Tag Archives: design

Newbie Nail Art

15 Jan

Ok, Pinterest, I get it. There are about a billion ways I can paint and decorate my nails, but I’m not always feeling like Picasso, here. I’ve been painting my nails since I was in junior high, so I have your basic one-to-two color technique down, but all those crazy designs you have to offer are going to take some practice.

Last night, though, I felt like gettin’ funky with my nails, so I took the cute little nail rhinestones my mom gave me and went to town.

Cascading, multicolor rhinestones in various shapes. Because I can.

Cascading, multicolor rhinestones in various shapes. Because I can.

That’s not the best picture (webcam,) but you can definitely see that there are a bunch of different shapes and colors “falling” down my ring finger. I repeated the same pattern on the other hand, so that it’s not quite so random. I’m feeling a little Rainbow Brite, to be honest with you – my nails make me smile!

All I did was a base coat of very pale pink, fast-drying polish, then a layer of regular clear polish on my ring fingers. Using the pointy end of an orange stick (you can also use a toothpick,) I dipped it in the clear polish and stuck the shapes on individually. This really isn’t as tedious as it sounds, and your hand doesn’t have to be super steady, thank goodness. Then, one more coat of the regular clear coat on top of the stones, and a swipe of fast drying clear coat on all my nails. Tadaa!

Gentle hugs,




19 Sep

I just had to share my excitement about our work being featured on Offbeat Bride today! Check out our beautiful and talented friend, Tiinia, her husband, Kevin, and their glorious Friday the 13th haunted house wedding:

Click on the picture to read the article and see all the pretty pictures!

If it has feathers on it (with the exception of the bride’s fan,) my mom made it. I made the bride’s bracelet and embroidered her pretty vintage handkerchief. I’m so glad we met and have become friends with them, and got to be a part of this truly unique celebration!

Gentle hugs,


How Etsy saved my life.

11 Sep

Ok, ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but Etsy has made a bigger impact on my life than it (they?) realizes.

Any of you who have been following along probably realize that I’m creative to a fault. I’ve always been this way – I blame my mom. In a good way! Most of my friends, though – not so much. Don’t get me wrong, my friends are talented and creative, but they have day jobs. For a long time, so did I. A few years ago, though, after I’d lost one job, quit another because of a move, and was finally let go from the third job (which I really didn’t like, anyway,) my mom, who had already been selling on Ebay for years and years, and I decided to open up an Etsy shop and call it a day. I started making our presence known on the boards to get familiar with some of the Etsy community, and started making treasuries (think pinterest board but with a limited number of items,) which means I had to search for specific things, which lead me to sellers that will always have a place in my heart because of their amazing talent.

Then, the site changed, and suddenly teams were more accessible, because there was a larger number of them. People were fighting to keep the communities they’d already established alive, seeking each other out and sticking together. I searched for people in my area, and found the “Etsy817” team, a group of mostly women from the 817 area code. I realized exactly how many people there are just down the street from me who do exactly what my mom and I do – they make stuff all the time. I love Etsy teams for their diversity. Some just meet daily online to chat about life and business and promote each other, some get together occasionally to socialize and craft together, and others do all of that, plus they have regular meetings, do shows together and put on events together. Etsy 817 is the last kind of team. Of course, there are the members who can’t make it to a lot of the meetings and events, and that’s okay. There’s a core group of us who usually show up and participate in whatever project we’re working on at the time. We also see each other outside of meetings, because we’ve gotten close like that.

That’s me in the upper left corner, cutting Chris’s head off with a giant pair of scissors (while she stabs me with a jumbo pencil!)

What I thought was going to be another independent venture into the world of arts, crafts, and design has turned into a really supportive group adventure. While we’re all doing our own thing in terms of our businesses, we’re doing it together. I’m not afraid to ask a “stupid” question around these women. They’re awesome, and they get all of the little quirks and weird things that go along with being creative. This, it turns out, is exactly what I would need when my health got worse and I became inclined to isolation. Between my mom and my Etsy friends, I’ll never be alone. They all know about my and my mom’s health problems, and they’re so understanding – some of them have chronic health issues of their own.

Please take a look at my friends’ shops, listed here. Our team members sell everything from graphics and traditional art to jewelry and vintage to soap and custom ballgowns … you get the picture! You’re likely to find something that you can’t live without (or at least don’t want to live without.) It’s retail therapy, without the retail and the walking.

Gentle hugs,


DIY Tutorial: Cute Key Holder

27 Jul

Once upon a time, there was a princess with fibromyalgia. This princess was one of the smartest in the land, but her fibrofog made her feel dumb. Each morning, she spent at least 10 minutes searching the castle for the gate keys so she could take rides to the village market, tailor, and, well, some other places, but she’d written them down and couldn’t find the list …

So, one fine day, she had a grand idea to create a designated space for her keys and lists! She would call it a key holder, and she would simply hang it by the front door of the castle. That way, on her way to the stable, she could rest assured that the castle gate keys and to-do lists would be at but an arm’s reach. Even her prince saw it as an opportunity to leave his love letters with her to-do lists, so that she would be sure to find them each day and be reminded of their true love.

And they both lived happily ever after!

Or something like that.

You don’t have to have brain fog to appreciate being able to find your keys each morning. When I came home with a long wooden sign that said “Blondes have more fun,” Tom was skeptical. I assured him that I would be painting over the words and creating something new. Here’s what I did:


Pardon the poor lighting. I’ve dubbed our front hallway “The Green Mile,” because of its long, dimly lit, and gloomy demeanor. Anyway, the board I found was pretty long, so I decided to add clothespins along with the hook and vase to hold notes and lists. This is right by our front door, so it’s incredibly convenient, and I don’t have much trouble remembering to hang my keys on something that’s practically in my face as I walk inside. Like many of my projects, I think I’ll add to this one a bit by painting a wash of dark teal over the green to tone down the near Christmas-y theme I have going on here.

If you’d like to make your own key haven, here’s how to do it.

What you need:

Long wooden board (a stake, fence post, wooden sign … the options are limitless!)

Acrylic paints in your choice of colors (optional)

Large paintbrush

Sandpaper (optional)

Key ring-size hooks and screws to match (I found mine on sale at JoAnn Fabrics and had the screws, but any hardware store will have a variety of both; UrbanOutfitters has some awesome ones if you’re willing to spend a bit more money)


Hose clamp (found in the plumbing department of your hardware store)

Mason jar


Strong glue like E6000


2 zigzag hangers with nails (if you haven’t found a sign that has them)

How to make it:

1. Paint the board with a couple of coats of acrylic paint. My sign was black to begin with, so I painted everything but the edges, so that there’s a black border. Get as crazy as you want here. You can use metallic paints, glitter, or you can forego the paint and Mod Podge magazine images on your board. Let it dry completely. Sand edges if you’d like a worn look.

If you need to attach zigzag hangers to the back of your board, now’s the time to do it. Follow the instructions on the package, or simply be sure that the distance from the edge of the board to the outside edge of one hanger is the same distance to the other hanger on the opposite end of the board.

2. Place your hooks along the (dry) board to get an idea of placement. You can measure between them, or just eyeball the distance. Allow room for your vase and clothespins on either end.

3. Mark the where the holes of the hooks are on the wood with your pencil. Remove the hooks, and use one of your screws to create “starter” holes by screwing it in slightly at each mark and removing it. This will make it easier to attach your hooks to the board. Now place the hooks back on the board, lining up the holes on the board with the holes in the hooks, and screw them on.

4. Now that your hooks are attached, it’s time to attach the hose clamp to hold your mason jar vase. Slip the vase inside the ring and adjust it so that the glass can be removed to add water and be cleaned. Once you’ve found the right circumference, remove the jar and screw the clamp onto the board. The hose clamp already has slots to place your screw in, but you may need to widen one of them. I was able to widen mine by using the tip of a screwdriver to “drill” one of the slots into a screw-sized hole.

5. Now, it’s time to attach your clothespins. Again, you can measure the exact distance between them, or just eyeball it. Be sure you leave enough room between them to ensure that the notes attached won’t overlap and cover each other. You can lightly mark their placement with a pencil. Now glue the clothespins down with your E6000 or other strong glue. Let dry completely.

6. Once the glue is dry (follow the directions on the tube of glue,) hang your key holder, fill the mason jar with water and flowers, and place it in the hose clamp vase holder. Oh, and remember to hang up your keys!

Gentle hugs,


DIY Tutorial: Easy Window Treatment

24 Jul

As promised, I’m breaking down the list of DIY projects I’ve done recently around the apartment. Today’s tutorial may seem a little overwhelming, but I promise it’s just a matter of symmetry and a little creative thinking. This is one of the “mock” window valances I made:

Big windows, huh? I call them mock valances, because they’re not your typical 3D box type. They’re just a single piece of fabric, because, well, that’s a heck of a lot easier and our windows are ginormous.

Now, I know what you’re thinking if you have big windows like these: “Are you kidding me? The fabric’s going to cost a fortune!” Well, my friend, now it’s time to divulge my little secret. Ready? The fabric I used was not only from a thrift store, but in it’s past life it was … a bed sheet. This is where the creative thinking comes in. Take a look at places other than fabric or craft stores, like a discount home goods store, a thrift store, or an estate sale. First of all, you may find ready-made valances, and that will save you the trouble of making them. Second, you may find some really awesome fabric in the form of bed sheets, tablecloths, or even full-length curtains. Then, it goes a little something like this:

What you need:

curtain rod

Fabric measuring (at least) the length of your curtain rod



measuring tape or yardstick

fray check/fabric glue/tacky glue

fabric pins

sewing machine (optional)

minimal drawing skills

minimal sewing skills (optional)

Step 1.

If you’re making a custom curtain rod, like so many people do now from metal conduit, measure the length of your window, plus any length you want the curtain rod to extend past the edges.  Fortunately, the previous tenants left the curtain rods (along with some very scary window treatment,) for me to use. If you already have rods, lucky you, just measure the length. Don’t worry about  allowing for seams, because there won’t be any – yay!

Step 2.

Cut your fabric to the length of the rod, then fold in half, lengthwise, so that the back of the fabric is facing out. This is so that the lines you draw won’t show, and the design you choose will be even and symmetrical.

Step 3.

Decide what type of design you want on the bottom edge of your fabric. I chose the shape of a curly bracket or brace.

Draw half of the design in chalk, or pen if you’re that confident in your drawing skills, right onto the fabric.

Step 4:

Leaving the fabric folded, cut along the line you drew.

Step 5:

Unfold the fabric, and use your fray check (fabric glue and tacky glue work just as well) along the raw edge you just cut. (If the top of your fabric also has a raw edge, use glue on all edges of the fabric. I used my finger by putting a bit of glue on the tip and dabbing it onto the edges of the fabric. You shouldn’t have to worry about it sticking to the surface you’re working on, but just in case you can use a cheap drop cloth. You can also wait until you have the valance hung on the rod. I did this, and though it was a little tiring, it worked just as well.

Step 6:

Turn your fabric over so that the back is showing again. On one edge, fold your fabric so that it measures about 1 1/2 inches and pin it. Continue to measure at intervals all along the fold to keep it straight, and keep pinning it down.

Step 7:

Sew a straight line along the pins to create a loop to fit the rod through.

Note: If you don’t have a sewing machine, use fabric glue to glue your fabric to itself, rather than sewing a seam. You can use the pins to secure the fabric while the glue dries, or put some heavy books on top to weigh the fabric down.

Step 8: 

Push the curtain rod through the loop and hang!

Gentle hugs,