links I love 7/1/16

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week and have an exciting weekend ahead of you! We don’t have much for weekend plans here, but we did have a fantastic week! As you might have seen, I launched my Etsy store this week! (Want to check it out? Click the “Shop” tab on the top menu!) It’s something I was working on for a long time and I’m so happy to have finally taken that next step! That was most of my focus for the week, but I did have some excitement even outside of that. One of my best friends came to visit, so we got to get some breakfast and go for a hike! She lives out of state, so I only get to see her a couple times a year. We had a great time!

Enjoy!

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My favorite picture of the week! Tammy and I on our hike together 🙂

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Friday Favs: The Links I Love – April 15, 2016

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My favorite picture from the week! I love the weather finally warming up and that happy puppy smile 🙂

Happy Friday everyone! I’m so happy to be back with you all after my small, unplanned hiatus from posting this week! (Next week we will be back to our normal schedule and I have a couples posts I can’t wait for you to see 🙂 ) I don’t know about you, but I am so happy it’s Friday. This week has been a whirlwind of meetings, working on projects and really doing some hard thinking about where I want this blog and my business to go over in the future. There is still a lot of work to do in that area, and even more soul searching, but I’m really happy with what I’m working towards so far! But more on that later. Right now I’m just really excited to be sharing this week’s links I love with you! I found some really neat ones this week, including some from new-to-me blogs!

Enjoy!

Recipes

Classic Croque-Madame from A Cup of Jo

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse from Gimme Some Oven

20 Minute Company Chicken from Iowa Girl Eats

Green Bean Fries from The Lean Green Bean

Home and Decor

Part 1: Come Hang Out in Our Home from The Skinny Confidential – I just have to say “Wow!” and that is really all that’s needed 🙂 This home is amazing. I love the artwork and how light it is!

5 Dreamy Tips for an Inspiring Home Office from Daily Dream Decor – Oh how I wish my home office looked like these….Someday!

Putting Up a New Gallery Wall from Love Taza – This gallery wall is gorgeous! And I had never heard of the framing company they used. I am excited to check them out for one of our own projects!

Family and Life

4 Books to Help You Create a Positive and Healthy Lifestyle from A Yellow Brick Blog – I love when I can find new books to check out! I hadn’t heard of any of these before now and I can’t wait to take a look at them! I especially like the sounds of “The Feelgood Plan”

Update on my 101 in 1001 List from Design Darling – As you saw in my post last week, I love these lists! Seeing someone else working towards theirs (and not their first one either!) plus all the links at the bottom to others doing the same is just awesome to see!

10 Unbelievably Photogenic US National Parks to Explore from A Globe Well Traveled – I can’t wait until I can visit these! I love travel, but haven’t gotten to do much of it lately. And I love being out in nature and in parks, so these are perfect!

Fitness and Wellness

Weighted Core Workout from Pumps and Iron – This looks like a great (and fun!) core workout! And as Nicole states, strengthening your core is so important!

Tuesday Ten: Tips for Managing Stress from Lauren Conrad – Stress can be overwhelming and I love this list! We all need reminders sometimes to take a time out and relax 🙂

Blogging and Business

How to Take Photos of Your Hands for Instagram from Fall For DIY –  Great tutorial! I used to have (still have?) a little bendy tripod like that but never got around to getting the mount for my phone. I might have to look into that now!

What Bloggers Wish You Knew About Blogging from The Private Life of a Girl – While I’m still pretty new at blogging, I can completely relate to a lot of these!

How I Intentionally Schedule My Week as a Creative Business Owner from Jen Carrington – As someone who is about to launch my online store, along with blogging, I love this article. Intentional scheduling and blocking out my week are things I’m still working on developing, but have been helpful so far! I’m sure as I get my schedule down more it will be even better!

That’s it for this week for me! A lot of great posts out there, so I’m sure I missed some! Did I miss your favorite one from the week, or a post you wrote that you are excited about? If so, I would love to hear about them, so leave a comment below with the link. I love to find new links I love!

Sara

DIY Spring Wreath: Spruce Up Your Front Door With a Pop of Color!

Are you all as excited for spring as I am?! While I’m never all that thrilled about winter, I have been going a little stir-crazy the last month or so waiting for the weather to warm up. And yeah, while Iowa isn’t quite done with the cold weather yet, (seriously?! Snow expected this week?!) the beginning of spring does give me hope that eventually we will get to the warmer weather again…hiking, outdoor events, no more coats…I can’t wait!

With anticipating the warmer weather, and the official start of spring, comes the desire to take down all the winter decor and bring in some more color! Only one problem…The only spring wreath I made last year was this one for my mom. So I had no wreath for our front door! (I am also seriously lacking in other spring decor, but that will be a post for another day) It’s a good thing that I absolutely love a chance to try a new DIY project! So, I did what any aspiring DIYer does! I made one for myself!

In 1 hour, add some fun, flair & a pop of color to your door with this DIY! You don't need very many materials or experience to make something all your own!

If you have been with the blog for a while, or on my Instagram, you’ve noticed I tend to stick to the same style of wreath, at least for the base. Pretty much a straw wreath base, wrapped in burlap or yarn. This time I decided to experiment a bit and try a new base! So this is my first attempt at using a grapevine wreath. Overall, I think it went pretty well!

Estimated Time for Project: 1 hour

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Materials Needed:

  • 1 grapevine wreath
  • fake flowers – I used 3 bunches of tulips, in 3 different colors. All but 3-4 individual flowers were used in this project.
  • 1 roll of burlap, any color – I used brown, but a pink or yellow could look really pretty too!
  • wooden inital – Both Draz and my last names start with H, so that seemed like a good choice!
  • paint for initial
  • paintbrush
  • Not pictured: glue gun, twine

Directions:

  1. I started by painting the initial. You want plenty of time for that to dry before you add it on at the end! While that is drying, you can assemble the rest of the wreath. I painted ours a light purple, which sadly didn’t photograph very well. Just trust me. It’s purple!
  2. Trim flowers off of the bunches. I started out with pretty long stems (6+ inches), thinking that would be easier to weave through the grapevine. It ended up getting pretty stuffed pretty quickly! I started trimming them shorter about halfway through, ending up with 3-4 inches being a pretty comfortable length. This leaves you enough to weave through the grapevine without filling it too much. I trimmed some, added those, trimmed more and added those, repeating until I was happy with the amount of flowers on the wreath.Grapevine-wreath-with-tulips-inserted
  3. Move on to your burlap. I made two bows first. Then I wrapped some of the rest of the burlap loosely around the wreath, adjusting until I liked how it looked. I did tie down one part behind the flowers with twine to make it lay a little nicer.
    1. If you feel the need to, this would probably be the point to glue any of the flowers that you want to. I considered it, but decided they didn’t need any. (I actually turned the wreath upside down and shook it around!)
  4. Using the hot glue gun, add your bows to the wreath.Tulips-And-Grapevine-Wreath-With-Burlap-Wrapped-Around-And-Bows-Added
  5. Using the hot glue gun again, attach your wooden initial.

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That’s it! It’s a pretty simple process, but the results are gorgeous! I am in love with how this wreath turned out! I did learn a few things during the process as well:

  • Burlap bows are actually much easier to make pretty than I ever realized! I have actually tried to make things with bows before and I could never get them to look pretty. This time, I had a realization that made them so much easier with a much better looking result! (I am sad I didn’t get pictures of this. I will try to get some next time!)
    • I made a loop with the length of burlap, putting the seam at the middle in the back. Pinch the middle of the loop together and wrap twine around the pinched area a few times, tying in the back to secure. That’s it! It’s so much simpler than anything I tried before.
  • Shorter stems are easier to work with than longer. I know I said that above, but it is definitely worth repeating. SO. MUCH. EASIER.
  • Wire cutters for electrical wire can be used to great effect to cut the stems of fake flowers. I could not find my usual scissors anywhere…nearly dented my nice kitchen shears trying to cut the stems. I then called my dad, who  saved the day (as always)! He suggested using some wire cutters, which we had just used in another project a week ago and I knew where those were. They were even easier than the scissors I normally use!

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I am so happy with how this DIY project turned out! I was a little nervous trying out a new base, but it was so easy to work with and the result was beautiful. I may be making a few new grapevine wreaths in the future.

How are you decorating for spring? Do you like using DIY decor in your home? Are you planning on any new DIY decor for the new season? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara

Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday! We celebrate Christmas and I am loving having an extra day off of my day job this week 🙂 Then this weekend Draz and I are headed to my parents to celebrate with them. I can’t wait to see their house! My mom always goes all out every year for the holidays and it always looks great!

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I hope you have a great holiday, filled with family, friends, love and some delicious food!

Sara (1)

DIY Burlap Trees: A Quick Christmas Decor Project

Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner?! It’s such an exciting, yet busy time of year. Now, I don’t know about you, but I still have a bit of decorating to do. Ok, I still actually have a lot of decorating to do. It’s been a busy couple of weeks! So, if you still have a little decorating to do, or even if you don’t, you might enjoy this quick and easy Christmas DIY!

Materials not shown in the picture:

  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • red beads (or other decorations you may want to use)

Wrap the burlap strip around the capped -tree top-

Steps not show:

  1. I cut down two of the cones with a serrated kitchen knife, so the trees would be 3 different sizes.
  2. The cap for the tree was two squares of burlap glued on the top, overlapping.

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Wrap the burlap strip around the capped -tree top- (2)

Step not shown: Trim off any frayed parts that are sticking out more than you want them to. It’s burlap, so it’s going to have “unraveled” bits either way, but you can clean it up some once the tree is completely covered.

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After I had put on the silver garland, I decided I wasn’t a big fan of the ribbons I had originally thought to use. Instead, I added some red beads to imitate ornaments. I love how this turned out!

And that’s it! This project didn’t take much time at all to finish and is the perfect addition to my snowman collection!

Have you made any new decorations for Christmas? Are you all done decorating, or do you still have some left to do? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Sara (1)

Creating a Craft Room: DIY Upcycled Cabinets and Using What You Have

I’m sure you have all seen beautiful, light-filled craft rooms on Pinterest and blogs, colorful and just waiting to inspire creativity. I have this dream craft room…second-story room, windows with a beautiful view, waist high island with lots of cubbies for storage, colorful and organized. Sadly that room is still a far off dream, but sometimes you have to make due with what you have!

For years I have hidden away materials, only dragging things out to the living room when I had a project (or five) that I was working on. I had a card table permanently overflowing with those materials…it was an eyesore. Finally, a few months back, I decided that was enough!

Now, our basement is not nice, or pretty. But it definitely will work for a craft space.

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I started off clearing out most of the stuff out of the back room and painting the walls. While these are not drywall or anything, the paint helped a lot! Then I upcycled a dresser for some extra storage. If you are interested in what I did for that and missed it, check out this post.

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I moved around some of the furniture and then started on these cabinets! My goal for this room was to use storage items that I already had around the house. Saving extra money is definitely something I’m aiming towards!

These cabinets have been hanging around the basement for YEARS….they were an ugly yellow color, beat up, stained and just overall icky.

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I wiped them down with a cleaning solution, lightly sanded them and painted them with primer. Then started on the white paint.

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Once these were all painted white, doors included, I started on the design I wanted on the top cabinet doors. This is where I had….a bit of a learning experience.

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See these doors? These almost done doors with the pretty fleur de lis? These doors were a learning experience. When painting a design on cabinet doors, it is very important to check which way is up! These doors are upside down. I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment when I went to hang my finished doors and realized I painted them upside down. So on went the primer and the white paint again, followed by repainting the fleur de lis the CORRECT way! I may have triple checked that they were the right way before I started repainting them.

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Finally, the cabinets are finished!

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As for the rest of the room, here is how the dresser is looking now.

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Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of work to do in this room. But it is so much better than it was! I have a space that I can work in, all my materials easily accessible, and now that I’m in the basement I don’t have to worry about glass shards and puppy paws!

Where do you do your crafting? Do you have a dedicated space for it? If so, how did you put it together? I would love to hear your thoughts!

DIY Fall Decor: “Thankful” Flag Banner

How many of you love to decorate for the seasons, but don’t have much extra to spend on decor? Or maybe would just rather add that personal touch and make them yourself? I know I definitely fall into the first category, and usually into the second as well. I would love to have that wonderfully decorated, Pintrest-ready home, but I definitely don’t have the funds for that!

I try to get inspiration from a lot of places, and I’ve seen DIY burlap banners many times. When I wanted to make a fall banner like the ones I had seen, I didn’t have any burlap, but those are definitely what inspired this piece.

Continue on to see how I created a beautiful fall banner with only materials I had on hand!

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On the top, I measured out a dot every 4 inches. On the bottom, I first measured 2 inches in, then followed by measuring every 4 inches again. This allowed for roughly the same size and nice looking triangles.
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My 8 triangles after I cut them!
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Using a hot glue gun, I stretched deep purple fabric over the triangles. I glued down the long sides first and finished with the top. trimming the backs once I was done.
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Stencils were used to create the letters in bright red scrapbooking paper. I found another piece of scrapping paper that had a fall-colored lined design for the circles. I think they look pretty nice together! I was thrilled when I refound that circle cutter in my scrapbooking supplies too! I had completely forgot about it and it made cutting the circles so much easier!
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After lining them all up, I glued each set one by one. It took me a bit to figure out how to make sure the lines stayed where I wanted. I ended up holding the paper steady, turning them over and then tracing the triangle on the back of the circle. This allowed me to glue along the drawn lines, which kept the lines where I wanted them on the triangles!
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After tying a loop on the end of the twine, I glued it on to each corner of the triangle. This was probably the quickest part of this process!

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The finished product!

I really like how this turned out! I think I’m going to make a smaller one for the doorway, but I’m not sure what I want it to say yet. Any ideas?

Have you made any of your decor this year? Tried any new projects?

Spray Painted Tray: Adding a Pop of Color to Your Decor!

Hey everyone! Do you like having a pretty display tray for your perfume, jewelry, or other such items? I know I do! I’ve had one tray for years for just that. I don’t remember where I got it, but I ended up putting it on top of my jewelry armoire and used it to corral my then-larger perfume collection. I’ve since pared that down quite a bit, but I still love that tray!

Well, mostly love that tray. I do love having a decorative glass tray, and the design of the tray is pretty. What I don’t love so much: the color. It’s this kinda off-gold, weird metal color.

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See!? Not the prettiest color, or at least not my preferred color. It looks silver-ish in some light, off-gold in others, but never very pretty. Anyone have any idea what color I could call this?

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Not only am I not fond of the color, but it definitely doesn’t go with the planned colors for our closet remodel (currently underway)!

Enter spray paint! I seriously have a new-found love for spray paint and all of the awesome things it can do. In this case, purple spray paint! DSCN0860_picmonkeyed But I’m getting ahead of myself…

So before painting, it’s important to tape off any areas that you don’t want the spray paint to, well, paint. I wanted to make sure that I got a good seal on the glass right up to the edge, so I started off with the tape actually over the edge and pressed it into the edge.

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I then took an Exacto knife and cut off the excess tape.

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And we are caught back up! Ok, so now that both glass and base (not pictured) are taped off, it’s time to spray paint with that lovely purple color!

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Since the sides of the tray are angled outwards, I sprayed the inside edge first and let it dry. Then I flipped the tray over and painted the outer edge. And it’s done! This really is a quick and simple fix that made such a big impact!

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I love it! The color is so fun and really adds that pop of color that I’m looking for! I can’t wait til I can show you the whole closet remodel, but I think it is going to look great!

What do you think? Have you used spray paint to change a liked item into a loved item? I would love to hear what neat projects you have used it on!

DIY Glass Etching: Personalizing Glass Candle Holders

Decorating the home can be difficult, trying to balance between bringing in your own personality and managing costs. One way I have found to do this is buying things that are basic and inexpensive and then adding my own personality to the item.

Now I am by no means a decorating guru! I am still feeling my way through this journey as my dad and I remodel this house, and this project is just one of the many steps on that journey!

This is not the first time I have done glass etching, but this is the first time that I have made my own stencils for it. At least, it’s the first time I have made them successfully 🙂 I am thrilled with the results!

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I couldn’t seem to get a very good picture of this, but hopefully you get the idea! I have actually had this candle holder for quite a long time, but I finally decided to play with it some and make it my own. I knew I wanted to do glass etching, but there are very few style options in pre-made stencils. So I decided to make my own! Using a roll of Magic Cover Clear Transparent vinyl (like this one), I sketched out a few designs. It took a few practice attempts before I had any success at transferring a stencil to glass, but it’s all part of the learning process! I will detail out some of the difficulties as we go.

As for the designs, I really like the flowing feeling of the scrollwork and wanted to mimic that in my designs for the glass holders. And you may have noticed that I enjoy floral, henna-inspired designs.

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I only took pictures of two out of the five while they were in progress, but they all looked pretty similar. This is the part that I had some difficulty with is earlier practice pieces.

The first attempt was one a spare wine glass. After sketching out a simple floral design, I cut out the design and then tried to transfer it to the glass. It would not line up, no matter what I did! I figured it was the curve of the wine glass, called it a learning experience and moved on. I then tried another practice design on a straight glass and had the same problem.

Overall, both of these practice attempts showed that to successfully transfer the design, I had to apply the vinyl to the glass after I sketched it but before cutting it out. Once I learned this lesson, it worked much better!

After cutting out the design, I applied a coat of the Armour Etch with the paintbrush. While the directions on the bottle say 5 minutes for custom stencils, I found that leaving the Armour Etch for closer to 7 minutes seemed to work a little better.

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Once the 7 minutes was up, I washed the Armour Etch off, removed the vinyl and wiped down the glass with a paper towel.

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I am really happy with how they turned out! I love being able to personalize the decor in our home!

What do you do to bring your personality into your home? Do you like adding your own touches and DIY decor projects?

DIY Painted Lamps: Adventures in Spray Painting and Budget Remodels

Hey everyone! This week is the first of hopefully many (but at least 4) weeks of DIY projects for the home! While I have always loved doing DIY projects, I have never taken much time to develop any real skills at them. At least ones that aren’t art-related.

Now I find myself really getting into them and wanted to learn some new skills as well. We have been working on remodeling our house for a few years now and I have started to get a little frustrated at the lack of cohesion in the decor. Most rooms are a mash-up of items from my childhood, ones given to me or left by past roommates, some art projects I’ve made and a few art pieces I’ve collected.

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