DIY Color-Blocked Wooden Bangles

Oh man folks, around here the days are long and getting longer by the week.  We are 32 days out from D-day and I am getting antsy and tired and quite frankly, really cranky.  

I've hit that stage where it is all but impossible for me to get comfortable.  My belly is so low that it pokes out of even the most forgiving maternity shirts.  My walk is way worse than a waddle - it's more like a double limp.  

I am ready to get this show on the road. But alas, I'd prefer my baby to wait until closer to her due date to make her big arrival.  Let's beef up that little brain some more.  

In the meantime, I am trying to find ways to pass the days other than boring chores and napping [which I am allowing myself at every whim when Vivi's schedule permits].  

The pregnant brain is a funny creature.  The hormones make my thinking so cloudy that even cooking a basic recipe can cause me to lose my mind.  

Focus is difficult.  I often feel easily distracted from general tasks and find myself daydreaming of nesting feats that cannot be achieved at this time [like completely throwing my living room furniture to the curb and pulling an Emily Henderson-style weekend makeover].  

Writing this post right now is like watching a three year who's opened too many Christmas presents.  Distraction reigns supreme. 

However, creative release has been my savior these past few weeks - creating something for the sake of creation rather than for a strategic objective.  

These bangles literally saved me from myself last week.  

As I sat in the sunlight at our dining room table, I created with intuition.  What color did I feel like using?  Oh, glitter sounds fun.  

Towards the end of the process, I decided I wanted highlight more wood grain so off to the Home Depot for some natural wood stain.  

I love the way each bangle turned out unique yet coordinated with the set.  I'm also so satisfied with my gut's choice of the Martha Stewart White Gold fine glitter.  I'm normally a gold gal, but that warm silvery metallic was whispering sweet nothings into my ear.  I couldn't avoid it's pull.


Materials

Fine glitter

Natural-toned wood stain

Painter's tape

Mod Podge (I used the glossy formula)

Wooden bangles with a dome exterior (I purchased mine from DIYBangles.com)

Craft paint

Foam brushes

Small painter's brush


Directions

Following the directions given on the stain container, stain each bangle.  I found the bangles to be very smooth, so I did not sand.  I simply wiped the bangles with a clean dry cloth to remove any dust particles prior to starting.  Allow to dry for a few hours before continuing.  

Using the painter's tape, tape off sections of the bangle for the craft paint.  I found an angled look to be the most fluid with the curve of the bangle, but if stripes are more your style, I say go for it!

Using a foam brush, paint the taped off sections with craft paint and allow to dry.  Lighter colors may need a few separate coats. 

Once you're happy with the coverage of paint on the bangle, choose a section on the bangle for glitter and tape off.

Brush this new section with Modge Podge and shake, shake, shake what your mama gave you - uh, I mean glitter.  I did this over a small metal pan with a piece of cardstock at the bottom.  Any glitter that did not stick was poured back into the container with the cardstock.  Again, allow to dry.

If you see any bald spots in your glitter, repeat step 5 once the glue has dried.

To seal the glitter portion, brush on a thin coat of Modge Podge over the glitter section only.  If you try to seal the entire bangle without sealing the glitter first, it can drag pieces of glitter onto the non-glittered parts of the bangle.

Finally, seal the entire bangle in one more coat of Modge Podge for protection.


These bangles are fun to make and more importantly, fun to wear.  And ahem, Christmas is just around the corner.  Which one of your girlfriends wouldn't love to open a bow-tied box of these?  I'm just saying.  

Have you DIYed bangles before?  What method did you use?  I'd love to see photos of your bangles!  Share with me on Instagram and tag your work with #craftenthus!

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.

Survive, But Keep the Dream Alive

When I was in my third trimester with Vivi, I was working at a high stress, high intensity job taking a bajillion steps a day and doing a shitty job at managing my heart rate.  In defense of my job, it was a fast-paced role, but it was also an unusually rare high stress time.  

At that point, I was unsure what my next steps would be following the birth of my first child.  I had felt conflicted and unsatisfied in my role for a while, but loved my coworkers and managers and the thought of beginning a job hunt with a new baby felt very intimidating; especially since I was unsure whether I even wanted to stay in the same industry.  

In my heart of hearts, though I could not admit it to myself, I knew I would not be returning.  

The trauma of Vivi's birth and my battle with postpartum depression only solidified that I was in no shape to return to any job of any kind.  I was thrashing wildly just to keep my nose above the surface of the tumultuous waves I had been thrown into.  

And so, I officially became a stay at home mom.  

This new role also came with its share of conflict and emotions.  I never expected to be a SAHM for one child.  I always assumed I would return to work after the first and then stay at home for a while with the second and third.  I have no idea when, why or even how this plan formulated in my mind, but it did.  

So after being shotgunned into the world of the SAHM unknown and doing my best to keep afloat amidst postpartum depression [and keep my newborn alive], I felt lost.  

Completely, utterly lost.     

Who am I?  What is my purpose?  What do I enjoy?  Will I ever feel happy again?  Aren't mothers supposed to feel constant joy in their new roles?  Why don't I like this?

Identity crisis to the max [and that's an understatement].  So began my journey to answer these critical questions and to forge a new path into my future as a woman, a survivor, a human being, a mother and a wife.  

I learned that purpose and productivity are extremely pertinent to my daily happiness.  Connections with others, especially new moms, became critical.  Getting out of the house daily became mandatory.  And most importantly, I learned that creative expression provides balance and challenge to the monotony of day-to-day responsibility.  

I was pretty sure the answer was a blog, but I had so many questions.  I didn't know what I was doing.  And didn't everyone, their cousin and their dog have a blog?  Did I want to be just another blogger in an already flooded market?  

But I knew it was right for me and so in July of 2014, I started EE with my very first blog post and it. felt. so. good.  

From there it's grown [mostly in skill and experience on my part], and now it's a job that pays me zero money [I'm working my way up to it], but gives me daily purpose and so much joy.  

I have big dreams for the EE brand.  I have dreams of updating my site and brand to the vision in my mind.  Of hiring a few associates.  Of having a studio space to work and shoot in.  Of hosting events in said studio space.  Of making EE a place for the creative, off-beat, authentic, urban mama to stretch her creative muscle with a community of other creative, off-beat, authentic, urban mamas.  To not only support, but also encourage the creative mom to thrive.

These are some pretty lofty goals and I know they won't and can't happen overnight.  Especially because - and here's the kicker - Baby Girl Wheeler #2 will be making her entrance in just a matter of weeks and I'm pretty sure that she's going to take this progress within myself, EE and life as a SAHM and throw it all up in the air.  

But, here is what I know...

There's no way it could be any worse than the last go round.  I survived a near death complication after birth and a deep, dark postpartum depression.  So yea - been there, done that.

I won't be able to do as much with EE as my creative right brain will desire and THAT'S OKAY.

Babies don't make your dreams go away.  They just challenge you to reevaluate, adjust, adapt and grow and those are all amazing things.

So my motto from this point [5 weeks, 6 days till due date] until whenever I feel like I've got a solid footing is... 

survive, but keep the dream alive.

I will give myself the grace needed to simply survive and I will take comfort in knowing that survival does not mean my dreams have died.  

What it may mean is that blog posts will be less frequent and/or less labor intensive.  Whatever it takes to allow me to survive and bond with my new little baby.  

My instagram will however definitely be a full go [how can I not post photos of a baby?], and I'd love for you to follow along with me as I journey into second time motherhood.

I don't say this enough, but as a reader, thank you for understanding that life has its ebbs and flows and understanding that EE's going to see the effects of that [and come out of it on the other side].  

Thank you for listening and allowing me to share my thoughts, stories, and creative work on a regular basis.  You have no idea the special impact you make on my life just by reading!  

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photograph taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.

Dresser Before and After and Chalk Paint Review

Celebration emoji, dancing girls emoji, celebration emoji!!

I am so relieved to finally have this project complete and I am really satisfied with the way it turned out.  It was an ambitious project being that I'm big and pregnant, it was my first time painting wood furniture, and it was my first attempt using chalk paint.  

Basically I like to make my life ridiculously difficult in the name of design.  This dresser was the equivalent of that ubiquitous pair of heels that scrunch your toes and give you blisters, yet you wear them anyway.  

The dresser began as a sturdy yet out-dated traditional piece with elaborate antiqued brass pulls in Drew's college apartment bedroom.  It originally came from the guest bedroom of his grandmother's house and while tied to her memory, was a not a piece of particular sentimentality.  

Somewhere along the way in college, I got it in my head that modern chrome pulls would update the dresser [don't judge -  design vision has to start somewhere], so I dragged Drew to Home Depot for our very first DIY project together [the first of many].  

Once we were married, this poor lonely dresser with its confused design identity, sat unused in a corner of the guest room in all three of our houses.  

As I began planning Vivi's big girl room, I knew I would be keeping the dresser due to overall costs and its remarkably good construction.  The vision for the project practically poured out of me onto paper and once it did, I was convinced this look was the only way to go.

I am so glad I never veered from my original design.  And I'm so glad Drew and I decided against throwing the dresser off the Bay Bridge into the San Francisco Bay and just stuck out the project, because seriously - this was the project that just would not end.  But it's over now, and Vivi has a rad dresser and I learned quite a bit about chalk painting and painting furniture in general.  

As for a chalk paint review, I have to say, I'm not as obsessed with this product as many bloggers are.  I think for some projects, chalk paint [in our case Annie Sloan] is the perfect way to go.  For others, standard paint is totally suitable.  

Chalk paint is touted as a no-sanding necessary product that is easy to use, but for our project, sanding was a still a must.  The dresser was stained cherry and had a thick shiny varnish.  

When I spoke with the salesman at the store where I purchased the paint, he suggested a light sand.  Any signs of peeling or cracking chalk paint are sign that the paint is not adhering to the piece and more sanding might be necessary.


Some of the instances where I would recommend chalk paint based on my experience

  • if you want the distressed, layered paint look
  • if you are concerned about the odor and/or toxicity of standard latex and oil paints
  • if you have a well-worn or semi-light colored wood piece [meaning just not something crazy dark like cherry]
  • you have a piece that is away from a high-traffic area or is rarely used

pros of using chalk paint for this project

  • the dry time in between coats was super quick
  • the paint went on smoothly [we used a speciality chalk brush] 
  • a small amount of paint goes a long way
  • the dried paint has a velvety finish

problems I encountered during the project 

  • the cherry wood bled through in some areas of the white paint
  • we sanded quite a bit since our piece was very high gloss, but still encountered a few small areas where the paint had trouble adhering
  •  because the paint gets thinned with water, we had issues with dripping
  • the white paint seemed to dry as soon as I brushed it on causing a higher chance of brushstrokes
  • I kept getting tiny bubbles when I laid the white paint down on the surface that I had to sand out before the next coat
  • the wax top coat had many hairs and particles sealed within it no matter how much we cleaned the surrounding area and is already showing wear and tear.

I don't doubt that all the problems listed above could have been remedied had I not been inexperienced in its use and determined to just get the damn thing done.  

In the case of this piece, I wanted a smooth modern finish, but if you are looking to create a distressed look chalk paint is definitely your best option.  

However, I was not impressed with the wax top coat.  The dresser is already showing dark marks that cannot be removed and the little particles that were sealed into it are still driving me crazy.  I would suggest skipping the wax, especially on a high use surface, and opting for a standard polyurethane top coat.  

I am planning on using the leftover paint for future projects, so when I do, I will update you with a new review.  For a full chalk paint tutorial, I suggest this video and this tutorial as well as the Annie Sloan site.  I used all extensively, especially in the beginning when I was learning the basic process.

Have you used chalk paint before?  What were your experiences?  I would love to see photos of your chalk paint projects!  Share them with me through Instagram by tagging @EverydayEnthusiasticMere!

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.

Beginning Your Day with Intention

I am a walking contradiction.  

You see, I am at my best in the mornings.  Got a long to-do list?  Let me tackle it at 6:30 AM.  Need the kitchen cleaned?  No problem.  

But the major contradiction here is that I love sleep...really, really, really loooooove sleep.  Being the queen of the snooze button, I have no qualms about hitting it for as long as needed [or desired] - sometimes up to an hour and a half.  

People say that at that point you're no longer getting revitalizing sleep since you're being interrupted every 9 minutes by your alarm, but I highly disagree.  Slap that snooze and I'm out cold again in less than 5.2 seconds flat.  I even continue my dreams in between snooze slams.  

I believe my biggest problem is that I literally fear being tired during the day.  For better or for worse, I prefer, and am most comfortable, in a state of energetic vigor.  

I haven't reached the point of self-awareness yet as to know why I hate being tired, but I do know this fear has gotten worse since becoming mom.  Probably because as a mom you are always in some state of exhaustion - the only question is just what that level may be.  

Thus the tug and pull between the desire to feel productive, purposeful and active and the desire to stock up on sleep.  

When I allow myself to sleep in until the absolute latest time [which is usually until Vivi awakes or Drew leaves at 7], I often feel as if I am chasing the day.  Instead of feeling proactive, I feel reactive to the day's circumstances.

However, when I do begin my day with intention, a routine as you may have it, I feel in control and purposeful.  I feel more productive and have more energy to tackle the big stuff [like the tantrums Vivi has become so keen on throwing]. I love starting the day in a quiet house with a dark morning sky crossing off nagging to-do list bullets while sipping my steaming hot coffee.  

But I can tell you, it isn't easy.  

My morning routine seems to be in constant evolution.  My current routine varies slightly from the routine I had 8 months ago where I awoke at 5:45 AM and you better believe it'll all get thrown up in the air when Baby #2 arrives in December.  


current morning routine

My alarm goes off around 5:45 AM - and then shuts off promptly after I hit snooze [hey, I never said this getting up early was easy].

After about a snooze or two, I force myself to turn on the lamp on my nightstand around 6:15ish.  Once the light is on I can find little reason not to sit up in bed.  

And then - this is the key - I do something that I want to do to get my mind going.  

In my case, I pull out my Sentence a Day journal located in an accessible place [top drawer of the nightstand] and write about the previous day.  I used to hop on my phone and web surf or check email, but I found this to be a black hole.  Before I knew it, thirty minutes had passed and I hadn't even gotten out of the bed yet.  

Writing in my Sentence a Day journal is enjoyable, reflective and succinct.  

After journaling, I hit the bathroom for some water and grab a warm, chunky cardigan and slippers [is there anything worse than leaving a cozy, toasty bed for a chilly, dark house?].  

I head upstairs to make a cup of coffee [the keurig is set to turn on thirty minutes prior] and then sit down at my desk with my Get to Work Book and computer.  I spend a few minutes prioritizing the day and then begin working on an EE related task for the next 20 minutes or so, which is usually how long I have before I need to get Vivi's day started.  


It's nothing fancy.  

I'm not waking up every morning with the objective of writing a novel.  I just need a little me-time, a little productivity, a little bit of a plan for the day and some positivity.  

This is the formula that works for starting my day in a proactive, productive way - with intention.  

How do you begin your day?  Do you allow yourself some me-time?  If not, what's one thing you could do for yourself in the mornings to begin your day in a positive and productive way?

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photograph taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.

Halloween Boa Wreath DIY

Right now, I am allllll about the quick and easy DIY's.  After spending so long styling, painting and decorating Vivi's big girl room [stay tuned because I swear the final photos will be up in the next few weeks], I'm craving some easy wins.  What's that?  Oh that can be done in an afternoon?  I'm all over it.   So, working on this easy wreath was a definite no brainer.  

It only took about 45 minutes from collecting the materials to hanging it on the door.  Huzzah!  Oh, and that's an honest time assessment for the DIY.  None of this, "Done in 10 min!" crap.  It drives me crazy when I see a DIY make awesome claims on the time that once you get started you realize couldn't possibly be true without being on cocaine [and darn, my stash just ran out last week].  

By the way, there are actually some great quick ideas just waiting to made on Pinterest, but you have to use common sense when eyeing the project.  And a second by the way, I don't actually do coke.  I'm more of a coffee and sugar gal when it comes to uppers.

So on to the Halloween boa wreath DIY.  I love the feathered look of boa wreaths, but anytime I saw one in the store it seemed to be A) more than I wanted to spend or B) too ostentatious or cutesy for my taste.  

When it comes to wreaths, I tend to err on the side of simplistic and little sophisticated.  No wicked witch legs hanging out of the door here [though totally cool if that's your thing - it makes me happy to see anyone getting in the spirit regardless of style].  

And who doesn't find feathered boas fun to craft with??  Well, maybe not the person that has to clean up the feathers...oh wait, that's me.  Hmm...


Materials

Ribbon for accent

Fishing wire to hang the wreath

14 in foam wreath form

3 - 4 boas from the craft store [mine came from Michaels]

Hot glue gun and sticks

Directions

Start by glueing one end of a boa to the wreath form in any location.  You don't have to put the glue all the around the form - only a small line on one side.  

Holding the piece of boa carefully that rests on the drying glue, gently tuck the rest of the boa through the center of the wreath form and back through the other side.  When you the reach the section you previously glued, add a small line of new hot glue close enough to the first piece that the form is hidden beneath the feathers.  Then lay the boa over the fresh hot glue, carefully holding the glued portion while pulling the boa through and around the wreath form.  Keep repeating until the boa ends.

When the first boa runs out, simply glue the next boa as if connecting it to the first.

Cut a long piece of ribbon about 3 to 3.5 feet in length [depending on how much of a ribbon drop you want off the bottom of your wreath].  Attach the ribbon using the ridiculously simple Lark's Head knot.  For an example of this type of knot, see my past DIY for the Yarn and Ring Wall Hanging.  For extra security, I put a small dot of hot glue beneath the front portion of the ribbon thus bonding it to the ribbons hanging below. Cut a small V on the bottom edge of the ribbons.

Hang your wreath, share it [#craftenthus] and enjoy your sophisticatedly spooky front door!

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.

Big Brother [or Sister] Activity Box

Having a second baby can be hard on the older sibling especially when said sibling is in his or her toddler years.  

When I ask Vivi how she feels about our new baby coming in December, more times than not, she answers "Nervous".  

I myself am a bit nervous as well - the splitting of time between the girls, making sure Vivi feels secure, the new baby schedule combined with a toddler schedule, and of course, the sleepless nights.  Very often in my head, my inner voice whispers, "one day at a time".  

Because that's all we can really do, right?

My cousin just had her second baby, a baby girl named Emery, in September.  I bought Emery the cutest little welcome to world gold moccasins, but I really wanted to do something special for Bennett, my cousin's first child, as well.  

Bennett is 19 months old and is a super adorable and remarkably chill little man.  I thought it would be fun to put together a simple activity box as a big brother gift with basic activities he can do while Mommy is changing diapers, nursing Emery, rocking her to sleep, etc, etc, etc.  

And maybe [and more importantly], this box will help my cousin out as well.  Need a quick distraction for Bennett?  Reach in the box and pull out a bag.


criteria for the box

  • activities must be age appropriate and
  • must require as little parental involvement as possible.  

I didn't spend a lot of time DIYing activities because I didn't really think it was necessary.  There are so many low cost possibilities in places like the dollar store and dollar spot at Target that DIYing felt unnecessary.  

I did make a ridiculously easy fuzz ball game [Vivi used to love stuffing fuzz balls through holes in containers when she was Bennett's age] and also gathered some extra Play Doh supplies from Vivi's humungous stash.  

Other than that though, everything else was store-bought. 

Included in this box

  • A fuzz ball game - literally, this is just an egg carton with holes punched through it and various size fuzz balls
  • A Color Wonder book with markers - this coloring book is our go-to for plane rides, but would obviously be great at home as well.  The book requires special markers that only write on the coloring book pages.  If the kiddo decides to draw on the walls, themselves, the cat, the table or the [insert any possible object here], the ink will glide on colorless.
  • I Am A Big Brother by Caroline Jayne Church
  • A bead maze
  • A small stamping kit with three stamps and a pad
  • Various Play-Doh supplies

Last, but certainly not least, is a Starbucks gift card for mama.  Because we all know she's going to need the extra caffeine and she deserves to treat herself.  

After all, she's the one making it all happen.

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3 and edited using Photoshop CC.