"C" is for connecting: passing along "seeds of kindness"

I woke up this morning and logged on to Facebook as i usually do every morning.  I was scrolling through my news feed drinking a fresh, delicious, piping hot cup of coffee, trying to wake up for the day.  I scrolled down and saw there was a new post on one of my favorite blogs to read Under the Sycamore, a very sweet and uplifting blog by Ashley Ann.
I followed the link and began to read. It was about "planting seeds of kindness" something she had been sharing with her children and working on for herself.  Specifically it was about a good friend of hers from out of state sending her lemons after she had commented via instagram about wishing to join her for a glass of lemonade.  It was a small but very sweet gesture, a seed of kindness.

As always it was a good read (i encourage you to check out her post here.), but more so than usual I found myself connecting to her experience.

I was having a really bad week. I wrecked my new (used) mini van and smashed my garage door all in one fowl swoop; I also decided to jump back into photography last week and I was feeling insecure about my skills… anyway I was feeling really low. Unexpectedly my sweet friend Tess dropped by unannounced on her way somewhere with her family just to drop of a darling mug with my initial on it. It was a sweet gesture, given to help lighten my spirit. 

It wasn’t until later when I actually used it to have my coffee that I realized the specialness of it. That mug was a seed of kindness she planted in me. Every time I fill it with hot coffee goodness and sip that first sip, I am reminded that she is with me… whether my day is hard, or if I am just sitting to enjoy the beverage i love most. And it makes me smile. She is the friend that has always made me rise to the occasion, made me want to be a better mother, a better friend, a kinder person. That seed that she planted is growing with me and it made me want to plant more seeds of my own. It is really funny how that works.

It fills my heart to know people and encounter others who find it important to lift up others. So I thank Tess and Ashley Ann for in there own individual ways planting seeds of kindness in me and I hope passing this experiance along to you encourages you to plant seeds of you own.

Project: Stamped Kraft Book Covers

I am always looking for inexpensive solutions for styling and decorating my home.  I have built in shelves in between my living room and dining area that I am constantly changing and rearranging.  I am working on filling them with odd finds and antiques that i have collected, but I am always looking for new and interesting ways to display my books. I like to display my books like they are decorative objects themselves, and this an easy and inexpensive decorative fix for any hardbound book. It really dressed up my collection of classics that I got for $1.00 a piece at my local Barnes & Noble.

The idea started with a roll of kraft paper I bought at Lowes for around 8.00, these roll are sold in their painting section it is called Brown Masking Paper.  Originally i purchased it for my kids to color on, but looking at it it reminded me of the book covers I made in junior high out of paper grocery bags, which, you could also use for this project in loo of the masking paper.

Follow this link to a great step by step video I found on how to cover a book with brown paper bags.

After covering my books I used these great letter stamps I found on clearance at JoAnn Fabrics, but any small letter stamps will do! Then I stamped the title and authors last name on the spine of each of the book covers.  I recommend practicing stamping on scrap paper before committing to the book cover, just so you don't have to fold a brand new cover if you make a mistake { I had a couple mishaps with spacing and spelling, before I had the finished product to display on my shelves.}

The lettering will not be perfect but i think it is kind of charming, kind of like type from an old typewriter.

This project was fun, simple, and nearly free... and I think they add a little something special to my shelf display!

Projects: Chalkboard Tray

Hi everyone!  I hope you are enjoying winter. I know even though it has been mild this season in my area, I am eagerly awaiting the spring buds... looking forward to playing outside with my kids and returning to our daily walks in the the park.  Truth be told we are going a bit stir crazy around here.  Getting a bit tired of staring at my walls... so it is time to start some projects to spruce things up.

We live in the house my husbands grandfather built.  I love out sweet little home,  after being here together for 5 years, we are still slowly updating it and making it our own.  The best part of living here is that I am always unearthing little treasures.

{sunbeam wooden tray}
  My latest find was this wooden serving tray, i'd say from the style of it it is from the 1930's or 40's.  I knew as soon as I saw it that it would make a lovely and unique chalkboard.  I have seen this done before in my Pinterest surfing and I have just been waiting for the right tray!  Before I did any thing to my tray I checked around the internet just to make sure I wasn't about to destroy anything valuable... The most I found one for was about 50.00.  Mine was in pretty lousy condition so not worth that much and I was excited to give it a second life.

Here are the tools I used to make this project:
wooden tray
foam sanding block
a respirator or mask that is made for fine particulate
paper towel
a sponge paint brush or roller
a paint stir stick
chalkboard paint {i like the valspar brand}
a metallic gold or silver paint marker {optional}


Before you paint over any finished wood surface you need to sand the surface a bit to give it a "tooth" or slightly rough surface so the paint has something to adhere to.  When sanding, you want to use a fine grit sanding block in the direction of the wood grain.  After you have finished wipe it off with a damp paper towel or sponge to remove any dust and give it time to totally dry.

Now you are ready to paint! Make sure you stir the paint really well before using it so it gets good coverage.  The first coat will be pretty streaky, but remember to paint along with the grain, it will look more natural.

{tray after one coat}

Most importantly let each coat dry fully before applying another, about 30 minutes to an hour between coats. I painted my tray with a total of 4 coats of Valspar chalkboard paint. I lightly sanded the surface before I did the final coat.  After the final coat was completely dry I edged the entire tray with a gold paint marker.

This is the finished tray displayed on my buffet in the dinning room.  I hand drew a word I took from a sign I saw in the Pottery Barn catologue. There is a DIY knock off project here, of my inspiration.  But I am looking forward to using this tray to write my menu on for my next dinner party.

what inspires me: The Probably Actually Blog

So I stumbled upon this great Blog today while surfing through my favorite place, PINTEREST.  It was the Probably Actually blog {by Gail Schneider, follow her Pinterest here}, a great blog where one mama documents her journey through sewing and craft.  I was very inspired not only by the great things she made for her daughter, but I love her style.  She picks great patterns and fabrics to make beautiful projects for her little girl. I have only begun searching around her little blog, but I had to share just a few of my favorites.  These are on my to do list and I will be posting my own creations as I make them.

This is the first little cutie that grabbed me... the Pasta Party .  These little cuties are made of felt and look easy enough to make.  If you follow the link she has links to all the places she found her patterns and tutorials used in her post.

Next on my list of favorites... Dottie Dolly Diapers. She found this pattern and tutorial at Skip to My Lou.  I think what Gail came up with is just LOVELY.  The fabrics, the colors, and the sweet little reusable wipes too.  My daughter's dollies will be sporting these in the near future!

The next project that caught my eye was her version of Oliver + S's Lazy Days Skirt, in the post Lazy Wednesdays. Even better is a free pattern over at the Oliver + S blog.  I absolutely LOVE her finishing of this garment.  take some time to browse through her pictures! Not only did she finish the hem in a beautiful twill tape, but she even top stitched her side seams. What beautiful craftsmanship!

I could go on and on gushing over Gail's blog... but I won't I will just leave you with the project I found that is going on today's to-do list: Homemade Play-dough. The recipe is listed there along with some more really great photos!

Thank you Probably Actually for inspiring me today.  I hope it inspires you too ;)