Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Knock-Off Party!

Welcome to the Knock-Off Party!  I am thrilled to have a guest poster today.  Angie from The Country Chic Cottage cranks out knock-offs and other crafty goodness at an incredible rate.  She is one of the judges at One Month to Win It and has a Etsy shop of vintage and handmade items.  Be sure to visit her blog after you’ve linked up your project at the bottom of this post.


Hello all!!  This is Angie with The Country Chic Cottage!  I am so happy to be here for Holly's Knock Off Party!  I looove a good knock off and always wait for Holly's parties!  :)  Today I did a little Pottery Barn Knock Off...with a farmhouse twist...
Here is the Pottery Barn very beachy...and $249 to boot!
I wanted more of a farmhouse look instead so I took some items I already had.  An old coke crate without a bottom and a couple of barnwood signs I made last year. 
I took a saw and cut off the front and back of the coke crate.  I found some more barnwood pieces laying about and started laying out my plan on the deck...
I then took some Deco Art craft paints after those barnwood boards...
I use a dry brush paint technique on wood like this to give it a worn appearance without using sandpaper.  Just dab a small amount of paint on your brush and then dab most of it off.  Go back and forth on your wood in long, rapid strokes over a large area to make the paint stretch as far as possible.
I did one board in white, one in gray, and the third in a pale blue.  You cannot buy rustic goodness like this in a store...
I then took another scrap board and nailed each of my signs to it.  I nailed from the back so the nail heads were not visible on the front.
Then I just leaned mine against the house on the front porch.  This one was 100% made by me!  No hubby help with the tools!  If I can do it, you can do it!  And the grand total for my version...$0...FREE!!
I really love the rustic, farmhouse feel...
Seriously this was super easy!  You can make your beach themed if you wish.  Or come up with another theme for your rustic sign!  Maybe a garden theme with words like grow, garden, spring, etc.
The beauty of these is the more weathered they get....the better they will look!  Now that is my kind of outdoor decor!
Maybe you can tell by the milk can with my house number, I am a farmhouse kinda girl!  Y'all stop by The Country Chic Cottage for even more farmhouse decor and fun!
You are welcome anytime!  And you will be greeted at the door by this rustic, farmhouse knock-off!
Stop by my blog for even more knock offs I have done over the past year and a half!  Better yet..follow me cause I am sure there are more to come! 
Thank Holly for inviting me!!  I had a blast! 

Your turn!

Linky rules (for full details see this post):

  • your knock-off entry must be made by you
  • it must inspired by Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, or Restoration Hardware
  • you must include a picture of the original item from the catalog so we can compare
  • it must be a specific comparable item, like my lamp shade, and not just a “this kind of has the PB look to it”
  • you must link back to me in your post, preferably using my button code, which you can get in my right side column
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment

I’m going to leave this open until Sunday night, but will do a highlight post on Friday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Hey, guys.  I feel like I’ve been gone forever.  This is the first I’ve even turned on my computer since Friday.  Honestly, I’ve been in a bit of a funk…a blog funk.

I was feeling like I was working my you-know-what off to get out a decent post four or five days a week, and discouraged that I was getting what felt like very little feedback.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been too concerned about comments and followers and too worried about growing my blog.  Don’t get me wrong, I love comments and appreciate all of my followers!  But I think I was seeing it as a means to an end.  “Growing my blog” meant getting advertisers and making a little money.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but having advertisers also puts a little more pressure on me to have good posts, so it’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

In short, I wasn’t enjoying my blog like I used to.

The reality is, I’m never going to be a big-deal blogger, and I’m never going to be one that spits out three or four major projects a week.  Instead of being discouraged about that, I want to be happy with what I am.  I don’t want my blog to be a chore.  If I only manage to post three times a week, I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.  At this point I think that once my current sponsorships expire, I won’t be taking any more.

I’m not going anywhere, and my blog isn’t going to change fundamentally.  Just my focus is.  I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy it with me!

Thursday’s Knock-Off Party will take place as usual.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cupcake T-Shirt

On a recent consignment store trip, I found a plain white t-shirt for Pinkerbelle for $1.  It was fine, but it was a perfect candidate for some embellishment.  I decided to do some freezer paper stenciling; it’s quick and easy and I hadn’t done any in a while.

I chose to do the totally trendy cupcake and free-handed a design (I did look at images online and based it on some of those).  Feel free to enlarge and use this image if you like.



I wanted to put a caption underneath and asked P. what she wanted it to say; she immediately said “sweet”.  My crafty cutter is an old fashioned model called  “x-acto”.  It’s a little more labor-intensive than the newer models, but effective nontheless.


I used metallic gold fabric paint for the cupcake wrapper and pulled a toothpick through it to create the lines.  Dimensional fabric paint was perfect for the sprinkles.



It’s always a little bit thrilling to pull off the freezer paper and see the result.



I let P. try it on before she went to bed.  She loves it, but she was being a goofball for the camera.



If you’d like more detail on the freezer paper stenciling procedure, see this post.


Serenity Now Crafty Cutter Party

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kitchen Island—Check!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was working on a little project that was taking longer than I had anticipated.  Well, I’m finally done.  The result is what I wanted, but the energy output was incongruous to that result!

My kitchen island is about 9 years old.  When we moved into this house, it was too big for the kitchen, so I had Craig basically cut it in half to make it work.  It’s been through a lot and been well-used.  The light colored wood top was stained and dull and never my favorite color anyway.  I figured I’d just sand it down, stain it, and be done.




I sanded, I stained, I waited 15 minutes, I wiped off the excess as instructed, and got this:




Not what I envisioned.  Apparently it needed more sanding.  I had already put all my strength into it, so Craig had a go.  He spent almost two hours on it and broke a sweat.  I stained it again, and while the result was better, there were still big areas that didn’t absorb the color.  So we sanded some more!

That must have been some kind of heavy-duty original finish!  After all that sanding, the third stain application took, and then I did a fourth, and finally 2 coats of polyurethane.  As you can see, there are still some areas that did not take the stain.



So it has kind of a rustic, uneven finish, but I like it.



This was one of the projects on my Home Goals post from back in January.  I thought this was the first thing I had accomplished from the list, but when I looked back at it to get the link, I realized we’ve actually finished several things.

  • make master bedroom headboard out of old door
  • do board and batten, or possibly some other type of trim treatment, in living room
  • stain kitchen island top a darker color
  • save enough $ for new living room furniture  (I’m getting close!)
  • give two lamps a makeover
  • organize kitchen cabinets
  • organize mudroom and make cushion for the bench
  • paint Pinkerbelle's room
  • paint corner cupboard
  • paint master bathroom
  • paint hall bathroom
  • paint boys' rooms

That makes me happy, and gives me hope that maybe I will get the list done!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks: Check the Unit Price!

I consider myself to be a pretty savvy shopper.  I’m not an extreme couponer and I don’t always buy the cheapest brand, but there are very few things that I am brand-loyal to.  The majority of my shopping is done at Aldi, and most of the rest at Walmart.  I virtually always buy generic or off-brand items unless I’ve already tried it and didn’t care for it. 

I re-learned a lesson this weekend, though.  For some time I have been buying the White Cloud brand of toilet tissue at Walmart, 12 double rolls for $5.69.  On this shopping trip I noticed that the 6-pack of double rolls of the exact same tp is only $2 (I even check sheet #/size).  I don’t know if they haven’t had the 6 roll pkg until now, or if I’ve just never looked.  That makes the 12 roll pkg 47¢/roll and the 6 roll pkg only 33¢/roll.

I always compare prices on occasional purchases, but you can bet I’m going to be giving a second look to unit price on my regular items from now on!


Got any favorite products, gadgets, or other tips?  Link them up here! 

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I reserve the right to delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme

Linky will close at 11:59 pm central Tuesday.

The Perfect Storm

Like most families, our children participate in various activities.  There are some things that happen every week and the rest usually fall twice a month.  But one week a month, all of the kids’ activities converge and everybody has everything in one week.  This is that week.  I will be shuttling at least one child to one activity every night this week, plus a couple of before-school clubs, and Firstborn’s homeschool PE class and art class, which are during the day.  I know for some of you this sounds like your daily reality, but for me it’s a busy week, “the perfect storm”.

The main issue this creates is dinner time.  We normally eat about 6:30 or 7:00, because that’s when Craig gets home.  This week I will need to feed one of the kids before I drop him/her off, and then I'll get home right about the time Craig does and the rest of us will eat.  Meal planning is not my forté, but this week I decided to be very organized about this and plan mainly crockpot meals which will be ready for one person to eat early, without sitting around and getting cold or over-baked for the rest of us.  It will also avoid last-minute dashes to the drive-thru.

Here’s my menu:

Monhot ham sandwiches, celery and carrot sticks, tortilla chips

Tues:  crockpot chili, cornbread muffins (I like this Wendy’s copycat recipe, but this time I’ll omit the beef and use all beans)

Wedsweet and saucy chicken, brown rice, salad (new recipe for me; I’ll use boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

exps45756_SSCM1753684B10_08_5bTaste of Home


Thu:  swiss steak, egg noodles, salad (put round steak in crockpot w/ sliced onions and green bell pepper, mix a can of tomato sauce with minced garlic, thyme, and salt/pepper, and pour over steak)

Fri:  we always have pizza/movie night; no activities


How about your family?  Do you have any strategies for activity nights?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Whimsical Easter Tree


The inspiration for this project comes from my childhood memories of Easter.  My mom made a little Easter tree every year with forsythia from our yard and egg nests that she had made with colored eggshells, ribbon, and chicks.  The fragile eggshell nests were saved from year to year; I’m amazed that they lasted more than a year or two. 

How she did it with real eggshells, I don’t know, because I tried at least 6 times and could not crack an egg neatly down the middle to save my life.  After having a big breakfast of eggs, I decided I’d just have to use the plastic ones.  Much easier, if not quite as elegant. 


This project required plastic eggs, 3/8” ribbon, chicks, nesting material, a glue gun, and some kind of branches.  My color scheme of pink, orange, and white was dictated by the ribbon in the $1 bin at Michaels.  I also got a package of 15 tiny chicks for under $2 on sale.


Start by cutting a length of ribbon about 5” long and tacking with hot glue to opposite sides of the eggshell to form a loop.


Attach more ribbon horizontally around the top edge of the eggshell, covering the edges of the loop.


When you get all the way around, cut the ribbon so it overlaps the original edge by about 1/2”.  Fold that 1/2” over and glue it to itself to form a 1/4” tab.  Glue the tab down over the original raw edge.


This will give you a nice finished edge.


Tuck some moss or Easter grass into the egg, add a chick, then hang it on your branches.  I used my faux-sythia.


Voila!  A cutie-pie Easter tree!


Keep an egg carton to store your nests in for next year.


A Little Bit of Easter

If you haven’t entered my current giveaway, you are really missing out!  Crystal takes very cool artsy photographs of maps (choose your favorite town) with a fun candy heart message (for message choices, ask Crystal).  You can win one 8x8, or two 5x5s.  Get one for yourself and give one as a gift!  Enter Here!



Well, I finally made it down to the basement and found the box of Easter stuff.  It’s not a holiday that I do a ton of decorating for; in fact, I’m kind of tired of the whole Easter basket/candy thing (bad mom!), and I’m thinking that this year we’re going to start a new tradition of putting the focus more on the resurrection than the bunny.  We do talk about it every year, and my kids know the real meaning of Easter, but I’d like that to be the emphasis rather than the aside.

But I’m not going to ditch the cute factor all together.  The kids appreciate a few touches here and there.


So here is Farmer Bunny:




And our little Easter tree:




And the thrift-store ceramic bunny with the cute expression:




Can’t you just see him wiggle his nose?




I’ll have an Easter project for you tomorrow!