Tag: diy

the one with diy laundry detergent

In an effort to be more green, cut down on chemicals, save money, etc . . . and the fact that we finally have a place with our very own washer and dryer . . . I decided in 2013 to make our own laundry detergent. Recipes for these are not hard to find it’s just deciding which one you want to use. I chose to go with Liz Marie, for a few reasons – 1. I like how she gives a 1 year review so I know what to expect. 2. She talks about how to prevent the hardening. 3. Most importantly, my hubbers is obsessed with oxyclean, and I wanted there to be a stain fighter in my recipe.


Here’s what you’ll need . . .

1. One four pound twelve ounce box of Borax. You can use 2 smaller boxes.
2. Three bars of Fels-Naptha soap. You can use any soap of your choice.
3. one four pound box of arm & hammer baking soda.
4. one box of arm & hammer super washing soda
5. four pounds of Oxy Clean
6. Laundry softener cyrstals for scent.

and here’s the how to . . .

1. Grate the fels-naptha bars into a bowl
2. dump fels-naptha into a large container
3. Mix all other ingredients into the bucket & shake it all up together.
4. Place into container of your choice

You can find this all at your local grocery store or . . . I did go to a super target and couldn’t find some of it (like the bars of soap), but every other grocery store I frequent has it all (walmart,kroger,marsh).

I have a 64oz rubbermaid container from target to keep what we’re not using in. With the lid snapping shut it will prevent the hardening, and it’s really convenient to store in a cabinet with the rest of my cleaning supplies. It was also really easy to just dump everything in and then let my husband mix it all up (so he could touch the oxyclean, boys are weird).

The cute little 1 gallon glass container that I keep on top of the dryer along with the homemade fabric softener is refilled about 4 months from that rubbermaid. It’s very easy, convenient, and neat. My favorite 3 words.

This cost me (with the containers) about $25 and usually lasts me over a year. Every recipe I found says it lasted them a year, and I only have 2 people so our first bath made in late 2013 lasted us until the beginning of 2015. We’ve got about 4 or 5 months left of that round. $25 = 1+ year of laundry, that’s

the one with a pottery barn wannabe

I used to post my goals on the blog, and they definitely kept me accountable – coming back here and saying I hadn’t accomplished them was not cool so I worked my hardest to not. Those posts didn’t stop because of that – they just don’t fit much around here anymore – but last week I got a welcome reminder of what those days were like. I posted all about my newest tablescape to hide our table that we needed to refinish last week, and guess what!? I got the motivation to finish it.


The table was a steal at $50 from an online garage sale. It’s in good, solid condition with no problems AND it holds 8 people. We have a big family so fitting 8 people around a table sounded amazing especially for $50. But I didn’t like the stain on the table top and it did show some wear. Here’s the before . . .


The spindle legs reminded me of something pottery barn would make, and since the table is in such great condition I wanted to do this the right way and make it something that would come out of those glorious pottery barn catalogues. That was a daunting task, even for someone who loves DIY, so the table sat for a year. We did move 1000 miles away from home unexpectedly and on a month’s notice during that time, but still this could have been done a long time ago.

The most daunting part of refinishing the table was getting that varnish and stain off the top. So I took it a little at a time using Citri strip to get it all started. This paint/varnish stripper is genius. you spread it evenly and thickly over your area, leave it for 30 minutes, then sand it off. It was sticky and got really clumpy so the sanding took awhile, then I washed it off, then I sanded it again. Once it was all off and not sticky anymore I sanded the whole table down some more. If you don’t have an electric sander, I’d definitely recommend buying one if you have a project this big. Amazon has several for around $20 and just the help you’ll get to your hands is worth that.


One it was all sanded and cleaned again, it was time for paint. This table is going to be heavily used so I put one coat of Rustoleum flat black ultra cover for industrial use. I know it sounds like a bit much, and this stuff stank. But once it was on it’s so worth it. The application was smooth, and I could tell it’s gripping to the wood the way it’s supposed to so it won’t show wear and tear easily. To get that pottery barn affect, once it was completely dry I took my sand paper – 120 grit- and gently went over the entire top. Some spots came off easier than others, and some spots nothing happened – distressed. On the curved edges, I purposefully pressed harder with the sand paper I spots so the wood would show through. I put 2 coats of flat polyurethane on top for some more protection, and then let everything dry completely.


It’s been two weeks since the table has officially been done, and I have to tell you I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I’ve been sitting here everyday working instead of at my desk or on the couch, and we even . . . wait for it . . . we even sit at the table and eat dinner sometimes now.  I guess I’ll be putting more things that need to get done up on the blog.


the one with DIY sugar skull

Roaming the dollar tree – specifically the dollar tree where everything is actually a $1 – for holiday decorations is possibly my favorite thing about the holidays. That’s a vast exaggeration, but I do really enjoy it. The dollar tree always surprises me with their selection of super cute décor, and since everything is just $1 it’s easy on the wallet. That’s where I discovered these super cute plastic skulls, and I just had to pick up two of them. But they needed just a little something . . . something special . . . so I grabbed some paint around the house and created some DIY sugar skulls.



  • something in the shape of a skull for the base
  • assorted acrylic paints – white, black, and bright colors
  • brushes, q-tips, sponges to paint with


The how to:
Well, it’s really easy. You pick out your colors, and your design and you paint it. HA! I would recommend a color scheme . . . I chose teal, purple, gold, and red! If you’ve never painted a sugar skull before – like me – then I’d recommend keeping things simple. I chose to do a little design around the eyes, forehead, cheeks, and chin. If you really want to dress it up, add a flower to the top of the head! Husband says it’s too much so I chose to lay off 🙂

Do you have any DIY Halloween decorations going on this year?

the one with a witches hat Halloween wreath

I know a lot of you have already started decorating for fall, but at the Stark house we don’t decorate until the end of September. Fall, schmall as I say . . . Halloween is much more important. I’ve got a pretty good collection started of things to put out every year, but I like to make something new (maybe even buy a few new things) every year. This year I wanted something new for the door, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. So I found an old witch’s hat in the closet and made a Halloween wreath out of it.


Here’s what you’ll need . . .

an old witches hat – I found mine at the dollar tree a few years ago

some newspaper for stuffing

some ribbon – or a bow

other odds and end decorations to add like flowers, twigs, pumpkins, a happy Halloween sign

glue gun with glue



and here’s the how to . . .

Begin by, stuffing the newspaper into the witches hat so it stays in an upright position. Then pull the tip down to the brim – I pulled it over to the side to give it a little character – and hot glue it in place.


Then just simply add your decorations! This is the fun part where you get to let your imagination carry you away! I had some gold ribbon leftover to make a big bow for my witch; then I added some fall colored florals that I picked up at the dollar tree. All set!

Do you have any new Halloween decorations out?



the one with a DIY ‘beaded’ leather bracelet

We all know that changing your accessories can take an outfit from casual to fancy . . . daytime to nighttime . . . boring to fun . . . frumpy to fab. But accessories can also break the budget. So today I’ve got a quick and easy tutorial on making some jewelry yourself. Head on over to My Crafty spot for the full run down, but here’s a sneak peak.


All you need is craft leather, puff paint, scissors, half an hour, and a marker to make this diy ‘beaded’ leather bracelet yours! I’ve worn it as a headband as well as bracelet and let me tell ya . . . I love it more every time I wear it. I’m thinking of trying it out as a choker since those are making a comeback. You can’t beat custom jewelry for $5 that’s versatile. Don’t forget to head over to my crafty spot for the tutorial.

Today is the day that the influence conference officially starts! If you are there PLEASE come find me, I want to meet as many ladies as possible. If you’re not you should really think about joining this amazing group of ladies!

Somehow I still found the time to come up with 5 links and loves for you tomorrow so be sure to come back to check those out! If you need me I’ll get back to you on Monday afternoon once I’m back in sunny and still blistering hot and wet Florida (not complaining because no snow). Have a great weekend friends!



the one with 3 gallery walls

I was asked a few weeks ago what the hardest part about moving across the country and adjusting to a new city has been. Obviously, it’s not seeing my friends and family. We’ve found ways to communicate with our favorite people, added plane tickets to our budget, and have started making friends down here so it’s getting easier every day. But I realized that besides that, it’s been pretty easy. I’m a Midwestern girl, always will be, but I absolutely will not miss the snow come January. And I’m quite excited to add Palm Trees to my Christmas decor.

But there is something that bugs me a little, something I miss. I miss my house. Being in a rental right now while we get to know the city was a difficult transition for me. I miss being able to do as I please, and as much as the responsibilities can be overwhelming, I’d really like to have the control to move the smoke detector out of the way of the stove or buy a better fridge. But until that time comes for us again, I’m making this rental as much our as I can.

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We have fewer walls than our house in Indiana, but I wanted as many of our things surrounding us as possible. So to cope I did the obvious . . . gallery walls for everyone! you get a gallery wall, you get a gallery wall, you get a gallery wall! Just like Oprah.

I didn’t want it to be ridiculous so we’ve got 3 gallery walls going on, all in different rooms, and all very different gallery walls. So today I thought I would share them and some thoughts on how I put them together.


1. Split down the middle. . . Exact copies on each side. simple. and perfect to flank the tv in a living room.

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2. corner it up. . . our bedroom has a weird layout so the tv ( i love to watch tv in bed) has to go in a corner. to bring it all together I made a small gallery wall using both of the walls. I simple chose to keep everything above the tv, and at the same height.


3. elclectic. . . this one is just a fun mix of all my favorite things. I just created a rectangle on the wall and put it all inside that rectangle. keeping things symetrical is the key.

What are your favorite types of gallery walls?

the one with a DIY hair mask

When Nina was visiting in June, we had to have a spa night. It’s a girls vacation tradition, right?! So that’s what we did! Both of us had some issues with our hair that needed correcting so we went to Pinterest to find DIY hair masks. I chose one for build up and she chose one for deep conditioning.

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Ahhhh, my hair. My love/hate relationship with my hair. It’s thick, it’s fine, and it’s sometimes a little too healthy. But then I moved to Florida and learned about build up. There are lots of things that can all cause build up to gather on your hair.. . . hard water minerals, shampoos, conditioning masks, hair styling products and the environment. Build up while gross also reeks havoc on your hair making it dry, brittle, unmanageable, static-y, curl resistant, dull, heavy and lots more. My hair is already heavy, unmanageable, and curl resistant so I don’t need build up adding to it. Thankfully, Maskara came through and gave me a lovely hair mask with things I already had in the kitchen to fix it up.

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1/3 Cup Baking soda
4 T Water


Mix together until it’s a paste. Then (starting with the ends) massage into your *hair.
Leave it for 10-15 minutes then wash as usual.
* For recently color treated hair always try a test piece first! *

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end result? It worked wonderfully! The build up in my hair from tons of sand, salt, hair products, and no washing was washed right out. My hair was left clean and silky smooth . . . back to that feeling of almost too healthy. Be sure to head over to Nina‘s blog to see how our mask for deep conditioning worked out.

Have you ever tried a diy hair mask? How’d it work out?

the one with diy washi tape cards

Now that I live a few hundred miles away from all my family and most of my friends, snail mail has become much more important in life. Ever since church camp at age 12, snail mail has been one of my favorite things. But now it’s much closer to the top of the list.

Just like most aspects of my life, I need the snail mail I send to be original and sentimental. Insert diy washi tape cards.

All you need is some washi tape (mine is from the dollar tree!), blank cards (mine are from Michael’s), scissors, a few markers/pens, and your imagination ( or pinterest to gather some ideas).


On this round I needed 4 cards . .  a thank you card, a wedding card, a birthday card, and a card for a baby shower. So I decided to keep things simple for 3 and get a little crazy for the last one. Ok, not really . . .



Thank you card – pretty simple, but just in case. I measured out some washi tape the length and height of the card. Then I placed it along the bottom and left hand edges. A simple ‘thanks’ later, and we’re done!

Wedding card – I cut a 4″ piece, 3″ piece, and 2″ piece of washi tape; then arranged them in order of a wedding cake with a cake stand and a cake topper.

happy birthday – do I need to tell you!?

shower – I love the theme of umbrella’s for baby showers. I don’t know why, but I do. This umbrella is 3 pieces of washi tape with rounded corners, bunched up together, and the bottom piece with a little wave on the bottom.

What ideas do you have for diy washi tape cards?


the one with a diy lampshade

Sometimes I do little projects around the house, and I think to myself  “this is much too easy to put on the blog.”

Sometimes I do little projects around the house, and I think to myself  “this is too cute not to put on the blog.”

Today you get a project where I thought both of these, and I’m putting it on the blog for your enjoyment. It’s a quick and easy update for a diy lampshade .


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It’s so ridiculously easy that I thought about not even telling you how I did it. But that would defeat the purpose, so here’s a quick rundown.

Supplies –

hot glue gun with glue


chiffon flowers

similar lamp


Decide what pattern you’d like your flowers to go on before you start attaching them. Very important part – please don’t forget that part. Then just put a spot of glue on the back of each flower and push it down onto the lampshade. I find 3 squirts and then a little circular motion so it covers the entire center works very well with these flowers.

I’ve used these flowers with many different projects. They’re beautiful and durable. The shop I linked above has many different styles and her turn around time is solid. She’s taking a bit of a break so try this one in the mean time.


This diy lampshade is in my office, which has become my new favorite room in the house. We’ve had the same decorations in the past 3 houses, and I’m just ready for a change. But we’re in between right now while we get to know our new area. It seems ridiculous to start making changes, but the office is all new to me. It’s my place to learn my new style and get a few changes going. My diy lampshade is the perfect addition.

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Do you have any quick and easy projects going on that are too cute not to share?

the one with diy lavender foot soak

Spring time is officially here. Some of you unfortunately can’t tell by the weather, but it is true – I promise. So it’s time to get our skin ready for sun, and our feet ready for sandals. My favorite way is this DIY lavender foot soak.


Epsom salt is fantastic for relieving aches as well as detoxifying the body. The active ingredients in epsom salt are magnesium and sulfur, which absorb through your skin when you soak. This healing salt is responsible for reducing inflammation, soothing itchy skin, relieving sore muscles and stiff joints, lowering stress, exfoliating skin and eliminating toxins from the body. Lavender is incredibly relaxing for the body and therapeutic-grade oils can be used for skin abrasions, cuts, wounds, etc.

Mix those benefits up with some coconut oil and a pumice stone afterward and you’ve got yourself smooth heels and a relaxed body.

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Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Course sea salt
  • lavender essential oil
  • Dried Lavender Flowers (optional)
  • Epsom salts
  • 16 oz jar with lid

how-to: Fill your mason jar with Epsom salt 1/4th of the way up, then sprinkle a bit of course sea salt on top of the Epsom salt, it doesn’t have to be exact. Next, drop 3-5 drops of lavender oil on top of the salts, close lid and shake.

Repeat this process until you get to the top of the jar. When its full, secure it with a lid and make it pretty with ribbons or labels if that makes your heart sing and you’re golden.


Directions for a bath soak: Fill a bathtub with warm to hot water, pour entire contents of a 16 oz. mason jar/2 cups in the bath, let it dissolve, then soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. Drink 1 full glass of water during the soak to aid in detoxification.

Directions for a foot soak: Fill a foot tub or pan big enough to soak your feet with warm to hot water. Pour a half pint/1 cup of your soak ingredients in the water. Soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. Drink 1 full glass of water during or after the soak to aid in detoxification.

How do you prepare for the spring?