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Pretty Handy Girl: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

January - Dejá Vu a Month in Review

Did January seem to fly by for anyone else? It sure did for me.

Here is your recap of the posts at Pretty Handy Girl for the first month of 2011:

Coming up in February, I am dedicating the whole month to posts that will help you
Fall in Love with Your Home!
The month will be filled with frugal ideas to help you transform your abode into a place you won't want to leave. Plus, several guest bloggers will be here to share their tips as well. 

So get ready for a love inspiring February!


Words of Wisdom for Bloggers from Blissdom 2011

{Disclaimer: This post is a departure from my normal DIY tutorials.
If you are craving the usual familiar Pretty Handy Girl posts, you may want to leave now and come back when our regularly scheduled program returns.}

I arrived home from Nashville on Saturday. It was so wonderful seeing the smiling faces of my boys at the airport.

I had a week I will always remember. A week where I absorbed enough wisdom, information, and friendships to make my head swim. A week that made me need a 2 hour nap early Saturday evening.

A week where I met my sister in looks.
Me (aka PHG) and Cindy (My Cottage Love launching this summer)
And my sister in soul.
PHG and Sandra - Sawdust and Paper Scraps
And many more women who I can truly call a sister in spirit. (Unfortunately, they aren't all pictured below. If I missed taking your picture, you know who you are!)

Marian, Kristen, Kim, Sandra, Layla, Erin, Ashley
In summary, this week was so inspiring to me, that I felt the need to share some of the pearls of wisdom I took away from Blissdom.

What is your intention, your purpose, your goal?

Write down your goal for blogging. YOU MUST HAVE A PURPOSE or you will be unable to stick with it for the long haul.
  • Blog for money and your account will run dry.
  • Blog for fame and you will find yourself alone.
  • Blog for attention and you will be ignored.

"If you can be yourself on your blog, then you will have no competition." - The Nester
  • Don't be someone you're not on your blog.
  • Don't copy anyone.
  • If you do use a photo, idea or portion of another blog, be sure to ask permission and definitely link back to their blog.

"Start as you mean to go on." - Old British expression.

In other words, start your blog as if it will be a huge success. Be prepared to be BIG one day.

Be professional from the start. Set your intention and stick to it. Determine now if you want to share photos of your children or your real name.

"Post the Awesome! Don't post mediocrity" - Scott Stratten

We all feel the pressure to keep on a schedule, but don't just post to post. If you aren't feeling inspired, ignore the pressure to put something out there.

Lack of inspiration? Take a break, lay down, go for a walk, get outside, call a friend. Or take a longer hiatus to re-group your thoughts and find your intention again.

" are responsible for your happiness and you are responsible for the energy you bring to everything." - Oprah Winfrey

As a blog writer, it can be difficult to keep your spirits up. There are days when it seems that no one cares about you and your blog. Or worse yet, you receive a comment from a Troll.

About Trolls: 
   {a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response...} - Wikipedia

Emotional currency: "Let's say we have $100 worth of emotional currency a day. Give it to people you care about, not to trolls. Don't even give them a $1 of your emotional currency." - Scott Stratten

Don't whine, complain or post negativity on twitter, facebook or your blog. Think about it before you rant. "Would you put those words on a 30 ft. billboard for your mother to see?" - Scott Stratten

"Let them hate you because they fear your success and their lack of success." - Scott Stratten

Make a short list (even if it is only one or two people) of people whose opinions you value above all others  - Brené Brown, PhD

Taming the Green Eyed Monster:

It is so hard to read anyone's blog without your eyes wandering over to the Google friend follower or feedburner counters. You may find yourself measuring your blog against theirs. Or, wondering what makes them better and able to have more followers, comments, advertisers, etc. etc.   

STOP! It is so important not to get sucked into feeling envious of your fellow bloggers. We all need to support one another and be happy and thrilled for another's success. Those that have succeeded are only paving the road for the rest of us. 

If you do find yourself comparing. Turn your follower widgets off or hide them at the bottom of your blog. Pull out your blog intention statement and remind yourself why you are blogging.

Remember that no one reached 200,000 page views the first week they started blogging. Your blog will grow, give it time and recognize that it is a slow and steady incline if you stay true to your intent. But, also ask yourself, how will you measure the success of your blog? Refer back to your intention. 

Re-think what is important in your life. Is it your followers, stats, income and/or readership? Or is it your physical family and relationships that are concrete and there for you even if you stop blogging tomorrow? 

"Thank you for being a Friend that would Move a Body" - Brené Brown, PhD

We all need friends. But, as a blogger, we need good friends that also write blogs. Choose a network of blogging buddies that you can rely on:

  • as a sounding board
  • as someone to help you when you are stuck
  • as someone to help promote your blog
  • as someone who will be completely honest with you
  • as someone who will share information with you
  • as someone who will listen with a kind ear but won't dish about you later 

This is probably the most important thing I learned at Blissdom. The need to create a network of other bloggers.

This may seem a little daunting. I admit going to a blog conference can help immensely with networking. But, it isn't mandatory. Email bloggers that have blogs similar to your own or that you admire. Email bloggers whose blogs are bigger and smaller than your own.

If you don't get a response or the out-stretched hand, don't sweat it. Just recognize that everyone is different and they may have their own support networks or just don't have the time to invest in a good friendship. Don't let it hurt your feelings.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of networking with newer bloggers or those with less followers. You may be surprised what they can teach you.

Case in point: This wonderfully smart and sweet blogger taught me more about advertising and Wordpress than anyone else at Blissdom:
PHG and Kristi (Creative Kristi)
Kristi was a business major, but she is also hard-working, determined, and one smart cookie. I urge you to check out her blog.

Build Each Other Up and Support One Another:

I have a song that has been running through my head since I heard Brian Walker and Crystal Bowersox (husband and wife singers) perform it the last night at Blissdom. It speaks to me about what we need to do for each other:

"I wanna be your mason baby, I wanna build a life with you...Bridges burn and buildings fall and time can tear down walls...but you will always have a home with me." - by Brian Walker with Crystal Bowersox

So, to my new blogging friends: I wanna be your mason baby, and I want us to support each other as we build our blogs together.
...and any other bloggers I met and forgot to mention, call me out on it and I'll add you!

Now available! Watch the Blissdom seminars from home:
Couldn't make it to BlissDom? Get it all here.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Mousetrap Memo Pad

I've been dying to show you this project, but didn't want to give away any secrets. You see, I made them for a few several bloggers out there in the home décor blogland. And as luck would have it, most of these special women are here at Blissdom! As a tiny token of my appreciation for their inspirational blogs, I put together a little gift bag. Inside (among other things) was this one-of-a-kind memo pad.

With a note attached.

 "My mouse is hooked on your blog!"

Get it? The notepad holder is a mousetrap and I was playing on the word, mouse (the one for your computer). Corny, I know.

So, you want one for yourself? I'm happy to share with you the tutorial.
The memo pad started life as a mousetrap (4 for $1) and a mini picture frame also $1 at the Dollar Store!


Wooden mousetrap
Small picture frame
Cabinet Toe kick boards or other thin scrap wood (1 - 4.5" x 4.5", 1 - 4.5" x 10")
Corrugated cardboard
Small 2" x 3" picture
E-6000 glue (optional)
Gorilla glue
Needle-nosed pliers
Saw (hand saw is fine)
Drill and bit (for hole)

Start by removing the hook and trap hold parts with pliers. Then remove the bait hook.
All that will remain is the spring and snapping bar.

Cut the excess wood from your mousetrap with a handsaw.
(I used mine in a miter box for a straight cut.)

Sand down the rough edges.

You will need to cut down your scrap wood to the dimensions below.
The 4.5" square piece is the same thickness as the mousetrap.
This insures an even surface for the memo pad to rest on.


Following the directions for the Gorilla Glue,
I wet each piece of wood and then added the glue.


Glue the 4.5" square piece to the bottom of the larger piece of wood. Then glue the mouse trap right above the square piece. Make sure your snapping bar is facing down, as shown below.

Set a weight on top of the wood to "clamp" it while the glue dries. (About an hour or so.)
  Anyone know what these hand weights are good for?
Beats me, I only use them to weigh down projects.

 After the trap is dry, spray your boards with 1 or 2 coats of primer. 
Then follow up with your favorite color paint.

At this point, you will want to drill a hole through the top of your board. 

Take apart your picture frame and discard the backing. 

Replace it with a piece of corrugated cardboard cut to size. Slide in your picture.

Carefully add a small line of E-6000 glue* to the back of the frame and glue it just above the mouse trap. If you use too much glue, it will glue the cardboard to the frame and you won't be able to switch out your picture from time to time.
 *You could use Gorilla glue for this step, but the glue expands and might glue your frame shut so you can't change the pictures.

Create a bow with the ribbon and slide a piece of wire through the bow knot.

Secure the bow by threading both ends of the wire through the hole at the top of your mouse trap memo holder. Twist the wires together to make a loop for hanging.

Add your memo pad and you have a unique little note center.

So do you think those wonderful bloggy ladies will like it? 
It isn't too cheesy is it? (Pun definitely intended!)

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Camping Themed Boy's Room

I have been having the best time meeting most of my favorite bloggers at Blissdom. 
Dear sweet home & DIY bloggers, y'all really rock!

A few of those rockin' women bloggers:
Sandra (
Sawdust & Paper Scraps), Rhoda (Southern Hospitality), Shaunna (Perfectly Imperfect), Ashley (Pure + Lovely), Erin (Two Story Cottage) and Layla (TheLetteredCottage)

So I met, Layla from The Lettered Cottage – I know seriously – Layla! She is a real sweetheart and very down-to-earth gal. Anyway, she sent out a request for ideas for kids rooms. She and her cute hubby (don't tell her I said that) are on the road to adoption and want to put together a room for their little one(s).

I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new when I say that Layla and Kevin don't need any help with design ideas. Their bungalow is "to die for!" But, when a blogger asks for ideas, one must comply.

And because, who doesn't love a good before and after. Here is my son's bedroom shortly after we moved into our home.

Pretty boring, huh? Poor guy didn't even have a bed frame. But, frankly, it let me sleep better at night knowing he wouldn't roll out of bed.  Hey, Layla, they roll out of bed until a little after 4 yrs. old. But, I know you won't be buying bunk beds anytime soon ;-).

Two plus years later and we moved beyond the rolling out of bed phase AND something divine happened. I met a "real" mural artist and it was like finding a clone of myself! I promptly hired my clone to help me paint a mural in my son's room.

A beautiful woodland and mountain theme!

Tom Barber (mural artist in Raleigh, NC) painted most of the background and I painted the animals (because that is my illustration specialty.)

I bought some corner rounded shelves at Home Depot and installed them in the corner where Tom painted a big tree.

A perfect spot to curl up with a good book.

The closet is my son's super secret hideaway.

When you open the door you are met by a tent.

Pretty Handsome Son can either close it up or secure the tent flaps on the sides with the velcro tie backs.

The tree is made from some crepe myrtle branches that we had to trim from our trees out front.

The lantern in the tree was an old oil lantern. I drilled a hole in the bottom and inserted a candelabra light kit. It is the perfect amount of light for him to read stories by.

I used a larger branch for the curtain rod. And tied the rod to the shelf with some rope knots.

And I had to add this adorable bird that my son made in preschool. No kids room is complete without his or her artwork.

He sleeps soundly under the light up moon on the wall.

The bookshelf was re-painted and I mod podged old US Geological Survey maps onto the back.

I wish I had a room like this when I was a child. Heck, when he outgrows it (which I hope he never does), I'll move in to his room!


Bedding from Target Woolrich collection.

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