Monday, October 17, 2016

what to do with a vintage ammo box

This guy, picked up eons ago for $10, has worn many hats. Figuratively speaking.

Under bunkbeds safeguarding little treasures.

Below a sofa table stashing old magazines I couldn't bear to let go.

The boys eventually used it to hold their drinks (which aren't supposed to be out of the kitchen in the first place) and rest their stinky feet on while playing video games. Only problem was it was a wee bit too short.

Casters to the rescue.

It was like this box was MADE for wheels. A wooden strip was already on each side, providing the perfect attaching spot. Thank you, Army!

Some nuts {blush} keep the heads of the screws from slipping through the caster holes.

Now it acts as a makeshift bench when friends come over, or rolls out of the way completely when we want the extra room.

Less visual space than a coffee table, the dinged-up painted finish forgives teenage carelessness,

and it draws your attention down to the ground instead of looking at the cat worn edges of the couch or the primed panel wall that still isn't painted 18 months after it was put up.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bridal Shower Gift For a Disney Fan

So it's been awhile. And I was okay with that. Life evolves, seasons change, and books come to an end.

Until unexpected little whispers stirred up inside and somehow I wasn't okay.

AND THEN my beloved Cindy started posting again {go look here} and my heart sang because not only does she let me poison her grandbaby,

(way back in 2014. Baby Walter is practically driving now.)
but we also share a love of beautiful things and vintage treasures. Or, in the case of this string art thrift store find, BOTH. That she wouldn't spot me the $25 to take it home still hurts.

Naked yearing. The perfect segue into today's gift hack which illustrates yet again how bridal showers are like Christmas morning for those of us who enjoy walking the line of propriety.

In my defense, the lovely bride and groom registered for this movie, and since a theme is only as fun as it's know where to assess blame.

Plus we couldn't just throw all those random (super practical!) items in a gift bag. The universe is made up of order. YOU CANNOT ARGUE WITH SCIENCE.

Easy. Sexy. And under $20.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Embracing Your Personality Type (I'm an ENFP - what are you?)

 I was in 7th grade the first time I took a personality/career assessment test.

Our teacher built it up to be a big deal. She threw out phrases like "discovering what you're good at" (applying make-up, obviously) and "fields that you'll excel". There was something almost mystical about the whole thing, like looking into a crystal ball to catch a glimpse of your future.

Then again, everything seems dramatic when you're 12.

The last time my hair was natural. And by "natural" I'm referencing COLOR because hello perm. Also of note: teal mascara, fabric scrap homemade scrunchie #DIY4LIFE

We were instructed to not compare results - these were individual ratings that were neither better than or less than. As if. Come lunch time, it was all we could talk about.

While my friends scored high in responsible things like analytical skills, focus and drive, or problem solving, mine came back with phrases like "open-minded" and "enthusiastic". A bunch of adjectives that smelled of consolation prizes for not getting any real talents.

There was also something in the problem areas (my interpretation) about resistance/dislike of authority, however we all KNOW assessments can't be completely accurate.

It also showed a high score in "creativity" which, for someone who wanted nothing more than to be a quiet intellectual that people took seriously, was practically a death sentence.

That one there is from 8th grade. Now blond and clearly blending in with the other girls and their conservative, well behaved-ness. Why can't I be the one hiding? The one uncomfortable because she has a sense of propriety and would never wear {yet another} do-it-yourself headband thing under crimped hair? Math was always my worst subject, but the likelihood there was also a song being belted out Broadway style at this exact moment = 103%.

By the time high school rolled around, it's was the 90's, which meant there were now computers on campus. You could plunk yourself down in front of a screen in the Work Development building just off the library, answer a bunch of questions, and your aptitude profile report would print up in a matter of seconds. Mine was always the same, no matter how many times I retook it.

Recently while we were purging (still!) some bins of memorabilia, my old school yearbooks were unearthed. Three things I quickly learned:

1. there are a lot of people I don't remember

2. they referenced experiences we had together and inside jokes I don't remember

3. high school language is much saltier than I remember

As one of the boys caught a glimpse at some of the more...appropriate inscriptions, he looked confused as he read through them. "So you were pretty much just the same?"

Can it be true that the last 22 years spent growing up, trying to navigate life, living with a husband, attempting to raise 5 responsible, kind children...and I'm still the EXACT SAME PERSON?

In a word: mostly.

Although I have learned how to use my "strengths" of communication and playfulness for good instead of evil.

{Susie - this literally made me laugh out loud. It's not mean if it's hilarious, right?}

I took the test again just for kicks and...same as always.  (here's a summary).

Although at 39, seeing your gifts (AND shortcomings) on paper somehow feels much less like a label or something to overcome and more like permission. Validation. Celebration.

Where the younger me struggled to obey the inner voice that was always pleading to HOLD BACK and TONE IT DOWN, the older me knows that would be a shame. At least sometimes.


After years of listening to friends with different temperaments and strengths talk about their experience navigating adolescence, it became obvious that even the most "ideal" traits came with their own baggage. The quiet ones? Accused of being snobby. The smart ones? Intimidating to boys. Those motivated, focused and driven ones that captured my envy? Perceived as uptight and no fun.

Who knew?

For any of you struggling with your inherent gifts and abilities, take heart.

What you have to offer matters.

What you can give to the world makes a difference.

Instead of spending massive amounts of time and effort trying to become what you aren't, what if you took that energy and spent it shining up what you already have until it sparkles?


I'd love to hear what YOUR personality is. What you love about it. What drives you nuts.
Any other ENFPs out there?

(Never taken a test before? You can do that here, or google "Myers-Briggs Personality Test")

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Creative Space Planning: A Craft Room / Laundry Room Combination

When you've got a huge family in an average size house, you've got two choices when it comes to logistics:

1. Get discouraged, cry a little, then do a big fat nothing because it won't be "ideal"

2. Get creative


{more -almost 2 decades old- photos of our first house here}
See that lift-up coffee table? The year was 1999, and the sweet storage space inside was my "craft room". I don't mean sweet as in taste, although many a sippy cups were spilled over those cracks, but with a two-year-old, a one-year-old, and pregnant with #3, what lurked below was truly delicious: cardstock, ribbon, a sewing only link to sanity(ish).

Once the kids were big enough to help themselves to sharpies whenever the urge struck, it all got moved to a hall cupboard. Then, when the magic of chairs being pulled over to reach high places was discovered, a small coat closet with a locking doorknob. From a rubbermaid bin below the bed to a full on craft room, I testify to the power of doing what you can with where you are and what you have. IT ALL WORKS.


Last spring, after coming to terms with having another kiddo diagnosed on the spectrum, the room sharing arrangements required some shuffling. That began an incredibly overwhelming domino effect, the end result and only thing remotely relevant to this story being that the Harry-Potter-under-the-stairs-in-the-laundry-room boys space was no more...

and allllll that crap from No Budget Craft Room had to fit in it's footprint.

Highest quality, professional grade middle of the night phone photography. JUST FOR YOU.

Remember? Get discouraged or Get creative.

{also, it's worth noting that when you don't spend money on a space, you don't feel guilty when things have to change. Custom cabinets and fancy fixtures are lovely - so I've heard - but then what happens when situations life has a tendency of doing?}

The only explanation for any of this working was divine intervention. A pry bar to remove the quarter round baseboard on one side didn't hurt either. A half inch more on the teal fella would've been the death of Plan A.

The paint drips detract from the glitter in the linoleum.

If you're asking why not paint the dark wall behind the hutch BEFORE moving it into place then you need to shut your mouth. It was late, the supply of teenage boy labor was unusually agreeable, and one just takes advantage of such situations without always thinking things through. How was I to know it would literally be so wedged to discourage thoughts of ever moving again?

As hoarding would have it, all those tiny scraps in the garage saved from planking the fireplace SEVEN YEARS AGO fit just perfectly around the exposed wall.

Once I realized just how much (read: little) space we were working with, the purging began. I will not reveal how many boxes were given away, not out of embarrassment, only because I lost track.

Random fabric scraps.

Paper piecing patterns from a scrapbook classes taught 16 years ago.

When you give yourself a physical limitation and declare whatever-doesn't-fit-doesn't-stay, it's surprisingly cleansing. Pun intended.

Going vertical is a necessity in a room without loads of floor space. Put those walls to work. Curtains would have been lovely, but old crates are functional which makes them pretty AND smart.

{super simple DIY Wrapping Paper holder directions here}

 Even a tight space has room for things that make you smile :)

 From catch-all,

{move-in - 2008}
to bedroom,

to crafty hide away. Total cost: ten bucks for the pegboard.

Related Links:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Because it's almost Valentine's Day and your man needs lovin' too

Really, two months?

I suppose posting only when one feels inspired makes for some rather awkward pauses.

Please don't mistake the silence as indifference. It's more like the quiet that translates into a 3-year-old getting into mischief just around the corner.

via HelloLucky

So even though there's a long list of Things I Have Learned In the Past 8 Weeks to discuss (topics include: If You Hate Your Hair Long, Stop Trying To Grow It Out; Quitting Facebook Is The Easiest New Year's Resolution Ever; and Why PMS Is Like Beast Mode For Organizing Because You Just Throw It All Away), there's no time for that right now.


via KnottyCards

No need to get all stressed out and think it has to be fancy, when just a cut out piece of paper, a loop of tape, and a marker will do the job just fine. Nothing says love as powerfully as suggestive-ghetto-ransom-note chic.

Those painfully honest Snickers they're selling now can add your love notes.

Guess HOO can't celebrate a holiday without at least one pun?

Now go forth and make someone smile.

{Need even more inspiration? Check out more PG-13 ideas here and here}