Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Shake it up with Mod Podge™ and McCormick Sea Salt and Pepper Grinders

When on vacation, I always bring some Art and Craft supplies (and some sewing, crocheting supplies, too).  Whenever we stay for an extended time and have a kitchen to use, I want to make it feel  a little like home and a lot like vacation!!  Enter the Plain Grinders...

The taste of freshly ground peppercorns, the twist of the sea salt is perfect for so many of our cooking needs.  But the black and red labels just don't do anything for ambience, for decor....With paper and Mod Podge™ in hand, I quickly transformed them into a beach inspired addition to our table on the balcony!  This project is what I call a snippet.  When you only have a snippet of time or a snippet of supplies, you can transform simple salt and pepper shakers to a decor element that adds to the theme of your party, your celebration, your table and most definitely your food!! Let's get started...


Mod Podge™
Sponge brush
Ink in a coordinating color
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Twine or ribbon
Seashells, embellishments of choice 


1.  Cut paper to cover label and have a little overlap. Ink edges to provide definition

2.  Using sponge brush, apply to Mod Podge™to the paper and then wrap around the bottle, being sure to smooth the paper as you go along.  Set aside to dry.

3.  Apply 2 coats of Mod Podge™ as sealer.  Let dry

4.  For my salt shakers, I added twine and seashells.  Ribbon, twine buttons, charms and even flowers can be used.  

I hope you enjoy this simple project and will add these shakers to your next party!!

Until next time, Shake it up!!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bibs, Blues and Banners - A DIY Baby Shower Part Two

In my earlier post (Part 1),  the baby shower we celebrated was a beautiful blend of ideas and inspirations for sweet baby Logan!  When all the pictures are taken at the shower, it captures the celebration but it doesn't share the preparation and the work (albeit enjoyed).  In Part two of this DIY series, I want to share with you a few projects and plans we made before the actual event, give you tips and ideas on how to create a one of a kind celebration and how to put your own personal touch to the day.

Use a square plate or a basket to collect the wishes

Let's get started with the preparation.  Our shower was to be held in July.  The timeline for invitations, whether email, evite or snail mail, the invitations need to be given 5-6 weeks in advance. So this means getting the guest list is one of the top priorities in preparation.  For our shower, we actually did both paper invitations from tiny prints and evites through paperless post.  We chose to send both because first, not all guests respond to emails (think older like great-grandmothers) and through emails, you can send reminders.  It's a win-win for everybody.  We also chose tiny prints as they had more of the design styles we liked and also we were printing "Wishes for Baby" that coordinated with the paper invitations. We chose "Wishes for Baby" instead of advice for the new momma so it would remain positive and encouraging.  Use a square plate or a basket to hold the wishes and for a fun touch, I ordered Sharpie markers in the coordinating blue from amazon.

The first project was the mantle...Banners are the theme of the day. Whether they are burlap, paper or fabric; they become the focal point of the room, the celebrations.  Sometimes when the banners are hung from a mantle, the everyday decor is removed and nothing is added or the decor is still there but doesn't coordinate and compliment the banner.  To redecorate a mantle can be costly and frankly, you may love your mantle decor. I know I love mine!!  For celebrations, we want to find easy, inexpensive and elegant.  So here's what we did....

The Mantle was created with treasure {thrift} store vases, glass jars, glass candle holders and Krylon Sea Glass Spray. We gathered several jars and vases that were different in shape and size.  Using the sea glass spray in blue created harmony between all the glass.  Here are a few tips on spray painting glass--

*Use a box larger than the jars/vases and turn the box on it's side to create a back drop to catch the spray.
*Spray in a slow, continuous motion.
*Use several light coats to build up color.  let dry in between sprays.
*You can spray a sealer but it is not necessary.
*Turn the jar by reaching in the opening of the jar and moving it.
*Try not to touch the jar when wet; it will remove the paint and you will need to respray.

I found at the blue candlesticks at Hope's Closet in Florida- a beautiful treasure {thrift} store that benefits missions in Africa and around the world.  No matter where I am, I try to visit these stores and hope to find treasures as well as helping others.  The candles were the battery operated ones that had an ombre look.   Seashells were added as they are always a part of my home!! And the silver platter - always on the mantle and yes, it came from a treasure store!! Project one and done!!

Stay tuned for Part three of the Bibs, Blues and Banners which will feature an etched mirror, appliqués bibs and more.

Until next time, I hope you found treasure that just might need a little spray of color!!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Start saving for Pumpkin Spice Lattes with your very own #psl bank featuring Mason jar makeovers with etchall® creme

It's almost #PSL coffee time!!

With Fall fast approaching, so is #PSL season...Pumpkin Spice Latte for those of you who have forgotten the new flavor of Autumn.  Forget apples and caramel, Bring on the #PSL!!  To get ready for the anticipated arrival, I designed my very own #psl savings bank using a repurposed jar, a mason jar lid fitted with the coin slot accessory, stencils  and the most wonderful etching creme and liquid, etch all® creme and dip 'n etch®.  I am so honored to be on the etchall® Design Team where I can share, teach and hopefully inspire you too.
a close-up of the charms

This was such a fun project to make and shows the ease in which to transform an ordinary jar into one with extraordinary purpose...saving for the cool, crisp days of autumn and enjoying lattes by the fire...who am I kidding?  In Texas, it still will be hot and we will be in summer clothes but the lattes will still be enjoyed...Let's gather our supplies and get started.


Smooth jar that can be fitted with a mason jar lid
Mason jar band
Coin slot accessory, available here
etchall® creme, available here 
etchall® dip 'n etch,  available here 
etchmask, available here
Diecutting machine
Pumpkin dies
alphabet stencils
Plastic container
marbles- to be used as weights

Pendant glass with metal frame, available in jewelry department of your local craft stores
Mesh Ribbon
Paper flowers
jute ribbon
Glue gun, glue sticks


Using a die cut machine such as a Big Shot or Cricut, cut out pumpkin stencils and the appropriate initials.  Remove the negative space and place on the jar.  We are creating the resist- the area that is not to be etched.

Measuring  and marking

Place jar filled with marbles into a plastic container (marked for etching only).  Fill with water to the the desired etching height. Remove jar.

marking with a sharpie the level needed of dip"n etch

Using a marker, mark the level of water.  Pour out the water and dry the inside of the container.  The marked line will be the measurement for  the dip 'n etch liquid.
The Magic is happening!!

Pour the liquid in the container and then set jar (filled with marbles) inside.  Set timer for 15 minutes After the 15 minutes, take the jar out and rinse under warm water to remove any liquid.  Pour all the dip 'n etch back into the original jar.  ***Rmember it's reusable!!!**
Make a "Re-Use" sign to help remember to reuse!!

For the initial charms, adhere stencil to clean glass squares. Tape down onto a non stick craft mat.  Spread etchall® creme onto the stencil.  Be sure to cover generously.  Set time for 15 minutes. Once time is through, return creme to the original jar.  Rinse the stenciled glass under warm water before removing the stencils.  Then remove stencils and dry with a towel.

Etching the tiny initials!!

Following directions, assemble the metal square frame around the glass and adhere the flowers as desired.

side view of jar

Assemble the jar lid and place onto the jar.  Wrap ribbon mesh around the jar and tie in a knot.  Adhere flowers as desired.

Using jute, tie the charms in a banner to go around the jar lid.  Wrap the jute banner around the jar lid and tie securely.
The stencils were created with the Circuit™ Machine

Now search all pockets, purses and drawers for change to fill your #psl bank and let the good times fall in to place as you prepare for the new season that is almost upon us.

Here are a few more photos...this was a bit challenging to photograph..but hopefully you can see all 4 sides of the jar, the charms and even my Coffee sign!!


Another side view

Love my Coffee sign!!

the pumpkin is perfect surrounded by etched glass

getting ready to etch

Covering the the creme and setting the timer, along with
my friendly reminder to reuse my etchall®

Until Next Time,  make the most of the summer moments and get ready to savor the flavors of Fall!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Life lessons from #newkitchencomingin2017 - Week Three

As we are in the midst of this Kitchen Remodel, I have been taking pictures of the process.  In my earlier  post of Week One, there was a lot of change- cabinets being taking out, countertops getting the hammer, walls coming down, holes in the ceiling, plumbers, and electricians.  Week two came with little excitement...wallpaper that seemed to resist all efforts of coming off the walls, wiring new lights and removing old lights, walls in need of new sheet rock, waiting on inspectors - all of which are part of the process.  And to aid in learning patience through this process, our main AC went out and was out for 6 days!! We had fans going, stayed out in the studio and hungout by the pool - but it is August in Texas so the pool was really a large hot tub...but we made it through.

The start of Week 3 had promise...the 'drywall guy" (I really don't know his name) came Monday morning.  He and his assistant seemed to be working hard in the morning- measuring, marking, cutting...getting each piece ready for the necessary repairs and the corresponding walls.  Around 1:30, they left for what I thought was their lunch break.... Our contractors had left for the day to work on the finishing of my cabinets when they appeared around 3:30  No drywall guy in sight, no assistant and no tools in the kitchen... Their text implied to our contractors was basically - "We can't replace and repair - It's too hard."   Our contractors texted back to him "We know how to do this.  Meet us at the house and we will show you."  Drywall guy and his assistant had bailed.

I began thinking of this young man and his construction/remodeling business and how he had done the prep work, worked 1/2 day and quit.  He missed out on 1/2 day's pay but really missed out on learning how to do hard things.  He missed out on growing, becoming seasoned in his profession and missed out on the rewards of finishing a job well done.

Then I began thinking of our daily journey and what do we do when hard things arrive because they will.  They will knock on the door of our home and heart.  How do we not just do the prep work but how to see hard things, all things, through to the end?

During the morning while the drywall guy was working, I would peek in on them - so I could see and learn the process.  I noticed that when they were trying to repair the sheet rock on our sloped ceiling, they were trying to repair it with one heavy, heavy, piece cut to the weird opening.  Heavy, hard, heavy, unyielding piece of sheet rock - did I say it was heavy? They were unsuccessful - are you surprised?

In life, our hard things are sheet rock.  Heavy, hard, unyielding and seeming unmanageable, unbearable and let's face it, we want to bail, pack up our tools and leave.  But what if the way through these hard things is in how we mark, measure and cut? What I mean is what if we don't look at the hard things as one big piece..what if we took it and broke it down into manageable, bearable, not so heavy on our soul pieces.  If we didn't look at the big picture, the what if's and the never's.  If our hard thing was broken down bit by bit..choosing to work on one area at a time, so we can move forward.  Looking at the hard things and staring in disbelief or disappointment is normal, natural.  But then turn your gaze to the "What can I do? What is the next right thing ?" Sometimes, the next right thing is to empty the dishwasher, clean your room, pay the bills, call a friend, give yourself grace in this moment, ask for help.  As you and I tackle the hard things in life, we need a small plan, a manageable plan for where we are, what we can do and who can help us.  A grand design begins with small steps...Small steps that move us forward, gives us a path and a destination.

Day 23 was a great day...a new drywall guy (still don't know his name either) and his two assistants rang the bell at 8:00,  surveyed all the repairs and brought in their tools.  They began to work wallpaper magic and drywall dreams.  The hole in the ceiling repaired with smaller pieces and once the mud went on--no one knew if the opening was filled with a large piece or smaller pieces...there's the life lesson...we do what we can to get where we want to be piece by piece, step by step, day by day,  and when the hard things are passed-the reward is getting through them.  A job well done, confidence that we can weather the storm and see the rainbow at the end.

So the next time you are faced with a hard thing - break it down, look at what you can do today to move forward and then do that again tomorrow and perhaps on Day 23 you will see your drywall dreams and the hard thing, the heavy- on- the- heart thing will be replaced with a lighter, brighter heart and a beautiful story of how you overcame.

Until next time,


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blues, Bibs and Banners - A DIY Baby Shower Part One

Recently, I hosted a baby shower for the oldest daughter of wonderful family friends.  When we heard the great news in February, I offered to host the shower and promised it would be a wonderful memorable day and we would definitely have cake!!  In April, the plans started to come together. The mother-to-be chose blues, grays and teals, elephants and giraffes;we shared a Pinterest board entitled baby;  with my experience of hosting and planning events, I also wanted to add my personal touch, things she might not find with the latest trends.  So I set out to create several designated and decorated areas in my home.  The mantle would be transformed to a sea of blue vases, jars and candles, fitted with a banner of onesies, toys and ribbons and of course his sweet name, Logan.

Our breakfast room was "Bib making Central" complete with appliqués and baby photos of the soon-to-be parents.  A beautiful DIY etched mirror was part of the centerpiece.

The Kitchen Island became a Taco Bar as per the request of the mother-to-be who really wanted queso (and a cake) fully decorated with gray whitewashed pallet crates, Mexican inspired gray dish towels, nacho trays, tissue paper flowers hanging form the pot rack and a children's book Dragons Love Tacos.

 Our entry way greeted each guest with a sign in Giraffe canvas drawn by her youngest sister.  The guests would use the ink pads to add their finger print creating the "spots" for the Giraffes;with a sharpie marker, they would add their name.

 On the bar, we had placed "Wishes for Baby' (printed by tiny prints.com) and blue sharpie markers.  The mother-to-be didn't want unsolicited or negative advice, so we turned our wishes to the baby!  Also, on the bar, a plastic baby bottle bank (say that three times fast) filled with blue and gray chocolate drops was the focus of "Guess how many?'" The winner received handmade lotion bars and the momma got the bank!

The dining room table was pure elegance.  The centerpiece was a massive diaper cake by the soon to be grandmother, filled with diapers, onesies, stuffed animals and more.  We brought out the glass punch bowl, cups and party plates.  I have been collecting these glass party plates and cups for over 25 years and we use them on all celebrations.  They bring such elegance!!  Gracing the table were chicken salad tarts, orange marmalade tea sandwiches, frosted blue sugar cookies, blue dipped Oreos, strawberries with powdered sugar, crudities on glass trays and personalized chocolate kisses.  Three children's books completed this table-If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Paddington and If Animals Kiss Goodnight. By using glass and silver serving pieces the table was elegant and festive.

Every family member from the aunts, great aunts, grandmothers and great grandmothers and momma to be received corsages starting small with the aunts having 3 small roses to the momma-to-be having 7 roses and a lot of ribbon.  Our florist was amazing!!  Each guest left with a little blue tulle bag filled with chocolate and wonderful memories of celebrating and anticipating the arrival of Baby Logan.

Whew....this was a grand event! My youngest has a saying "It doesn't cost anything to Pin an idea."  In reality, celebrations do take time, money and most of all, LOVE!  So with that in mind, here are a few suggestions if you are planning a celebration or if you are the one who is being celebrated.

*Begin planning early, so you can begin to gather the necessary items.
*If you use Pinterest as your idea board, keep in mind that you may not be able to do all of your ideas.  Narrow your choice to your top 3 ideas.
*If you are the hostess, put your personal touch on the celebration as well.
*If you host celebrations often or want to start having serving pieces, Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find serving pieces such as glass /silver platters, punch bowls and cups.  **It is so worth the investment.
*If possible, invest in white tablecloths.  They can be used at every party and celebration.  Amazon has them at a great price.
*If there will be several "stations" in you home, begin to decorate those areas 1-2 days before the celebration.
*For the food, bake or make 1-2 of the recipes and then use the bakery of your local grocery store for the other recipes.  Also, in the frozen section are wonderful appetizers and bite size desserts. Doing this will help the stress level.
*If this is a summer afternoon event, punch and water will be enough.  No need for coffee and other offerings.  Keep it Simple.

While this was a big undertaking, spreading out the planning, gathering and decorating over several months created a virtually stress free event!!  Working closely with the momma-to-be and keeping some things secret till the Celebration, this was a fun and beautiful day!  In Part 2 of the Baby Shower, I'll share the DIY's of the Day! including how to create the banner, the  mantle, the etched mirror and and recipes for our Two Bar!

Until next time, Have a great time planning, pinning and dreaming of your next Celebration!