. 

He melted down his broken crayons to make a large, multicolored crayons accompanied by a small tablet of paper.  We also made bubble bath of different colors.  Not only did he have fun making gifts and giving them out, his friends and cousins loved them!  Even better?  They didn't cost much!

This year we decided to do craft kits.  He loves crafting as do most kids, so we thought of a fun and very inexpensive DIY kit for kids.

Materials Needed:

- Small containers*
- popsicle sticks*
- glue bottles*
- ribbon
- scissors

*Quantity depends on how many gifts you are making.

We purchased popsicle sticks for $2.29 for a package of 150 at a toy store and glue for $0.19/bottle during the back to school sales.  We used drawers left over from a project I did and a small gift back (reused from last year).

STEP 1 - Tie a handful of popsicle stick with colored ribbon (you can also tie the bottle of glue with the sticks).  If the ribbon seems a little loose, simply slide more sticks down into the tied handful.

STEP 2 - Place in container.

Wasn't that easy?!?

We added a decorative button to the ribbon for an extra touch.  Look around your house and see what you have to decorate these with and for containers (ex. paint soup cans).

*You can also include a note with ideas of what to make with the sticks.

TOTAL COST = About $1.00 each!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Before and After:

I love seeing Before and After pictures, so I try to post them on my blog frequently.  Unfortunately I usually get so excited to redo a piece that I start working on it, then remember to take a picture.  So I finally remembered!

This is a small wood shelf with a great, useful peg.  It was white with some sort of purple design.  Solid and begging for a makeover...

So I sanded it quite a bit, painted it black, then adhered a piece of vintage sheet music to it.  I am very happy with the end result.  I will be adding it to my shop very soon!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Craft Fair Tips For a Fun and Successful Event

We learn so much from doing craft fairs, whether they are successful or not.  My most recent craft fair a couple of weeks ago was quite successful.  My definition of successful is having a fun time and making money while sharing your craft.  That leads me to:

Tip #1: Set a goal.  What do you want to get out of the craft fair?  Then, what do you need to do to reach that goal?
If you want to sell a certain number of pieces or make a certain amount of money, then you need to do what you can to make that happen.  That often means creating more to sell.  I worked very hard for 2 weeks leading up to this craft fair to finish more pieces, but also add new products that may appeal to a craft show crowd.  Thus...

Tip #2:  Know your crowd.  How many people are expected?  Where is marketing occurring?  Where is the event being held? 
All of this can tell you something about who is attending.  You also want to have a range of prices.  Many craft show veterans will tell you that you must have lower priced items for impulse buys.  I created a new line just for craft shows that I can sell inexpensively and then use as free gifts for purchases (at shows and online).  Best if these items are no more than $5.00.  Mine range from $1-2.00.

Tip #3:  Plan your display.  How do you brand your product or your online shop?
Branding is important in a craft show display as well.  You can't just set stuff on a table and expect people to crowd to you and want to buy.  You have to draw them in.  What colors do you want to use or not use?  Think height!  Different levels really appeal to the eye and draw people in and make them want to look at everything.  I also try to set up vignettes, but that may or may not work, depending on what you sell.

**Bonus Tip**  Due to the economy, people are not spending as much as they used to.  Plan for that.
Offer deals for purchases of more than one.  For Example:  Buy one, get one half off OR $2.00 each or 3/$5.00 for example.  When thinking about your inventory, bring a variety but maybe work harder on creating more of your $25.00 and under items.

Those are my tips this time around.  I hope you find them useful.  Please comment with other ideas.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giveaway - Free One-of-a-Kind Piece!

Time for another giveaway!  This is a great little gift box just in time for gift-giving season!  It is a wooden box that I sanded and repainted white with black and sage green stripes.  Finally I distressed it for a shabby chic look.  This is a small box with a hinged lid that is perfect for holding tiny trinkets like rings and other small jewelry.

Contest starts now and ends Friday, December 4th at midnight.  Winner will be notified via e-mail (so be sure I can find your e-mail address) and will have this box shipped to you.  See the rules below for the many ways to enter this giveaway.  Good luck!

1. U.S. and Canada residents only.
2. Post a separate comment for each entry.
3. Enter 3 ways: comment on your favorite item in my shop, follow my blog (and let me know), tweet about my shop or this giveaway and put the link in a comment. This is a total of 4 potential entries into the giveaway.
4. Giveaway ends Friday, December 4th at midnight. Winner will be notified via e-mail the following weekend so please be sure I can locate your e-mail in your profile or comment.
5. Winner chosen at random from qualifying entries.

For more One-of-a-Kind shabby chic pieces, visit:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Craft Fair Tips for Reducing Costs

In honor of the craft fair I have coming up this weekend, I have decided to finally blog about what I have learned already.  The focus is Saving Money when preparing to do a craft fair.  The costs add up (I learned), so you have to save where you can!  My first stop?  Our local dollar store! 

I found white paper bags with handles in different sizes...cost = 2/$1.00.  I then bought some tissue paper to place inside, hole punch, and tape ($1.00 each - dollar store, remember?).  I then used ribbon I already had to tie my business cards to the bag handles.  Total cost was less than $0.60/bag.  *I use small white or colored paper bags for smaller items.

Next, I needed pieces to display my creations on in my booth.  I called family and friends for table cloths to cover my ugly tables.  Cost = free and some I was told I could keep!  So my tables looked good, but I need to go vertical.  I found this shelf on craigslist and paid $5.00 for it, then painted it white with paint I already had sitting in the garage.

Last 2 ideas (for now):
  • a coupon holder to hold your cash so that you can sort it by amount and not have to search for change ($1.00 at...yep - the dollar store!

  • business card holder from a garage sale = $1.00!

I am very happy with my finds, but am always looking for new ideas.  Feel free to leave your ideas here to share with others!

Monday, November 16, 2009

How I Lost 10 lbs in 2 Months...and Kept It Off!

Last May I was finally motivated to lose the baby weight from my then almost 2 year-old.  I had 10 lbs. to lose and had not been motivated enough to lose it before then.  I had a bet with my husband of who could lose 10 lbs first (he had baby weight to lose too).  Winner gets a prize of their choice determined at time of bet.  This is very important as it is very motivating!  Well we tied, so we both won - I got a new outfit and he got to go to a sporting event with friends.

But how did I do it???  I just started eating less - really, that's it.  It was that simple (this time around).  The best trick I learned that worked for me was eating off of smaller plates.  Think about china and your grandmother's dishes.  They are much smaller than what we use now and they did not have weight problems like we do now.  So I eat almost all of my meals off of salad plates instead of large dinner plates.

Look at the difference in size.  We can't help but want to fill our plates.  Well if that plate is smaller, then you eat less, but are still satisfied.  A salad plate full of food is the quantity we probably should be eating.  Had I put this meal on a dinner plate, I likely would have eaten 2 bagel sandwiches and a lot more chips and a cookie would probably would have fit there too...  Make this a habit and keep it up and you will maintain your weightloss.  (For me, this is all without increasing exercise...that's my next goal.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Before and After - Mail/Desk Organizer

Found two of these mail organizers that desperately needed help.  One was red and white, the other was this green.  Both with a glossy finish - yikes!  (The picture is after some sanding.)

So after a lot of sanding, a coat of primer, and many coats of starting looking much better.  I painted one black and stencil painted a floral design on the front. 

The other I painted white and added a transfer to the front, then sealed with a matte finish seal.  I love how they turned out!  Both are available in my shop where you can see more pictures.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What is it???

So all of you sharp readers must have an idea about this one!  I found this great wooden...something or other at a thrift shop.  I love wood and it was in good shape, so I bought it.  I bought it not having a clue what it was! 

So now to the point of this blog post. . . I would love to know what this is!  Or you can tell me what great upcycle piece I could make it into.  I have some ideas, but would love to read yours.  Please comment with any ideas you have.  Thanks!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Festivities - Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

Fall is in full force. Leaves are changing colors and falling. Raked piles invite children to play. Recently we visited a local pumpkin patch for an afternoon of fall fun. We found a family farm where they have a corn maze, petting zoo, pony rides, tractor hay rides and plenty of fresh crops!

We started our visit with the hay stack fort where children can explore inside and climb outside. Next we took a hay ride to the corn maze where we got only a little lost. In the corn maze we "discovered" a castle where the kids can climb to the top and go down a long slide.

Then to the pumpkin patch to find the "perfect" pumpkin. My daughter enjoyed riding in the wheelbarrow. After all of this fun we enjoyed a snack of cinnamon oatmeal scones they bake and sell along with many other goodies.

Then time to load up with other harvest fruits and vegies. We left with 2 large pumpkins, half a dozen apples, an acorn squash, strawberries, and 2 small gourds. The afternoon was fun for all and we left with some delicious food for later.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I am sponsoring another giveaway here on my blog in celebration of a new line I am introducing in my shop:

You can find a number of these great paper gift boxes in my shop. I love making them and currently have 2 sizes and quite a few different designs. They are great for party favors for:
- wedding showers
- baby showers
- dinner parties
- birthday parties
- stocking stuffers
- just because

The winner of this giveaway will receive 3 small gift boxes and 2 bonus envelopes - just the right size for business cards and gift cards. Just in time for the gift-giving season!

1. U.S. and Canada residents only.
2. Post separate comment for each entry.
3. Enter 3 ways: comment on your favorite item in my shop, follow my blog (and let me know), tweet about my shop or this giveaway and put the link in a comment. This is a total of 4 potential entries into the giveaway.
4. Giveaway ends Friday, October 30th at midnight. Winner will be notified via e-mail the following weekend so please be sure I can locate your e-mail in your profile or comment.
5. Winner chosen at random from qualifying entries.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Buffet Redo

Another find that needed some work - a buffet! I bought this for $20.00 at an estate sale over 2 years ago and finally got to it last week. My husband is thankful that there is one less piece in the garage. Little does he know that I see it as space for my next project!

So it was a varnished piece with significant damage in the form of water rings. I sanded the top down and re-stained it. Unfortunately it didn't help. I love wood and prefer to refinish quality wood furniture without painting if possible. It was not possible and the next best color to me was white!

The "Before" pictures are after I sanded the entire piece. It took about 6 coats of paint (and a coat of primer) and a span of about 5 days in our cold, damp weather.

I also re-used the original knobs, simply painting them silver. (They were bronze.) Very excited to have new, attractive storage in our kitchen. It is currently empty, but know it will definitely come in handy with this upcoming holiday season full of family get-togethers. Can't wait!

Friday, October 16, 2009

ReUse Tip for Spray Painting

Often when I am spray painting I like to elevate the item I am painting. One reason is that the piece being painted can end up stuck to the paper or cardboard beneath. I use the cap from the spray paint can itself to elevate the piece.

Usually 2 caps are enough, but you can use more as needed. Simply spread them out to the edge of where you will be placing to item to be spray painted, then place the item on top and paint. Once it is dry, turn it over and spray paint the other side.

*I have even used these under the corners of furniture to be able - to paint to the base of a table, chair or dresser. It works great! Happy painting!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Final Blooms of Fall

Sadly, summer has come to an end and we are now seeing some of the final blooming flowers of Fall here in Oregon. Excited to have these beautiful pictures up on my blog so that I can look at them through the Winter which can be depressing here where the skies are grey for months straight.

Beautiful blue skies and the sun shining today, along with these beautiful blooms inspired me to take some pictures which I may print and frame for a special place in our home.

And Fall is here: the leaves are changing - gold, yellow, orange, red, and some still green. The beauty of the season is everywhere this time of year.

(Please excuse the yard - we are redoing our lawn.)

*I own rights to all pictures in this post.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Visit to the Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest is a magical place for children here in Salem Oregon. It is an amusement park and more with a fairy tale theme. Because of the Oregon weather, the park is only open from the end of March to the end of September. Closing day was this past Sunday and that is when we went.

I enjoyed Enchanted Forest as a child and now get to enjoy taking my kids. Some activities they loved and wanted to do over and over, others they were scared of, and many made their inquisitive minds want to explore.

Some of the exhibits are to look at, most are to interact with, and all are intriguing to young children. Above they are making a marionette dance and my daughter is noticing the "big bad wolf" from Little Red Riding Hood.

While we ate lunch we watched a water show with colorful lights and music. It is amazing how entertaining that is to a 2 year-old! It was a fun day and we can't wait until next year to do it again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Line in My Shop

I am very excited to announce a new line in my Etsy shop. Last week I introduced a new line of One-of-a-Kind (OOAK) small drawer sets. They are so much fun to make!
I currently have 3 of these in my shop and will be adding more soon. I am working on them now!

I selected these because of their multiple uses and because of their quality. A lot of newly-made wood products are light-weight, come apart and are simply cheap. I found these drawer sets to be well made and I search through dozens to find the ones with the even drawers, knobs... So you can know that each one is hand-selected before I even begin work on it.

Uses for these great pieces are virtually endless. They can go in a bedroom for holding jewelry, a little girls room for hair accessories, an office for supplies: tags, tape, staples, paperclips or a studio for a number of supplies: sewing notions, stamps, beads...

I start by sanding every surface of the drawers and the base. I then paint the entire piece white, then adhere decorative paper to the top and sides, sanding the edges for a finished edge. I then paint the drawers (usually) to coordinate with the paper on the top and sides. Finally I paint and attach wood bead or ball legs to the bottom.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shabby Chic Room Inspiration

I love looking through magazines and on the internet for beautiful home interiors, especially shabby chic (my favorite). I find the pictures inspiring for creating new pieces for my shop, but they are also very inspiring for creating a new room or space. I hope you find these beautiful pictures as inspiring as I do. Find tips below for creating or enhancing your own shabby chic space.

Must-haves of shabby chic design: 1) distressed furniture, 2) slipcovers, 3) florals, 4) old rugs, 5) mismatched pieces.

Keep colors muted: a lot of white or cream with pastels. Combine patterns and colors.

Be creative! Repurpose a chair to use as a side table or old vintage suitcases or an antique trunk for a coffee table. Use your imagination.

*Some tips adapted from