Thursday, June 28, 2012

Treasure Hunting NEON Fun

I've been seeing this neon trend around lately, and it makes me think of the 1980s.  Oh when I was a kid... we all wore neon clothes right?  Neon socks (that often didn't match), neon leggings... side ponies held with neon scrunchies.  Yep, that happened.  I also wore a lot of neon elastic headbands & had some neon shoes and neon folders for school... oh and trapper keepers!  Remember those?  Sigh, oh to be a kid again.

So now there is a ton of neon stuff out all of a sudden.  Or at least it seems like it came all of a sudden to me, but I could just be horribly out of the loop.  I've been checking it out & honestly, there are some pretty cool neon things out there.  It can be done really really well so that it does not look all that 80s flashback-y & much more modern colorful-y.  Here are some lovely cases in point:

Sketch Inc
Mane Message
Boo and Boo Factory
Wind and Willow Home
Betty Jean's Boutique
Tomie Harlene
See, neon can look pretty stinkin' awesome I'd say.  I totally want everything on this list right now.

Have you purchased anything neon lately?  What was your favorite neon piece of clothing back in the 80s?

If you'd like to pin any of these items to Pinterest, please please please click the link & do so from their shop!!!  The sellers would really appreciate it!  Thank you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday - Workin' Races Edition

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me complaining about not having a day off work in the last 16 days!  That's right, I just completed 16 working days in a row.  That's not counting work for the shop or the blog, that's go-to-work-&-spend-most-of-the-day-there jobs.  If you were wondering why a lot of my blog projects have been more low-key & simple lately, that's why.  I've been working my bootie off.  I have a full time, 45 hr/week office job, plus I have a part-time race timing job, which I love.  The spring is a really really busy season for us though & it's been NUTS lately.  I'm ready for the slow down that comes with summer starting.

So I thought for this week's "what I wore" post, I'd talk about this past weekend's work.  I worked at a race in downtown Detroit.  It made for a busy weekend.  On Saturday, I worked packet pick up, which is where runners come the day before the race to pick up their bib number & get information, so that they don't have to come to the race super early to pick up their stuff.  Packet pickup was held in Hockeytown Cafe in downtown Detroit.  Woot!  Right across the street from Comerica Park. Um, they have AMAZING taco salad.  I'm not kidding.  I would get the taco salad over a burger any day.  And I love burgers!

Speaking of Detroit, I want to share with you all some videos that were shared with me recently on the city.  If all you've ever heard about Detroit is the bad stuff, you really need to check out this series of videos.  Yea, the city has problems, but there is so much hope & promise & opportunity there too.

So most of my day Saturday was spent in the city.  Here's what I wore going downtown:

I had to be comfortable, because I had to carry large tubs of bibs from my car in the parking garage into the restaurant, but I didn't want to go in sweats looking all scrubby either. Since I would be talking to the race staff & runners all day.

I wore this cute dress I got from Target a couple of weeks ago.  I got mine on sale.  I love this dress!  It is sooo comfortable!  It's a stretchy jersey material & is so flow-y & soft & just the right length for me.  I don't like dresses that are too short!

Apparently I enjoy chopping the top of my head off in photos as well.  It's so awkward taking pictures of yourself.  Anyway, I also wore one of my new flower necklaces from my shop, and an old pink tank top underneath it for modesty.

Sunday was the race.  We always get to races not "bright & early" but "dark & early".  I literally roll out of bed, through on my race "outfit" (top embroidered with our company logo, old jeans & old running shoes usually) throw my dirty hair up, put on some sunscreen, maybe check a map to make sure I know where I'm going, & get out the door.  It is not a pretty sight.  So you don't get a picture of that.  Plus it was too dark out when I left the house at 5am for picture taking & I was certainly not gonna take one when I got back 'cause that's even worse haha!

It's crazy, but it is totally one of my favorite jobs ever!  What's the best job you've ever had?

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I will be linking this post up to The Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Super Easy DIY Bottle Cap Magnets

In our rental home, we have a brand new white refrigerator.  It is the smallest non-miniture refrigerator money can buy.  This is because we bought it, about 6 months ago or so.  The refrigerator we had originally when we moved into our rental died, and when the repair guy said it'd cost more to repair it than buy a new one, our landlord said that it was our responsibility, so we had to buy a new one if we wanted to have a fridge.  Lame.  Not really sure how that works... but whatever, we bought a super cheep one & put the old one in the garage.

We still put things up on our fridge with magnets.  I never really see this in other people's kitchen pictures any more.  Stainless steel fridges are still magnetic aren't they?  I remember as a kid our fridge was always COVERED in pictures & report cards & assignments & drawings & such that my brother & I had done.  Our fridge is not covered at all, but we do put stuff up there.  We didn't have very many magnets though.  Most of the ones we have came from various businesses we'd been to that had magnetic cards.  Not cute.  So I decided to make some cute magnets with some supplies I had around the house already.

To make these, I used some bottle caps I had from a long time ago, and some of the supplies I got from Plaid for the Mod Podge wedding keepsake box post I did last week.  I cut out some circles from the book of scrapbook paper & was ready to go!

To make the paper stay, I applied them to the bottom of the bottle caps with a little bit of regular Mod Podge.  Then I covered each of them with a layer of silver sparkle dimensional magic.  The package says it takes about 3 hours to dry, but mine took much longer.  Maybe it was humid that day or something, but I had to leave them overnight before they were dry.

In the morning, I hot-glued some magnets to the back.  I got mine at Home Depot.  And I was done!

They are sooo sparkly!  I didn't realize that dimensional magic stuff was so sparkly!  I love it though!  The magnets I used are really strong too, so these are going to be great for holding things on our fridge.

So tell me, do you still put things up on your fridge or is this a thing of the past now?  Or does everyone put stuff up on their fridge but take it all down when it's time to take kitchen pictures?  Haha!  I think this may be the case for some ;-)

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Storage in a Tight Spot - How I'm Storing Things for my Etsy Store

Now that my little Etsy shop is open, I've been making lots of necklaces, & have had no place to store them.  They've been being stored... on my dinning room table.  Oops.  They were laying out in rows in the middle of the table, taking up the entire thing.  I knew that that obviously wasn't going to work long term, so I had to come up with a solution.

So I went to Home Depot on a mission to find something that I could store a lot of necklaces on in very little space.  They needed to go in the office, but I didn't have a lot of wall space leftover to just put up a bunch of nails for them to hang on all along the wall.  When I found this tie rack for $7.99, I knew I had found the perfect thing.

This tie rack has 27 pegs on it for holding ties or belts or necklaces.  Perfecto!  I can hold more than one necklace on each peg as well.  Right now, I have 2 or 3 on the pegs, but it could easily hold 4 or 5 on each.  It works well since there are two levels of pegs that are staggered some.  This helps it hold more necklaces in less space.

I brought it home & immediately attached it to the wall with the two included screws right under my box shelves in the office.  It fit there perfectly & looks great while providing amazing function in holding my necklaces & getting rid of the clutter that was previously occupying our main living area.

When you started your business, did you have to find a creative solution for storage as well?  What ideas did you come up with for housing your supplies in a tight space?  I'd love to hear some of your ideas!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Patriotic Bath Salts - My Point of View - And a Linky Party!

I was pretty excited when Leanne from Organize & Decorate Everything asked me if I'd like to guest-participate in the monthly Point of View party for this month.  Of coarse I said yes!  The theme for this month was Patriotic as a nod to the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

The project that I did was super simple, but I know I will be enjoying it for months to come.  I made Independence Day bath salts!

That's right... BATH SALTS.  Mmm-hum, in the summer time.  I know what you are thinking.  What the heck Sarah are you nuts?!  Who takes baths in the summer time?  Well, I do.  But typically they are cool baths or even ice baths after long runs.  Yea, with ICE in the tub.  I'm crazy, it's true.

But, also, I know you do take showers still in the summer time (at least I hope you do...) and bath salts are great for sprinkling in the tub or shower floor for their relaxing scent while in the shower.  They are also really good for soaking your feet after a long hard day.  So bath salts it is!  And if you really really don't think you need salts right now, you can always pin this tutorial for later!  The pinterest button is down at the end of the post. (wink wink nudge nudge)

Ok, so on with the tutorial!  I got everything for this project at Michaels.  Here are the supplies used:

*2lbs of Mineral & Dead Sea Salt
*Cucumber Melon scented oil
*Colorants made for soap in red, yellow & blue

I love the cucumber melon scent!  They have many others as well if you like something else.  Or you can get a couple of different ones so that you can switch it up.

I knew I was going to fill 3 mason jars with my salts, so for each of the red white & blue jars, I first measured out how much I was going to need by filling the mason jars with the salt right out of the container.  Then I prepared each jar one at a time.

I pored the salts from one mason jar into a small bowl.  First I added the scent.  For these small mason jars, I added about 5 drops of oil.  This was right for me, but you may want more or less depending on how much scent you want & how strong of a scent you have. 

Once that was all mixed in, I was done with the white batch.  I just added it back to the mason jar.  For the red & the blue, I then added coloring.  I added a little at a time until I was happy with the color, which was about 10 drops for the red & 8 for the blue.  Make sure you use color made for soap products.  I can just picture using salts made with regular old food coloring.  I'm thinking your bath will likely end up a tad colored.  That's no good.  So once it was all mixed & the salts were evenly colored, they were added back to their mason jars as well.

Of coarse, I had to add a little ribbon for embellishment just to make it even prettier.  They smell so amazing & they look really cute & patriotic sitting in my bathroom.  See

I love 'em!  Plus I have a bunch of plain salts left over, so when I use all these, I'll be able to make another batch to replace them!  Love that.

All of the girls from the regular Point of View team put together great projects!  Go check them out!


There is mine,
Leanne's from Organize & Decorate Everything,
Ashlee's from I'm Topsy Turvy,
Jonie's from Just Between Friends,
Amy from Ameroonie Designs

Thank you so much girls for asking me to guest with you this month!  So excited to be included!

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I'm Topsy Turvy

Have you done any patriotic projects lately?  We have a linky for you!  If you link up here, it will be visible on the linky at all of the other 4 girls web pages too.  Be sure to link up any patriotic projects that you have done lately for the upcoming holiday!  We can't wait to see what you've been doing!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Kinds of Dresses! I Want to Buy Them All!

Lately I've been really REALLY obsessed with dresses.  Not skirts, dresses.  When I was young, I used to wear them all the time.  Then when I was in college I completely stopped wearing them, and haven't really since.  Until now!  I have discovered that dresses are amazing for summer.  They are light & airy.  They go well with leggings.  They are super easy to slip on in the morning without having to think.  They can be dressed up or down.  Oh my I'm obsessed.

So I thought I'd round up some of the dresses on Etsy that I'm mega-crushing on right now for today's treasure hunting round up!  Enjoy!

Hack With Design
Atelier Signature
Jekyll & Kleid
If you'd like to pin any of these items to Pinterest, please please please click the link & do so from their shop!!!  The sellers would really appreciate it!  Thank you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Updating My Wedding Keepsakes Box with Mod Podge

I was so so excited when I received a giant box of amazing new Mod Podge products to try out from Plaid.  I almost didn't even know what to do with myself!  There were so many cool things!  I mean, just look at it all!

I just kept pulling more & more things out of this box.  It was crazy!  Once I figured out what all was in there, I had to figure out what I wanted to do with it all.  I ended up doing something I'd been thinking about for a while.  I have a little round box that was painted red that I had been keeping some of my wedding treasures in.  Things like my veil, our program, & my bracelet.  I really wanted to make this box prettier.  It is a special box holding special items, it deserved to look like the special treasure box it was!

So I gathered all of the supplies I would be using to update my box.  I used some scrapbook paper I had left over from my pinwheel wreath.  I also used the Mod Podge sponge roller, mat, podgeable shapes, gold dimensional magic, mat antique Mod Podge, & rub on transfers.

I filled up the sponge roller with my antique Mod Podge, which made application SO easy!

The mat was super helpful too.  I didn't get Mod Podge all over the place & wasn't ruining my floor.  Yep, sometimes I craft on the floor.  Hey, it's kind of comfortable!  I cut my paper down to size & wrapped it around the bottom part of my box.  Then I did the same with the top in a different color.  Once the Mod Podge had dried, I rolled another layer to the top of the paper to secure it & seal it into place.

While those were drying, it was time to work on the decoration I was putting on the top of the box.  I used the large heart podgeable shape.  First I cut a piece of decorative paper to Mod Podge to the back of the shape.  Then I decided to use one of the rub on transfers to label the heart shape.  I'm not gonna lie, this was probably my favorite thing in the whole box.  These rub on words are so easy to apply & there are TONS of great saying included making it easy to find one that works with the project you're doing.

Just lay the sheet down on the thing you want to transfer the wording to, then use a popsicle stick to rub the words onto your item.  Lift up the paper & there it is!  I love love love it!  So easy!

I also used the gold sparkles dimensional magic around the edge of the heart shape just to make it a little more visually interesting.  I love the small amount of gold sparkles in this stuff.  Just gives it a little somethin' somethin'.

Once everything was dry, I glued the heart shape to the top of my box & it was ready to go!  So much cuter than it was just as a ho-hum red box.  I love it now & it makes a great & beautiful place to hold my wedding keepsakes.

Everything fits so nicely!  So fun to pack away in my pretty box, but easy to grab when I'm feeling sentimental & wanting to look at my things from that day.

Ta-da!  I can't wait to use all of the rest of the products I got in my box of Mod Podge treats!  Be sure to follow Plaid on Facebook & Twitter in order to find out more about all of their new products, & check out their Pinterest Boards to find some more great ideas.  You can find all of their fun NEW things at Michaels now!  What would you make if you had all of the Mod Podge products you could dream of?

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Crafting the Small Business: What is Your Vision for Your Business?

In September of last year, a membership based creative studio called Maker Works opened near my home.  They provide tools & training for people interested in working with metal, circuits, wood, and various crafts.  They are currently holding a series of classes called "Crafting the Small Business", which is a series of courses held Thursday evenings to give people the training & tools needed to develop a new small business the right way.

There are 9 different courses being held, and I have chosen 5 that I think are really important for me personally to take as I work on my new Etsy & craft business.  The first I took a couple of weeks ago & I really want to tell you all a little bit about what I learned.  If you are just starting your creative business like I am, or if you're thinking about doing so, then you might find this information helpful, so I don't want to keep it all to myself!!

Okay, so the class that I took was titled, Visioning: How do you get there from here?  The panelist were Toni Morell & Tom Root, owners of Zingerman's mail order.  We went through Zingerman's personal training on visioning for your future.  It was very eye opening & informative for me in discovering what my goals were for my business & how I see myself getting to the place I work like to be.

Have you ever, maybe when you were a kid in English class, had to do one of those exercises where you're expected to just write, nonstop, from your flow of thoughts, for a set amount of time?  You have a topic, and you write on that topic until the "bell goes off" & if you run out of things to say about that topic before then you are supposed to just keep writing whatever comes to your head.

Well we did that exercise as the main part of the class.  We were told to pick a date in the future (I chose 2 years from "today") and write as if it IS that day, and to talk about where we see ourselves & our business on that day.  So you're not supposed to say "I will be" but instead say "I am" while writing.  Try it!  Set a timer for 5 minutes & start writing as if it's two years from now or five years from now.  Think about how old you will be, how old your family will be or your dog.  Where you will be living, and what your business will look like on that date.

Colorful Bunting Embroidered Necklace

I actually found this exercise pretty easy, since I daydream about this kind of thing all the time.  BUT, writing it down made it so much more REAL.  Thinking about it in terms of saying I HAVE done it instead of I WILL do it made it more real too.  Some of the things I wrote about were how in two years we'll have found out where we'll be spending the next 3 years for Brendan's fellowship.  We'll be moving, either into a new house around here if we're staying, or someplace far far away if we're leaving.

I wrote that in 2 years, my little business is profitable.  I have started working at various art festivals & fairs around the area in the summer & before the holidays.  I have obtained some wholesale accounts & my products are now sold in some stores in my area & maybe in some other Midwest states as well.  I have expanded my brand to include some additional products that I have in the works or am dreaming about currently.  I am also still working with the race timing company that I now work part time for.

Pink Woven Pendant

The main thing I discovered was that I was talking about that at that 2 year mark, I picture myself thinking about ways that I can "quit my day job" and do just my own business and race timing.  Right now, I'm basically doing 3 jobs, but my income from timing & anything I start making from the business is going right back into it.  I assume it will be this way for about a year.  But I'm hopefully that I'll be able to start paying myself about a year from now, and hopeful that a year after that I can start to think about just doing those two things for my living.  They are my favorite of my jobs, and they provide a lot of flexibility.

I think the flexibility is the most appealing part.  It's really hard for me to do everyday things when both me & my husband are at work all day.  I feel like I'm hardly ever home & when I am, I'm working, doing laundry, cleaning, working on the garden etc.  Breaks are a little unheard of around here.  It's hard to get everyday things done like, uh, grocery shopping, or getting my hair cut when I'm working all the time.

E Monogram Embroidered Necklace

So, I'd like to really encourage you to think about possibly trying this exercise out.  There were a lot of people in my class that discovered things that they were dreaming about, but didn't even know were really part of their goals.  It does make your dreams for yourself more real, & I think it makes you more likely to really develop a plan & go for them.  Plus, you now have your vision, so you now know exactly what you're working towards & have a goal.  You can look back at this exercise in 2 years & see how you met/surpassed your hopes!  *grin*

If you do this, please let me know about it below in the comments!  Let me know what you discovered about yourself and your goals in doing so!  I'm looking forward to seeing what you find out!

Embroidered Sailboat Necklace
Also, I have chosen the winner of my Etsy shop giveaway!  Go over here to find out if it's you!  If it's not, don't worry, I set up a coupon code for you still!  Please use the coupon code opening20 to receive a Grand Opening discount of 20% off in my shop!  Coupon code will be good through the end of June.

Thank you so much for taking this journey with me :)  I'll be sharing what I learn from the other sessions I'm attending as well!  I can't wait to see where we go with our businesses!

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Friday, June 15, 2012

JoAnn Fabrics Beginner Sewing Class & My Two Inherited Sewing Machines

You may know that I've been whining for a while about how I wanted a sewing machine.  I asked for one for Christmas last year but didn't get one.  However, I have now inherited two!  They are very different machines, but my father-in-law brought them for me to have the last time that he came to town.  They were my mother-in-law's.  She had a number of sewing machines & was very into sewing.  When my father-in-law found out I was wanting a sewing machine, he chose two to give to me of hers.  I'm pretty excited to learn how to use them!

The first is a 1964 Singer.  Yea for reals.  I'm pretty sure it still works too, but I'm not sure how to use it at all.  Wait, I'm not sure how to use either of these machines, but this one especially.

So cute right!?  Also, it came in the cutest little travel box, which also had the manual in it, and a few other supplies specifically for this machine.

The second machine that I received is a Husqvarna Viking.  I'm not sure about the year on this one.  It is much more complicated looking don't you think? 

I believe this is a pretty high quality machine.  Look at all of those buttons!  This is the one I'm going to be trying to learn on first.  It also came with some various supplies specific for this machine.  I need to get reading on the manual & figure this guy out!

Since I inherited these two machines, I decided to take the introduction to sewing class held at my local JoAnn Fabrics.  I literally have never sewn before & have never sat in front of ANY kind of sewing machine, so I thought it was important to go to a very introductory class to learn the basics.  I knew NOTHING.  The class was really informative & helped me learn the basics about how a sewing machine works.  We used the store's machines, so I didn't get to practice on mine yet, but at least I know a few things about them so that I can try tinkering with mine & not feel completely helpless with it.

I really found the class helpful, so if you're thinking about taking one, I recommend it.  I'm going to be going back hopefully next month to take one of their other sewing classes so that I can actually make something simple.  I'll be figuring out some basics with my machine before then, because all of the rest of their sewing classes you use your own machine for.  Ahhh I can't wait!  I've been wanting to learn to sew for quite a while.  You can see my enthusiasm in my practically overflowing with ideas sewing Pinterest board.

So, any suggestions for me?  Do you know anything about my Husqvarna machine?  Links to really good tutorial videos or blog posts would be great too if you know of some.  I can use any help I can get!  Thanks bloggy friends!

Also, don't forget to enter my Renewed Upon a Dream Etsy Shop giveaway!  I chose a winner for the Mod Podge Rocks Book giveaway as well.  Click here to see if you won!

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