Monday, July 30, 2012

Pintastic Monday Link Party #2

I cannot express my gratitude enough to all of those who made my first Pin Party a huge success!  There were so many great Pin worthy posts.  I hope you all found a few that you liked and pinned them yourself.  Let's keep the links coming!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coping With Grief and Depression

Coping with Grief and Depression

Have you ever pictured a certain song playing as you walk down the street?  No?  I do on occasion and this time it is one of my tools for dealing with grief and depression.  Some may have noticed a lack in blogging from me over the last couple of months and unfortunately it's the result of another miscarriage.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Modern Yellow and Grey Wedding Package

I am so so excited to be releasing this yellow and grey wedding package.  Have you ever had those times where inspiration just whacks you upside the head and other times when you struggle to find even a drop?  This was one of those whack you upside the head instances.  Yellow and grey weddings are all over the place.  Add a touch of modern patterns and you have wedding perfection.  This wedding invitation package includes the following:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pintastic Monday Link Party #1

I am sooooooooooooo excited to be hosting my very own link party.  As I've blogged throughout the years I've experimented with various marketing strategies.  The one I've had the most success with is Pinterest.  After much thought I decided I wanted to host a Pin Party where my fellow bloggers and I can get together and pin each others projects and posts.

Waaaalaaa.... Pintastic Monday.

Each Monday I will feature the most visited link as well as two or three other links, so long as you have my button on your blog.

Since this is my first link party I will feature one of my favorite projects.

A shabby inspired cupcake stand.  

To view the tutorial for this cupcake stand click here.  It really was an easy project and is a great statement piece.

Now I want to see some of your projects.  First a few rules.


Pin Party Rules:

1)  Visit at least two other links and pin two projects from the authors' blog. 
2.)  Add my button somewhere on your blog, whether it is in the post itself or on the side.
3.)  Link to a specific post and it must be something you wrote or created.
4.)  No give-aways or other link parties.  
5.)  Please limit your submissions to 2 or 3 projects.  

I would love if you would follow me as well, but it is not a requirement.  

Of course you can find me on Pinterest too.  

Now, let's see those projects!  

*By submitting your links/projects you are giving others permission to pin your projects to Pinterest as well as giving me permission to use your photo/s should I choose to feature you.  If you have any questions you can email me at*

*Each participant is responsible for complying with Pinterest's Terms of Use and Sarah Dawn Designs cannot be held responsible should those terms be broken.*

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Container Gardening Advice for the Novice

Last year was my first attempt at container gardening and I was constantly calling my mom for gardening advice.  Suffice it to say, my container garden got off to a rough start.  My plants had stayed the same size for weeks.  We're talking maybe an inch or two.  That is not normal by any means.  In conversations with my mom about gardening advice I had come to realize two of my mistakes which had stunted the growth of my plants. 

1.)  Some plants NEED to be started inside.

I was lazy last year.  I didn't want to have to transplant any starts so I planted all of my seeds directly in the pots about mid April.  I would place them outside during the day thinking they would like the natural sunlight and brought them inside at night since we were still dipping below the freezing point.  It took forever my my seeds to sprout and then like I said they just weren't growing. 

I learned that some plants such as tomoates and peppers like to have warm soil when they are first starting.  While it wasn't below the freezing point during the day it was still pretty darn cold.  Thus a good portion of my plants were struggling as starts because the soil was not getting nearly warm enough for their liking.  There are some plants that like the cold but in order to determine which you should start inside and which are fine outside its best to read the back of the label and follow its' instructions... go figure. 

2.)  Water drainage is important

In my mind I thought having the trays underneath planters was an ingenious idea.  You could soak the soil and the extra water in the tray would act as a continous feeder for the plants.  If the soil started getting dry the roots could just tap into the reserve.  

Again, I was mistaken.  After a while my conainters and plants started to stink really, really bad.  That's about the time my mom squashed my ingenious idea. Not only was the water sitting in the bottom container tray not feeding my  plants, it was toxic. 

 If you let your plants sit in water like that it will rot the roots from the bottom up.  Roots need oxygen but when you let your container sit in water it can "drown" your roots. In addition, if you have a tray full of water underneath your pot, the soil will draw salt and sodium back in which has the potential to take the water right out of your roots.  That would be bad.  Too much sodium is toxic to your plants, encourages poor water movement, and limits the overall growth of your plant.   

This principle holds true whether you are growing vegetables in containers outside or a small house plant inside.  When you water them they need to be able to drain out all of the excess water.  I currently have my container garden sitting on rocks, no trays underneath.  When I water my indoor plants I let them sit in my sink until for a few minutes and let the extra water drain out.  Then I can place it back on the tray.
No wonder my plants were struggling so much, they were cold and couldn't "breathe" very well.  It was pretty late in the season by the time I figured this out.  Still, I started some seeds inside and it was amazing the difference in my plant growth just from changing these two things. 

Do you have any gardening advice from your own trial and error? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

10 Things About Tornadoes I Wish I'd Known

10 Things About Tornadoes

This fall will mark two years since our house was hit by a tornado, something I never thought would happen to me or my family.  It was something I was definitely not prepared for and since then has been a learning experience.  I thought that I would share a few tips and bits of information I have learned from my own experience, things about tornadoes I wished I had known before.

1.) A tornado can happen anywhere.

I grew up in the mountains of the Northwest where we more worried about earthquakes and fires then other natural disasters.  After all we lived along a major fault line.  All through my childhood we had earthquake drills and talked about what we should if one were to hit when we were at home, school, and elsewhere.  Tornadoes were never once brought up.  I have since learned that no place is exempt from tornadoes.  They may not be as common but there is always the possibility even if you live in the mountains or near a river. 

2.) Have a plan.

While we don't want to live our life in fear it is still good to have a plan.  We had minutes notice before the tornado hit.  Enough to go find my husband upstairs and discuss what we should do.  It happened early in the morning so we decided to get dressed and then meet in a certain place of our house.  Looking back we should have just gone to our meeting place.  Our bedroom was upstairs which is not the safest place to be.  Clothes can wait.  You don't know how much time you have and it’s better to be safe than sorry.  

3.)  Know where the safest places in your home are.  

We knew that the tornado would be coming from a southerly direction.  My earthquake training and my racing thoughts had led me to the conclusion that our bottom floor would be safest and away from our south facing windows and doors.  I was thinking that I didn't want anything above my head so we went to the north part of house, by the front door where we had a vaulted ceiling.  I was partly right.  While it was a good thing we were as far away from our south facing windows and glass door we still had a window above us.  Since we don't have a basement, the safest place for us would have been in our downstairs bathroom or coat closet which is located in the central part of our house and has no windows.  Even better would have been if we had covered ourselves in blankets.     

4.)  Stay away from the windows and glass doors.

Again my adrenaline wasn't enough to keep me from making stupid mistakes.  You have to remember that I have never given an ounce of thought of a tornado hitting our home in the mountains.  After I had gotten dressed I went downstairs and looked out our back arcadia door to see if I could see anything. BIG MISTAKE.  All I could see was a huge black mass.  Everything from that moment on was slow motion.  I screamed and started running for our meeting place placing my arms above my head.  My husband threw his body over me just as our BBQ grill was thrown into our arcadia door, shattering the whole thing, where I had been just a moment ago. 

(This was one of the smaller shards of glass suck in our wall.)

5.)  Do not open your windows or doors.

This one goes along with tip number 4.  After the tornado hit our house someone had told me that if you think a tornado is coming you should open your up your windows and doors to let out some of the pressure.  According to this is a bad idea.  "Opening your windows and doors may in fact increase the damage to your house and make you susceptible to being struck by flying glass."  I couldn't agree more with this statement.  After the tornado had passed we started taking an assessment of the damage.  There were huge shards of glass stuck in our walls.  The blinds had been thrown across the room and indented the wall.  We had all sorts of random pieces of construction fly into our house from who knows where.  It’s not worth the risk!

6.)  Know the basics of tornado formation and its signs. 

This is where my west states nieveness shows through.  I hadn't given much thought to what it takes to form a tornado.  Before I my thoughts were along the line of, "It takes a lot of wind."  My friends, it takes more than wind to form a tornado.  In fact they form from rotating thunderheads.  Specifically they form from a supercell thunderstorm.  The process itself is quite the equation of elements.  Before the tornado hit our neighborhood we had been having a "severe thunderstorm."  I woke up to lots of lightening, hail and wind.  The hail was coming down pretty darn hard, although hail is not required for a tornado.  To be honest, if I hadn't gotten online to see if there was a chance of a tornado I would have just thought we were having a bad storm... which is not uncommon here.  I'm grateful for modern technology and people who can read clouds and storms better than I can. 

7.)  You don't always get a lot of warning.

If you live in the Midwest, chances are you have sirens that go off when a tornado warning has been issued.  In other areas like Northern Arizona there are no sirens.  As it is, tornados can be hard to predict far in advance.  Sometimes our weather people can't detect one until minutes before they touch down.  Other times they can see the storm system moving in a particular path and issue the warning out sooner.  That morning there were not sirens.  Most people were in bed sleeping (it was a little after 5:00 A.M.).  They weren't listening to the radio or watching TV where an emergency broadcast was being streamed.  I saw the warning five minutes before only because I had gotten up and checked online, which in and of itself is a whole other story.  That is why knowing what to do is so important.  You may have to react quickly.

8.)  Know where to go if you aren't at home.

Today, I left for lunch when an emergency announcement was broadcast issuing a tornado warning.  Ironic since I had already started writing this post.  Luckily it was 40 miles north of us and I don't think near any cities or towns.  Still I was in my car listening to the announcement waiting to hear the location of the warning and started thinking where would I go for shelter if it was headed my way?  I had just pulled into the parking lot of some office buildings.  I knew the layout of the building and knew I would go for the bathroom.  Again it was in the center of the building and did not have any glass windows or doors. has suggestions of the best locations to seek shelter which include avoiding wide, free spanned roofs such as gymnasiums or auditoriums.  If you are outside or in your car with no buildings around, get out and find a ditch and lay flat with your hands over your head.  Campers and Mobile Homes are not suitable forms of shelter.  We live across from an RV dealer and that morning we found pieces of those campers all over the place.  My neighbor had a sink fly into the side of their house.  Our tornado was classified as an F2 which is on the smaller end yet it still caused quite a bit of damage. 
9.)  Teach your kids.

We don't want to freak kids out but it’s a good idea for them to know your plan.  Time is everything in an emergency.  Growing up we practiced family fire drills and made a plan of where we would meet if a fire ever started in our house.  I don't remember those drills scaring me.  My parents made sure it was light enough that we wouldn't have fears of house fires but serious enough that we would know how to react.  Likewise, my mom once had to go somewhere and leave the kids with one my brothers.  A tornado warning had not been issued but she saw a storm in the distance that looked like it had potential.  We can't live in fear of the "what ifs" or stay home every time a thunderstorm rolls in.  Instead she told the brother being left in charge to watch the thunderheads and what it would look like should a funnel start to form.  If it did, she instructed my brother where to take the kids for shelter; in the basement, in the bathroom. 
10.)  You will not be alone.

One of the most comforting things I learned was that you will not be left alone through an experience like this.  After the tornado had passed through our neighborhood and it was safe to go outside everyone began going door to door checking on their neighbors... neighbors they didn't know.  Phone calls were made.  As soon as it was safe to for those living in town to drive out to our community (another tornado touched down a mile west of us) people began showing up with plywood and nails, boarding up peoples windows to save homes from as much damage as possible.  It was pouring cats and dogs for quite a while after.  Meals were arranged.  Hotels and people opened up their homes for shelter.  The community came together and helped with clean-up.  It really was quite an amazing site and was greatly appreciated. 

I still get nervous when severe thunderstorms roll through but I find comfort in knowing what to do.  Have you been through a natural disaster?  What things do you wish you had known beforehand?  What things about tornadoes have you learn? 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Lemon - Berry Smoothie Recipe

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this lemon-berry smoothie recipe as a result of getting creative with ideas for using lemons.  In my first Bountiful Basket I ended up with four or five large lemons.  Now I LOVE lemon water but that need would be fulfilled with one of my lemons.  I also love all things lemon.  Lemon Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Squares, Lemon Fluff, Lemon Cookies... you get the idea.  However most of those recipes call for a lot of refined sugar, butter, and other unhealthy ingredients.  At the time I was in search for more healthy ways in which I could use my excess fruit.  This lemon-berry smoothie recipe was the product of that brainstorm.

Summer Lemon-Berry Smoothie  

Ingredients: (Makes enough for 2-3 people)

1/2 - 3/4 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 of a lemon
1/2 of an apple
1/4 of a cucumber (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
4-5 large ice cubes

I cut my pieces of apple and cucumber into smaller portions because my blender is not too high tech and sometimes struggles.  However, the instructions are simple.  Place all your ingredients in the blender, mix, and serve.

The health benefits of lemons are extraordinary.  In a quick online search I found these claims:  Lemons help to boost the immune system and fight off bacteria including those that cause acne and canker sores.  They also help fight off infections such as the common cold and flu.  Lemons are a digestive aid and cleanse your body of toxins and encourage easier bowel movements.  Even just the smell of lemon can help with anxiety and dizziness.  While lemons contain citric acid they are actually alkalizing to the body.  Some believe that some diseases including cancer thrive on acid.  Therefore it is thought that perhaps lemon can help regulate the pH levels in our body.

Add the other fruits and veggie to the equation and you have one refreshing drink that is great for your skin, bones, and you overall health.  It certainly hit the spot on a warm summer night.

What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

Monday, July 2, 2012

DIY Coffee Table Makeover


After a couple of weeks of off and on work I'm finally ready to reveal my DIY Coffee Table Makeover.  When we were first married my husband came home proudly exclaiming that our neighbors had given us a coffee table for free.  Now you can't do better than free but it was this lovely orange laminate table.  Needless to say it wasn't my favorite piece of furniture.  For years I thought about a diy coffee table makeover but I didn't know if painting laminate furniture would be worth the time and effort.  

*Enter Pinterest*

I found a primer on Pinterest that you can paint right onto laminate furniture.  It claims to stick to any surface.  You can then use any paint on top of the primer.  This gem sealed the deal and I got to work: thinking, creating, and lots of sanding.  Here is the finished result.


Here is a list of supplies I used for this diy coffee table:

- 1 quart Zinsser primer  (I had it tinted to match the light brown seen in the distressing)
- 1 sample size Behr paint in Distant Tan PWL-83
- 1 quart Behr pain in Swiss Coffee 1812 (Satin Enamel Finish)
- 8 oz can of Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish  (using a 50% coupon at Michaels)
- 2 oz bottle of a metalic acrylic paint
- 2 oz bottle of a pearlized white acrylic paint
- 3 different damask stencils (Hobby Lobby)
- paint roller
- small paint brush (decent quality)
- sandpaper

Step 1:  Make sure the surface of the table is smooth.  I had to sand down a paint ring from another project.  Then apply 1 coat of the Zinsser Primer.  As you read from above I had it tinted to match the Distant Tan.  You don't have to do this if you don't want.  Let it cure for at least an hour or two before painting on top of it.

Step 2:  Paint one coat of the Distant Tan.  Let it cure for 4-5 hours.

Step 3:  Paint two coats of the Swiss Coffee.  You won't use the entire quart but know that the properties between a sample size and the actual base they use for the quart are different enough that I didn't want to take any chances on my top coat.  They bond a little bit differently and of course the finish is not the same.  Let each coat dry for at least 4-5 hours before applying the next one.

Step 4:  Sand, Sand, Sand.  It may use muscles you didn't know you have but it is worth it.  As you can see in the photos in some areas I sanded down to the Distant Tan layer to give it the antique look.  However, you will want to sand at least the entire table top to even out the texture of the paint, otherwise you will really be able to see where you distressed the table.  

Step 5:  When your coffee table is distressed and sanded to your liking stencil on your design.  I just used the craft acrylic paint so it didn't take very long to dry.

Step 6:  Apply 1 coat of the protective finish.  Let it dry for at least 2 hours.  Sand this coat to try and hide some of the brush strokes.  Repeat this process with 1 or 2 more additional coats.

TA DA!  You've created a beautiful piece of furniture.

*You may want to know that for paint to be completely cured it will take at least 21 days so be careful when you move it back into the house.*

Did you notice the almost secret stencil design on this DIY coffee table?  I love that the pearlized stencil appears in some lights and disappears in others.  It gives the table a little bit of mystery.

It really lightens up our living room and is a one of a kind piece, something of my own doing.  I couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Have you ever attempted painting laminate furniture?  How did it turn out?