Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bulletin Board Facelift

Remember back in the days prior to Pinterest, when people had actual boards and literally pinned things to them?

I barely do either.

But when I saw our old bulletin board destined for the trash can, I knew I had to save it.

My son loves having a bulletin board. Unfortunately, he didn't always understand the purpose of said board. When he was younger, he would spend less time actually pinning things on it, and more time poking random holes, dragging the points of push pins across the surface, and decorating the cork with dark scribbles.

It was pathetic looking. Now that he's older, we bought him a new board and it's staying in much better shape. But before tossing the old one, I wanted to see if I could give it a much needed facelift.

I wanted to have a place above my desk to pin cute pictures, little keepsakes, and notes to myself. It's nice storing things in an old-fashioned way for a change.

Here's what I did.

This is the board in its original form, as seen at the Container Store. Now, imagine it covered with holes, scrapes, and black Sharpie scribbles.

The first thing I did was paint the cork white. It took about 3 coats of regular craft acrylic paint. The cork soaked it up, so I kept adding coats until I was happy with the coverage. In hindsight, I would have started with a primer to make it a little easier to cover.

I let that dry for a day. Once it was completely dry, I taped around the inside of the cork with painters tape. Then I gave the frame 2 coats of acrylic paint with a foam brush. It covered really well and went on so smoothly. I chose a turquoise color, hoping for a Tiffany blue shade.

Here's the after. It ended up looking like a brand new board, and I love having everything right in sight.

It's a really easy project, and with a little paint, you can give an old bulletin board a new custom look to perfectly match your decor.

I always see old cork and bulletin boards at thrift stores for super cheap. Be sure to check there if you're in the market for one! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Sweet Haute and Mod Mix Monday

Craft Dictator

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Best Things in Life are Free

And in my case, usually on the curb.

I used to be annoyed by the scavengers who would drive through our neighborhood on bulk trash week. They would rummage through everyone's discards, leave a huge mess behind, and end up taking something like a piece of rebar.

But now I've realized, if you can't beat them, join them!

Although I never make a mess. I usually end up leaving the pile cleaner than I found it. People really need to organize their trash piles better...

The people in my neighborhood will toss out the most random, and sometimes wonderful things! I love driving or walking around on the last weekend of the month, searching for treasures. Sometimes it's a flop, and I find only bags full of lawn clippings. But other times, I've found some fun things, and I'll share those today.

I couldn't believe that someone tossed these out. It's a set of four vintage wooden wall hangings, featuring all the letters of the alphabet. Some are worn, but it just adds to the vintage look. The drawings are so cute!

The same house had tossed out this vintage growth chart. I had planned on taking a better picture, but it sold the other day, so I'm relying on this zoomed in version. It was in great shape and so sweet! Again, why would you toss this out?

I found this pressed back chair a couple of months ago, and yes, from the same house! I picked it up and discovered the hard way that fire ants were crawling all over it. But they're gone now, and I'm in the middle of revamping it. I've painted it a glossy white, and I'm considering dipping the legs in a bright colored paint, but I haven't decided yet.

If you haven't noticed a trend yet, you'll probably catch on now. This vintage globe was also from that house. I'm getting a little tempted to just go sit on their curb and wait for the treasures to come out! My son spotted this and carefully carried it home. When I picked it up the other day to take a picture, his face suddenly looked horrified. "You're not selling it, are you?" he anxiously asked. I assured him I wasn't, but apparently I have a reselling problem! Nothing is safe from my antique booth!

And finally, something not from the house of treasures. I was at an estate sale recently and noticed this white thing marked 'free' in the garage. I didn't know what it was, but it was nice solid wood, so I claimed it. I found out it was a headboard at one point that the owner sawed in half and turned into a sort of bench. Unfortunately, it was broken into two pieces. Hence the blanket covering the back. The back leg section is broken off and I have yet to put it back together. For now, it's wedged tightly into place and fits perfectly at the foot of my bed.

I've found other great finds as well. I picked up a little white bookcase that I'm storing my thrifted finds in before putting them in the antique booth. My mom actually found two American Girl dolls on someone's curb! We knew the neighbors, so we knew they were safe and clean enough to take. I've found vintage books as well, which just seem like a horrible thing to throw out! I've passed up lots of furniture like beds, dressers, desks, and more, simply because I had no need or room for them. I let some other person pick them up and enjoy them!

So don't be afraid to look in the trash piles that people put out. Just be sure to be polite, and don't leave behind a mess.

If you've found any great things lately, be sure to share!

Linking up with Sir Thrift A LotThe Penny Worthy ProjectThe Nifty Thrifty

Craft Dictator

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thrifting Haul - Cheating

No, I'm not cheating on my thrifting diet. It's going quite well. So well in fact, that I'm cheating on this post.

I only bought two things this week. Well, technically three, but since one item is a set of two pictures, it doesn't really count.

Two items isn't much of a thrifting haul though. So I'm cheating and showing you a few thrifty finds from weeks gone by. A thrifting find is still a thrifting find, right?

This was my favorite find this week. Sure, it didn't have much competition, but they're still great. These two illustrations of Ma Crabb were done in the 1960s by Louise McLean. I had a hard time finding out anything about them, but finally managed to find the obituary of the woman who created Ma Crabb. I couldn't find any other pictures anywhere online though. But I love them! The illustrations are so wonderful and retro.

This was my only other find of the week. And I actually can't even take credit. My son picked it up at the thrift store. It's a sweet little painting, and he was so excited to have actually found something for me to sell!

Now, on to the older finds. I found this record at Goodwill and snatched it up because of the cute illustrations. It's a cute record meant to introduce children to organ music. It has a sweet little book attached and the record still plays really well. Plus, I'm an organist at church, so anything organ-related appeals to me. Hopefully someone else will love it too!

I found this strange thing at the same Goodwill. I wasn't sure what it was, but it has 31 numbered slots and a storage drawer underneath. I looked it up online, and found out it's a bill sorter, but it would also be great for sorting mail, birthday cards, and more. I don't think it's old, but it has a vintage look to it.

My mom found these two small prints. She loved the Mid-Century feel to them and I agreed. They're going in the booth tomorrow!

This is another find that's probably not old, but looks it. It's a sweet small drawer unit, and I love the apples painted on the front. I brought it to my booth the first day I opened, and promptly broke a knob off. I've finally fixed it, and it's going back in tomorrow.

A couple of months ago, my mom calls saying, "There's a Mid-Century chair at the thrift store and it's only $5 - should I get it?" When the words "Mid-Century" and "$5" come in the same sentence, my answer is always yes! It's a Farstrup made in Denmark and I think it's amazing. The wood is in wonderful shape, but the seat has a tear in the fabric. I have yet to find a fabric I like enough to recover it. It took me 6 months to pick a fabric for the gossip bench I redid, so hopefully this chair won't take me as long! Despite the rip, I'm still using it as my desk chair. 

Did you find any treasures this week? Be sure to share your great thrifting finds either in the comment section or the links below!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hot Cocoa Cookies

Come join my group board on Pinterest and share your favorite recipes! Instructions to join at the top of the board.

I love hot cocoa.

I really love hot cocoa.

I've been known to drink it in the middle of August when temperatures climb well over a hundred.

It's just so delicious. The milky chocolate goodness, the creamy warmth, and fresh marshmallows combine to make the perfect drink.

So when I first saw Kraft Mallow Bits, I knew I had to try and make a hot cocoa cookie.

I was so excited to find the marshmallow bits. I've tried baking with actually mini marshmallows in the past to create rocky road cookies. They were a horrible failure. They all melted out of the cookies and cemented themselves to the baking sheet in a burnt-on, gooey mess. So needless to say, finding marshmallows intended for baking was a relief!

I decided to try my hand at creating some Hot Cocoa Cookies yesterday, and really liked the results. They're crisp, chewy, and full of hot cocoa flavor. The marshmallow bits were a fun touch. Some of them melted slightly into the cookies, but those just added a delicious toasted marshmallow flavor.

Everyone in my family loved them, so hopefully you will too!

Hot Cocoa Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

  • 1/2 Cup Shortening or Softened Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/3 Cups Flour
  • 5 Packets Hot Cocoa (I used Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate brand)
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1-2 Cups Marshmallow Bits

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together shortening or butter and sugars.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour, hot cocoa, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in the marshmallow bits.
  7. Place tablespoons of dough about 3" apart on ungreased baking sheets. 
  8. Bake for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will not appear to be done, but will set up as they sit.
  9. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.
  10. And try not to eat them all yourself... they're really irresistible warm!

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Sweet Haute and The Cottage Market and DIY Vintage Chic and Thrifty Thursday.
Craft Dictator

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Best Smoothie

Come join my group board on Pinterest and share your favorite recipes! Instructions to join at the top of the board.

I'm not a big breakfast person.

I'm usually good about eating breakfast, but I almost always have to force myself to do so. I'm not hungry enough when I wake up, but I know I'll be ravenous a few hours before lunch if I don't eat. So I started making smoothies.

Even if I don't want to eat, I can always drink something. And this smoothie is the perfect breakfast food.

It's healthy.

It's filling.

It's delicious.

And it's pink.

Drinking pink things will make anyone have a better day. I'm pretty sure that's been scientifically proven.

You've got to take my word for it, and try this. I don't drink almond milk, I absolutely hate eating cottage cheese, and I'm not a big fan of snacking on uncooked oatmeal. But when it's all blended up with strawberries, it's like a delicious milk shake.

Cold, creamy, and sweet, with just the slightest tang.

And it will fill you up for hours.

Strawberry Smoothie
Makes 1 Large Serving

  • 1 Cup Unsweetend Vanilla Almond Milk (I use Silk brand)
  • 1/2 Cup Fat-Free Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Oatmeal, uncooked
  • 2 Packets Truvia (Optional, but this is what makes it sweet and delicious!)
  • 1 Cup (About) Frozen Strawberries
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth and enjoy!
It's super easy and quick, which is always a plus in the mornings.

You can substitute other fruits in place of the strawberries if you prefer. I also enjoy it with peaches, but I stick with strawberries most days, thanks to the giant bag in my freezer from Sam's. 

Nutritional Info
Calories: 310
Total Fat: 6 grams
Total Carbs: 48 grams
Fiber: 9 grams
Protein: 18 grams

See, a delicious smoothie can actually be good for you! Plus it's got about 55% of your daily calcium, which is always great.

So try it out. I promise you'll love it too!

Every time I make this, my son starts a running commentary of "Yuck! Cottage cheese! Ew! Gross!"

But when I asked him to hold the jar while I took a picture, he immediately started drinking it. His first words were "This is really good! It's yummy!" He's a smoothie convert now!

Linking up with Sweet Haute and  Maison de Pax and BeBetsy and Coastal Charm.
Craft Dictator

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pallet Love - The Finished Product

About 2 years ago, I wrote a post on pallets. And now, finally, I can share the finished product with you! I've had my pallet headboard hanging for probably a year now, so its appearance on the blog is long overdue.

I had originally found a pallet in a dumpster on our street. A neighbor was doing renovations and apparently wasn't a pallet fan. I rescued it and considered making it my headboard, but it was just too small. I would have had to frame it out with wood and I'm not really handy like that. It temporarily became a shoe holder. Worked great, but now I have a bookcase in my closet for shoes, so that pallet is gone.

While leaving work one day last year, I noticed a pallet leaning against our dumpster. It was big and beautiful! It has subtle circular marks on it. I'm almost positive is held the 5 gallon buckets of soy sauce that we received. The slats of wood were close together, which made it pretty, but super heavy. After asking my chef if I could take it (and receiving a yes along with a very strange look), a co-worker helped me stuff it into my trunk. I'm still not sure how it fit, but I'm so thankful it did!

I cleaned it really well and sanded it until it was super smooth. I used a tack cloth to remove all the dust.

Then came the fun part. How to hang this insanely heavy pallet so it would be secure enough to sleep under. Handy mom to the rescue! She suggested anchoring a couple pieces of 2 x 4 into the wall. The pallet sat on top of them, and we screwed the pallet into the wood on the wall. It's really secure now and isn't going anywhere!

Now, without further ado, meet my (kind of new) headboard.

Darn sunny day...

In my old bedroom, the walls were a light celadon and the pallet stood out against them beautifully. When we moved, every single room in the new house was this beigey-tan color. I hate it in my bedroom, but the thought of painting is really unappealing right now, so beigey-tan it is!

In order to add a little something to the pallet to help it not blend into the walls, I stuck some vinyl wall decorations on. I considered painting the pallet, but this is not only easier, it's temporary. That way, whenever I paint my room, I can remove the birds and the pallet can go back to being beautiful plain wood. You can find similar ones here or here. There are so many styles of wall decals out there. You can pretty much find something to match any decor.

I love birds on a wire. In the top picture, the orange painting is one my mom did for me with the well-known quote from a Bob Marley song. The birds carried over into the tags and sign for my booth and into the header of my Etsy store. I'm slightly bird-obsessed, but only in decor. I'm not a big fan of actual birds...

You might have noticed that little string hanging inside the pallet. And if you didn't before, you probably do now! I hang lavender from that to dry. You can't see it unless you're standing to the side, but it makes my room smell pretty and peaceful! I love it. I should have hidden it before taking these pictures, but oh well!

So again, keep your eyes out for pallets! Just be sure to ask permission before taking any that you see around stores in case they reuse them. But if they're in dumpsters, they're fair game! Grab them and run! Then check out this post for more fun pallet ideas.

Update: An anonymous commenter (thank you, random citizen!) brought up a very good and important point that I forgot to mention. When you find a pallet, be sure to find the stamp on it. It will usually be in black ink and enclosed in a square or rectangle border. If the code contains "HT" your pallet was heat-treated, not chemically-treated, and is therefore safe to use. However, if the code contains "MB" the pallet was treated with the chemical methyl bromide, and is not safe to use. Thankfully, most pallets being made in the US now are heat-treated and safe to use! Just be sure to check first!

Linking up with Mod Mix Mondays and Inspire Me Monday and Green Willow Pond and Thrifty Thursday and Maison de Pax and BeBetsy and Coastal Charm and My Repurposed Life and Common Ground and French Country Cottage
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Craft Frenzy Friday

Thrifting Haul - A Thrifting Diet

I've let myself get a bit discouraged from lack of sales in my antique booth. I know I shouldn't, but it's disappointing to go 5 days without selling a single thing. But thankfully it picks up (a little) on the weekends.

That being said, I've cut back on my thrifting. After reading a post by Van of Thrift Core, I was almost tempted to go on a thrifting fast myself. I had nightmares of my house filling up with inventory and not selling anything. But then I looked around, and realized I only have one bookcase in my bedroom. My house isn't overflowing. Yet...

I realized I'm not ready for a fast yet. Maybe a thrifting diet though. I can do that. I can't imagine driving past thrift stores on my way to the antique mall, wondering what treasures I'm passing by. So I'll still stop and look, but I'm not going out of my way to hit up estate sales and thrift stores that are farther away anymore.

When I went thrifting this week, I no longer felt pressured to buy everything even somewhat vintage and cute, simply to build up my inventory. That was a nice feeling, but on the downside, I don't have much of a thrifting haul to share with you this week.

I like mushrooms on kitchen decorations. Strangely enough, I'm not the biggest fan of actually eating them, but they're sure cute to look at! I have no idea what this actually is. It's ceramic, and shaped like a casserole, but there's no way to hang it on the back, so I'm a little lost. Hopefully someone will know what to do with it though!

These two wooden heads were too wonderfully weird to pass up. They're carved profiles of a man and woman, and I've never seen anything like them before. Not my style, but I have a feeling someone will love them!

I took a chance on this vintage clock. I was hoping it worked and it was cheap enough to take a chance. It sadly didn't, but with a pretty cheap clock kit, it's ticking away again. I won't make as much of a profit on it anymore, but it's still cute!

I found this notepaper holder in a pile of hand-carved wooden things. Everything else was super touristy boasting tropical locations in big letters, but this one is cute. I love the boat and the birds! It's great for keeping paper handy if you're like me and tend to run around like a chicken with its head cut off looking for something to write notes on! I can't be the only one who does that.

I really shouldn't include this here, since it's not a thrifting find from this week, but I'm not going to let that stop me. This was actually the first thing I bought with the intention to resell when I first started considering renting a booth. It's a whole set of china by Sango in the Amish Country pattern. They're so quaint and I absolutely love them. And I kind of love the Amish. Since I wasn't blogging when I bought them, I have to include them now! They're not in the booth yet. I can't figure out a good way to display them, so until I do, they're at home.

Be sure to share your great thrifting finds either in the comment section or the links below!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thrifting Haul - A Slow Week

My thrifting trips were less than successful this week. Normally I pick and choose my favorite items to share, leaving many purchases out. But today, what you see is what I got. That's it. A little disappointing, but thrifting is always hit or miss.

I couldn't believe when I found this wire sculpture kit from 1972. It's so wonderfully retro and still have all the pieces and instructions! I plan on actually trying to make it, so we'll see how I do.

This owl trivet ended up being a little bit more than I would normally spend. However, people still seem really into owls here in Dallas, so I have high hopes that he'll sell quickly.

I love this piece! It's a shiny brass/gold wall hanging. The ship is awesome and it looks really cool in person. I think this will go pretty quickly too.

I found a soapstone donkey a couple weeks ago at a little thrift store. He was a weird yellow color, so I passed on him, then regretted it of course. But last week, I found this little white guy for about a quarter of the price of the funky colored one. It was just meant to be.

I can't even take credit for finding these two. My mom found these for me. They were made by Cameo Creation. I can't find a definite date for them; I've found ones ranging from 1900-1960, but it doesn't really matter to me. They're interesting and I know someone will love them.

This was my best deal of the week. It's an etching made by Wei Tseng Yang titled "The Butterfly and the Camellia." It's made of sterling silver, copper, and inlaid with 24 kt. gold. It's in beautiful shape. The thrift store didn't know what they had hiding behind a bunch of empty frames, so I got it for a great deal, and that always makes me happy!

I'm needed some advice and encouragement from others who run booths in antique malls. I've only sold about 5-6 items since opening 2 weekends ago. I went Monday through Friday without selling a single thing. And now I'm completely stressing out. Is that normal? Is reselling either feast or famine? Someone please reassure me so I can stop obsessing over if I'm even going to clear my rent this month.

Be sure to become a follower! I plan on hosting a couple giveaways soon, including an original piece from my Etsy shop, and you don't want to miss out! For more info on what I'm selling, check out my post.

If you found any great deals while thrifting, be sure to share and link up at the sites below!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hot Days Call For Cold Tea

Come join my group board on Pinterest and share your favorite recipes! Instructions to join at the top of the board.

It's hot in Texas.

But I really shouldn't complain. Until this week, we've only had a handful of days hit the 100 mark, unlike the past few summers' 60+ days. 

But I will complain. Because I don't like the heat. Give me 70 all day and I'll be a happy camper.
So what's a southern girl to do when it hits 105?

Make mint tea, of course.

Sweet, icy cold, refreshing mint tea.
It is so good. 

And slightly addicting. Hence the reason I use decaf tea and Truvia. I like to avoid sleepless nights and bouncing off walls.

I grow mint every year in my garden. It tends to take over the bed, but I'm ok with that. All the more reason to make mint tea daily. If you don't have any mint growing, be sure to plant some next spring. One little plant will give you enough mint to make a pitcher of tea every day all summer long. And you wouldn't want to waste all that mint, right?

A couple notes about my recipe. I usually use a blend of a little bit of sugar and 6 packets of Truvia. That makes it sweet enough for my taste, but doesn't leave any weird aftertaste. I used to make it with 1/2 cup regular sugar, but then I felt the need to limit myself to one glass to avoid excess sugar. Feel free to sweeten it with the sweetener of your choice to your own personal taste.

The somewhat strange ingredient you'll see is apparently common in some parts of the country, but I had never heard of it until recently. The tip to add baking soda is a genius idea I found somewhere on Pinterest (can't remember for the life of me where, but thank you, random citizen!). It makes a huge difference in removing the bitter taste tea can sometimes have. And I proved it in a blind taste test, because I'm weird like that. The baking soda tea won hands down.

And I know tea enthusiasts will think I'm crazy for brewing my tea for an hour or more, but it's just my method. It never gets bitter thanks to the baking soda, but always has so much flavor.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get brewing.

Mint Tea
Makes 1/2 Gallon

  • Fresh mint (I clip about 15 sprigs, but it's not an exact science)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 family sized teabags (Luzianne decaf is my personal favorite)
  • 1/2 cup sugar OR
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar + 6 packets Truvia
  • 8 cups water, heated to boiling
  1. Remove the mint leaves from the stems and place the leaves in a large brewing container. I use an 8 Cup Pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Add the baking soda and the sweetener(s) of your choice to the mint leaves.
  3. Pour about a cup of the boiling water over the mint. Using a wire whisk, muddle the mint just like you would for a mojito. Basically you just want to smash the mint to release the flavor. It will smell amazing! If you have an actual muddler, feel free to use that. I don't, hence the whisk.
  4. Add the remaining hot water and your tea bags.
  5. I let mine brew until it cools to room temperature, usually at least an hour. I've let it brew only 20, and it's been good, but lacked a little mint flavor. And I've forgotten about it and left it sitting for  2 hours or so, and it's been good. So don't worry about setting a timer; just try to let it cool.
  6. Remove and squeeze the tea bags and strain your tea through a fine-mesh wire strainer into a pitcher.
  7. Pour over ice and enjoy! Keep the leftover tea in the fridge (if there is any!).

So refreshing!

I hope y'all enjoy!

Linking up to Thrifty Thursday on LWSL

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