Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DIY Canning Jar Chandelier

We are currently living in our third rental home, and for the first time ever, in a newer styled open layout. It's a super modest 5 bedroom split level, a layout which I used to disdain, but it has served us well so far, and I am slowly adding character to make it feel like MY home. 

Every house has it's quirks, and one of this home's was it's light fixtures. Now, I'm no electrician, and I don't want to lose my security deposit, so when I noticed all three kitchen/dining light fixtures were different finishes, I groaned and moaned and tried not to hate the person who committed such a crime against this house. 

I most certainly vowed not to look at them all at once. 

Eclectic may be currently in style, but this tragedy did not even begin to add character to our home... it only built character... in me!

This is a very poor picture of the dining fixture. As is my habit, I have no other "before" pictures. Remember, I tried NOT to look at them, and made every effort not to point a camera at them either! 

(Pardon the white spaces. The picture was edited for Instagram and I'm too busy worrying about lights to edit it.)

The other day, I must have been bored or broken my vow to myself and spent too much time staring at the mismatched lights, because my brain started racing for ideas. And then my fingers ran to Pinterest. And then I started removing glass shades.

My first fix was over the kitchen sink. I removed the shade, dumped out my catch-all basket all over the counter, cut a hole in the bottom of it with a wire cutter and replaced the shade with it.

I left the pile on the counter. I should really do something about that.

Don't tell anyone, but I also painted the gross cheap fake brass with... shhhh. Acrylic craft paint.

Please don't anyone call the paint police on me.

I enjoyed that change for a couple days before my eyes began to burn at the site of the dining chandy.

I quick searched Pinterest again to verify that it was possible to make an existing chandelier look OK with canning jars and off I went to dig in the recycling.

This was my quick, easy and nearly free solution (I did need to buy different light bulbs):

Remove glass shades and set aside the rings that held them in place. Cut out any old plastic from the recycle bin to fit into a canning ring. Place light fixture shade ring on plastic ring insert and trace around the inside.

Cut out the hole. It doesn't need to be pretty as it's not going to show. Promise.

Place shade ring on top and screw onto fixture.

The order of assembly is as follows:
Fixture: Canning ring: Plastic ring: ceramic ring.
Screw a all the above together until tight and then add a chandelier light bulb and finally the jar.

All done!

Now our lighting has character - the kind I like! I've stashed the old glass shades away, and when we move, I can easily replace them and no one will ever know! Please don't ask me any pesky questions about watts and heat and such.

All I know is my eyes are happy and my home is too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fabric Twine Bracelets : using fabric scraps

If you know me at all, you know I have one hoarding weakness: creative supplies, especially fabric. With two moves in the last two years, I have managed to hone the collection down a bit, but I struggle to do so, as I know - eventually - I will use every last little bit... of everything!

I make aprons out of men's shirts, card pouches out of their leftover cuffs, and most of the shirt gets used for the apron and ruffle and ties, but I have an entire box of sleeves and leftover shirt parts. Why do I save them?? 

Because, this: I knew an idea would come to me one way or another! 

My aunt sent me a link to this simple project a day or so ago, and evidentally I needed a new idea to go crazy with because I did with this one! Megan even joined me in the strip ripping, finger cramping fun! 

While Megan used fun bright colors, I made a grown-up version with silk scraps,

and added chain and a charm to another.

The possibilities are endless! 

But that's a great thing, because so is my fabric collection! 

Here's the how-to:

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Microphone and a Stage: the Perfect 13th Birthday Party

The day started off with a two hour delay thanks to yet another MN blizzard, but before I was even out of bed, my phone beeped, announcing an email's arrival, and school was canceled.

Not one minute later, Megan charged into our bedroom on the morning of her 13th birthday and hurriedly announced her stress about the day, and her plans for the party, and how will everyone be delivered?

Can you drive them, mom, pick them  up? Can you? Can you?

She fussed and pounded out texts and hurried around and I just wanted a few more minutes of blizzard gifted sleep.

I didn't even wish her a happy birthday.

When she first began planning her epic dance party, oh, something like four months ago, she talked of our large kitchen, and moving the table out and turning off the lights and playing music, and I knew this house wasn't big enough for her dreams.

Our living room is postage stamp small. It's filled to the brim with just a sofa and loveseat. The kitchen is large, but not for 13 13 year olds and their energy and drama and giggles.

So off to church we went, armed with balloons and some accidentally matching table clothes I bought years ago. It was, thankfully, the last day of Robb's 2 week stint of unemployment, and my daycare kids were napping.

 Somehow, all the girls from the 7th grade came, save one with family plans, and two from the 8th. they braved icy roads and a mean wind, but they made it.

They ate walking tacos and hovered around the chocolate fountain. Mitchell played DJ with Megan's compilation of YouTube music videos and took requests - his dream come true. Everyone got their mic and stage time for Karaoke which included my own three singing "Radioactive". I would show you a video of how gifted my kids are, but my phone had no more space for a video. Of course.

I did get this photo of my kids teaching everyone the levan polka and also numa numa. Good times. They just make me giggle with happiness.

There was only one instance of teen tears in the bathroom, which was easily fixed with smoothies made by my very own barista husband. The chocolate fountain went baserk at one point, spinning chocolate everywhere, but I did I hear something about "best party ever" and "how will I top this next year?" so I think I can safely assume the party was a success in the eyes of the giggly, dramatic, karaoke singing, pyramid making teens.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

What to make as party favors when your daughter plans her own birthday party

How my daughter is turning 13 tomorrow escapes me. I mean, I know the logistics of how these things happen and time passes, but as of tomorrow I will have two teenagers living under my roof, and that just sorta startles me. I feel 25 at most. But Mitchell was two when I was 25, so I'm quite obviously not that young anymore.

But here they are, tall and lanky, with appetites to match, knowing more than they do, and they live here with me and they are mine.

She has lists and made invites and texted me all the info and all I really have to do is go to the store and buy it all. She's got plans that way. She out-plans me. Every day.

There's a lot of pressure in all that planning. So I do what I do best with pressure. I make stuff. It's therapy for me, and when so much is never done and the parenting job is forever, I sit in the quiet of the day and finish something.

I finish 13 leather bracelets (Instructions here) that I hope the whole passel of 7th graders will like, but you never know, she says, and that's OK. You just never do know about that age. We will have something to give and that is good.

And the party will be awesome, because she is, and she planned it.  :)


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Renting, Contentment and Brass Hardware

We rented for about 7 years before we moved into this "new" rental in town, following 7 years of home-ownership. (We sold right before the big housing crash.) It was never our plan to rent, but then we found that farm, and fell in love. I prided myself in my contentment even though we didn't own and I couldn't change and paint and be as creative decorating as maybe I would have liked.

Meanwhile I enjoyed waving fields of corn, long walks down the driveway and views out every single brand new Anderson window.  The carpet was also brand new, as well as everything else in that house, save the charming old woodwork.

The winter was another story, but I was cozy and warm,  and I loved seeing the wind drift and dapple the snow in waves. The country was second best, coming from a childhood of growing up on a lake.

Yes, I was spiritual all right, "suffering" in my rental home and learning through the lack of a mortgage tying us down, that "this world is not my home."

Then we moved to town and I found out I had not really learned that lesson in contentment.

This house has acoustical ceiling tile in the bathroom, painted over wallpaper paste, and dark low pile Berber in two bedrooms. Oh yes, and peeling kitchen cabinets with brass hardware. Did I tell you Mitchell shares a room with my office? He's glad to have the computer so close, but the poor kid (ahem, teen) has no privacy as his room opens directly to the living room, and kitchen.

It's cozy and the utilities are cheap, the kitchen is massive and the garage is so heavily insulted it stayed a balmy 20* inside even when the temperatures dropped to a wind chill of -40*, but it has definite quirks.

And they irk me.

We have goals that we are making progress toward, but I'm ready to be in a house with quirks that I can do something about!

Yesterday my issue of Martha Stewart Living came and was a bit astonished to see this page spread on brass.

My kitchen with brass hardware (and cute little girl in tutu.)

I know it's not the same, and I can't paint my cabinets grey or replace my woodgrain laminate with white silestone, but my hardware is on trend! 

We are where we need to be, and if I can't be content with all the little annoyances of a house-not-my-own, at least I can be content with that. 

And with my brass kitchen hardware.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11-12 

Monday, December 30, 2013

{So}Sartina Peppermint Lip Bliss Balm and my as-good-as Burt's BeesRecipe

True confession time: I have an addiction to Burt's Bees lip balm. Who doesn't, right? It's minty goodness soothes the chappest of dry Minnesota lips. And dry Minnesota lips are, unfortunately, easy to come by around here.

Last year I ran across a recipe for a Burt's Bees copycat lip balm on Pinterest, and I was soon ordering lip balm tubes on Amazon and gathering the ingredients to make my own lip bliss. That first recipe was ok, but it disappointed in texture and stay-ability. Other recipes included many more ingredients which was not cost effective to me. I wanted a simple, natural recipe.

After a little playing around with ingredients and amounts, I am finally satisfied! My {So}Peppermint Lip Bliss Balm (available for sale in my Etsy shop) has the perfect amount of spicy, tingly mint and great weather protection stay-ability.

{So}Sartina Peppermint Lip Bliss Balm and my as-good-as Burt's Bees Recipe:

2 oz. beeswax
3 oz. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. pure lanolin
1 tsp. vitamin E oil
25-35 drops of peppermint oil
25 empty lip balm tubes

  1. Melt beeswax in saucepan on low.
  2. Add coconut oil, lanolin, vitamin E oil and melt.
  3. Add peppermint. 
  4. Carefully fill tubes. Reheat as necessary to keep mixture liquid.
  5. Cool.
  6. Cap.
  7. Enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Roundabouts and Riches

They say life is a journey but in certain areas sometimes I feel like we're stuck on a roundabout. Around and around we go, seeing the same exits, the same road marks, and knowing the way, but never getting off. Maybe this time around, we'll get off, but around we go again.

We are trying to be honest with ourselves about where we are and what our goals are and sticking to them, but it's hard. 

You know that because you've been there too. 

We're grown ups, but if we're honest, there are parts of us that don't want to be and we whine like our own kids: why is life so difficult? We're bookends to 40, after all. Shouldn't we have this figured out by now?

But no. We don't. And if we think we do, we are lying. Sorry, but there it is. There's only One who really knows and has it all figured out, and we trust Him and seek Him and try to take the next step .

Follow His steps.

But gosh darn. It's hard.

It's so much easier to pretend and not look at the budget or whatever that THING is that is hard at the moment, but it is necessary and God's got it anyhow.

And then two days after my friends prayed for my tears and the day after I created this lovely printable wall art to remind myself truth,  He showed us up.

He does that, you know. He shows up and He shows off.

He's got your back, and He goes before you and though it may seem He runs late, He is with you. You can trust Him. 

Life IS a journey - a beautiful one - so let's not get stuck on the roundabouts. Let's get out on the open road and enjoy the scenery of a God at work! 


The above art is for sale as a download in my etsy shop. The purchased version will be watermark free, of course. :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Birthday Bunting

I've never been so happy to have saved a few scraps from the big crafting purge of our move. These are scraps of men's dress shirts already hacked up to make aprons. The sleeves and backs were the bits left. Who saves stuff like that? Uhhh. Me. 

 I am just beside myself that they happen to MATCH my kitchen! 

AND matching yarn!! Too much accidental coordination, I tell you. It's too good! I can't stand it!

I probably should have ironed them, and the edges are rough, so it's not perfect, but neither is this house, and neither are we. My favorite home decor blog's tag line is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." Good enough is sometimes best, and necessity sometimes spurs the best creativity. 

The birthday girl wanted paper streamers and balloons, and I was feeling the pressure to buy more than we could or else disappoint. It turns out I already had just what I needed.

We all like this much better anyway.

Don't you?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

On a Whim. Leather Inspiration for {So}Sartina on Etsy

A little more than three years ago, I turned my hobbies into a business and opened up an etsy shop. I figured if my husband could own his own business, so could I. Not that we are competitive by any means, but I wasn't gonna let him have all the fun! I would love to say that it was begun with research and web stats and current trends in mind, but this is mostly how things work with me:

 My creative projects are often born of the random availability of supplies and whim.

  Oh look! There on the rack! Pennies for leather. I wonder what I can make? Hmmmm. 

Digs out phone from purse, touches the screen for the Pinterest app and quickly types "Leather DIY." The screen fills with images.

Ohhhh, that's so cool. I can totally make that. It's a good thing I have an etsy shop, because I know what I'm going to be busy making the next few days. I wonder if there is more leather here on the rack....

Rummages quickly through two whole rows of jackets, blazers and suits.

Nice! Pink, red, brown, bone, cream, green. I wish there was teal here somewhere. Oh well, I think these will work. 

Yep, that's pretty much how my brain works! Creativity cannot be conjured. For me, at least, inspiration comes unexpectedly and rarely on time. (BEFORE cyber Monday {the internet version of Black Friday} would have been nice.) But came it did in the form of a trip to Goodwill, and that's all it took for me to design a whole new line of jewelry, and the inspiration to redesign my business card and header.

I am slowly filling my shop with new things, so go check it out! Even if the black and cyber days have passed, there is still time to order for Christmas!

While you check it out, I'm off to battle snow caked roads for my weekly trek to tag sale Tuesday. Let's hope I find more leather!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Moving, Winter, and the Sounds of Change

Last night I finally found the box of mittens and scarves and hats and, this morning, in the rush to push the kids out the door, down the crunchy snowy sidewalk and onto the bus, we unknotted scarves from previous play and sorted mittens. I supposed it was about time this chore got done since the cold weather came LAST week and the snow is finally being bob-catted from the berm in the middle of every town street. So, I was a little late. No frostbite was seen or felt, however, and we were none the worse for wear.

On August 1st we moved to Waconia. Back to my hometown, the land of The Lake, and cute little downtown shops and Catholic church bells ringing and Target. We left wide open spaces, cows moooing, a spacious farmhouse that I had finally gotten organized and decorated the way I wanted, our "En-Gedi", unplowed roads in winter and high utility bills.

Old Town Hall 

I think God himself led us to live here, (a block from a movie theater, my favorite coffee shop, the bubble tea shop, chocolate outlet, consignment shop and new church campus) though sometimes my dear husband balks at the presumption of such claims. We moved because it made sense financially. But I believe that when we "trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on [just] our own understanding, He will make straight our paths."

We have hearts that more than anything want to do what He wants, so I think he leads even when we think we are being logical. Even with all our logical decision making, only God could have known the dominoes that would fall when we moved. One by one, each decision led to another, and the resulting feeling that this season is divine gift.

The other evening, as the snow fell softly and turned the night white, I lay cozy in bed, but missed the farm and the howling and shuddering wind that came with storms. It's quiet here in town, at least the weather is. The intermittent tractor sounds carrying across the open expanse have been replaced by the clatter of garbage trucks and snowplows, delivery trucks and postal traffic. As I thought about how I missed the isolated sounds of the gales galloping unhindered across 200 acres of bare open fields, the windows began to shudder here in my town home. Evidently some sounds never change.

Comforted, I fell right to sleep.


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