Retro Party Cart

DIY Retro rolling cart

Have you noticed all the rolling serving carts coming back into the home decor? Everything from vintage to retro to ultra modern.  I had been wishing for one all year, but not because I am the party house central. I just luv how versatile they are…extra serving area, outdoor dining cart, mobile craft supplies, landing space by the front door for keys and coins, the list could go on!  My wish list for a rolling cart was clean lines – meaning somewhat modern- and a pop of color.

This was a pretty easy and inexpensive retro DIY re-purposed cart. First, the absolutely hideous rolling cart was a steal at an estate sale. I stopped by towards the end of the day and by the time I walked through the house, it was marked FREE! In case you’re wondering about my “hideous” original cart here it is in all its super fake wood glory..

DIY Retro wood grain rolling cart

Since this is a laminate cart I used a primer white spray paint (and taped off the wheels) then used Bauhaus Gold spray paint for the top coat. It did take about 5-6 coats to even out all the color and cover every inch.  I chose not to add any design to the cart trays to keep it as versatile as possible.

Here is the DIY Retro Rolling Cart after the final top coat.

DIY painted retro rolling cart

Here’s a few other re-purposed serving carts ideas using easy to find cast -offs like baby changing tables, bookcases, wood pallets etc.

Enjoy your time bringing a rolling serving cart to life!

Serving cart...
maybe with my crates?




Shop it! Small Businesses and Indie Craft Shows

Shop Small businesses

Yes, it’s the crazy holiday season and the start of serious shopping for some.  This season (and as much as possible during the year) get to know your small businesses locally, take a field trip to an Indie arts & craft shows or even browse online.  This Saturday, Nov. 24 is “Shop Small” day and many small business are putting out some great offers! Even if you don’t shop on Saturday, any day is great to connect with a small business in your community or with a adventurous business owner who can offer one of a kind finds!

Small business owners always have a great story to tell so go ahead and ask about that great item you’re eyeing or how they decided to start their biz! It’ll make your shopping fun and enjoyable plus you’ll have a story to tell about your shopping adventure!

Here’s how I’m planning to spend a bit of spare time this weekend with a few small business  – not sure I’ll make it to them all:

Enjoy your time and would luv to hear about your favorite small biz!


Noteboard in a Cabinet

DIY cabinet note board


Always looking to squeeze in something functional, especially something that I can hide away when I need to, this DIY cabinet note board is part chalkboard, part magnet board and part cork board.  All these options should help keep track of those small reminders and I just close the cabinet door to make it look tidy! So how to do it?

This is a great project to either re-purpose one of those tortured looking cookie sheets you have stashed away or an easy find at a thrift store/estate sale.  I started with this cookie sheet and used regular tin snips (this may be the one tool I can’t live without!) to cut it down to the exact opening on the inside of my cabinet door.

old cookie sheet

Next was a couple of coats of chalkboard spray paint.  I also had purchased several 12 x 12″ cork tiles from the local hobby store which I cut down to fit at the bottom of my note board. To hang the note board, I used my other can’t live without DIY item, the 3M Velcro Command Strips (no, I have not been paid in any way to mention this product)  Both the tin magnet/chalk board and the cork tile were hung on the cabinet door with the Velcro Command Strips for easy removal if i ever need it.  As a side note, I have tried some of the chalk pens, but haven’t found any so far that do not leave a ghost outline if you leave the writing on for a couple days. So I recommend good old fashioned sticks of chalk.

The second part of this project was creating the DIY push pins.  These fabulous little gems are made using the  last remaining earring from a pair.  These special ones were found at a flea market. I cut off the post with wire cutters and glued on silver thumb tacks.  You can try using the existing earring posts as thumb tacks however, I found they weren’t sharp enough to use easily.

Great as a gift too, if you can find fabulous earrings to create the unique DIY pushpins!

earring push pins


Enjoy your time creating a little more functional space!


DIY Bleach Pen Design

bleach pen napkins

I am now wowed by bleach pen design!  This is my first experiment and I luv it.  Super easy, great with different fabrics and designs.  This type of DIY project is one of my favorite revivals.  I found these great sunny yellow (although the photo doesn’t show it well) napkins freshly pressed at an estate sale. They have a linen look but are actually a polyblend of some sort.  estate sale napkin

Finding the bleach pens was actually the biggest challenge since not a single store in my neighborhood sells them.  I did find them on Amazon for a great price.  The next super easy step is to draw your design with the bleach pen. I did two at a time with aluminum foil under the napkin to avoid the bleach soaking through.  Since these are a polyblend I let it sit for about 30-60min.  Rinse with cold water and wash with white fabrics the first time.  Here’s my bleach pen design…

bleach pen


What else can you do with bleach pen designs?  Here’s a few great examples and I’m sure a shirt, pillow sham and possible a table runner is on my list!

Enjoy your time making a bleach pen design!


Lazy Hummingbird Cafe and Vintage Windows

Lazy Hummingbird Cafe Ocean Beach San Diego


In terms of spending my spare time, nothing beats a great cafe with the Mr.! So what’s better than good coffee and treats? A cafe with an ultra casual style, re-purposed deco and eco-friendly approach.  The Lazy Hummingbird Cafe in Ocean Beach, San Diego was the pit stop.  I can only say the chocolate and hazelnut Baklava is worth every bite!  The Cafe does use real cups, real spoons for stirring and anytime you want to return your to go cup hot sleeve you can do that too!

The ultimate in taking full advantage of your spare time is having your coffee outside in one of the cafe’s rocking chairs.  Rocking chairs are meant for down time and I’m sure the rocking motion makes that down time last just a bit longer! Just sitting in the sun makes made me stay a bit longer but then again, I’m most comfortable when it’s at least 80 degrees.

Outdoor tables at lazy hummingbird

Luv’d their use of window menus.  Re-purposing vintage windows are the equivalent to duct tape in my mind – the options are endless!  Here’s my post using vintage windows and a few other favorites…

Window Menus
Lazy Hummingbird Cafe Window Menus


Chalkboard, white board and bulletin board all in one!

Window table

Enjoy your spare time!

Save Your Ideas and Time!

Deco File Box

Ok I admit I love the touch and feel of paper magazines. In this day and age this is likely ‘old school’ but nothing compares. Yes, magazines are my quick fix when I don’t have time to read more than a page or two in my book. It’s the perfect amount of reading over my breakfast coffee or before bed when I invariably fall asleep way too soon.

Magazines are completely satisfying as I look for great ideas, fold corners, circle items or make notes on the pages I tear out to save. Now you are starting to think that if I save them, and you’ve read my about me page, they wouldn’t possibly just end up in a tall stack collecting dust. Right you are! Since I do save quite a few pages on my favorite topics there is a system, or really what’s the point in saving. Notebooks I’m sure are great for some but for me it’s a cute small file box with about 10 hanging files. One box only! You can imagine how this could get out of control.

Just 10 topics that help me file my pages away quickly without it hanging out on the to do list for months. Of course pages with more than one topic always create quite the decision process! Since my file box is all about my interests (and not so much the family), I narrowed it down to; gifts, beauty products, fashion, bedroom & dining deco, kitchen & bath deco, closet & entry ways, internet sites, book recommendations, home accessories and organization.

In case you’re wondering, yes I actually do use it. Holidays and birthdays have me leafing through my gift folder for something unique. My latest urge to DIY or redecorate has me sifting pages in the bedroom, kitchen or closet folders for inspiration.

Since I have limited space for saving, one box remember, I’m trying the ‘new school’ web method. One of my favorite online magazines Lonny (formerly the editors from Domino – if you remember that one) has a great marking feature and every product on every page can be marked and stored! It’s the next best thing to post-its! The best find is my organized file cabinet and idea board internet style on Pinterest. Likely you’ve been to Pinterest before and been sucked in with all the pictures.  It’s a fun alternative to the file box, although I’m not sure I’ll entirely give it up because I have a thing for paper. It’s definitely someplace I go when I want a break and look for inspiration which has me adding to one or more of my lists!
Hope this gives you just a bit more spare time!

Art Inspired Cabinet aka the China Hutch

china hutch

Let me start by saying I hate the description “china hutch”. It makes me feel like I should be living in the 1950’s.  From here on out it’s my display cabinet, you know – the place to put all the fancy stuff.  As you can see I don’t have much!, I’m also one of those people that thinks china can be used on a daily basis so you can enjoy it.

I luv finding ways to give new life to old things and add pops of color to my house!  This was a flea market find with a hideous red paint job that was “chippy” but not in a good way.  The basic first DIY step was painting the entire display cabinet in butter yellow paint .  The next part was getting creative and having fun with the display area.

One of my favorite color combinations is turquoise and yellow.  Actually turquoise and just about every other color is high on my list!  The turquoise is great since it adds a darker background and depth to the cabinet which makes the glassware pop.  Now it gets a little more interesting.  On several trips to Caye Caulker, Belize, I ran across artist Debbie Cooper, which I luv.  In many of her art pieces she adds a decorative border – here’s my inspiration….the border is a little difficult to see.  The border detail includes a lot of geometric shapes and this one also has lizards.

Debbie Cooper Caye caulker Art


Adding geometric art to the edge of each display shelf was fun to do and really made the display cabinet just as much art as function!  Here’s the finished results..

Decorative cabinet art

DIY Cabinet shelf art

And the answer to the question you may be thinking is – no I didn’t paint this with a brush freehand and yes this is easy!  The right “paint” tool for this type of detailed work is using craft markers to do all the skinny line and dot work.  Your local craft or hobby store like Michael’s and JoAnne’s usually carries a good selection of colors.  You can use the paint Sharpies or the craft markers which say they are for wood and pottery.  I did use a ruler and a pencil to make sure my vertical lines were evenly spaced.  The rest of the black lines were done by just following the top and bottom edge of the shelf.  The dots are just ‘eye-balled’ in terms of putting them in the right space.

And the beauty with all painting projects like this, if you don’t like it paint over it.
Enjoy adding a bit of art in your spare time!


Master Bedroom Wall Art Decals

love statement wall art and this is great in our beachy bedroom

This was my inspiration pinned to my Pinterest board for some time.  I luv the subtle color, great texture and looked super easy to install.  So during the master bedroom transformation this inspiration became a reality.  The master bedroom is definitely tropical since I’m determined to live the island life even if not on an island.  The wall for the decal art is the tallest wall which was perfectly blank. I was not about to paint the tallest wall with a high chance that a couple of years down the road I would need a color change. So, my luv for Blik products started.  I installed the wall decals off-center from the headboard.

Blik wall decalI

How easy is this to install?  Really easy and with this flowing design no measuring tape required.  After cutting apart all the pieces, I used the blue painter’s tape to initially position them.  Then it was simply re-enacting my elementary school hours of using stickers.
The toughest part is getting all the air bubbles out, but using a towel to rub down the vinyl sticker as you go worked great.

Here’s the extra awesome part about these Blik vinyl decals…they are removable without damaging the wall.  I’m luving Blik’s new vinyl wall tiles especially the scallops design- now I’m just looking for the right spot to use them!

As a side note, this wall did have some existing texture (the small smooth bumps) but the decals still worked great! Probably over time, I’ll need to check for any surprise bubbles then just smooth is out periodically. Still I’m sure my time spent will be a lot less than painting!



Seattle Public Transporation Art

SeaTac Kinetic Luggage art

Norman Andersen “Rainmakers Baggage”

Have you noticed lately the amount of amazing art in public transporation areas? It really makes all that travel time just a little less stressful.  Why not multitask travel with a bit of art culture! The next time you’re at the airport and have time to kill, check out the art scene.

Having recently traveled to the Seattle airport, I was amazed at all the artwork from the terminal to the baggage claim.  They have over 100 pieces of artwork by over 59 regional artists and even created a handy map to the SeaTac public art.  

Roscoe airplane art

Brad Story “Roscoe”

Traveling by train in Seattle? Check out the public art recently being installed in Jackson Plaza just outside the King Street Station. Travel at night and take in the Rebar “Seattlight” art which was recently unveiled and will be running through the end of this year.

King tut at the King street station

Looking for art inside the station? Enjoy the street sign art which makes you look twice just to see if it really is a direction.

Street Sign art at King Street station

Enjoy your travel and your art that makes the most of your time!

DIY Painted Wall Art

DIY painted wall art

Are you in need of wall art? Something more unique than you can find at the local big box store, but wallet friendly.  I suggest the DIY wall art makeover – literally paint over an existing piece of artwork!  No I’m not suggesting you paint over your Great Grandmother’s 80-year-old painting, more like the mass-produced variety that you likely bought on a whim and just needed a short-term fix to fill a space.  This is also something you might find at a garage sale or flea market begging to be re-made.  Just make sure you won’t pine away for the piece you are painting over. Consider it repurposing and being earth friendly.

First a big disclaimer, I’m not an artist and I’ve never done this before! But what I did do was look for inspirational art that was basic and stylized. I already knew I couldn’t do anything detailed with shadows, landscapes and faces – that would be crazy!

I’m sure a few of you reading this have looked at abstract art and thought  “I can’t believe someone would pay for this, I could even do it”. So this is the same theory put to the test.  I found my inspiration in a coffee shop. Decided on where I would hang it – the bedroom – and then worked on the color scheme. For me yellows and tans were already an accent color.  Hearts were a shape I could freehand – yes all those elementary school years put to good use! Plus, I figured the worst that would happen is I’d paint over it.

So what did I start with? This wood mass-produced art that I wasn’t luving anymore.

wine wall art

So how did I start? First it was pouring lines of regular craft acrylic paint vertically alternating yellow, white and a tan. Then with an art bristle paint brush lightly pulling it through the paint vertically mixing some of the color.  The hearts I practiced first on a piece of paper to get the right brush stoke look, then it was on to the real thing. Three hearts all just slightly different and not too exact.  How long did it take once I figured out the design? About 30-45min including practicing the hearts.

DIY painted wall art hearts

Hope you enjoy your spare time creating a new piece of wall art!