Viva Las Vegas!

Like I said in my earlier post, I got to take two trips this year, both somewhat spontaneous. In June, I was having lunch with my best friend (it’s pretty awesome getting to work with your best friend!), and he mentioned that he was going to Las Vegas with an old co-worker. That conversation turned into him inviting me to go with them! We ended up booking our flights the same day (yes, before I even mentioned it to my husband. Oops.) and that was that. I don’t *do* spontaneous trips, generally, so he must have caught me on a good day. He had been two or three times before, so he planned everything and it was glorious! I was a Vegas virgin.

His old co-worker ended up not being able to go after all, so it was just the two of us. We were so excited! We had three days to cover a LOT of ground. 
13450959_10153506854972665_2909842766297239274_n

We basically landed at the airport, took a cab to the hotel, and hit the ground running. We stayed at the Treasure Island hotel. It was in a great location, and our room had a really nice view (I was impressed, at least). 

13501926_10153506854887665_6165718932302720305_n

The first day, we walked up and down most of the strip. I was in awe of how different Vegas was from little old Fort Worth where I live! I wasn’t used to seeing 90% naked women and men walking down the street, that’s for sure – but hey, whatever works.  

13501780_10153506854867665_6500976003071050913_n

We stopped and shopped at Caesar’s Palace, and of course had to stop and have our first drink. It was HUGE, and not cheap! It’s all part of the experience, though, so I was okay with it. 

13393989_10153506852747665_3863481552599397946_n 13445535_10153506852617665_6399432821008949034_n

For dinner that night, we went to Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel, and it was SO good. We both had steak frites, which is what that restaurant is known for, and it did not disappoint. After dinner, we walked by the Bellagio, hoping to see the fountains at night, but they malfunctioned and didn’t put on a show for us. Oh well. 

Yeah, that night we were in bed by 9:30. We were exhausted. On a map, and even in person, everything looks so close together. It’s definitely not. Distance + heat + alcohol = tired travelers!

13427833_10153506852462665_3242773726499776302_n
13466466_10153506852442665_6390253593118965571_n 13445349_10153506852347665_3464516383242331193_n The next day, we had breakfast at Serendipity 3 (frozen hot chocolate… what?!). We did a little more exploring, played on the slot machines a little, and went back to the room for a couple of naps. We had a big night to look forward to, and we knew it wouldn’t be good if we didn’t rest up when we had the chance. 

 

13427787_10153506852197665_2877403349281913277_n-1   13445752_10157304175405354_3870555123608268766_n   13450306_10157304175055354_2740711312990244709_n

That night, we headed to Old Las Vegas (Fremont Street). Blake had never been to that part of Vegas, so it was new for both of us. They call it the Fremont Street Experience… and it was definitely an experience. I said to him several times, “I don’t understand how and why people bring their KIDS to Vegas!” – as naked showgirls walked past us. I saw some things I can’t unsee on Fremont Street, but we loved it. No, we didn’t zipline – maybe next time!

13418861_10157304175290354_1135194139399632422_n

We went to a bar called Commonwealth. It was SO COOL. Definitely the coolest bar I’ve ever been in! They had live music, the decor was perfect, and everyone was laid back. My kind of place. Inside Commonwealth, there is a speakeasy, which was our main reason got going to the bar in the first place. I found out about the speakeasy online, and had to make reservations a few weeks ahead of time. I don’t want to give too much away since it’s supposed to be secret, but I’m sure if you are decent at Googling, you can figure it out! Blake and I both agreed – that was our absolute favorite part of the trip. Definitely worth going back for. We ate next door at a Thai restaurant, strangely enough called Le Thai, and it was also wonderful.

After that, we took an Uber BACK to the strip, because it was time for our next adventure. 

13450811_10153506852037665_9039552435802877445_n-1

13423839_10153506851887665_7576444829293926875_n 13435333_10153506851977665_196635396519164551_n 13435482_10157304174725354_5893564229492246670_n 13450916_10157304173695354_8983717148556179379_n-1 13406729_10157304173590354_6374221530178037394_n

Yeah, that’s right, we did the Happy Half Hour on the High Roller. Yours Truly found a Groupon for $40 – all you can drink for 30 minutes (once around on the High Roller above Las Vegas). We SO got our money’s worth! I highly recommend it, even if you don’t do the open bar car. It was awesome to see at night. If you can get Orlando as your bartender, DO IT. 

After that, we somehow made our way to a club and had a good time there as well. I think we finally got back to the hotel around 3:00 am. Remember when I said we had those naps? That’s why. 

13418973_10153506851602665_671401536242921763_n

The next day, we went to a couple of hotels that we hadn’t visited yet, because there was a Trump rally at Treasure Island that morning. Needless to say, it was a madhouse between security, the people waiting for Trump, and just craziness in general. We wanted to avoid it at all costs! Our feet hurt from all the walking, so we ended up doing a lot of sitting and people watching (also a fun thing to do in Vegas).

Our flight was later that afternoon, so we headed back to the airport – tired, happy, exhausted, and quite a bit poorer. It was so worth it, though. I can’t wait to go back!

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Pinterest Camp is coming up!

A large group of my friends and family used to have Pinterest weekends quite often. We planned WAY in advance, gathered supplies, talked about what we were going to drink (food came second after alcohol)… but we kind of got busy and quit doing them for a couple of years. Now with two of my cousins having babies soon, we decided that we better have another party. It looks like we have a group of about 12, which may be our biggest yet! We’re calling this one Pinterest Camp. Why? I don’t know, other than we will be in sleeping bags on the floor. While my aunt’s house is big, it’s not big enough to sleep all of us! (Some of us are not cuddlers…)

I have started pinning to a board for Pinterest Camp, but haven’t made firm decisions on what to make. Here are a few ideas I have found and love!

via

Merry & Bright via You Are My Fave

1-diy-painted-gold-leaf-ornaments-600x902

Gold Leaf Ornaments via The Sweetest Occasion

vinatge-christmas-village-wreath

Vintage Holiday wreath via Cathie Filian

My problem is that I go in with high hopes of getting everything accomplished, and while I do get more done on those weekends compared to sitting at home by myself, there is so much going on and it’s easy to get distracted. I think I can probably get all three of these made if I try!

What are some of your favorite Christmas decorations that you use year after year? Let me know!

 

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

So. Hi?

My last post on this blog was April 20, 2015. 

What in the world? I have no good reason why I quit posting, nothing too juicy, just a multitude of little things. A friend of mine was challenged to write in her blog every day in November, so I thought… maybe I’ll do it too and see if I’m still feeling it. 

There have been many, many times over the last year and a half where I have thought to myself, “Hey, I should blog about that”. Then I got overwhelmed because I haven’t been here in so long, haven’t checked the blog email in over a year, and I couldn’t even remember the password. You know, things like that! Last night, I recovered my password, emptied the inbox, and updated all of the behind the scenes stuff on the blog. Facing fears and all that jazz.

Quick little updates: I have another nephew, Owen. He just turned one in August. He’s adorable, and he’s the last kid in the family until my brother decides to reproduce one day. I already miss having a little baby around to cuddle! Still working for the same company, still doing the same basic job, just with different people now. I went to Las Vegas for the first time in June of this year with my newest BFF / work husband… he’s gay and just the best guy ever. We had a blast and it was probably the most fun I had had in a long time! I started volunteering for the Resource Center here in Dallas in August, and will actually be teaching some kids about jewelry making in a couple of weeks! It’s something I believe VERY strongly in, and this is one of the ways I can help the most. I went to NYC in September to see ADELE! I went with my 3 best girlfriends from high school and we had the best time. Adele definitely puts on an amazing show, and it was also my first time in New York. I loved the city and cannot wait to go back! I started an Etsy shop to sell my jewelry (and whatever else I decide I want to make). 

So if you didn’t notice the name of the Etsy shop, it is called Stress Crafting. It’s been a bit of a rough year, mentally. Anxiety decided to show its ugly face for the first time earlier this year, and in a big way. I started having panic attacks and now take a daily medication that helps keep them at bay for the most part. This year has been about finding ways to calm myself down and nip the panic attacks and irrational thinking in the bud. One of the things I found helps immensely is crafting, and lately it has been with jewelry. I had made so much of it, I was running out of space for it, and I certainly wasn’t wearing it! It felt good to make it and calmed my soul. I decided to open up an Etsy shop to see if I could make a dent in my built up inventory. It hasn’t done too poorly, especially since I haven’t exactly been pimping it out very much. Anxiety has a way of creeping into your whole life – your marriage, your friendships, your relationships, your alone time, your social life, your work life – and I have yet to discover what triggers it. Instead, I’m learning how to handle it. Crafting is one of those ways to deal with my anxiety. I have good friends that I have confided in, and they know the signs to watch for. I’m pretty lucky to have them! 

Here’s a few pics of what’s been going on since, oh, last April! 

Owen, the youngest nephew. #3!

Owen, the youngest nephew. #3!

Vegas, Baby!

Vegas, Baby!

My husband Kevin and I on July 4th.

My husband Kevin and I on July 4th.

Just a small sampling of the jewelry I made in one day. That's right, ONE DAY.

Just a small sampling of the jewelry I made in one day. That’s right, ONE DAY.

Adele. No other words necessary.

Adele. No other words necessary.

Me and the girls. The Golden Girls. (I'm Rose)

Me and the girls in some rooftop bar that was entirely too cool for us to be allowed into. The Golden Girls. (I’m Rose).

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Texas Bluebonnets

If you live in Texas, you know that when spring comes, so do bluebonnets. If you don’t live in Texas, you probably think Texans are crazy for plopping their kids in a big patch of blue flowers. Taking pictures in the Texas bluebonnets is definitely a tradition in my state, since it is the state flower of Texas! I have no idea if that is a “thing” anywhere else, but it is one of the many things I love about my state.

Logan, One Year Old - Dallas, TX Bluebonnets

Oh yeah… a lot of kids don’t really like being stuck in a field of flowers – for example, my nephew Logan! In this picture, he had just turned one and was not having it. At all. This was taken in Dallas in 2008.

2014 Bluebonnets - Fort Worth, TX

Fast forward a few years – 6, to be exact – and he only took the picture with me so I would shut up. There may or may not have been bribery involved. This was taken in 2014, on a very sunny day (obviously). 

Last Friday, I got a bee in my (blue)bonnet and decided that I needed to go see the flowers in the Texas Hill Country. I recruited my dad (it was not difficult) and we made a day of it! We started at 8:00 am and I got home around 8:30 pm. As you may know, I’m a planner. Big time. However, with just hours notice, there wasn’t much time to do any planning. I knew where the bluebonnets were, and that’s about it. I did have a little time to do some googling and realized that a BBQ place I’ve heard about was in the same city – so we decided that’s where we would eat lunch!  

In Texas, we have a show called Texas Country Reporter. I grew up watching this on weekends, because I feel like my dad wanted to BE the host, Bob Phillips. I also grew up taking lots of fairly impromptu road trips with my family – Dad has wanderlust just like I do. TCR is still on, but there is another show that I love even more, and it is called The Daytripper. It is on PBS, and it is one of my favorite shows on TV! Chet Garner is the host, and he is so goofy and funny – but also super smart and nice. He basically goes to one city per episode and explores it, talks to the locals, eats the food, acts a fool – you know, stuff I love. Last year, the day before we left on our Colorado vacation, Chet was speaking in Arlington – so my husband and I had to go! I had a killer migraine headache, nothing was packed for our 10 day vacation – but we were going to meet him no matter what. 

Kevin, Chet, and Heather - Daytripper - 2014

We did it.

Barbecue Map Central Texas - 2014

That atlas you see me holding is very special to us. Kevin and I dated long distance for four years before he moved to Fort Worth (he lived in Lubbock, TX), so when he would come visit for a long weekend we would take small trips instead of staying in Fort Worth. Austin was (and still is) our favorite. Back then, GPS didn’t really exist. We had a Texas atlas spiral bound, and we have marked it up so much. We both like to just drive and explore, so there are so many little notes in there from the past 19 years – it is one of my most treasured possessions! I took it with us to meet Chet, and asked him if he would sign it for us on the Austin page. He did, and he also wrote down and circled his favorite BBQ spots in the area for us. It was so awesome! Anyway, Opie’s in Spicewood was exactly where I was headed on our Texas bluebonnet adventure. 

Now, my dad HATES highway driving. HATES. I pretty much feel the same way, but you know, when you’re in a hurry they just make sense. We weren’t in a rush yesterday, so we drove through several small towns to get to our destination. If you are interested in how we got there, we took Highway 67 through Cleburne and Glen Rose, then 220 to Hico, then 281 through Hamilton, Lampasas, Burnet (small detour here*), Marble Falls, and finally Spicewood. Highway 281 is not a major highway – it is usually 2-4 lanes and goes through several small towns. It is a really pretty drive and I highly recommend it if you are going between Fort Worth and San Antonio – definitely my favorite way to go! There are wildflowers all along the highways and roads the whole way down there! All of the little towns have some cute shops and restaurants too. 

*In Burnet, we took Park Road 4 out to Inks Lake and came back through Kingsland to end up in Marble Falls. It was beautiful! A little out of the way, but nothing crazy. Maybe an extra 30 minutes – totally worth it. 

On our way down, we called some of our family friends that live in Austin to see if they wanted to meet us for BBQ and Texas bluebonnets. They happened to be free, so they made the hour drive and we had a great day! 

Opies BBQ - Spicewood, TX

Spicewood is a tiny, tiny town. Opie’s BBQ was CROWDED. We waited in line for about 15 minutes before getting inside – that is pretty normal/fast for Texas! 

Opie's Chalkboard Menu - Spicewood, TX

(Please excuse that dude’s head. He would not get out of the way, and I’m short – so there you go.) Their menu is hung right above the giant smoker. It smelled like heaven. We decided on brisket, baby back ribs, and sausage (with AND without jalapenos). For our sides, we got tater tot casserole and spicy corn. 

Opie's Smoker - Spicewood, TX

Look at all that meat. Don’t come here if you’re a vegetarian.

Opie's Lunch - Spicewood, TX

Between the 4 of us, we had a little bit of everything. Sharing is caring, guys. Also? EVERYTHING WAS SO GOOD. I dreamed about the tater tot casserole and the brisket last night. No lie. If you are ever in the vicinity of Spicewood, TX, this is a must stop. We even got to meet and talk to Opie. Nice guy!

Bluebonnet Central happened to be in Muleshoe Bend Recreational Area, right on the Colorado River, very close to Lake Travis, in Spicewood. Spicewood is about an hour from Austin, so it’s kind of “out there”, but as you are about to see – totally worth it. Unfortunately, bluebonnets don’t live for too long (maybe 6 weeks?) for the most part so you have a fairly short window for viewing. Some years are better than others for bluebonnets – this happened to be a very, very good year for the Muleshoe Bend area! 

Next up: Bluebonnets. Now, I was expecting it to be pretty, from the pictures I’d seen online – but this took my breath away. Fields and fields covered with bluebonnets. It was insane! Until yesterday, I didn’t know that bluebonnets had a smell. They do – when you’re surrounded by them, it smells a little like honeysuckle. I miss it already! Here come all the pictures 🙂

Muleshoe Bend - Spicewood, TX

 

Muleshoe Bend Bluebonnets - Spicewood, TX

Bluebonnets on the Colorado River - Spicewood, TX

Bluebonnets everywhere - Muleshoe Bend - Spicewood, TX

Bluebonnets - Muleshoe Bend - Spicewood, TX

Muleshoe Bend Bluebonnet Selfie - Spicewood, TX #bluebonnetselfie is much better than #poopingonbluebonnets (it’s a thing. Google it.)

Heather and Dad - Bluebonnets 2015 Spicewood, TX This is the best father/daughter picture we got. After 3.5 hours in the car and a heavy BBQ lunch, I wasn’t feeling too photogenic!

I am so glad that we went – it made for a long day, but I love spending time with my Dad doing fun stuff like this. My brother and sister don’t have the same love of road trips that Dad and I share! Lots of memories were made, jokes were told, and good conversation on our 13 hour, 460 mile road trip. I try to soak up as much of that stuff as I can, while I can. 

During our trip, I kept saying how glad I was that we made the drive and how I wanted to do more things like that, so I decided to make a Texas wish list and start checking them off one by one. Texas is huge, so day trips are great – but not always possible. Some will have to be longer trips, and I’m okay with that. Have map, will travel. Keep checking back, I’ve got the travel bug now! 

Magnolia Market | Waco, TX | Queen of Everything

Have you read my post about our day trip to Waco to stalk Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Fixer Uppers on HGTV? You should

 

 

 

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Perfect Pork Sauce

Perfect Pork Sauce Plated | Queen of Everything

My aunt made this sauce to go with a family dinner years ago – and of course we all turned our noses up at it – because it just doesn’t LOOK appetizing. Once we gave it a try, however, our minds were changed! We call it “pork sauce”, but it is definitely not limited to just pork. It’s pretty all-purpose – we’ve dipped chicken, steak, and vegetables (I highly recommend fried okra!) in it. This sauce is pretty much a given if we are having a family dinner, even a small gathering. The ingredients are interesting, but they come together to make this perfect pork sauce that adds so much flavor!

Enough about me, on to the recipe! (I apologize for the bad photography, this was a very last minute “Oh, I need to write about that!” thing.)

Pork Sauce Ingredients | Queen of Everything

Perfect Pork Sauce

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 Tbsp. dry mustard

1 Tbsp. chopped scallions/onion (chopped very fine)

3/4 cup sour cream

Mix together and refrigerate for an hour before serving. 

Works great with pork, chicken, steak, vegetables – we haven’t found much that it DOESN’T go with! This recipe also makes a large amount – so if it’s a small gathering I usually half the recipe. 

Perfect Pork Sauce | Queen of Everything

Enjoy! This is definitely a family recipe that will be passed down to the next generation. Hopefully your family will love it as much as mine does!

 

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Swap It Like It’s Hot Reveal

Flea Market Swap Day 3 | Queen of Everything

This was my second time to participate in Swap It Like It’s Hot (if you recall, I built a dang lamp last time!) and I knew I didn’t have the time or inclination to go THAT far again… but I’m still pretty happy with what I ended up with! I received items from Cassie at Primitive & Proper – she threw me for a loop but that’s kind of what this whole thing is about. Links to all of the projects are at the bottom of this post!

Swap Items | Before | Queen of Everything

I opened up the box and saw the 2 candlesticks first. Funny thing – I just purchased 2 eerily similar (just taller) candlesticks from Goodwill a few weeks before! When I get around to working on the taller ones, I’ll have a nice set of 4. 

Candlesticks | Swap It Like It's Hot | Queen of Everything

I decided to keep it simple and just paint them with chalk paint… but then I realized that I don’t really use taper candles. I found some cute glass crown tea light holders at a craft store and knew exactly what to do – after the paint dried and I waxed the candlesticks, I attached the crowns with hot glue. Obviously, I love crowns. I’ll get much more use out of these now that I can put votives or tea lights in them!

She's Crafty | Swap It Like It's Hot | Queen of Everything

I’m pretty sure that most people that were alive in the 70’s had this exact same bedsheet growing up. I know I did! I used to hate them – but seeing it again made me realize that maybe my mom was (obviously) way cooler than I thought she was when she bought the sheets for my twin sized bed.

I recently decided that I like to do hand embroidery, and I had a huge piece of fabric just begging for *something* – and my project was born. I hand stitched “She’s Crafty” onto the sheet (shout out Beastie Boys) and fell in love. It needed a little something else, though. What kind of craft project doesn’t involve glitter, I ask? Certainly not one of mine. So yeah, I glittered some petals and leaves. Then I decided to take it one step further and sew some beads onto one of the flowers. I could’ve gone on for days, but I was officially out of time (I am a procrastinator… obviously). I wrapped it around a canvas, stapled the heck out of it, and called it done! It will be perfect hanging in my craft room. 

I didn’t end up using the book for anything, but I have 2 little nephews that will love to read it! Thank you so much, Cassie! I had a blast with your items!

I was lucky enough to get to send “junk” to Jaime from That’s My Letter… I’m excited to see what she did with her items! 

Be sure to check out all of the other blogs as well – we’re on day 3 of 5! Share, comment, and give some love to my friends! I’ve included all of their blogs below.

Swap It Like It's Hot 3 | Queen of Everything

 

Day 1- Monday
Run to Radiance // Decor Adventures // Year of Serendipity // 58 Water Street // Don’t Disturb This Groove // Like Saturday // Artsy Chicks Rule

Day 2- Tuesday
Two Purple Couches // While They Snooze // The Gathered Home // Black and White Obsession (You’re here) // Ciburbanity // Restoration Redoux // Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Day 3- Wednesday
Primitive & Proper // Queen of Everything // That’s My Letter // Finding Silver Pennies // Migonis Home // Windgate Lane

Day 4- Thursday
I Am a Homemaker // Town and Country Living // Thoughts from Alice // Our Southern Home // Chic Little House // SG Style // Two Thirty~Five Designs

Day 5- Friday
Gourley Girl & Guy // The Thinking Closet // The Charming Farmer // 2 Little Superheroes // Shades of Blue Interiors // Live Pretty on a Penny

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Swap It Like It’s Hot Time!

Swap It Like It's Hot 3 | Queen of Everything

It’s time for round 3 of Swap It Like It’s Hot! It starts today and goes through Friday… and from the ones I’ve seen so far, we are all in for a treat! Go check them out and make sure you come back here on Wednesday (MY DAY).

I’m so excited to see what everyone makes! 

 

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Valentine’s Day Garland

Valentines Day Garland | Queen of Everything

Hey! I’ve got a quick little post for y’all today – a sentimental (to me) Valentine’s Day garland. 

I’ve had the idea in my head for a long time now – even making notes as I think about it – to type out the lyrics to certain songs in a pretty font and frame them. I finally did that. I thought about just framing those and being done with it, but that’s not very Valentine-y! We needed hearts and glitter! 

I typed out the lyrics to five songs that hold special meaning for me for various reasons, and printed them out. I didn’t print them out on regular old card stock, though – I printed them out on leftover paper from when I made our save-the-dates for our wedding over 10 years ago! I had to buy a whole ream of the silver, sparkly card stock, and of course I held onto what was left because it was so pretty. This was the perfect project for it. 

I picked out some red and pink polka dotted paper and cut 4 large hearts on my Silhouette. (PS: Painter’s tape works GREAT to hold down paper when your mat is not sticky anymore!) After that, I changed the size of the hearts on the Silhouette to be a little bit smaller, since these would be layered on top of the polka dot hearts. I cut a heart out of each sheet of song lyrics (I only ended up using 4 for this project). I almost stopped there, but I decided it needed something else.

I cut out 4 even smaller hearts of plain red cardstock. Next, I used a sponge brush to put Mod Podge around the edge of each lyric heart, and applied lots and lots of antique silver glitter (of course!). Yeah, that still wasn’t enough, so I covered each red heart with a thin layer of Mod Podge and sprinkled red glitter on all of them. 

I do love glitter, but I don’t LOVE glitter all over the house, so I sprayed the lyric hearts and red hearts with clear sealant spray to keep the glitter from continually spreading. Once that dried, it was time to assemble. 

I punched holes in the polka dotted hearts (I usually try to remember to do this in Silhouette and let it cut them, but I forgot this time), one on each side. I used a tape runner to attach the lyric hearts to the polka dot hearts. I put a line of tape on the backside of each red heart, and folded each one in half so it would stick out a little bit from the other hearts. Once the red hearts were attached, I strung red yarn through each hole and voila – a sentimental Valentine’s Day garland! The whole project took me less than an hour, and most of that was spent typing out the song lyrics. 

I saved y’all a bunch of time – if you like the songs I chose! I have provided the pdfs for download. Download, print them out, boom. (8.5×11) I also have a handy dandy Spotify playlist for you guys so you can listen to the songs that mean so much to me these days. If you don’t use Spotify, you should be – and they didn’t pay me to say that! 

Feels Like Home | Chantal Kreviazuk

How Long Will I Love You | Ellie Goulding

I Like To Be Myself When I’m With You | Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

Thinking Out Loud | Ed Sheeran

You and I |Ingrid Michaelson

 

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Stenciled Stepstool for Benjamin

* This post is sponsored by Michaels and DecoArt. The ideas and opinions are mine. * 

Inspire Someone Today | Queen of Everything

Graphic from the Rhonna Designs app.

Many years ago, I painted and decoupaged a stepstool for my oldest nephew. That thing has been well worth the time I spent on it, because he still uses it and loves it. Guys, those letters were cut by hand. I did not have a Silhouette at the time. That was a labor of love! 

Stepstool for Logan 2010 | Queen of Everything

When Logan’s little brother Benjamin came along in 2013, we could tell right off the bat that this child was going to be a little more daring than his older brother. Whereas Logan was cautious and not a risk-taker, Benjamin has kept all of us on our toes. He is into everything, ON everything, and I just hope that my sister and brother-in-law have excellent health insurance because I foresee many ER visits for this one! 

Handle Stool |  Michaels | Queen of Everything

Since Benjamin is not scared of anything, I decided that maybe his stepstool didn’t need to be *quite* as big and tall as Logan’s stepstool. Luckily, Michaels had one that was going to work out perfectly. I picked it up, along with some paint, stencils, and spray sealer and was on my way! 

Primed and Painted White | Queen of Everything I got it home, primed it, and painted it white. Once that dried, it was time for the fun part! 

Stencil Choices | Queen of Everything

I love both of these stencils, but ultimately I went with the houndstooth pattern for the stepstool. The diamonds were a little more “shabby chic” than I was going for. 

Stencil Applied to Stool | Queen of Everything

I used some repositionable spray adhesive to make the stencil lay flat on the top of the stool. I tried it without it, and I can now say that I absolutely do not recommend that! Just use the spray and thank me later.

Base Paint Over Stencil | Queen of Everything

I defer to my friend Lindsay on all things painting (have you seen this?? Even more amazing in person!), so of course her blog came through for me on advice on how to tackle this. I found this tutorial, and the takeaway from that was to put down a coat of the base color over the stencil. It forms a “wall” to keep paint from seeping underneath the stencil. Friends with blogs are handy to have around! So, I painted over the stencils with the white paint I used for the stool itself and let that dry. 

Painting In the Stencil | Queen of Everything

Extreme Close Up of Stencils | Queen of Everything

As you can see, I decided to go BOLD for this design. Benjamin is bold (oh, you have no idea how bold that child is) so he needed a stool to match his personality! This also happens to match his bathroom, so that was a factor as well. 

I used the cheapy sponge brushes (one for each color) to apply the paint. I buy those things in bulk! They are the best. I did not “brush” the paint on, I “dabbed” it on. The key is to not have a ton of paint on the sponge – brush it off until you think it’s too dry. If you have too much paint, it’s going to make a mess underneath the stencil. I found that brushing the paint on led to paint getting underneath the stencil, and I do not have time for that! I ended up doing two coats, because some colors really needed a second coat (mainly the darker colors). I took the stencil off while the paint was still drying. I did not want to take the chance on it getting stuck!

Triple Thick | DecoArt | Queen of Everything

Once the paint dried and I fixed the little mess-ups (everyone has them, no one is perfect!), I took the stool outside and sprayed it with this awesome Triple Thick Brilliant Gloss Glaze from DecoArt. I LOVE this stuff. It comes in a jar or a spray, and I’ve probably gone through two jars of it recently – I’m not even kidding. It’s my favorite sealer spray. I gave it three coats of this stuff, because Benjamin is only 20 months old and is not going to be gentle with this! I let it cure for 24 hours, just to be safe. I love that the Triple Thick actually brightens the colors once you spray it on – it really makes a big difference!

Finished Stepstool | Queen of Everything

Finished Stepstool | Queen of Everything

It turned out just like I wanted it to! Of course, I had to rush it over to get Benjamin’s approval ASAP:

Benjamin Climbing | Queen of Everything

Benjamin Smiling | Queen of Everything

(Sorry the pictures are blurry, but he never stops moving!) I think he loves it. I’m definitely glad I didn’t get him the bigger stepstool!

For the project, I used Americana Multi-Surface Paint – available at Michaels. Visit the DecoArt Multi-Surface website for more crafting ideas and inspiration! Everything for this project (except for the cutie nephew) can be found at Michaels – in store or online. 

In case you’re interested, these are the colors I used!

Americana Multi-Surface Paint Colors | Queen of Everything

(Iris, School Bus, Lipstick, Leprechaun, Blue Bird, Chartreuse, Night Sky, Poppy, and Deep Turquoise) 

* This post is sponsored by Michaels and DecoArt. The ideas and opinions are mine. * 

 

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png

Christmas Gift Guide for Women 2014

Also known as Heather’s Wish List 2014. True, maybe I’m in the minority – I know a lot of women that would not want power tools under the Christmas tree, but I also know a lot of women that would LOVE to have some awesome tools. I kept it pretty generic, and I would love any/all of these things – well, I have a Kindle Fire, but other than that… here is the Christmas gift guide for women! *Some links are affiliate links*

Womens Gift Guide 2014 | Queen of Everything

1. Stanley Adjustable Sawhorse Twin Pack  2. Vera Wang Perfume  3. Southern Living Community Cookbook  4. Emily McDowell “You Can Do It!” Mug  5. Rockwell VersaCut Circular Saw  6. Gold Beaded Bracelet  7. Sharpies  8. Kindle Fire  9. Starbucks Gift Card (or really ANY gift card!)  10. Ryobi One+ Sheet Sander  11. Philosophy Hope in a Jar  12. Pom Pom Throw  13. Skinnytaste Cookbook

*Some links are affiliate links*

 photo Signature_zpsde9102ab.png