Monday, December 10, 2012

Frosted Candles

Welcome back! Thanks to Pinterest, today is another fun project day here in our household. And I've brought you a fun tutorial on how to bring some winter cheer to your home for FREE! Today's project is a super easy way to glam up your home by using Epsom Salt. Let's get started!

Here's what you'll need:

Epsom Salt (mine is lavender scented, which is optional, but smells oh-so-good!)
Mod Podge or Glue (such as Elmer's school glue)
Candles (I get mine for cheap from the Goodwill)
Paper Plates
Foam Brush

First, you'll want to spread out a few paper plates, and top one with a pile of Epsom Salt to dip your candles in. The other plates you'll use to place your dipped candles on to dry. 

Next, you'll want to dip your foam brush into the Mod Podge or glue, and paint the outside of your candle. Use an extra paper plate to paint over to prevent any drips or spills from sticking to your table top surface. Be generous in your coat of glue, but don't make it runny. You want your Epsom salt to stick to the candle and stay put until it dries. 

Finally, dip your candle in the Epsom Salt, and rotate it until all of the surface is covered. Once your candle is adequately "frosted", place it on a paper plate to dry.

Repeat the easy steps above for any other candles you wish to frost, and allow them to dry before decorating. Be sure to handle them with care when placing them on their holder so that you don't accidentally chip off the frosted exterior. 

Voila! A quick and simple project to glam up your home for the upcoming holidays. I used my candles to decorate our mantle for winter, but they would look especially beautiful on a table centerpiece or a decorated entryway. 

If you try this easy project out, please share the results! Want more easy craft projects? Check out my Frosty in a Jar, where we brought the snowman indoors for the winter season. Have any other nifty decorating ideas? Please share! I love decoration inspiration!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Frosty on the Mantle

Winter is in the are here in upstate New York. And while the ground isn't covered in that white stuff just yet, it's quite frosty in the mornings. At least that's what my husband tells me. I don't get out of bed that early. :)

That nip in the air must have nipped me in the bottom, too, because today I was inspired to take down my fall mantle, and winterize it. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the gorgeous tree kaleidoscope we had going on in our neighborhood, and so I was no longer feeling the leaf motif.

I posted yesterday about our fall mantle and my penchant for using Pinterest as a decoration inspiration. Well, today I bring you a quick and easy tutorial for the snowman urn that didn't cost me a dime! This freebie decoration is so cute, and will be sure to make a charming addition to your holiday decorations. Let's start!

Here's what you'll need:

Epsom Salt (mine is scented with lavender oil, which is optional, but smells so nice)
Apothecary jar or Vase (a canning jar would probably look cute, too!)
Hat (I stole ours from a felt snowman ornament)
Mitten (mine came from the scrapbook section)
Carrot nose (Thanks to Lego, I had the perfect carrot)
Eyes (this is an option I left out, but you could easily add eyes with two peppercorns)

So first, you'll need a hat for your snowman. I clipped ours from an old felt snowman ornament. It was the perfect size. You can always clip your own from a piece of black paper or felt if you don't have a spare felt snowman handy.

Next, you'll want to gather the rest of Frosty's parts. The size of your jar will depend on how large you will want to make your accessories. I snapped a small twig to size for his arm, and used a felt mitten from a scrapbook decoration. The carrot came from my daughter's Easter Bunny Lego character. If you don't have the good fortune of owning one of these, a piece of felt will do. I would be careful of using paper, especially if you use a scented Epsom salt. The oils may absorb and discolor the paper.

Next, fill your jar with Epsom Salt, and let the decorating begin. Be sure not to fill your jar too full so you will have room to place Frosty's accessories on the top.

And there you have it! The perfect indoor snowman! Place it on your mantle, entryway table, or as centerpiece. I placed ours on the mantle to keep him safe from curious little fingers.

Cost breakdown? FREE! I didn't spend a dime on this project. If you have the materials and some creativity on hand, this quick and easy decoration won't cost you a penny. 

Stick around this week for another breakdown of how I used Epsom Salt to create beautiful, frosty, and FREE decoration project! If you've made your very own indoor Frosty, please share your project with me! I would love to see it or any other decoration inspiration you have. Thanks for hanging out with me today!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

That's Pinteresting!

The world of Pinterest, as you may know, is ripe with lots of holiday decorating ideas. This year I gleaned a few DIY inspirations that didn't cost me a dime! Hey, if it's free, it's me! Who doesn't love a project that they can complete with items they already have on hand?

I decorated my mantle early this year. Like, right after Halloween early. After Sandy had hit, my beautiful kaleidoscope of fall colors had been destroyed, and our neighborhood trees were totally bare. It was at that point I felt winter set in. The temps swiftly dropped, and we even saw a flurry or two. So down came my pumpkins and witches, and up went a winter inspired decor. The great thing is that it is not necessarily "Christmas" themed, so I didn't feel too bad about skipping over Thanksgiving (sorry, Mr. Turkey).

Don't you just love that wreath? I do. I made it last year for less than $5 thanks to the goodwill (where I found the wreath) and Hobby Lobby's 40% off holiday decor section (where I scored the greenery and bow). I took a red satin ribbon, looped it around  the top of the wreath, and secured it to the hanging wire on the back of the mirror.

I'm a huge Diana Gabaldon fan. Love her Outlander series with a passion. In fact, I had the pleasure to meet the author, and have her sign my prized copy of the book. It's no surprise that I would jump at the chance to feature a few selections from her to stack on my mantle, and I couldn't think of a title more appropriate to display. Call it fate. :)

If you haven't already recognized, my mantle project involves a nice little bag of Epsom Salt. I dipped several candles in it for that frosty effect, and also made a snowman urn.

Isn't frosty adorable in that little apothecary jar? Such a simple project, too! In fact, I made sure to take lots of pictures for a tutorial. If you check back tomorrow, you can learn just how I created him in all his bottled magic hat glory.

The candles were a very quick and easy project, and I intend to post a tutorial on those, too. I just love how the crystals glisten-- especially in the candle light.

The greenery is courtesy of our back yard-- a few small branches had fallen due to Sandy, and so I gathered them up and used them to balance the rosemary plant I placed on the opposite end of the mantle.

So there you have it! Our winter mantle. In  the next week or two, I'll be transitioning it into more of a Christmas mantle (since our family celebrates), but I love how it has that winter spirit without being too festive, which is a great alternative if you and your family don't celebrate Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by today, and be sure to check back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to make your very own snowman urn!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pinterest: A 12 Step Program for our Bedroom

I'm a dreamer. Who isn't? Sometimes my dreams are much bigger than my wallet, though. Who can relate? I think that's part of why I am so addicted to the wonderful fantasy world of Pinterest. I get to collect all of my "someday" and "maybes" and put them into organized photo boards so I can stalk them for months and years to come. Not creepy in the least.

 Being able to hoard all of my "must do" projects in one place instead of leaving open a million tabs on the computer is seriously all that and a bag of extra butter movie popcorn to my little dreamer world-- something my husband appreciates, too (the popcorn, not the tabs because, who am I kidding, I still leave them open). It's also saved so much space on my computer since I no longer have to "right click save as" something I want to remember later. Seriously, I could go on forever about how much I adore Pinterest, but I don't have to preach it to the choir. Those of you who already use it KNOW.

Lately, our bedroom has been on our mind. It's a room that I haven't shared with you yet, mostly because it's a HOT mess. I'm talking mattress-on-the-floor-because-our-box-spring-won't-fit-up-the-stairs, and I'm kind of embarrassed by that. Crawling in and out of bed (literally) sucks. It gives me flashbacks to the days of when I moved into my first apartment, and I had no furniture aside from the smelly couch that the previous owner left behind. Our lack of furniture in the room has left a crimp in my style, and the rest of the room has suffered because of it.

Here's what our bedroom looked like on the day we moved into our rented abode. It's a nice size room, but excuse me for not being crazy about the poo-brown walls and cream trim. I guess it could have been worse if you considered the color scheme for the rest of the house (mac and cheese, anyone?), but I am secretly yearning to makeover this space. I want my husband and I to have a haven we can fall back to after a busy day at work or chasing around two dogs and a toddler. And this is certainly no haven.

Here's a never-before-seen shot of the other side of the room. Its got the same awkward corner window as the other side. Naturally, our mattress lays against the wall where my husband's gym bag is sitting. It just seems like the best place to put it considering the shape of the room. On the far wall in the picture above, we have two bookcases (those fun 9-cube shelves from Target or Walmart) where my husband houses his comic and Star Wars collection. I always thought it would be fun to add some window seating in that corner, too. The door you see leads out into the hallway at the top of the stairs. My vanity sits on the wall in the left corner of this picture (where the heat register is), and to the left of that is where our walk-in closet is (the mirrored door you may have noticed from the first picture).

Naturally, the first thing I dreamed up for this space was a new wall color. Booty brown just isn't cutting it. I'm thinking more along the lines of a deep, moody gray with crisp, white trim. Kind of like the following inspiration I have been pinning to my boards:

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That last picture above seems like it would be a perfect fit for our bedroom. It even has the funky corner window just like ours. Aside from the grey tones, I began to notice another trend popping up in the photographs I liked: upholstered headboards. Yup. Definitely need one of those in my life. Unfortunately the shape and design of our current bed would make it difficult to upholster. It's a slatted sleigh bed that was a gift from a friend who was moving. Not only did she give us the bed, but also the matching night stands, too. Here's a picture of  the bedroom in our previous house so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about.

The bed is lovely. Probably one of the nicest furniture sets we've ever owned (the inside drawers of the night stand are velvet lined), but it just isn't working for us. And while this queen size bed was an upgrade from our former full-size (the bed which my daughter now sleeps in), if the funds were to allow, I wouldn't mind stepping it up to a king-size. At least I know that the box springs wouldn't be a problem getting up and down the stairs!

A girl can dream, right?

Maybe tax time will help make my dream a reality for us. My husband is down with selling off our current furniture to off-set the cost of a new bed, so I have a few months to find something I like within our price range. Who knows, maybe we'll splurge on the mattress set and DIY a covered headboard. In the meantime, you can be sure that I'll be loading my Pinterest boards with inspiration!

Anyone in the market for a solid-wood, slatted sleigh bed with matching end tables? :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More Cushion for the Pushin'

While the title of this post may not necessarily be about big bottom gal's, it certainly is about how, over the last ten years, plenty of bottoms lounging on our couch have put it into a sad state. The once firm, plush seats are now a pathetic, saggy mess. It's gotten to the point where it's quite uncomfortable and hard to get up from your seat when sitting there, and you can feel the frame on your tush through the flat as a pancake cushions. Our couch has been well-loved, and although she's nearly a decade old, we aren't in the position to replace her. It's time to return some of that love-- all while saving a buck and learning something in the process. I'll admit my hesitations about the thought of new furniture even if it were an option. We've been badly burned by poor choices in the past; a "good quality" German-made couch and chaise that hit the curb only 18 months after we bought it. Being a single-income family, we usually wait until tax time to make any large purchases, and buying new living room furniture every other year certainly is a waste. Our living room was bare for maybe a month or two until we landed into some good luck with the furniture we now own. A good friend who was in the market for new living room furniture herself sold us our set for only $50! We're talking sofa, chair, ottoman, coffee table, and two lamps; you can't even get a bargain like that at the Goodwill! The cushions were frumpy when we took ownership of the couch, but the frame and microfiber material has really stood the test of time. It is easy to clean (super important with two pups and a toddler around), and we love the neutral taupe shade. We're also in the process of "green-ifying" our life, and what better way than to salvage "Old Faithful."

In the spirit of "keeping it real", here is Exhibit A. You can see my comfortable little command center that I have set up, which is usually where you can find me typing out this very blog (also because the desk in the dining room is typically cluttered with junk, but that is another post for another day!). And, yes, that's a cup of coffee, and two glasses of water just for me. Stylin' with napkin coasters, of course.

It's a hot, uncomfortable mess (so is the coffee table, but we'll get to that later on down the road). We've resorted to wedging pillows under our arms and hips to level ourselves out as the cushions tend to gravitate towards the one end of the couch (where we both sit the most). It's definitely a priority on our DIY "To Do" list, but I can't help but feel a little pressure since I've never re-cushioned a sofa before. The premise seems fairly simple, though. Buy new foam. Insert new foam into cushion cover. Voila! But how do I know that I am getting the right materials? This is where trusty Google (or Bing if you prefer) steps in to save the day. Here are a few tips I picked up from various websites. Some didn't make sense, and others seem promising:

1. Measure and record the width, length and depth of each cushion. Width is the measurement from left to right. Length is the measurement from top to bottom, or back to front, and depth is the measurement of the thickness of the cushion measured along the outside edge of the cushion. However, if your cushions are pancake flat (like ours), how does that give you an accurate depth measurement? DON'T make this mistake or you'll dish out money for a cushion that will end up just as flat as the one you've currently got. Instead...

2. Remove the cover from the old flat cushion padding by unzipping it, and turn the cover inside out. Lay the cover on a flat surface. THEN measure the depth of the fabric band (sides of your cushion). This depth is typically 5 inches, but measure yours just to be sure.

3. Next, measure the cover for width and length. Add one inch to each of these dimensions, because, according to,  if the foam fits snugly into the cover, both the foam and the cover will "last longer".  I would agree with this advice that it is always best to err on the side of making the cushion slightly bigger. If you have difficulty in getting it to fit, it is always easier to trim the cushion more, but you cannot add it if you remove too much. 

4. Buy polyfoam, and measure/mark your cushion size. I cannot stress the importance of double measuring before making a cut more. The foam will not fit properly into your cushion if you measure/cut incorrectly! Also, be sure to get a quality foam that's meant for upholstery. Craft foam isn't suitable for the job. 

5. Use an electric carving knife to cut the foam down the lines you have measured and marked. We do not have one of these handy, so I'd have to perform surgery with a utility knife and be cautious of butchering the cushion. 

6. Cut a piece of terylene (batting) long enough to wrap around the cushion from front to back. Use spray adhesive to help it stick smoothly to the cushion. Depending on how thick the original foam of your cushion was will determine how thick the terylene should be. According to, "Terylene is a quilt batting-like product. Many lighter versions may be found in craft and fabric stores under the brand name Dacron, but they will separate under the friction between the foam and the cushion cover. Bonded terylene is specifically designed for foam wrapping and is available from an upholsterer." Using the right kind of materials will not only ensure that your project will run smoothly, but will give you lasting results and save you money in the long run. Things are much less stressful when you do it right the first time. 

7. Turn your cushion right side out and begin to insert your cushion foam once the terylene is dry and firmly secure. To ease the process, you can find slip silicone at your local upholstery shop, and spray the terylene wrapped foam to help it slide more easily into your cover. It's a spray that lubricates the surface of the terylene, and helps decrease the friction between the foam and your cover. 

8. Once the foam is adjusted to the corners and seams properly, zip that baby up and take her for a test drive! 

Overall, it seems like a pretty straightforward process. And while the polyfoam is pretty expensive from what I have priced, a little over a hundred dollars sure beats the thousand we would spend on buying a new sofa. 

So what happens, though, if money is tight, and you aren't in the position to replace the foam in your cushions just yet. Do you have to suffer with a frumpy, uncomfortable couch? Nope! You can do exactly what I've done as a temporary fix: flip the cushions. I'm not talking about just turning the cushion over. I'm talking about pulling the foam out of your cover, and rotating the front facing end of the foam towards the back (zippered) end. It's a little trick I picked up by watching this video that I found on

And so you go from this:

To this:

A world of difference, eh? I'm still kind of in awe over just how deformed the foam has gotten over the many years of use it's seen. I mean, look at this bad boy... 

As you may have noticed in the above pictures, the front padding has also shifted on the frame of the couch. Unfortunately, it's not something easily remedied, so I tried to shift it back into place as best as I could. The lighting in which I took these pictures wasn't ideal, either, since we've been having some rainy, glum weather due to Hurricane Sandy. Now that I think about it, though, a majority of October was pretty rainy. I suppose it was more noticeable for me since we just moved up here from TX-- where it seemingly NEVER rains. The poor lighting also made a few areas on the cushions look dirty, but they are (for the most part) clean, and the dark areas on the piping and cushion are just shadows from the microfibers. I discovered a little mud spot on the front of the couch near the padding lump on the frame, but cleaned that up since taking the pictures. It's funny what a photograph will reveal! 

Flipping the cushions was a great way to freshen up the look of our tired couch, and it didn't cost us a dime! It literally took me 10 minutes to do, and I think it's made a big impact. Who says things have to look magazine perfect, anyway? We love our couch, and while it will eventually  need replaced in a few years (the actual springs are starting to sag on the one side), we're getting as much life and use out of it as we can. 

So, our couch went from looking like this:

To looking like this:

I think it looks tons better. It's certainly more comfortable. How about you? Have a couch or chair that has a case of the frumpy lumps? Give this trick a try before spending lots of money on replacing the cushions or piece of furniture, and let us know what you think!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Hi friends! 

I just wanted to take a quick moment to shout out to my friends, family, and any of you reading this who are in the pathway of Sandy today. She's forecast to be quite nasty, and the sheer size of the storm (especially in comparison to Irene who hit the East coast last August) is mind-blowing. Be safe, and make sure you have a plan in place to evacuate should things get out of control! 


Monday, October 15, 2012

ET: Extra Terrarium

Happy Monday! Can you believe that we are already at the middle of the month of October? Time has been flying by lately. Todays post is something I completed over a month ago but wasn't able to share with you until today. If any of you were drooling over the terrarium trend we saw this spring and summer, then this project is the one for you! Feel free to make your own and share it with me. It's really easy to make your very own.

For the LONGEST time I have wanted to create a terrarium, and that day had finally come. I pinned images to my Pinterest board for months and months, dreamed about how awesome it would look sitting on top of our fireplace mantle, and even wrote the materials on my "To-Do Shopping List." It was high time I got cracking on it, especially since I planned on doing it on a budget. I finished this little project for less than $3!

Here are the materials you will need to make your very own:

Glass container with lid (I used a large apothecary jar)
River pebbles (I purchased these from the dollar store, and used approximately 2.5 bags)
Soil (I had a bag of leftover potting mix)
Moss/plants (I dug up some moss from our backyard)
Decorations (Optional. I added a gnome to keep the moss company)

The first thing you need is to layer the river stones at the bottom of the container. I bought two bags of large stones and two bags of smaller pebbles, and mixed them up. This will provide some drainage for whatever plants you use. I ended up only using about two and a half bags for my container, so the rest I will keep handy for either a second terrarium (bet you can't just build one) or some other project.

Next, you want to add the soil. Be sure to leave enough room for your plant to fit inside comfortably with the lid closed. I used leftovers from a bag of potting mix I had in the garage, but you can also dig up some earth or compost from your yard/garden.

Then, it's time to add your greenery! I chose moss from my back yard because it was free and easy to use. We had lots of it growing in an area beneath one of the trees, so I simply harvested it by carefully prying it up from the ground with a butter knife. Planting the moss was as simple as placing it on top of the soil. Once you have your greenery firmly planted, feel free to decorate. I used a few leftover stones and a cute little gnome to tend my "moss garden". I also left a bare spot in the soil which will give me the option to add another plant later on.

Lastly, water! Depending on the size of your container add enough water to dampen the soil, but don't flood it. You don't want to create a mud pit. The rocks will provide drainage, and with the lid closed your new little habitat will retain and recycle the moisture. Don't forget to put your container in a place that gets a little bit of sunlight each day. I love gardening, but I don't always have the greenest thumb. This is one of the best ways to keep plants, especially if you're like me and forget to water them! My husband and I have always talked about building an aquaponic system, but in the meantime this was an easy and affordable way to bring a little bit of nature into our home.

And that's it! Easy peasy. Kind of makes me wonder why it took so long for me to put one together! I can't wait to see how my moss garden will grow, and I've got room to expand by adding another plant. Has anyone else succumbed to the terrarium trend we saw this year? I'd love to see what you've created if you made your own, so please share!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Fall Mantle

Fall is here! One of the things my daughter and I both look forward to is redecorating the house for season changes and holidays. It was something that my mother did with us as a child, and even though she worked a lot to support my sister and I, I valued that time we spent together. And I always knew that it was a tradition that I wanted to pass along to my children.

Our daughter LOVES the holidays, and Halloween is probably one of her favorites. And while I the decor we chose may not necessarily be so creepy or spooky, it's definitely fun and colorful.

It's also still a work in progress. I'm hoping that this weekend we can hit the pumpkin patch and bring home a few mums to fill my empty basket and some pumpkins to carve. I basically used things I had already had on hand from the previous year, and also a few things I had brought home from my mom's house (remnants of my stuff that lingered in her attic since I moved out). The garland (it's actually 3 pieces) is from the dollar store, the witches are German heirlooms, and the pumpkins I bought at Hobby Lobby and Target last year. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

And here is the lower half. I still haven't gotten around to scrubbing that other half of my fireplace! The perfectionist in me didn't even want to post pics showing the brick because my laziness is a bit embarrassing. I guess there's no better motivation to get on it than that! We've also yet to paint the inner brick inside the hearth, but now that I've given the furnace cement plenty of time to dry and cure, we should be good to go. I've been researching faux hearth electric heaters available to insert in our fireplace, and so I think that it is a best, least expensive, and cleanest option at the moment. More on that in a future post. 

I love my ceramic basset hound. He was another attic remnant of mine from my childhood. I think I found him at a thrift store, and since we had a couple basset hounds while growing up, I immediately snatched him up. He wasn't nearly so pretty then as he is now, though. I washed him up, gave him a fresh coat of white paint, and stuck him in the best place any dog would naturally gravitate: in front of the fireplace. It's a favorite spot for our two pooches, too, and we haven't even lit a fire yet. 

Everything else, aside from the apples in the owl planter, were things I had collected in previous years. The apples I bought from the Salvation Army thrift store back at the end of August for .99 cents. I bought them with the intention of panting them white and perhaps glitter dipping them, but I left them original since their bright colors coordinated so well with my leaf garland. 

So, that's our fall decorating at the moment. What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with how it all turned out, especially since it all cost me a total of $1. Some mums and pumpkins will really top it off. The best part is that it will all easily transition into the next month for Thanksgiving (with exception of the witches). I love using things that are so versatile. 

How many of you have already begun to decorate for fall? Do you make it a tradition like we do? Feel free to share your decorating pictures with me!