The Beginner’s Guide to Distressing with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan

The Beginner's Guide to Distressing with Annie Sloan | It turns out that distressing with Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan doesn't have to be stressful at all! Here's a detailed tutorial for how to age and distress a piece of furniture to give it that time-worn look, rich with character. This guide is your one stop shop for inspiration; so what are you waiting for? This paint is SO easy to work with.

Last year, when I popped open my first quart of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan, I remember thinking, "I wonder if this can live up to the hype." After all, this decorative paint almost sounded like something out of a DIYer's fairy-tale.... Once upon a time there was a paint called Chalk Paint®. Now, Chalk Paint® wasn't just any sort of paint.  No. Chalk Paint® possessed magical powers!  It could adhere to practically any surface on which it was painted--varnish, bare wood, laminate, plastic, Read more

D.I.Y. Bookmark Wedding Favors

DIY Bookmark Wedding Favors - - perfect for the book-lovin' bride and groom! And you can't beat a price-point of 50 cents per bookmark!  Nab the free cut file for your Silhouette, then prepare to wow those wedding guests with all of the whimsical, handmade touches on these favors!

My sister Lisbeth and husband Ransom are some of the bookiest bookworms I know.  Between the two of them, they probably own more books than the N.Y.C. Public Library.  (And I'm only slightly exaggerating.) So, a custom, handmade bookmark made the poifect favor to give to the guests at their wedding this June. And guess who had the distinct honor of designing and assembling said favors? Yeppers.  Yours truly.  The C.O.B.: Chief of Bridesmaids and all-things-DIY.  (My official Read more

D.I.Y. Shabby Chic Fabric Photo Booth Backdrop

D.I.Y. Shabby Chic Fabric Photo Booth Backdrop | Step by step photo tutorial for creating a backdrop out of strips of fabric, perfect for a rustic vintage wedding or birthday or photo shoot! An easy and inexpensive project that will provide instant entertainment and whimsy to your next festivity!

gathering of fun people + photo booth = hours of endless entertainment Am I right or am I right?  Or am I right?  {Wink.} So, when my sister told me that she and Ransom had hopes of including a photo booth at their wedding reception this past June, my eyes lit up like a pinball machine.  And as chief of decorations, I set to work to turn this dream into a D.I.Y. reality. I already had *the tripod, the camera, and a collection of handmade photo booth props at the ready.  Remember Read more

5 Non-Digital Activities to Refuel Your Creativity

5 Non-Digital Activities to Refuel Your Creativity | It's amazing what a little bit of intentional rest and renewal can do for the body and soul, especially when we power down our devices and unplug. The best part? We don't even need to travel away from home to take a creative retreat. We can take one in the midst of our day-just a quick 20 minutes of reading, painting, writing, prayer, or a walk outside. And it can restore our energy and creativity so we return to work with renewed purpose!

I'm saying goodbye to the skyline Hello to the sweet pines Gonna see you later street lights I'm headed back to tree lines To free time and starry nights To bonfires and fire flies Pack your bags it's time to go Cause we got brighter lights back home -"Back Home" by Owl City   "Back Home" was the soundtrack to our week last week spent up at HoneyRock Camp in the northwoods of Wisconsin.  Our B.I.L. Matthew included it on a mix CD for us, and we must've played it a hundred Read more

DIY Clothespin Place Card Holders for a Rustic Vintage Wedding

DIY Rustic Vintage Clothespin Place Card Holders | Love that can save on cost, but not scrimp on beauty with these gems! Step by step photo tutorial includes instructions on the easy method of staining the clothespins and how to design and cut the place card flags. Pop 'em in a vintage drawer with baby's breath and voila! Instant wedding whimsy!

On June 20th, 2015, my sister Lisbeth married the love of her life, Ransom, and it was one of the most joy-filled weddings I've ever witnessed. I had the honor of being the matron of honor, or chief of bridesmaids as I dubbed myself.  (Because I wasn't digging the correlation between "matron" and "matronly.")  And one of the gifts I decided to give my sister was the gift of decor--more specifically, taking the lead on planning and DIY-ing her reception decor.  Of course, I was like a Read more

20 Quick Tips for New Broadcasters on Periscope

20 Quick Tips for New Broadcasters on Periscope

"You're not going to be very good at it, so why even try?" "You're better off playing it safe and sticking to what you know." "You just don't have what it takes." Have I introduced you to my inner critic yet?  She's a real peach, ain't she?  (Note the verbal irony.) We've gotten to know each other rather well over the years, she and I.  In truth, she's a lot less chatty now than she was when I was in my twenties...and practically mute compared to how verbose she was during my Read more

Why Periscope is Going to be a Game-Changer for Bloggers & Business Owners

Why Periscope is Going to Be a Game-Changer for Bloggers & Biz Owners

Just two weeks ago, I didn't even know the Periscope app existed. And here I am today with six broadcasts under my belt, an Ultimate Periscope Resource Page to share with you all, and now, a deeper discussion into why I think this app is worth exploring. As we've already established, I've caught Periscope fever!  And while this is still a very new medium, and I have a lot to learn, one thing is very clear to me: I don't think Periscope is going to be just another fad.  I think it's here Read more

The Beginner’s Guide to Periscope

The Beginner's Guide to Periscope

"I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more Periscope!"  {Cue the cowbell.} Have you caught Periscope fever, too?  If not, I have a hunch you'll catch it by the end of this three-part series.  {Wink.} Periscope is one of the fastest growing new social media platforms since the app first released for iOS devices this March and for Android this May.  In fact, it's still so new by app standards, that for some of you, this may be the first time you're hearing about it. No Read more

5 Strategies for Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking

5 Strategies for Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking | Most people fear public speaking more than they fear death. No joke! However, I believe that you don't have to let that fear hold you back, but rather you can channel that fear into positive energy that leads to success! And here are the 5 strategies I have employed in my own experience and in my teaching/directing to conquer the fear of public speaking...and even have FUN when speaking in public. It's totally possible! {Post includes video replay of a Periscope broadcast!}

The fear of public speaking is very real, people. And don't just take my word for it.  Allow me to hand to the mic to your friend and mine, Jerry Seinfeld: According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. Ba-dum tss. But here's the thing: rather than letting fear of public Read more

DIY Scarf Camera Strap

DIY Scarf Camera Strap Tutorial: Upcycle a scarf into a snazzy camera strap that will quickly become your new favorite accessory. This sewing tutorial will walk you through each step of the fun refashion. Happy Scarf Week 2015!

Of the all 4 Scarf Week projects I took on this year (1 | 2 | 3), this is the one that intimidated me the most. It would involve running through my sewing machine a nylon camera strap, faux leather, and scarf material all at the same time.  If we're honest, it had the words "scarf fail" written all over it.  Or at least "someone's-asking-for-a-new-sewing-machine-for-Christmas-because-hers-died-from-scarf-refashion trauma." But that's not the story I'm here to tell today. No, friend, Read more

Wire Head Scarf Tutorial for the Beginner Sewist

DIY Wire Head Scarf for the Beginner Sewist | Another inspirational Scarf Week tutorial that is fun, easy, and will open you up to a whole new world of head scarves that actually stay on your head! Lots of step by step photos help make this project extra do-able!

I love me a good head scarf.  Especially on day 2 (or 3...cough) of unwashed hair. But either I have to tie it on headache-tight or assault my scalp with bobby pins just to get it to stay on.  Ya feel me? So...when I learned that you could line head scarves with wire to make them moldable to your head, well, I did a little heel click and to my sewing machine I went! Now, before you navigate away because I just mentioned the forbidden word, "sewing," let me stress that I still consider Read more

D.I.Y. Galaxy Print Infinity Scarf

DIY Galaxy Print Infinity Scarf: Just one of the many inspirational tutorials during Scarf Week 2015. This creative project uses the power of bleach on a dark t-shirt to transform it into a fabulous galactic accessory! And you likely have most the supplies you'd need already lying around the house!

"Can we pretend that bleach spots on a navy tee are like shooting stars?  I could really use a scarf right now, scarf right now, scarf right no-ow-ow!" Just some parodied lyrics to a classic hook that played in my head as I pulled my D.I.Y. Galaxy Print Infinity Scarf out of the dryer and wrapped it around my neck. You see, some of my bleach spots had smeared, so what I intended to look as "stars" really did look like they were shooting through galaxy of my scarf.  That's what I like to Read more

10 Minute Fringe Infinity T-Shirt Scarf

10 Minute Fringe Infinity T-Shirt Scarf - - one of the quickest, easiest, and most fun DIY projects you'll ever do! Oh, and the best part? Supplies are FREE if you raid your closet for an old t-shirt to upcycle! Just another inspiring tutorial from Scarf Week 2015! Stop by to check out all 7 DIY T-Shirt Scarves.

Did you hear the oh-so-exciting news?  While Shark Week takes over your TV screens this week, Scarf Week will be taking over blogland.  That's right: you've got 5 fun-filled days of scarf-tastic inspiration ahead of you, and it all kicks off today! Today's theme? T-Shirt Scarves! And I'm joined by 6 other bloggers who are all sharing t-shirt scarf tutorials today, so be sure to stick around to the end of this post and explore their killer projects!  (And oh-my-gills, are they Read more

Scarf Week 2015: A Week of Killer Inspiration

Welcome to Scarf Week 2015! Bigger, better, scarfy-er. July 6 - 10, 2015. We've got t-shirt scarves, dyed-painted-stamped scarves, scarves for sewists, knitted & crocheted scarves, and scarf re-fashions! It's going to be a killer week of inspiration, no fish-bones about it.

We live in a crazy world.  So, it can be a relief to know there are a few constants we can rely on. After winter, must come spring. What goes up must come down. And when Shark Week comes back with a vengeance every summer, so does Scarf Week return!  That's right.  Today at 10 a.m. eastern, we are kicking off the Second Annual Scarf Week here in blogland, and this time it really is bigger...better...scarfy-er.   That's because I'm joined by not one, not two, but a whole gaggle of Read more

Flip-Through Video Tour of My Journaling Bible

Flip-Through Video Tour of My Journaling Bible | Join me on this fun lil' video tour of the first 10 entries of my E.S.V. Journaling Bible in which I share tips, tricks, favorite supplies, techniques I've been exploring, and why this has been such a meaningful way for me to study the Bible these past 3 months. I hope it's an encouragement to you wherever you find yourself in your journey.

It has been a little over three months since I first started pouring my heART into the margins of my *Crossway E.S.V. Journaling Bible...and to say it has revolutionized my Bible study experience is an understatement. My introductory blog posts this spring were met with such enthusiasm and some great questions, so I thought it might be worthwhile to do a lil' flip through video tour of my first 10 entries.  My hope is that this might serve as inspiration for some of you who are also at the Read more

Reader Showcase: A Look Back at Winter & Spring 2015

Winter & Spring 2015 Reader Showcase at The Thinking Closet | Prepare to be amazed at the creativity and inspiration in the craft and DIY tutorials found in this round-up! Reason #597 why The Thinking Closet readers are the best readers in blogland!

Happy weekend, friends.  And better yet, happy summer! You know what that means... school's out... ...the grills are heating up... ...and in between those thrilling summer thunderstorms... ...the beach is calling your name! Well, when the seasons change, I like to do a little event here at The Thinking Closet called The Reader Showcase.  What's it all about? Well, some of my favorite emails to receive are the ones where you send me photos of creations y'all Read more

How to Build a Loyal Blog Following Through Storytelling & A Giveaway

How to Build a Loyal Blog Following Through Storytelling | Blogging tips by Lauren Lanker from The Thinking Closet. How can we craft opening sentences that rise above the noise? Through storytelling. It's one of the most effective ways to build a long-term relationship with loyal blog followers. Here are some practical exercises to help bloggers draw out their own stories and find their voice through writing killer hooks!

In kindergarten, my friends and I would crouch down on the big black rocks and dedicate our recess hour to scraping the shiny mica with our fingernails.  It came off in small, thin sheets that we collected in our jacket pockets.  To the teacher looking on, we were just kids being kids.  That mica wasn't worth much. But to us, it was worth a lot. It was pirate's booty for our treasure chest.  It was currency for our game of house.  It was magical fairy dust that could make us fly. And Read more