Friday, July 29, 2011

Basement Remodel Part One: Ceiling & Lights

I started talking about our basement remodel on Facebook about a week and a half ago and I figured it was time to start sharing some of the details here. I usually like to wait until a room is complete before I post it here and then go back and explain how I did it. I don't really know why. I guess it makes the big reveal seem more impressive or something. This one is going to take awhile before it is really finished though so I decided to share as we go along instead!
First up was painting the ceiling. As you can see from the photo above - there are a ton of pipes and vents going everywhere so putting up sheet rock wasn't an option. Not only would it be a huge pain to work around all of that stuff but it would end up making our already low ceiling even lower. So we decided to slap a coat of paint on all of it instead.

We painted a basement ceiling once before and used brushes which was a HUGE pain in the butt. Some of the areas were just impossible to reach so we ended up using spray paint in some spots (I don't recommend this). This time we picked up an actual paint sprayer (we went with a Wagner Control Spray Double Duty).

Here is Shelby modeling his paint suit. I guess it is a requirement that you get the crazy serial killer eyes when you do this. Or maybe it was just because he really didn't want to be the one doing the ceiling painting. I made him do it anyway though because:
1. I have zero upper body strength. Its so bad that Shelby likes to refer to my arms as "dough sticks". He means this lovingly, I'm sure.
2. I have asthma and even with a face mask, something about the paint sprayer made it difficult for me to breathe.
3. I didn't wanna do it! I do 95% of the painting around here and every once in a while I like to make him do it just because. Mwuahahaha!
Anywho...since I wasn't the one doing this part I don't have any tutorials for you about using a paint sprayer. All I know is that the paint has to be really thin or it won't come out of the sprayer so we had to get a couple of bottles of paint thinner. I know. I'm so informative, right?

It took a couple of coats but it looks awesome! Its so much brighter and doesn't seem as creepy now that you can see what is going on up there. The pipes blend in a lot better too!

We also replaced the bare bulb light fixtures with some track lighting. And by "we" I mean "Shelby" because I DO NOT do electrical work. With the new fixtures you aren't blinded by the light bulbs anymore and it feels a lot cozier.
This basement remodel has turned out to be a huge undertaking (it has been four weeks now and we still aren't anywhere near done) but I really think it will be worth it in the end.
What about you? Do you have a grungy basement that you don't even want to mess with? Or some other large project that you dread starting? I would love to hear about what you are working on.....or putting off working on as the case may be. ;)

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Customized Navigation Bar Using Pages


Would you like to put a navigation bar on your blog like mine in the picture above? When I started blogging a couple of years ago this required lots of html code and even creating picture links if you wanted a funky font. However, in the last year Blogger has made huge improvements with their customization options. It is super easy to do now. Seriously, anyone can do this!


For this type of navigation bar you will first need to make sure that you have created your pages*. It's just like writing a post only you go to posting, edit pages, then add a new page.

*I will show you a different kind of navigation bar that doesn't require pages in a later post.


2. Once you have your pages ready, go to the Design area of your dashboard, click on Page Elements, click Add a Gadget at the top of the page* just under your header, then scroll down until you find Add Pages.

* You can also drop this gadget in your sidebar if you would rather have your navigation there.


3. All of the pages that you have created will show up and you can check the boxes next to all of the pages that you would like visible on your navigation bar. You can then drag and drop your pages to arrange them the way that you would like. Then just save your changes!


4. Now to change the look of you navigation bar, you can go into the Blogger Template Designer, go to your advanced settings, and scroll down to Tabs Text. Then you can change the font, size, and color to compliment the look of your blog. You can also go down to Tabs Background to change the background color of all of the tabs and/or the color of the tab for the page the viewer is currently on.

That's it! You now have a Customized Navigation Bar!


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I haven't done any blogging tutorials for awhile partly because they tend to take even longer to write than a craft tutorial but also because I don't want to bore the more experienced bloggers. However, I frequently have friends come to me wanting to know how to do things on their blogs and recently two of them needed help with navigation bars. These kinds of posts also tend to receive comments of gratitude from someone who had been banging their head against the wall trying to figure it out for themselves until they came to my blog through a google search. So even if only one person out there finds these posts helpful it is still worth taking the time to write it out. :)

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DIY Moon Sand



I haven't been able to do any crafting lately and if you follow me on Facebook you know why. I felt the need to make something though and when I saw the recipe for moon sand on Play Based Learning I had to try it out. I tweaked the recipe a bit and this is what I came up with:


1. Gather your ingredients: 2 cups Sand, 1 cup Corn Starch, 1/2 cup Water, and food coloring of your choice.
I already had some white decorative sand from Dollar Tree that I had used to weigh down candle holders at Halloween. You can find it in the floral section. It is a finer than regular sand which makes it work a little better for this project. One container was almost exactly 2 cups.


2. Have your helper stir together the sand and cornstarch in a bowl.
2b. Ignore the sad fruit in the background and let all of blogland see it instead of taking the two seconds to move it out of the way. This step is very important. :p


3. Have your helper put a few drops of food coloring into the water. We put about four drops in and it was pretty pale so you might want to put in a little more. Or you might be able to find colored decorative sand which would be more vibrant and eliminate this step altogether. I was just working with what I already had though since we have a renewed motivation for getting out of debt (more on that another day - it's pretty exciting!) which means no unnecessary spending.
4. Pour the colored water into the sand mixture and stir together. If needed, slowly add more water until it is a consistency that it easy to mold.


5. Transfer to a cake pan or cookie sheet to keep it all contained while you are playing with it.


6. Dig in! Hours of homemade entertainment!

7. When Jer was done playing I put our Moon Sand into a couple of lunch meat containers. If it starts to dry out just add more water and it's good as new.
8/26/2011 EDIT: I just pulled these out of the cabinet and they seem to have some kind of mold on them. You may want to let it dry out before storing and just add water before playing with it again. I have also seen people make it with baby oil which I assume would eliminate the mold issue.
This recipe doesn't work *quite* as well as the real stuff but it was FREE so I'm not complaining! Even if you had to go buy all of the supplies it would still cost less then $2 and the quantity that it made would cost about $15 in the store.
The other nice thing about this project was that Jeremy got to help me make it which is always his favorite part. It's kind of like our Homemade Playdough; it may not be as cool and bright as the store bought stuff but he still likes it better because he made it himself!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Link Party Monday 26

There were some great projects linked up last week! You can check them all out here. My top picks of the week are:


I love the Molding Boxes that Racks and Mooby put up. They add so much character to this space!


This Tires or Testicles Sign from Petunia's Escape is hilarious! I love it! Can't wait to see how this vintage transportation themed room turns out.


These Geek Magnets from The 2010's Housewife are so much fun!


This Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse from Cooking with Chopin, Living With Elmo looks delicious!


This one wasn't just one of my favorites - it was also the link with the most visits this week! Check out Davis Domestications to learn how to control your Plastic Bag Mess. I really need to do this!

Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my side bar. Now on to this week's link party!

RULES:
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc.
  • No advertising or Etsy shops.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Please add my button to your post or sidebar to spread the word. :)
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.
Polish The Stars




Monday, July 18, 2011

Link Party Monday 25

Happy Monday! You can check out all of the awesome links from last week's party here. My favorites of the week are:


This Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party from Creative Mommas was beautifully done!


Love this Laundry Drying Rack by Passing All Understanding. It looks awesome with the vintage sign too!


This Dyed Baker's Twine from With Glittering Eyes is so much fun!


Cake Mix Cookies from Racks and Mooby. Looks nummy!


This Chevron Dresser from Simple Home Life would look great in my house! :)

Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my side bar. Now on to this week's link party!

RULES:
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc.
  • No advertising or Etsy shops.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Please add my button to your post or sidebar to spread the word. :)
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Polish The Stars




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How To: Remove a Ring From a Swollen Finger

Have you ever woken up with a swollen ring finger for whatever reason and then had a major tiny freak out when you couldn't get your ring off? Yep. Happened to me a few days ago.

Apparently I got a mosquito bite on my knuckle one night and when I woke up a couple of days later half of my hand was swollen including my ring finger. You can't see it very well in that photo but it was really bad! My engagement ring came off with a little soap and some tugging but my wedding ring refused to come off. I tried ice, soap, lotion, everything I could think of and it wouldn't budge.
I started to worry that I would have to get it cut off. I decided that one way or another that ring had to come off just in case I woke up the next morning and it was even more swollen. So I googled it (seriously, what in the world did we do before search engines?) and found a life-saver of an article at eHow. If you ever find yourself in this unfortunate position, here is a great way to get out of it:


Step 1: Wrap a piece of scotch tape around your finger starting just above the ring and going past the knuckle. You want it snug but don't make it so tight that you completely loose circulation. Wait about 30 minutes.



Step 2: With the tape still on, put an ice pack on your finger (it helps if it's Spiderman. Just sayin') and hold your hand above your heart. Leave it on for 15 minutes.
Side note: I put my ice pack in the freezer when I first started the process so it had only been in there for about half an hour. This made it really cold but it was still kind of slushy instead of solid. That way I was able to wrap it around the entire finger instead of just laying it on one side.

Step 3: Unwrap the tape and spray some windex on your finger (all I could think of during this part was the dad on My Big Fat Greek Wedding who's solution for everything was to put windex on it!). Then use one of those rubber grip pads to grab the ring and pull it off. Wash your hands with soap to get the windex off.

It still took some tugging and probably would have hurt a little more if my finger wasn't already slightly numb from the ice. It worked though and I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief!
All of this went on when my husband was out of town on business. While we were texting each other I mentioned the whole ring ordeal and of course his response was something along the lines of, "Sure. I leave town for a few days and you just happen to get a bite on your finger and "need" to take your wedding ring off. Right."
Butthead. :p

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Link Party Monday 24

There were some great projects and recipes linked up last week! Check them all out here. My top picks of the week are:


I love chai lattes and this Chai Concentrate from Jam Hands sounds absolutely delicious!


Okay so this one may be a tad bit nepotistic but I really do love this "Chicks Dig Me" T-Shirt that my sister in-law, Jenny, made for my sweet nephew, Ryker. Chicks really do dig him too! :) She and her fam are in the process of adopting two children from China. Check out Jenny's blog Our Journey of Dreams if you are interested in hearing about their experience.


These Mini Star Pies from A Pumpkin and a Princess look absolutely delicious! Seriously. I am so hungry right now!


Check out this great Moving Gift idea from Life With the Ahlman's.


This Waffle Pizza from Mo Mamma is such a fun idea! I just wish I had a waffle maker!

Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my Buttons Page. Now on to this week's link party!

RULES:
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc.
  • No advertising or Etsy shops.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Please add my button to your post or sidebar to spread the word. :)
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!
This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.
Polish The Stars





Monday, July 4, 2011

Link Party Monday 23

I can't believe it has been a month since our last link party! Sorry I haven't had much time for the blog recently...and then forgot my computer cord during the week and a half that I actually had free time. :( But things are getting back on track now! A few days ago I finally got around to painting the living room! It still needs a few finishing touches but should be ready to show you soon. Yesterday we also picked up all of the supplies for our grungy basement makeover! I'm really excited to see that transformation. :)

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you have all been up to recently! But first here are my favorites from the last party....



I love this License Plate Map from Closet Crafter! I've always thought those were pretty cool and she found a print and mounted it for only $35 compared to the $140 that Hobby Lobby was charging for one!



These Hawaiian Haystacks from Jam Hands look delicious! I love retro dinners like this and she even shared two different versions to choose from.



You must check out this Pallet Shelf from Simple Home Life! Absolutely beautiful.



This Fresh Peach Cobbler with a Double Crust from Cooking with K would be a perfect Fourth of July dessert! YUM!


This Brown Sugar Body Scrub from Increasingly Domestic sounds great! I tried a recipe that used olive oil and while effective as a body scrub, the smell wasn't the most appealing. Increasingly Domestic's version uses grapeseed oil which sounds so much better! :) I will definitely try this one out!

Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my Buttons Page. Now on to this week's link party!

RULES:
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc.
  • No advertising or Etsy shops.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Please add my button to your post or sidebar to spread the word. :)
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

Polish The Stars