Category Archives: Pinspirations

Floating Headboard DIY (no nail holes!!!)

When I stumbled upon these pictures from Brian’s blog, Hazzard Family Blog, on Pinterest I knew immediately that this was the headboard project for me.

Initially I was leaning towards a DIY tufted headboard (cause they are all over Pinterest), but my fiance reminded me that he lives here too and the tufted style is a little too feminine for our bedroom.  (You’re welcome Nick!)

Here’s how we accomplished this project:

1. Buy Materials

  • 1 x 6″ boards. Make sure to get ones that are straight! I’d recommend a lumber store over a large home improvement retailer for better quality wood.
  • Stain – We love using Miniwax band stain. The color we picked was Dark Walnut (2716)
  • Polyurethane – We used a semi-gloss so that it’s glossy enough to be easy to dust but not super shiny.
  • Sandpaper – 220 grit for a smooth finish. You might want to buy a lower grit if your wood is rough and sand with that first.
  • Painters tape
  • 3M Command Strips – 12 lb. These are the heavy duty kind. You will need 4 per board for safety!
Here's what we used for stain, seal and strips!
Here’s what we used for stain, seal and strips!

2. Sand the BoardsPile of Wood Dust

Sand the flat part of BOTH SIDES of the boards. Don’t forget the edges too! You can hand-sand these, but if your neighbor has a sander I’d recommend borrowing it. There will be wood flakes everywhere, so be sure to do this activity in a space that can handle the mess. 


3. Stain the Boards

This is the BEST step. Staining wood is so very satisfying. Watching the wood go from plain to colorful is the best part of any wood project.

For this project I stained the wood once, let it dry overnight and then stained a second time the next day to darken the color. I used a roller to apply the stain and wiped it down with an old t-shirt.

Stain Layers

4. Seal the Boards

Polyurethane is basically a liquid plastic that will help seal in the color and give wood a finished look. Without it your wood project swill collect dirt and can stain with water.

*** Make sure to use a tool that you are ok throwing away for this step. Polyurethane is nearly impossible to wash out of a nice brush.*** I learned this the hard way 🙁

Applying Sealant

Apply the polyurethane using a roller. GO SLOW to avoid micro bubbles. Try to stir the can every few minutes using very smooth and slow strokes, trying to minimize the amount of air getting stirred in. If you have any bubbles that don’t go away in a few minutes, use a brush to smooth the sealant.

With and Without Stain

5. Hang the Boards

Ok folks, this is where the fun begins. I know that hanging 4 to 6 boards perfectly horizontal and keeping consistent spacing seems like an impossible feat, but believe me when I say THIS TOOK LESS THAN 45 MINUTES. Here are the methods I used to hang the boards.

To hang each board I used 3 or 4 of the 3M Command Strips shown above. The boards near the bottom got 3 and the ones near the top got 4. I was worried at first that this was a huge risk and I’d wake up with a broken nose, but our boards have been hanging for months and there have been zero issues.

To hang the first (lowest) board, use a piece of painters tape to create a level line on the wall. Align the board with this line to adhere to the wall. (If you need more help, check out my tutorial for hanging a mirror here. The same rules apply).

Apply a piece of level tape to the wall to place the first board.
Apply a piece of level tape to the wall to place the first board.

Now, I know that if you wanted to measure out an inch or two from the top of the first board and then reapply the tape and re-level the tape and then stick on another board, you could. BUT remember I promised getting this done quickly. So instead of doing it that way, I took about 5 minutes and turned on my engineering brain to find a better solution. The answer: BOUNCY BALLS! 

I tapes 4 bouncy balls to the top of the board and then set the bottom of the next board on top of those. Then move the bouncy balls up to the top of the new board and keep going. It took about 10 minutes to get all 5 boards (not including the first one) applied to the wall.

How to hang perfectly spaced boards
How to hang perfectly spaced boards

I also applied a piece of tape, leveled vertically, to the edge of the boards to help keep them aligned on the edge for a sharp modern look.


Before and After

Before and After

Completed Floating Headboard DIY Project

How to Avoid Toxic Nail Polish

This post will be short and sweet. If you are like me, you try to avoid unnecessary chemicals coming in contact with your life as much as possible. Small changes to daily use products like shampoo, laundry detergent, lip balm, and hand soap can add up to make a big difference in the quantity of chemicals that your body has to process.

One of the largest offenders of hash chemicals in the beauty world is nail polish. Most nail polishes contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, including triphenyl phosphate, or TPP, which has been found in breast milk! (See full article from Huffington Post here).

But alas! There’s good news. well+Good, one of my favorite sites for all things related to healthy living, has just published their list of the Top 25 “5-Free” Nail Polishes. I will admit, as a resident of small town Indiana, I’ve only heard of (or have had access to) 2 of these 25 brands. But never fear, that’s what online shopping is for!

A “5-Free” nail polish is free from Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor. 

Butter Jaffa

I’ve personally tried one of these brands, Butter London, which I’ve found works very well! The label on the bottle says that Butter is a “3 Free” nail polish, so maybe it’s not the best option, but it’s all I can buy in town. A bottle typically costs $15, but if you’re clever you can sometimes find a bottle at TJMaxx for $4.50!

I really like Butter nail polish overall. It definitely takes two layers, but I have found that it dries very fast. Butter nail polish also does not have a harsh smell, which I appreciate. typically my nails chip within 24 hours after painting, but with Butter I’ve gotten then to last up to 4 days without a single chip!

Butter Bumster

Minimize your daily contact with harmful chemicals for a healthier you!

Stitch Fix #1 and a Message About Our Consumer Nation

The purpose of this post is two-fold: 1) To continue my journey into a life of “Fewer, Better Things”* and 2) To review my experience with the company Stitch Fix.

*The motto I’ve adopted from the amazingly socially reliable company Cuyana

I recently watched a movie on Netflix called The True Cost. The True Cost is a documentary uncovering the truth about the wasteful and harmful nature of the fashion industry. The “Fast Fashion” industry is the #2 polluting industry globally, second only to petroleum.

If you’re not convinced yet that buying 50 things on Black Friday is directly impacting our world in a very serious way, here are a few statistics that might pique your interest in learning more:

  • Fashion’s engine is powered by an estimated 40 million garment workers, most of whom make less than $1 per day.
  • The average American disposes of 80 lbs of clothing each year.
  • Fast fashion clothes are full of toxin chemicals including LEAD! (read more here)
  • Cotton farming is responsible for 2.6% of the world’s water use.
  • An estimated 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment and an estimated 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the world to turn raw materials into textiles. 

So what does all of this pollution and inhumane labor get us? A closet full of cheap clothes and pockets stuffed full of cash for the few fashion executives. So is it worth it? As part of my journey into defining and wearing a Capsule Wardrobe I cut down extremely on my fashion purchases. The first item that I bought was an amazing tote bag from a wonderfully sustainable company, Cuyana. I never realized that spending $160 on one bag could feel so good, but knowing that I put my money where my mouth is when it comes to buying clothing from responsible companies was outstanding.

Check out this list of companies that have been rated among the top by

Links to a few of my favorite sustainable brands:

Now let’s talk about Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix #1 (8/5/15)Here it is in all it’s glory! If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix and want to learn more, check it out here.

Prior to scheduling this fix, I filled out the lengthy style guide (which was very fun). I even included a specific note to my stylist regarding what I wanted to see in my first fix. I specifically asked for a black blaze, and not to include pants, shorts, or skirts. Not only did my stylist, Amber, follow the instructions to a T, she also included a My note from Amber, the stylistlovely message regarding the items she chose and why. I created a Pinterest board filled with fashion pins to help Amber understand my style. I highly recommend doing this. Amber even mentioned in her note that it was helpful 🙂Style Cards

The fix also comes with a “style card” for each item which shows you how to mix and match it with items in your closet to have a stylish put together look. So let’s take a look at the items I received.

Fix #1: My First 5 ItemsItem 1) Adrianna Circle Bib Necklace, by Zad, $34.00

Item 2) Dita Sleeveless Ponte Dress, by 41Hawthorne, $68.00

Item 3) Corinna Striped Dolman Top, by Market & Spruce, $48.00

Item 4) Kaylie Solid French Terry Blazer, by Tart, $128.00

Item 5) Liffey Button Down Top, by Skies are Blue, $58.00

After trying all of the pieces on, and mixing and matching with items in my summer capsule, I decided to only keep one thing; Item 3. I was also very close to keeping Item 2, and probably would of if it had been a brighter color.

I was also disappointed that 3 of the 5 pieces were Stitch Fix specific brands (41Hawthorne, Market & Spruce, Skies are Blue); meaning not something you can buy somewhere else. This wouldn’t bother me if they had a sustainability or eco-friendly statement on their website about their brands, but until I see that it makes me like this a tad less, but I still want to try it a few more times. This method of having handpicked items delivered to me should compliment the Capsule Wardrobe lifestyle well. It’s especially useful since I live in a smaller town without access to non “big box” clothing stores.

Pros: Everything fit, I’d score this a 7/10 for my style (not bad for the first try), a few items were very nice quality

Cons: Next time I will specify no jewelry, does not offer sustainable brands (that I’m aware of)

My take home message:

Stitch Fix, please add some sustainable brands to your lineup. I’d happily pay $30 more per item if I knew they came from companies dedicated to ending the “fast fashion” epidemic.

Zady Brand Manifesto
Zady Brand Manifesto

Capsule Wardrobe: My First Attempt at Cleaning Out the Closet

My journey to use a Capsule Wardrobe was inspired entirely by Un-Fancy and a hint from my friend Theresa 🙂

I often refer to myself as a “minimalist”, but then I see my closet and realize that what I actually am is a hypocrite.  Can you be a minimalist in all aspect but your wardrobe and still self apply the title? Sure. But I felt like for me that would be cheating.

I live in a 1200 sq ft. house with my boyfriend, 120 lb. Great Dane, and a ragdoll cat (I’d add a picture but I doubt I’ll ever get one with both the dog and cat in it together!).  When my boyfriend moved in I insisted on him getting rid of a lot of his stuff. To be fair I also did a fall-cleaning-purge. This included kitchen ware, household items, and yes, clothing. I try to keep little to no knick-knacks, stacks of things on shelves low, and nothing but personally hand-made magnets on the fridge (you know, for style). However, I have a huge double master closet with a bookshelf of shoes scarves, workout clothes and jewelry, a dresser packed to the brim, and a second coat closet full with jackets.

So why am I adamant about minimalism through the house except for in the closet?

I don’t actually know why, but what I do know is that it’s time for a change. Yesterday I began researching and planning my first ever capsule wardrobe and tonight I will execute. By tomorrow morning (the first day of the Spring quarter, and thus the spring wardrobe) I will wake up free of the clutter.  I will no longer whine to my boyfriend “What should I wear to work today?”. Tomorrow I will wake up with a limited amount of options and will pick an outfit that reflects my current personal style, fits well, and makes me feel good.

Come back tomorrow to see how it went. Here goes nothing!

Sleepy Puppy – Knit Animal

Recently the (amazing) woman who watches my dog had a baby. I wanted to thank her in a special way so I found  this modification of a pattern from  The original “Pupster” pattern can be found here.Knit Instructions


Although in the website this little puppy fits nicely into someone’s hands, mine came out about twice as large! I did use size 6 needles as instructed, but my yarn must have been larger than what this pattern asked for. Here’s the correct yarn if you do want a small puppy in the chocolate color: 

Aspen 3I was able to make this in two days. It is not overly complicated but does require a moderate amount of sewing.Puppy in Pieces


As shown in this picture, the pattern instructs you to make all of the pieces separately and then sew them together (tail not shown).

As described in the modification I used one solid color instead of the “Pupster” pattern which has white face and paw accents. I also choose to use embroidery for the eyes instead of plastic since this is safer for infants (tutorial for face).

Face Close Up


I definitely think that using the “sleepy face” from is a lot cuter than regular button eyes.


If you have never made a knit stuffed animal before I’m not sure if I would suggest starting with this one.  The entire thing is knit by making flat pieces and then sewing up the seam.  It can be difficult to make this look pretty if you’re new to working with yarn.

Side View


This pattern used about 50 g of yarn which made it a great project for “cleaning up” my clutter of half used skeins.



One more of my dog modeling with the sleepy puppy toy, because why not?

Aspen 1

DIY Magnets – The perfect gift on a budget

I am dedicating this post to my friend, Anna Fiore, who taught me how to make these wonderful magnets last winter.  Since then, I’ve made over 40 magnets and have sent them to friends all over the US!

What you’ll need:

  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Old Magazines
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Super Glue (I recommend Loctite gel control)
  • 1 – 1.5 inch Clear Glass Mosaic Circles (Check out the sidebar for a link to Amazon to buy 50 for $9.99)Magnets
  • Magnets – Do not use magnet tape, it is not strong enough.  You can get these “Flexible Magnets” at most craft stores. They are worth the few extra dollars.


Steps 1-3 edited

Step 1: Find an image in a magazine that you think would make a cute magnet.  Place the glass circle over the image to ensure it will fit.  Use the pencil to draw a line all the way around the circle, as close to the base as possible.

Step 2: Cut out the image, cutting along the INSIDE of the circle.

Step 3: Use the paint brush to apply Mod Podge to the TOP of the image. That’s right, cover the image that you want to turn into the magnet with the Mod Podge.

Steps 4-6 edited

Step 4: Place the glass circle onto the sticky side of the image.  Turn the glass circle over and Mod Podge the entire back.  Ensure to smooth down all of the edges.

Step 5: Separate one magnet from the stack.  Use the super glue, Loctite in my case, to glue the magnet to the back of the magazine image.

Step 6: Let dry for about 15 minutes.

The best thing about this gift is that you can fully personalize the magnets.  Here are some examples:

For a Male Friend



I made these for a friend who likes hamburgers, football, and the IU Hoosiers.



Gift for a Girl




I made these for a girl friend who likes mail, coffee, and kittens.



Magnet Set 3



These three were made for a sorority sister who likes makeup and is an engineer!



Here’s a set of magnets that I’ve gifted to two friends over the course of a year.  You can tell based on the images I chose that they like Breaking Bad, Girls, Game of thrones, and the Voice.  Penguins are Shanna’s favorite animal and I thought Adam would appreciate the shark and the bacon.

Magnet Gifts
Customize your magnets gifts to the likes and interests of your friends!

Dandelion in the Wind Nail Art

Looking for very easy whimsical summer nail art?  You’ve got it. This Dandelion design only takes a few minutes.  Best of all, you only need to have very basic nail art supplies.

Paint the nails with a base color; I used Lilacism by Essie.  Once the background color is dry, paint on a thin black line onto the main accent nail using either a fine tipped nail art brush or pen.  At the top of the line draw a small upside down semi-circle.

Dandelion Nail Art close up
Dandelion Nail Art close up

Wait for the black to dry a minute or two.  Next, use a white nail art brush or pen to draw on the dandelion seeds.  The more free and less structured you are with these brush strokes the more authentic it will look.

Continue to add dandelion seeds with the while onto adjacent nails. Make the pattern less dense as you spread to nails farther from the main accent nail.

PRO TIP: I highly recommend the I Love Nail Art White Nail Striper by Sally Hansen.  This nail art tool will allow you to create so many designs and it won’t dry out after a few months I promise.  The brush is just firm enough to have good control but still have the natural brush stroke look.

Dandelion Nail Art


Valentine’s Day Nail Art Roundup

I put together a small roundup of some of my favorite Valentine’s themed nail art creations from Pinterest.  Enjoy!

Simple Heart Nail Art – Easy Enough for Anyone!

Sometimes the thought of self created nail art is just too daunting, but even the worse artist can do these two easy heart designs with the right tools!

Nail Dot Setup

First is the Dotted Heart design, originally Pinned by @majikbeenz at  For this design just pull out all of the colors you want to use from your nail polish box and place a few drops of each on onto a piece of wax paper.  After painting the nail in your base color, use a marbling tool to add dots in the shape of a heat.  If you don’t have a marbling tool, the end of a bobby pin works just as well (as demonstrated in my post here).  In the original Pin, Majik kept their dots separated. I found it easier to allow the dots to overlap slightly. This makes it way easier for beginners.

Simple Heart Nail Art

Another easy nail art design for beginners is a simple heart outline.  I used a gold background (a little less obvious than hot pink for those of us who like to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a subtle way) and a black accent.

I Heart Nail Art Tool Kit

I bought a kit that has the pinstriping brush and the marbling brush together like the one pictured. The best way to apply a thin line is with a pinstriping brush. It’s easiest to start by forming the round tops of the heart. Place the brush so that you are “pulling” it, not pushing, to get the best result.

Happy Pinning!

Stick Figures in Love Valentine’s Day Nail Art

Stick Figures in Love Nail Art

This nail art design was originally created by @NewlyPolished.  Check out their Instagram for more amazing nail art.

 (Click on the image to view in Amazon Marketplace)

I wanted to paint my friend Julia’s nail and asked her to search Pinterest for some fun ideas.  She found this incredibly cute stick figure idea and we fell in love with the design.  I used the Kiss Nail Art fine line Black paint to make the stick people and a regular marbling pen with pink polish to make the hearts.  This kit can be bought on Amazon for less than $7!

Remember, love is for everyone, even stick figures!