Blogland Tour

I was asked to write about what goes on behind the scenes at Create & Babble as part of a tour through blogland. I was introduced on the tour by Sondra at Sondra Lyn at Home.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sondra this summer at a blogging conference and she was just as sweet in person as she is on her blog. We hit it off right away. Probably because we’re from the same generation and we are both newish grandmothers! I must admit that I’m a little green with envy that she gets to stay home and watch her precious grandson everyday ; )

Sondra’s blog is not only full of great decorating ideas, but also tips and tricks. Like this one where she tells us how to preserve pumkins:

How-to-Preserve-Pumpkins-for-Decor-Sondra-Lyn-at-Home1 And she’s crafty, too. Look at these cute notepads:

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There’s so much eye candy at SondraLyn At Home!

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As part of this blogland tour, I am to answer four questions. Here we go!

1. What am I working on?

Right now, I am finishing up the remodeling my powder room. Some times I tell myself that I bit off more than I can chew, but I have to say that it’s been quite the learning process. There have been a lot of firsts for me in this project. Like installing glass tile for the first time and removing and replacing wood trim. Both of those turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. Another first is installing crown molding. As of this minute I am failing terribly but I’m not waving a white flag….yet! UPDATE: it turned out pretty good!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s easy. Because it’s ME talking. And it’s MY experience that I’m sharing.  And it will be different from any other blogger. Of course you may see some similar projects around blogland, but we all have our own individual writing styles, senses of humor, and ways of doing things that aren’t alike at all.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?’

Another easy question for me. Because I LOVE IT! I have never felt so passionate about anything before in my life (besides family, of course). This blog is my fourth child! I often think how different my life would be now if all of this would have been available when I was in my 20’s or 30’s.

4. How does your writing/ creating process work?

This is a tough one. I honestly fly by the seat of my pants most days. I wish I could say that I’m so organized and planned into the future, but I’m not. Maybe some day this can become my full-time job and I’ll be more organized, but for now this is how it is ; ) And it seems to be working out okay. I just make what I want to make and then talk about it. Yep, that’s my writing/creating process: making pretty things, making things pretty and then talking about it! Simple as that!

Now, I’d like to introduce you to two blogging friends of mine. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may recognize them since they have contributed here in the past.

The first is Maureen from Red Cottage Chronicles. Maureen and I have been online friends for a few years and we’re hoping to meet in person next year at a blog conference.

Hey All!  I am Maureen from Red Cottage Chronicles.  I have a passion for baking and love to share my adventures in my tiny cottage kitchen.  I am currently navigating my way through part-time studies to achieve my baking certificate from a local culinary school.  I am married for 28 years to my high school sweetheart who is always more than happy to be the official taste tester! 

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Did you just gain 10 pounds looking at those desserts, ’cause I think I did!

Now meet my funny, smart, and very talented friend Leilani from Keeping Up With Mrs. Smith.

Hello! I’m Mrs. Smith and I live in a fixer-upper with Mr. Smith and two cats. When I’m not eating scones and enjoying coffee in our sleeping porch, I’m making some other kind of food or fixing up some other room in the house. I’m all about upcycling, dinner parties, growing food, the smell of dirt, and kitty snuggles.

Mrs Smith collage

Leilani recently updated her “rumpus room” as part of the same 30-day room challenge that I’m doing. I’m sure she’d love to show you how she took upcycling to a whole, new level!

Lavender and Mason Jars

Hi friends! Thank you to everyone who entered the Ball Jar giveaway. The winner has been notified and she will receive her prize pack in a couple of weeks. Speaking of the Ball Jars, I want to show you what I did with some of mine over the weekend. Painting mason jars is pretty popular right now so I had to give it a try. I have a big bunch of dried lavender that needed a home so I put the two together and came up with a pretty way to display both.

lavender and mason jars Since I don’t normally use a lot of the typical falls colors in my decorating, I thought this shade of purple would make a nice transition from Summer to Fall in my living room. And the fragrance from the lavender is heavenly.
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I had enough paint, jars, and lavender to make three. One for me and two to giveaway as gifts.

This was a super easy project. I simply painted the jars with some acrylic craft paint, used a sanding sponge to add some distressing, and tied some torn scrap fabric around the top of each jar.

I tried to grown lavender this year but it didn’t make it. I had read that it’s easy to grow. Not for me. I did a little researching and it seems lavender likes well drained soil. Maybe that was the problem. Do you grow lavender successfully? If so, I’d love to hear your secrets to success!

How to Hang Pegboard Without Drilling into Cinder Block

Yes, that’s one long title right there! And those are the exact words that I used in my google search and found absolutely no answer on how to hang a pegboard WITHOUT drilling into cinder block. I can’t believe I’m the only one who wants to hang a pegboard without drilling into cinder block! So I had to come up with my own way.
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If you want to hang a pegboard in your basement without drilling into cinderblock (are they called cinderblock or cement block? Is there a difference?) HERE’S HOW:

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Get yourself some 1″ x 2″ x 10′ boards and cut them in half.

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Then grab your tall, dark, and handsome son (don’t have one? you can borrow mine ; ) and have him stand on a chair, or more safely: a step ladder, and screw the 1″ x 2″ x 5′ boards into the floor joists, right up against the cement block wall. Keep in mind that my basement is unfinished so the ceiling of the basement IS the floor joists. Well, floor joists and insulation. We used two 2-1/2 wood screws to attach each 1″ x 2″ boards to 5 floor joists.

how-to-hang-a-pegboard-without-drilling-into-cinderblock-walls Staple gun or nail your pegboards to the 1″ x 2″ boards. I used 2 sheets of 2′ x 4′ pegboards that I bought at Home Depot. Nail or staple a 1″ x 2″ board across the top to give the pegboard a framed, finished look.

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Since I’m only about five feet tall, it worked out perfectly for me to have the bottom of the pegboard right up against the top of my workbench. If you are taller, then you’ll want to hang it higher or add additional pegboards above the lower ones.

attached-pegboard-to-basement-walls-without-drilling-into-cinder-blocks Here’s a close up of the 1″ x 2″ boards screwed into the floor joists above.  Since I don’t plan on hanging heavy tools on my pegboard, I am confident that my pegboard will hold all of my small tools and DIY supplies, like paint brushes, screw drivers, etc. All of the heavy stuff is on the shelf of my workbench.

behind-the-scenes

And just for fun, here’s a behind the scenes look (and a peek at my somewhat cluttered basement). I need to get some lights hung and maybe find one of those padded floor mats. That basement floor is hard and cold!

So what do you think of this solution for hanging a pegboard without drilling into the cement block walls? If you like it, feel free to pin it!
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Vinyl Word Art

We’ve all seen word art, right? I find myself admiring all of the word art posters, boards, and canvases that I see but I don’t ever buy any. Why? Because I know I can make my own for practically nothing. Any time I see some that I like, I grab my iphone and take a picture with plans to make one similar using my Silhouette Cameo. And then the photos stay on my phone and I forget about them. Womp womp. Until now. word art | createandbabble.com
I have had the following photo on my phone for at least a month.

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These word art signs were at a store near me and I spotted them on my way to the check out and stopped to take a quick photo. I was originally going to make a stencil and paint the letters on a board.

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But then I saw what Nancy, from Artsy Chicks Rule made. A word art sign using vinyl. Isn’t that pretty! Perfect for the kitchen! If you’ve never been to Artsy Chicks Rule, I urge you to go visit. She is super talented at re-inventing thrifty finds.

Well, since I seem to have amassed quite the stash of vinyl it was a no-brainer!

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I used a font called FontleroyBrown and designed my word art to fit on the piece of wood that I had. The letters are about 3″ high. One trick I learned when working with vinyl is to draw rectangles around the shapes or words to make weeding easier.

If you would like to make your own word art like mine, feel free to download the Legacy version of the cut file here or if you use Version 3, use this one. (for personal use only)

vinyl-word-art-createandbabble.com Using transfer tape, I removed the words from the vinyl backing and placed them on my board that I painted black with acrylic craft paint.

word-art-3-createandbabble The I slowly removed the transfer paper. It is so easy and fast!

vinyl-word-art-createandbabble I lightly sanded the edges of the board. This little project only took about 15 minutes to make. Can’t beat that!

vinyl-word-art I hung it above the patio doors in my living room using Command strips and love how it looks there. It’s a nice reminder to anyone walking out that door.

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Silhouette Goodie Bag Giveaway

I have teamed up with seven of my blogging friends to host a Silhouette Goodie Bag Giveaway!

Image Map
1 Grand Prize Winner will get a prize pack valued at nearly $200 that includes:$25 Gift Cards to each:
My Vinyl Direct
Expressions Vinyl
Punch Place Plus
Square1 Masterpieces
AND
approximately $80 worth of Silhouette goodies including:
1Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit (Includes 10 free designs, 24 pens)
1 Silhouette Printable Sticker Paper
1 Silhouette Double Sided Adhesive Paper
1 Adhesive Magnet Paper
1 Rhinestone Template Kit
1 Pack of Assorted Rhinestones
1 Light Hold Cutting Mat (CAMEO)
1 Silhouette Replacement Blade
1 Fabric Blade
1 Clean Cut Interfacing
3 Winners will Each Get $25 Gift Cards to MyVinylDirect.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discover P&Geveryday


Ever since I discovered that gardening may become a new hobby for me, I’m trying to learn a little bit about it. Now there are a lot of resources that I could use. There are countless websites, books in the libary, magazines, etc. that I can use. But I know me. I easily become overwhelmed with all the information that is available and I start to lose interest. I’m just looking for smaller doses of information that will help me succeed. I recently found a great resource that I want to tell you about.

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It’s the P&Geveryday website. This website is is committed to making every day just a little easier by helping you achieve rewarding moments. Every day. P&Geveryday has a goal to inspire, support and empower you to unlock the extraordinary potential in your everyday life. I like that!

The site features content and resources on beauty, family, food, health, home and more – all alongside great offers from the innovative and trusted brands you know and love. All in one place!

What you will discover on P&Geveryday

  • Delicious recipes, beauty trends, and smart tips
  • New products to try out for yourself, family and home
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Fresh ideas and inspiration
  • Coupons and samples from your trusted brands
  • And much more!

P&Geveryday is a website created by Procter & Gamble, a company that has been establishing brands for the past 175 years, helping people around the world have extraordinary days. Every day.

I just read the article under “Gardening” and quickly learned 7 watering tips. Good information for this novice gardener to know!

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And there’s another about weeding……

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….and how to attract hummingbirds.

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I’d love for you to visit P&Geveryday and tell me how their ideas, advice or products can make it easy for you to enjoy life….every day!

You can follow P&Geveryday on Facebook, too!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Berry and Yogurt Parfaits

Berry and yogurt parfaits have long been my go-to everyday breakfast for years. I make them all year long, but now that berries are in season, I love them even more by making them with fresh berries instead of frozen. reddi-wip-sweeps

You know I don’t share a lot of recipes here, but when Reddi-wip told me about the Berry Joyful Sweepstakes taking place, I knew now was a perfect time to share how I use Reddi-wip topping. And you can too! Now through July 7, 2014, consumers can share their everyday Reddi-wip® berry-licious moments on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the #BerryJoyfulSweeps hashtag for the chance to win a trip for two to the 2015 Watsonville Strawberry Festival, Reddi-wip coupons or berry keepers. See the official rules.

Here’s how I make my berry and yogurt parfaits:

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First I place cut-up strawberries in the bottom of a glass.

berry-yogurt-parfaits Then I add layers of yogurt (I use low-fat, sugar-free yogurt to keep ‘em healthy), granola, a little more yogurt, blueberries, then a squirt of Reddi-wip.

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Each serving of Original, Extra Creamy and Chocolate Reddi-wip has only 15 calories. Each serving of Fat-Free Reddi-wip® is only five calories.

berry-yogurt-parfaits-createandbabble One of the reasons Reddi-wip® sounds, looks, and tastes so good is that it has always been made with real dairy cream—and never hydrogenated oils like some other whipped toppings.

Fore more recipes, visit the Reddi-wip® website.

Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer network campaign for Reddi-wip. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Reddi-wip and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.

Country Living Fair Ticket Giveaway

I just received word that I have two tickets to giveaway to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, New York! These two 3-day passes will grant admission to the Fair all three days, from June 6 to 8, and early admission (at 8:30amon Friday and Saturday.

CL Fair Rhinebeck 2014

 

WHAT: See the pages of Country Living magazine come to life, with three days of shopping, cooking, crafting and DIY demonstrations, as well as antique appraisals, and locally-sourced, artisanal food, in a fun, festival atmosphere.

WHEN: June 6, 7, 8, 10am-5pm

WHERE: Duchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck, NY

WHO:   Guests will have an opportunity to meet the Country Living editors, as well as special guests, including:

  • Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys”
  • Cari Cucksey,  star of HGTV’s Cash & Cari
  • Kelsey Nixon, star of Cooking Channel’s Kelsey’s Essentials
  • Michael Devine, entertaining and design expert
  • Designers Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham of Tilton Fenwick

Full list of celebrity guests and vendors: http://www.countryliving.com/cl-fair/country-living-fair-rhinebeck

TICKETS:

  • Purchase tickets starting at $13 at www.stellashows.com
  • Admission is $13 in advance and $16 at the door; three-day weekend passes are available for $15 in advance and $20 at the door
  • An Early Bird Three-Day Weekend Pass is available for $40 (in advance only) and grants early admission at 8:30 a.m on Friday and Saturday
  • Free admission for children ages 16 and under.

On social media, attendees will be able to engage with @CountryLiving at the Fair by using the hashtag #CLFair.

A huge thank you to HomeTalk for giving me the opportunity to attend the Country Living Fair!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment! One winner will be chosen at random and I will announce the winner on Monday, June 2 at 09:00 EST. Good luck and see you at the fair!

 

Bicycle Storage Solution

Thanks goodness it’s bicycle riding weather! Finally! Dan and I hadn’t ridden our bikes since our Pedal to Pittsburgh last October. (If you’re new and didn’t read about our Pedal to Pittsburgh, you can read all about it here. We rode our bikes 180 from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was a blast!) So yes, we are avid bicyclists. And we have bikes. A lot of bikes. Our basement is full of bikes. Which was the problem. Until recently.

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Just look at them all lined up. So nice and neat. In one place. It wasn’t always like that.

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 No, it looked more like this!

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And this!

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And sadly, like this : (

Until I heard about Monkey Bars Storage. Monkey Bars Storage gave us one of their Garage Bike Racks to install, use and review and let me tell you, we love it. Since we don’t have a garage, we put ours in the basement and since they are no studs in our unfinished basement, Dan had to borrow a friend’s hammer jack to drill the holes in the block for the screws for the brackets. But once that was done, the rest of the installation was done in minutes. The large bike rack holds up to six bikes and it only takes up four feet of wall space! Monkey Bars Storage also has a smaller 3-bike rack.

bike-storage-solution

Monkey Bars Storage has lots of garage storage solution products.  Utilizing a patented design and all-steel components, the system provides innovative and durable storage solutions. The Monkey Bars system is designed to hold a lot of storage in a little amount of space. And since Monkey Bars components are made of steel and powder coated, you are getting solid products that will last.

Thanks to Monkey Bars Storage for helping de-clutter our basement bicycle mess!

Disclosure: I was provided product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As always, I only promote products that I use and love.

Staircase Makeover

This year’s “While Dan is Outatown” project is just about done! You may remember when I shared with you how Dan goes out of town on business every March and I start a DIY project while he’s away. Last year I painted the kitchen cabinets. This year I tackled the staircase. It was in dire need of a makeover. It was especially evident after I renewed the grout lines on the slate floor. Since the floor looked so new, it made the tired, old staircase look even worse. The carpet on the steps was matted and stained and the wood trim needed repaired and painted. This project actually got started when I restained the bannister. Dan was still home when I did the bannister but had no idea what I was going to do when he went away on his trip!

DIY Staircase Makeover
Want to see how I did it? I admit it took some time, but it wasn’t hard at all.

diy-staircase-makeover As soon as Dan was out the door, I grabbed a pair of plyers and pulled back a corner of carpet on the top step to see what was underneath: padding. No surprise there. Thankfully the carpet came off very easily. No horror story here about thousands of staples.

diy staircase makeover Even removing the tack strip wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be. Just a few taps of a hammer onto a small crow bar did the trick.

stair case makeover There were a few staples to remove, but that part went quickly, too. I had read horror stories about this part, but I was lucky. It seems that whomever installed that carpet didn’t go crazy with stapling.

diy staircase makeover by createandbabble This photo shows what I hadn’t planned on. It seems that a paint sprayer was used when the house was built and there was overspray on the ends of the steps. Now what?

diy staircase remodel So I was off to Home Depot to get a sander. Even though the layer of paint was light, it was too much for a sanding sponge. I needed a little power behind some sand paper. I got the Ryobi Job Plus base that came with a triangle shaped sanding head: perfect! It took a few hours to sand off the pained and smooth out the finish on the walls.

pink-spackle

I found a tube of spackle at Home Depot that goes on pink and turns white once it dries. I used that to fill  all the nail holes, staples holes and cracked molding. Now I don’t know if there’s a “right” way to do this. Paint first? Stain first? I decided to paint first. Since the side moldings were already white, they only needed one coat of paint. I used the same paint that I used on the kitchen cabinets because it goes on so nicely, plus it’s durable.

Since the risers were bare wood, I gave them two coats of primer first, then two coats of the white paint. I waited a few days before I started staining the treads. I used Minwax Wood Finish Ebony. Since these steps are used every day, I went with the every other step method. This part took a few days because I only worked on them about an hour a day. Once the staining was done, I added two coats of polycrylic to seal them.

diy staircase remodel

Here’s a before and after to show what a difference this had made to my hallway!

diy staircase makeover by createandbabble Before…

staircase makeover by createandbabble.com And now! I still have a few touchups to make but I’m so pleased with how this turned out! Since I don’t get a lot of natural light in this space, it’s hard to capture how much brighter this space is after the makeover, so you’ll have to take my word for it ; )

Tell me, have you removed carpet from a staircase? Was it a staple horror story? We removed the carpet off the steps in my daughter’s house and it was a nighmare! It took four of us all day to remove all those staples. I got lucky with this one!

Sharing here.