Occasionally Crafty

April 16, 2015

The Handmade Hangout #44: A Link Up for All Things Created By You

I have an exciting announcement!  As of this week, I'm joining in with 7 other creative ladies to host The Handmade Hangout!  I'm thrilled to be a part of this group of talented bloggers and can't wait to see your awesome projects!

Every week, I will be choosing my favorite projects that are linked up to share before the party, and will be featuring them on Instagram, Facebook, as well as pinning them to the Handmade Hangout Pinterest Board.

The party will go live at 6pm ET every Thursday.  You link up once and your project will be displayed on 8 blogs!  It will run until midnight on Monday, so you have all weekend to link up your favorite crafts, projects, recipes, and stories. That's a win for everyone!

We have just a few little rules:

1.  Become a follower of the blog where you linked up.  Of course we'd love it if you follow all our hosts on whatever platforms you use most!

Allison from A Glimpse Inside

Christina from Christina's Adventures

Becca from From Gardners to Bergers

Kim from Too Much Time on My Hands

Heather from Twin Dragonfly Designs

Valerie from Occasionally Crafty

Tracie from Cleverly Inspired

Alli from Made with HAPPY

2.  Share our button or party link in your post or wherever you share your linky parties!
Occasionally Crafty


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April 14, 2015

My Blog Got a Facelift: A Tour through the New Design

If you've stopped by the blog today, you've probably noticed that it looks a little different around here! If you're reading this in your email, click over so you can see what I'm talking about!  

I love the Blogger platform, and I'm not ready to switch to Wordpress now (or maybe ever).  I was thrilled to hear about Kim from The Kim Six Fix, who specializes in optimizing the Blogger platform to make it cleaner, more profitable, and easier to navigate.  

Until now, everything I've done to the design of the blog has been done my me, through lots of research and trial and error.  It's been wonderful to have another set of eyes on the blog, helping make it work even better for you and for me.   

So, let's take a little tour on what's new!  Let's start at the top:

I've got a brand new header.  It's basic and pretty, and I love it.  It really gets down to the meat of what I do here on the blog.  Underneath the header is my navigation bar, which you can click on to take you to any of the pages in my blog.

Since my co-author left, I needed a new "Hello Box".  Here's a quick intro to my friends and fans, and you can click on the link to go to my "About" page to get to know me even better.

I am in love with my social media icons!  I really want to connect with you wherever you "live" on social media.  So, when you first stop by, you can find me by clicking any of the blue icons at the top.  Or, as you scroll through the page, the gray social media icons will scroll with you, so if you are inspired to connect with me later, you can easily find them.

My "Subscribe" box for my Newsletter is easier to find.  If you don't have time to read my blog every day, why not sign up for the newsletter and let my blog come to you, via email?  I'd love for you to sign up!

As you scroll down the homepage, you'll notice my format has changed.  Until now, I've had three posts in their entirety on the front page.  While that kept you from having to click through to read, it also meant lots and lots of scrolling, as well as a longer load time.  Now my most recent post is larger on the top, while earlier posts are truncated in the layout below.  It should be easier to find recent content, and a faster experience for you as a user.

I've also consolidated my blog post categories so my projects are easier for you to find.  Almost all of my posts fit into these categories.  Looking for a Halloween project?  Click "Seasonal & Holiday".  What about that Baby Shower Favor printable?  It will be under "Printables" and "Gift Ideas".

I have a cool new scrolling Instagram Widget, so you can see what's going on in my feed.  I often post sneak peeks of projects or behind the scenes details on Instagram, so if you're not following me yet, what are you waiting for?

Finally, I didn't ignore the important space at the bottom of my page.  Here you once again can connect with me via social media or by subscribing to my newsletter.  You'll also find badges for affiliate networks I'm involved with.  Finally, my Privacy Policy and Copyright Statement are here for anyone interested in sharing my posts.

So there you go:  Occasionally Craft v 3.0!  Thanks again to Kim Six Blog Troubleshooting for the makeover.  She is wonderful to work with and everything was done quickly and just as I asked for it to be.  

What do you think?  Which new feature are you most excited by?  Thanks so much for stopping by!
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April 9, 2015

Creative Kids Bathrooms Roundup

Since making over my kids' bathroom, I've got bathroom makeovers on the brain!  Luckily Hometalk has all the inspiration I need.  I'm brand new to Hometalk, so if you have an account, follow me!

If not and you love all things DIY and crafty, head on over and set up an account!  There is so much amazing inspiration over there for bloggers, non-bloggers, professionals, non-professionals, and everone in between!  But if you get addicted, it's not my fault ;)

I was recently asked to curate a board for Hometalk, and I'm sharing the inspiration with you here today!

16 fun Decor Ideas for Kids Bathrooms
People are so creative!  Here a few of my favorite details:

Angie at Country Chic Cottage made this adorable Book-themed Bathroom.  I love how she framed book pages, and the Scrabble-tiles are the perfect touch.

Jojo and Eloise made this Vintage Popeye-themed Bathroom.   The red vanity just "pops"!


The link to this post is broken, but I have to include it because I love this sink SO much!  

kids bathroom design ideas, bathroom ideas, home decor

You can find more details about this nautical bathroom here: 

I hope you’ll pop over and see the rest of the Creative Kids' Bathrooms I put together!
There are a bunch more from this board alone but let me tell you, this is only a small portion of the inspiration you'll find there, 
Don't forget to stop by and follow me.  Like I said, I'm brand new, but I'll be putting together lots more inspiration for you to browse soon!

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April 6, 2015

Teacher Appreciation GIft: Thanks for "Stick"-ing With Me

Before I get to today's regular post, I just want to throw something out there to any Arizona friends.
My daughter has been raising a market pig, Louie, since November, and this week, she will be showing it here at the Maricopa County Fair (Arizona).  He is a purebred Berkshire.  

He's even bigger than when I took this picture!
She's worked hard feeding him, cleaning him, mucking out his stall, and training him to show.  This is her first year, and she has done such an amazing job!  I'm so proud of her.  She's truly learned she can do hard things, and has improved in patience and perserverence.  She's also learned about budgeting, marketing, and much more.
We still haven't secured a buyer for her pig.  It will sell at auction, but a private buyer receives a full tax deduction for any amount bid over market price!  If you, a group of people you know, or a business you work with would be interested in purchasing Louie, please email me (occasionallycrafty at yahoo dot com) ASAP!  I have all the details, including a free parking and food pass for the fair.  The auction is SATURDAY! 
It's getting close to that time of year again: Teacher Appreciation Week!  I have a fun gift idea that you can give your child's teacher any time of the year!

Teaching would be easy if every child mastered every concept at the same time, behaved like perfect angels, and had amazing parents that helped their child excel at home.

Obviously this isn't the case.  Let's show our teachers some appreciation for all they do, especially for the ones who go the extra mile to help your child.

When a teacher takes extra time to tutor my child during lunch, send home supportive notes when he or she does well on something they've struggled with, or really connects with my child as a person as opposed to just another class member, that teacher is worth her weight in gold!

As a former teacher myself, I know how thankless the job can be.  So this year I whipped up a little gift tag for my elementary school teachers to thank them for "stick"-ing with my child, through the good times and the rough times.

I used washi tape to tape the glue sticks together, then tied a ribbon around it to attach the tag.
I would also include a gift card with this, even though our teachers always need glue sticks.  (I hear teachers love gift cards ;)
You can download your tags here (6 to a page).

Check out all the other Craft Lightning Teacher Appreciation Posts by clicking on the button below!  

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April 3, 2015

Transform your Golden Oak Cabinets with Java Gel Stain

A few weeks ago,  I showed you my Kids' Bathroom Makeover.  By far, my favorite part of the makeover is the transformation of my golden oak cabinets using Java Gel Stain by General Finishes.  I finally got around to writing up a tutorial for you, as well as some things I learned if you want to give it a try yourself.
First, let me just say that this post is not sponsored.  I read several posts I found on Pinterest extolling the virtues of the gel stain, so I knew I had to try it.  The only thing is, it can be hard to find.  Here in Phoenix, I had to go to a tiny little vintage thrift store to find it.  Luckily, you can order it on Amazon here (affiliate link).  Just make sure to plan in time for shipping, and while you're there, order the sealer as well.
There are other colors besides Java.  This color is a rich dark brown, which is important to know because the pictures almost appear black.  Make sure you pick the color you really want.
To get started, you'll need the following
Painter's Tape
General Finishes Gel Stain in Java
Sealer (I didn't get the GF one, so I just picked up some Minwax Polyurethane at Lowe's)
Painting Pyramids or something similar
Plastic sheeting or other to protect surfaces
Sponge brushes
1. Prepare your surfaces.  If you are using previously stained cabinets, like my golden oak ones, you don't need to sand or strip them at all!  Just wipe them down with soapy water and dry.  Make sure any gunk or debris is cleaned away.  Remove all hardware (keep track of which door or drawer they belong to!) Tape your floors and walls,  and around anything on the cabinet itself you don't want stained. Lay down plastic sheeting to protect surfaces if desired.  
2.  Place your doors on painting pyramids so you can paint the edges easily.  Make sure you aren't in direct sunlight, or your stain will dry too quickly.  I set up in my garage (sorry for taking your space, husband!)  Using a sponge brush, paint on your first coat of stain.  It is very thick so a little goes a long, long way- but don't be too stingy or you'll need more coats of stain.  I chose to use the brush because I had lots of little nooks and corners on my doors.  I've seen others use a long sock with a plastic glove on underneath.  Use what you're most comfortable with. 
3.  Apply first coat.  Try to go in the same direction with your brush on each section of door.  Freak out because the first coat looks scary.  It is splotchy and you can see all your brush strokes.  I promise it will get better.  I painted the front sides in the morning and let them dry for a few hours, then came back in the afternoon to flip them over and stain the back sides.  In between, I went inside the house and painted the cabinet itself in the bathroom.  Let first coat dry overnight.
*Side note- this works on wood veneer or fake wood too!  Parts of my cabinets are not real oak, and those parts took the stain just as well as the real wood did!  So just stain it all.
4.  Apply second coat directly over the first- no sanding needed.  Again, do the fronts in the morning, backs in the afternoon, and dry overnight.  You should see much better coverage and your brush strokes should blend in easily as it dries.  
5.  Apply a third and final coat in the same manner.  Let dry overnight.  I've put together a collage so you can see the difference each coat makes.  
In the 2nd and 3rd coats, you can't see my brush strokes at all!  You may need to touch up a few spots after the 3rd coat, but if not, continue on to seal your cabinets.
6.  After you are happy with the coverage and it is completely dry, apply two coats of sealer.  Sealer dries much more quickly than the stain, so I did one coat in the morning, then returned and did a second coat in the afternoon.  Sand lightly in between coats for even coverage. 
*Please for the love of gorgeous cabinets, choose a high quality polyurethane sealer.  You don't want all your hard work to go to waste!
7.  Let cabinets dry a full 24 hours after applying the last coat of sealer before moving them.  I actually moved them inside after 24 hours, and then waited another few days before hanging them.  That's partly because I had to spraypaint my hardware and buy the knobs I wanted, but you might want to think about doing that too.  It would stink to spend all that time and effort only to get a bunch of chips while hanging the doors.
8.  Reattach hardware.  Drill holes if attaching knobs or handles.  Rehang doors.  Apply bumper pads on the insides of the doors to protect them from being chipped when being closed.  Enjoy your gorgeous cabinets!  

 Huge difference, right?  I love it so much!  If you have any questions I'd be happy to try to answer them- just leave me a note in the comments or email me.  Have a wonderful weekend and have fun staining!

I may be linking this post up to some of these parties- check them out with me!

**Affiliate Links May be Used in the Post.  Thank you for supporting Occasionally Crafty by visiting the blog today!**

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March 31, 2015

Introducing: Mom Confessions

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

I want to introduce a new segment on the blog.  Once in a month, I'll be hosting "Mom Confessions". I have no problems admitting I'm not a perfect mom.  I hope this is a place where you can share your less-than-shining moments without judgement!

To introduce the series, I'm talking about what makes me a mean mom.

Dear Kids of Mine,

   You know I've never professed to be the perfect mom.  I don't keep a perfect house. I lose my patience.  A lot.  I don't always make the best parenting choices- like that time I let little D swing from the really high rope swing he swore he could handle, then he let go, crashed to the ground, and tore open his lip.

Yes, moments like that don't shine me in the best light.  But though I might tend towards being a strict mom, I'm not usually a mean mom.

The other day, I have to admit it-- I was mean.  

I may or may not have told someone to shut up.

I may or may not have said "What's the matter with you?"

I may or may not have grabbed all the toys left on the floor after the boys "cleaned" their room and thrown them in the garbage.

When you told me "You've been mean all day!", I realized I wasn't acting like myself.  Something was making me angrier than normal, and after going through a mental checklist, I realized I was hungry.

When my days are busy, I often subsist on leftover crackers from D's lunch and a spoonful of peanut butter.  Those are the days my temper flares easily
So kids, I'm sorry what I did and said when I was hangry- you know, hungry + angry?  
Next time I'll make sure to grab a SNICKERS® bar at Walgreens, so I don't take my hunger out on you.
Apparently, I turn into a mean mom when I'm hungry.  
Love, your Mom
  • Enter the SNICKERS® "Who are you when you're hungry?" contest by uploading a personal photo or video from yourComputer, Facebook, Instagram or use the SNICKERS® Meme Generator to create something new! Voting begins at Noon on 5/11/15 and ends at 11:59:59AM ET on 7/15/15.

Parents:  If you are prone to anger, don't forget to make a note of your triggers so you can avoid them. I've learned to recognize that some of my triggers are these:

Running Late- I tend to get really upset if we're having trouble getting out the door.

Hunger- as mentioned above!

Fatigue- when I'm tired, I definitely am more prone to anger.  It's important to be well-rested 
when possible.

This quote has helped me a lot, and I hope it can help someone else too.

What turns you into a "mean mom"?  What are some of your triggers?
Join the discussion in the comments below.

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March 29, 2015

Craft A-Z Month GIVEAWAY!

Hey everyone!  I don't usually post on Sundays, but I wanted you to be the first to get in on this awesome giveaway!

In case you forgot, March is National Craft Month!  I posted a craft for the letter "E" as part of Crafting in the Rain's Craft Month A-Z.  See all the crafts here.

To celebrate our love of making things, we are giving away TWO awesome prizes!

1.  Prize #1:  DecoArt Metallic Paint Set, FloraCraft goodie bag, Duck Tape, Starbucks gift card

2.  Prize #2:  $50 Royal Design Studios gift card, American Crafts goodie bag, Duck Tape, Starbucks gift card

Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!  

Giveaway runs 3/28/15 - midnight 4/4/2015. Open to US residents 18 and older. Giveaway not affiliated with Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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