So, I just thought about it – I was asking you all what you were doing, and I didn’t tell you what I am doing! But to be honest, I’ve told about 15 people how to do this that have seen it in my house, and thought you guys might like it, too!

Let me start with saying I rent. And I hated the light fixture in this room. It is the standard builders grade light. But I do all my sewing and crafting in here, so I do need overhead lighting.

Well, my friends, the beautiful chandelier literally cost me $2.00 out of pocket to make. If you had to purchase everything, it would run about $10.00, I believe. I didn’t make this during the pandemic, but I love it!

So, I went to the Dollar Tree, and bought two hula hoops. They have two sizes, so I got one of each. (You could do this one, or five- if it was for a big space!) When I got them home, I spray painted them.

Once the paint was dry, I took the icicle lights and zip tied them to the hula hoops. Once that was done, I literally tied muslin strips, raffia, ribbon scraps, lace ribbon, and some dollar tree flowers I had – to the hula hoops!

I took some of the same raffia, and cut -16″ pieces of twine. I looped the twine around the large and small hoop, so it would hang between it. Then, I mounted it to the ceiling with some tiny little screw hooks. I have a little box that I got from IKEA a million years ago, that has stuff in it to hang artwork with. These little eye hooks were in there – so that is how I hung it.

I did the same with the extension cord. My walls are white, so that’s good for me. But if you had painted walls, just snake your cord across the ceiling, and then mark where the wall begins. You can paint the actual cord itself to make it blend into the wall.

This whole room has a big bohemian vibe feel to it – and it is kinda my sanctuary. Let me know if you want to see the rest of the room, and hear about the “craft room redo” for under $70.00. Also, let me know if you would like some videos and/or blogs of more of my Dollar Tree crafting. But most importantly…..

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Who loves to decorate their homes for the holidays? I know I do. I normally go all out on Halloween, but this year – I really haven’t done so much. I’ve been super busy – so maybe I will get some stuff on the outside soon. That being said, I love decorating for fall – but I hate paying for it. So, I thought I would give you some ideas, that I have done, which I LOVE – and they all originated from ….. THE. DOLLAR. TREE.

Those who know me, know I love the freaking dollar tree. There is so much potential there. To do these, you will need some basic craft supplies, but everything else is a dollar.

For the first one, here is what you are gonna need. First, the non-dollar tree stuff. Chalk paint and a glue gun. A lot of this stuff I already had on hand, so this first project literally cost me two dollars. Not too shabby for a cute little sign.

Here is what I used that i got from the dollar tree. One stretched canvas, a black permanent marker, twine, a little bag of different wooden cutouts (the pumpkin), orange paint, black paint, and the coffee cup cardboard piece. The coffee cup piece was actually a cute little photo holder that I found. They have a few different styles of them, but I got one for my room, and then – I had never used this one. So … Now I did! I pulled off the clip, and broke off the easel part in the back… and there ya go.

The cup I used!

So, Once that was done, I took a piece of sandpaper and scuffed down the front of the cardboard piece. Then I took my chalk paint, and painted it! I used the regular lines that is on the cup, to create the gray holder and black lid. And I just mixed my dollar tree black paint with my chalk paint, to make the colors. I dug through this little bag of wooden shapes, and there was a pumpkin. So I used the orange paint, in one of those craft things that the dollar tree has for Halloween projects for the kiddos. I didn’t take a pic of it – but its the little paint tubs that are connected… and it was wayyy to orange. So, I mixed it with the gray. Voila!

Literally – for the background, I used a permanent marker. And just drew it on there. to make it look like ship lap. Sorta. Then I hit Pinterest to find a cute little saying. And I loved that one! It made me smile.

Then, made a bow with the twine, glued it on, glued the cup to the board – and done.

I love having a festive house! This is a perfect little touch of fall to sit in a window sill, side table, even hang. I sat mine in my kitchen window – with a Rae Dunn “Pumpkin” Candle beside it. All for two dollars. Look at the things you have around you – I get you can make something amazing! And to be honest, if you are in a bigger city, check a few dollar trees out – they get different stock. What’s your favorite season, and craft for the season?

Live fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

Do you rent? I do. And for a long time, I have hated it. I felt like as a forty-something, I should have my crap together. I should be a homeowner. You know, the old “you are throwing your money away by renting” adage. That was until the day the house flooded. Three times. In two days. It was awesome. (No, no it wasn’t.) In that moment, I decided to embrace my renting status. All the contractors who showed up. The tree root guys. The plumbing guys. The water damage guys (who were my favorite and nicest ever). Anyway – I paid zero dollars. On something that I am sure would have been upward of a zillion dollars. And I know there is insurance – but this would not have been a covered loss. Let that sink in. (I used to sell homeowner’s insurance, I know.)

Well, what’s the worst part about renting? The lack of being able to add personality. I hate that. I have wrote posts about that before – so I am not going to go down that rabbit trail. But let me tell ya. I didn’t like my kitchen. It wasn’t terrible. It was plain. Builder’s grade-ish? No color. No personality. Oak cabinets that the sun had bleached. Beige formica counter tops. Beige walls. WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?

Sit and watch YouTube, that’s what. But one day, I decided to search “Renting and Kitchen Redo” And I discovered the world of contact paper. Now this person, put contact paper on their counters. Super cute. Looked better. Then I found a video that someone put contact paper on their floor. (They covered old and dated linoleum – and it looked fantastic – although – I was thinking it would be super slick, not sure.) I saw Ikea hacks, paper added, a ton of ideas. But I needed a complete makeover. Oh. Did I mention I am on a tight budget? LOL! So this has to be as budget friendly as possible.

Well guys, I ain’t trying to brag. I’m lying. I’m bragging. I nailed it.

So, that being said. It’s all contact paper – mostly. Let’s start with the biggest. The cabinets. I didn’t paint the cabinets – because that would get me in trouble with the rental company when I move. I covered them with contact paper. White contact paper. Then, I painted the contact paper – to make it look really done. And guess what. It worked.

Second, the walls. Contact Paper. I mean, there’s not a lot more I can say. That’s it.

Third, the counter tops. Contact Paper. And this is the look. For 54 dollars. My fellow renters – this took me a week, of after work/ a Saturday/ and a day of kids puking. Truth. It’s worth it for a couple years of happy. Comment and let me know what ya think! (My before picture is before I moved in, but to give you an idea.)

Are you racking your brain? Trying to figure out what is 111 days away? It’s CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! Are you excited? Groaning? I am a little bit of both, to be honest.

Christmas in one of my favorite times of year, but it’s also stressful. Especially, when it is the gift buying season and you are on a budget. Like any other parent, I want to shower my kids with everything that they want on Christmas – but I also know that I can’t afford it – and even if I could – that’s not a good idea. I used to pride myself on the mounds of gifts I could get under the tree. Now, that my kids are older – it is really hard to get from them what they want. I noticed that for like the past two years.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my kids get presents. They have grandparents, family, friends, and they are far from deprived. But have you noticed as your kids get older, they seem to want less? Or really, have a hard time telling you what they want?

I am so grateful for my 20 and 16 year old. They are the most satisfied, non-greedy, giving souls to walk this planet. They really get the true meaning of Christmas. My nine year old, well, he can make you a list today. (I think my older two could also when they were his age, LOL!) So, at least for the older two, I am trying to get some creative ideas for them for Christmas. Some homemade items, that they will love, and maybe some ‘experiences’.

During the Hurricane, I got busy. I made an amazing birthday gift for a friend of mine, and I started on one gift for my oldest. I mean, I have to start now -if I am going to make stuff, right? So I am feeling pretty good about that – but I am at a loss as to what to do for a 16 year old girl. And does anyone have any good ideas for an experience? I would like to do that for all three.

So, I need your help. Give me ideas. What do you do for your kids during the holidays? How do your kids feel about homemade gifts? Have you done the whole “experience” thing before? Help a sister out! Send me some ideas, I’ll do some reserach, and maybe – we can figure this out together and have the coolest, cost-effective Christmas!

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

A+ would stand for Açai Postive! I know that was corny… but if you look at the photo – I was stunned as to how much the smoothie, well – ended up looking like a prop off of True Blood. Well, as non-visually stimulated as it might have been – I am super pumped about my latest kitchen success, and wanted to share it with you!

You can’t tell me it doesn’t look like a blood bag…

So, I wrote a blog on how to make my smoothies. And let me tell you – I love me a smoothie! But, I had a drawback. I have a side by side refrigerator/freezer. And those mason jars took up a lot of room in my freezer. So, I began to think of an alternative solution. So I googled and I googled… And low and behold, I found Capri Sun Bags! Now, they aren’t actually Capri Suns, but that style of a bag. AND HOW PERFECT IS THAT! I was super pumped. I ordered them on Amazon Prime, and eagerly anticipated their arrival.

This is the bag! And yes! They come with straws, also!

But guess what happened, I got suckered into the “Customers who bought (insert product) frequently also buys (insert product).” So, I also purchased some popsicle bags. The popsicle bags are long and skinny Ziploc-style bags. Think of it – circa freezer pops when you were little where you had to use scissors to cut to top off of the bag. Now, I’m going to help you – so you don’t suffer the same way that I did. Make it thinner than you would a smoothie. I would say the consistency of a thin-side milkshake is perfect. And here is why. The bags come with this super cool funnel, but if you don’t make it thin enough – it becomes a large mooshy mess that won’t go through the funnel. And guess what it does instead? It splatters all over your kitchen and covers your hands in a deep red, freezing baby food – textured, mess. Yes, this happened. And if I haven’t share – anytime you are working with Açai or pitaya – clean it super fast if you spill. It does stain.

Now guys. The possibilities here are endless. Endless! You can do smoothies. Popsicles. Slushies. You name it. And here is what I love! YOU control the ingredients. Also, you can make a whole bunch at one time – and just freeze them. This is a two-person job though. Get a buddy. I actually had the help of my 16-year old and my 9-year old. Nine year old was opening the bags, I’d pour, and then 16-year old would grab it and seal them. Perfect little conveyor belt. Don’t let it discourage you if you don’t have anyone to help – it can be done with with one – just not as quick.

So guys, I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Comment your recipe ideas below – I’m thinking the possibilities are endless!

Ok. This isn’t a post about manifestation. But it could be. In one of my previous posts I wrote about how I wanted to make my house more, homey. I made a list. (If you haven’t read that post, I suggest ya do.) Well, Number six on the list – was my kitchen table. Can I just say, I hated my kitchen table. Like I hated it with a passion. And I wish that I could say that my ex bought it, picked it, or it was forced upon me and someway. NOPE. That sucker was all me. And when I bought it – I was so proud! I really was! But, about 5 days after the purchase – I knew it was a bad idea. I denied it. But I knew it was bad. I shall now insert a photo below. So you can see the prettiness. Then I will explain why it was a bad idea.

Industry Place 5 Piece Dining Set, In all her advertised Glory.

So there she is. Isn’t she lovely? I mean, I saw that table – and I saw modern. Edgy. I saw – MYSELF. (Ok, maybe it’s a little dramatic for the table. But, I was pretty pumped about it. ) I loved the finish. I loved the metal. I loved that you can arrange the height of the table and stools. I loved that it looked like it could be in a Chipotle near you. I. LOVED. IT.

My kids loved it too, at first. But what we all forgot, was that the littlest child (at the time of purchase) was 7. EMMM. MMMM. You know what you don’t want with a small child? A spinning table with spinning chairs. You wanna know why? Did ya work super hard and get dinner on the table? One hard spin equals dinner on the floor. Tears ensue. Mine and his. Did I mention I have ceramic tile floors? Corning ware against ceramic tile? Tile wins. There IS a lock for the table. Did you know that a seven year old can undo said lock, with his toes, without disturbing the table at all? It can be done. It has been done.

Death trap.

Industrial Place 5 Piece dining set (For the rest of this post, I am going to refer to it as IP5), can also double as a playground. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. You know those spinning wheels of death that are probably now banned across playgrounds everywhere? Well, in a pinch, the stool from said dining set, can also double as this fine piece of play equipment. Picture it: A laughing eight year old. Spinning face down on stool. He jumps up. He’s dizzy. He’s down. He’s bleeding. Ugh. This all happening while I am screaming, “You knew better! I am not paying a $350.00 co-payment at the emergency room because you weren’t thinking!” (Yes, I literally said that. No, I didn’t mean it – well, I sorta did. I’m not perfect, we know this. )

IP5 had other drawbacks. When the four of us sat down to dinner, the table would wobble everytime someone touched it. Also, our plates were really super close. IP5 was lacking on it’s radial length. And once IP5 got about 7 months old, randomly a white haze would form on it. It would happen with moisture. But it would show up when I would clean it. Then it would go away. Freaking weird, I know. But ask my kids. I swear it happened. I knew I needed a new table. Tables aren’t cheap. IP5 cost me almost $500.00 when it was said and done. That’s a lot of money to me. So me, the kids, and IP5 were in an unfulfilling relationship together.

But, then, the miraculous occurred. I got a phone call from a friend of mine. And he said,” My mom is getting a new kitchen table – Do you want her old one? It’s over 20 years old and needs some work, but it’s solid wood.” Sir, you had me sold at the word solid. Do I ever! And let me tell ya – my happy self went to work the next day, asked my brothers to borrow the truck, and I made arrangements to pick that sucker up that Saturday. Saturday rolls around, and me and my crew (which is me and the kids, FYI) head over to her house to pick it up. We get there, load it up, give hugs and say 1000 thank you’s, and head home. She also gave us some cream parson’s chairs to go with it.

I get home, and I get to work. Now, once he told me it needed work, I put a budget in my head. I didn’t want to go over $100. I have to do budgets. Or I get too creative. LOL! Luckily, I am the son that my daddy never had – so I tagged around quite a bit in his wood working shop as a little kid. So on hand, I have a belt sander, and rotary sander, and some sanding blocks. And I get to town. Yes, the table was 20+ years old. But the top, well it shocked me. It didn’t take much work to get it down to a smooth surface, little scratches and nicks out. She took super great care of it. Same goes with the base and the legs, but they were a bit more difficult. They had been painted for the different styles of the times, so it took a little more work. Still though, I had them stripped down in about three hours.

Now, here’s the fun part. I decided I wanted to do it in like a modern/farmhouse/chic/girly/cool finish. That took some googling, due to the fact I can be indecisive. I decided on a deep gray color, with a coffee/mahogany top. So, off to make the purchase to fix this table. I got the stain at Lowe’s ($12.16 with tax). I used the Minwax PolyShades – because I love the ease of the one step. For the legs, I wanted to do a subtle milk paint. I love milk paints, chalk paints, and whitewash. Those are my favorite paint styles. I think that I gives such a soft finish. And by soft, I mean, it looks like it would actually feel soft. I couldn’t find what I wanted at Lowe’s. So off to Joann’s I go. PEOPLE! I got the milk paint on clearance for $4.17 and I had a 20% off entire purchase. I got two. So… $7.12 later, I’m set. Our grand total for this table at this point is $16.33.

I do the table and I floor myself at my own work. I am super proud of this table. There is only one problem. I had three chairs, and need more seating. So I start looking for seating ideas. I needed to redo the chairs, and wasn’t sure how. So I decided on upholstery spray paint in charcoal and stone. Now this stuff is pricey, to me. So, I implement my tribe – Joann’s and Michael’s Coupons. I got it down to 5.14 a can. I needed five cans, for three chairs. I still had a 20% off coupon thanks to the app – so grand total there came to $21.20. Now, if you go this route, MAKE SURE YOU DO IT OUTSIDE AND DO NOT SIT IN THEM FOR 48 HOURS! They are still gonna be tacky for a couple days, and you don’t want to ruin that hard work. And when it says to shake the can for a full minute – DO IT. That isn’t a suggestion, it’s needed or it will come out all weird and yucky. We are now at $37.53. And I still need another seat.

My budget for another seat is $62.47. I decide I will get a bench, and stain it to match. I can find a standard wood bench for that amount, right? No. No I can’t. Not even close, guys. So, guess what I do? Google. That’s right. I found a design to make a bench. So, a trip to home depot, $16.80 later, we got the fixin’s for what could be an amazing piece of carpentry. Then, I get to work. And guess what ya girl did? She made a frickin’ bench. That’s exactly what she did! I’m not even gonna lie. It seemed simple. But I thought, it can’t be that simple. I mean, it wasn’t totally simple – but it wasn’t hard either. And I have had four grown folks sitting on it – she is sturdy.

The Bench in Progress

I tell you all this, one – to help. Two, to proclaim how grateful I am for this table. I despised my other table as a dinner table. Now IP5 is in the corner as a board game/homework table. Perfect life for IP5. And this table that was given to me, means everything to me. One, a dear friend thought of me and asked if I was interested. Two, my brothers let me use the truck to make it happen – how awesome to have the availability of a truck! Three, I got to spend some time with a sweet lady, help her out, and you could tell she was so happy that it was going to good use. Four, I made something that I am proud of. Five, it has been a rough year and this was a great thing to make me feel at home. I can’t even begin to explain how blessed and grateful I am.

So, it’s set up. I want a centerpiece. Because, well – I have room for a centerpiece and a plate. And I didn’t before. I decided to hit up Marshall’s, and low and behold – I found the base. A two-tiered swivel thing. Specific, I know – you’ll see. I put a Rae Dunn mug and juicer I had in the cabinet, some greenery I had, and got the letter’s at Joann’s for less than a dollar a piece. On the center piece, amount I spent was $21.21. The piece itself was 14.99, then there was a candle from the dollar tree, a couple little pots, you see. But there’s the total. At this point, I haven’t finished the third chair yet. So, one of IP5’s stools is on one side, which actually looks pretty cool. But the rest, is below. I am so happy with how it came out. I am super happy that there is a story to it. I am proud of my effort. I am grateful for the vision. I am grateful for the sweet soul that gifted it to me.

I. Love. This. So. Much. And… Grand Total – $75.54. Still under budget and that’s including the centerpiece and placemats. (Placemats aren’t permanent – I just happened to take this picture with them on the table.)

And let me tell you, we have sat there. And eaten. And laughed. We had some company over, and we were all able to sit at the table. It was awesome. So here is my take away…. One, put it out there and let it be known what you need. And just watch. Two, be grateful for what you have, even if you hate it. I know that doesn’t sound possible, but it is. I am in a phase of my life where I am closing old doors – and trying to build new things. It feels good to see things happening. And… If you like this – please subscribe and share. Let’s get the word out and be happy. Stay Inspired!