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Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

catch drywall dust when drilling with a sticky note


Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by Darla | 2 Comments

I wasn’t so sure about being on the Tinkerbell bandwagon, until I learned that she’s really an engineer. She’s winning me over. So on a recent trip to the craft store, we picked up some supplies to create a little fairy house for her and friends. I did not think this was going to end well at all because, as I keep telling y’all, I am not crafty in the kid department, but I do love to create and fix. Which is to say, I’m more like Tinkerbell than I ever knew.

Here are the raw materials for the fairy house.

supplies for Fairy House

The most fun part of the project was definitely mixing the paint. I’m not sure my girls have ever done it with such intention. We had kit paints leftover from a wooden boat they “made” earlier in the week. We mixed blue and yellow to get green, blue and red to make purple, and red and yellow to make orange. And this is what we came up with.

Painted Fairy House

I’m sure you already knew, although I just learned this week, that the way to attract a fairy is to shake something shiny around in the air. We took this little shiny disco ball, hot glued some fishing line, and tied the string into the mesh top. I’d like to know how the girls learned the term “disco ball”.

Disco ball in the fairy house

The outside was festooned with orange silk flowers and two resident birdies, also sparkly, also hot glued.

birds atop a fairy house

My big girl stamped the “Welcome Fairies” atop the door. She didn’t quite get the hang of following the tape template, but it might actually be more charming this way.

welcome fairies sign at fairy houseThe inside of the door was also stamped. Honestly, I did this part. It’s just a question mark stamp, turned upside down. The girls are absolutely obsessed with the little latch to the door, although we’ve talked a lot about how we’d never actually want to catch a fairy. We’re still working on that concept.

door to the Fairy House

We’ve been open for operation for about a week, and haven’t had a fairy visit yet. I’ll be the first to let you know when we do.

Finsihed Fairy House

By the way, I wanted to share this now because summer decor is on sale at Michael’s, and we got this little house for about $1.50 on sale. I hope you can find a starter home like this on sale at your local craft store.

Do you have memories of building a fairy house when you were little?

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Darla | 6 Comments

I took one final trip to NYC this summer, and it was bound to be fun at the HGTV Magazine Blogger Block Party. Since my career actually started because of cable HGTV that we accidentally started getting all those years ago, this was kind of a big deal for me, finally getting to meet some of the folks at the mother ship. Did you know that HGTV has a magazine? Its part of the Hearst family, so of course they are located in New York. Pick up their latest issue, which is covered in color, or keep reading for a little surprise.

Welcome to the HGTV Blogger Block Party

The magazine is all about helping you make good design decisions at home, and helping you be creative with affordable projects that are easy, don’t take a lot of time, and pack a nice punch. Check out this high impact kitchen art idea that you can make with wooden spoons, an IKEA frame and, of course, paint.

HGTV Magazine Kitchen art

We had fun watching the Editor vs. Blogger Flea Market Flip challenge, where both had a side table, chair and lamp to make over during the event. Oh, the pressure of making over 3 pieces in just a few hours! They were both winners when each was judged, and my friend Beth Hunter  (she’s also one of the amazing founders of Haven Conference) won some of the goods. How clever is this woven touch from Brett Bara?

Flea Market Flip at HGTV Magazine
Brett’s other project was a little out there, but turned out so cute. She made a over an ugly lamp with hot glue and plastic spoons!

Flea market flip at HGTV party


Really, all of the projects were beautiful and colorful, like the matching lamp wrapped with pink twine, and the old table covered with washers for in industrial look.


Flea Market Flip judging

One of my favorite things was the photo backdrop and the stage backdrop. It was hard to take your eyes off those luscious, vibrant colors on the doors. But it became easier when Scott McGillivray, star of the long-running HGTV show Income Property, showed up to share Contractor Confessions. He totally nailed the top 5 ways to add value-generate more equity than the cost of the project in any home, with a load of humor as he told us how he got started when he was just a college student.

Scott McGillivray at HGTV Blogger Block PartyHere are his top 5 value adds:

5. Flooring updates

4. Fixtures, hardware and light switches.

3. Bathrooms. Can you believe some people put up with this?

Updated bathrooms are a high value add says Scott McGillivray

2. Kitchens, whether it’s a small project or a big one.

1. Income suites. You’ve seen his show, right?

Yes, we’re buds now.

HGTV Magazine Scott McGillivray

It’s always fun meeting up with friends, like Kelsey Hubbard.

Kelsey Hubbard

And my friend Diane Henkler from In My Own Style showed up, as well.

Diane Henkler from In My Own Style at HGTV party

Since the event was open to the public, I even made a new French friend. Estella and her boyfriend popped in on their 10-day tour of New York. I got to parler Francais un peux and explain HGTV and DIY. Sorry for the blurry picture, but aren’t they adorable?

HGTV Blogger Block Party

Like me, Kelsey is also eyeing up the possibility of a new kitchen in the vintage home that her family just bought last year. We talked to Marilyn from Cabinets to Go, and we both picked out our new cabinets. You’re having them delivered, right Marilyn?

Cabinets to Go at HGTV

Since it’s all about color, I had to stop and admire Timothy from the security team for the party. Snazzy, right? You know what they say, it’s always the shoes that make the outfit. I want them.

colorful characters at the HGTV Blogger Block Party HGTV Blogger Block Party (58)

Thanks again to Editor in Chief Sara Peterson and her team that put on a fun party. Do you think she likes color, too?

Sara Peterson from HGTV Magazine

If you haven’t had a chance yet, pick up a copy of the magazine soon. Or, you could enter here for one of the two magazines + cute bags that I’ll be sending to winners by September 10. I hope you win! Just enter below. And be sure to visit the other giveaways I have going on right now for a HomeRight paint sprayer and a Calphalon slow cooker.

#GIveaway HGTV Magazines

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on: August 23rd, 2014 by Darla | 2 Comments

This might be the best organizing advice for a busy life and for highly capable people…


Organizing Tip for Busy Moms

If you think I’m posting this for you, you should know that repeat this mantra often to myself. Hope it helps you, too.

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Darla | 3 Comments

Last summer we got involved with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and I was inspired to build this lemonade stand from shipping pallets. Here are the plans, in case you’d like to break out your power tools.

how to build a lemonade stand from pallets


  • 2 Pallets, approx 48″ x 40″
  • A third pallet for extra boards
  • 2 dowel rods, approx 44″ long and 1/2″ diameter
  • 2 sets of hook and eye hardware
  • 2 sets of gate hardware and carabiners
  • 8 screws, washers and bolts
  • Yellow fabric, approximately 45″ wide x 28″ long, and trim, if desired
  • Optional Chalk Paint® decorative paint from Annie Slaon

Step 1: Mark the middle of the first pallet through the horizontal top slats (not the three big bottom slats) and cut down the middle with a circular saw. You’ll need to position on a solid work table, or have an assistant steady the pallet halves as you finish the cut. I used my Kreg Rip-Cut for this. Then flip it over to complete the cut clear through.

cutting the pallet for lemonade stand

Step 2: Repeat Step 1 for the second pallet.

Step 3: Choose the pallet half with the slats closest together to serve for the top (table surface) of your stand. If you want to have a hidden shelf area, flip this pallet over and nail on a few extra salvage boards from the third pallet on the underside of the top piece to create a shelf for the cash box and other goodies.

reinforcing the pallet lemonade stand

Step 4: Chose another decent looking half-pallet to be the front of your stand.

Step 5: Cut down the two other half-pallets to cut for the sides. It should be approximately 24″ high, or as high as your front. front, top, and part of sides of pallet lemonade stand

Be sure to cut each half-pallet so you keep the former center support intact. This way, you don’t need to re-frame it.

sides of the pallet lemonade standsides of the pallet lemonade stand

Step 6: Add hook and eye hardware to the front and sides. You will now have a 3-sided structure with no top yet attached.

hardware for pallet lemonade stand

pallet lemonade stand hardwarefasten the pallet lemonade stand together

Add latch hardware from the underside of the top to the inside of the sides. Clip in a carabiner. This secures the entire structure together, but allows you to break it down easily.

gate latches for pallet lemonade stand

Step 7: Choose 4 straight boards from step 4 that are approximately 40 inches long. Trim two of them to 36″ long (or about 4-6″ shorter than your longest support). Drill a hole in all 4 slats about 2″ from the top. Your dowel rod should fit through these holes. Use any of these tools in the appropriate size to create your hole for the dowel rods.

drill holes for pallet lemonade stand uprightspallet lemonade stand uprights

Step 8: Drill 2 holes in the left and right sides of the top half-pallet and also the bottom of the straight boards from step 7. You want 2 holes in each board, top and bottom, about 2″ away from each other. These targets are marked in the picture below.

sides of pallet lemonade stand

Step 9: Bolt each slat onto the top half-pallet on the sides with two each: bolt, washer, nut. Be sure the shorter slats are in the front, and the longer slats are in the back.

uprights on pallet lemonade stand

Step 10: Sew the material in a rectangle, first with a simple hem on the short sides. Pin the material inside out to create a simple rod-pocket that is large enough for your dowel rods on each of the long ends. If you want a dramatic overhang in the front of your stand, be sure to create the rod-pocket with about 4″ of extra material to hang off the front dowel rod.

fabric awning for pallet lemonade stand made from pallets

Step 11: Slip the dowel rods in the two rod pockets. Fit the dowel rods into the holes at the top of the slats attached to the top half-pallet. The front panel of the awning should hang lower than the back panel.

awning for pallet lemonade stand

Step 12:  Optional: Paint a few slats on the front half pallet with 3 coats of white Chalk Paint® decorative paint from Annie Sloane. Do not wax. This creates a durable outdoor chalkboard finish that you can use to advertise your cause.

chalkboard surface on Pallet Lemonade Stand

Optional: Sand the pallet lightly with a sanding block. You wont get it smooth, but you can knock down splinters. This is a great way to get the little people involved.

sanding pallet lemonade stand

Please Note: This design is for the purposes of low-cost and portability. This is not intended as a play structure. If you modify this design for regular children’s play, please be sure to securely and permanently bolt together the front, sides and top. Always supervise children.

Check out this video to see how to assemble your pallet lemonade stand so it can easily travel to your next event.

Pallet Lemonade Stand