Crafty :: Map Pendant Necklace

I think I've said it before, but I'm not realllly a crafty person.  I have done some cool crafts in my day, but it's pretty rare because I usually just don't have the patience.  But last spring my best friends and I were on a girls-weekend shopping up in Blue Ridge, GA, when I saw an adorable necklace.

I loved it because it was a map!  I love, love, love maps and globes.  I love mapquest and google maps and bing - especially the "bird's-eye-view."  I'm just nerdy that way.  The cost of the necklace was way more than I was willing to spend on it - I thought "hey, I could make that!" and for a heck of a lot less...

Finally, a few weeks later I did a Google search and (after some good snooping) found what I was looking for.  An Etsy shop and website called Sun And Moon Craft Kits.  I ordered what i wanted from them and followed their directions and turned out three adorable necklaces, one for me and my two best friends.

I initially set up on kitchen table for making the pendant.  The website sells the glaze that you would use along with the chains, pendant trays, and clear domes.  You just have to decide what goes in them!  Really, the possibilities are endless.. pictures, fabric, playing cards, love letters, newspaper headlines, a four-leaf clover - anything that is flat and small enough to fit.  I used a map. (oh and apparently TV/Roku remotes are part of the process too...)

I identified the area of the map I wanted to use and just drew a circle around the dome to mark the spot.  I used the area of town where my friends and I live for our own personalized pendant.

Now, I won't go into all of the instructions - Sun And Moon gives really detailed instructions on their website.  The young lady who filled my order even talked with me via email on a couple of questions I had - she was super helpful.  One thing they did tell me that was very helpful, was to use packing tape over my image of the map.  Since the map paper is thin, the tape keeps the glaze from bleeding though the image.

And unfortunately I got SO INTO making them I did not take any pictures of actually making the pendant!!!  Although in my defense, both hands were pretty busy at all times and I was super worried I would mess it up.. but they came out pretty good!  After letting them set up and dry for a day, I moved on to adding them to the chains. 

I found some little antique-gold loops and a little bag of charms in just the right colors all on sale at Wal-Mart.  Working on a black tablecloth made this part much easier.  I used my small needle-nose pliers to open and close the loops.  I "fixed" the key and charms to one spot on the chain so they didn't get lost hanging behind the big pendant.

I really love how they turned out - and I always get asked about my necklace when I wear it!  That is so cool to me!  After I finished them I package them up and mailed them to my friends.  It was fun to send them a gift for no reason :) And now we have cute matching-yet-unique necklaces..  so. much. fun.

How about you?  Made any cool crafts lately?  This will probably be mine for the year..

(I was not compensated by Sun And Moon, I just bought the stuff from them and I liked them because they were helpful) 

Sharing over at That DIY Party!


Painting the Old Dining Room Table

Hello all!  I am excited to show you my latest project! When we blended households back in the summer of 2009 I threw a table cloth over this cheap table in the dining room and called it day.

I figured I would buy a new one in a few months and until then this guy was fine with the table cloth on it.  Well, you know the best laid plans...

We kept on using the ugly table....  But actually, it works really well!  It has two big leaves so it stretches to hold up to 12 people (albeit tightly) and it's sturdy.  Here it is last Thanksgiving all stretched out and gussied up!

I realized I probably couldn't replace it cheaply.  Too bad this one was just so ugly.  I mean, it's pressed board with some kind of plastic finish (??) and the edge is rubbery.. bleck!

I decided to go ahead and paint it.  I figured if it turned out awful then I was no worse off. I could still throw the table cloth over it, right?  And then save my pennies and buy a better one down the road.

My hubby took it apart and carried it to the garage. I started by just sanding the heck out of the top with my new Ryobi sander (he had to buy me one because his was at a job site.. oh well!) and that was pretty fun.  I used the sander the best I could on the base - it was a little bit tricky because of the tube-like design. The only real wood on this table is the very bottom of the base!

I wiped it off real well then started priming with Kilz.  I sprayed, let it dry for over an hour, then lightly sanded with a block sander.  Then I applied a second coat and repeated the drying/sanding.  I did this over one weekend.

The next weekend my hubby started painting with Rustoleum Heirloom White - the same color we used on the dining room chairs.  Well, some parts came out great, but others came out not so great.  I'm not sure if it was too hot or dry outside, but the top is very splotchy and uneven, and also very bumpy/grainy feeling.  We ran out of time and energy that weekend, then went to the lake with the whole entire family the next weekend.. and we haven't gone back to work on it.

We need to sand and put on a second coat.  He's thinking about getting a can of the Heirloom White and rolling the top?  Or maybe spraying it with his big sprayer like he did the dining room buffet.  Either way, it won't be getting done this weekend either... I'm having some dumb surgery on my left foot and won't be allowed to walk on it for three weeks. yay. -_-

So, here it sits.  Dining room's a mess.  Who knows... maybe I can just get him to finish it while I call out orders from the couch!  I can dream can't I??  hehe  Do you ever start a project and then just can't seem to finish it?  Do you walk by it every day and it drives you crazy?  **Heavy sighhhh**

Sharing at That DIY Party - always a bunch of cool projects!


The BEST Summertime Soup :: Gazpacho

Y'all I have been loving this summer!  We have actually gone to the beach twice (this never happens in real life) and are going to rent a lake house for a weekend get-a-way for the whole family in a couple of weeks!  I am on cloud nine about that one - all the kids, and a friend if they want to bring one, under one roof for a couple of days - YAY!!!

Since we will be eating all of our meals at the lake house, I need to come up with some that will be easy to transport and that everyone would enjoy.  I know for sure I will be making one of my all-time favorite recipes for summer: an easy-to-make, cold tomato soup - Gazpacho.  There are probably many recipes out there on the web, but I like this one the best.  I found it in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine back in 1998 and have been making it ever since.

The page is soft and worn from the many years of taking it out of my recipe box, unfolding it and then re-folding it!  You see, I like easy.  I like recipes that you can make from regular things.. not too many fancy, hard-to-name ingredients.  And that's what this one is - super easy with things you can find easily at your grocery store :) It's so fresh tasting! Hope you like it as much as we do!

Gazpacho To Go
Better Homes and Garden Magazine
June 1998, pg. 219

1 15oz can chunky Italian- or salsa-style tomatoes (I use Italian stewed tomatoes and cut them up)
2 cups quartered yellow pear-shaped and/or halved cherry tomatoes (I never get the pear-shaped,
     they're too expensive - I use grape!)
1 15oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)m drained
1-1/4 cups hot-style vegetable juice or regular vegetable juice (I use the hot)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow and/or red sweet [bell] pepper (I like the yellow for the color!)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. lime juice or lemon juice (I always use fresh lime juice)
2 cloves garlic, minced (and I always just use the minced garlic that comes in a jar! easy!)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. bottled hot pepper sauce (I never measure this, I just shake it in - we like spicy)

To Make:
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients - cover and chill for at least 2 hours.  I usually make it and chill overnight to serve the next day.

Serve it as a side to a meal instead of a salad, or make it the main course.  This makes about 7 cups or 6 side-dish servings.

It is seriously so yummy - and so. stinkin'. easy.  So, do you have a favorite dish that you make in the summer?  I'm always looking for new easy recipes so do share!  And let me know if you make the Gazpacho, too!

Sharing over at That DIY Show Off Party!


Haven Conference :: The Recap

Haven Conference - "Because There's No Place Like Home"

What a great tag line.. and it couldn't be more true.  Haven is a conference that happens once a year, it's held in Atlanta (yay!), and it's for DIY and home decorating bloggers.  It. Is. Awesome.

I had been blogging for almost a year when I first heard about Haven.  I was really still trying to figure out what I even wanted to blog about - I just knew I really enjoyed it!  When I saw there was a conference in my town I was thrilled!  Well, then I realized it was during the same week that my day-job had their summer meeting and I would not be able to attend. womp woooomp.

I missed that first year but I was on the computer the first day that tickets went on sale for Haven 2013, and a few months later my dear friend, Mary Kay, decided to attend too!  Woo Hoo!  I didn't have to traverse uncharted territory alone!  What a relief!

We went and had a blast - we met some awesome bloggers (the very first night!) who live in the Atlanta area.  We could not believe how fortunate we were to meet this group of ladies - we all just happen to be standing next to each other in the line for the bar and started talking!  From left to right above: Jill Perloff - Weathered Pieces, Kim Banta - A Quirky Creative, Melanie Robinson - The Painted Chandelier, Robin Gay - All Things Heart & Home, me, and Mary Kay Thompson - NowWhatNow.

Since that first Haven, we have joined local blogging groups and had some good times with these ladies!  I would have never known them if it wasn't for Haven!  We got more swag than the law allows - seriously, I felt like a bandit!  I learned SO much from the sessions!  (I finally took the time to figure out how to put some ads on my blog, and that was a big deal for me.)  I really wish I had written a post about it last year so I would have something to compare it to this year...  All I can tell you is that I knew I would be back in 2014!

This year Mary Kay and I bought tickets the first day they went on sale (Jan 1!).  We couldn't wait to see our friends again, and meet new ones.  Fast-forward to July 10!  Yay! Now I will just bombard you with pictures - all from my cell phone or someone else's cell phone

Haven 2014 - Thursday evening!



I have lots more pictures, but I'm sure you get the idea!  This conference is so worth it - we went to 3-4 sessions each day, met tons of other bloggers and DIYers, learned a new skill or two, had great food, and (most importantly) laughed our butts off!  I only wish I had taken more pictures (with my camera) and talked to more people.  But there's always next year, right?

Many thanks to the women who put this together every year - click here to see the Haven Mavens and click here to see all of the sponsors (i.e. free swag givers!)   :)

Now, back to doing some projects at home - I hope to get started on my old dining room table make-over..  more to come...


From Boring to Swanky! :: Dining Room Chairs Update

It's feast or famine around here folks.. I think you probably are used to it though, right?  I have so many things I want to write about, tell about, shout about! But the reality is that my life gets in the way sometimes.. ANYway.. I have good stuff to share!

I bought these chairs from the company where I work - they did a big re-decorating thing a couple of years ago and they sold them to me for $5 each.  (You really never know where you'll find your next bargain!) They have been living in my pink dining room..

They reminded me of my red dining room chairs so I thought they would be great companions!  I shared on Instagram about finally starting to work on these dining room chairs back here... then, in late March we painted them. Of course I had to take them apart in the yard... with my Shaw Carpets tool swag from HAVEN Conference!

I roughed them up a bit with some steel wool pads, wiped them down real good, then Hubby primed them with Kilz, then painted them with Rustoleum's Heirloom White.

I went back and forth about painting them a bright white or a more creamy white.. in the end I went with the slightly creamer version of the Heirloom White because it matched the fabric to a T.

Primed on the left, painted on the right

In the picture above the creamy white looks a little yellow-y, but it doesn't read that way in the house.

The fabric is Premier Prints Towers Onyx Natural from Online Fabric Store.  Last year I attended the HAVEN Conference for DIY Bloggers and Online Fabrics Store was a sponsor.  They gifted a yard of fabric and a yard of burlap to EACH attendee!  So generous!  And I'm finally using my gift on my chair seats :)  I just covered right over the old fabric using my hand-held staple gun.

 Old original fabric

When you're covering right over old fabric it is really the easiest thing - the hard part is getting the corners tight.  A friend taught me how to get a nice tight corner.  When you are stapling along the straight edges, staple right up to the corner on either side... (ugh, man hands!!)

Then, gather all of your fabric (and I leave a lot of fabric because you can always cut the excess off later) that is in between those last two staples on either side and pull it tight...

Then I put in three or four (or more if needed) staples over the folds in the material...

When you're finished the corners should be smooth with very little wrinkles.  I didn't like the way one of them looked, so I pulled the staples out and did it again!

I had plenty of fabric and I am seriously in LOVE with how they turned out!  Along with the chairs being finished, I also added a $10 faux sheep skin rug to my piano bench.  I love the warmth it adds to the room, along with that little touch of glamor. 

I am so happy that i finally got these guys finished!  I am looking for some cute red pillows for them, but not having luck finding exactly what I want.  I'm probably going to do some fabric shopping over at Online Fabric Store and just make them myself - that's always more fun anyway :)

One last before and after ~~~

I'm totally in love!  From boring to swanky! Have you ever painted chairs before? Or recovered chair seats?  Do you have special techniques that are tried and true?  Do tell!

Linking up with Thrifty Decor Chic! You have got to check out the great before & afters! And also over at All Things Heart & Home's Twirl & Take a Bow - :)

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