Liebster Time!

Dudes – this post is about three months overdue, but due to some personal issues (mainly losing my sweet pup) I put it on the back burner for a while. Better late, than never, yes?  Here we go… 
The lovely Jacquie from Style Nacho has honored me with a Liebster Award Nomination!  If you’re a little helpless when it comes to putting an outfit together [raises hand and feels embarrassed about the amount of time it takes her to get dressed in the morning], check out her blog – great advice and a fun read!  Thanks for tagging me, Jacquie!  PS – I totally get your answer to question nine… My name is J-A-M-I-E, not Jaime, not Jayme, not J’me (yes I’ve actually gotten that one)… But I digress…

If you’re paying attention (hey, thanks!) you know that I’ve actually participated in The Liebster Award once before, and I’m pumped to be nominated again!  It’s a really creative and fun way to interact with fellow bloggers.  And who doesn’t love to be interviewed?  Good or bad, it’s a total ego boost.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Liebster – here’show it works…

Rules:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.

2. Answer the questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate up to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.

4. Create 11 questions for the nominees.

5. Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

Here are Jacquie’s questions and my answers.

1. What is one of your favorite daily rituals?
Sitting on my patio after work to decompress.  It’s how I clear my work spreadsheets out of my brain.

2. What’s your favorite food?
This is tough – I have a thousand answers for this.  But if I had to narrow it down, I’d say Tex-Mex.  I could eat it until I burst, or pass out, or both.  And then when I came to, I’d eat some more.  The spicier, the better.

3. You’re gifted $150. How do you treat yourself?
It’s a boring answer considering the content of my blog, but, tools or DIY supplies.  The more I make, the merrier I be.

4. Name a place you’d love to visit (and tell us why!).
Italy.  If I took a vacay to Italy, I’d basically sight-see, eat pasta and cheese until I pass out, then wake up and repeat.

5. What’s your favorite spring trend?
Honestly, I’m not so much into trends… I’m just happy to exist in a season where I can wear sandals and tank tops.  Yay for spring.

6. What was your last random act of kindness?
I try to be kind all of the time.  We all know that’s not really possible, but I do my best. I suppose my most recent one was to buy lunch for a coworker that didn’t have the cash for it.  No one around me should, or will ever, be hungry if I can help it.

7. What’s a favorite quote?
“You have to be odd to be number one.” — Dr. Seuss

8. If you could relive any year, which would you go back to and why?
Dudes, 2015 is pretty damn fantastic.  I won’t tempt the Universe by saying that I’d like to go back to a different one.

9. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Rudeness.  People are rude when their day is going badly, or someone gets on their nerves, or the barista gets their coffee wrong, or insert another worthless reason here.  It’s senseless and doesn’t benefit anyone…  We are all guilty of it (myself included) and we need to lock that up.

10. How do you like your coffee?
Dark roast with sugar and half and half!

11. What quality or characteristic do you most love about yourself?
I’m scrappy, man.  When I have a problem (personal, diy, professional or otherwise), I love to get creative with the solution.  And it makes life a dandy adventure.

My Nominees:

  1. Winberg Wonderland
  2. Love You Mucho
  3. A Pinch of Candy
  4. DIY in a Dorm
  5. Home on the Corner
  6. Your Typical College Girl

My Questions:

1* What drives or inspires you to write your blog?
2* What is one item (this excludes your humans and your animals) that you absolutely cannot live without?
3* What is your favorite type of music?
4* If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would you choose and why?
5* Your favorite memory?
6* What is your go-to stress relief method?
7* Your favorite moment in 2015 thus far?
8* If you could build your own home and had unlimited funds, where would you build it?
9* What type of house would you build?
10* Do you have a favorite TV show?  If yes, which’un?
11* Name a goal you have for 2015!

Gotta give one more shout out to Jacquie for nominating me!  To my nominees – I’m super excited to read your answers!

xo
J

Inexpensive Living Room Updates

You don’t always have to buy fancy-pants artwork, shell out money for a new sofa, or knock out a wall to make an impact in your living room.  Sometimes little updates can make a big difference.  Here are a few changes I’ve made over the last few weeks that are inexpensive, easy, and eye-catching!

inexpensive small space decor

1* New Rug (free!)
Okay, so this rug is not new; I’ve had it for a couple of years now.  But it *is* new to this space.  It’s a 5′ x 4′ sisal rug that I picked up for $15 on sale.  It used to live in my dining room at my old place, but being in a new home means you get a new perspective on your stuff and where it looks best.  I love this rug with my mocha-colored sectional! And lets be honest, a rug with such texture should not sit under a table where folks are eating.  And spilling. Ew…..

inexpensive small space decor

2* Cocktail Tables (closeout deal for $20 each!)
When I moved into my current apartment, I gave my old cocktail table back to my parents. My living room is small pretty cozy and at 3′ x 3.5′, that thing was just too bulky. I used some old end tables for a couple of months just to have something there, but they were no where near as cute as these lil guys that I scored on closeout!

inexpensive small space decor

They’re made of powder-coated metal and are actually graded for outdoor use, and I love the airy, coastal vibe they give off. The best part? They’re actually butler tables! Thanks to some snazzy handles, these tables lift up to double as trays!  Being able to cart multiple drinks and snacks from the kitchen to the living room earns you major hostest points!

inexpensive small space decor

3* Entryway Organization ($20)
I found a sweet deal on this wall mount shelf and had to snag it!  My little apartment doesn’t have an entryway, the door just opens right into the living area.  This little coat/purse rack keeps clutter off the floor, and has a ledge shelf on top for keys, change and trinkets. I’m using the shelf to display my favorite little notepad and a sweet succulent that my mom bought for me. Cute, right?

inexpensive small space decor

PS – yes I copied the idea of having a frame around my door peephole from the show FRIENDS.  #90sKid

4* New Lighting ($20)
I’m officially on the Edison Bulb Bandwagon, dudes and dudettes. Luckily, my apartment was already outfitted with a hook on which to hang a chain light. Installing this type of ceiling hook requires access to the attic, since it’s reinforced on the upper side for strength, so I’m glad my apartments handled that part of the process. I picked up a chain lighting kit at the hardware store (like this one) and put it together as directed on the instructions. I also snagged a handsome spiral filament Edison Bulb on Amazon for around $10 with shipping.

spiral filament edison bulb

inexpensive small space decor

I love the vintage-y minimalist look of the Edison Bulb, but now that it’s taken the place of the plain shade I had there before, the large wall on the left looks pretty empty. Not to worry, though. Artwork is on the to-do list for this room.

All in all, I’ve only spent about $80 so far on the updates in my living room. Definitely not mega-cheap but it certainly didn’t break the bank either, especially considering that these updates took place over multiple weeks (and multiple pay checks)!

Still left to do:

*new curtains (mine are placeholders and embarrassingly short)
inexpensive small space decor

*new pillow shams (I love the eclectic look, but what the heck is going on here??!!)
inexpensive small space decor

*artwork for above the sofa
*fireplace mantle (my apartment doesn’t have one – I’m thinking wall-mount?)
*mirror above fireplace

And the list goes on… Stay tuned, friends!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Even though I live in North Texas, I love being outside.  Ninety degree springs, 105 degree summers or 95 degree falls.  Doesn’t matter… I’m there.

My apartment’s patio is on the smaller side, but that doesn’t stop me from spending time on it, so I’m set on making the most of it!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

The last thing I posted about my patio was the colander that I turned into a planter.  This project is considerably more substantial.

I got this little wood table at my local Goodwill for $5.  That was four years ago.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

When I bought it, my plan was to give it a face-lift in the coming weeks but, you know, life happens.  For a while it served as a nightstand:

Before Adding New Nightstands

But then I made my own nightstands and I didn’t need it there anymore. So it sat in storage for about a year.

I finally got my tail in gear and color blocked it. It was actually pretty easy, just a bit time consuming. Here’s how I did it.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 1 – remove existing finish.

I tried using citrustrip but there were too many heavy layers of black paint for it to do any good. It looked pretty gross.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I ended up sanding the large surfaces with my power sander and the smaller surfaces, like the slats, by hand. With as thick as the paint was, the sanding actually went by very quickly. I went from 80 grit to 150 grit to 220 to get a nice smooth finish on the wood.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 2 – clean.

This part was easy! I just hosed it down and let it sit in the hot afternoon sun for a couple of hours.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 3 – beautification.

I wanted a two-tone table, and after some deliberation, the council at jhbhq determined that the underside would be a bright color and the outer surfaces would be stained.

Step 3a – stain.

I mixed Varathane American Walnut with Varathane Sunbleached and it came out a velvety, milky, muted walnut color. I love it!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I always apply stain to wood wearing plastic gloves and most of the time I use an old cotton athletic sock that I can trash later to apply the stain to the wood. Clean of course. Please don’t use a dirty sock to apply wood stain. I’ll judge you.

I let the stain sit on the wood for a couple of minutes and then used a clean portion of the sock to wipe the excess stain off the table.

Step 3b – paint.

I ended up going with a vibrant pink to paint the underside of the table. This was a Valspar half-pint sample that I picked up on a trip to Lowe’s one day. The color is called Sonora Rose; Lowe’s featured it in their Color Studio 2013 Spring Palette.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Before I could paint, though, I had to tape off all of the stained surfaces that I didn’t want to get paint on. I used frog tape but any painters tape will do.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I primed with one coat of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, and then applied two coats of the Sonora Rose.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 4 – error correction.

Clearly I didn’t apply the tape as well as I should have. I had some bleed through with both the paint and the primer.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I grabbed a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and carefully sanded off my mistakes.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 5 – touch up.

The stain needed a bit o’ touch up after my error correction. Same as step 3a here – just less stain.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 6 – protect.

I finished the table off with two coats of polyurethane to protect it from the elements. I usually prefer to use spar urethane for outdoor pieces because of its superior waterproofness, but this table is under a covered patio so polyurethane works just fine.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 7 – relax and enjoy!

I absolutely love how the pink pops through the slats and peeks out from the underside of this table. It turned out exactly how I saw it in my head!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Besides adding the table to the patio, I also added an outdoor rug so I don’t have to look at boring concrete while I’m hanging outside.

The rug situation is strange, actually… Back when I posted about my colander planter, I included a crudely drawn rendering of how I wanted the patio to look.

upcycle a colander into a planter

Then I go to Lowe’s one day and see this guy.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Whoa. Seriously. Exactly what I drew. I’m some sort of rug prophet, guys. Serendipitous fo sho. I snagged it for just $30!

The patio has definitely improved!

Lets look at one more before and after, because we all love those, don’t we?

upcycle a colander into a planter

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I still want to spray paint my hurricane lanterns a fun color…

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

But for now, the folks at jhbhq are quite happy with the outdoor living space here!

Do you have a tiny outdoor space like mine? What do you do to make the best of it?

Super Easy DIY Bookmark

Know anyone that loves to read?  I do! That’s why I love making homemade bookmarks. They’re easy and fun, and they add such a personal touch to a gift for a friend or family member.

diy gift: personalized bookmark

This would be a great idea for Father’s Day and/or Mother’s Day.  The last one I made was for my Dad; his birthday is at the end of May.

I picked out a few pictures of my sister and me as young kids, scanned them in to the computer and re-sized them.  I’ve also made them before with pictures of flowers, and of pets.  Really you can pick anything that your reader enjoys.  Endless possibilities.

I recommend printing your pictures on card stock for sturdiness, but regular paper should work fine in a pinch.

For the bookmark portion, I used two pieces of card stock because I wanted different patterns for each side, but you could easily get away with one piece if you want the bookmark to be the same on both sides.

diy gift: personalized bookmark

I cut these two pieces to 7″ x 2″ but there isn’t a law about bookmark proportions so I say, if you’re going to make a bookmark, do it however you want to.  Just make sure it’s at least practical.

If you’re using two pieces of card stock like I did, use double-sided tape to stick them together.  I have craft paper swag so I used a round corner paper punch (similar to this) to round the edges of my bookmark.

Use double sided tape again to stick your pictures to the bookmark and then give the whole thing two coats of mod podge.

A quick squeeze of a hole punch and an embroidery thread tassel make this bookmark extra fancy!

diy gift: personalized bookmark

To really up the cute factor, you can buy your gift recipient a book and tuck it in the book.  I did with this one I made for my dad!

He loved it!

Are you DIYing a present for your father this coming Father’s Day?  Link in the comments!

Turkish

The unconditional love a pet bestows upon its owner is a magnificent and fascinating thing. Turkish was a perfect example of that.
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On a given day, I had human accomplishments and setbacks, sure. Some were big and some were small, and not a single one of them mattered to him. All that mattered was that I came home at the end of each day to meet my belly rub and treat quota with my Boss Dog.

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I brought Turkish home in late October of 2009. He was just five weeks old and weighed about as much as a can of soda. He was a tiny, chubby, rolly, snaggle-toothed black pug mixed with who knows what.

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He slept a ton those first couple of weeks we were together, but that soon gave way to weeks, months, and years of high energy levels for what felt like 20 hours of each day.

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He could leap to almost face-level with me, and would go barreling through my parents backyard to chase the cars on the road behind their house each time we went for a visit. When I put up the Christmas tree or a new piece of wall art he would circle this foreign object (uninvited, as far as he was concerned) for hours; sniff, bark, sniff, bark.

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When he wasn’t bouncing off of the walls, he was by my side at every waking moment. This closeness continued into his adult life. We traded wrestling in the yard for snuggle sessions on the couch.

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During the cold weather we’d burrow under blankets on the couch. In spring and summer, we’d sit on the patio sharing chunks of watermelon and basking in the sunlight.

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As the years went by he plumped up, which slowed him down a little, but never affected his general healthiness. He just had more to love, was all.

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He was very responsive to me; always eager to please. But he also had moments of stubbornness and defiance. His way of telling me no was a shake of his head and a grunt.
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It didn’t matter what we were or weren’t up to, he was content for us to just be. I was too.

When he passed, it was sudden and completely unexpected. The center of my entire universe, gone in an instant. I felt everything and nothing all at once. I was filled with heartbreak and emptiness.

I’m still not used to his absence.

Gone are the evenings where I come home after a hard day to a wagging tail and stinky-breath kisses.

After work, as I walk up my sidewalk, my heart sometimes flutters a bit in anticipation of opening my door and being tackled by him.

When I drop a bite of food on the floor, my instinct is still to call to my little mop to come eat up my mess.

At the end of the evening I still have the urge to call him to bed.

Instead of resting by my side, he now rests here.

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I had him cremated and returned to me in a biodegradable box that contains perennial wildflower seeds. I just wanted something to remember him by that was full of life.

A wise man once told me “You will say goodbye to him over and over. When you see a picture of him, or remember something he used to do. You will say goodbye to little pieces of him throughout your life, and each time it will be difficult. Because he was your whole life.”. I think about that phrase every single day.

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Thanks for the memories, Turk. Best five and a half years of my whole life.

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