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My Haven-Vacation Boat House Makeover (Sneak Preview)

I am so excited.

In less than 24 hours, the Haven Conference will officially begin.  I am sitting in my hotel room the night before but I am so thrilled with my latest project, I just *HAD* to give you a sneak preview, even though I don't have time to write up a whole post.

Before coming to Atlanta, I stopped at my parent's house and helped them totally makeover their boat house.  (Yes, I do DIY projects as a 'vacation.' What can I say?)

They recently built their dream house on a large plot of lakefront property and needed to update the outdated old boat house/fishing cottage so that they looked like they belonged together.

Here is their new house:
And this was the boat house right next door:
A minty green 1975 cinderblock monstrosity.  Clearly they aren't the same style and don't feel like they belong together.  My parents got a head start demoing the un-permitted, unsafe front porch and back room additions. 

So here is what it looked like when I first arrived last week:

I Survived the 1970's!

This week is my birthday!  Another year in the record books, and boy have I come a long way baby.. You see, I am a child of the 70's and so I survived being raised with the design style that we now call "retro" but should be more accurately described as SCARY! 
Here are a couple photographs of my actual house from when I was a baby.  How you like the "harvest gold" Mustang in the driveway and the "avocado green" house?
(Hey, look! It is Instagram before there was Instagram! Speaking of which, I finally have an account.) 

Here are my mom and dad in 1971.  Yes, that IS an avocado chair with mustard piping!  Oh yes it is.  And that IS shag carpeting and a brass lamp with gigantic drum shade! 

And you can't miss the orange dining room set.   Macrame plant holder?  Flying saucer light fixture? Gigantic floral pattern sofa?  Danish modern coffee table?  70s! 70s! 70s!

Some of the key features of 1970s design and decor include:

Custom Appliqued T-Shirt for less than $10 (Tutorial)


My daughter just had Girl Scout camp and was in the "Red Crab" unit.  She wanted a red shirt to wear that had a crab on it, and after an extensive search, I couldn't find anything locally, so I decided we would just make our own. 

There are so many cute appliqued t shirts online, and I knew I could easily make my own, and for next to no money.  Plus it would be custom, since I let my daughter choose the fabric.

First I found an image of a crab on the internet, which I traced onto Heat N' Bond iron on adhesive.
I have worked with iron on adhesives in the past (Steam A Seam to the personalized shirts for Disneyland and Heat N' Bond on my Home is Where the Heart Is wallhanging.) They all work basically the same way.  

You draw the shape you want on the paper backing.  Cut it out roughly and use an iron to fuse the glue to the fabric. (Make sure you fuse the glue to the WRONG SIDE of the fabric and you only iron the paper backing!):

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets


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Are you a fan of The Kim Six Fix on Facebook?  Well you should be!  

If you are, you would know that I recently brought home a bag of chocolate chips and forget them in the hot car.  Since they were no longer useable for cookies, I knew I had to re-purpose them somehow. (I am definitely too cheap to just throw them out!) 

I had some peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets from Costco (although I have seen them at other stores if you aren't looking to buy 5 pounds of them!) I knew that pretzels, peanut butter and milk chocolate were the perfect mix!
 

First I melted down the giant blob o' chocolate and dipped in the pretzel nuggets.
 

They came out as these adorable little chocolate pillows:

Lots and lots of little peanut butter pretzel filled pillows:

How to Upgrade Recessed Lights to LEDs (Tutorial)

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When I recently re-did my master bathroom one of the things I did was upgrade the lighting. I installed sconce lighting to go with the recessed lighting in the ceiling.  Since there is no natural light in the bathroom I used large flood lights above the sinks.
The problem is those huge wattage flood lights is that they use a LOT of electricity and get really hot. So when one of the bulbs blew this week, I knew I was going to upgrade to LEDs.  Originally I was just going to buy LED bulbs, but at nearly $20/each I decided that for that price. I would just upgrade the entire fixture.

LED retrofit kits were on sale at Costco this week for $19.99.  Cheaper than a bulb! 


 Here is what the original can lights looked like:
 

They were 6 inch cans and had recessed black baffle style trim.  (I have talked about trim kits in this post if you want more info on traditional recessed (can) lighting.)  This is what it looked like once the bulb was removed:


To remove the black baffle trim, I just needed to release the springs that held it up against the lighting housing: 
 

Removed from the can/housing this is what they look like: 


Now it is time to install the new LED lighting assembly:

Building Confidence with Cake: Hers and Mine

I often forget how much my children can do completely on their own.. it is much more than I give them credit for.  I find myself hovering over my kids, often frustrated, worried that they aren't going to do something "right" or that they are going to need help or will take too long.  I find myself quick to jump in. Taking over a task before they are given enough time to work though the difficulty they are having and to complete the job on their own.

It can be scary to give them the control. To let them make the decisions, even when you know if they "just did it my way" things would be easier or come out better.  Letting go and accepting that no matter how it comes out, unless they ASK for help, I am going to let them fail (or more likely) succeed completely on their own is nerve wracking.

But children also need a chance to prove they are capable and responsible. It is only when you let them do something for themselves, that they really gain confidence in their own abilities.

As my kids get older, I have to face the fact they will need me less and less.  It is my job to teach them how to do something, so I will no longer have to do it for them.  The goal is for them to go out  into the world capable and confident.  It doesn't matter if it is riding a bike or doing a project at Home Depot, I want them to believe in themselves and at least try their best.  They don't have to be afraid. 

Sometimes I help build their confidence by involving or featuring them in one of my DIY projects, but today I found another opportunity.. in the form of CAKE. 

A week ago I posted some "ugly" cupcakes on my photo blog that my kids made with the leftover supplies I had from one of my own cake projects.  They had so much fun doing it that my eldest daughter was begging to make her very own full sized cake.

I hesitated at first, just thinking about the mess and the hassle. I wasn't sure she would be able to do it.  What if she failed? What if she got frustrated? I didn't want to let go of the control.  But she was insistent that she could do it and so excited about it.  

We went to the store and picked out a boxed strawberry cake mix and tub of pre-made white frosting (her choices) and came back home and started baking.

She read the box and followed the instructions (double checking with me that she had the measurements correct and asking for help to get it in and out of the oven.)

My daughters have helped me in the kitchen quite a bit in the past.  They aren't strangers to baking. Standing by my side cracking the eggs, adding the ingredients, mixing the batter and licking the bowl.  Therefore I wasn't surprised she sailed though the first part of the project.  

Baking a cake is one thing.. but decorating a cake was another story.  This is something my 7 year old has never attempted on her own.   

First she decided that she wanted a blue, green and purple color scheme.  I helped her split the icing into 3 batches and she colored them using food color.  Since we didn't have purple she had to mix red and blue and although the color was really more of grey-purple she was still excited about her choices.  I had to bite my tongue since I would have chosen a different color, but I reminded myself that this was her cake.
 

She did a great job piping the edges and drew a flower in the center:

At this point I thought she did a great job.  Heck, I have seen a LOT worse on CakeWrecks (at least her flower is edible).  Of course, she wanted more! You did see those cupcakes didn't you?

So she painstakingly sorted pink and yellow decorating chips and added them to every.single.piped flower.

Talk about persistence! I never would have taken the time to do that.  
 

A few more sprinkles just for good measure:
 

And of course.. if you look closely you can see her initial just to the top of the flower (every artist must sign their work!)

Is it the cake I would have chosen to make? No.
Is it still beautiful and wonderful? Of course.

I admit I was surprised (and impressed) by how little help she needed.  My fears were all unfounded.  My little girl is growing up and I have to give her more chances to prove it to me, and to herself.
 

I am not sure who learned more with the experience:  My 7 year old, who now knows just a little bit more about baking a cake..
Or me.. who knows a lot more about letting go.




As I was writing this up I stumbled upon this old post (and this one, and this one and this one) and I realized just how much I blog about cake.  Sorta fitting don't ya think?

I'm sharing this post here.

Happy Independence Day.. My favorite projects.

Happy Fourth of July!

Today I will be spending the day with my family.. hitting the pool and BBQ!  Instead of a new project, I am featuring a few of my favorite red, white and blue projects back from before my blog's big name change.
 



And my more recent projects:
American Flag Centerpiece

Help Me Pick Business Cards for HAVEN!

I am so excited that in about a month I will be attending my FIRST EVER Blog Conference.  I am officially a Haven Maven!
 Haven Conference 2013 
I would love to hear from anyone else who is planning on attending, since I won't know a soul! Hopefully that won't be a problem for long, and because every good blog conference newbie hopes to network with all their blog idols, I decided to order some business cards.

Luckily for me, there is Minted. They have a wonderful selection of custom business and calling cards.. so many in fact, I can't decide which one to pick!

I made a couple mock-ups and thought I would ask which ones my readers liked.  I even created a poll (another learning experience) so you can vote for your favorite(s) below:


 First up, I tweaked the I'm a Mom design.. and came up with this: 

 This design is called World Traveler. I like how easy it is to read all my contact info:
  

I liked this design a lot too (Ladylike) and switching between the three color ways was really simple.  Plus how cute is the back? 

My personal favorite is the No Job Too Small design:
  
You can't tell from the previous photo, but the back of the card is super fun (and still leaves room to write):
 
 One of the cool things you can do is add photos and logos to your cards for no extra money.  For example, on the No Job Too Small card I could put my logo on the back (although I do adore the little ruler!):
They do have designs where you can add your photo or logo to the front as well.  Like this Chevron one:

And this design is called playroom:

So which is your favorite?


This post was sponsored by Minted. I didn't receive any compensation for reviewing their products, however I was provided with complimentary business cards to use at Haven.
 
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