Toilet Paper Roll Minions

    When I read the prompt When Pinterest Comes to Life on The Nectar Collective I originally thought I was going to make something much more . . . cool. I wasn’t exactly thinking I would be linking up a kids craft, but hey, why not!

    A few weeks ago Raeca asked if we could make a craft together (so sweet, love her), so I let her look at my with the kids board on Pinterest and once she saw these minions (or min-ee-ons like she calls them) she knew that’s what she wanted to make.

    Of course she needed to branch out and make a pink girl minion as well so we jazzed her up with a flower in her “hair”.

    You can see the full tutorial here if you are interested in making your own minions. 😉

    Just a heads up: after this week I’ll no longer be offering ad swaps, at this moment they are currently booked out until December 1st so if you were interested in getting in on a free space this is your chance!

    All the above photos were taken with the Canon 5D Mark II and 28mm 1.8 lens.

    Do you have a favorite craft you like to do with kids?
    I’d love to hear it!


    Staining Over Paint – for that perfect antique finish

    I know I’m not the only one who has been loving redoing furniture lately. There is just something about taking a piece that looks boring, old, or plain ol’ ugly and giving it a new life. And the method I’m going to share today has been one of my favorites lately.

    I first heard about the stain over paint technique last summer. One of my neighbors messaged me one evening to come over and look at the project she had going on in her garage -an amazing chest that she got for free behind some cabin, score! (Just a note: it’s awesome to have a neighbor also into refinishing stuff, we show off our latest items and show a good amount of sadness when the other gets the good bargain at the thrift store)

    Once I heard about staining over paint I knew I would have to try it out soon. And did I ever, I might have gone a little overboard with the technique. From what I can recall I used it on the vintage ladder, a chair and a nightstand.

    I did share my stain over paint technique briefly (not that it’s that difficult) before but I thought I would share it in a little more detail today.

    1. My first step is always to sand and wipe down any piece that I am working on. Part way through the summer we invested in a power sander and it quickly became one of my favorite tools (it’s currently neck-in-neck with the jigsaw).
    2. Next comes the painting part. Honestly I only prime about 50% of my projects, there is no good reason as to why I don’t prime all of them, I just don’t. All the paint that we used for these three pieces came from Restore, we got most of our pails for $10 (as opposed to the $40+ they are at home improvement stores), and there are even times where Restore will have a sale where everything is 50% off so you can get one for $5. When shopping at a place like this you are limited to the colors that they have available, but we were able to find some that worked.
    3. After painting a couple of coats I let each piece dry for a good 24 hours.
    4. Then I took fine sand paper and lightly sanded each piece (by hand, no power sander at this point). The first time I did this I sanded too much and the result was not what I was going for, for me fine sand paper and sanding very lightly worked perfectly.
    5. Then, using gloves, I brushed the stain on in small portions (approximately 6 inch square sections worked well) and then would immediately wipe the stain off with a wet rag (I had a bucket of water handy for rinsing it off throughout). Then I would use a dry rag to wipe off any remaining stain. I found that this left the perfect amount of stain to soak in and get in the grooves. (For the chair I used Varathane’s Mission Oak stain and the nightstand I used Varathane’s Expresso, and I believe I used the Mission Oak on the ladder as well, but am not positive on that one.)
    6. I just continued with the brushing, wiping with a wet rag and wiping with a dry rag until each piece was done.

    I really like how each one turned out, it gives each item just the perfect amount of a vintage looking touch. What are your thoughts on the staining over paint technique? Have you ever tried it or hope to in the future? If you’ve done it I would love to see some photos!



    vintage wooden ladder redo

    In the summer Jared and I went a little crazy with making things and doing some furniture updates. So far I’ve shared the school desk we turned into a chalkboard desk, and the ombre dresser that we retrieved from the local thrift store and now resides in our entrance but there are still a few things we did that I haven’t shared yet!

    This one is possibly my favorite one of the summer. We happened to see a garage sale sign as we were leaving our house one day and decided to stop in (although our garage was already full of projects by this point), but boy, am I glad we did! We got a great wooden chair for $5 and an amazing wooden ladder for a steal at $2, yeah that’s right, $2!!!

    I kind of loved the ladder the way it was, especially knowing the guy was still using it as his primary ladder, I didn’t know wooden ones were still in use! But I knew I wanted to update it a bit so I took some blue paint that I bought from Restore, (it’s a mistint so I don’t really know the actual color) and once it was dry I wanted to bring back some of the vintage look so I brushed it with some stain (my method with staining over paint is to brush on a little portion at a time and then use a wet rag to go back and remove most of the stain, so it pretty much just leaves the stain that is in the cracks, giving it a nice vintage touch). It was nice because the stain I used is one that I bough a while back but didn’t really like the way it looked on plain wood but it works great for the stain over paint technique (if anyone cares to know the exact stain I used I can dig through my garage and find out the name).

    It was a really simple project, painting (and then staining) into all the nooks took a little while but it was worth it. Without further ado:

    Don’t you want to know what I did with this beauty? I would have loved to keep her, but we don’t have the space for it, so I ended up selling it locally for a nice profit (which means more money towards our adoption!). I definitely have my eye out for more of these ladders in the future, I think they would look so good repainted into different colors.

    Out of all my furniture redo’s I think this one was one of my absolute favorites! I’ll make sure to share the rest of the ones we did soon!



    “I’m watching Store Tory. And it have Buzz.”

    I find Raeca’s little word/sentence mix ups to be the cutest thing ever. A few weeks ago at supper we were going over words she used to (or still does) say incorrectly; raccoon = rack-ca-coon, elephant = ef-a-lant, and by the time we got to helicopter she was onto us. She thought for a minute and then said “airplane”. Smart girl.

    I seem to think I will always remember these cute things but I already have forgotten a few of them. I got this idea off of Pinterest and had to photograph Raeca with a couple of her most recent words/sentences. I hope to continue to do this in the future and include them in our yearly photo books (I’m starting my 2013 book right away!)

    Some of my favorite phrases from the last month have been:

    • Me: “How old do you think Mommy is?”  Rae: “I don’t know, maybe 14?”
    • “Can you put my baby in my shirt like Baby Jesus’ Mommy?”
    • “I saw a little fly. You have to get him with the sply splotter”
    • “I want a muffcake”
    • “I’m watching Store Tory. And it have Buzz.”

    I found a clipart speech bubble I liked and printed it off onto an 8.5×11 piece of paper, cut it down to 8×10 and stuck it in a frame. If there is anyone else that wants to use this speech bubble you can download here. You can always edit it in Photoshop and change the background color from grey to anything you want, I just wanted to have something neutral.

    I like having these visual reminders of the funny things she says, and know they will be great to look back on in the years to come.



    diy chalkboard desk

    A few weeks ago I snagged these two school desks up for a good price and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with one of them. I loved the idea of what my friend Jade did last year with her desk – some spray paint and a chalkboard top!

    Of course Raeca had to weigh in and said the desk had to be none other than: pink (I always said if I had a little girl she wasn’t going to be all decked out in pink but God must have thought it would be funny to give me a girl that loves pink because that’s what I got! Thankfully I’m not as against the color as I was when I was younger!)

    I still don’t know what I’m going to do with the other desk (though I do have a few ideas!) but here’s a shot of them once I got them home:

    Jared first took the top of and primed the rest of it with a plastic and metal spray paint primer.

    I then took the only pink spray paint I could find and did a few coats (it’s really not as bright of a pink as it looks in this photo).  I also did a few coats of chalkboard paint on the top portion of the desk.

    After reassembling, here she is ready to go inside the house:

    And in use:

    It’s been a great place for Rae to practice tracing letters.

    Now, does anyone have any ideas for the other desk? I have a few but I’m not sold on any of them yet.

    This summer has been so full of furniture projects -trying to get them all done before it gets too cold to work in the garage! I’ve still got a few more to share and a couple more I am currently working on. Hopefully I can share them soon.

    with love,


    diy wooden slat verse sign

    I’ve been sharing a bit lately on the verses I’ve been praying for Raeca (you can see some here and more here). I knew I couldn’t just have the verses written down but I needed some type of visual reminder -at least for a few of them.

    So I’ve designed up three and have put them up in my Etsy shop in case there is anyone else that would like them as visual reminders.

    I didn’t want to just print each of them out as 8×10’s, I wanted to do something kind of special with at least one of them and was able to come up with this wooden slat poster sign type thing -very technical terms, I know.

    I got the file printed at Costco as a photo poster. The size I printed was 24×36 – a little beyond the capabilities of my 8×10 file size so it did get a little pixelated, but just slightly, you can only tell if you look up close. The cost to print out the poster was about $15.


    I then hit up Michael’s and got some wood slats -there was no price or anything on these but I think they were about $3 a piece. Each piece is 3 feet long so I ended up cutting each one down to 2 feet and then I used 2 of the one foot leftovers for the back on the bottom. (Raeca so nicely helped me stage this shot by throwing her Care Bears cards all over the floor, real life people)

    After sawing them down I took some stain we had on hand (because stain lasts forever) and stained each piece. It was Varathane brand in Mission Oak if you are wondering.

    I then used some heavy duty wood glue (Titebond III) and glued the bottom piece of wood, put the poster in between and then added more glue and then the top piece of wood. Just a heads up, don’t add too much glue or it will be oozing out all over your rug, not that I had that happen or anything. Oh, and maybe put down some scrap paper in the off chance that were to take place . . . just an idea.

    I did the same process for the top but before putting the second piece of wood on I added some jute that i had on hand so I would be able to hang it up.

    I’m loving the finished product, and it only cost about $20! I need to find the perfect spot in Raeca’s room for it now -that might take a little bit of rearranging.

    I think I’m going to do this same thing to another verse but in a smaller size. Maybe do a little cluster of them on a wall or something . . .

    with love,



    peach-orange ombre dresser

    We’ve really been on a furniture restoration kick around here lately. It’s been weeks since we were able to park our van in the garage thanks to all the projects we’ve got going on in there (in the garage, not the van). 🙂

    Jared had a week off a while ago so it was time for his first visit to our local thrift store -with how many times Rae and I have been in there I can hardly believe he hadn’t visited sooner.

    When we entered the shop we saw this beauty waiting for us. I was instantly drawn to her. She’s not real wood which I kind of like, so much easier to move around! The sticker on the back of this lady says she was made in April 1968.

    The photo above is actually very forgiving, the top of the dresser was pretty beat up, I used some wood filler on the top but you can still see some of her scars. Here another before where you can see the imperfections on the top a bit better:

    I thought about how I was going to redo her and after going between a few different ideas we decided on a peach-orange ombre effect. And true to form I didn’t really take any photos during the process, but it was a long process. I went to the store on four separate occasions to get the paint colors and in the end the middle color was off anyway so I mixed the light and dark colors for the middle drawers.

    And here is is after:

    And the before and after in one shot:

    What do you think of her? I’m hoping to put her in my entrance, which I still haven’t done. I’m afraid she might be a little bit big so I’m putting it off, hopefully she fits!

    with love,


    a little herb planter diy

    With this transition to a gluten-free kitchen I’ve been doing a lot more baking and cooking completely from scratch. The menu planning process goes something like this: Okay, I want to make a nice tender roast in the slower cooker. This recipe calls for soy sauce and onion soup mix. We’ve already got the gluten-free soy sauce but what about onion mix, is it gluten-free? {Commence Googling.} Okay, so it’s not gluten-free. {Start searching on Pinterest for a recipe for gluten-free onion mix.} Okay, found a recipe but now I have to find dehydrated onion flakes, where does one find those in the store? . . . 

    For the most part I’m actually enjoying the cooking. We are eating healthier, reading ingredient labels closely and realizing all sorts of things we were putting into our bodies that we probably shouldn’t have been.

    With all this cooking I wanted to be able to add in some fresh herbs to feel more legit. I had an old metal tin that I got from my Mom who I believe got it from my Grandma so I asked Jared if he could make me a box to go around it. My only requirements was that it looked rough because I wanted it to look a little vintagey.

    He found some scrap wood in the garage, nailed it together and made me this box.

    Exactly what I was hoping for!

    I used some leftover paint from the step stool he made a few weeks ago and very roughly painted it (Raeca even “helped” me paint it).

    I then used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the word “herbs” out of contact paper and adhered it to the box.

    I got out my trusty $1 acrylic paint and used a foam brush to dab the paint over the letters.

    After letting the paint dry for a few minutes I removed the contact paper.

    I let the paint dry completely and then began to sand the whole box to make it feel like a vintage herb box. I kind of like how when I sanded it a knot appeared between the letters and it kind of looks like “herb’s”.

    The end result with the tin box inside.

    I placed some rocks down in the bottom of the tin for drainage and then planted my herbs.

    Ta-da! I love how this little box brightens up a room!

    Do you grow your own herbs? Which do you use the most often?

    with love,


    raeca’s dresser redo

    Back in the spring we did a major furniture purge. It was at the time we got rid of both of our desks which resulted in us making this awesome desk that I love. We also got rid of Raeca’s massive dresser/change table -it was a beast, let me tell you! You actually don’t even need to take my word for it, take a look for yourself, here’s the photo I posted when we sold it:

    That thing is solid wood and was a literal and figurative pain to carry down to our main level when we sold it.

    With that thing gone we obviously needed some sort of a replacement, after all, little girls have oodles of clothes (and they grow so quickly)!

    I’m kicking myself now that I never took an actual before photo of this dresser. I found it on Kijiji for a mere $15, and sadly this is the best “before” photo I can find:

    An awesome piece but definitely in need of a little TLC.

    Jared and I discussed how we wanted to paint it, we chose to do white for the base and the same color as our walls for the drawers and then white handles. The people that lived in our house before us actually left some extra grey paint from the walls and white paint from the doors and trim, and we had some white spray paint and the sand paper for sanding it down before hand so we didn’t even need to buy anything for this furniture redo -how sweet is that?!

    Full credit goes to Jared as he sanded and painted this baby all himself. I so love how it turned out!

    Also, I seem to have caught the furniture redo bug -more before and afters to come!!

    with love,

    P.S. Next week I’ll be taking another blog break -using the time to relax from blogging and get some of my projects done. Have a great week!!


    vintage map “GO” sign DIY tutorial

    I’ve gotten a lot of comments about this vintage map “GO” sign and I had a chance to share this DIY post last month on Cate’s blog, Wild Ruffle, and thought I would share it here today!

    The materials list for the projects is pretty easy to round up:

    • vintage map
    • wood (almost any kind would work, MDF, plywood, hardboard)
    • jigsaw
    • scissors
    • decoupage
    • Silhouette Cameo (optional)
    • paint (optional)
    • ink (optional)


    1. Trace “GO” letters onto wood and maps – I used my Silhouette Cameo for this but you could just print the letters out and then cut around them and use that as your stencil
    2. Cut the letters out of the wood with the jigsaw and the letters from the map out with your scissors (I used my Silhouette for the last part)
    3. This step is optional but I chose to paint my letters white at this point, depending what type of wood you were working with you may want to as well
    4. Use the decoupage to adhere the map letters to the wooden letters
    5. Another optional step -I chose to ink around the edges of my letters, I like the definition it gives

    What I like about this project is that it is easy to choose locations on the map that are meaningful to you -places you’ve been or places you want to go.

    You can also spice it up and just paint your letters like I did with this number:

    Or use old sheet music like with this ampersand:

    If you like the vintage map sign but don’t want to go through the effort of making them, you can always check out my shop and get custom ones made. 🙂

    with love,

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