Dollar Store Challenge: Sunburst Mirror

Last week, we spent time visiting my parents in the Seattle area. Other than the entire household contracting a nasty respiratory virus (courtesy of my daughter), we had a great time spending time with family.

My brother and his fiancee live in the area and I was really excited to see them and catch up. While we were there we decided to do a couples’ challenge using Dollar Store items. The challenge is to create something using $5 worth of Dollar Store items to re-purpose into something else that can be sold on Craigslist for the most money. We are allowed to use paint, glue/adhesive, nails, staples and other bonding products, but that is about it.

Our deadline isn’t until May 15th, so the competition isn’t over yet, but in the process of brainstorming projects, I came up with this idea, which I may or may not use in the actual competition.

A Sunburst Mirror:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror. $5.

This project can be done for as little as $3. However, I spent the full $5 on mine. I will show you both versions.

I started out with these three basic items:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

Candle mirror, candle plate and mini plastic spoons.


I started by hot gluing the spoons in a circle. It helps to do the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions first and then evenly space in between these 4 points. Hot glue them like CRAZY so they will stay in place.

You can then spray paint the entire thing, front and back:

DIY Sunburst Mirror

After painting both sides and letting it dry, you can hot glue the mirror if you choose the $3 version of this mirror. If you want the $5 version DO NOT glue the mirror yet.

I decided after the fact that I wanted to embellish it a little:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

You can glue dollar store toothpicks in between the spoons to add a little more detail.

Obviously, I had to go back and repaint once I added these. If you know ahead of time you want to add them you can wait to paint the entire thing until after the toothpicks are added.

After everything dried, I hot glued the mirror on (tons of glue again!), and then added these jewels to each spoon end:

Dollar Store gems

Dollar Store gems from the craft/school supply aisle.

And that’s how I got this:

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror

DIY Dollar Store Sunburst Mirror. $5.

Use glass bonding glue to apply hanging hardware in the back. Follow all the directions to assure it dries and bonds properly.

So that is about it! I will let you know if I end up using this, or if I choose something else. And of course I will announce the winner when all is said and done (provided we win;)).

Hobby Lobby Clearance Rocks!

Hobby Lobby doesn’t always have a great selection of clearance items (80-90% off), but when you find something it is seriously the best. It’s even better than thrift store prices most of the time.

I was in there the other day and I saw that these were on sale:

Hobby Lobby Clearance

My husband wanted to know what the heck these were. I didn’t really know how to explain that they were purely ornamental and didn’t serve a purpose. He thought one of them looked like a septor and then mentioned something about how they reminded him of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

These are far too dark for my liking but the clearance price was… wait for it … $2.50! They had all been marked down from between $20-$30, to only $2.50 a piece. And I had been waiting to find something I could try the shabby chic painting method on. These fit the bill.

I’m sure many or all of you have seen the technique on Pinterest where you use Vaseline on an object you want to spray paint, and put the Vaseline in areas where you want the paint NOT to adhere, thus creating a shabby chic/ antique appearance. You just wipe away the Vaseline areas after the paint dries with a cloth or paper towel. It’s just that easy. That’s what I wanted to try with these. I already had white spray paint and Vaseline, so I was ready to go. hobbylobbydecorpainted

This is how they turned out. I still have 2 more to paint but I’m considering doing another color on those. I was very happy with the results and eager to change out my mantel decor for the Spring.


As you can see I also used this method on the blue picture frame behind my new decor. Worked like a charm. The frame is one of the $2 IKEA frames. I also found a cute little bird’s nest from Dollar Tree to put in the glass vase. The candle holders are from a thrift store. I purchased those about a year ago.

DIY Shabby ChicI tried the technique on an old lantern I had in our basement. I found it on clearance at the local grocery store two summers ago because it was missing the glass panels. The white mirror is from the thrift store. I found it on their 50% off day and it was only $1.50. I ended up painting it though because it was kind of a yellowish cream color. I wasn’t digging that.

Pretty much everything on my mantel cost less than $3. It’s still a work in progress but it’s nice to finally retire the winter decor and freshen things up a bit.

The moral of this story is ALWAYS check the Hobby Lobby clearance aisle. I swear that my Goodwill would’ve charged $10 for each of these. But then again, the Goodwill by my house thinks they’re a fancy department store. (I know they aren’t all like that).

Spring Mantel Decor

I figured you might want a full view. I apologize that my pictures aren’t of professional caliber.

Hawaiian bridal shower

I’ve mentioned before that my husband’s sister got married in Hawaii this last October. I had so much fun planning her bridal shower.

Pinterest is like a black hole. It can suck you in for hours and there is no end to what you can find on there. I found several great ideas for her Hawaiian themed shower and modified them slightly.

Not only were the decorations fun to plan, but it was also a blast putting together the menu.

Here’s a glimpse of the fun evening.

Hawaiian Bridal Shower

Decorations are in place, food is coming out as it’s ready. Time for a party!

My favorite project was the cocktail umbrella wreath that I made. I found the idea on Pinterest and thought it was adorable and oh so easy to do. You just buy a foam ring (they have them at Dollar Tree, or you can get them at any craft store), then you purchase cocktail umbrellas and stick them in randomly all over the ring.The umbrellas are really cheap and you can find them at party stores or craft stores during the summer season.

Lit Cocktail Umbrella Wreath

You can see it better in this photo on the wall to the right.

I added twinkle lights behind it because light coming through the tissue just looked so cute! For the backdrop behind the table, I just bought one of those cheap foam boards at Hobby Lobby and wrapped it with a yard of fabric that went with the theme. And yes, you guessed it… I hot glued it on!

My pictures aren’t great but if you look close you can see I also purchased a set of bamboo rods and some leis from the dollar store to string between them. On one string I made a banner with their initials out of colored construction paper. Again, sorry for the small pictures. When I took these I didn’t know I’d eventually be blogging about them.

The food was fun to do. I got most of these ideas from Pinterest as well. I think my favorite was the island brownie bites:

Dessert Island Brownie Bites

I purchased the brownie bites in bulk at Costco, then used one of those frosting spray cans for the yellow sand and stuck left over cocktail umbrellas in them. Viola! Little “dessert” islands.

They took hardly any time and added a lot of color to the food table. I also loved the fruit platter, even though kiwi wasn’t in season at the time:

Tropical fruit plate

Just slice 2 bananas for the trunks, use kiwi slices for the palms and cutie wedges for the sand. Tropical fruit never looked so good.

I don’t have pictures of the pulled pork because honestly I hate taking pictures of meat. I leave that up to professionals. And we also had Hawaiian sweet rolls and pineapple wedges but I think you can probably imagine those yourself.

Finally, I made a cake with boiled frosting. I love the way that boiled frosting spreads, especially when you’re not a professional cake-maker. You can’t really make a mistake.

Hawaiian bridal shower cake

Tropical cake with boiled frosting and fresh flowers.

I baked two cakes. one was a strawberry cake and the other was yellow. Then I made peach colored frosting to sandwich between them. That way the cake looked pretty when it was cut:

Layered Hawaiian Cake

This is an awful picture, but you get the idea! It went fast so I had to steal a picture before it was too late.

And of course, I had Island music playing in the background compliments of Pandora. It was a fun evening that I think we’ll all remember for years to come.



Girls’ Night In

I love to entertain. It’s a great way to bring people together, it gives me another way to channel my creative energy, and it also forces me to keep my house clean.

You can create a beautiful table without spending a lot of money. And if you like to entertain often, like we do, you don’t want to have to break the bank each time you have guests over.

Usually we do casual get-togethers, but occasionally I like to do something a little fancier. About a year ago I decided to host a girls night at my house in our basement. I like setting up in our basement because I can do it ahead of time without monopolizing our eating space up stairs or chancing that little fingers might want to touch something they shouldn’t.

Girls Night Place Setting

Girls’ night place setting.

For this particular evening, I used scrapbook paper as place mats. This was fun because there are so many pattern and color variations to choose from, and scrapbook paper is pretty inexpensive.

I made homemade cupcakes to serve as place settings. I purchased some cute party toothpicks with my coupon at Michaels to stick into each cupcake, then I printed names on sticky labels and attached them to the toothpick.

Girls' night table setting

Table all set for 8 great gals.

I found vases at the dollar store, then purchased one bouquet of flowers to divide among the 8 vases. Then I tied some pink ribbon around the napkins and we were ready to roll. Each girl got to take home her vase of flowers and an extra cupcake from the treat table.

Cupcake Table

Cupcake tray from Ikea.

I filled a glass jar with some jelly beans that just happened to match perfectly with our color scheme. I think they were the “ice cream shop” Jelly Bellies.

For dinner, I made a large homemade lasagna, with a side of garlic bread and a salad. It was nothing gourmet but for the price you can feed a lot of people and still serve a nice meal.

This evening was inexpensive and fun. When you take the time to make place settings it makes everything seem a little more special.

Mercury Glass is all the rage

This year mercury glass was absolutely everywhere. I love the look of it, but I don’t always love the price of the items I see at chain stores. For about $9 plus a few extra for various glass items at the thrift store, you can create a ton of mercury glass masterpieces for your home.

I found a tutorial on Pinterest awhile ago on how to create this look yourself. Check out this awesome tutorial when you have a chance.

I was able to track down the Krylon Looking Glass paint from Wal-Mart. Not every Wal-Mart carries it but one about 10 miles away did, so I jumped on it. They only charge about $9 for it as well, so it’s even cheaper than ordering it, especially if you have to pay shipping.

I was ecstatic when I found the same exact glass pumpkin at a thrift store as the one she uses in the tutorial. It was $2. It had a bunch of nasty wax in it but after putting it in the freezer for a few hours I was able to break it and take it out cleanly. Then I threw it in the dishwasher. I was ready to roll.

Mercury Glass Pumpkin

$2 glass thrift store pumpkin, plus $9 for the looking glass paint and I had this beauty, plus lots of extra paint for future projects.

It turned out awesome and I was very pleased so I didn’t stop there. After another trip to the thrift store I found a goblet for $1 that had textured glass. So I made this:

Table Arrangement

DIY mercury glass goblet (goblet from thrift store, looking glass paint from Wal-Mart). Pine cones from my neighborhood. Mercury glass ornaments from Big Lots (awesome sales just before Christmas).

Then I found an awesome glass vase/bowl. I liked the shape of it and it looked like it would be a perfect center piece for our coffee table. So I made this:

Coffee Table Center Piece

DIY mercury glass vase (vase from thrift store, looking glass paint from Wal-Mart). Wicker plate from thrift store. Pine cones from my neighborhood embellished with some white craft paint. Small ornaments and bells from Dollar Tree.

I had a few votive holders from Dollar Tree, so I decided, why not?

Mercury Glass Votive Holder

DIY mercury glass votive holder (votive holder from Dollar Tree, Looking Glass Paint from Wal-Mart). Filled with Dollar Tree ornaments.

So I guess I went a little crazy, but the cool thing is that I still have a lot of paint left to use for projects next year too.

And even though it seems like it was pure luck that I stumbled upon that glass pumpkin at the thrift store, my mom found the exact same one at the Salvation Army when she came to visit for $1.50. Since we were both able to find these I’m assuming they are pretty common. Especially since it’s the same pumpkin as the one used in the tutorial that I followed. So don’t give up. If you want a glass pumpkin just check your thrift store frequently and I think your chances will be good.

There are so many glass items you can use this method on. Thrift stores and the dollar store are both great places to get glass. If you keep your eye out you’re bound to find some really nice things that you can “mercury-glasserize”!

Super cheap winter centerpiece

The nice thing about not spending much on a centerpiece is that you can switch it out frequently without guilt. Between the November and December this is what I had on my dining room table:

Winter CenterpieceThis was so easy to do and really economical as well.

I bought a pack of small ornaments from the Dollar Tree ($1). I also purchased the glass tealight holders at the Dollar Tree as well. You can’t tell in the picture, but there are 3 of them in varying heights ($3 for 3 of them). Then I picked up pine cones that had fallen in our neighborhood park and used some white paint I already had on hand and blotted the edges of the pine cones to make them look frosted. I also picked up a few twigs while I was out there to stick in for interest. You can use salt in the tealight holders to give the look of the pine cones resting in snow. I used some left over white pebbles I had from another arrangement instead. Either would work. I already had the round plate but you can easily find decorative plates at the thrift store for a couple of bucks.

Altogether this arrangement cost me $4.

Fall/Christmas Leaf Tree

This project was inspired by my October trip to Hawaii for my Sister-in-Laws’ wedding. Everywhere I looked when we were on the island, I saw inspiration through all of the seedpods, leaves, flowers, and other natural treasures laying on the shores of Kauai.

Fall doesn’t exist in Hawaii but dead leaves do! I found some gorgeous large brown and yellow leaves by the coast near our Kauai condo that I had to have. I collected a few each day, finding the best ones among the bunch. I brought them home and made this:


I purchased a foam cone at Hobby Lobby with my 40% coupon (you can get these in the paper or on your smart phone through their app). The cone was about $3.50 after the discount. I kept the leaves in a ziploc bag prior to this project with a damp paper towel so they would be pliable when I used them. Then I simply used a glue gun to layer them on the cone. I had some floral wire that I wrapped around the tree to give it a garland look. Then I found these adorable bronze pine cone ornaments at the Dollar Tree. The set came with 4 for a dollar. I just glued them on and used a few tiny pine cone things that I found on the beaches of Poipu for small embellishment. The thing on the top is some sort of seedpod from Hawaii as well.

It was pretty humorous scouring the beaches of Kauai for dead things. I think people thought I was some sort of hoarder, or that I was homeless looking for food. There are a lot of homeless hippies on that island so it wouldn’t be too far fetched. But the embarrassment was worth it, because now I have this lovely tree that cost me less than $5. And the best thing is it’s Fall, yet Christmas-ish all at the same time.

Decorative trees like this were big this year. I saw them all over the place in Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels etc. But who says you can’t just make your own? Not only is it more original but most of the decorative trees I saw in stores were around $30. And it’s so much more fun to make it yourself. You could totally do this with other types of leaves as well. You don’t need to fly to Hawaii, although I highly recommend that.