Archives for July 2011

Guest Post by Becky from Organizing Made Fun

So, if you are like me, you have lots of paint supplies and cans and bottles and jars and more crammed in your storage area of choice. And if you are like me, this storage area is a complete disaster!

This is where my friend Becky can help. Becky is the brains behind Organizing Made Fun. She has some great tips and ideas on her blog for keeping your home and life organized. I hope you’ll take a moment to browse her site.

Without further introduction, please welcome Becky:

I’m Becky, from Organizing Made Fun! I hope to movitate you today! So hang on…

Brittany has graciously asked me to help you get motivated to organize! Since I LOVE to organize and it’s fun, I said “of course”! Today, I’m going to show you how I organized all my household paint recently.

It may not seem so bad, when you first look in here.  My paint stash isn’t THAT big, is it?  Well, it is…see this is where I was storing half of my paint supplies – in my basement.

The other half are in my shed outside!  My goal: keep it all in one location! I prefer having it in the basement so I did a little bit of re-organizing. My other goal:  don’t spend ANY money on organizing bins.  For Pete’s sake, this is paint in the basement! It doesn’t need to LOOK pretty! But, I DO need it to function practically!

I got all my paint, spray paint, paint brushes, anything related to painting, and put them in the basement on the floor.

Wow, that’s a LOT of paint.  I even attempted to try and get my friends to take some – a small amount was actually taken! But, there is still a lot left.

My cardboard carry-all box was not functioning as originally intended.  It had now become my “throw it in there and forget about it” box!

A couple of years ago, I was smart and bought many small, quart-sized paint cans at the hardware store.  They aren’t expensive and I had a couple left.  I use those to pour that last little bit left from the big gallon paint cans of paint into.

I highly recommend you dab your finger with the paint, mark the date, the formula or name of paint color, and brand. This way, if you ever DO need more you can have it mixed exactly the same.

More importantly, write down the date and the room you used it in.  I can’t tell you how many cans of paint I forgot to do this with and the colors all start to look alike! Was this the kitchen yellow, the bathroom yellow, or furniture yellow? It’s also amazing to realize – “wow, it’s been 8 years since I painted the kitchen?” – and realize that it might be time for an update!

My resources for organizing were simple, old containers. I used a small coffee can, a Doritos can, Feta cheese container, a couple of cardboard box-bottoms, and some aluminum left-over containers.  All of these I found in my stash of containers in my overflow pantry.

The large aluminum roasting pan was used to house all my spray paint {it was a tiny bit big, so I smooshed it in the front and back to be able to close the door}.  A smaller aluminum pan for the rollers. Two existing plastic boxes for sand paper and rubber gloves {they WERE “organized” paint supplies in the shed but got unorganized}.

Then, the feta cheese container to contain my stir sticks…

A coffee can for holding foam brushes…

A Dorito can for my Purdy brushes!

And then, I put all the quart-sized paint cans into the cardboard box-bottom and stacked another box-bottom on top of the cans to make a “shelf”.

This removable “shelf” would hold all the roller handles. I’ve got a lot – a lot more than I remember!

I used the third pre-existing plastic box {minus the missing lid} for housing other small, miscellaneous paint supplies {tape, small foam rollers, paint can openers, etc.}.

I also moved out some other entertaining supplies in order to make room for the larger gallon-sized paint cans. Then I simply used the last of my existing plastic boxes to hold my de-glossers {TSP, stone sealers, etc.}.

Last, I wanted to keep my rectangular, cardboard box for my paint trays and liners.  I like to use this box to “load” up everything and carry upstairs for my paint job!

In the end, I decided to get rid of a bunch of paint.  Now, keep in mind, you can’t “throw away” paint! You must let the can sit out in the sun and completely dry before throwing out.  Or, better yet, our city has a “hazardous waste” round-up every August that I plan to take all this paint to!

You can see here, before and after, it’s not drastically different, but I actually added MORE stuff to it and it’s more organized.  My goal of not buying a single organizing container was also accomplished! So, I would say it was a success! I’m the only “painter” around here, so the mess was mine and I can’t blame anyone else! Now, I’m going to keep it nice.


I really like that Becky used common household recycling to organize her paint storage! Very eco-conscious storage. I’m definitely motivated to organize my painting supplies now. Hmmm, I bet I could use that soy protein shake container I just threw away.

I wanted to share with you that Becky also has a great post about organizing your weight. In her post she mentions a phone app called Lose It! I downloaded it right away and already lost one pound this week! Woot!

Another one of my favorite bloggers, Donna from Funky Junk Interiors started a series called Junk Loser.


Click to Join the Facebook Group

She’s been posting some inspirational stories and a link party for healthy recipes to help her readers lose weight.

Between Becky and Donna, I’m committed to shedding these last 10 pounds that I’ve been hauling around since October of last year. So, hopefully as the months progress you’ll be seeing a lot less of me. LOL! Get it?!

See ya later. Gotta go get some exercise now that I’m feeling better.

Make Your Own Back Pillow

Okay, no over 40 jokes! Yes, I use a back pillow, and without it my neck hurts. Sadly I lost my way too expensive memory foam back pillow on the airplane trip to Ca. I couldn’t bring myself to buy another one, so I decided to see if I could make one.

This is definitely an easy project. Plus, it is sure to improve your posture!


  • 2″ thick foam cushion
  • Batting
  • Fabric
  • Sharpie or fabric marker
  • Coordinating thread
  • Velcro
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Electric carving knife


I used another back pillow as a guide to create the shape for my DIY back pillow:

Here are the dimensions I used for my pillow.

1. Mark the outer dimensions onto your foam.

2. Cut the shape out using an electric carving knife (you can try scissors or x-acto knife, but nothing cuts through foam “like butter” than an old fashioned electric carving knife.)

3. Mark 3″ in from the side on top of the cushion and 1″ up from the bottom on the side. Connect the dots with a diagonal line. Repeat on the opposite side. Then draw a line connecting the points on the front of the cushion.

4. Use the carving knife to cut off the diagonal shapes.

5. Lay the foam cushion on top of the batting.

Use the foam as a guide to cut enough batting to wrap around your pillow form as shown:

6. Cut a piece of fabric that will also wrap around the cushion and and leave an extra 5″ on the length. Also, allow an extra 3/4″ for seam allowance on the sides.

7. Fold over one end two times for a hem. Make sure the hem is large enough to accommodate the width of the velcro. Iron the hem to hold it in place.

8. Sew the hem.

9. Pin the velcro onto the hem you just sewed.

10. Stitch the one velcro strip ont0 the right side of the fabric.

11. Figure out where the other strip of velcro needs to sit and pin it in place. Fold over the raw edge and sew the hem. Then stitch your 2nd piece of velcro in place.

Test the fit to make sure the fabric is pulled snug over your cushion when the velcro is secured.

12. Time to add the sides. Stand your cushion up on its end and draw around the shape, allowing at least 3/4″ seam allowance. Cut two identical pieces (one for each side).

13. Put the cover on the cushion inside out. And pin your end shapes inside the cover.

Cut small slits to fringe the ends of the tight radius turns. Do not cut past where your stitching will go.

14. Carefully remove the cushion from the cover.

Stitch the ends onto the body of the cover.

Trim the excess fabric off the seams.

15. Turn the cover right sides out and insert your cushion into the cover. Hooray! You are done!

I actually use this cushion in the car for driving. It fits perfectly between the sides of the seat.

How to Make Your Own Piping

Back when I showed you my screen porch tour, I told you it really wasn’t 100% finished. Why? Well, I really wanted to sew a cushion for the garden bench.

As I was looking for piping for my cushion, I was getting VERY disappointed! Why? Two reasons:

  1. I couldn’t find a simple piping cord in a white color.
  2. Anything that might work (off-white) was VERY expensive!

So, I decided to teach myself how to make my own piping for the cushion. I can tell you now, I WILL NEVER BUY PIPING AGAIN! It was that easy.


  • Cotton rope
  • Inexpensive cotton/poly blend white fabric
  • White thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot
  • Iron


1. Start by measuring your fabric and put a snip at 3″.

2. Tear the fabric along the length. The strip should stay approximately 3″ along the rip.

3. To add more length, cut two pieces at a 45˚ angle.

4. Pin the two angled ends together as shown (at a 90˚ angle).

5. Stitch the two pieces together along the angled edge.

6. Open up the fabric and press the seam.

7. Lay your rope in the center of the fabric.

8. Line up the raw edges and pin next to the cord.

9. Using your sewing machine and zipper foot, stitch very close along the edge of the rope but not on top of it.

And this is your finished product! I actually like how the thin fabric shows the spiral pattern of the rope through it.

Now, head on over to my tutorial for sewing the bench cushion cover!

Sharpie Stained Markers – Making a Keepsake Baby Shirt

Sharpie just sent me a new line of markers they just released. They are called Stained by Sharpie. The markers are permanent fabric markers and let you get creative on anything fabric, canvas or cloth.

They couldn’t have arrived at a better time. The kids were home for summer break and were itchin’ for something fun to do.

I pulled out some old t-shirts I had stored away to tie dye (several of them had stains on them. So, I had planned to renew them anyway.)

The shirts are easiest to draw on if they are stretched taut over cardboard.

I decided it would be fun to let the boys decorate a baby shirt for their new little niece who will be born in September.

I drew out my words with pencil on the baby shirt. Then started using the Stained markers.

The markers are very easy to use. They will drag or bleed on the fabric if you use too much pressure. But, if you draw lightly and quickly they are just like using a pen.

I doodled flowers and a design using black, purple and green.

Then carried the design over to the back (including a strategically placed bee covering up what might have been a spit up stain. Shhhh, don’t tell my sister.)

Then I called in my little Picassos and turned them loose.

They really had fun coloring in the lines. They left no section of shirt uncolored. (Aren’t band-aids just the cutest on little kid fingers. It makes me want to kiss the little boo boo.)

Our only complaint (being the artistic family that we are) is that we really wanted more colors! A light blue and light green would be nice. With all the colors regular Sharpies have, we hope the company will not disappoint and will soon have the same rainbow of assortment for the Stained Fabric Markers.

I gave the shirt to my sister for the new baby while I was visiting her. She already washed it once and reported that the ink held up just fine.

Isn’t this a cute keepsake for a new cousin? We think so. What would you use Stained markers on? I’m already thinking a plain canvas tote may look nice decorated with some art.


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Sharpie sent me a set of complimentary Stained markers to try. I was not paid for this post or told what to write. All projects and opinions are my own.


Rustic Wine Crate with Rope Handles

A friend gave me some magazines the other day and she put them all in a new yellow pine wine crate. I was overjoyed when she said I could keep the crate. I immediately had visions of staining it to create a rustic display box for magazines or other décor items.


  • Wine crate or wooden box
  • Dark brown stain
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper towels
  • Damp rag
  • Rubber gloves
  • Medium Grit (100 grit) sandpaper
  • Sisal Rope
  • Scissors
  • Drill w/ bits


1. Start by cleaning off your crate with a damp rag. Then brush the stain on and let it sit for a minute.

2. Wipe the stain off with paper towels.

Add a second coat if you want your crate darker. Allow it to dry thoroughly. It might take several hours or overnight.

3. Sand any words and printing on your crate until you start to see some of the wood coming through. Be careful not to sand too deep and expose the bare wood.

4. Wipe off the crate. Mark the location you want your handle to be on the sides of the crate. Be sure to measure the same distances from the top and edges on both sides.

5. Choose a drill bit slightly larger than your rope. Drill holes at your marks.

6. Insert one side of the rope through the hole.

7. Tie a double knot inside the crate to keep the rope from slipping back through.

8. Determine how long a rope handle you want and tie a single knot in the middle of the handle.

9. Feed the other end of your rope through the other hole and tie another double knot on the inside of the crate.

10. Fray the edges of your rope by untwisting them.

11. Fill your crate with magazines, blankets, or décor goodies and display it!

Easy tutorial right? How many of you are running to your local wine shop and begging for wine crates now?

While I Was Out…

While I was out…sick. I holed myself up in our bedroom for several days. I honestly have not been this sick for as long as I can remember.

This was my sick station. Complete with all the sick bed accoutrements:

1. Tissues, lots and lots of tissues
2. Note cards to write thank you notes from my birthday (good intentions, but I never felt up to it.)
3. TV Remote to watch lots and lots of HGTV
4.1 iPad – I have to say this was my best friend the last few days. I read my book on the Kindle app, checked email and tweeted a little.
4.2 Bluetooth keyboard for iPad
5. iPhone
6. Heating pad for painful ear and face

Today I decided I needed to get up because my head and body were screaming for release from the bed. So, I got up, took a shower, and put this on for the first time in days.(Yes, I really need a new watch to replace this old cracked and scratched one.)

Then I took one look at the bed and knew I couldn’t sleep another minute on those germ covered sheets. I balled them up and seriously considered torching them (like they did during the Scarlet Fever outbreaks). But, I convinced myself hot water and detergent would suffice. I did throw open the windows and turned the ceiling fan on high.

Next I went over to my vanity and sadly had to dump any cosmetics that could have come in contact with my infected eye up to 2 days before I had symptoms (per the doctors orders.) It really hurt to throw away my favorite eye shadow set. I’m not even sure I can replace it because they were bought as some promotional item. I seriously feel sick in the gut just thinking about the cost to replace all this makeup. Ooof.

Then I slowly cracked the door of the bedroom afraid of what lay beyond. My boys had been really good and had let me be for most of the past few days. But, as any mother knows, the quiet times are when they are getting into trouble. I spied the laundry piled high. No surprise there.

Stuffed animals were strewn in the hallway, but someone had kindly cleared a path. Buddy was my constant companion the whole time I was sick. He only left my side to eat and go outside.

The boys’ bedrooms were messy, but not disaster zones.

Empty food wrappers were found in my oldest’s bedroom. At least he didn’t starve, right?!

More empty food containers were found in the freezer.

I’m so grateful that my boys are getting to the self-sufficient stage. At almost 5 and 7, we really pushed them this week to take care of themselves while I was sick.

I was up for a while today but am still feeling pretty cruddy and had to lay back down for a nap. I still haven’t unpacked my suitcase from my surprise visit to California. It might have to wait another day.

Hopefully I’ll be closer to normal in a few days and will have some new tutorials for you. Thank you for your patience and I hope y’all are staying healthy and well.




Update: I actually unpacked my suitcase this morning. But, now I’m too tired to hang up the skirts. Sheesh.

Guest Posting at Frugal Flourish – Making Glass Citrus Plates

I’ve been fighting a losing battle this week. I seem to have come home from California with some airplane cooties. Last night I got knocked down by a raging ear infection. This evening I came down with pink eye. My sympathies go out to all our little ones that have suffered from an ear infection. OUCH! Hopefully I’ll be punching back soon once the antibiotics take effect.

Lucky for you I wrote a tutorial earlier in the week for a friend who is also suffering from lack of sleep. My friend Jess who writes Frugal Flourish and her husband just welcomed a beautiful baby boy into their lives.

Needless to say I should be getting more sleep sooner than they will. But, I wish them easy parenting over the next year (and then some.)

So to get your DIY dose, head over to Frugal Flourish to see how I made these glass citrus plates. And help yourself to a lemon cookie.

Hopefully I’ll see you back here on Monday. I’m going to TRY to take it easy this weekend.

Backlighting a Cut Out Bookcase

I promised to show you how I lit my son’s bookcase. It really isn’t anything fancy.

But, a promise is a promise. Here is the view of the back of the bookcase:

I purchased the LED rope lights at Home Depot. They came with little snap in holders. You simply drive a screw into the mounting hole. Then snap the rope light into the holder.

On the top edge, I used a long channel strip (sold separately near the rope lights. It has a self adhesive backing. Then you firmly press the rope light into the channel. This took some serious strength, but I finally got the length of the rope light inside the channel.

Finally, I plugged the light into a timer.

The lights are set to come on at bedtime and turn off shortly before sunrise.

That’s it! And this is probably the shortest tutorial I ever wrote.

So, I’ll share a few pictures from my sister’s flower garden in California. Check out all the pollen on the back legs of this bee! They are the orange masses hanging from his legs.

The bees were loving the agapanthus as well.

The pink blossoms are from a lemon tree that grows in their back courtyard. Sadly none of them were ripe while I was there. I can only imagine how fresh and sweet lemonade from those fresh picked lemons would taste. Mmmmm!

Be back later this week with more DIY tutorials!

Paint Problems and Surprising My Sister

Me and My Little Sister Caitlin

I just got back from surprising my little sister, Caitlin in San Jose, CA. My sister’s husband, Ryan, and I conspired to give her a real treat for her birthday. She was really sad when she couldn’t make it to my 40th birthday party. And she has been lamenting the fact that it was taking too long to get her 3 yr. old daughter’s room big-ified (insert big girl furniture and pull out the baby furniture for when their new baby arrives.) One of the projects that was holding them up was painting an estate sale bed frame. Ryan had sanded it, primed it, and then ran into problems while painting it. It was killing me that I couldn’t be there to help them. With over 3,000 miles between us, it was difficult to help only over the phone.

But, with some frequent flier miles and a few secret phone conversations with Ryan, a plan was hatched. I was to fly out to California and give her a grand birthday surprise.

View over San Jose, CA from the Airplane

The ruse was perfectly planned and timed. Ryan told Caitlin that he was going to the hardware store to pick up some things to finish the bed painting project that had gone awry. Meanwhile, he was actually picking me up from the airport. Upon arriving home, he told her, “Honey, I got everything I need to finish painting our daughter’s bed.” And then I rounded the corner. The look on her face was PRICELESS! You can watch the short video of her reaction if you want.


Caitlin’s Surprise from Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl on Vimeo.



Ryan and I got busy working on repainting the bed the next day. Here is what had stalled the project:

The paint Ryan had used was Ben by Benjamin Moore. And it was bubbling and gumming up. It wasn’t until I started stirring up the paint can and pulled out a big wad of gummy paint at the bottom that we realized he had a bum can of paint.

The date on the can was almost a year old. Now, Benjamin Moore assured me that it still should have been okay if it had been stored properly. But, for whatever reason, it just gummed up on us.

We returned it to the Ace Hardware near their home. And they kindly upgraded our paint to Benjamin Moore Regal which boasts a paint and primer in one can.

The paint was better, no bubbles or bumps, however, we were still having issues with the paint drying very fast. I have to tell you that I’ve painted in heat before. But, we were having a very hard time painting that day. I’d brush on the paint, and could only brush through it one or two more times before it started to dry! CRAZY! I couldn’t understand what was going on. So, I contacted a few experts:

1. Diagnosis by Benjamin Moore Paint expert (I called their 1-800 number).  The Benjamin Moore Regal line is good paint, but it dries much faster than the Impervo (that I am used to using.) The other possibility for the fast drying time is the weather conditions. This makes sense because it was 96F in San Jose, but it was dry. Any paint would have dried faster that day as we slaved away in the garage. In NC, when the temperature reaches above 90F, it is icky, sticky, and muggy humid! You are lucky if your paint dries after 24 hours!

2. Diagnosis by Kate from Centsational Girl (a CA native blogger and furniture painting expert)- I figured she’d be a good resource for advice on painting in the CA dry heat. So I sent her a quick message asking for her help. She replied that I should look into buying some Floetrol to extend the paint and dry it slower. Thanks Kate for your quick reply!

We ended up moving our painting operation inside and that helped a lot. We didn’t buy the Floetrol, but I figured it might help y’all in the dry environments to know about it.

One other issue I had with the Regal Select was that there were a few spots on the furniture that we had sanded a little more thoroughly (through the separate coat of primer that was applied), and the stain or underlying paint kept coming back through the paint. I have to say, I am not exactly thrilled with the Regal “Paint + primer” in one. I suggest that you save yourself the headache and prime with a primer before you paint. Don’t try to cut corners.

Here are my lessons learned on this project:

  1. Check your new paint can carefully, if when mixing it creates a gummy blob at the end of your mixer, return it immediately!
  2. Use high quality paint to save you headaches and hassle. If we had driven the few extra miles to the Benjamin Moore store to buy Impervo paint (instead of the Ace Hardware where they only carried only a few Benjamin Moore lines), we would have had better painting results.
  3. If you have to use paint you already have and are working in a dry region, add Floetrol to it or move indoors.
  4. Don’t try to eliminate steps with a paint + primer in one product. Spend the time to sand your object, prime it, and then paint at least 2 layers of paint.

The five days I was in CA flew by, but we did accomplish a lot! My little niece has a big girl bedroom now and they have moved her baby furniture into the new baby’s room.

My little niece seems to like her big girl bedroom! She loves to stand on her bed and peek out the window now.

And check out the dresser that Caitlin refinished and hand-painted herself! Reminds me of a Miss Mustard Seed original!

I think she’s pretty talented, don’t you?

We added the “You are my Sunshine” vinyl graphic to the mirror.

Caitlin also wanted a art on the wall. She picked out a graphic from Leen’s site.

And I hand-painted a similar graphic onto the wall. After doing the dandelion mural in my bedroom, I knew this one would be a snap.

We also repainted this bookcase to match the new color scheme.

Finally, Caitlin found this tutorial written by Jen Duncan for sewing roman shades. She sewed the roman shade herself with just a few questions for me. (It was quite comical because neither one of us are strong at math.) But, we finished, and in the morning we had JUST enough time to hang it before leaving for the airport.

That little blue chair in the room was the first piece of furniture I ever painted. I painted it for Caitlin while I was in college. A long, long time ago.

Caitlin already had the curtain panels. She chose the roman shade fabric to coordinate with them. I love it!

I had so much fun surprising and helping my sister. Plus, it was fun working in and around a girly room. There is so much testosterone flying around my house (1 man + 2 boys + 1 male dog) that pink is not a color usually seen.

What do you think? Do you like my nieces’s big girl room? Have you ever surprised someone you love? I wanna hear!

My Thrifting Score and New Blog Buddies

Yesterday was I <3 Thrifting Day around the nation. Thanks to Rashon Carraway, aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting, people went out and shopped for second hand items at their local thrift stores. I really hope this is an annual event!

Courtney from The Joy of Decorating, did a fabulous job organizing the Raleigh group of thrifters.

She even scheduled our lunch at Tijuana Flats (a great Mexican joint) and now I have a NEW favorite restaurant in Raleigh!

Several other local bloggers showed up. From left to right: Rae, Jay (future blogger and Amy’s boyfriend), Amy, Courtney, Abi, Carrie, Kristi and Me.

Here are a few things I learned about these fabulous people:

Rae (is known to her friends as Reesie) and she shares furniture with a girlfriend. They trade things back and forth, instead of buying new! Genius. Rae’s writes, a blog about fashion, style and the complexities of women. Check her out blog and let her know I sent you. I would love to go clothes shopping with Rae. Something tells me she would really help me step up my style.

Jay – Jay has been contemplating a blog in his head for a while now. He has a great sense of humor and likes all things Star Wars (I’m a Star Wars geek too, so I like that in a man!) He also tried to convince Amy that they needed an almost nude Santa doll in boxers and black boots for their own. I REALLY wish I had taken a picture. I have to convince Jay to bring over his box set of Star Wars movies so we can watch them back-to-back with my boys.

Amy – Amy is a friendly gal who waits quietly to get a word in. But, when she does, she has a lot to share. She pointed out this amazing pendant lamp made from cardboard.

I must have looked at it five times and never realized that it was made of cardboard. Amy’s blog is called She is a wonderful writer and has a writing style that keeps you entertained. Check out her post on photoshopping celebrities. I hope she’ll let me know next time she’s in town so we can hang and maybe shop again.

Courtney – She’s the gang leader. But, in the nicest of ways. She is a fun and vivacious creature who loved to ham it up for the camera.

Amy and Courtney hamming it up for the camera.

Courtney planned the I <3 Thrifting Day perfectly and led us through some great hidden treasures of Raleigh. Okay, maybe they aren’t all hidden, but I live under a rock. Courtney writes the blog, The Joy of Decorating, a blog about home decor and much much more! Little did I know that she is practically a neighbor of mine! Hopefully we can get together again soon. Oh, and she also put together little goodie bags for all of us. What a sweetheart! Thanks Courtney!

Abi – Some of you may already recognize Abi. She is the writer of, a blog that wanders around sharing home decor, diy projects, travel and more. She also writes a twice a month feature for Centsational Girl called Best of the Blogosphere.

Abi was a hoot to hang with. She has a great fun-loving personality. She fell hard for this dresser turned into a bench with storage. But, the sales people were unwilling to budge on their (in my opinion, inflated) prices.

Abi covets this cool dresser turned bench.

Their loss! Hey Abi, maybe we can get together to build one for you! I’ll supply the power tools, you supply the dresser.

Carrie – I actually met Carrie (and Kristi) when we arrived back from Blissdom. They stopped me at the Raleigh airport to ask if I had just come from the conference. It was really great seeing her again. Carrie is a busy mama. She writes the blog. PLUS, she has an Etsy store. AND, she also is a graphic and web designer. If you need a new blog design, Carrie is your gal. You can view her portfolio and get more information by visiting

I’m hoping Carrie will invite me for coffee sometime so we can talk graphic design and blog stuff ;-). We certainly didn’t get enough time to talk on Saturday.

Kristi – As I mentioned, we actually met in January on our way home from Blissdom. I learned that Kristi and I have the same taste. She scored this cute shirt and mirror at Goodwill.

Kristi's thrifty finds.

She’s just lucky she saw it before me or I would have snagged them! Kristi is the creative genius behind The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Slipcovers. Seriously, this is a great resource should you want to sew your own slipcover. Just take a look at her blog to see some of the many slipcovers she has sewn. I wish I had found her before I sewed one for my sister’s glider. Hopefully she’ll come over one weekend so we can chat, eat chocolate and sew together ;-D.

It was really great getting to meet these fantastic women + one man. There is nothing like hanging with a bunch of bloggers to make you feel welcome and know that they “get you”.

I met the group at Goodwill where Becky from the corporate office showed up to talk to us and take our pictures.

Rae, Becky, Abi and Carrie

Becky was explaining to me what projects Goodwill funds with the money from the retail shops. Not only does Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC provide jobs for over 450 people in our region. They also have a nature center complete with a greenhouse at their corporate office for adults with disabilties? This center is amazing! They provide learning and skill development for almost 100 adults with disabilities, while at the same time growing plants, flowers and vegetables. Last year they donated 3,300 lbs. of produce from the nature center to a local food bank! If you have a minute, watch this video for more information.

Finally, funds from the retail stores also go to an online computer learning resource. At you can learn how to use everything from Microsoft Office programs, to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Plus, there are online learning resources for learning english, math, resume writing and much more!  I will definitely think about this next time I’m shopping at Goodwill (which will probably be next week.)

Here are just a few pictures from our day of thrifting:

ReTails a thrift shop that benefits low cost spaying and neutering. A great cause! Click on the picture to learn more.

What the heck is it?

Abi shows her claim to this vintage wine opener.

Who's shooting who? Kristi taking my picture and vice versa.

Courtney and Abi are having way too much fun!

Courtney and me at Goodwill

Carrie, Kristi and Rae at Tijuana Flats

Abi and Me trying hard to get a good picture of the two of us.

My I <3 Thrifting Day Haul - Less than $60 for everything!

Striped fabric belt and a paneled cupboard thingy. Courtney helped convince me to buy it for only $20! But, I have some great plans for it. You'll just have to wait and see.

Wire baskets and spray paint

Old atlas, a yellowed book, big Ball mason jar and some Hardy Boy books for my 7 yr. old eager reader

Lightweight and super cheap messenger bag

Glass bowls, a vase, and gift box

So, did you go thrifting on I <3 Thrifting Day? What did you find? Did you score or strike out? Inquiring minds want to know!

Linkin’ up with Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasures Party.

An Artist’s Inspiration Board from an Old Window

Hey guys, today I’m dishing up a triple dose of posts for you. I’ve been busy, really busy, super busy! And you don’t know the half of it. As you are reading this, I’m on my way home from California. I flew out to surprise my little sister for her birthday. She and her husband are expecting their second child and I wanted to go all “Pretty Handy Girl” on their home ;-D.

First, you can read my tutorial for making this whimsical message center, from a curbside window, over at my friend Sandra’s blog,

Then you can come back here and read about this Artist’s Inspiration board also made from an old window.

Finally, if you like what you see you can head over to Parentables to see an entire post on curbside transformations! You won’t believe some of the before and afters!

Okay, ready? Well, let’s get this show on the road.


  • Old divided light windows
  • Foam core
  • Tin snips
  • 3M duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Primer
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Irwin mat knife (or x-acto knife)
  • Clear Caulk (window and door sealant)
  • primer
  • fine grit sand paper
  • Two colors of paint (gold and medium gray)
  • Crackle medium
  • Polyurethane
  • Foam double stick tape
  • mirror
  • ruler
  • mirrored glass
  • tin pots, buckets or recycled cans
  • drop cloth bulletin boards from THIS post

Prepping your window:

You will need to clean, prime and paint your window before beginning this tutorial.

Here is what I did during the prep phase: Cleaned the windows (I used a bleach solution because there was mold and mildew present.) I repaired the glazing that was cracked and missing. I used paintable caulk. No need to buy glazing.

Prime the entire window, glass and all! Once the primer has dried, use the sandpaper to gently rough up the primer (especially on the glass. But, be careful not to scratch through to the glass.)

For the beautiful crackle finish on my window, I started by painting the window a metallic gold color.

When the gold had thoroughly dried, I coated the entire window with the crackle medium. Once that had dried, I painted a medium gray on top. That’s when the magic happens. The paint separates and reveals a hint of gold. It is important not to go back over the gray paint after you paint it on or you will get a gloopy mess!

I finished off the painting prep steps by applying two coats of water-based polyurethane.


Measure all the individual window panes. Be sure to measure only the exposed glass.

Transfer your measurements to cut 2 squares of foam core. Make sure your blade is sharp! Dull blades will drag and tear the inner foam.

Next, transfer your measurements to cut two pieces of cork board. Cut the cork board with a ruler and mat knife.

Finally cut two pieces of mirrored glass to fit the remaining two panes (need help cutting glass? Have a professional do it, or watch Sandra’s tutorial HERE.)

You should now have 2 pieces of foam core, 2 pieces of cork board (wrapped in drop cloth as I showed you the other day), and two pieces of mirrored glass.

Dry fit all the cut squares to make sure they will fit in the window openings.

Take the foam core and tin pots outside. Spray them with primer.

When the primer has dried, spray the foam core and buckets with a few coats of chalkboard paint.

To view how to print onto painter’s drop cloth, refer to my tutorial here.

To attach the chalkboard foam core, mirrored glass, and drop cloth squares, you will need clear window and door caulk. Snip the top off at an angle. Insert a straightened coat hanger into the tip to puncture the inner lining of the caulk.

Put a fair amount of caulk onto each glass of the window. (Lazy supervisor in the background!)

Press the individual squares into it. Weight the drop cloth squares (with paint cans) while they dry.

To secure the chalkboard and mirror sections, run a bead of caulk along the edges of the boards.

Use a damp paper towel to smooth and clean up the caulk edging.

Once the caulk has dried, you can affix the tin buckets to the window. Drill holes through the bucket bracket or tin cans.

Attach a screw through the hole and screw it into the window pane.

To add a hanger to your memo center, flip the window over and measure down 3″ on both sides.

Use a drill to drive the screws into the D-ring style hangers.

I made this artist’s board to sell, but honestly I’m having a hard time parting with it. So, it may just find a home in my painting studio (aka Bonus Room). But, maybe you could convince me otherwise. How much would you pay for this one of a kind artist’s board? I keep thinking it is a real life version of Pinterest.

Don’t forget to view more of my curbside transformations.

Making Printed Drop Cloth Bulletin Boards

I’m so excited to share this tutorial with you. I knew it could be done, but honestly I didn’t believe it until I tried it. When I saw THIS cute project over at Home Frosting, it got my creative wheels turning.

I asked Lesa for a few clarifications and she gave me the courage to try feeding drop cloth material through my printer. {gulp}

Printing on material is fairly easy to do if you have the right materials.


  • Laser or ink jet printer (I only tried it on the laser printer, but it can be done on either.)
  • Reynolds Freezer Paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Sheet of letter size paper
  • Scissors
  • 3M Duct Tape
  • Cork Board
  • Irwin mat knife
  • Painter’s drop cloth bleached and washed until soft

Start by creating your words that you want to print in Word or any other program.

Set your iron to preheat.

Tear off a sheet of Freezer paper slightly larger than letter-size paper. Cut the freezer paper down to 8.5″ x 11″.

Lay the freezer paper shiny side down on the drop cloth.

Press firmly on the paper and move the iron around constantly for about 15 seconds. Let the freezer paper cool for a minute and test to make sure it is lightly adhered to the drop cloth. If not, iron a little longer.

Now trim the edges of the drop cloth until it is the same size as the freezer paper.

Take your freezer paper/drop cloth sandwich to the printer. If you have an individual sheet feed location on the printer, it would be best to use it. But, it can be done without. Print the document you created earlier.

Oooo, sooo pretty!!! I actually ran my “sandwich” through twice to get it darker, but it was still too faint for my liking.

If you have the same issue, you can go over the letters with a ball point pen.

Peel off the freezer paper.

Now, cut your cork board. (If you are using the these cork boards in a window, be sure to pre-measure the individual window panes first.)

I have to tell you that Irwin sent me another tool to try. The mat knife. Their claims sounded outrageous, claiming it can cut better than other mat knives. “Whatever” is what I thought. But, as usual, they proved me wrong. I used the Irwin knife to cut BOTH cork board and foam core!

Have you ever cut foam core with a mat knife cleanly? Not me, until now.

I swear to you that Irwin has not paid me to say any of this. I just like their tools. I am waiting for an Irwin tool that I don’t like and then I’ll let you know what it is. But, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Line up the drop cloth where you want it with the cork board underneath. Fold one edge of the fabric over onto the back.

Secure it with the duct tape.

Pull the opposite side of the fabric and wrap it around the back. Continue until all the sides are taped to the back of the cork board.

And there you have it! A unique personalized cork board.

Want to see how to use the drop cloth bulletin boards in this Artist’s Inspiration Board?

Go Bold or Go Home! Show Your True Colors.

I am drawn to homes that have unique front door colors. I crave something beyond the normal white, black or burgundy. Give me a unique color that tells me something about its occupants! I love being able to say, we’re the only house on the street with the purple doors.

Our front door. Purple Honor 8906N by Duron

Cameron Park is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Raleigh. It is tucked between Oberlin & Hillsborough Street (two very busy roads). The houses are old and the trees are ancient. But, there seems to be an ongoing competition for the boldest and brightest front doors. I spent an hour just walking around the neighborhood snapping pictures of these louder than words portals.

I used a Sherwin Williams color deck to choose an approximate match for each door. If you are considering painting your door with any of these colors, be sure to paint a large sample on poster board and hold it up to your door first. Keep in mind, some of the colors may need two coats before you see the true color.

Chartreuse SW0073

Blue Peacock SW0064

Halfway between Danube SW6803 and Dignity SW6804

Slick Blue SW6949

Open Seas SW6500

Crabby Apple SW7592

Atmospheric SW6505

Aqua Tint SW6939

Indulgent SW6969

Bee SW6683

Swimming SW6764

Fabulous Grape SW6293

Cloudless SW6786

Lobelia SW6809

Honorable Blue SW6811

Copper Pot SW7709

Sapphire SW6963

Wild Currant SW7583

Ebbtide SW6493

Lantern Yellow SW6687

Nautilus SW6780

Lei Flower SW6613

And just in case you have a lust for the international palette, these are a few doors I spotted in the UK:

Frank Blue SW6987 – Obviously this door has a weathered look though.

Fine Wine SW6307

Blue Chip SW6959

Nifty Turquoise SW6941

Blue Blood SW6965

Heart Throb SW6866

Talk about WOW factor! I found this green door online HERE.

Outrageous Green SW6922

And if that isn’t enough to catch your attention, look what Allison Cosmos did to this door:

The Front Door eclectic entry

This is my all time favorite front door photo from The Impatient Gardener. Could you tell that I’m drawn to blues?

Blue Chip SW6959


Back at the Pretty Handy Girl abode, I am very particular about the colors in each of our rooms. I am a color nerd. Color evokes very strong emotions for me. When we paint the interior rooms of our home, I knew the exact color I wanted. But, it actually has more to do with the feeling the room should portray.

Our living room speaks of warmth and a comforting embrace (Wasabi Powder UL200-16 by Behr).

Our master bedroom must create serenity and peace (Tradewind SW6218).

Our kitchen greets me with a warm sunny disposition every morning (Shoreline 3006-6B by Valspar).

And the home office requires a neutral color so I can focus on color palettes for my graphic design clients and not my wall color. (Hot Spring Stones AC-31 by Benjamin Moore)

I hope you have been inspired! Now Go Bold or Go Home!

Sharing this post with Centsational Girl’s “Favorite Things in My Town