Thursday, August 25, 2016

Do You Feel Too Old to Dream?

Does it feel like dreaming and hoping about new things seems more difficult as we grow older?

Have we learned the hard way about being disappointed, being too tired, being too complacent, being too????

Does the fear of failure stop us from even trying?

Most of us have answered yes to these questions (even if it was only to ourselves).

BUT... as C.S. Lewis says, You are Never Too Old to Set Another Goal or Dream a New Dream! 

Change is hard, but can also be soooo rewarding.

Let yourself think back to a time when your future was an empty canvas just waiting to be painted any color you wanted (before life and responsibilities took priority). What is your passion? What makes your heart smile? What would you like to day? We all have one-day lists so let's move something from a one-day list to today (or at least to this month).

Take a deep breath. Set aside some time for yourself. Pick one and jump in. 

For me it was being an artist. Throughout my life I'd been crafty and creative, but my corporate jobs always took first priority. Only leftover energy (when I had any) was given to the artistic endeavors that made my heart smile. (Why is it that we're so often stingy with ourselves...that we're the last priority?)

It was only when I made myself take a solid chunk of vacation time that I was able to take my first steps with painting and mixed media. The scariest part is just starting...without really knowing what the outcome will be. This is super hard for the Planner inside of me. :)

Around 2am one morning I finished my first pieces. AND I couldn't believe how happy I was. They were baby steps...but they were my baby steps. It made me excited to keep working on my art, to keep learning new things, and to keep investing in my passion.

And now, for each piece of art I create, I still get that happy feeling and my heart smiles.

Dream a New Dream.

Have a Hope for the Future.

Set Aside Time for You.

Just Start.

Hope you find your dream this week.
Love, Steph 

Dream a New Dream
Plans for Your Future

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Create Your Own Little Happy Place with some DIY Signs

Create your own little happy nook with some DIY Signs. We all need a place for ourselves. I created mine next to my newly planted Cottage Garden (it's a tiny garden now, but it'll grow). I love sitting out there and just enjoying the flowers and sunshine. You can create yours inside or outside - as long as it's a place you can go to and find relaxation and peace.

Start by picking a few phrases that make you smile. Little reminders or happy things that take you to a special cocoon inside a busy bustling world. This may take a few days - enjoy the process of identifying those words or phrases that give you a feeling of bliss. Then start creating your signs - here's the process I used...

Picked a bunch of random sized wood. I first stained the wood with a mixture of Tea/Coffee and then used a Vinegar/Steel Wool mix to Oxidize it (instructions here). You could also use any color of stain or paint.

Stencils - I cut out phrases on my Silhouette (this gave me the most options of fonts and sizes). I also had some plastic letter stencils.  (You can also just purchase pre-made stencil phrases at any craft store). To position the stencils, I did some measuring and dividing (please, no more math) and then used a white Stabilo pencil (or any pencil that you can easily wipe off later), to mark the wood to help line up the stencil.

Taped down stencil with painters tape. To hold down some of the little inside edges of the letters I used my a clear tape runner.
I used Acrylic Paint (Titan Buff) and a make-up sponge. You don't need any fancy tools or daubers. The secret is to lightly dab your sponge into the paint and then lightly dab your stencils. Take your time and do several layers. This way the paint doesn't seep under the edge of the stencil and you get messy and blobby (yes, that's my technical term) edges. Patience and lightness is the key.

Once the paint is dry, I gently lifted the stencil off the wood. If needed, you can fix anything with a small paint brush. Once it was really dry, I gently wiped off the white guide marks.

Even though these will be hung in my covered patio, I still wanted to protect them from the elements. I used a product called NeverWet. After applying this, I sprayed several coats of clear matte finish and let them dry thoroughly.

To help determine the layout, I placed the signs on my floor, moved them around, and took pictures until I found the one I liked best. This helped me when I was outside hanging them - I just referred to the photo for the layout and spacing.

I'm experimenting with the hanging method.  I may add more signs in the future so I don't want to have nail marks all over the side of my home. I put a bunch (4-5 per sign) of Velcro Command Strips on the back of each of the signs. So with my photo of the layout, the signs and a level, I stuck them on the patio wall.

Project Steps

Select Happy Phrases
Pick and Stain Wood
Select and/or Cut out Stencil
Hope you find your very own Happy Place!
Love, Steph

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Organize it Quick - 5 Steps

 Get your Mess Together & Throw Away Some of it
 Find a Box
 Paint Box
 Label Box
Put Stuff in Box

Start with a big old mess. 
Put it in a pile and discard anything that's old, not needed, outdated, etc. 
I wanted to organize my First Aid stuff and Medicines.

Find a box (the uglier the better - haha) that will hold your stuff. I had these from a thrift shop.
Pare down your stuff before finding the right box size.

Paint the box (a few coats of spray paint).

Label the box.
Design a fun label at and print it out on Full Sheet Labels

Cut out the shape.

Put stuff in box.

Two cute organized boxes + more room in the drawer.

Happy Organizing!
Love, Steph