Friday, October 14, 2016

One of the things I look forward to every year is, undoubtedly, decorating pumpkins.  However, after doing it for so many years, coming up with fresh ideas was proving itself to be more difficult!  So, I just thought to myself, "What are my favorite things, and how can I make that out of a pumpkin?" I can't seem to get enough of succulents and cacti right now, so immediately I thought "cactus pumpkin!" and here we are. 

I'm going to apologize in advance for not taking any 'progress pics,' but, admittedly, I kind of made this one up as I went along.  Sorry! 

- Small faux pumpkin 
- Small terracotta pot (or pot of your choice!)
- Light green acrylic paint
- Darker green acrylic paint
- Low-Temp Hot glue gun + glue sticks
- Hot pink felt 
- Straight pin

1. Plug in your glue gun.  Set aside.

2. Using the darker green paint, paint your pumpkin completely.  

3. With the lighter green paint (you can also just mix the darker green with white paint), highlight the ridges of the pumpkin to create a 'natural effect.'  If the two colors kind of blend together, that's fine! 

4. Once the pumpkin is completely dry, grab your glue gun to make the spines of the cactus.  Along the ridges that you painted the lighter color, squeeze a small dot or pearl of hot glue and pull away, so that there's a small peak in the glue.  Repeat all the way down the ridge of the pumpkin, and then repeat all the way around.  This took a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty quickly. After all of the hot gluing, there will likely be "hot glue strings" everywhere, so just trim those off with a pair of scissors. 

5.  With the hot pink felt, cut a 1.5" diameter circle, and then cut small notches all the way around the edge of the circle, so that it looks like rays of a sun.  Fold the circle into quarters, and then using the straight pin, pin to the pumpkin near the stem. 

6.  Place your pumpkin in the terracotta pot, and you're done! 

If you have any questions--since I know these instructions are kind of tricky!--please feel free to contact me. And, stay tuned for my next pumpkin DIY, because it just might be my favorite pumpkin of all time...bold words, I know.  Any guesses?!?!

Easy Labor Day Entertaining Ideas

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Earlier this week on KXAN's lifestyle show, Studio512, I shared some of my recent DIYs that you can easily make this week with things you likely already have at home -- just in time for outdoor Labor Day celebrations!  Click the links below for more details and step-by-step instructions for all projects featured.  And for more DIY videos, be sure to head over to my YouTube channel!

- Ombré Drink Dispenser
- Dipped Basket Planter 
- Burlap Table Runner
- Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

Happy entertaining!

DIY: Giant Jenga Set

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pumpkin spice [fill-in-whatever-product-here] is starting to hit the shelves, so that means fall must be upon us! And in Texas, fall is synonymous with football, which means it's finally tailgate season again! If you're like me, I look forward to the tailgates as much as I do the games. OK, that's a lie.  Half the time I don't even know what team we're playing, but I do know that there will be good food, cold drinks, and lots of fun.

To kick this year's tailgates up a notch, I've partnered with my favorite spray paint brand, Krylon®, to create a few simple DIYs that will be sure to set your tailgate above the rest.

- 54 pieces of  wood (1.5" x 2.5" x 10")
- Krylon Shimmer Metallic Spray Paint in Candy Apple Red 
- Krylon Premium Metallic Spray Paint in 18 kt. Gold
- Krylon 18 kt. Gold Leafing Pen 
- Burlap
- Painter's Tape
- Twine
- Hot glue gun + glue

While I fancy myself a DIYer, I'll be the first to admit I'm no carpenter.  I had no idea that nominal sizes of lumber, weren't the actual sizes!  For example, a '2 x 3' is actually, '1.5" x 2.5"' -- which is the perfect size lumber for this particular project.  Standard lumber lengths, come in 6', 8', 10', etc...and for this project you'll need 45' of worth lumber.  The kind people at the hardware store should be able to cut it down to the size (1.5" x 2.5" x 10") you'll need and send you on your way!

Before painting, it's important to give each piece a quick sanding to make sure they're smooth and splinter free.  After sanding, give them a wipe down with a dry rag to remove any leftover dust.

I laid down a plastic drop cloth in my garage to ensure that I didn't turn my entire garage floor red & gold (it's been hot pink before...don't worry...).  I separated the blocks into two groups of 27 and started spraying the red first.  Don't forget, that when you're spray painting, be sure to always read the product label for proper preparation, application and safety instructions.

Originally, I painted the block long side-down with Krylon Shimmer Metallic in Candy Apple Red (as pictured), but then realized that took a bit longer to paint all six sides of each block.  For the blocks painted with Krylon Premium Metallic in 18 kt. Gold, I lined them up like rows of dominoes and that process was much quicker! Fortunately, spray paint dries extremely quick on wood, so by the time I finished painting all of the blocks, the blocks I started with would be dry, and I could touch them up and be done!

The steamy Texas heat also probably helped with their quick dry time.  Remember, that in cooler and damper weather, spray paint takes longer to dry.  I let all of the blocks completely dry, not touching each other, for a day in the garage, and then took to the red ones with one of my favorite DIY supplies: Krylon's 18 kt. Gold Leafing Pen.  For these, I wrote some of your typical tailgate sayings, but you could get creative with whatever you want!  "Truth," "Dare," "Take a Sip!," etc...

While you have the spray paint out, a quick and easy DIY you can add to your tailgate is a striped burlap table runner.  You can either cut plain burlap (12" x 6'), or purchase a pre-made runner at your local craft store for just a couple of dollars.  With my trusty blue painter's tape (I seriously buy this stuff in bulk...), I measured out two stripes and made sure the tape was tightly adhered to the burlap.

One quick coat of of Krylon's Shimmer Metallic in Candy Apple Red was enough for this project, and I was done!  Much like wood, burlap dries quickly, so there's not much waiting around time.  This project took less than 10 minutes, tops.  Aside from tailgates, a burlap table runner is the perfect addition to any back yard party or fall tablescape.

And, why stop at burlap table runners?!  A couple of years ago, I shared how to make the easiest painted burlap pennant banner, and these might be even easier!  You simply cut burlap into 6" - 8" triangles, and then hot glue them along the top to a piece (10') of twine.  Once assembled, I just alternated spray painting the flags red and gold, and voila!  You're tailgate ready!

Now that you have all of these darling DIYs to show off, it's time to tailgate!  The Jenga set, burlap runner and pennant banner are all easily transportable, so whether it's a home or an away game, your tailgate will be the talk of the parking lot!

DIY: Dipped Basket Planter

Giving things I already have lying around the house a new look with just a quick coat of spray paint is, without question, one of my favorite things to do.   With today's DIY, I did just that.  The entire project took less than10 minutes, and you likely already have everything you need to make it right at home! 

- Small basket (If you don't have one at home, you can easily find one at a thrift store for around $1!)

Simply cover the top 1/3 - 1/2 of your basket with painter's tape.  Be sure to cover the rim of the basket as well.  You don't need to worry about covering the inside. 

 As always, in a well-ventilated area, spray the exposed part of the basket with spray paint.  I did a couple of coats to ensure I got in as many of the nooks and crannies as possible.  For most projects, I would tell you let your paint dry in between coats, but this project doesn't require that, so you can immediately follow your first coat with another. 

Let your basket dry outside for about 30 minutes or so and then remove the tape.  Place your favorite real or faux plant in your new fancy planter, and enjoy!  If you're using a real plant, make sure you use a plastic plant liner so water doesn't seep through when you water it. 

DIY: Wine Bottle Tiki Torch

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This DIY combines two of my most favorite things, and the blog's namesake: spray paint and wine. Wine bottle tiki torches aren't groundbreaking by any means--they've been popping up all over Pinterest--but they were something I couldn't wait to put my own spin on.  Plus, we all know I've got plenty of empty wine bottles lying around.  (Side note: I'm sure my recycling guy thinks I host alot of dinner parties.  I don't. I just really have a passion for good bottle of $9.99 Sauv Blanc.  For inquiring minds, Oyster Bay is my new jam.)

- Empty wine bottle

First, fill your sink with hot, soapy water and let your wine bottles soak to remove the labels.  I did this one morning before work, and by the time I got home, the labels just wiped off with a paper towel.  With your painter's tape, create your design.  I wanted one torch to look "dipped," so I just covered the top portion, and for the other one I created a striped design. [Another side note: If you're in the Austin area, be sure to tune in to KXAN's Studio512 this Friday (8/26/16) at 12:30pm CST, and I'll be making the striped tiki torch live on-air!  For those not in the area, don't worry, I'll post the video to my Youtube channel, as soon as it's available.]

In a well ventilated area, quickly spray your bottles with gold spray paint (or whichever color you chose). Make sure you spray about 6" - 8" away, and use quick, light strokes to prevent dripping.  Once your bottles are completely covered, let them dry for about 30 minutes, and remove the painter's tape.  

Using a funnel, pour in approximately two cups of pebbles.  This will not only keep your torch from tipping over, but you won't have to use as much tiki fuel to fill it up.  Following the rocks, fill up your bottle, about 4/5 of the way, with tiki fuel

With electrical tape, wrap the base of the brass sweat adapter so that it fits snugly into the spout of the wine bottle (about 5 - 6 times around). 

Pull the wick through the brass adapter, leaving about 1.5" at the tip.  Insert into the spout of the wine bottle, ensuring a tight fit, and you're done! 

Now, all that's left to do, is light 'er up and watch 'er burn.  Wine bottle tiki torches are great for outdoor entertaining, ambient lighting, and if you make sure to use the citronella scent, they're amazing mosquito repellants.  Cute & Zika-preventative?  Yes, please. 

DIY: 'Seeing Spots' Sharpie Ring Dish

Friday, August 19, 2016

Today's DIY is almost so easy, I hesitate to even call it a project.  I was able to make it, style it, photograph it, and post this in just around an hour, if that gives you a better idea of how incredibly simple it is.  Last year I shared, what is still one of my favorite DIYs to make, this DIY Personalized Catchall using only a small dish, Sharpie, and gold leaf pen.  So, I guess this is just the 2.0 version of that! 

- Small bowl (I found this one at Target for $1.99!) 

Like the Personalized Catchall, make sure you wipe down your dish with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball -- or you can just give it a quick rinse with some soap and water.  Once clean, just take to it with the Sharpie! There's really no method to the madness, just make spots.  It's kind of therapeutic...

Continue making spots until the entire dish is covered.  To ensure that your masterful design doesn't rub off with time, bake your dish in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to seal it. Once the dish has cooled, simply trace the rim with the gold leaf pen.  

Let the gold completely dry, and you're ready to start filling your dish with baubles!  Like the catchall, these little dishes make great gifts for any occasion.  Happy crafting! 

Custom Drapes with The Shade Store

Friday, August 5, 2016

Over the past year, I've been in the process of updating my bedroom, (well, my whole house actually) and window coverings were one thing I was struggling with.  Years ago, I "commissioned" my mom to sew black pom-pom fringe on to some outdoor curtains I found on sale at World Market for $50.  For those of you not familiar with outdoor curtains, it basically translates into the cheap polyester suit version of window coverings = 100% polyester...And when you sew pom-poms onto 100% polyester, it makes a weird buckle in the fabric leaving a really neat uneven hem at the bottom.  Not that my mom did a bad job, she owned a sewing shop back in the day and can sew basically anything on a machine with one hand tied behind her back, while I get the thread tangled in an unfixable 'nest' as soon as I tap the pedal.  Anyhoo, I liked to call them my 'Picasso curtains.'  They were fine from far away and perhaps in blog photos, but close up, you would have asked me "What were you thinking?!"  In my defense, I had at least gotten on the interior-design bandwagon and realized that curtains should be hung "floor-to-ceiling" and not just at the top of the window.  So, give me some credit.  But, I mean, probably not that much, because they did look really bad.

Enter, The Shade Store.  I drive by their Austin showroom every day on the way to work, and since they're conveniently located at the corner of 5th & Lamar, I stare at their display windows whenever I hit that stop light--which, in Austin morning rush hour, is also every day.  And every day I think to myself, "That's where real people get their real window coverings..." as I silently curse my Picasso curtains hanging at home.  Curse my curtains no more! I finally stopped in to do something about my less than desirable drapes, instead of just coveting what I saw through the windows.

Their showroom is something that window dreams are made of.  I was kind of taken aback when I walked in, immediately noticing all of the options.  However, I was quickly greeted by their design consultant, Leslie, and she seamlessly introduced and explained to me the whole wide world of custom draperies.  (See what I did there? Drapes? Seams? Get it?!) From hardware and fabric to pleats and lining, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that there would be so many things to chose from when it came to window coverings!  "Would you like a cord or a baton? Ripple fold or pinch pleat? Puddle or no puddle?" I'm sorry, what?!  Not really knowing what language she was speaking, I fumbled with my phone and quickly tried to show her some rooms I had screen-shotted from Instagram.  (Editor's Note: My life seems to now be dictated around things I've screen-shotted from Instagram)  "I like this...and this...and this...and, like, I like that too...kind of"  Without batting an eye, she directed me to the swatches and set me well on my way.  I knew I wanted a neutral drape, and was really drawn to a rattan or wooden roman shade to go underneath for a little texture.  While I walked in as a novice, I left feeling extremely educated, as if I had received my Masters degree in window coverings.  With my samples in hand, I headed home, and as Leslie suggested, I looked at them during various times of the day to see how they looked in all forms of light. 

After my visit to the showroom, The Shade Store scheduled for a technician, Casey, to come out and professionally take measurements of my bedroom window.  Not only did he measure the window itself, but he made specific notes about my room as a whole, my hooks to the left of the window, and my beloved Willie Nelson poster to the right.  I currently have wooden blinds on my window (per my HOA restrictions), and after talking to Casey I realized that the rattan shades wouldn't really work with my whole "vision," so I decided to scrap them and just go with neutral drapery instead. Since I have vaulted ceilings, I was kind of restricted to having wall-mounted, as opposed to ceiling mounted drapes, which I was fine with.  

After looking at my drapery samples in various lights and conferring with the beau, I decided on white cotton drapes with a simple privacy lining. It worked best with the trim color of the room, as well as my white bedding.  I chose a ripple fold over a more formal pinched pleat or a more casual grommet--it was my happy medium.  When it came to hardware, it wasn't really like there was a question.  "Do you have brass? Yes? Ok, I want that." I decided on a tracking hardware system with a baton pull, because I felt like that's what hotels have, and I wanted to feel like I lived in a hotel. So that was the scientific reasoning behind that.

After making my final decisions, I sent everything over to Leslie and she quickly drafted my order.  Once confirmed, it was sent off to the custom drapery makers in the sky (I mean, I think that's how it works), and a couple of weeks later, my custom drapes and hardware appeared on my doorstep! 

A few days after, Casey, who did the original measurements, was back to install the drapes and it couldn't have been an easier process. It took maybe 45 minutes, and just like that I had real grown-up drapes.

Every morning when I get up to pull the drapes back, I ask the beau, "Don't you feel like we live in a hotel now?!" Like seriously, every morning, without fail, I ask this.  He's over it. But, long gone are the days of the Picasso curtains, and may the days of feeling like I live in my own personal hotel room go on forever. (Side note: Do these fancy curtains come with room service?!)  While I still love to DIY what I'm able, this experience was proof that few things beat just leaving it to the experts to help me achieve the exact look I wanted in the most luxurious way.  

Custom draperies and hardware were kindly provided by The Shade Store. All opinions are my own.