Thrift Store Desk: Trash to Treasure

Earlier this week I posted the above photo on Facebook of my little corner-of-the-room sewing space. This is just that, a small corner in our guest room I claimed as mine... all mine. No kid toys, no junk mail, no half-done ripped out coloring pages... just pretty. AND, this "pretty" I'm talking about is the DIY kinda pretty; made up of thrift store finds, dumpster dives, and DIY projects... including the desk (which is really what this is all about). Before we get to the trash to treasure desk, let me explain!
  • Mirror: $10 - Goodwill
  • Clock: $1 - Garage Sale (and it works!)
  • Glass Vases: FREE - Leftover wedding centerpiece items
  • Chair: $25 ish in supplies - Read about this garbage rescue/DIY project HERE
  • Pillow: FREE - Upcycle! Read about that one HERE
  • Curtains: FREE - More DIY mojo on those HERE
  • Desk: $40 - Thrift Store
  • Sewing Machine: FREE - It was a gift if you're wondering :)
That's right.  Even if we round up for things like tape and paint and supplies of the sort, this whole space was probably less than $100.

So where did I get the desk?  In a tiny thrift store in a strip mall behind a Wendy's. How's that for glamorous? After being turned off by the looks of this particular thrift store, I finally went in one day and discovered a gem. Yes, the place was small and kinda crummy but it was also a food bank for our community (had no idea).  All of their items were donations and all of their profits went to buy food for their pantry (which was also in the store). Anyone could come in and pick up peanut butter, bread, canned goods, etc... free of charge, no questions asked, at any time. How cool is that? I decided to stop by often to see if I could *ahem* do my part to help and purchase items. One day I found the desk.

I seriously looked twice, maybe 3 times, at the masking tape price sticker. Could it really be $40?! I asked to make sure. It was. I think I ran to pay and like a psycho calmly asked the loading guys to put it in my vehicle.... like right now! 

This picture actually makes it look in good shape... it was not. The veneer was lifting big time on the top. It was also chipped and missing in some places. There was a handle missing, some chunks of desk looked like they had been hacked off with a hammer, and it stunk like last years gym socks. But I saw the potential!

It took a week or so of glueing, sanding, filling, painting, and airing-out. 

In fact, I did the desk along side my dresser. You can read about that adventure HERE. Here they are as good buddies in my garage. :) This is why I have given up hope of parking in there. The desk was in no condition to be stained... unlike the dresser. This sucker needed paint to have a second chance at life.

Here's a closeup of some of the wood filler I used on the front.

I used the same white homemade chalk paint I used on the Goodwill end tables too.

I had to fill the original hardware holes in the top drawers since I wanted to use glass knobs there. The original hardware required 2 holes, the glass knobs needed only one hole in the center. So I filled, sanded, and drilled new holes.

After it was all painted I decided to add a scaled-down version of my DIY Moroccan stencil on the sides since that is the first thing you see when you walk in the room.
So, I hope you like my "trash to treasure" desk and that you're inspired to try out that sketchy thrift store you always pass but never go in :)


DIY Tilted Pot Planter for Spring using Miracle-Gro

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Is it finally warm where you are? I know some places had snow on the ground for quite a while. Here in Florida, we've already been sweltering for weeks (maybe months). And I've been wanting to spruce up our curb appeal to get us looking "spring fresh" for just as long. So when I was offered to write this post on behalf of Miracle-Gro, I took it as a sign to get my butt in gear and get dirty. MY plan was the DIY Tilted Pot Planter. I've sen a few varieties around the net which usually makes me shy away... but I couldn't this time! Isn't it cool?! I made that. :) And really easy to do... I swear... I'll show ya.


  • A variety of clay pots in different sizes
  • 1 piece of rebar... mine was 5'
  • Moisture Control Potting Mix
  • A variety of colorful plants... pick what you like!

Here my kids are running the isles of the garden center as we picked out flowers. They love that I just point them in the direction of the 99 cent table and let them pick what they want.

Step 1 (optional): Paint your pots

I chose to spray paint my clay pots using spray paint from my garage to add even more color. This is completely optional. 

Step 2: Hammer your rebar into the ground.

I made sure it went in a good foot or so. This sucker is sturdy. Do this while your pots dry if you painted them.

Step 3: Place your largest pot over the rebar and fill with potting mix

Don't plant your plants yet... get all the pots on first filled with potting mix. Kiddos helped every step of the way. Doesn't everybody garden is sparkle Uggs?


Step 4: Add the rest of your pots.

Continue threading pots over the rebar from largest to smallest. Fill each pot with potting mix as you go, and alternate tilting them in opposite directions.

Step 5: Plant!

Now it's time to get creative and arrange your plants however you wish. And since you used Miracle-Gro, you know your beauties are going to bloom a lot and last all season. :)

That's it. I really can't believe how quick this project was.  Maybe an hour with both kids helping. 

If you're looking for more fun garden projects, you can follow Miracle-Gro on Pinterest or visit The Gro Project on Facebook.  

Both are excellent resources for "budding" gardeners (you see what I did there? ha) or experienced ones. I really like how my DIY Tilted Pot Planter came out... and I know it's going to last all season. I hope you try it!

Visit Sponsor's Site


NETFLIX for Kids

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NETFLIX... something my family enjoys on a daily basis.

How do you get all of these projects done with 2 kids around? The question I get most often. And I'm guessing, from the name of this blog... you figured out part of my secret. I do a lot while they snooze. But, my kids are getting older and the glorious days of 2-hour duel naps while mommy crafted and ate chocolate in peace are way behind me (now I hide in the closet to eat chocolate). The "While They Snooze" part means 11pm now. And I'm cool with that. However, I also have to do a lot during the day in order to have semi-decent photos for you to look at. So what's my new secret? Netflix for kids!

At 5 and 3, my kids rarely nap anymore. But, they still very much need downtime in the late afternoon. After a full day of soccer, swimming, and bike riding in the Florida heat, I love seeing him just relax for a while. Late afternoon has become the kids' TV time. We downloaded the Netflix free app on our iPad and stream all of our kid shows. It's great to be able to give a 3 year old the iPad to take into his bed, cozy up with his bankies, and watch 30 minutes of Jake and the Never Land Pirates any time we want. (A lot of times, I can't resist the snuggle time and end up watching with him for a while.) We just open up the dedicated kids section which has family favorites appropriate for children ages 2- 12. Everything is rated and he navigates everything himself.

(Sleepin' n snugglin' time)

At 5 years old, my daughter loves it too. Her current favorites are Pingu and My Little Pony. As a special treat, sometimes on the weekends we set up a "movie theater" in the living room. We stream the movies through our Apple TV, but you could also go to Netflix.com on your computer or click on the app from any gaming device. We move the coffee table, set up some chairs, the old crib mattress, and try to make different levels for all of us to sit at. And believe it or not, it's taught them a lot about compromise. The rules are, we don't watch a movie unless they both have agreed on one. That's not easy when you've got the girliest of girls and the super-hero-loving boy of boys! It's a nice family-time activity complete with snacks and snugglin'.

(Move theater in progress)

So there ya have it. One of my "secrets" revealed. What are you watching on TV with your family? Netflix has family favorites from Disney, Disney Jr., Hasbro, Cartoon Network and Dreamworks that are available to stream anytime, anywhere.
And streaming is easier than you think! Download the free app on your iPad, click on the Netflix app on any gaming device, go to the website on your computer – and you’re in business. Check it out here!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NETFLIX but my opinions are always my own. :)


{Series Part 1} How to Build a House: Buying Land, Finding a Builder and Architect

This is part 1 of a series I'm calling How to Build a House. This post has been 7 years in the making. Years of planning. Years of saving. Years of meetings and payments and excitement (and my God... the Pinning!). 7 years ago my husband and I started the process of our forever home.  Of course, depending on where you live, the process may vary slightly. This is what we did. Just a regular couple in the burbs/country (we're kind of a mix of the two) in Florida building a house from scratch. No model home to look at, no planned community... we just bought some dirt and started. Ready to come along? This is How to Build a House.

We began our process with a realtor. Our realtor helped us find the land for our house. Honestly, I didn't think we needed a realtor. Anyone with an internet connection can search Realtor.com and find land, right? And we did that for a little while but weren't having luck. Everything was either out of our price range or not in the area we wanted. Our realtor found properties that we did not know were for sale. After looking at maybe 5 lots, we put an offer in on one. This goes just like the process of buying a house. We negotiated and got the price down a little bit.
 Our lot.

Just like when buying a house, you might have rules in your contract about the house having to pass an inspection before you really agree to buy it. Same goes for land. I live in Florida. It's very swampy and wet here and "wetlands" are protected. As are some local endangered species. So in other words, if the land was considered "wetlands" or had some special turtles on it... we may not have been able to build anything. We would have owned some dirt and trees that could only ever be dirt and trees. Not good.

To make sure our land was buildable, we went to our local county office and filled out some paperwork to have a "wetlands study" done. Basically a man from the county came out, walked around, and gave us a paper that said yep, you can knock these trees down and you won't be killing any turtles. Go to your local county office and see if your area has anything special going on that would prevent you from building on the land you purchase. Protect yourself.

After that, the bank that was giving us the loan for the land, sent out someone to do a survey of the property... we were buying 1 acre. They needed that for their records to know exactly what we wanted to buy. After all of that, it was time for the closing (we got a copy of the survey in the closing documents). Same process as buying a house. All of this happened while we still owned the house we lived in. The land payment was essentially an expensive car payment.... or at least that's how I looked at it. Everything was moving along.

Then baby #1 came along and the housing market crashed, in Florida especially. Guess what, we could not sell our house. We would have lost way too much money. We were stuck. This is why we had to wait 7 years! We waited out the market and continued to pay for our property every month until we could sell our house. We paid as much as we could towards it every month. A couple of things happened in that time. Baby #2 came along and we managed to pay off the land. Yay us!

Those 7 years were at times painful. We'd joke that we were going go visit our trees some days. That the house was just a pipe dream and all we were ever going to have were some trees and dirt. It seemed like forever.... kind of like this blog post. Go ahead, take a pee break, get a snack... I'll wait.

Better?  Okay, good. Let's keep going.

So finally, last summer, we were able to sell our house. We did and moved into a rental close to our land. This seemed most logical to us. Close to the build and free of a mortgage. All set... but yes, we'd have to move twice.
Last pic of our old house as we left. *sniffle, sniffle*

Now lucky us, my parents are good friends with a builder/general contractor. He built their house in the 90's. He will be building our house.  Ask around, network, use Angie's List. Get a recommendations and shop around to find a reputable builder you trust. We took him out to the property, explained what we were expecting, and paid him a small deposit for his services and to show we were serious. He basically said, yep, sounds like something I can help you with and found us a company to clear the lot of the brush and trees. We paid for that out of pocket since we did not have the building loan yet. (that's a whole other post!) Why didn't we wait? Because in Florida, it rains a lot in the summer which is the soonest we would have had the loan. Trying to clear the lot in mud would have taken longer and therefore, cost more. We cleared in winter to do it as cheaply as we could. Something we would not have known if our builder hadn't told us.
The kids exploring mid clearing.

This day was an uneasy feeling. Really, I wanted to puke when we pulled up this day. Like there was no going back... it looked pretty awful. I had to keep telling myself "it's going to get worse before it gets better".

Timber truck on site taking the cut trees to be used elsewhere.

The builder also found us an architect. Someone he worked with several times before. I had also worked for an architect right out of college so I emailed them too. Basically, I shopped around. Again, Angie's List if you don't have any contacts. We ended up going with the architect the builder recommended... he was cheaper and just as experienced.

Another thing to note is architects charge per square foot. That's total square footage including any garage space and porch space. Not just the inside living area. (Not sure about basements, we don't have those in Florida) So if your plan is to have a 2000 sq ft house + 500 sq ft of porch + 500 sq ft of garage... you'll be paying the architect for 3000 sq ft of space. This cost, most likely, will also come out of pocket since you will need the completed plan to submit to the bank to apply for your building loan.

So did you make it to the end?! It's quite the process and definitely requires the "marathoner" mindset. In the past year I've flipped between really excited, to really nervous, to really overwhelmed, to excited again. At the moment I'm excited to be on this journey. I hope this post (and series) helps someone out there unsure about the process. I'll be your guinea pig... it's cool. Next post will be all about the plans!

 This is our completely cleared lot. We left as many trees as we could in the back and on the sides.

And this is what it looks like as of this week.... much better.


How to get more life out of kids clothes {Tutorial}

I don't know about you, but every season it surprises me how much my kids have grown. The first cold snap of each year, my kids are the ones in the high-waters because "those jeans were huge last year... surely they still fit". Nope. Same goes for spring. Dresses that were perfect last year are flashing the princess undies at each twirl this year. So I decided to do something about it. I turned this too-short dress into a skirt that might even make it through next year (I said might). This is one way to get more life out of kids clothes... and it's super easy.

One more look at the before. Getting too short. Shorts are hanging out there.


  • Old dress
  • 1" elastic
  • Sewing machine

Step 1
Hack off the top of your dress.

Step 2
Turn the dress you just hacked into a skirt inside out. Fold over the top a little wider than your elastic. I used 1" elastic and held it around my kid's waist to figure out how long.

Step 3
Start near the back or side (where ever there is already a seam... just not in the front) and sew around your skirt about 1/4" from the edge of the folded down part. Stop when you get about 3" from where you started.

Step 4
Stick a safety pin through one side of your elastic and shove it through the casing you just made.
Keep shoving until you get your safety pin back out through the other hole.

Step 5
Sew the two ends of elastic together. I like to sew 2 lines. This does not have to be neat. I don't even clip the threads.

Step 6
Stretch out your skirt so the elastic goes back inside the casing and sew up the 3" hole you left.

That's it! I had this baby done in less than 30 minutes. Head to the lake... don't forget the mermaids/barbies!