Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fantastic~Shabby Chic~ Decoupaged~ Serving Tray Tutorial~ make for under $2.00


A trip to the Thrift Store clears my mind, and starts the creative wheels turning! 
 Here is a Crazy, Shabby Chic, Fabulous Serving Tray, 
SURE to be a conversation piece at your next party!

Materials needed:

  • Tray~ I got mine at the thrift store for $1.00... but they can be purchased unfinished at the craft store
  • Calendar/Heavy Duty Scrapbook Paper
  • Cream Acrylic Paint or color of YOUR choice!
  • Scissors & Paper Cutter
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Tool to remove air bubbles
  • Fine Grain Sandpaper
  • Krylon Matte Acrylic Spray

 When I went to the Thrift Store, I did find my tray already stained, but unstained is fine too... you are going to be painting your tray with your Acrylic Paint! When you are painting the tray, you will want to paint with the grain of the wood, in thick even strokes. Usually, I use 2 coats of paint for good coverage. If you want your paint to dry more quickly, use a hair dryer on low heat between coats.

A dear friend of mine gave me an old calendar, KNOWING that I would put it to some Crazy~ Creative use. NOW is a great time to find calendars since they are marked down! Sure enough, I knew this calendar would look fabulous decoupaged into the base of my Thrift Store tray. Using a pair of scissors, and then a paper cutter, I cut out the pieces I wanted to use. Squares of your favorite 'heavier weight' scrapbook papers will work fine also. After I had chosen all the pieces that I wanted to use in my tray base, 
I laid them out, and took a picture~ 
just so I would remember how I wanted to place them when decoupaging!

I then applied a good coat of Mod Podge to the underside of the calendar squares and laid them in place. I then applied another coat of Mod Podge to the surface of the paper.   Using a wooden tool I began pushing out the air bubbles... BE GENTLE as it is easy to push holes in your paper. For stubborn air bubbles, I applied some Mod Podge to my fingers and gently pushed the remaining bubbles out.

Once all pieces were in place, I coated the entire surface of the tray base with another coat of Mod Podge. Keep in mind, you want to brush in one direction so that you do not have any 'odd' brush strokes once the Mod Podge is dried. I used a damp rag around the edges of the tray to remove the Mod Podge from the wood part of the tray. I gave ONE more coat of Mod Podge to keep the surface protected when using the tray.

Once the tray was completely dried, I used a piece of fine grain sand paper to remove some paint from the handles and the corners of the tray to give it that Shabby Chic look! Less is best! Once you have achieved the look you desire, use Krylon Matte Spray to coat your tray. Follow the directions on the bottle. 
 I usually use 2 coats of the Matte Spray for SUPER PROTECTION! :)

This tray is going to look Shabby Chic~ Fabulous with a Fab Dip/Chip combo at my next party. I loved this idea so much, that I ran to the Thrift Store again last week and um.... another project awaits me!

Hope you will find this to be a fun project that you can try. 
 It is easy, inexpensive, and OH SO CHIC!

Would LOVE to see your projects. Feel free to message me, and I would love to include YOUR idea on my next blog.

Living, Laughing and LOVING my life,


Monday, January 9, 2012

My Crazy Life in an Acronym~ part 3 and Finito!

HELLO! I am so glad to see you for the last part of my “CRAZY LIFE ~IN AN ACRONYM” blog! I excited to share the last of the ‘character qualities’ I am working on this year, to be the best ME I can be. I am hoping you will find encouragement and some ideas as you read the last word in my blog~ “LIFE” in acronym! Each letter represents an aspect of my life that I am working on improving as the year 2012 begins and continues onward. So, here we go again! But before we start if you missed part one and part will want to catch up!

Now for Part 3!

“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”

Life is SO short. It seems like only yesterday that I was in pigtails, playing hopscotch with my friends! And now, I sit and think, “GEE! Time has flown!” I sit here at a very different place in my life. Married, two adult children, a friend, a homemaker, educator, crafter and creator! I never dreamed I would end up in Florida, a place I only read about as I grew up in Maryland. I have such a joyful life.  
And my desire it to make each day special in it’s own right.

There are days when things do not go exactly as I wish, but my goal is to always make a choice! To choose to LIVE that day happily, in spite of what is going on around me. There is ALWAYS something to be happy about. I carry a list in my purse of the very things that bring me joy- people, memories, goals, and when I have the urge to tuck and run, I pull out my list and take a moment to pause and choose to LIVE and LIVE happily in that very moment! I ‘change my thought’ direction and embrace what is good in my life. It is amazing how the day can turn around on a dime. It is not always easy. Last year, I had moments where I really struggled, but this year I am focused on becoming more successful at living in the moment. Refusing to let moments pass me by because I am so focused on issues that many times will take care of themselves.

This year I choose to laugh more. I look for the ‘funny’ in every situation, the joke, the LAUGHTER, that many times is there, but which can be overlooked because I am so bogged down with the details and the weight of the moment. I am learning to take things less seriously, myself less seriously. If I am down, I will call, or message a friend that I can count on for one good belly laugh, and a great big snort. Within minutes, I am feeling better. My goal is to be the one who others call when they need to laugh, or need a boost to their spirit. So, I am praying for the ability to laugh like a child and live in the moment!

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly. ~Author Unknown

(a painting hanging in my school~ wish I knew the artist... but this is one imaginative and creative elementary student)

This is the year, I plan to let the string out on my kite, and allow my imagination SOAR to heights I have not seen. I have always had a larger than life imagination, but last year, which was difficult in some ways, I allowed my imagination to stagnate somewhat. I was overwhelmed with circumstances I had not expected and found myself focused on the problems that I could not solve. There were times when I stopped reading, listening to music, creating new meals, or projects. It was during those moments of time that I found myself withdrawing, watching more television, and participating in activities that in no way sparked my imagination. I became depressed and anxious. Something changed that!

My daughter asked me to attend the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie. I had read all of the books, I had seen all of the movies, so I knew I had to pull myself together, to spend time with my daughter and finish the series. I sat in the theater waiting, my mind swirling with the ‘problems’ going on in my life. The movie began, and instantly I was carried away into a world of imagination! I was enthralled with the tale that I had read, as it played out before me. I LOVED the movie, and after it was over, I felt the desire to go back and reread the entire series. As I read, my imagination was reawakened and the smoldering flame of my imagination was fanned back into a blaze. It was amazing how reading and escaping into a different world could turn my imagination back to the ‘on’ position! I was determined not to lose the ‘imaginative’ track I was on, so I started a project, then I created a new recipe, then began reading another book and I WAS BACK. Since that time I have purposed to find ways to keep that imagination alive! I try and slate time to imagine what I would like to do, whether it is a new project to create, a new novel to escape into, a new recipe to whip up. Keeping the imagination going, keeps me going. I am including a great article about ways to develop your imagination!

                                    Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! ~Albert Einstein

My family means the world to me. In the crazy world of work, hobbies, friends, and just plain surviving, I have at times forgotten to reflect upon and show gratitude to the people who love me most. I am most definitely a “people person”, finding myself enjoying the joys of entertaining, socializing, eating out, going to the movies with my girls! It is SO easy for me to get caught up in my 'friend time' that I don’t plan the very essential family time that is so desperately needed in my life. The time to cultivate and enjoy celebrating life with my family! After all, my family members are those who see me at my worst and love me anyway! My husband literally bends over backwards to make my life a little easier! He cooks, helps me with cleaning, listens to my 'woes'! My children are not so involved in their lives, that they don’t stop to ask, “Mom, how was your day?” This year I am purposely scheduling time in for my family. I actually started over Christmas holiday. I had ONE party before Christmas and then devoted the rest of the holiday to time with my daughter, shopping and seeing a movie. With my son, home fresh from the National Guard, eating out and just sitting to chew the fat, and my husband, watching a movie, or just really talking and discussing our ideas and plans for the New Year, or even just for that day. My family and I ate meals~ TOGETHER! We enjoyed spending time in each other’s company. It was SO completely refreshing. So, I am purposing and making a point to find those quality moments in my day and week and month to share ‘special and ordinary’ moments with those who adore me most- my family. Oh, I won’t neglect my friends! But I will make sure that through my actions and my words, my family knows that they have the number ONE spot in my heart, and in my life.

“No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.” - Mary Kay Ash

We are not here for ourselves. We are here for the purpose of encouraging and building up those who are part of our lives! I Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another…” I am a firm believer in encouraging those that need encouragement. Encouraging someone may be as simple as smiling at a stranger, or calling a friend when we know they are in need of a boost. I pray each day before I walk out the door, that my heart would be sensitive to recognize those that are in need of a little ‘something’~ a gentle word, a prayer, a laugh. I want to keep my eyes opened to the needs of others, lest I become so entirely focused on myself. Being that I just watched “Scrooge” over the holidays, it was a quick reminder as to 'how only thinking of oneself' can be the ruination of not only your life but the lives of those around you. Thank goodness Scrooge had his ghostly visitors to point him in a different direction, resulting in good. Frankly, I will pass on any ‘ghostly apparitions’ and simply make sure that each and every day, I am encouraging others as much as possible. It is amazing when I pray for the opportunities, how often they present themselves. So, for 2012, I shall daily pray for eyes that are wide open, ears that are listening, and a heart that is ready to embrace the opportunity to... ENCOURAGE.

Wow, we have covered so many areas, but in reality, aren’t each and every one of these character qualities all rolled into one!  Loving myself and others! LAUGHING at the sheer joy of being alive.  Living each moment as if it were the last.  This is my focus for 2012, and I am willing to do the work to make it the BEST YEAR EVER.  

Thank you so much for joining me in my musings, goals, and desires for a New Year. I hope something tickles your fancy, and that you will find some ideas that you can incorporate into making 2012~ YOUR YEAR TO SHINE.

Living, Laughing and OH SO Loving my Life,


Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Crazy Life in an Acronym~ part 2

Welcome Back! I hope you are sitting in a comfy chair, in your most favorite spot, and I hope you have your coffee, tea, or beverage of choice ready to drink as you read. I am ready to continue my “character quality', “My Crazy Life”, acronym with you! My character qualities I am working on in 2012 to be the BEST I can be. If you missed the first two Character Qualities from “My Crazy Life”, I will refer you back to the first blog in this series, so that it all ties together nicely! 

Now on with the Second word in my blog “CRAZY” and it's acronym. My life really is so crazy with all of my obligations with my family, friends, job, extra jobs, hobbies, so that I would definitely define my life as CRAZY... but it is a HAPPY, HAPPY CRAZY LIFE that I lead. I would not change anything about the life I lead. Instead let me share the CRAZY Character Qualities I am focusing on, and I will do that with an acronym for the second word of my blog, “CRAZY”.


‘The thing that makes a creative person is to be creative and that is all there is to it.’

— Edward Albee

Creativity is such an important and essential part of who I am.  When I am not creating, I find my mind becoming stagnant, and I find that my activities become activities that simply fill my time~ mindless, empty, non essential time wasters. Creativity gives me joy, whether it is creating a meal for my family, creating with crochet, paint, a glue gun, taking pictures of flowers, creating jewelry with a friend at a local bead shop! Creativity in any form whether by myself or shared with another stimulates the mind! Now you may say, well I don't have a creative bone in my body! Well, I went to google and came up with a great little page on how to develop creativity with some absolutely FUN, CREATIVE exercises at the end... thinking I might give a few of them a whirl. For me, creativity needs to be a part of every day in SOME form. For 2012, I am SCHEDULING IN time each and every day to create something: a meal for my family, a friend. A walk to take pictures. Time to sit and just dabble with paints. I hope you will see the importance of developing some creativity for yourself.

"Another fresh new year is here . . . Another year to live! To banish worry, doubt, and fear, To love and laugh and give! This bright new year is given me To live each day with zest . . . To daily grow and try to be My highest and my best! I have the opportunity Once more to right some wrongs, To pray for peace, to plant a tree, And sing more joyful songs!"
~ William Arthur Ward

Radiate Joy! Life is SO GOOD. There are so many blessings in my life, and I make a very concerted effort to remind myself of those blessings each and every time they pop into my brain! I have found that when I forget to count my blessings, I become deflated, like an empty balloon. When I am deflated, I have nothing left to give. The spark has gone out, and I have no joy inwardly, and no joy to share with others who are so desperately looking for their own joy. I am a firm believer that my purpose her on earth is to share the joy that I have with others, that they may share in my joy, and find some joy for themselves. My desire this year, is to RADIATE JOY each and every moment, so that others see my joy, and want that same joy for themselves. For me, that joy comes from the Lord: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11. Since I have the joy of the Lord, my desire is to share it with all I know, and even those I don't know. Life is too short NOT to Radiate your Inner Joy!

Negative thinking destroys your brain cells and causes global warming. Source: The Scientific Institute of GetOverIt! ~Dodinsky,

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. ~Roald Dahl

love these quotes! They makes me giggle~ but also make me think and think deeply. I am such an advocate of POSITIVE thinking. Life is hard enough without thinking in negative terms 100% of the time! Now don't get me wrong! There are times when things happen and my hackles may rise and I may stomp my foot, but I quickly talk myself out of getting caught in the trap of 'stinkin' thinkin'.  Bad things DO happen to good people. But I have learned that I can CHOOSE how I will respond when I am blindsided. I can respond with an attitude that is designed to improve, change or accept the problem~ a Positive attitude, or I can respond with  defeat, roll over and play dead, or cursing the gods mentality~ a NEGATIVE attitude. I find myself very attracted to positive people because they leave positive deposits in my personal account. THAT is the person I want to be... depositing 'positivity' into the lives of others instead of sucking their personal accounts dry with my negative outlook! It takes work, focus, prayer and meditation, but I can tell it will payoff in 2012.

 “Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?” ~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

Think excitement, talk excitement, act out excitement, and you are bound to become an excited person. Life will take on a new zest, deeper interest and greater meaning. You can think, talk and act yourself into dullness or into monotony or into unhappiness. By the same process you can build up inspiration, excitement and surging depth of joy.

Norman Vincent Peale

Each and every day I search for beauty.  I always have. I search for beauty in things I see~ a beautiful sunrise, smell~ a loaf of bread baking, touch~ the smoothness of a shell I find on the beach, hear ~ the sound of my daughter laughing, taste~ freshly made guacamole dip.  There is so much BEAUTY around me! When I am seeking that beauty I am living a life 
chock full of ZEST, and I am SO happy.

I purposely carry my camera with me wherever I go, looking for a beautiful flower blooming, or today~ I caught the unusual bark on these trees that are 'winter barren'. I always add extra spices to anything I cook~ 'zesting' it up as I go. I always keep a bottle of my favorite bubble bath next to the tub, so that I can enjoy a lovely, bubbly bath of hot steamy, lavender scented water. I look for jokes to share with my family, JUST so I can hear them laugh. I try HARD to create a 'zest filled' life, and this year, I am intent on living even ZESTIER! :) How 'bout you?

Youthfulness is connected to the ability to see things new for the first time. So if your eyes still look at life with wonder, then you will seem young, 

even though you may not be chronologically young.
Goldie Hawn

(yes this is me... as a child!)

OF COURSE I WANT TO STAY YOUNG! I do buy an assortment of facial creams and lotions, 'skin tighteners, wrinkle reducers, and cellulite ridding products.  LOL A friend shared that she swore by Preparation-H as a 'skin firming product'!  I am still pondering that one.  But I am smart enough to know that while outward beauty may fade, I can still maintain and keep my inward beauty as forever.

Youthfulness is a state of mind. What is that quote, 'you are only as old as you think?' or something like that. Inwardly I do believe I got stuck in a perpetual 'childlike' state. I find I am constantly sidetracked by a butterfly, or a new food that I will inevitably fall in love with. I find new crafts entirely enthralling, Reading helps me escape into worlds I NEVER dreamed I would visit. I find joy in digging for seashells at the beach, and when I find an amazing specimen, I am thrilled beyond words. In other words, I have never lost that child like amazement, in learning something new, in stretching myself to try new things, in experiencing something I have never tried before. On New Years Eve, I created my own little 'bucket list' of new things I wanted to attempt this year. They range from expanding my vocabulary, to taking a trip to 6 Flags to ride every roller coaster. I am trying something new each and every day... may be big, may be small, but it exciting and fun, and keeping me young. I will always be a “Toys 'R' Us" kind of kid.

Well, once again, time has given me no choice but to move to the next exciting thing on my datebook~ and we still have the word “LIFE” to finish and wrap up my blog in 'an acronym'. I hope you have had fun reading, and I hope something grabs you and revs you up. I have so much more to share. And since 'tomorrow' is the weekend. I encourage you to grab your coffee, or whatever! :) and find your favorite blanket, and join me as I finish up my character quality changes. I know I will still have my jammies on... hope you will too. Can't wait to visit with you tomorrow!  Leave me a comment on your way out.  Blessings to you!

Living Laughing and OH SO! Loving my Life,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Crazy Life in an Acronym!

A New Year! Those words always excite me beyond measure. I enjoyed spending New Years Eve reflecting on 2011 and looking ahead to 2012~ looking at what worked and what I would like to change in the New Year. I do not like to make New Years Resolutions, as they are so easily made, and so easily broken. Instead, I find it challenging and fulfilling to focus on changes that I desire to make, so that I can work on being my personal best. Of course those that know me well, know that nothing I do can be done SIMPLY! Instead, I always do everything with my own CRAZY flair, which makes me who I am. So in the spirit of CRAZINESS, I would like to share the 'character qualities' I am going to work on in 2012! My hope is, that something you read will strike a chord within you, and challenge and encourage you to think about those things you want to personally work on toward being the best YOU can be in 2012. 

SO! My CRAZY way of sharing the 'character qualities' I am working on, is to take the name of my blog, “My CRAZY Life', and turn it into an acronym, featuring the aspects of my life I am going focus on improving. AND, here we go! 

“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.” ~J.M. Barrie 

My children are grown, not gone, but grown, and I see the 'empty nest' becoming a part of my life in the near future. This year I am focused on creating some crazy, amazing memories~ personally,with my children, my husband, my friends! I have started a list of memories that will be in the making this year! My sons graduation from the Army National Guard! A family vacation, my high school reunion, an out of town trip with some of my best friends. I have purchased a scrap book, luscious scrapbook paper, some fun pens, stickers and my camera is at the ready to “capture” these events, so that when my 'empty nest' arrives, I have incredible memories to reflect upon! 

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” 
~Mother Teresa 

I would like to focus on the “YOUs” in my life... in other words, OTHERS, instead of ME. I find that my self pity, or depression, will quickly find me when I am so focused on myself and my problems~ when I am completely occupied on myself. I would like to invest more love, time and effort, into the 'yous' in my life... my family, friends, friends waiting to happen. When I turn my focus outward, and share the love I have~ my time, my creativity, my love of cooking, myself! I not only take eyes off of ME, but I share that love with others, and hopefully leave them in a place that is better than where we started! Sharing myself with others is not only a gift to the other person, but it is a gift to myself. A gift that will keep me operating selflessly, instead of selfishly!

OH DEAR! I am out of time. SO, I am going to have to finish the “CRAZY” part of my acronym tomorrow. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you will come back tomorrow with a cup of coffee, cup 'o tea, wine, or whatever suits your fancy so that I can share more of my “CRAZY CHANGES for 2012! I hope you will join me, I will eagerly await your visit! 

Living, Laughing, and already LOVING my New Year!