Weekly Wrap Up (Week of June 18th-June 24th)

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This past week I’ve been busy brainstorming like made for new bath and body recipes and I’m so excited to get started on my new to do list! Some of the projects I plan to share will also be a part of what I’ve coined my Craft & Cocktail Nights that I’ll be having about every other week with my friends. The first one is tonight and we’ll be making DIY nail polishes using a suspension nail polish base, micas and glitters.

Painting wooden birdhouses!

In actuality, since I moved back to Roanoke and am once again in close proximity of some of my favorite and true blue friends, I kind of have a craft & cocktail night anyway about once a week with someone near and dear.

Craft & Cocktail Night! Painting wooden birdhouses.

Those projects, however, are typically one on one on a night there are no kids and my husband has his weekly band practice. I often use those nights for experimenting like mad. Sometimes those creations make it to the blog. Other times they don’t.

Craft & Cocktail Night! Painting wooden birdhouses.

This past Thursday my husband’s band, Virginia Electric, actually had a gig so we skipped the weekly craft shindig for music. I headed out to hear my husband’s band play and my friend Bambi hit a local venue to hear her friend’s band. The Thursday before however, we tried two new fab red wines and painted birdhouses.

Craft & Cocktail Night! Painting wooden birdhouses.

Craft & Cocktail Night! Painting wooden birdhouses.

It was ridiculously enjoyable. We did get a little crazy though when I thought it’d be a marvelous idea to paint the kitchen tabletop. (If you follow me on instagram it’s likely you’ve already seen that disaster.)

Craft & Cocktail Night.

We sort of got WAY into it and the whole incident became a “blow off steam/sensory play” experience. It was quite fun and I recommend everyone do it at least once in their lives – but definitely do it outside.

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The tabletop ended up looking like a smear of mud so in the end, I cleaned off the tabletop – leaving only a few streaks of glitter behind that didn’t come off – and slaved a bit over the kitchen clean up. We had started by splattering paint and squirting it onto the table so by the end of the night there was paint on the floor and the walls and randomly in the strangest of places.

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My husband was rightfully a bit miffed. It was quite the disaster to walk in on. And he walked in as I was attempting to mop the kitchen floor – a feat that only made the floor look worse. Think a film of a mud like colored substance everywhere the mop had been. So I got down and dirty with towels and kitchen cleaner and pretty much scrubbed the kitchen floor on my hands and knees along with the table, chairs, walls and even the sides of the cabinets. Thus, should you ever repeat this exercise in complete lack of self control, I highly recommend you take it outside.

The next day there were muddy paint footprints I scrubbed off the wood floor – along with Bambi who had her own footprints she took home with her.

Still, there were and are no regrets because it was the most amazing time! And luckily, having spent quite a few years raising two daughters, my husband was a lot more understanding than I would have been had I walked in on the same disastrous aftermath.

If you want to paint your own birdhouses, this is actually a great project for the family if you skip the cocktail part of it. You can find the birdhouses online at Target.com here. (I hadn’t seen these at my local Target, but they also tend to sell out of crafty supplies and materials there rather quickly.)

Some other wonderful things I’ve enjoyed this week include this beautiful handmade soap from Lavish Clean Intentions. It’s scented with spearmint and eucalyptus and is one of my favorite handmade soaps shared using the hashtag #soapdelishowoff on instagram this week.

I’ve also found a new favorite white wine –  Three Thieves 2015 Pinot Grigio. It’s a steal at $10 a bottle and of course, there’s an additional dollar off per bottle when I buy six at Kroger!

As there’s always a question about using preservatives in homemade skin care products, a great article I recently rediscovered and pinned to my DIY Bath and Body Pinterest board is this one from Soap Queen blog. It will help you answer the question as to whether or not your homemade product needs a preservative. And if so, what is the best preservative to use for your product type.

These DIY Pork Dumplings from HelloFresh are AMAZING!

I’m also in love with the Pork Dumplings Recipe from HelloFresh. This is the second time I’ve ordered this meal with my box as it’s so amazing! I’m cooking this for dinner tonight pre-party. If you’re not a HelloFresh subscriber you can sign up here and get $40 off your first order.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend and that you all have a super creative inspiring week next week! See you then!

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Pinterest Inspired DIY Artwork for Home & Office

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DIY Crayon Canvas ArtworkMy co-worker Erica, who made me a set of lovely coasters last Christmas, has been getting her craft on recently to bring some new life to her office here at work. Inspired by projects she discovered on Pinterest, she created a lovely collection of new “attire” for her blank walls. (Please excuse the quality of these pics. I photographed them with my cell phone.)

Crayon Canvas Paintings - DIY Art Project for your walls that's both inexpensive and easyErica made these crayon “paintings” from a box of crayons – with back to school right around the corner you can pick these up for super cheap! – artist canvas, a hot glue gun and a hair dryer. Simply use a hot glue gun to glue crayons along the top of a blank canvas, then use a hair dryer to melt the crayons so the colors run down the canvas creating a one of kind work of art.

Mod Podge Scrapbook Paper Wall Covering Art DIYThese works of art were created using square canvases, scrapbook papers, mod podge and paint. Simply cut scrapbook papers to fit the canvas size and use mod podge to adhere the decorative papers to the front of the canvas. Once dry, paint around the sides of the canvas – based on Erica’s paper choices she used brown paint – and lightly brush paint around the edges of the papers on the front. Let dry and hang!

DIY Ruler Clip Board OrganizerErica also made a place to hold and organize her important notes and phone lists she uses on a daily basis. She purchased jumbo clothespins, painted them black then glued them to a yard stick. She initially tried to hot glue the clothespins but found that they didn’t hold with hot glue. I recommended E-6000 glue (craft adhesive) since it holds just about everything and it worked like a charm.

For more ideas for art projects, be sure to visit and follow my Art Class Board on Pinterest. For diy decorating ideas and inspiration, follow my For the Home Board on Pinterest. And finally, for home and office organizing tips and diy’s be sure to follow my Home & Office Organization Board on Pinterest.

DIY Kitchen Makeover – Getting Started

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Moving into a new place always requires a lot of work and a lot of love. But if you really want your place to shine – and not be just another renter – it also requires a little extra elbow grease. I like to treat every place I live or work as if it’s my own. Therefore it receives the same love and care. The one really big thing I want to put some work into first is our new kitchen. It was freshly painted before Scott and I moved in, but in a flat paint and nothing more. Therefore the grease over the stove has bled through the paint and it can’t be cleaned. The cabinets are also a very dull, non-exciting white, and overall the kitchen feels very bland to me. It lacks any kind of personality. My son, Cody, and I decided to start on a few things to give it a cheery makeover until we have more money. First on our to do list was to make a space for notes and honey-do lists for Scott. We decided to apply chalkboard paint to the two outer kitchen cabinets for a little pop and to make it more fun.
Here are the cabinets over the sink before we started. That’s my son, Cody, at the ready with a cordless drill.
Cody took the doors off the cabinets from the actual door. At first we tried to do it the “right” way and remove the hinges from both the cabinet and door, but as it turned out the hinges are attached pretty well to the cabinets courtesy of many layers of paint.
We laid newspaper outside on the back porch and Cody went over each door several times with nice, even layers of Kryon Chalkboard Paint. This was the right cabinet door.

And this was the second cabinet door. He did go back and do the sides as well.

Once the doors dried completely, Cody re-hung them.

After letting them dry for a good 24 hours, we then brightened them up with some chalk.

In the meantime, I’ve also started looking at paint colors to cover the grease in the kitchen and to add a little color while still keeping the space neutral.

These are the colors I have my eye on. (Check out the real deal in Lowe’s stores to get a better idea of the colors. Computer screens I have found vary greatly and even my computer screen doesn’t accurately portray these colors.) I’m thinking the tea stain in a good paint with primer for the walls – it’s only slightly lighter than the colors on the walls now – and the Grandma’s linen for the cabinet structure and remaining cabinet doors. I believe they will tie together beautifully and give the kitchen a little pop without going overboard since we’re renting. We’ve already started on some of the preliminary work. Cody spent much of Saturday pulling nails and screws, tracks that attach to nothing, hooks, etc. left in the walls – of which there were many! So now there’s just hole filler, paint and brushes and rollers to buy and a lot of work ahead!

I’ve also looked all over for spice racks and when I couldn’t find any locally I started pricing them online. I’ve had a love affair for magnetic spice racks for some time, however, I have read multiple complaints about the tins not sealing tightly. In the end I’ve decided to simply buy earth magnets and E6000 glue to adhere to the back of my existing spice containers which I will then store on the side of the fridge in arms’ reach of the stove. (I bought my magnets and glue from CandyTiles on etsy.) As my spice jars run empty I can refill them with bulk, organic herbs I’m able to buy at a discount from Mountain Rose Herbs. And for fun, I’ll decoupage my own hand designed labels to cover the existing herb jar labels. Which reminds me, I need to buy mod podge! I’ll post photos once I get that task completed!

In the meantime, here are some photos what our kitchen looks like one week after moving in.

We’ll be replacing the valances once we have the money and decide on the final wall color. That’s the pantry door to the right.

Another view. You can see there’s no light over the sink. I’m wondering if there’s a battery version we might be able to install there. And then you can see our kitchen radiator under the window.

The stove area along the same wall as the sink. Unfortunately there’s no exhaust vent either and in the winter it can be a tad too cold to open the windows. Any suggestions for options there? As you can see the fridge is right behind the stove so I think the side of the fridge is perfect for putting spices. I also have all handmade magnets on the fridge. There are several fortune cookies pinned to it. My two favorites are: “Happy event will take place shortly in your home.” and “Get your mind set…Confidence will lead you on.”

We have a dishwasher, which is amazing in a house over a hundred years old that’s also a rental. The little alcove behind it is a washer/dryer hook up area.

Does any have other suggestions for improving my kitchen? Thanks so much for taking this little journey with me.

When guinea pigs fly, smiles happen.

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Who cares if plain old pigs fly; what we want to see is guinea pigs fly! When Guinea Pigs Fly is a shop that celebrates the completely adorable but sadly often overlooked and misunderstood guinea pig. Humble, squeaky, fat, always hungry and so cute, When Guinea Pigs Fly is owned by artist Lesley of Burlington, MA. Her indie shop is full of guinea pig artwork and other cute animals that are created to spread smiles to others and live happily in your home.
Frustrated by the lack of art and resources for guinea pig fans on the internet, Lesley soon became aware that not enough people are aware of these fabulous little piggies. Nor can many people actually tell the difference between a guinea pig and a hamster. Worse yet, she discovered, many guinea pig owners do not even know many of the basics for proper guinea pig care. These reasons, combined with Lesley’s love for art in general and her love for her own guinea pigs Gus and Max, sparked the development of her shop – When Guinea Pigs Fly. Lesley, however, doesn’t solely focus on drawing and painting guinea pigs. She has also been working toward including even more animals including otters, hippos, an elephant, and a chipmunk.

When not drawing and painting, Lesley serves as proud music director, composer and accompanist for Cellar Door Productions, a Greater Boston theatre company.

Be sure to visit When Guinea Pigs Fly to add a fun addition to your home.