4 Friday Finds

1. My Root Collective Boots. You guys, permit me to gush for a bit. I’ve wanted these boots forever, but like most fair trade goods, the price kept me from pulling the trigger. After Christmas, I finally treated myself to them, and I don’t know what took me so long! They go with everything. Now that I’ve broken them in, they’re super comfortable. They were true to size, and I get compliments on them almost every time I wear them … which is basically every day.

And the best part – as I mentioned already, since they’re fair trade, they directly employ artisans, providing an escape from gangs and a dignified way of providing for families.


Every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. These boots are made for change makin’! And good news for you – when I bought my pair, I was given a special link that would allow my friends to get 10% off of their own purchase. Check them out, you won’t regret it!

 2. DIY Minimalist Videos on YouTube. I think this qualifies as an addiction. The last month was fairly stressful at work, and since I didn’t have time to do much creating myself to relieve the stress, I found that watching others create helped, plus it gave me lots of fresh ideas! I’m particularly enjoying the “minimalist” “Tumblr inspired” DIY videos. To show you what I mean, I made a playlist! Yes, there’s 45 videos in the playlist. Inspiration for days!

One of my favorites that I can’t wait to try:

3. Used Book Sales. I mentioned this on Instagram, but a few weeks ago I went to the VNSA Book Sale for the first time. All of the used books were donated and sold for charity – all half a million.

Yes, you read that right – half a million books, two days, in a warehouse in the middle of Phoenix. People started lining up and camping out the day before. My friend who told me about the sale got up at 4:30 am on a Saturday! I went with two friends at about noon, and still had to wait in line about half an hour to get it, but wow – was it worth it. I literally felt giddy – so many books, so little time, so cheap!

In the back of my mind, I wondered if there was any way I could find my favorite books from childhood – the Childcraft series, and the Junior Classics series. Both sets were old when I was reading them as kid, and when I’d looked for them online in the past, the Childcraft sets went for $100. So when I found BOTH, and the Junior Classics were $1 each, and the complete Childcraft set was $15 total – I about started hyperventilating.

Two boxes of books for $41 is about the best day ever!

4. Mom Made Market Finds. But my day actually got even better, because that same day, I went to the Mom Made Market in downtown Phoenix (shout out to AMP for driving!). We made it in the last few minutes of the market, and we made it worth our while. I brought home three prints, two tees, a romper, and a wooden cut out of of the state of Iowa.

Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the shop I bought the cacti print from. The “Low Maintenance” gray tee is from LaLa Threads, the pineapple tee and romper are from A Quiver Full (the company Edison brand reps for!) the wooden Iowa cut out is from The Treasure Hunts, and I can’t wait to make something with it.

Have you found anything lately you can’t stop recommending? Let us know in the comments!

3 Easy Upcycles You Can Make This Weekend

When you work full time and have a one and a half year old, crafting time happens in pockets at night and on weekends. Which means that projects I can start on a Saturday morning and actually complete by evening are super satisfying. Times that by three, and you’ll feel like you rule the craft world!

1. Marble Fridge Magnets

Up-cycle your old fridge magnets! For this super simple project, you’ll need:

  • A sheet of hexagon marble tiles. After looking at Home Depot, I bought these from Amazon. They were the perfect size, and the price couldn’t be beat!
  • A hot glue gun.
  • Magnets. I used my cheap old fridge magnets from Target. 

I hot-glued the old magnets to the back of the marble tiles. The one thing you’ll need to test is the strength of the magnets. I’d tried to upcycle some of those old flimsy old fridge magnets that have advertisements for restaurants, etc. on them, but they weren’t strong enough. 
Here’s the fridge before/during the magnet testing phase: 

 And after!

I love the little touch of elegance they add!

2. Paper Straw Diamond Mobile

This is one of those crafts I’d pinned ages ago, bought the supplies, made an attempt, and failed. The straws cluttered up my craft supplies drawer for months. Then one day, after watching some DIY videos on YouTube completely unrelated, I had a flash of inspiration and realized I could do this in an easier way – hot glue.

Here’s my original inspiration, from Sugar and Cloth:

This is what I started with – a tangled mess of straws tied together.

Here’s what you need:

  • Paper straws. I bought these at Target in the dollar section.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Scissors, and string for hanging.

As described in the original tutorial linked above, for various sizes of diamonds, you’ll need different sized pieces. I ended up adding to the pieces you see here, so there were a total of:

  • five 6 1/4″ straws
  • five 5 1/2″ straws
  • ten 3 1/2″ straws

Here’s the premise: instead of stringing the straws together, we’re going to hot glue them. Hot glue dries so fast, and is malleable for a minute, it seemed plausible that this would work.

Start by gluing together a triangle with two long pieces and one medium piece.

Then we’re going to start to assemble the pentagon shape of medium pieces, with the long pieces forming triangles along the sides and connecting at the top.

Yay! The top section is done!

To add the rest of the diamond shape, it’s easiest to lay it on it’s side, and glue the pieces one by one. 
Clean up the glue by just breaking off any excess. 
Add some string for hanging, or use it as a decorative item!


3. Upcycled Lamps

Before:
Note the tiny lamp on the right in the first photo:  it, and the taller version, were a super cheap Walmart buys when Brian and I first got married and moved into our very first apartment. They’re nothing special, so I considered donating them and getting something with a little more flair. And then I had a light-bulb moment, and realized that they were perfect candidates for a spray paint upgrade! 
Now, spray painted lamps can go one of two ways – tacky, or awesome. There’s not much in between. So I did my research when it came to gold spray paint, and I decided to try two different types to see what the effects were. 
This paint was SO easy to use, I loved it! I had much more control over the paint, and my hand didn’t get tired and cramped. It was easy to get a super even and smooth finish, and I liked the final color of the gold, not too yellow or two orangey. 
This paint has your typical spray nozzle, and typical pitfalls – you have to be careful to control the amount of paint, not let it drip, etc. The hammered finish helps disguise any drips, and looks really cool.
As it turned out, I needed some lamps in my office at work, so I didn’t have to rely on horrible florescent lights. Here’s how the Universal Gold turned out: 

Here’s the Hammered Gold lamp: 

Between the two, I’d probably use the Universal Gold again before I’d use the Hammered Gold again. But for just the right project, the hammered gold could be the perfect effect. 
I also tried spray painting the lampshade on the small lamp – but if you’re going to attempt that, be sure to vacuum them off really well first. 
As far as actual steps for painting the lamps: tape off the cords, placing them in a plastic bag like I did, and taping off the top where the light bulb will go. Follow the drying instructions on your spray paint, but seriously, without priming, these turned out fantastic and were done in a day. 
And that’s it! Three easy DIY projects you can start, and probably complete, in a day. While you’re waiting for your first coat of spray paint to dry, you can be hot-gluing your magnets or straws!
Now you have no excuse – get crafting!

DIY: Moss Covered Letter Art

Sometimes, projects end up in a very different place from where you anticipated starting out. This was one such project. I had a specific plan for putting some bouquets of fake flowers to good use, and this project I’d pinned ages ago was too perfect. But in the end, I didn’t end up using any of the flowers, but some other craft supplies I already had, and still loving the finished product. That’s the creative process for you!

So if some of the photos below are a little confusing, it’s because the supplies for this project evolved over the course of completing it. Here’s what you actually need to complete the moss covered letter:

Supplies: 

  • Floral moss. I bought a bag of reindeer moss from Amazon. This is great stuff for terrariums too!
  • Hot glue gun.
  • A piece of cardboard. Mine is from the back of a print I purchased and framed, but any piece or thickness of cardboard could work.
  • Photo frame. I bought this one at Goodwill for a couple dollars, and painted it to give it new life.
  • Old book pages. I bought some old books at Goodwill also, and I’ve used them for many craft projects over the years.
  • A printer.

First, decide on the letter. I chose a “C” for our last name, which seemed fitting for the entry way. I tried drawing a “C” directly onto the cardboard, but I could not for the life of me get it to look good. So, take the time to type the letter into a Word document or Google Doc, and increase the font size to fill a standard 8×10 frame.

Print your letter, and cut it out. Trace it onto your cardboard, and cut it out.

Here’s where I resorted to Plan B. Plan A was to cover the letter with moss, mostly to fill any gaps between the flowers, which would go on top of the moss. But, my flowers were too large, or my letter too thin, for the flowers to fit. So, I kept it simple and just used the moss by itself.

With some little helping hands out of the way, I carefully hot-glued the moss to the frame, using generous amounts of moss to completely cover the cardboard. 

  

Now that your letter is ready, let’s start on the frame. I’d originally painted this frame what I’d thought would turn out a nice coral pink. Instead, I’d describe it as dusty 80’s rose. Not ideal. It was much improved with my favorite metallic finish gold paint

After I removed the existing artwork, I taped some old book pages to cover the back of the picture frame. You could use scrapbook paper, sheet music, or pieces of cool wallpaper, whatever fits with your entry way vibe.

Once the frame was reassembled, I used hot glue to attache the moss letter to the glass, on the front of the frame. Then it’s ready for hanging!
Of course, after I hung this up, I stopped to read the book page. I’d used some pages from one of the James Herriot books, which if you’re not familiar, are the adventures of Yorkshire country vet. The books are full of heartwarming stories, and they bring back many great memories of watching the TV series with my family on Sunday nights, drinking tea. They also sometimes very bluntly describe medical conditions and procedures, as the pages I just happened to select did. 
So yes, the words “ovarian,” “uterine,” and “pus-filled mass” are on display in our entryway.
 The creative process is messy, after all.