How to upcycle furniture the easy (and cheap!) way- and how not to

I have some valuable info for all you crafty DIY types out there! Actually, if you are that type, you probably already know. So, maybe this info is for all those who, like me, create a crap storm of a mess every time you try to make stuff. I invented Pinterest fails. So, maybe you will learn or maybe you can get a laugh from this post. Either way, you win.

Let me start out by explaining what prompted all this artsy-ness. I’m involved with a local ministry and some of us decided to try an experiment. We each accepted a challenge to take $50 and multiply it in any way we could in order to use the profit to bless another woman. We originally had two weeks to do it, so that was my mindset and time frame starting out. Later, the deadline was actually extended so we could take advantage of Mother’s Day gift buyers, which led to my next experiment that I will share in a future post.

So, with a short time frame and $50, I had to do the quick hustle rather than craft some intricate Prestige Worldwide import/export economic asset optimization corporation. I made up that whole phrase. It literally has no meaning. Anyway, I’m pretty good at the quick hustle, having been pretty broke the good majority of my life.

Read more about how to do the quick hustle here.

So, I hit a few garage sales on a Saturday morning, looking for stuff to flip. It was a pretty lame garage sale day but I got a few things. I did not take before pics because I’m not a good blogger. I got a wooden kids chair, a small metal table and a wooden end table. The end table was $7.50 and the other two things were $4.50 together. That was a cheap deal because the lady didn’t have change for a $20 so she said she would take the ones I had on me even though I offered to go get change. So, I found two quarters to throw in. She originally wanted $5 each. (If you do the math, you will notice I was about to spend $10 but the lady only made me pay $4.50. That is a savings of almost 60 percent, people!)

Okay, so my thought was that I would paint the stuff and resell it. It was all sturdy, just kind of old and dirty and ugly. Well, guess what. Paint is stinkin’ expensive. I had forgotten that. So, I then spent a large chunk of my $50 buying paint. They only had one can of what I really wanted, which was chalk spray paint. So, I bought that and two cans of regular gray spray paint and a can of gold.

I painted the kids chair (which had a seat that lifted off so you could store toys in it) a dark gray. It took about a can and a half to get good coverage on it. I listed it on a local Facebook yard sale group and it sold for $20 right away.

I painted the small metal table gold and I still have it. It’s cute and someone should buy it. 

I painted the white end table with the light gray chalk paint and it turned out perfect. It looked so good. It sold quickly for $25. I love that paint.

I know it looks blue but it really was a pale gray with a white top.

The next week our town had their city-wide garage sale. I waited until the sales were over (for one thing because I was sick) and then went Sunday night driving around town looking to see if anyone had stuff that didn’t sell sitting out by the curb. They did but it was mostly junky stuff. EXCEPT for this one gem. It was a wooden glass top table with a magazine/book storage on the bottom and a lamp attached. It was the lovely late nineties hunter green and oak with a super gross and dirty lamp shade. But it was solid and we loaded that baby up. I brought it home and everything started to go downhill with my “free” score.

I knew that the hardware store was out of the Krylon chalk spray paint (about $8 a can at Ace Hardware) so I went to Wal-Mart to see what they had while I was buying supplies for my other projects. They had a Rust-oleum chalk spray paint (about $7 per can) and I figured they would work about the same. I was wrong. The Rustoleum was no bueno. It was drippy and didn’t stick as well and had worse coverage than the Krylon. So, since I had some left over primer, I just painted over it with that. Then, I used some white spray paint I already had in the garage. It just kept getting worse. I was trying to keep from spending more money on this thing so I just kept throwing more paint at it. Nothing was really working too well so I finally had to go back to the hardware store and get some cream-colored Krylon. It wasn’t chalk paint but at this point, I just had to work with what I could get. Of course, over all those other layers (I refuse to sand), there were imperfections showing through and there were some really hard angles to get even coverage on inside of the storage slots.

Good paint

Bad paint.

So, I still wasn’t happy with the results, even when I plopped a new lampshade on top. So, then (I’m sorry this is a long story), I painted the gold lamp parts with rubbed bronze that I already had here. It looked somewhat better but not up to my standards. Then one night I woke up at 3am with the remembrance that I had some antiquing glaze I used on my bathroom cabinets a couple years ago. Aha! I could hardly wait to apply it. (Some might say I have obsessive tendencies.) It did just what I hoped it would and I am now perplexed as to why no one has bought it yet. I will keep it if no one does because it’s really cute now but I would like to make some of this paint/lamp shade money back so we can have a higher profit for our mission!

So, the take-away here is this: ONLY BUY KRYLON CHALK SPRAY PAINT. If you buy it from this link, I get some money. I don’t know how much. Let’s try it and find out.

The end.

P.s. Look for my next post soon about the other DIY project I attempted. I had one win and one fail in that experiment. It involved time in the kitchen.

 

 

How to do the quick hustle

Just so you know, I invented the phrase “quick hustle.” I mean, it’s not copyrighted or anything but when it goes viral, I just want you to remember you heard it here first.

 

via GIPHY

Anyhoo, here is how and why you do the quick hustle.

You might need to make a quick buck one day. You know, like when you are in school and can’t work full-time yet you have full-time bills and your tire explodes? Or you get laid off unexpectedly but you still need to buy your prescription? Stuff like that. It usually isn’t a way to make a lot of money but it should be enough to buy plenty of eggs and oranges to get you through (Did you know you could live off eggs and oranges and be healthy? I’m pretty sure it’s true).

Step 1. Sell everything non-essential. Decor off the walls is a great place to start. This used to be harder to do but then we got Craigslist and then, even better, we got Facebook yard sale groups. Literally sell everything you can. Sell small stuff for $5 because it will add up if you have enough small stuff. Yes, it takes time but desperate times call for desperate measures. You could have a garage sale if you have a ton of things but to me it seems like you can make more selling online item-by-item. If you have a car payment, GET RID OF THAT THING. Even if you are upside down, talk to your bank and see what you can do. Even if you don’t have a car payment, you might consider selling your vehicle if it is worth anything and buying a beater. I once got a $500 Honda that was all wrecked up but it ran like a champ! I drove it until I had a baby to consider. A car seat wouldn’t fit in the back because it was a two-door and the back seat was pretty smashed in. 🙂

Step 2. Look for free or super cheap stuff on Facebook yard sale sites and Craigslist that you can resell. Craigslist has a free section and some towns have “freecycle” groups on Facebook. This is not a guaranteed way to make money because obviously you never know when someone will be giving away something valuable but check often. Once I made a bunch of money because someone was moving and put a lot of stuff out by the curb for free. In that pile were two large dog crates! Hello! I knew I could sell those for at least $25 each. So look for things like that. College towns are so good at the end of semesters because of students moving and not being able to take things with them.

Step 3. Facebook has also made this step a lot easier. Ask everyone in the universe if you can clean their house and/or detail their cars. You have to do a good job on this because you might need to use it again some day and they aren’t going to hire you back if you do it half-way.

Step 4. Cancel any services that you don’t have to have. Yes, you basically do have to have the internet to navigate the world these days but if you are able to get to the library or anywhere else that has free wi-fi, do that. Cable TV is not essential.

Step 5. Don’t buy food until you have to (and then buy the cheap stuff like eggs and dried rice and beans and oatmeal). Use all the weird odds and ends that you have in the pantry. No lie, I once ate spaghetti for breakfast. It was actually super gross and next time I think I would just skip breakfast.

Step 6. Bake stuff to sell. Once again, thank you Facebook. If it is close to a holiday, you are in double luck. People are big on homemade cinnamon rolls and pies. It is best to secure the orders before you buy the supplies, that way you make sure you aren’t spending more than you will make.

Step 7. Go cash in your change jar. Please tell me you keep a change jar.

Step 8. Besides cleaning, sometimes people need other chores done, too. One thing I have done before is ironing. People like it when you can pick up the stuff, take care of it and drop it back off for them. It makes things easy for them and the easier you can make things for someone, the more valuable your services will be to them. You could grocery shop or run all kinds of errands.

Step 9. This is a great time to work those skills you have that other people need. If you know how to use a certain software or fix cars or roof a house, tell everyone in the world what you can do and ask if you can do it for them. Check the Craigslist “gigs” section too.

Step 10. You could babysit. I haven’t ever gone this far but you could.

Of course, if you are in big trouble or anyone in your house is going hungry, you need to reach out for help. Check the local food pantries. If you don’t know where to go, call a church and ask them. They can usually tell you who all in town provides what.

Also, the real step one is to pray.

Have you ever done a “quick hustle?” Tell us all about it!

 

Monat Review plus some new FREEBIES

Okay, everyone! If you haven’t heard of Monat, surely you will soon. It’s the hair product company (MLM) with the name no one knows how to pronounce. Please note: I AM NOT SELLING MONAT AND THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL REVIEW THAT I AGREED TO DO. I do not have any deals with anyone over this or anything like that. I just had a bunch of friends who were curious about it and so I figured I would try some samples and share my results.

The video cuts me off at the end but what I was saying was that lately I have been learning about internet marketing and selling things online. I want to share that info with the world! So, if you aren’t on my email list, you may want to subscribe because this is going to be good stuff for everyone! Stay-at-home-mom who want to sell something online, network marketers, business owners, communication professionals, etc will all benefit from my newfound knowledge. So tune in!

Also, the two new freebies I mentioned are up but have not been shared anywhere. If you are interested in either of these, just click the link to the one (or both) that you want.

  1. An ebook that I wrote a few years ago and forgot about until now. I did it back before Canva (which is a site where you can design all sorts of images- if you want to know more about it, holler at me), and I did it on PowerPoint and then I guess I didn’t know what to do with it from there. But now I do! It is a short guide on being an extrovert who stays at home.
  2. This is an audiofile of a short talk I gave at church last Mother’s Day. It is about John 15 (the vine and the branches) and growing your personal relationship with Christ in a way that lets you experience supernatural power here in your time on Earth. It’s only about 10 minutes long!

If you know anyone who could benefit from either of these things, please share this post with them (you can copy and paste the link in a message or email to them).

Now, the review.

I made a new friend (and she wants to give you something)

Yes, as goofy as I am, I occasionally make another friend besides you. And this gal is a good friend to have because she likes to produce tons of awesome resources and then give them away. FOR FREE! (Speaking of “fo free,” does anyone remember this sweet video?)

Becca is a young mom with a delightful English accent and apparently her stuff all together. I mean, her tagline over at Homemakers in Action is “Help for the undomesticated homemaker.” Hello. That’s me. She’s not only kicking tail at the whole homemaking thing, but she’s also doing impressive things as an online business owner. Hello. That’s future me. So, as you can see, Becca and I are a match made in Heaven. She has what I need and I need what she has. And, because you’re my friend, I thought you might be interested in what she has too.

Check it out. The Time Management Toolkit. Um, yeah. Let’s get one of those. Okay, it’s free and look at what all is in it. This blows me away, seriously. #freebiegoals #Iwanttomakeallthethings

  • A video training guide on goal setting (I have got to work on goal setting!!)
  • A 10-page goal setting workbook
  • An 11-page morning and evening routines workbook
  • A printable and customizable habit tracker
  • A time management apps checklist
  • Cheat sheets for self care, cleaning and prayer hacks (prayer hacks! that cracks me up, I don’t know why)
  • 3 motivational posters for you to print out and display in your home

So, that’s it. Just some free stuff you might like. And while I am focusing on the Time Management Toolkit, Becca has tons of other free resources on her site so feel free to shop around!

I hope you like it! Let me know what you think!

Ps I have a new free thing coming soon! It is already done, I just have to find time to post it!

Mother’s Day GIVEAWAY! HOLLA!

If you want to hear me talk about the giveaway, watch this video. If you just want to enter the giveaway, click here. If you want to know what all this is about, read this:

Because I love you, I’m doing a giveaway for Mother’s Day! Yay! You do not have to be a mama to win. Sign up for yourself, to gift to your own mama or to give to your baby mama! This giveaway ends at midnight on Friday so the time is short! Hurry!!!

The Heather Brown Project’s by heather741
Giveaway includes the following:

DIY lip balm kit from Orglamix ($15)
2 glass drinking straws from Strawesome ($16)
“World’s Best Mom” high-quality socks by Oliver & Otis ($18) from Savvy Parke
“If found in microwave, please return to Mom” coffee mug ($15)
Pretty journal ($6)
“The Power of a Positive Mom” book by Karol Ladd ($15)
No shipping charge (Trust me on this that I spent at least $20 on shipping for all this stuff. Worth it because, again, I love you.)

Now go, go gooooooooo!!!

Ps: This is THE LAST day you can order the UHB. Did you forget what the UHB is? Click here to learn more.

It’s pretty much like Christmas

It’s not like you expected homemaking to be a piece of cake. 

But you had no idea you’d be so tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed, right?

Don’t ask me how I know! When I first became a wife and mom years ago, I needed GPS to find my way around the kitchen. Oh, and developing systems to efficiently handle cleaning? The word “systems” just makes me laugh.

Homemaking is filled with mundane tasks that never end (hello, laundry), but here’s the thing: do you want to spend more time overwhelmed by things you don’t enjoy?

No, no, you do not.

So what if you could find resources to help you become better at homemaking (and maybe even learn to love it)? Ready to level up on that whole “turning a house into a home” thing?

Well, look no further, because I found something that might be just what you need: The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. Don’t let the title fool you- yes, it’s for full-time homemakers, but it’s for working mamas too. We know y’all still have to cook and clean and raise them babies!

For six days only, everything you need (and then some) is in one fabulous package, for the most affordable price ever.

This year’s edition of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 50 ebooks, 21 eCourses, 14 printables, 2 videos, 2 audios, 2 summits, and 1 membership site.

These top-quality resources cover everything you need to make homemaking and mothering feel less stressful… quick & healthy recipes, homemaking printables, cleaning tips, sizzling date night ideas, parenting helps, and so much more.

For less than the cost of a meal out (and you won’t need to be rescued by drive-thru after this!), you’ll get a complete library to help you:

  • Cook up wholesome recipes for your family
  • Build stronger relationships with your kids (even your teens)
  • Discover speedy cleaning routines for the toughest messes
  • Rekindle the romance in your marriage
  • Put self-care back into your life
  • and finally enjoy homemaking.

Plus, it comes with over $290 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love (this is one of my favorite parts).

You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes 106 digital products and it’s worth over $1980!

Besides being so incredibly helpful, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, they’re able to give you access to over $1980 worth of amazing products for a whopping 97% off! (You don’t have to do the math- it’s $29.97.)

FOR A SHORT TIME, YOU CAN GET THE EARLY-BIRD SPECIAL! It’s a FREE eReader upgrade for the first 2 days (through 10:59 p.m. CST on Thursday, April 27th); after that the upgrade will be $10. That means not only will you get the downloads, but you will get the Kindle version also!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start your stress-less homemaking journey!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just six days! After Monday night, May 1st, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

Don’t worry about not liking it. If for some reason you wanted your money back, it’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

No one should have to feel overwhelmed by homemaking because it costs too much or they can’t get the help they need.

Surviving as a homemaker is one thing. Becoming efficient as a homemaker is another. And fully embracing all the messy moments and hard times and loving it (most days) is yet another. But it’s not out of reach. (So I hear.)

Learn more or get your bundle HERE.

(Psst… the bundle goes away at 11:59pm Eastern on Monday, May 1st, so don’t wait!)

 

5 ways to use up that leftover Easter ham

Y’all, Easter was just yesterday and I’ve already eaten a ham sandwich on a hot roll for supper last night and a ham and egg biscuit for breakfast this morning. I still have a huge pile of ham in the fridge (Why did none of my guests take any with them? Why did I buy the biggest ham in America? How does the Posi-track on a Pontiac work?). I feel like I better get creative before lunch rolls around. I have gathered up some recipes and decided to share them in case you are like me and you want to put that tasty, delicious pork to good use and not get tired of ham sandwiches. Check out the links below to find your new love!

What’s your favorite way to have ham?

Ham &  cheese puff pastry bake– Similar to a sandwich except a million times better

Ham and green lentil soup– It’s healthy because it has lentils.

Scalloped potatoes and ham from the Pioneer Woman- If you also have leftover scalloped potatoes…jackpot!!

Ham, cheese and veggie quinoa frittatas– these are great for a make-ahead breakfast!

Cobb salad from Damn Delicious- Sorry for the cuss word but her recipes will never let ya down.

 

 

 

Writing your child’s birth story

What day of your life has a bigger impact than the day your kids are born? It’s the day everything changes! It would be such a shame to lose those precious, amazing memories to the foggy haze of sleep deprivation and newborn overwhelm!

That’s why I created this worksheet to help walk you through the process of writing about the day your baby was born!

I’m a storyteller and a storyreader by nature so it seemed automatic that I would record those momentous occasions for posterity. Plus, I weirdly love reading other people’s birth stories. When I published the posts to my blog, I got so many messages from people saying they loved reading about our experiences. I guess it is such a personal thing that we may not always get to glimpse these intimate details about one another.

Whether you care to share your story with the whole internet or not, it’s still important to record. I promise that one day your kids will want to know every detail of the day they entered the world. But, I also realize that all those details can be overwhelming and it can be hard to know what to write. So, that’s why I came up with the Free Birth Story Worksheet. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to document this occasion.

And what better time to roll it out than leading up to Mother’s Day (which is next month, people)? Whether you take the time to fill it out for yourself as a way to reflect and remember your experience OR if you are a dad who does it for the mother of your child, it will be a sweet thing. (Seriously, if you are a dad you should do this and make your wife cry and she will think you are a shining star. If you know a dad who needs some brownie points, go ahead and share this post with him!)

In case you are interested, here is the story of Jack’s birth and the story of Case’s birth, both written soon after the actual day. I may need to revise these before my kids can read.

If you want to share your stories with me after you write them, PLEASE send me a link or just an email if you aren’t publishing it. I truly would love to read your baby’s birth story. Have fun!

P.S. I know some birth stories are hard or don’t have happy endings. Please know that my heart goes out to you, mamas (and daddies). For me, though it may be painful, writing about traumatic experiences is really healing. I hope it is for you too. If you ever want prayer, please contact me and I will be honored to lift you up.

Have you written your child’s birth story? Click here to sign up to receive the free worksheet in your inbox!

 

 

What is so terrible about two year olds? 

Listen, friend. I will never be one to tell another mom who is trying that she is wrong. Or dad, either. I am never going to shame you or make you feel guilty for not cherishing every moment or remembering “the days are long but the years are short,” or that one day you’ll miss this. No, I will not. I mean, if you love your kids and you protect them and give them food then A+ to you, I say! 

But honestly, what is this business about the terrible twos? Granted, my oldest kid is 4 so it’s not like I’m an expert on all the ages. But with the two kids I’ve had, two has been a delightful age. Who says funnier things than a two-year-old? And sure, they may throw a fit now and then but do your older kids and babies not also do that? I mean, at least they can communicate what they are throwing a fit about! Babies just scream and scream and you have to assume it’s some mystical ailment called “colic.”

I’m just a mom, standing in front of the internet, saying I like two-year-olds. Is that so wrong? 

#abolishageism #2yearoldsarefunny

I googled it and found at least one person who agrees with me! Mainly I’m just writing this for the mama of the six-month-old who might be thinking six-month-olds aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and are terrified it will get worse when they have a two-year-old. It will get worse in some ways, I guess. But so much better in others. And isn’t that the whole story of parenthood? 😉

A review and…a giveaway! 

Hey, friends! 

Who has a case of the Mondays today? Wouldn’t it help to win some free stuff? I thought so. I got your back, girl. (Or guy, if you find yourself here.)

I am thrilled to be able to give a SET OF THREE Women of Faith study books to one reader. 

I also have a set. I just got them not long ago so I’ve only gotten into one of the books so far. If you read my last post, you’ll know it has been used in a mighty way from the first day I opened it up. 

I chose, for no particular reason, to begin with “Praying with Power.” It’s a really practical guide to growing your prayer time into a more intentional and strategic experience. There are twelve lessons (chapters), each with a different focus. This book covers topics like prayer closets, journaling prayers, how God answers and the ever-intimidating (dun dun duuuh) PRAYING OUT LOUD! You’re gonna have to do it some time, you might as well get prepared. 

One thing I really appreciated about this book is the way that the devotional portion was succint and then the next few pages have you answering questions and looking up tons of Scriptures that reinforce the central truth of the lesson. 

Each lesson can be completed in about fifteen minutes or you can really dive in and marinate on each verse (I’m telling you, there are a bunch for each topic) for an even richer learning time. 

At the end, there’s a review and leader guide. 

To enter to win your own set, just leave a comment here, on my Instagram post, or on my Facebook post letting me know which study you would start off with. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday morning. 

Building Your Strengths (Thomas Nelson, 2016) foreword from author and speaker Patsy Clairmont. Learn what Patsy means when she says this about gifts: “It comes so easily to us that we don’t get the big deal about it.” This is a 12-lesson study series where you examine what God says about your gifts and how He has given them to you to shine for Him. Learn how to embrace your strengths and know that they are needed in the kingdom – and how to access them! This book is about leaning on God in all situations and using your gifts to shine his light and glory.
  

Giving God Your Future (Thomas Nelson, 2016) foreword from Thelma Wells. “It sure makes life a lot easier to handle when all the responsibility of planning your future is left up to the Master of the Future.” – Thelma. In this book you will explore what Scripture says about giving everything to God and surrendering to Him. Throughout the 12 lessons you will be able to pray your way to giving up control and give Him your future. This study looks at what the Bible says about trusting God enough to give Him our all and being able to say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Praying With Power (Thomas Nelson, 2016) foreword from author Patsy Clairmont. Patsy says, “Learn how to enter the privileged sanctuary of prayer.” This book has 12 lessons of reflection, exploring, and journaling prayers and scripture to help the reader understand your prayer attitudes and to find ways to get out of prayer ruts. The study inspires you to accept the invitation from God to pray boldly and discover prayer in the two-way conversation it was meant to be. Readers will navigate journaling prayers and how to pray their way through a desert or valley.