Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DIY Gold Sunburst Mirror

This was supposed to be a project for my new office, but it ended up finding a home in my living room. It was a much larger scale than I anticipated but I love how it turned out. 

I was instantly inspired by this DIY mirror project by The Lettered Cottage. Thank you Christy for pinning it! I already had the circle mirror and it looked like something I could make. 

I picked up a bunch of .59 cent wood dowels from Hobby Lobby and cut them into 3 different lengths with this little hand saw. It was not the easiest way to cut them, but it worked!

I roughly configured the ray pattern while my hot glue gun heated up.

I drew a crosshatch on the back of the mirror to locate the top, bottom, left and right center points. This provided a reference for symmetry. Symmetry! 

Then I worked, very s-l-o-w-l-y to glue each dowel on, one by one. It. Took. A. Long. Time. I will say this, when it comes to gluing these on, less glue is more. The ones that I gobbed glue on and slathered both sides, were the ones that fell off and needed repair. About 5 of those little lessons learned. Thankfully, the glue dried quickly, and once it was set, they were good to go.

Once they were all in place, I  spray painted the entire thing with gold metallic spray paint. I removed the backing and the mirror, which made it even easier to paint. A few coats later and it looked great! 

My new mirror really pops against the gray wall in our living room. It makes quite a statement above our console table! I really like it. The cork mirror was relocated to the kitchen (in case you were wondering). It looks even better sitting on a red wall.

This antiqued metal gold mirror retails for $355. Yowza. Mine cost $16. Granted, this one is metal and has a lot more rays and detailing than mine. But gluing on that many dowels? Ain't nobody got time for that! 

If you're looking for a DIY wall art project that will add impact to any space, without a huge price tag, this mirror fits the bill. It would be fun in any color!

Round mirror
Wood dowels
hot glue
gold spray paint

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Home Office Makeover

My office/craft room is currently undergoing a full makeover. I've been dreaming up a couple DIY projects and pinning inspiration. But, as per usual, it's been a little slow going. I definitely have the "vision" and pieces are starting to take shape.

We already painted the walls, which made a dramatic difference (as you can see above). No more teal! The new color is "revere pewter" a taupe/tan with a twinge of gray undertone. Here's a look at the old wall color. Just not my taste anymore.

Next on the list is replacing the carpet (which is quite old, worn and an odd color). I can't wait for that! 

I also hope to "build" a long desk with two cabinets for storage, inspired by this Young House Love DIY project. There will be enough space for my computer, printer, sewing machine and supplies, all in one work station  (instead of having 3 different desks/tables like I currently have).

There is work to be done, but I'm very excited about this office makeover. The chaos and lack of organization while I'm in "office limbo" is driving me a little crazy. I can't wait until everything has it's place and I can craft and design to my hearts content! I'll be tackling a few smaller office projects in the meantime, so stay tuned. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gratitude Check

This is one of my favorite spots at a nearby park. Today, I sat here looking out at the still water, pondering life, as I have many times. I was thinking about gratitude (or my lack thereof). Our church has been teaching a miniseries about contentment. Learning to be thankful for what we have, in whatever state we're in. That means being content wherever you are in life right now, poor or rich, employed or unemployed, married or single, in a house or in an apartment, successful or unsuccessful.

Contentment isn't always easy for me. I'm usually looking ahead to the "next thing." Once I reach an accomplishment or gain what I was after, it's great for a while, but then I wonder, what's next?

With social media - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest - it's easier than ever to look at other people and think, why don't I have that house/job/talent/family/_________? Pretty soon we start comparing our lives and in creeps discontentment. 

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul (in prison) talks about learning to be content: "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." 

I got a speeding ticket this weekend. Yes, that's right. The only other speeding ticket I ever got was over 6 years ago. Once I got over the annoyance that I got a ticket (even though I was going faster than I should have been), it made me think. What's the point of a speeding ticket? To remind you to drive slower and follow the speed limit. Why? Because it's ultimately for your safety, and the safety of others. It was a tangible (and expensive) reminder to me to S-L-O-W down. Both on the road and in life. 

If I keep wishing away the here and now, speeding ahead to the "next thing", I'll miss the wonderful life that's right in front of me. I'm guilty of falling into the trap of thinking "if I only had this or that, I'd be happy". Not so. Learning to be satisfied and content with what God has already abundantly blessed me with is the key. And I needed to be reminded of that. 

I like what Liz wrote about the Ugly Side of Comparison. Following her lead, I'm going to share a brief gratitude list of my own. I encourage you to make your own list too! 

First and foremost, I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the unmatchable, undeserved gift of salvation and eternal life. Thank you Lord! 

I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, treats me like a queen and makes me laugh. 8 years of marriage later, and he still looks at me the same way with those amazing blue eyes, even though I don't deserve him. 

I have a pretty sweet job, doing what I went to college for - and it pays the bills. 

We live in a house that we picked out together and continue to make our own.

I have very good credit. 

I have two cats that like to sit on my lap, snuggle and greet me whenever I come home. It makes cleaning up after them worth it (for the most part).

I live in the United States of America.

I have good health, the ability to travel and enjoy life on a daily basis. 

I have a variety of hobbies and talents that I enjoy. 

I am a fashionista and I have good hair (most days). 

I have friends and family. 
This is by no means an extensive list, or intended to come across as "bragging". I think it's good to take a close look at what we have to be thankful for on a regular basis. I call this my gratitude check. Feel free to do the same. God is good. All the time. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

I made my own soft oat bars for the first time. I tried to keep them on the healthier side, based on this recipe. Making them was very simple and I actually had all of the ingredients already. You can add whatever type of nuts or add-on's that you like. I usually keep a few store bought bars on hand for a snack or even breakfast, but at $1+ a pop, making them at home costs much less. They aren't as sweet, because there's no added sugar (which is kind of the point). Give them a try. I've already had two today, and I'd like a third! 

2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Organic, unsweetened)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut (plus extra to sprinkle on top)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of old fashioned oats

Preheat your oven to 350
1. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Stir in the rest of ingredients and combine well.
2. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper (it helps to grease the pan a bit to get the parchment to stick to it.) Then spread the batter into an even layer with a spatula.
3. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
4. Allow to cool completely before cutting into slices.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tricia's Personal Shopping Service Logo

My friend, Tricia, is in the process of starting her own personal shopping service business. Doesn't that sound like fun? That girl loves to shop! She asked me to design a logo and promotional materials to get her started. I was excited to help! Tricia offers grocery, gifts, lottery, wine and other retail shopping - so you don't have to. Just give her a call or send her an email and have them delivered right to you. What a great business idea.
We came up with a logo that reflects the variety of retail services as well as Tricia's fun and girly personality.

I really like how they turned out. I'm excited for Tricia and her new business. If you live in the area and could use her services, please contact her. I know she would love to shop for you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blueberry Scones

It's blueberry season! I just love fresh blueberries. We live around the corner from a local farm where you can pick your own. That's right up my alley! Does anyone else enjoy picking berries as much as I do? Makes me feel like I'm a pioneer woman. I picked 4.5 pounds! 

Blueberries as far as the eye can see.

The really blue ones were in the middle.

I can (and do) eat them by the bowlful. I froze a bunch too. I also tried my hand at making blueberry scones for the first time. That's my go-to treat at Starbucks or Panera. Those things are good! I was pleasantly surprised to learn how easy they are to make. I've been enjoying them for breakfast. Delish! 

I used this recipe from La Petite Brioche.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 stick cold unsalted butter, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
extra heavy cream for brushing the tops
raw sugar for sprinkling the tops


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, orange zest, and salt. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed. Combine the egg and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy.  Add the blueberries to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick.

Shape the dough into a square. Cut the square into quarters then cut again into eighths, diagonally, making triangles.

Brush the tops of the scones with heavy creme, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Serve warm with butter and preserves.  

If you love blueberry scones as much as I do, you should definitely try this recipe. It's a perfect way to use any type of freshly picked summer berries.