THE BLOG | WHERE HOME DECOR AND DIYS COME TOGETHER.

Check out the latest posts from the blog, a sweet little corner of The Junq Drawer created to share all the lovely home decor, DIY and other lifestyle things!
Lexington’s Local Coffees: Nate’s Coffee
We have made it pretty clear that we have a love affair with coffee. This is to be the first in a series of blog posts about local coffee places close to us, in Lexington, Kentucky. We all love to "shop local" and support the local business owner, right? It's good for everyone! But you may not even know what local places there are or what they are all about. If you are local to Lexington, we are going to give you all the inside info into your local coffee shops and roasteries. If you're not local, you will know exactly where to find your coffee when you come for a visit. Plus, a lot of our local coffees offer online ordering, so you can benefit no matter where you live! If you live in Lexington, KY, you may have already had Nate's Coffee without even knowing it. Whether with your donut at North Lime Coffee & Donuts, over your ice cream at Crank & Boom, or even mixed with your beer from Country Boy Brewing, you've had Nate's Coffee. For a full list of where you can find this local favorite click here. If you haven't been to any of those places (you should definitely check them out!) keep on reading, because today we are going to introduce you to the man, the myth, the legend, behind Nate's Coffee. And he is going to tell us more about his namesake coffee. [caption id="attachment_1482" align="aligncenter" width="302"]JES_0270 The Signature "Stay Classy" Pose.[/caption] A lot of us don't figure out what we want to do in life until we are adults. Sometimes many years past college. Nathan Polly, founder and creator of Nate's coffee, designed his own business plan for a coffee shop for a project in high school. Why such an early fascination with all things coffee? He told us coffee was something for everyone. A coffee shop is a place where everyone can hang out and have a good time, regardless of age or station in life. Coffee is an equalizer! After high school, he spent time working in many different areas usually in positions of leadership. He was, not surprisingly, drawn to the coffee company chain, Starbucks where he worked for several years. He eventually managed and helped to open several stores as well. Nate credits a lot of his coffee and business know-how to his years spent there. It was refreshing to hear him appreciate rather than scorn his coffee roots in a "stick it to the big coffee man" kind of attitude. I think it reflects well on the heart and integrity behind Nate's coffee. This is a community focused guy, from his good-natured personality to the way he runs his business, and it's obvious that bringing people together is a central focus. When advancement at Starbucks began taking him further and further from home and the people he loved most, he did what any entrepreneurial minded person would do: he stepped out on his own. From the humble beginnings of roasting coffee beans in a popcorn popper (I'm just impressed he knew how to do that. And hey, you gotta start somewhere!) to the many thousands of pounds of coffee roasted in a YM-15 Ambex roaster (affectionately called "Big Blue") each month, Nate's Coffee is making a name for itself. Well, er, besides the name it shares with it's creator. JES_0656 When asked to choose a favorite coffee roast, Nate compared it to choosing a favorite child. Understandable considering how many hours of roasting and tasting over and over go into making each coffee blend. "It takes a lot of patience and tasting the same bean roasted 6 different ways to go, "That's it!" he says. But because we asked, he chose the El Salvador as a favorite light roast and the Blue & White as a favorite Dark roast. JES_0253 It's always nice to know that something you would buy anyway, will also help to benefit someone else. Each month, Nate's coffee chooses a charity and $1 from each pound of the Blue & White blend sold goes to the chosen charity. Choosing a different charity each month allows the company to bring awareness to many different charities. This month's charity is Food Chain,  a nonprofit organization here in Lexington that strives to educate and connect the community to the concepts of growing healthy, fresh food and strengthening our local economy. To find out what other charities Nate's Coffee has supported, visit: natescoffee.com/blue-white-charity-blend/ While you're on the website, check out their new subscription service! You can customize it to your monthly (or weekly!) coffee needs. Who hasn't woken up to find you're out of coffee and struggled to make it to the store without your coffee to first help you function?? Coffee comes to my doorstep? Yes, thank you! But why choose Nate's Coffee over your usual go to coffee? You can't beat the freshness of a coffee slow roasted in small batches, and then sent directly to your door. You can taste the difference. JES_0719 We sure appreciate Nate and his generosity, both to various charities and to us Salt & Life Bloggers! We left his coffee roastery loaded up with bags of coffee and merchandise. Go show him some love and try out Nate's Coffee. You won't regret it and you can feel good supporting good causes and a small business owner. #shoplocal Amanda Signature    
How to Decorate a Nursery on a Budget
We all strive as mamas and decorators to maintain that decluttered and designed look even in our kids' rooms, but we don't always have the budget for it!  Thankfully, there are sales and closeouts, consignments and, of course, DIYs as well as some incredibly talented and creative bloggers who are willing to share tidbits of their expertise. Today, we are blessed to have Ashley stopping by from At Home With Ashley to share her Top 5 List for decorating a nursery on a budget.  Prepare yourselves.  She's amazing! Cover Photo - Website

How to Decorate a Nursery on a Budget

Thanks, Amanda and Jessica, for letting me stop by and post on one of my favorite subjects -- how to decorate a nursery on a budget. I am Ashley from At Home With Ashley, and I specialize in decorating with personality for less.

Here are the top 5 elements that every nursery needs

1. An awesome statement wall

IMG_3988 A kid room is the perfect excuse to have fun and be more bold than you normally would be. For my son's room we went with a safari themed wallpaper (available here for $50) that really pulled the room together. I think spending between $50-$75 on a statement wall can give you the look you want and not break the bank. Below are some other ideas for statement walls. elements to add to your walls to make a statement

2. A comfy chair

IMG_9868 (1) There are times to splurge and times to save and below are my guidelines on when to do each. As you can see, I think a chair is the time to splurge. A nursery really needs a comfy chair for all of the rocking and feeding done in those early months and reading books later. I like to budget $400 for a nice rocker or glider and get something that you can spend lots of time in (because believe me, you will!). If you get a neutral option, you can move the chair into a living room later and did you know that rockers can be changed into regular chairs with just switching out the legs? Knowing those things helped me feel better about my investment. I got my rocker on sale at a local store that resells Pottery Barn returns (Down East Home) and have found some great options on Wayfair as well.when to splurge and save

3. A mobile

IMG_4481 Nothing says baby room like a mobile. This is a great time to bring in a whimsical element to the room. For my son's nursery I hunted everywhere for the perfect elephant mobile to match the safari theme, but couldn't find anything! I decided to DIY my own and ended up making one out of felt that I loved for less than $5! If you would like the directions and free pattern, click here.

4. A place for books

IMG_8305 I believe in the importance of reading even to a baby (any excuse for more snuggle time, am I right?!). When I was nesting I would head to my local thrift store and buy Golden books for $0.50. I built up a great collection, but I needed a place to put them. Ikea to the rescue! I used their $10 picture ledge option and like that the books act as art. I added a giraffe head (no longer available) and love my little reading corner.

5. Cute art

IMG_7497 I am a believer in affordable art! First of all, search Pinterest for free printables. You won't believe the variety you will find! That is where I found my "be brave" art (Be Brave). Or search Etsy for printables. I have had the best luck there and have lots of prints I love that were $1-$5! (Hip hip horray print). If you need a frame for your print, just buy one from the thrift store and paint! These frames are usually $0.50-$1.00 which is much more affordable than the usual $8-$10 from Micheal's or Ikea. frames for cheap When my baby was around 9 months old, we DIY'd the mint, blue and black art together. It makes me sentimental that we collaborated on a project when he was so little. I took a canvas and put blobs of paint on top and covered it with plastic wrap and let him smoosh the paint around. I loved that it was a mess free project! I then took the wrap off, let dry, and painted a quote on top (here's the full post with instructions for more details). AHWA Kids Room 3 If you guys would like more tips on how to decorate on a budget, my new book At Home for Less comes out July 15th! If you have ever wanted a beautifully decorated home, but don't know how with the budget you have, I give concrete steps, tips, and illustrated directions. It is $7.99 the first week and then goes up to $9.99. (Click here to purchase .) xo, Ashley A huge thanks to Ashley for sharing with us today! Be sure to check out her site and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and don't forget to snag your copy of At Home for Less! It is a must-read!
S&L Devos: Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.

Anna Bartlett Warner

Easily one of my daughter's favorite bedtime songs, she practically screams, "Jesus loves me!" She gets so excited when I ask what she wants to sing before we go to sleep.  We do the hand motions I learned in Wee Worship back when I was a kid, and we sing it through at least twice every time.  Then she laughs that contagious laugh of hers. It's one of those songs you know by heart as a kid and never leaves you. It's also one of those songs with lyrics that we take for granted because we've heard them so many times.  But if we really speak the lyrics out, they take on a pretty epic truth.  Jesus loves me... I know it because He told me so in the Bible.  His children belong to Him.  Even though we're weak, He is strong. Despite that weakness, He loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  The Bible tells me so. I've been struggling, as I know many of you have, with feeling overwhelmed and powerless.  Changes happen, opportunities are presented, and I say yes because I believe it's the right direction or because it sounds like fun or because I know it matters. I'm in a season where most of these changes are good, with a couple of horribly bad ones sprinkled in, but even amidst all the good I find myself feeling out of control at times and powerless to bring things to a halt so I can get my bearings.  My to do lists aren't checked off.  My responses are short.  I respond with, "I'm tired," many times to "How are you?" In seasons of good and bad, it's the desire of my heart to respond with joy, not anxiety.  Yet, here I am struggling some days to even take the time to speak with God, much less stop and listen to what He has to say.  Thankfully, the Bible tells us Jesus loves us.  It also tells us so much more!  In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes to the church in Corinth about God's promise to him saying, "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" There are so many stories of weakness in the Bible to learn from.  One of the most prominent to my mind is Gideon.  He asked for sign after sign after sign to prove that God was truly with him. He was weak, and he admitted to being "the least in [his] family". Then there's Moses who was convinced that God didn't really want him to be the one to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt because he had a speech impediment. Story after story like these showcase people in hardship, with weaknesses, fully human and God delivering them, loving them, caring for them because they were His children. Then there's me. Weak, insecure, fearful and undeserving. And there's you, wherever you are in life. Here's the truth, friends.  Jesus loves me, and Jesus loves you!  No strings attached.  He just does.  He loves us in our brokenness and in our need for Him.  He loves us when we are overwhelmed, and He wants to give us rest.  He said in Matthew, "Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." I was talking with a friend yesterday about how life is overwhelming and she just felt defeated. Been there. Amen? We came away from the conversation acknowledging that we all have days, sometimes weeks and months, like that, but we have to remind ourselves that no matter what happens throughout the day, it's our response to those events that matters.  Another friend of mine has determined that she'll find that happy balance between busy and rest when she gets to heaven and probably not before. I don't know about you, but I want my response to whatever my circumstances are to be joy because I know I'm loved and the rest of it doesn't matter in light of that.  That's a hard place to get to, and a hard balance to strike.  It's another one of those take up your cross daily struggles, but at least we know that in spite of fears, weaknesses, faults and failures, we can always come home to this truth: Jesus loves me, this I know. Jesus Loves Me Devo We'd love to pray for you. Email us at saltandlifeblog@gmail.com.  
Star Accent Wall DIY, Kids’ Room Makeover Part 2
This project was for sure a labor of love. I'm not going to tell you it was easy, because it took some hard work. But I will tell you how I did it and that it is very doable, and really pretty simple. I'm the type of person that when I get an idea in my head, I will not rest until it comes together EXACTLY the way I have envisioned. Now, I have had to learn some flexibility in some situations. For instance, I originally wanted a light colored wall, with darker colored stars for this star accent wall in the kids room. That's obviously not how it turned out, although I ended up very happy with the final result regardless. Paint is not the cheapest thing in the world, but if you want good quality, you usually have to bite the bullet and go for it. One way around this is to check out the discount paint shelf. We took a trip to Lowes in preparation for this project to see what we could find. The discount shelf is a bit of a gamble, and you may have to be willing to change your color choices based on what you find. We lucked out on this trip and found a gallon of gray semi-gloss wall paint and a pint of a really lovely mint green. These were perfect complimentary colors for our gender neutral, shared nursery. I had wanted to do a light color on the wall with some darker stars, but given the colors in the quantities we found, I had to change it up a little. Thinking back, I'm not sure I would've liked an all mint room with gray stars anyway! Now we had the paint, how would we draw the stars? I searched google images for the star shape I found and will link it for you here. I actually found myself without a printer to print it to scale. Thankfully my husband is a great artist with a steady, precise hand and was able to free hand it for me. So whether your print it out or freehand it, make sure it's on some card board or card stock, sturdy enough to trace onto your wall (I used the top of a cardboard shirt box I had in my gift wrap pile). You also need to decide how big you want your stars to be. I wanted mine to be 1' x 1' square. Because of the particular star I chose they weren't exactly square, but pretty close. My star ended up being 12.25 x 12.5". Next, you need to measure your wall. So grab a measuring tape and take down the height and width of the wall you are using as your "accent wall". You'll need to do a little math to figure out how many stars will fit across and up and down. I took my little stencil and eyeballed it first, holding it up and counting how many would go across. Then when I found a number that would fit in the space, I went back and measured how many inches I needed to allow between each star. For my wall, it ended up being about 3.5". [caption id="attachment_1448" align="aligncenter" width="475"]image Here is the way the room looked before we began our makeover project. I mentioned in a previous blog post (part 1) what bright colors we used.[/caption] The next two steps are the most tedious parts of the whole process. I took a pencil, measuring tape and my star stencil and went to work tracing stars across the whole wall. Having two young children, I usually had to wait until bedtime to get this done. I think in all, it probably took 2 full hours. Not too bad, really. I was just determined to get this done and have the end result the way I was envisioning it. So even though it seemed a bit of a daunting task at times, I would just take a deep breath and go for it. It was kind of therapeutic in a way, just very repetitive and quiet (once the kids were in bed, anyway!). In order to save time in measuring between each star, I cut out some painter's tape in the same distance I wanted between the stars and just lined it up, and then moved it to measure from the next star, and so on. Much easier than getting out the measuring tape and making pencil marks each time. [caption id="attachment_1444" align="aligncenter" width="357"]image This gray color makes for a much more peaceful bedroom environment.[/caption] Once ALL the stars are stenciled, you can start taping them off. This was a little tricky, just because there are SO many angles and corners. I would just go one straight side at a time, sometimes adding a bit here and there to make sure that the angles were sharp enough, once it would come time to paint them in. image Next, I added the paint. I painted a couple of coats and it took me long enough after the first coat, that the ones I had painted first were ready for their second coat. It was kind of like when I paint my nails with two coats of polish...but on a much larger scale. Lol. I let that all sit overnight to ensure it was really good and dry. Finally, came my favorite part: peeling off the tape! It was so much fun to see those clean lines and all the pretty stars come into view. I didn't do a perfect job. If you look closely you can see areas where the paint landed outside of the tape, or the edge became jagged because the tape allowed it to bleed a little bit. But overall, I was very happy with the result. In retrospect, maybe I should've removed the tape immediately? Some of the tape was tricky to remove and started to peel the new paint off with it. Maybe someone with more experience painting could tell me. If I wanted to, I could go back in with a small paint brush and clean up some of those areas. But right now I'm more of the mindset that "ain't nobody got time fo dat." Most of the problem areas are near the floor and hidden by furniture. If the perfectionist in you needs it to be perfect, by all means make it so! image Materials needed:
  • Two colors of paint (one for the walls & one for the stars)
  • paint roller
  • small, 1-2" paint brush
  • painter's tape
  • measuring tape
  • star stencil
  • pencil
How To:
  1. Paint the room all one color, using the paint roller.
  2. Measure the accent wall and determine how many stars are needed to fill the wall.
  3. Stencil stars.
  4. Tape off stars.
  5. Paint the stars in your second color, using the small paint brush.
  6. Allow to dry overnight. (Or try removing the tape right away so that it doesn't cause the dried paint to peel away with it? The jury's still out on this one.)
  7. Peel back tape and enjoy the view! Touch up if needed.
This technique could be used with any shape you want! You may even decide to use something like this as a border around the room, or around the perimeter of a wall, rather than one accent wall. It's totally up to you! I hope these tips are clear enough that you can follow and create a cute little wall in your own home. Let me know if you have any questions! Happy decorating :-). Amanda Signature
Crock Pot Chicken, Potatoes and Zucchini
What's for dinner? I probably ask myself this question every day, and I certainly hear it from my husband and little one often enough. We're all busy, so a lot of times dinner gets pushed to the back-burner until the last minute and then I scramble to figure out what to make that's at least somewhat nutritious. Enter the crock pot! This contraption is such a life-saver. Literally. We've gotta eat, right? Seriously, I use mine all the time and am always trying to come up with new recipes and try new things to keep it fresh, so to speak. This crock pot chicken, potatoes and zucchini recipe is easy to make, takes less than 10 minutes of prep time, is pretty hands off thanks to the crock pot and is completely delicious! It's definitely a winner at our house! Pinterest Crockpot Chicken

Easy Crock Pot Chicken with Potatoes and Zucchini

Ingredients:

1 pound of chicken tenderloins 2 sliced zucchini 3-4 medium sized potatoes, diced salt pepper olive oil water lemon juice garlic powder onion powder fresh rosemary (optional) Line the bottom of your crock pot with thawed chicken tenderloins. Add 1/2 cup of water and 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, salt and pepper (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper) and spread over the chicken. Add the diced potatoes and sliced zucchini on top of the chicken, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Crock Pot Chicken Cook in the crock pot on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 6 hours. Crockpot Chicken 2 Serve with a sprig of fresh rosemary on top and a side of fruit, and you're all set! Crockpot Chicken 3 Bon Appétit! Jess Signature
Last Minute Guide for Your July 4th Party
The Fourth of July really snuck up on me this year! It feels like just yesterday I was spring cleaning and planting my garden and now here we are at Independence Day already. Amidst the busyness of life I’ve found myself unprepared for our 4th of July party with family and friends, which of course gave me a small panic! What will people think when there are no intricate decorations or desserts that take days to prep? But then I remembered that there are people out there much smarter and better at party planning than me. I found some amazing DIY ideas that can be done in a hurry. So whether the holiday snuck up on you or you prefer the thrill of doing things in a rush, these are the best last minute decorations and snacks to make your 4th of July patriotic and fun!

Last Minute patriotic Decor

Patriotic Bottle Centerpieces

Centerpiece

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These centerpieces are as easy as a trip to the dollar store plus a few cold drinks and some white paint. Step 1: Enjoy your favorite bottled drink. Step 2: Paint the inside, then let them dry. Step 3: Decorate them to your heart’s desire! You can even get the kids in on this one and have them do the decorating for you.

red, white and blue yarn balls

Yarn Balls

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Crack open the Christmas decor box and grab some of those string lights! These adorable yarn ball lights are perfect for Independence Day. Yarn balls are extremely easy to make and they always find their way into my decor (especially when yet another holiday sneaks up on me!).

popsicle stick flags

Popsicle

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These look far more complicated than they really are. Popsicle sticks, paint and star stickers are all you need! Tape them to chair backs, use them as table decoration or grab some ribbon and hang them for a perfect last minute decoration.

streamer table runner

Table Runner

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This is an amazing idea and I can’t wait to use it for all of my parties. Grab some streamers and weave them together to create a perfect table runner for your BBQ. The best part about it? If it gets ripped or ruined by the end of the night, you can just toss it!

last minute patriotic snacks

lollipop centerpiece

tootsie-pop-tree

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It takes more time to lick your way to the center of a tootsie pop than it does to make this centerpiece ?. It even doubles as a fun snack for your guests! A bucket, bowl, jar or vase and some red and blue lollipops and you are all set.

firecracker jell-o cups

4th-of-July-Firecracker-Jell-O-Cups-9

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It doesn't look like it but these are very simple to make, I promise. They are a definite crowd pleaser: patriotic, easy and delish, the perfect trifecta!

patriotic pretzels

Pretzels

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Candy covered pretzel sticks are a favorite at my house. They are easy to make and offer a nice combination of crunchy, sweet and salty. You can get detailed with stripes and sprinkles or just keep it simple with red, white and blue candy coating.

red, white and blue strawberry shortcake dessert

red-white-and-blue-strawberry-shortcake-main

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How much easier can a snack get than crumbled shortcake, cut up strawberries and adorable blue whipped cream? This snack is delicious and unreasonably easy to prepare. Use bowls to layer this dessert or step it up a notch with some stemless wine glasses. While I would love to be the kind of woman who plans parties and BBQ’s with ease, that’s just not the case. Luckily there are easy and quick solutions out there to make our holiday events perfect! And at the end of the day what really matters are the people you love and the memories that are made. Everything else is just extra. Happy Independence Day! Article written by Tabbie Stark, also a writer for homeyou.com, a company that connects homeowners to reliable, affordable and professional contractors for their home improvement projects. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
DIY Repurposed Toddler Headband
I have a thing for headbands.  They can turn a bad hair day into super cute in less than five minutes, and that's always a win in my book.  It doesn't hurt that they usually come in fun prints, and are made in mini-me size!  The first thing I ever bought for my daughter {even before nursery decorating} was a headband that tied on the top in gray with little arrows.  Oh, my goodness it was adorable.  Unfortunately, it was also newborn size... something she quickly outgrew.  Another thing she quickly outgrew?  Those adorable onesies and dresses and leggings that come in sizes so small you can't believe your almost two-year-old was that little! I have seen some really fun ideas on reusing onesies and other outfits to make quilts on Pinterest, but Ashlyn's great-grandmother already made her an adorable quilt and, let's face it, I don't have the hours to burn that it takes to make a full on quilt.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and thought, Rather than buying headbands for my daughter and storing bag after bag of kids clothes for whenever Baby #2 comes along, why not upcycle some of those cute outfits into headbands?  Light bulb! So here is an easy DIY to reuse all those baby clothes and turn them into something useful for the here and now, and something cute to boot!  This does require very beginner level sewing.  If you don't have a sewing machine, you can absolutely do this by hand, so don't worry.  It's a very small piece of fabric, so it still won't take you very long. Headband Compare

DIY Repurposed Toddler Headband

What You'll Need:

  • Baby Clothes
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle
First, choose the baby clothes you want to use.  You'll need to be sure you can cut two pieces of 22" fabric out for a toddler-sized headband.  Baby headbands you'll need about 18".  Most kids clothes are made of a super stretchy, knit material which is the perfect fabric for headbands.  You'll appreciate a little give in the material when you tie the bow.  My daughter had this cute dress that she wore at about 9 months.  I absolutely loved the mint and polka dots, and thought it was a perfect candidate for repurposing. 2 Edited Once you've chosen your fabric, cut out two pieces of 22" fabric about 2" wide.  Because I used a dress, I cut the skirt away from the top and then cut out my 2" wide piece. Place your two strips of fabric on top of one another and cut each end so it is pointed then pin the two pieces of fabric together inside out.  You'll notice my cuts are not perfectly straight. That's completely fine.  All that matters is that you sew in a straight line later. 5 Edited Next, use a narrow zigzag stitch to sew your two pieces together.  I recommend starting a couple inches from the end of one point and making your way around to the other side being sure to backstitch at the beginning and at the end.  It is important to not completely close your stitch. Leave an unstitched portion about 1 1/2" to 2" wide so you can flip your fabric right-side out once you've sewn the two pieces together. 7 Edited Flip the fabric right-side out, then close the remaining unsewn portion from the outside by hand. I try to keep the section I have to sew by hand 3" or so from the end of the fabric. This way, it will be hidden by the knot we'll tie at the end. 8 Edited Once you've closed the small section by hand, iron it flat, tie the ends in a knot, and ta da! You have a brand new, cute headband for your little one without spending a dime! Headband 2 Headband 4 Headband 3 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  We would love to see your little ones decked out in their upcycled headbands, too! Tag us and use #saltandlifekids, and we might post your photo on our Instagram page!  Thanks for following along, and happy crafting! Jess Signature  
Kids Room Makeover – Part 1
Ok, I need to put a disclaimer out there: I am very new to this whole decorating thing. After nearly 7 years of having my own space to decorate, I have finally begun to get somewhat of an eye for what looks nice. I am still learning as I go! So if you like any of my ideas, great! But if not, no hard feelings ;-). When our daughter was first born, my husband was a big fan of bright colors. I had pretty much picked out everything else, so I let him have the room color. Which was BRIGHT pink and BRIGHT green. We loved it at the time, even though it was pretty darn bright. image Since then, our tastes have become a little more understated (although I am still drawn to vibrant colors), especially in our home decor. Besides that, last august we had a little boy! And until we get the opportunity to move to a bigger place, the kids will need to share a room. I love stars in children's decor and I found some great inspiration for our room makeover. I fell in love with this star wall and decided to incorporate it into the kids room and make it a focal point. I'll be sharing that tutorial in an upcoming blog post. [caption id="attachment_1311" align="aligncenter" width="225"]star wall From Petit & Small[/caption] Today, I'm going to share with you how I decorated my favorite piece of nursery furniture and made it relevant for both an infant and a toddler in their shared room. This shelving unit has been so useful and was such a great investment. It came from IKEA and it functions with or without a changing table attachment. In the picture earlier in this post you can see the attachment. It makes such a cute bookshelf without it! Edited 6 I placed some of my their favorite stuffed animals and dolls on the top shelf. I found these great LED, battery powered lights to wrap around the front of the shelf. They really give the room a cozy "nightlight" and they even work on a timer!  Those only set me back about $4.50 (purchased from Marshals). Edited 8 On the second shelf I placed some adorable little apothecary jars. These I found at the dollar store! I wanted to buy like twenty of them and just figure out things to put in them all throughout the house. Here I'm using one for pacifiers, one for hair accessories and one for necklaces (a fourth one did end up in my bathroom for odds and ends). Also on this shelf is a little handmade crocheted elephant from a dear friend for my daughter's first birthday. Also decorating the shelves is a snow globe my daddy gave me and a miniature tea set. I used to play with one just like it at my Great Grandma's house when I was not much older than my daughter. I found it for a couple of dollars at a local Goodwill. These are the things from my childhood that I hope to pass on to my children. Little touches like these make the decor really personal and special. Edited 7 The third shelf is a little deeper and I need this to be my most functional area. I have at least one in diapers and I didn't want the package of diapers hanging out looking super tacky. I love the shared nursery decor Jess Peterson the Health and Fitness Chick (on Facebook) used. Her kids' diapers look all fancy in a cute wire basket (man I love those things! Store all the things in wire baskets!!). [caption id="attachment_1322" align="aligncenter" width="225"]image Follow @jesspartyof4 on Instagram[/caption] As much as I love wire baskets, they can get a little pricey. Homegoods will always help a girl out, but I found our diaper basket in the Target dollar bins! It was $3 and is intended to be a wastebasket. It's the perfect color to go with the room and I think it looks super cute holding our diapers. Edited 5 I found our cute little wooden organizer at goodwill for $1.25. It was plain wood and then I painted it to match the decor. It's a great place to put lotions, washes, nail clippers, and other odds and ends. Our little lantern I found at Burlington Coat Factory for $3.99 and I just couldn't pass it up. I mean, there are stars cut out along the top, it's perfect! And the shelf needed a little added decorative touch. Sophie the Giraffe is making a fashionable appearance in this photo as well. Edited 4 Now, back to those wire baskets...I really wanted a cute way to store the kids' toys. And the two bottom shelves have plenty of space to hold them. But I also wanted their toys to be easily visible and accessible and not boxed away. I found these really cute baskets with handles and liners (small toys stay inside this way!) in the kitchen section at Home Goods for $14.99 each. These were my most expensive purchase but totally worth it. Edited 3 So that about sums up the shelf decor. The entire project came in at under $50! I am really excited to put the finishing touches on the room and share the rest of it with you soon. Keep a look out for the star accent wall tutorial in Kids Room Makeover Part 2. Amanda Signature Edited 2
Hand-Lettering Tutorial
Hand-lettering adds a personal touch to things, whether it be a sign for your home or doodles in your notebook.  It is a skill, though, and like any skill, it takes some practice to get just right. Thankfully, there are talented people out there like our friend Liz who is willing to share her tips and tricks with us!  Without further ado, we're going to turn it over to her for a simple hand-lettering tutorial that you can do, too. Cover Photo - Website But you, Israel, are my servant.  You're Jacob, my first choice, descendants of my good friend Abraham.  I pulled you in from all over the world, called you in from every dark corner of the earth, telling, "You're my servant, serving on my side.  I've picked you.  I haven't dropped you."  Don't panic.  I'm with you.  There's no need to fear for I'm your God.  I'll give you strength.  I'll help you.  I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

                                                                       Isaiah 41:8-10 (MSG)

Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you just think to yourself, "If one more thing gets added to my list, I might die ... just fall over and die"?  Lately, my life has been filled with a lot of exciting things! In just the last two months or so, I've gone to Haiti and back, started a new position at work and bought a house.  There's a lot of newness and a lot of things going on in my life!  While getting ready for Haiti, I found myself overwhelmed with anxiety that I wouldn't be safe.  I had myself convinced that all the planes would crash.  That I would get down there safely, but only to return with zika, malaria or typhoid.  that I would get home safely, but only to find my husband had died.  (Goodness!  Take those thoughts captive, Liz!)  During that time, at a worship night at our church, a friend read from the passage above.  Look at all the things that God says that He'll do for us!  I had included Him in the conversation about Haiti ever since I was asked to go.  He had chosen me to go and I wasn't trusting Him!

Friends, I don't know what your crazy lives look like.  Maybe you're in a really restful place and that's awesome!  However, if you find yourself paralyzed by your schedule or by fear, rest in the promise that God has your back!  If you feel like you need rest, ask the Lord for rest (Matthew 11:28).  If you feel afraid about the things that He has put under your care, tell Him about it.  It's okay to tell your Creator that you're stressed or that you're overwhelmed or that you're afraid.  God doesn't want us to hide anything from Him.  Step into the light and let Him deal with it.  He will fill you with peace and strength!

So, in order to keep that in front of us, I am challenging you to make your own reminder!  Instead of creating a huge 8" x 10" piece of work, I decided to just start out easy with a little bookmark/note card.  Here's what I used for mine; however, if all you have is a Crayola marker and watercolors, that will work, too!

DontPanicUtensils

  • Bristol paper (card stock would be fine) cut to any size
  • Pentel Fude Touch Sign Brush Pen in Gray (any marker will work)
  • Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen in Magenta (I think... it'll all in Japanese, but any watercolor will work)
  • Watercolor paintbrush
  • Water
  • Paper towel
The great thing about hand-lettering is that you don't have to take a bunch of classes in order to do it!  Just use your own handwriting style and thicken up your down strokes (i.e. whenever you would draw in a downward motion for any part of the letter, thicken that part).  The Fude Touch Sign Pen that I'm using has a flexible brush-like nib, so if I press the pen down harder, the line thickens for me!  Such fun! I hope that you enjoy making this little reminder to just stay calm.  God's got this!  Enjoy! [flowplayer src="http://www.thejunqdrawer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DontPanicTimelapse.mov"] (If you're interested in purchasing any of the utensils used in this tutorial, my favorite place to purchase is JetPens.com.)