Monday, November 10, 2014

Chunky Necklaces!

My daughter loves to accessorize, and is a big fan of the chunky necklaces that are all the rage with little girls.  I've been buying them for her for awhile now, and recently decided I'd start making them for her myself. I spent a lot of time researching techniques, scanning the internet for the cutest beads and pendants, and then went to work.  I've listed a handful in my Etsy shop Star Creek Creations, and will be adding more over the next few weeks as I get new pendants and beads in.  I had no idea how much I'd enjoy picking beads out, putting combos together, and filling my house (and hopefully now yours!) with adorable chunky necklaces.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Music - Wes Kirkpatrick

My brother Wes is a musician.  Actually, my brother Ryan is too, as well as my dad, and my grandfather played the mandolin.  I guess the music and singing talent skipped me and went to them instead, because I can't sing to save my life.  I'm not what we're talking about here though, so I'll get back on topic.  My brother Wes recently spent a few weeks in Bozeman, Montana recording a new EP album, and it is going to be nothing short of incredible.  As an independent artist, he doesn't have people footing the bill for studio time, production, etc. and those items are not cheap.  It is both good and bad, because he has total control in how his songs are recorded and owns all the rights, but the downside is that he has to pay for all of it.  The glory of Kickstarter campaigns has been such a blessing to independent artists like my brother.  It gives fans an opportunity to help make the album happen.  There are different pledge amounts and different products (like a signed CD or VIP tickets to an upcoming show) to pick from. You essentially place a pre-order and then when the campaign goal is reached, everything gets made and sent to you.  Pledges start at $5 and can go up as high as you'd like.  If you haven't heard of Wes Kirkpatrick before, take a minute to watch his Kickstarter video, consider supporting the release of the new EP, and share it with your friends.  Your support is greatly appreciated!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kids Chair Refinish Project

A couple facts: I love elephants, and I love projects.  My neighbors across the street were in the process of moving a couple months ago, and I spotted a little chair with an elephant on it in their driveway with their stuff they were having picked up for charity donation.  I sent her a quick text and asked if I could have it, and then sent my kids over to pick it up.  

It was an adorable little metal chair, with peeling white paint, some rust, and a faded seat.  I knew I could bring it back to life and that it would be perfect for my daughter to lounge in on the deck.  

I started working on it by taking the seat off (there were 12 screws holding that tiny seat on!)  Next, I sanded the areas that were rusted, and then primed it with a spray primer for metal.  The trim on our house is a light tan color and I wanted something that would coordinate with that.  The fabric I picked (Outdoor canvas fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. Normally $19.99/yard, but it was on 50% off that week) was a mix of turquoise, tan, and white, so I went with an Almond color for the metal part of the chair.  I sprayed two coats and that was that.  

I decided to use the existing seat for the chair and just cover it with new fabric.  I laid the seat on the fabric and just eyeballed how much to cut out.  Getting it back on the chair was tricky, and would have been easier if I had a couple extra hands to hold the fabric tight, while I screwed the screws back in.  No such luck on the extra hands, but I made it work.

I think it turned out great, and my daughter is thrilled to have her own little chair to sit in!

Friday, May 9, 2014

From Dresser To Entertainment Center

We've lived in our house for over 10 years, and have had the same cheap entertainment center since moving in.  For a long time, I've been keeping my eye out for the perfect old dresser to refinish and turn into the entertainment center in our living room.  I frequent our local ReStore and love to go on "Spin the Wheel Wednesday" when you get to spin the wheel and get a discount between 5%-40% off your purchase.  A couple months ago, on a Wednesday, I ran in and found the store almost empty...standing all alone, was this gem.

It had a $40 price tag, was solid wood, had a variety of drawer sizes, three drawers behind the doors, and I knew immediately that it was coming home with me.  I texted my husband a picture to get his opinion, and when he hadn't responded within 60 seconds, I made the executive decision to buy it.  My daughter spun the wheel, landed on 20% off, and after tax paid $36 for what I knew was going to be a great addition to my living room.

There were lots of things little things I wanted to change on the dresser.  First, I got rid of the top two drawers (I painted the inside), removed the piece of wood that they slide on (I have no idea what the technical term for that piece is), and pulled out the drawer stoppers at the very back on the inside.  Next, I took the hinges off the doors and all the hardware off the drawers.  That led to a whole other list of tasks that I hadn't anticipated, and I'll talk more on that later.  I don't usually sand furniture I work on, because it isn't necessary with the chalk paint I use, but there were some areas that needed it.  I have a Skil Octo sander that my husband bought me for Christmas, and it is pretty fantastic. I personally don't like my furniture to have the weathered/distressed look, so I like to patch dents and scratches.  There were plenty of those on this dresser to take care of.  I use the Elmer's Wood Filler and love it. 

You know when you have grand plans, and you picture everything in your head, and things work out exactly as you visioned them?  No?  Oh, yeah, me either.  I had originally planned on doing several things on this project, that I learned through trial and error, weren't going to work out like I thought they would.  I had a vision of a purple dresser, with metallic silver doors, that looked absolutely fabulous.  I knew the second that I started painting the doors that I was going to hate it, but thought maybe if I finished painting them, I'd actually love it.  Nope, I hated them even more than I thought I would.  For some reason, the only thing I could think of when I looked at them next to the purple paint I chose for the dresser, was Medieval Times restaurant/show thing.  I've never been there, but I am pretty sure that what I had created was what their decor looks like.  Anyway, the silver doors were short lived.  

Of all the paint I've tried with my chalk paint recipe (used hereherehere, and here), my favorite is the Glidden brand from Wal-Mart.  I get it in an eggshell finish, and the most important part is to get the kind without primer added to it.  The color I used was Deep Amethyst and then I put a coat of satin polyurethane after it had dried for extra protection.  It looks darker in person than in the picture below.  

I painted the inside and the sides of the drawers, which probably wasn't completely necessary.  I wasn't going to originally, but then I kept picturing my kids leaving the drawers open and seeing the ugly brown wood, and my obsessive compulsive tendencies got the best of me.  It was a total drag, and took a lot of extra time.  My husband dared to ask at one point, why I was painting the insides of the drawers, and in my head I just pictured myself punching him right in the face.  I didn't, and I tried to explain myself without freaking out. True love I tell you.  My five year old daughter and her friends also decided to stack all the drawers on top of the dresser in the middle of my project, which led to me having to sand and repaint the top.  I totally could have done without that as well.  

Every time I do a project, I hit some point where I get really frustrated about how things are going.  This project had several of those times, but I powered through.  One of the frustrations came from the original hardware that I removed. I have no idea how old the dresser is, but "antique" parts is what one expert I consulted told me I had on my hands.  I had hoped to just purchase new knobs, drawer pulls, and hinges for the doors, spend five minutes putting them on, and call it good.  No.Such.Luck.  Two of the drawers had handles, and two had knobs.  When I removed the knobs, for some reason they had an extra hole drilled for a little plug on the knob to go into.  I patched that, sanded them, and moved on to the other drawers.  I measured the distance between the holes for the drawer pulls, only to find that they were 4.5" apart, and there aren't pulls made in that width anymore.  Fine, fine, patch both those holes, sand, and then measure and drill a new hole for a different type of knob.  The hinges weren't something that I could replace.  They don't make anything even remotely close to the originals, and the only choice I had was to refinish them.  I ended up spray painting them black, and also hand painting the screws after I put the doors back on.  I found knobs that I loved at Hobby Lobby, then had to go buy different screws for them because the ones they came with weren't long enough.   While I was looking for the screws, a man came up behind me and said "You know, you can just find a good looking guy to do that for you."  I censored myself, responded with something much less horrible than what I was thinking, found the screws I wanted, and left the store.  I'm far from helpless, and am still shaking my head over what an idiot that guy was.  

I am incredibly happy with the final result.  I think one thing I love so much about doing projects, is seeing it all come together and appreciating the heck out of my hard work.  I love having a piece of furniture that no one else has, and that is 100% my vision and style.  I love bright colors, and little details, and I'm able to incorporate whatever I want into my projects.  Makes all the frustration worth it in the end.

 I got the owls at TJ Maxx and the bird cage at Hobby Lobby.  I absolutely love them!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DIY T-Shirt to Little Girl's Nightgown Refashion

My kids have become big hockey fans and we've gone to a few of our local minor league games recently.  At the last game we went to, my daughter caught one of the pink t-shirts that the cheerleaders were tossing into the crowd.  She was very excited, but she is five years old, and the shirt was a Womens Large size.  I wear an XS and was never going to wear it, so I wanted to find a way for her to enjoy it.  I decided to make it into a nightgown for her to sleep in.

 My plan was very basic, and there was nothing exact about it. If you are someone who needs precise measurements, you should probably just stop reading at this point. :)  I started by laying the t-shirt flat on my cutting mat and placing one of her nightgowns on top of it.  Next, I eyeballed 1/2" or so around it and put a few pins in the shirt around the shape of her nightgown.  

Next, I sewed the new seams starting at the bottom and ending at the cuff of the sleeve.  I just sewed a line and pulled the pins out as I went.  I had Little Miss try it on really quick, was happy with the fit, and then moved on.  I could have just cut off the extra fabric and left it alone because knit won't unravel, but I decided to just cut it by running down the seams with my serger.  Quick, easy, and even though it is just a nightgown, I like having the seams finished.

This project was super quick, easy, and now my little hockey fan can enjoy her prize from the last game.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Etsy Shop - Star Creek Creations

I've talked about my Etsy shop, Star Creek Creations before, but I have some holiday specific onesies available that I wanted to talk about.  

When I started my shop, I mostly made things that people asked for.  I would get a request, draw it up, make the custom order, and then add it to my shop if it was a design I really liked.  Some of my most popular designs started because of a custom request.  If I had spare time, I'd think of new things I wanted to add, make a one or two to add to my In Stock section and then see how they did.  One of the things that always seems to do well are holiday specific items.  They make an easy baby gift and are fun to do.  

Here are the "spring" holiday onesies I have available in my shop right now.  I have some that are in stock in certain sizes, but they can be custom ordered in whatever size you'd like as well.

Here are a couple "summer" styles.
 And, here are the "fall" onesies.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Closet Shelf Organization

I have a tall set of shelves in my walk in closet that I've tried many, many times to organize.  Here's how things typically go...shelves are a mess, I straighten them but don't love the result, gradually they become less and less organized, and then I repeat the steps.  This time I wanted to make them organized in a way that made sense to me, and in a way that would be easy to maintain.

 I have always kept handbags, shoes, and swim suits/cover ups on these particular shelves, although they really aren't set up to store that type of thing.  I'm they type of OCD person who wants things perfect, but if I can't get them that way, I just pretend it doesn't exist until I can't take it anymore.  The shelves in my closet are pretty deep from front to back and I hadn't ever figured out an ideal way to do things, therefore I always end up with this after a few months...

Completely horrifying, I know.  Fact of the matter is, when I open my closet door and walk in, the door blocks these shelves, so it is pretty easy for me to ignore the problem.  Until the shoes start falling off the shelves, and block the door from opening anyway. :)

I set off to the Dollar Tree store and to Target the other day (with my kids in tow, which turned out to not be my best decision of the day) on a mission to find a new solution to the shoe and swim suit problem in my closet.  The Dollar Tree was a great choice.  They had tons of fun, bright colored storage bins, and of course you can't beat the "Everything's $1" price tags.  $3 later I had the perfect bins for my closet.  Next, we went to Target to find small, white, tension rods.  I bought 28"-48" rods for $2.98 (on sale...a whopping 5% discount folks!!), and ended up grabbing eight of them because I wasn't sure how many I'd need.

After I got home, I threw all the shoes on the floor and went to work.  The top shelf I only used one rod, I put it up high and to the very back, and I hung all of my heels from it.  In front of there I just lined up all my boots and wedges that were either too tall to hang or didn't have heels to hang from.  

On the next shelf, I had to get a little more creative.  I used two tension rods about four inches apart up towards the back, and then another set several inches below the top set.  On these, I put my flats.  There as enough space below the second set to put another row of shoes directly under, and almost enough to put another in front of that.  My shoes aren't small, I wear a size 10, so they take up a lot of space.  I added a tension rod at the same level as the shelf, but about three inches in front of it, and rested the toes of another row of shoes on that.  

Next I divided all of my swim suits, cover ups, and flip flops and put them each in their own storage bin.  I used another tension rod to extend my shelf a bit so that I could fit all three bins together.  I stuck my running shoes on there as well, since I didn't have room for them up above. 

Below the bottom shelf is where I keep all of my tall boots.  I cut up a pool noodle (thanks Pinterest!) and used the pieces to hold the boots up straight.

 This project was a pretty simple one, but I think will make a huge difference for me.  I feel like I finally have a set up that will be easy to maintain and where everything is easy to access and find.  Now maybe my husband will stop saying things like "I feel like there has to be a better use for that shelf area back there." :)


How to Start Planning Your Disney Cruise

How to Start Planning Your Disney Cruise   Our family has been on three Disney Cruises so far, and we've sailed on three of the...