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Hello Fellow Bloggers & Followers!

I have TOTALLY slacked off on blogging.  I’m sorry to have left those of you loyal followers.  Thank you always for your support!  I was temporarily away, but I am back!  Why you may ask I was M.I.A?  To put it bluntly, life happens.  No I did not have any kids, nor did I get married, unfortunately.  This summer flew by and I could not keep up.  Now that the weather is getting cooler and the holiday season is right around the corner, this makes the perfect time to  sit down and catch up on my passion of blogging and sharing my life with YOU.  So grab a blanket, a cup of hot cocoa or coffee and here we go!  Ready … Set … BLOG!

Summer has swept me away from my regular blogging.  I definitely need to do better.  Thank you to all of you that continue to follow me.  Here is one of my newest projects which I am excited to share!  I recently have become obsessed with finding furniture at Goodwill to be refurbished for use.  It all started with this chair.

desk_chair

I found this chair at the Goodwill in Ballantyne.  I saw potential in what it can be turned into and purchased it for $10.  After posting this picture on Facebook, numerous people mentioned not to refinish the chair, as it would be devaluing the true cost of the chair.  I google searched the chair and found that this type chair sells for at least $200 brand new!  Surprise, surprise!  I’m not willing to sell this chair as I love the style.  I also do not purchase antiques, as I have a small home and purchase furniture based on usability.  I decided to not refinish the chair until I found a desk it can be used with.

Well!  About 2-3 weeks later, I found this gem.

desk_original_1 desk_original_2

This secretary desk is not authentic and is made of heat pressed wood, but is very sturdy.  It needs some work done before it is useable, however, it is the perfect size for my small master sitting room.  I love these types of desks!  I have decided to paint the desk white, being the wood veneer is damaged in numerous places.  Also to avoid the desk appearing large in a small room, I have decided to paint it white.  To do this, I decided to remove the wood veneer prior to painting.  I could have taken the easy way out and painted over it, but I figured I should do it the appropriate way.  Not to mention some of the veneer was severely damaged and I was able to sand everything evenly.

I removed majority of the veneer yesterday.  Here are pictures of what it currently looks like.

desk_refurbished_1 desk_reburbished_2

I have not decided if I am going to paint the inside of the desk, as it would be very difficult to paint around the small cube holes.  Not even my small hands will fit.  I am definitely going to sand down the desktop area and paint it.  I thought about painting the desktop a light teal as a refreshing color for the inside of the desk, plus I am in love with teal and mint green.  But we will see!

Being that it was so much work to sand the entire desk down, I am done working on this project for the weekend.  I am hoping to finish sanding the desktop by next weekend and paint it the following weekend.

Once I have completed the desk, I will post an update.  The next project will be the desk chair!  I will be working on sanding down the chair and painting it white to match the chair.  I will also be adding a white and gold cushion to the center of the chair to add some glamor to my desk area.  I am so excited to work on these projects and hoping to have them done before my birthday, in September.

Stay tuned for an update!

Hello Fellow Bloggers!

Again feeding into my recent love for DIY, I took Whimseybox‘s motto,”stop pinning and start making!”  This week I made these super cute hand stamped coat hangers.  This a very easy and quick DIY project.

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Materials:

  • Wooden Coat Hangers
  • Small Letter Stamps
  • Permanent Ink Pad

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I purchased the hangers from Ikea.  They are called the Bumerang Curved Clothes Hangers and are $4 for a pack of 8.

I purchased the letter stamps, both upper and lower case sets, and the permanent ink pad from Hobby Lobby.  The ink pad MUST BE permanent ink to keep the ink from rubbing off on clothing.  These items were not super expensive and, lucky me, Hobby Lobby happen to have a sale on stamps.  If stamps are not on sale, remember you can use Hobby Lobby’s app or print a coupon for their web page to get the one most expensive item at a discounted rate.  I’m sure that these stamps will be useful in future DIY projects.  So consider it an investment!

You can opt to purchase a stamp set which you can pre-align the letters in a holster before stamping.  However, I like the appearance of the uneven spaced, individual crooked letters.  It perfects the handmade look.

Before getting started on stamping your hangers, I would advise practice stamping on a piece of paper first.  This way you can get idea of how to align the letters individually. This way the letters are not too far apart or touching.  Plus it gives you a chance to write out what you want your hangers to say.  I did my test trial in my sketchbook.  Check it out!

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Once you feel comfortable with stamping the letters, nothing like the present to get started!  Don’t worry if you mess up!  They are supposed to be imperfect.  The ink dries very quickly, but I gave them 24 hours before touching them to be on the safe side.

Instead of keeping these for my own coat closet, I decided to ship them off to a friends who recently bought her first house.  These are going to be a great house warming gift!

Happy New Year Fellow Bloggers!  I am only four months behind on saying that!  Sorry guys and gals, this little woman has been busy!  My goal, starting now, is to do a post once a weekend.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@thatgirl_leah) know that my newest craze are Do It Yourself craft kits.  I have always been a fan of DIY.  Within in the past month, I have seen advertisements on Facebook for a product called Darby Smart.  Out of curiosity, I googled it (like I do everything).

“Darby Smart is a do-it-yourself crafting startup working with top Pinterest designers of DIY accessories, fashion and home items to Kit, market and sell their projects to consumers, complete with all materials and instructions needed to complete the project.”

In other words, it is a do-it-yourself craft project in a box!  You can opt to buy craft supplies individually, do-it-yourself projects (which include all the materials and instructions) or sign up for their monthly subscription (which is a new DIY project sent to you each month).  This truly intrigued me!  It does not cost any money to sign up and you are given a $10 off your first purchase when you become a member.

FREE MONEY!  Of course, I decided to purchase one of the DIY projects!  They have numerous projects at different price ranges.  Check them out!

I purchased the Lace Earrings Kit.  It came in a super cute teal box with chevron on the sides.  (Did I mention I’m crazy about chevron?!)

darby2I’m not sure that “Internet Rehab Inside,” is the best phrase for this box, especially since I have become quite the avid internet shopper.

Here are the supplies which were provided to make the earrings.

darby1The instructions were located on the back of the card.  They were basic and I was able to use my own creativity to create my earrings.  The kit made three sets of earrings.  Here is the finished product!

darby3I have to say that every time I wear a pair of these earrings, I always get a lot of compliments.

Darby Smart provides more than enough for you push your creativity.  I had a lot of beads remaining, so I went to the craft store and picked up more supplies to make more of these earrings.  Stay tuned for a follow up!

Good Evening Fellow Bloggers,

It’s been a while, too long!  Summer has taken me away from behind the computer, but fall is right around the corner.  This summer flew by!  Can someone please press pause and preserve these last final summer days?  This summer has been an unusual one for Charlotte, NC with lots of rain.  On the rainy days, I have reconnected with my creativity and designer mind.  This is what I have created.

These are a gift for my best friend from college that now lives in Arizona.

Before

henna_inspired_shoes_before

After

henna_inspired_shoes_after_02

henna_inspired_shoes_after_01I purchased the shoes from Khol’s.  The shoes are designed much like TOMS.  They are a basic red canvas shoe.  Khol’s also sells these shoes in black, gray and gold.  My best friend requested red shoes.  (Life is better in bold colors.)  I used gold Tulip Metallic Fabric paint, that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, to apply the design to the shoes.

My most recent fascination has been with henna designs.  I love the delicate and detailed patterns.  I studied many henna YouTube videos and sketched numerous henna designs in my sketchbook.  I was amazed at the peacock design and focused on this for the shoes.

After much studies, I was ready to apply the design to the shoes!  I used an acrylic pencil to lightly draw the design on each shoe.  With a steady hand, I used the squeeze bottle of fabric paint to bold the design on each shoe.  And ta-da!  I have created some custom henna inspired shoes.

I have posted these pictures on my Instagram and Facebook page and have received a lot of positive feedback from family, friends and colleagues.  Everyone has encouraged me to create more of these shoes and sell them on Etsy.  I am currently doing some more research into this possibility.  Who knows!  Never say never!  You may see my work for sale soon on Etsy!  Stay tuned!

In a hurry to complete this project and have my best friend debut my henna inspired shoes in Arizona, this was my quick signature mark for my first project.

Be on the look out for a new logo design!

henna_inspired_shoes_after_03Side Note: This is a mile marker for me as a designer!  This is my first wearable design and I am excited to have my best friend debut it.  Thank you, Monica!  You have always encouraged and supported me in all my crazy designs and thoughts!  You are the best!

I recently had lunch at the Big View Diner and saw an order of Shrimp & Grits.  I have been craving it ever since that lunch date!  I headed over to my favorite place to pick up recipes, aka Pinterest.  My goal was to find a savory, but easy recipe for Shrimp & Grits.  After much searching and review of other recipes, I found this one.  I have never made Shrimp & Grits, but this recipe was very easy and delicious.  A great recipe to satisfy my southern dish craving.

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Shrimp & Grits

Ingredients:

(for shrimp)

  • 5 slices hickory smoked bacon, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. peeled & deveined FRESH shrimp
  • salt & pepper, to taste

(for grits)

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups grits (not quick cooking!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated real Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking grits.  Bring chicken broth to rolling boil in large pot.  Whisk in grits, salt and pepper, cover and reduce heat to medium (medium-low) and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the grits are cooking, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute bacon and onions together until bacon starts to crisp and onions have browned, 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, shrimp, salt and pepper.  Stir another 3 minutes until shrimp are bright pink and thoroughly cooked.  Remove from heat.
  3. Finish grits by melting in butter and cheeses.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Spoon grits into bowl and top with shrimp mixture.  Top with parsley.  Serve immediately.

 

It is with great sorrow that my family and I made the decision, today, to put our family golden retriever, Sunny, to sleep.  Within the last few weeks, Sunny was unable to walk.  The veterinarian found that she was severely anemic and possibly had neurological damage from suffering from a stroke.  My family and I knew we only had a matter of weeks or days with her and did our best to keep her comfortable.  While my family was vacationing at the beach and I was dog-sitting, Sunny became very ill and stopped eating.  We felt that this was a sign from her that it was her time to leave us and that she was possibly suffering more and more each day.  She was 12 years old.

The trio of buddies, Sunny, Mr. Yo and Miss. Kirby, now rest together in the heavens above.  All of whom we miss so very much.

This loss of a family pet was the most difficult for me.  Leaving Sunny at the vet clinic and returning home alone was the most daunting thing I have ever had to do alone.  I cried all day and periodically still shed tears of sorrow.  I know each day it will get easier, but today was by far the most difficult.

I want to thank the friends and family that shared their kind and caring words with me to grant me strength through this rough time.

Sunny will always will be in our hearts.

RIP_Sunny

“It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.  If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dong, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

“Dog is God spelled backwards, they are only on loan to us for a short time.”