December 26, 2013

A $15.00 Cabinet Transformation

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

I wanted to share a project I snuck in before Christmas.  Since this was for a friend, it was a little out of my usual realm of transformations.

My friend picked the paint color and graphics and I love them!

"Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual"

Ernest Hemingway

What a steal this was at the thrift store

For $15.00!

Since this cabinet is for the bathroom right next to the commode, my friend picked a graphic for the side at just the right height lol!

I went over the graphics with the blender pen one to many times and the paint lifted on the top ship.  It was Ok for this project, but I have made a mental note to not over do the transfer.

I have no idea where my friend found the graphics, so if you know, I will be happy to give credit 

You can find the blender pen transfer method HERE at Graphics Fairy, along with other transfer methods. 

After I painted and transfered the graphics I gave it a light sanding to distress it a little.  Then gave it a coat of clear wax followed by a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax. 

The perfect bathroom cabinet and it was only $15.00...My friend loved it!

I feel like I have been running a marathon....Anyone else feel like that?  I think we all got caught off guard with the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

We have been so blessed here in Orlando with Perfect 75 degree sunny weather.  I'm having a ball with my 17 and 21 year old nieces that are visiting from Minnesota.....They are loving this weather!

 I have some big changes and happenings coming in the new year for The Polka Dot Closet....I can't talk about it quite yet, but I am so excited to take you all along as I embark on this new adventure !!

Have a Happy and safe New Year! 
You have all enriched my life more than you will ever know!

Happy Creating

December 18, 2013

Christmas...A Trip Down Memory Lane

 When I was born 100 years ago pictures were taken mostly on special occasions because cameras, film, flashbulbs, and developing were all very expensive.  

Christmas was one of those special occasions.  Yep, everyone brought out their Kodaks and flashbulbs at Christmas 

I think I was 3 in this picture.  I love looking in the background...Check out the cool TV.  The coffee grinder on top of the TV and the grandfather clock were already vintage and used as decor pieces.  The walls were painted a clay color, everything in decorating cycles around again.  

How about that Charlie Brown tree?

I was 5 in this picture.  I remember getting this huge stand up cardboard doll for Christmas and I loved my black patent leather shoes that matched hers.  

That's my brother Scott in both pictures, he's 13 months older than me (And I never let him forget it lol!)

I'm signing off for Christmas and it's going to be a busy one

 My Mom is moving Friday to one of those fabulous 5 star retirement communities that has a dining room, coffee shop, every activity under the sun, transportation, weekly housekeeping, a gym, (When we toured the community there was a lady in the gym lifting weights, she was 103 years old!!!!).   Mom will be just a mile from my home, right in downtown Orlando.  It's really a fun place and I'm so excited for her.  Then Monday my 17 and 21 year old nieces are coming from Minnesota for 9 days, fun, fun, fun.....Yikes, hold down blog world for me, I will drop in when I can.  

 I wish you all a wonderful Christmas.  One that is filled with tons of memories captured on pictures to be passed down through the ages.......Now, don't forget to buy flashbulbs!

Happy Creating

December 13, 2013

A Few Small Projects

Oh my gosh...Christmas is only days away and I just did my decorating last night!  I know everyone is showing their gorgeous holiday decorations, but I have decorated my house pretty much the same for the last 3 years....Am I the only one that doesn't switch it up every year?  Here's my Christmas post from 2010 lol!.....Yep, it looks pretty much the same. 

So, I'm interrupting holiday decor posts to show you a few small projects I did for my booth.

  Having "Smalls" is the bread and butter for those of us with booths and my shelves were getting pretty bare. 

The graphics were all done with water slide decals

Metal boxes of any kind are so hot right now, customers are buying them as soon as I bring them into my booth.  They love them just as they are or, with any finish and if you add graphics.... all the better!

 This was just a plain grown file box 

A little paint, some distressing and a water slide decal and it sold immediately

You are now free to return to the regularly scheduled programing of blogs filled with gorgeous holiday decor and projects

Have a great weekend.  I know yours, like mine, will be filled with fun holiday parties!

Happy Creating!

December 9, 2013

Curb Alert....Birdcage

I was just driving down the street by my house and there sitting next to a garbage can was a wooden bird cage

Screech....U turn.... I always get a little embarrassed picking up other peoples trash, but It does not stop me from doing it!  Especially when I see a perfectly shabby rusted bird cage.  

 It was in perfect condition, but since it had been used for a real bird I put on my gloves and got out the scrub brush.  I love when I find something that does not need a transformation, of course I had to do Something!   

So, I got out the $2.00 roll of vintage wallpaper I had previously picked up at a thrift store...

...And lined the bottom

I priced it at $32 and put it in my booth at Orange Tree Antiques.   I was not surprised that it sold in a couple days, because bird cages are hot right now.   

I love a good curbside find....What was your best curbside find???

Happy Creating.....Or......Finding!


December 3, 2013

How To Get Your DIY Projects Published: Part 2

I still had so much to share with you about how to get your projects published that I had to break it into two parts.  You can read part one HERE
Remember, I'm sharing with you my experiences.  This is not to be confused with an expert's "how to" on the topic!!!

 In part two let's talk about:
How to increase your chances of getting "found"
How to write your article
Who does the photography (if you don't)?
Do magazines pay you?
The impact on your business/blog

How to increase your chances of getting "found"

Just being on the web anywhere can get you "found".  It could be on a blog, Etsy, Pinterest, etc. Editors are scouring the web and keeping an eye out for projects that are a perfect fit for their magazines.  My "French Market bags" were found by 
the Haute Handbags editor on Pinterest.

A little tip regarding Pinterest:  I made a pin board entitled "My Projects" in order to give editors (or anyone looking) the opportunity to take a peek at my other projects easily.  If you have all your projects in one place, it will maximize their exposure.  Additionally, for those who don't blog, it keeps all your projects in a nice, tidy space online. 

How to write your magazine article

Imagine:  After waiting weeks or even hear from an editor.  Great news...they want to publish your project!!!  After you jump up and down, you will have to take a deep breath and actually write the article.  Don't panic!!  They will give you their parameters.  Usually they will ask you to forward the following:  A paragraph about the inspiration for your project (usually they will require a minimum/maximum word count), a supply list, instructions for your project, and a short bio on yourself.  Do the best you can, they are professionals and will make any corrections needed (thank goodness for that). Before publication you will usually get a proof of your article to make any corrections to their changes.  For example, I laughed when I received the proof back from Altered Couture

Under the supply list for my fabric flower was:

-Polyester fabric lining
-Vintage buttons and jewels

TORCH?? What?!?!  ...I sent back an email that basically read: "No, no.  A candle/open flame will work just fine!  No torch needed." LOL!

They will always ask you to include a short bio that will be featured alongside the article.  I frequently read bios accompanying articles and some are pretty darn impressive!!  I used to think the editors wrote these bios (I'm not sure how logical that line of thinking was) but I now realize that the bios are actually written by whomever's project is being featured!!

Below is the bio I include to all publications for print:

     After working in pharmaceutical sales, Carol Turner left the corporate world to pursue her dreams.  She combined her skills in sales and marketing with her creative talents and opened her online store, The Polka Dot Closet, at  Carol also shares her numerous and varied DIY projects and detailed tutorials on her popular blog:  If you are ever in the Orlando area, be sure to visit Carol’s retail space at Orange Tree Antiques in Winter Park, Florida.

So, for example, who wrote "...her popular blog..." in the bio??  I did!!  It can be embarrassing and feel slightly egotistical "tooting your own horn".  However, remember that you're writing a bio because you are about to be published!!  Take liberty with three or four sentences and give readers the best impression of yourself that you can!

Who does the photography?
Easy answer:  Sometimes it's you and sometimes it's the magazine.  Most publications will ask you for photographs of the project. Even if this is the case, I email and ask them if I can send my project into the magazine for them to photograph.  Honestly, most magazines will want you to photograph and email them photos of your own project.  I still always ask and have been lucky enough here and there to have publications do the photographing.  Some of you may prefer and (or) really enjoy taking photographs of your projects, but if not, don't panic!!  I'm not a professional by any stretch and I have taken most of the photographs for my articles.  If you don't feel comfortable taking your own photos, think about who you know that is skilled behind the camera.  The photos of my first published project were taken by a neighbor girl that was taking a photography class.  I asked and she was thrilled just to be credited in the article.  If you have one nearby, venture into a local camera shop and see if they know someone who would like to take photos in exchange for having their work published...I would bet that you'll get some takers; everyone likes to see their name in print!

Do magazines pay you?
It is such an honor and privilege to see my projects in print that the monetary value is truly never even a thought (I'm not exactly sure anyone could make a living on getting projects published anyway).  However, here's the scoop:  Each publication is different.  Here are the ranges of compensation for getting published:

1.  Just the incredible honor of being published
2.  Getting published and a free copy of the magazine
3.  All of the above plus $25-$35 dollars per published page.

This has been my experience with compensation.  However, let's get real...the compensation part is just "icing on the cake".  The true joy is in the honor of being published!

What is the impact of being published on your business/blog?
In my experience, the short answer is: Not much!  This was so surprising to me.  I had no idea what to expect the first time I was published.  I had dreams of my blog becoming crazy popular, and retailers calling me wanting to buy products; I didn't know what to expect.  I thought "this is big; really big!"  However, the truth is that I've received a few new blog followers. Also, when my "Vintage framed paper dolls" and "French Market bags" were published, I sold a few in my online store.  That's it.  Though my dream of being published did not have a huge "impact", this has not in any way stopped me from submitting projects to be published.  As I've already mentioned, the prize is really the honor, not so much the residual effect. It's so much fun; a total natural high, and it gives me the great feeling of validation.  

I hope this answers a lot of your questions and demystifies the "getting published" process.  Even if you aren't a crafter, magazines and newspapers are always looking to publish gorgeous houses, outdoor spaces and inspiring short stories.   Every one of you has something news worthy to share with the rest of us.  

 I would feel so proud if you were able to use my experiences to help you get published.  I'm sure those of you who want to be published will be.  Please let me know if my posts gave you the gentle nudge you were looking for and I would be thrilled to blog about your successes!!!

Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can help you in any way.

Happy Creating!