s March 2014 - The Kim Six Fix
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Build a Flower Tower out of Stacked Pots (For under $10)

This post brought to you by Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.
Stacked flower tower
Although it may be taking longer to come to the rest of the country, here in Northern California, spring had definitely arrived. Our winters are mild enough that plants actually bloom year round, but spring is still wonderful since the deciduous trees bloom and start leafing out, and the limited color of winter is finally gone.
Garden prep in my area is pretty easy.  In late March I have to replace the spent annuals from last year, start fertilizing the gardens and lawn, and clean up any damage from the winter.
And because I live in a townhouse, with a very limited outdoor space, I have to do a lot of container gardening.   Thankfully the wonderful people at Dollar General asked me to try out some of their line of outdoor and Lawn and Garden supplies.  I was super excited since everyone knows I LOVE Dollar General.
Because I don’t have a ton of space, I knew I wanted to do something vertical, and when I saw some small green plastic planters for only $1.50 each I knew I had found just the right thing!  I also bought a mini ‘flag hook’ ($2) and some garden soil ($4) and fertilizer ($5).
Stacked flowerpot supplies
The first thing I did was cut the ‘hook’ part off the flag hook with a hacksaw:

That left me with a metal stake that could be inserted into the ground to add stability.
Flower pot stake

Next I used my drill to put holes in the flower pots (just slightly larger than the diameter of my new stake.
Drilling flower pot

Here is what they looked like when I ran them onto the metal rod.  They did need to overlap on at least 2 sides in order to stay level.

Flashback Friday: Reassessing My Goals and March In Review

Welcome to another edition of Flashback Friday!  Can you believe that 2014 is already ONE QUARTER over?  Since I only have 75% of the year left, I am stepping back to make sure that I’m still on track with the goals I set for myself back in January in order to make 2014 AWESOME!
Since you don’t remember what they were (heck, I can't remember what they were) let me remind you: I had 5 blogging and 5 project goals for the year.

Blogging goals:
1. Find my voice:  I wrote about that extensively back in February, and I feel the same way still.  I have been trying to focus on putting out the best quality content I can, and not worrying so much about all the background noise out there.  There will always be more successful bloggers and there will always be less successful ones.. and I can’t compare myself to them. I just have to be the best *me*

2. Social media: Honestly? I’m doing much better at this.  I have actually gotten a handle on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Google+!  (I’m even hosting a big Google+ plus party with Amanda from MommyisCooCoo next month!)  Soon I might even add StumbleUpon to my repertoire!   I’m not spending nearly as much time on them as I used to, but am still interacting with a lot of readers and other bloggers.  It has been pretty wonderful.

3. Attend Haven and BlogHer 2014: I HAVE MY PASSES AND AIRPLANE TICKETS!!

Easy No-Sew Tinker Bell Tutu Dress (Tutorial)

No Sew TinkerBell American Girl Costume

If you have girls (and maybe even boys) under the age of 10 in your house, chances are pretty high that you have seen (or at least heard about) the movie Frozen.  It came to DVD and Blu-ray™ this week and of course we rushed out to get a copy.   My kids have watched it AT LEAST a dozen times.   They have watched ALL the features on the Blu-ray™, including a preview for Disney’s All-New Tinker Bell Movie:  The Pirate Fairy

You are probably well aware of my kids love of princesses, but they also love Disney Fairies, especially Tinker Bell.  Here they are meeting her at Disneyland last winter.
Meeting tinkerbell
Well worth the wait!  
So of course, when they saw the preview, they wanted to get The Pirate Fairy movie right away.  Luckily, it will be a direct to DVD release and we can own it on Blu-ray™ and Digital HD on April 1st (What a great idea as an Easter Basket Gift!) 

Until then, we decided we would instead make a Tinker Bell costume for their dolls.  I didn’t want to do anything too complicated (I’m still recovering from the Elsa costume) so I went with a super easy, no-sew, tutu dress.

Seriously.. start to finish it took me under an hour and the only tool I needed was a scissors.  THAT IS IT!  Here is what I mean by "Tutu Dress": 
American Girl Tutu Dress

It is a tutu which is tied at the chest and belted to form a dress.  Simple no?

The supplies you need are minimal:
Tinkerbell costume supplies
1 roll of tulle (you can buy it by the yard and cut strips but this is faster, easier and you will have ZERO waste) $3.99
1 roll of coordinating ribbon (I used the transparent kind since it was the best match, but really it can be ANY ribbon) $1.99
1 sheet of card stock (I used glittery blue but plain white would be fine too) $1.99

Clothesline Wrapped Eggs (Tutorial)

Clothesline eggs
So funny that yesterday I posted about a Clothesline style frame, and today I'm posting about a craft that uses actually clothesline.  It was totally random! 

I also went round and round in circles trying to figure out if the cord or rope you use for a clothesline is spelled "Clothes Line" or “Clothesline” and I couldn’t find a definitive answer… hence I will be using ‘clothesline’ for this entire post. 

This project may remind you a little of my twine wrapped eggs I used on my mantle back in 2012. Really, it is basically the same thing;
I got the idea when I was walking through the dollar store and saw these colorful clotheslines (they were $1/each):
Dollar store clothes line
The red one reminded me of bakers twine, which remixed me of Uncommon Slice Of Suburbia’s eggs:
Bakers twine wrapped eggs
This image cannot be pinned. Please use original source
Only I had learned with my twine wrapped eggs, that the finer the twine, the more likely you are to burn your finger tips off on the molten lava that is known as hot glue.  The clothes line was nice and thick, and so I knew it wouldn’t be too bad.
The process is pretty obvious.  Start at one and end glue the clothesline around the a plastic egg:
Clothesline easter egg
I always started at the wide end and finished on the narrow end.  I love the striped pattern you get from the two color strands twisted together:
Wrapped easter eggs
Here are a few examples of all three colors I picked up:
Clothesline wrapped eggs
I made a whole bunch while sitting in front of the TV.  One roll of clothesline was enough to make 8 or 9 standard sized eggs.  Since I had three colors I ended up with dozens of eggs:Twine wrapped easter eggs
Now I just have to figure out where to incorporate them into my Easter decorations this year.

Linking up to MyRepurposedLife, HomestoriesAtoZ and a few of THESE parties.

Clothesline Style Photo Frame Tutorial (Target Knock Off)

Clothesline Frame Tutorial
Before my boycott of Target (Okay, this project is from waaaaaaay back in November of 2013.. I’m not the fastest blogger in the world), I had been browsing around their frame department and I saw this frame that I thought was really darling:
Target Frame

So when I was at the thrift store and saw this frame (in all it’s ugly 1988 mauve and teal goodness) i knew it would be perfect.
Ugly thrift store artwork

And since it was only $3.50, even if it didn’t work out, it was worth the risk.
Thrift store frame pricetag

The first thing I did was remove the artwork and the glass (and believe it or not, you want to save this *cough* *cough* beautiful matted print.. you will need it later.

When Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Instead of my regular Flashback Friday post, I instead wanted to write about something that made me really really angry today.  Some of you may have heard about it already, since it has been swirling around social media, but in case you missed it I thought it was important enough to bump today's regular post.

Yesterday Target's marketing team (specifically TargetStyle) copied a room design originally posted by Mandi of Vintage Revivals (without her knowledge or consent) and shared it all over their social media channels. Even though it is clearly an exact knock-off, they didn’t credit her at all.
Image source (and another interesting read)
You may be thinking: Why is this a big deal?  Shouldn't she be flattered that Target liked her idea?

To understand my outrage you first have to understand how bloggers ‘make their living.’  I use that term loosely since many many many of us [myself included] don’t make enough money to LIVE on, but we do earn a small revenue stream from blogging.  We do that mainly through advertising revenue which is tightly correlated to page views (how many people visit your blog).

That is why some the most financially successful bloggers tend to be those with the most creative, unique and beautiful content.  A post that features something that has never been seen before can easily go viral and drive thousands of people to a bloggers page (and result in a decent adverting profit.)  On the other hand, once an idea has been shown on a much larger site, it is much harder to compete for those same page views if you are the 'little guy.'

Bloggers work really hard to make sure they put out the best content they can, and it may take dozens, if not hundreds of hours to come up with a post that is a ‘game changer.’  Mandi’s fantastic hexagon wall was one of those ideas.  It is something most of us had never seen before, and it was visually stunning and completely unique.  She did it first.

And then Target stole it.

The blogging community is keenly aware of sites who steal content, often chopping off watermarks and reposting images in order to get page views without having to actually do any work.  It has even happened to me dozens of times. It isn’t a new phenomenon. Those sites (called scraper sites) have always been a problem, and yes they PISS us off,  but they are normally run by anonymous cowards who typically close up shop when they get caught.

On the other hand, scraper sites aren’t usually wealthy multinational companies who operate in almost every state across the country.  They don’t have multi-million dollar adverting budgets and huge social networks which can expose thousands millions of people to their content.  Target does.
Image source
That is why what they did to Mandi is so horrible. That is why they are worse than scraper sites. They knew better and they did it anyway.  Maybe they didn’t think they would get caught. Maybe they justified by saying it was merely an ‘imitation’ of her work and thus she should be flattered.

It wasn’t, and she isn’t.

Target stole, not “was inspired by” but downright STOLE Mandi’s room design.  See for yourself:
And it isn’t like Mandi wouldn’t have agreed to work WITH Target.  Her room had just recently been featured in HGTV magazine and so it is clear she was open to sharing to her content, as long as she was given credit for it.

Mandi addressed this issue on her blog today, and honestly, she is a LOT more understanding about this whole thing than I would be.  She just wants Target to give her credit now, after the fact.  She still is willing to work with them.  I don’t know if that is how I would feel.

I know this is a David and Goliath story and she probably won’t win, but that doesn’t mean Target should get to run roughshod over the little guy.  Target needs to be held accountable for the way they promote and market their products when using other people as 'inspriation'.  If Target wants to use someone for their creative ideas, they need to put them on their payroll or at least get their permission.   

I hope you can now understand why I am so outraged, and agree with me that what they are doing isn’t okay. I know most of you aren’t going to stop shopping at Target because of this (although I will), but I want to encourage you to reach out to Target on social media (Target and TargetStyle's Facebook pages, Twitter Account, or Customer Service email) and express your opinion on this situation.   Tell them you know the content they are using is stolen from a blogger and she deserves the credit.

The blogging community (and I include blog readers in that community) needs to stick together and watch out for each other.   When one of us is wronged we need to speak up and tell big companies that it isn't okay.

Target needs to understand that they are stealing a blogger's livelihood when they steal their content. 

And even if nothing changes, I want Mandi to know: 
We've got your back girl.  #TeamMandi #LoveYourGuts
image source

EDITED TO ADD  (March 21 10:30 PM) :
It appears that the social media campaign got Target's attention.   Mandi just updated her Facebook page with the following: 
Hey everyone! I just got an email from Target, hopefully we can connect next week! THANK YOU for all of the love, you guys constantly blow me away with your support and encouragement!! MUAH!

Personalized Backpack Coat Hooks From a Cabinet Door

Backpack Hooks
I wanted to share with you a dirty little secret I have.  Well, actually it probably isn’t THAT big of secret because anyone with three kids is well aware that nobody’s house stays clean and blog-photo worthy when children are around.

And today’s post was prompted by exactly that.  Even though I have the most FANTASTIC “mudroom” in the garage, my kids still find it impossible to hang up their coats and backpacks. They don’t take the time to stop in the garage, take them off and put them away.

We have a coat closet immediately as you enter the house and that has become the standard dumping ground.
Messy closet
Sweatshirts, jackets, uniforms and backpacks all find their way to the closet floor (since they are too short to reach the hangers) and half the time I can’t even get the door closed.

After many months of attempted re-training, I have given up and decided it was time to take drastic action.  I designated a 'drop zone' immediately next to the door and wanted to put up hooks to hold all the kids’ stuff.  However, I didn’t just want to install hooks directly on the wall.. I wanted something prettier.

A few weeks ago, I was cruising through the “AS-IS” section of Ikea (which is becoming my favorite area! Cheap Ikea stuff ON SALE!)  Anyhoo.. I found a couple of cabinet doors (or drawer fronts) that were marked down for under $1!  In fact, this one was only 97 cents!
As Is Ikea Cabinet door
I knew I couldn’t even buy a board and finish it for that cheap!   I picked up three coat hooks from Home Depot and that was everything I needed!

How to Get Brussels Sprouts Crispy in the Oven

Crispy Baked Brussels Sprouts
I think a big reason that people don’t like (or think they don’t like) brussels sprouts, is that they only have had the mushy boiled or steamed version.  All those beautiful delicate layers just meld together into a snot-like slime when you boil or steam sprouts.  It is like comparing a mashed potato to a french fry, they are almost unrecognizable as the same vegetable.

When you look cook sprouts correctly you can give those individual layers a wonderful crisp texture along with a nutty roasted flavor.  You can achieve this crispiness in a few different ways, including deep and pan frying them.  However, those techniques tend to be slightly more labor intense and/or involve a lot of oil which isn’t the healthiest of preparation methods.
Chopped brussels sprouts
So today I am sharing with you my trick for getting brussels sprouts crispy by baking them in the oven.   This isn’t necessarily a recipe, since you aren’t adding anything more than salt and pepper to them, but the technique can be used for almost any recipe.

First, you need to remove the outer layers, and cut them into halves or quarters.  Then spread them out on a lined cookie sheet.  I always use a silpat silicone baking mat, but you could use parchment as well.  Make sure they are spread evenly and TOUCH EACH OTHER AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.  You don’t want them to ‘steam’ each other.. or you will end up with soggy, squishy sprouts.
Brussels sprout baked
Next, you need to drizzle them with a few tablespoons of oil.  In this case I used Walnut Oil because it gives me the best nutty flavor.  You could also use olive, corn or canola oil.  And just like in my experiment making Kale chips with different types of oil, you could also even use Pam cooking spray if you were really worried about calories.
Walnut oil sprouts
Toss the sprouts in the oil until they are completely covered and then season with a little salt and pepper. Remember the salt will draw out some of the moisture during cooking, so don’t over-salt them before cooking.  If you want to have more flavor/saltiness, you should add additional salt at then end, when they have completed baking.
Baking brussels sprouts
Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Flip them over and allow the opposite side to crisp up for approximately 5 more minutes.
Baked brussels sprouts
If you are going to add a glaze or toss them with balsamic vinegar, make sure to do it right before serving.  The moisture will make the sprouts lose their crispiness.

The other alternative is to make a dip or aioli for the sprouts.  Blue cheese dip, garlic aioli or even ranch dressing would be great with these little guys. For this meal I served the sprouts with an herb crusted pork chop and some pasta salad which are all 'kid-friendly’ in our house.
Crispy brussel sprouts
And the true test comes when I serve them to your kids, including baby pickles:
Baby with sprouts
No complaints!
Baby eats brussel sprouts
So if you have never had brussels sprouts that  you liked, give oven roasting a try.. it may just change your mind.
Brussels sprouts

Sharing at these parties.

Princess Dinosaur Birthday Party and Spa Day

Princess Dinosaur Party
If anyone has a four year old, you know how quickly they change their minds about things.  My four year old daughter is no exception.

When I asked her what she wanted as a theme for her fourth birthday party, she couldn’t decide between Princesses and Dinosaurs, her two favorite things.  After going back and forth about the pros and cons of each theme, we eventually decided that she wanted the best of both.. a Princess Dinosaur party.

Needless to say, there aren’t a lot of ideas for “Princess Dinosaurs” floating around out there.  We had to get creative.

The first thing I dealt with was the cake.  Instead of making a design on it, I decided to go with a simple cake, and use a Princess dinosaur cake topper.  In this case it is a Schleich Triceratops figurine, wearing a barbie tutu and crown (yes, it turns out that Barbie and a Triceratops share a similar waistline!)
Princess dinosaur

The rest of the cake was pretty simple.  A flat pink base with her initials on the side:

Staining and Painting an Oak Banister (Flashback Friday)

Updating oak stair rails

It is Friday again!  I didn't have a mid-week post this week because I was busy working on my new project gallery at the top of this page (if you are reading this on a mobile phone or via a reader, you should TOTALLY click over and check out the full version!)
KimSixFixBlog headerAfter 5 years of blogging, there were just too many projects for my old galleries (which felt like they scrolled on and on and on..) So I broke them down into the following general categories:
DIY Projects
and of course, the ever popular Home Tour. 

Most of those categories are broken down into smaller sub-categories, which should make finding what you are looking for, a lot easier (I hope.)

At this point there 90% of my old projects have been put into their proper galleries.. I do have a few left to enter (and will need to constantly update as I go along) but they are complete enough to start browsing.

If you find any broken,missing or misdirected links, please let me know.  My readers are my best only copy-editors.  

Now, it's time for this week’s revived post: 

Electronics Charging Station Disguised as a Breadbox

It is amazing how fast technology changes, and how much of our lives seems to revolve around being "plugged in" these days.  As a blogger, this is especially true since I never far from my computer, iPad or smartphone in case inspiration strikes, or I want to keep up with what is going on in all my social media channels.

An unforeseen side effect of this 'connectivity' is the fact that my gadgets and gizmos are constantly in need of a charge.  I recently asked on facebook where everyone plugs in their phones.  The top answers seemed to be either 'next to my bed' or 'in the kitchen.'  I fall into that latter category.

In fact, in our house ALL electronics get charged on the kitchen counter.  For multiple reasons: 
1: They are always handy to plug in when we walk in the door and to grab when are leaving.  
2: We often share charging cords and they all need to be in one place. 
3: The counter is high enough to keep them out of the baby's reach
4: We always can find them (a common problem with elementary aged kids)

Between myself, my husband and the kids we have A LOT of electronics:

And because I was tired of everyone sucking up ALL my kitchen outlets, we attached a series of splitters to one outlet in order to keep everything gathered in one place.  The large converters on all the plugs made it nearly impossible to plug everything in at once.  I cringed every time I looked at it..

Yes.  It was far from ideal and it was also UGLY.  Here is my beautiful "new" kitchen and one area always looked like a Best Buy had exploded.

I knew I needed to do something and when I saw this tool box charging station by The Happy Housie.  I loved the idea.  I wanted a version that actually disguised the electronics, so they wouldn't seem out of place in a kitchen.

I toyed with lots of ideas.  Different kinds of boxes or baskets.. and then I stumbled upon this at a flea market and I knew I had nailed it.
It was a 'vintage' bread box I picked up for $8.  I say vintage, since it isn't really old.  The Kmart price tags were still on it (originally $39.99) but whatever circular thing-a-ma-bob was on the front was now missing.

DIY Elsa Dress (From Frozen)

It is no secret in my house that my kids are OBSESSED with Frozen (if the Olaf Valentines didn't give that away).

So for "Dress like a Disney character" day at school, my 8 year old was adamant that she get to be Elsa in her "Let it Go" dress.  Disney does make a commerical Elsa costume, but good luck getting your hands on one! They have been sold out for a while.
The next best thing?  Make one myself. 

Since there isn't a commercial pattern available anywhere yet, I knew I would have to modify a traditional dress to get the same look.  I wanted it to have a seperate bodic (since that part would need to have sequins),  a sweetheart neckline and a simple floor length skirt.

The closest thing I could find was BurdaKids Pattern 9499:

The neckline was perfect and so was the shape of the skirt.. it DID need to be longer, but that would be easy.
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