Friday, January 27, 2012

Less Hands on Creating, More Online Creating!

I have not posted anything new in a while. Partly because I still have not put the finishing touches on my coffee table, (The Martha Stewart Crackle Paint nightmare coffee table) and partly because I have been very busy working on my new website! 

My website has been a bit of a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it was super frustrating, not knowing what I wanted it to portray, and then not being able to express what I wanted to my web designer. Needless to say, countless of dollars later, I got a new vision and have now hit the ground running. 

My first website that I didn't share with anyone used Joomla For anyone who is a web guru, Joomla must be great. I am not one of those said web gurus. So, when I met Theresa Buergh of Tipping the V Web Design I was immediately relieved when she told me that I could make my own website and I didn't have to pull all my hair out. 

Theresa set me up with a website through wordpress. Wordpress started off as a site for blogging but now has so many options! And it was cheap too! I bought a website theme with hundreds of options for only $30! With all the options I have, I almost wish I would have limited my choices because I spend so much time working on different layouts and then finally going back to the original one I chose. 

Anyways, I LOVE wordpress and I love Theresa for helping me see the light! Of course, she could make me a beautiful website without me spending hours on it, but since I am working on being a DIY kinda girl I thought I needed to do this one on my own. 

Here is a sneak peak at my site!

My website will reflect all the things I am up to. From working on special events, to my Windows by the Sea to creating an online resume (in hopes that if I can't quit my day job, I'll at least be able to find an even better one!) 

At some point, I will be switching my blog over to the new site. For now, I will continue with blogger and I am such an amateur with wordpress and am happy to finally figure out how to post photos! If anyone knows how to post PDFs so I can upload my portfolio, please let me know! 

Anyways, my idea with the homepage is that I wanted to reflect my sense of community. As many of you know, being involved in my community is very important to me. I added photos of what Seal Beach means to me. Ron took most of them for me. Isn't he a great photographer? 

My special events page will reflect the events I have done in the past and plan to do in the future. I begin planning the 1k Fun Run for the Seal Beach Race next week. Really looking forward to it! And although I haven't announced it yet, I keep thinking of ways to improve the 2012 Wag N' Walk.... so, I may as well admit that I plan to do that one again. 

At some point I would like to have my Window by the Sea page, to be a bit more sophisticated. But for now, I am proud of my efforts. 

So here is the sneak peak. Would LOVE some constructive criticism. (Keep in mind this is my first time!) 

I am also working on a top secret very special present for a very special one-year-old. Photos of that to follow! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Truth About Martha Stewart Crackle Paint

I did it again, I got excited about a project and jumped head first into it without doing any research. 

You know how every household product you purchase has some sort of disclaimer saying test this product on a small corner before application? Ya, I am always the person who NEVER does this. I just jump head first without checking to see how deep it is. Once again, I find myself almost drowning in a project that went from neat and easy to disastrous. 

So, after I spent a good hour applying the Martha Stewart Crackle paintto my coffee table,   following only the simple directions of: apply with putty knife, the thicker the paint the larger the cracks.... I discovered there has to be a trick to this damn paint. 

Searching online for a "fix" for the mess I just made, I came up with nothing useful. I know I am not the only person to be lured in with Martha Stewart's claim of an "easy" DIY project. Where were all my fellow crafters at 10 o' clock on a Saturday night as I was pulling my hair out from the project that had made a turn for the worse? 

So, I had no choice but to run a few "simple" test to figure out this "easy" trick to the Martha Stewart Crackle Paint. 

I started off with the Sealer/ Primer, which the instructions said must be used. Okay, so I can follow directions but what makes this Sealer/Primer so special? 

Well, it is actually important. As far as using it as a Sealer goes, not sure that I find this product useful, but if you do not apply the product as a primer first, the paint will not crackle. 

But how much does the primer effect the cracking? The answer: Not much

I applied the primer both thin and thick to see if the paint cracks more or less with different thickness of primer. 

The only thing I learned for certain was that the ticker the primer, and the ticker the crackle paint, the longer the paint takes to dry. 

Drying time is apparently key to all of this. (Many tests later showed that the only variable that made any difference was drying time.) 

This sample showed what my table showed. The paint is fully dried after 6 hours but.... the cracking only happened on the outside edges (which is thinner than the middle)

This is how my table turned out. uneven cracking with more smooth areas than I care for. So what happened? Well, for starters I live next to the beach. It's safe to say that I do not have to driest climate, and the sun wasn't out much this weekend so that I had to be a factor. 

Ron came up with the idea of using my blow drier to try and force the paint to crack. I was really hopeful that this would fix my less that amazing looking project. 

The blow drier didn't appear to help my table. But I was determined to figure this out, so we tried yet ANOTHER round of tests and discovered that, if the paint dries quickly with the blow drier, you get uniform cracking throughout. YAY! But, what about my table? 

Well, I then tried a sample to see what would happen if I put the crackle paint over the top of dried not very crackly paint. DO NOT TRY THIS! 

Results: Even though I used the blow drier to dry the second layer of crackly paint, I found that it still doesn't crackle. 

I even tried using more primer over the top of the less than perfect crackle finish and then apply more paint over the top. Nothing. I tried sanding and then reapplying.... even worse. 

Moral of the story: Test your product before trying it out on your Crate and Barrel coffee table. 

Steps for Best Results: 
Step 1: Use a generous amount of Primer/Sealer 
Allow to fully air dry 
Step 2: Apply crackle paint 
The thinner the application, the smaller the cracks 
Step 3: Use a blow drier to dry your paint 
Don't wait for the outside air to dry your project, you will only get disappointing results.  
Step 4: Apply Sealer 
The all in one Primer/Sealer does not add a gloss to your project. The paint is a flat, no gloss finish. 

And remember..... do it right the first time because reapplication is not an option! 

Now, I am not discouraging anyone from using the product, however.... do it right the first time. Now I am left with a project that I am less than happy with. I haven't decided what I am going to do to fix the mess I made..... but, I will share my finished results with you soon! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pinterest, I love you but you make me angry

There is no hiding my love for Pinterest. I discovered the social networking site a few months ago and have been absolutely hooked ever since! Just this week, Etsy added a Pinterest button for easy pinning (Finally!) 

For those of you who haven't experienced the addiction for yourself, Pinterest is a way to keep all your ideas together on an idea board. For instance, your having a family get together and your looking up ideas on what to serve, decoration etc. you can "pin" your ideas to a board. Check it out for yourself, it's great! But Beware: Pinterest is incredibly addicting! 

Okay, so the reason why Pinterest is currently making me angry (and perhaps someone has the answer for me) is, I am constantly searchin online for new creative ideas. I currently have a few friends and family who are asking me to create specialty items for them. (I haven't forgotten who you are, I have just been in a bit of a creative rut) Anyways, searching the web I find items I would love to pin to my idea board and....... 


Pinterest, you come up with an addictive service and then you do this to me!?!! Really? Why? 

So, for those of you who follow my pin boards, I am creating this blog post in hopes that I can actually pin these photos. And to the people I have stolen these pictures from; thank you for your creative ideas. I would be giving you credit if Pinterest would let me! 

Green house made from old window frames. Love this! 

Shadow Box Window Frame. I think I will be attempting this soon for my spare room! 
(I know... I know... after I finish all the projects I have already promised everyone else!) 

Now this one is really unique. Photography isn't great but what a great idea! A Princess Canopy out of an old window frame! 

I'ts a little frilly for my taste but what a great idea! I would like to see how this looks with a little burlap! 

If there is anyone out there who can join me with my frustration with Pinterest, please let me know I am not alone! Or, If I am crazy and no one else is experiencing this..... why me?!?! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Valentine's Day: Get Creative!

When department stores start putting up the Christmas decor in October, I have to fight the urge to puke. Christmas, let's just say is not my favorite holiday. 

I am not a total Grinch. I do like holidays. My absolute favorite holiday (besides my birthday month) is Valentines Day. Not because of the mushy love stuff, because on Valentines day you have a real excuse to put pink hearts everywhere! And pink is my absolute favorite color! 

I wanted to connect Valentines Day with some of the fun projects I work on with my Etsy store. I needed a little inspiration away from the windows, something fun and light that could put anyone in a good mood. And if Christmas can upstage Thanksgiving, I figured it wasn't too soon to start decorating for Valentines Day. 

I started off with getting some purpose out of all the tiny flower pots that have been sitting unused for months in my garage. 

It was simple really, a ribbon and a chalk board vinyl I cut out with my way cool new heart paper punch. 

And some Chalk Paint for good measure! 

I also went out and bought some simple frames that I of course had to cover in chalk paint! 

Simple and fun! I just can't wait for Valentines Day! Now, to find some photos to add in here! 

I will be posting these on my Etsy site tonight, so if you aren't up for DIY, buy handmade on Etsy! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Pig: A Great Find!

Ron and I went to Grass Valley a couple of weeks ago. On our trip we went into a very quant second hand store. There, I was overwhelmed by projects. So many great bargains that you could turn into real treasures! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take much home with me as we were traveling by plane. What I did managed to get into my bag gave me some very strange looks from the Security Guards during check in! 

This great find was only 50 cents! I couldn't believe me luck! Ron argued that there is no reason to purchase a porcelain pig. There wasn't even a slot to make it a piggy bank. But this mean looking pig called to me, I just had to have him. I quickly named him Fred. Why Fred? Because most of the ridiculous things I own or have made have a name. Fred was his name and 50 cents was his price. How could I just not take him home? 

I am a little strange when it comes to useless items. I just love them. Since I was a kid, I loved going to places like Color Me Mine, a paint your own pottery place. I would always pick an item that looked like it had been on the shelf for months. Collecting dust, unwanted. 

That is how I found Pete the Raccoon... I believe I painted him at age 8 or 9, but I can't be sure. He has been with me a very long time. 

Ron just doesn't appreciate Pete as he sits by the front door looking cute. Sydney, our dog doesn't really understand him. But there wasn't a vote... Pete stays. The End. 

Now Ted, my other useless creature that is only allowed to be in the garden because that's the only place Ron tolerates these guys, was created last year with my friend Katie. It was a funny story how Ted came to be mine. Katie and I were having dinner with our boyfriends in Costa Mesa. As we were leaving to take the party back to Katie's house, we spotted a Color Me Mine. We took one look at one another and both had the same idea. We quickly kicked our boyfriends to the curb and spent the rest of our Friday night painting. Maybe this is why Ron doesn't like Ted. 

Cute isn't he? 

Now I have one more garden creature that really is a conversation starter. And thats Lilly the Frog. 
I am not really sure how the frog came to be apart of my collection. I believe another family member who finds my quirkiness amusing painted Lilly. Either way, Lilly stays. 

Now, back to Fred the pig. I had to come up with a good use for him that wasn't in the garden. I feared that my neighbors were going to start complaining that I had more figurines than flowers. And I wasn't sure Ron was going to let me add one more "ridiculous" creature to my collection. 

So what did I do? I made Fred a chalk board!!! Now Fred has total purpose, and he fits well with my Etsy theme! Perfect. Another win for useless objects! 
I could even use Fred to write Ron and I's gym schedule for the week. But maybe, I shouldn't push it. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking Back on 2011. Hello 2012!

2011 was a crazy year for me both personally and professionally. It had a few up and a few too many downs, but in the end I made it though with a smile on my face and a whole lot more energy! 

On April 1, 2011 I began to take my creative ideas online. I started Window by the Sea with my boy friend as a creative outlet/ a little hobby business to keep me busy. Busy it kept me! In a few short weeks, I began making sales.... and definitely learned as I went! 

It all started with this: 
I then started small and worked my way on up 

Thanks to a very supportive family, I have enough cork to last me about 100 cork boards. I am currently contemplating making a wall of my house all in cork. I mean, why not? If you have as much cork as I do? Still have to convince my boy friend on this one! 

In 2011 we worked a lot on our home. One of my favorite projects was framing some of Ron's work in old window frames we collected. I can't actually take credit for this, it was his idea! He is such a creative guy! 

I also discovered Pinterest in 2011. A new habit I won't be able to kick at the gym.

I discovered my love for mason jars is a bit obsessive (I am working on cute ways to get rid of a few) tears were definitely in my eyes as my Christmas present turned into this; 

The end of 2011 was a little chaotic as I over volunteered myself at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center and the Friends of El Dorado Dog Park group. 

As the year came to a close, I have plenty of new ideas up my sleeve.... both with fundraising and creating! ( I just hope my fundraising efforts aren't as exhausting in 2012 as they were in 2011!) 

My next project (no matter what) will be this: 

My New Year's Goals: 
- Keep creating! 
- Stop being enemies with the Gym 
- Keep up my Blog Posts
- Finish my website
- Working on my Garden 
-And most importantly..... HAVE FUN! 

Bring it on 2012! I am ready for you!