Sunday, May 30, 2010

Best DIY Projects of May!!!


Happy Holiday Weekend!

I hope you are enjoying some extra time with your friends and family.

I’m sure we won’t have as many people link up as usual for the party, but that is perfectly okay! We can still party anyway. :)

Have you been busy with lots of projects this month?

I’ve had several that have kept me busy, but the one I would declare my “best” is the one that took the most time.

It’s the DIY project that I just revealed on Friday. I stained my old gray concrete patio to look like tile. You can find the tutorial HERE.


Now I can’t wait to see what you have been doing!!!

Here is a reminder of the party rules:

Rules for the Party:

1. Pick the best DIY Project that you completed in the month of May to share at the party.

2. Only one entry per person.

3. Be sure your project is related to home decor or home improvement.

4. Link your project back to my party through text or my party button. (It’s common blog courtesy to the host.) :)

5. Promise to visit at least 3-5 other blogs and leave a comment. (I’ve noticed some of you doing this at the previous parties, and it blesses my heart!)

6. Have Fun!

I will leave the linky system open for a few days since it is a holiday weekend. :)

Here is my button if you need it:
Beneath My Heart

Thanks for coming to my party and have a blessed day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

New “Tile” Patio Floor Reveal! (and giveaway winner!)

Well, we finally finished staining our concrete patio to look like tile!

This was is what our concrete patio looked like before.

Dull and dirty.


It doesn’t look as bad in these pictures as it did in person, but believe me…it didn’t look good.


As I was trying to decorate the patio with furniture, I just couldn’t get pass how ugly the floor looked.

So I wanted to tile it, but we couldn’t afford it.

My friend, Richella, suggested that we stain the concrete to look like tile. This seemed like an option that we could afford, so we went for it.

Here are the main steps to staining concrete.

1. Clean the concrete.

2. Stain the concrete.

3. Seal the concrete.

Not bad, huh?

We used Quikrete products from Lowe’s for this project.


The pamphlet suggests to prep the concrete with Quikrete BondLok.

However, my hubby insisted that Muriatic Acid would do the same thing. It would clean the concrete and open up the pores for staining. Since we already had some of it, we used it instead.

WARNING: Muriatic Acid is extremely dangerous!!! You do not want to get this on your skin!


You want to be sure to wear protective goggles and gloves. You may even want to wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose so you don’t breathe in too many fumes. My hubby did not since we were outside. I also thought he should wear some pants since the acid can burn through your skin! But luckily, he didn’t get anything on him. :)

If you use Quikcrete BondLok to clean the concrete, just be sure to read the directions carefully.

Here’s my man…ready for the job…


He carefully poured the acid into a large bucket. Then applied it with a large stiff broom.


You can’t see it in the picture, but the acid would actually bubble up on the concrete as it was applied.


We let it dry overnight before we began to tape the concrete.

Now you can skip this step if you don’t want your concrete to look like tile. But since we were going for the “tile look”, we used 1/2 inch tape to make our design.

It is not easy to find 1/2 inch tape. They don’t have it at Lowe’s or Walmart. We had to go to CarQuest and KOI Motors to get our tape. It is used a lot in painting cars.

My husband measured and made our starting point in the corner by the steps…


We wanted our tiles to measure 18 x 18 inches.

My husband also suggested we make the tiles on a diagonal. I am so glad he did! It looks so much better on a diagonal!

We used a large piece of trim molding that we had left over from another project, a tape measure, and pencil to draw our lines every 18 inches.


I did most of the taping by myself while my husband was at work. Many of you ask how I get so many things done around the house with four boys.

Well, one thing I do is to keep them busy doing something else…like a “slip and slide”.


They played on that slide for 3 hours straight! And Mama got a lot of work done. :)


And then I filled up their bellies! They loved that the table was in the grass under the shade tree. (I loved that I was able to get more done on the patio!)


After I finished taping in one direction, I started in the other.

This step was not hard AT ALL! It just took a little time.

I would suggest knee pads though. I didn’t have any, and now I have blisters on both of my knees!

Oh well, it was worth it.

IMG_6658 IMG_6659

Now the concrete was ready to apply the stain.

Picking out the color of the stain was the most stressful part to me!

There is a color guide in the pamphlet which includes solid stains and translucent stains.


We liked the look of the translucent stains because they more closely resembled the look of tile.


However, they do tell you that each stain can look very different when applied to the concrete since each concrete surface is different.

We went with the color Vaquero Brown. You have to take the can of stain to the paint desk for them to mix the color for you.I was expecting it to look lighter on our concrete than in the picture, but I was wrong. It actually looked darker.

The pamphlet suggests to wet the concrete before applying the stain, but we did not. This may have made the stain a little lighter. Don’t really know.


We applied the stain with a roll brush.

Don’t cha love my hubbies black socks? Too cute.


We let it dry overnight, and we weren’t real happy with the results the next morning because you could see where all of the brush strokes were. Some were very dark and very noticeable.

So I got on my sore knees again, and applied a second coat of stain by hand with a rag to try and cover up the brush strokes.

We let that dry, and it definitely looked much better. Now with two coats of stain, it is definitely darker than what I had wanted, but I still think it looks so much better than our dull old gray concrete.

I peeled off the tape and here is what we have now…


It really looks like tile! Some of the stain bled through the sides of the tape, but it really just makes it look more like real tile to me.

IMG_6669 IMG_6670 IMG_6671 IMG_6675

The last step is to applied the sealer. We went with the High Gloss Wet Look Sealer.


It looks exactly like milk and leaves a white film on the concrete when you apply it with a roll brush.


But it dries to a clean shiny finish…


Can you see the difference in the picture above? The top half of the pictures has the sealer on it and the bottom half does not.

The sealer helps protect and seal the stain.

We have let that dry overnight. I was wanting to get a picture of the patio with our furniture back on there this morning, but I decided to wait a little longer. I want to make sure that it is completely dry and that the furniture does not mess up all of our hard work.

Overall, I am VERY pleased with how this turned out. It gives our patio a very finished look.

Here is the breakdown of the costs:

Muriatic Acid – free (we already had it)


Sealer- $24.00

2 rollers - $6.00

Rubber gloves -$3.00

We already had the roll brush, the glasses, and bucket, so this whole project cost us less than $60.00!!!

Much better than the $300.00 it would have cost my husband to tile it himself! Plus, it was a lot easier!

On more time, the BEFORE…


and the AFTER…


Next, I need to work on the curtains and pillows for the furniture.

I will be sharing all of that process with you too!

Now for the winner of the Chantelle Nicole Designs Giveaway!!!

I used the random number generator to get number 116!

The winner is…

Mia Dawson

Mia commented, tweeted, facebooked, and posted about this giveaway! She must have really wanted to win!

Congratulations, Mia! I will be contacting you soon about your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

If you didn’t win, but fell in love with one of Chantelle’s designs, she is offerering all of you a 10% discount on your orders.

Just enter the code: gift10

Thank you, Chantelle!

Don’t I have the best sponsors?

Have a blessed day!


I am linking this project to...
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It’s almost party time!

Well, I was hoping to share with you my finished patio floor, but it’s not quite ready.

The project hasn’t gone exactly as planned.  The stain is a lot darker than I had hoped, but it definitely looks better than it did before.  :)

We have one more step to finish, and I hopefully will be ready to show it to you on Friday.

So today, I wanted to remind you of my monthly linky party…


I know that the party falls on Memorial Day, but I decided to have it anyway.

If you can link up Sunday Night for the party on Monday, that’s great!

If not, I will leave the linky open for several days to allow time to link up later.

Rules for the Party:

1.  Pick the best DIY Project that you completed in the month of May to share at the party.

2.  Only one entry per person.

3.  Be sure your project is related to home decor or home improvement.

4.  Link your project back to my party through text or my party button.  (It’s common blog courtesy to the host.)  :)

5.  Promise to visit at least 3-5 other blogs and leave a comment.  (I’ve noticed some of you doing this at the previous parties, and it blesses my heart!)

6.  Have Fun!

And remember, you can still come to the party even if you don’t link up a project!  Just enjoy browsing through all of the wonderful DIY Projects.

Here are a few more highlights from last months party…

Caleen from Craft Critters linked this adorable little project.  She made the sign all by herself and attached dollar store frames with ribbons.  How cute is that?  She has many other crafty projects on her blog so go check ‘em out!


I love this keepsake pillow made by my new blog buddy, Laura, over at Just for Love!


She made this pillow for her sister.  It was made from fabric of some of the favorite outfits that her son wore.  How precious!

Laura is a super sweet girl who loves the Lord with all her heart.  Stop by her blog and say hello!  Just click HERE.

If you want to learn how to make an adorable cover for your sewing machine, then hop on over to Thrifty Parsonage Living and check out this post


Joy is a very talented lady, and I know you will enjoy visiting her!

And of course, I want to give a shout out to some of my favorite home-girls…Censational Kate who gives a fabulous tutorial on painting laminate…


And Sarah, the Thrifty Decor Chick, who shares some beautiful ways to fill up wall space in her little boy’s room.


If you haven’t already…

Be sure to enter my giveaway from Chantelle Nicole Designs!  It ends Thursday night at midnight, and I will announce the winner Friday, the 28th!

Check out some of her designs that you could get with your gift certificate if you win…


Click HERE to enter!

Have a blessed day!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday with Wanda

Hello, ladies.

I apologize for being late with my Wednesday with Wanda post today, but both my computer and laptop were not working last night or this morning.

I called my internet provider, and we finally got things figured out!  :)  Whew!

Today I wanted to share with you a post I wrote about my mom on another blog in January.  I was trying to win a ticket to the Blissdom conference and many of you stopped by that blog to vote for me.  Thank you!

It was a HUGE blessing in my life.

But I feel there are many of you who didn’t have the chance to read it, so I wanted to share it with you too.  :)

Here it is…

Count Your Blessings

Sometimes we think that our greatest influence on others will come in the way we live our lives. But for me, the greatest influence I have ever had on my life was in the way that someone died.

That someone was my mom.

In August of 2009, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV gastric cancer. It was the most difficult situation I had ever faced in my life. I wanted to be angry with God. How could He do this to my mom and my family?

Mom told me that she didn’t understand why God was allowing this cancer into her life, but she trusted Him. She said that despite our circumstances, we needed to be looking for the blessings God had in store for us.

So that’s what we did.

For the seven short weeks that Mom lived after her diagnosis, we counted our blessings every day.

I remember a time when Mom was lying in her bed. Her legs were swollen 3 times their normal size. She was unable to sit up or stand on her own. She had lost over 20 pounds and could barely eat. The cancer was winning the battle. She looked at me and said, “I feel so blessed.” I said, “Mom, you are lying there with cancer throughout your whole body, how can you say that?” Her response? “Well, I could be writhing in pain, and I’m not. Some people with cancer are in a lot more pain. So I am thankful that I’m not.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. She felt blessed?  Mom continually found blessings through the most difficult days of her life.

(Dad’s birthday, Sept. 4th, 18 days before Mom passed away.)

If the sun was shining on the way to a doctor’s appointment, Mom would look at us with a smile and say, “Blessings!”

If someone brought us food to eat that evening, Mom would smile and say, “Blessings!”

When money was given to help with medical bills, Mom would say, "Blessings!”

If she could taste her food better that day or maybe eat more than usual, she would say, “Blessings!”

There wasn’t an hour of the day that went by that I didn’t hear my mom say, “Blessings!” 

Do you know what it feels like to be covered in God’s blessings all day long?  I do.

The fact is…we are all covered in God’s blessings everyday of our lives.  Oftentimes, we simply do not take the time to recognize them.

It took Mom’s illness for me to realize it.

She told me one day in the kitchen that she had lived her whole life trying to teach us kids how to live for Christ, and now it was her time to teach us how to die for Christ.

Mom’s example in dying changed my life forever!

Now I try to live each day to the fullest by counting the simple blessings that God has given me.


When I am standing in a long line at the grocery store….

I thank God for the legs on which I have to stand.

When I am overwhelmed by loads of laundry….

 I thank God for a house full of loved ones who wear those clothes.

When I am frustrated when I don’t get what I want…

 I thank God that I have all that I need.

And when the overwhelming pain of missing my mother wells up inside of me…

I thank God for the promise that I will see her again.

What a blessing!

God bless you all!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Faux Tile Project

Well, I am still working on my back patio.

I told you last week that I was wanting to do something different to our concrete patio floor.

Here is what it looked like…(after I took all the furniture off)


The concrete has a lot of stains on it, and it looks really bad.




So my hubby and I discussed our choices:

1)  Paint it.

2) Tile it.

3)  Stain it.

The hubs didn’t really want to do option #1 because he was worried that the paint would begin to chip in a couple of years.  Plus he doesn’t really like the look of painted concrete.

Option #2 is the one we both wanted, but it would be the most expensive.  It would have cost at least $300.00 for my husband to do the work himself.   So of course that option was out.

So then we began to consider option # 3…Stain it.

One of my favorite bloggers in blogland, Richella, from Imparting Grace, suggested in the comments of this post last week that I stain my patio to look like tile.  (What?  Huh?)

I have never seen it done before, but I started researching the idea online, and it can definitely be done!

Isn’t she a genius!  What a great idea!

(See why I love your comments, ladies!  I read each one and appreciate them so much!)

When I ran the idea by my hubby, I could see it peeked his interest.

He definitely thought it was doable.

Score!  Thank you, Richella!

So we started the project this weekend. 

And here is where we are at:


I ran out of the half inch tape I was using, and I have been to seven different stores looking for some more with no luck!

So I am going to see if I can find some tape in the “big city” tomorrow so I can finish taping the patio.

The plan is to stain the concrete.  Then when we remove the tape, it will look like grout lines.

What do you think?

Is it going to work?

I was terrified to pick out the stain color at Lowe’s.  I am praying that it will look good. 

We’ll see…

I am planning to finish taping tomorrow and hopefully applying the stain too.

If all goes well, I will be able to share the results on Thursday!  (fingers crossed)  And I will be sure to include all the steps we used in the project.

In the meantime, be sure to enter my giveaway from Chantelle Nicole Designs.

She is giving away a $40.00 gift certificate to her store. 

I am absolutely in love with her jewelry!

Click HERE to enter!

Have a blessed day!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Chantelle Nicole Designs Giveaway!

Ladies, it is time for a GIVEAWAY!!!

And I am so excited about this one!

It is from my latest sponsor, Chantelle Nicole Designs.


Have you seen her beautiful jewelry?

She has so many unique pieces that I absolutely love!

Like this one… “Tiny Mother Bird” Necklace


When I saw this necklace, I think I squealed out loud and said something like, “Goodness Gracious! That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!”

And then I saw this little beauty… “Sweet Pea” Necklace


And then I said, “Goodness Gracious! That is the cutest thing I have ever seen!”

I can do that, right?

Chantelle also designs jewelry that can be personalized with initials, names, or dates.

I love her “Remember” Necklace…

I thought something like this would be perfect for my niece who is getting married in two weeks. It would have the initial of her new last name and their wedding date. Precious!


I love the simplicity of the “My Heart” Necklace…


Chantelle’s creativeness does not stop with necklaces! She also makes bracelets, earrings, key chains, and baby spoons!

I love this “Beach inspired” bracelet! Wouldn’t this be adorable to wear on vacation this summer?! Sigh…


Are you lovin’ her jewelry as much as I am now?!

Now for the good news…

Chantelle is offering a $40 gift certificate to her online store!

Here are the ways to enter:

1) Visit Chantelle Nicole Designs and browse through her beautiful jewelry, then come back and tell me in a comment which piece you would chose if you won.

2) Mention this giveaway on your blog (with a link back to this post) and then come back and tell me about it in a comment.

3) Tell about this giveaway on facebook, then come back and tell me about it in a separate comment.

4) Tweet about this giveaway and tell me about it in a comment. (Be sure to include #beneathmyheart in your tweet.)

**Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry so they will all be counted.

The giveaway will end this Thursday night at midnight, and I will announce the winner on Friday, May 28th!


Chantelle is offering a 10% off discount to all my readers!!!

Just enter the code: gift10 when you order.

Good luck, everyone!

Have a blessed day,


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