Category: DIY/ Crafts

Virtual Holiday Cookie Swap

I’m doing a holiday cookie swap.  A traditional one goes like this:

You make a zillion cookies, and then you take them to a place.  And then you also have to print or hand write a zillion recipes so you can swap all of that stuff with everyone else too.

That might be your thing, but it might not be your thing.  And around these parts I try very hard to give you EASY solutions for your life.  Plus we can’t do the traditional way…so I want to think outside of the box.

So I’m doing things a little different.  We are kicking off some fun holiday posting with….

Cue the tree lighting……

Nicolyndime First Annual Virtual Cookie Swap!

Here’s what you need to do to participate:

  1. Sign up here for the Nicolyndime Email Subscriber List.  If you’re already a member, no need to sign up again.  Deadline to join is Friday Dec 8th.

  2. Send me an email at and tell me the following:  Your cookie recipe title, the ingredients, the directions, your first name or initials and state where you live (only of you want this published) and a little story (if you have one) about your cookie recipe.  A photo of the finished product is helpful too, if you can manage it.  Deadline for submission is Friday November 24th.

  3. You can also send me tips, simple craft projects, traditions, and other ideas to supplement your holiday cheer.

  4. It doesn’t have to be a CHRISTMAS cookie recipe.  In fact, I’d love cookies from all faiths and walks of life!

  5. You automatically get a FREE pdf cookbook of all the recipes that were sent in.  Emailed on Saturday Dec. 9th.

So wait… what you’re telling me is I hand over one cookie recipe, and I get an entire free, easy printable, cookie recipe cookbook in return?

No fees?  No baking?  No hand cramping by writing out thousands of cookie recipes on a little index card?  (Well no, it’s 2017 and that’s what computers are for…)

Yes, I say… you get lots of cookie recipes in return for giving only one. (Or more if you feel like sharing.)

Is this awesome, or what?  Please don’t say “or what.”

There IS a catch:  You have to get these into me by Friday November 24th so that I can steadily, and without a fevered pace, put together a beautiful cookbook.

The recipe book will go out only once… like Santa.

Send me those recipes and ideas folks……



Easy Gnome Garden

Have I mentioned only about a trillion zillion times I’m completely gaga over Aldi?  Among the low price, great quality foods, they also have weekly specials of “things” that fit a seasonal bill.  So think things like cleaning equipment in the Spring, holiday storage solutions in the Winter, and other useful seasonal goodies.  The trick with Aldi is, if you want it you better get it while you see it.
Awhile back I saw this cute fairy garden kit in the email flyers I get.  Grocery day was the very next day, and I was so crazy about the idea of getting a little gnome garden that I asked the employee if they had them in stock yet.  She went in the back to check, and she had them, and left me to pick which one I wanted out of three different sets to choose from.

Let me digress to remind you of my obsession with gnomes and fairies and magical creatures.  When I was a wee child my mom would tell me tales of gnomes that lived in the bathtub drain.  (We lived in an apartment.)  She weaved these glorious tales about how they would visit her at night, and she would put makeup on the girls and teach them to do their makeup.  I’d make them little scenes with my dollhouse furniture, and later there would be small treasures tucked away from the gnome folk to me.  To this day I’m not sure these tales were entirely made up, because if anyone possessed the magical power to communicate with the gnome folk, it was her.  Pair this with the imagination of a young child watching “David the Gnome” and “Maya the Bee” growing up, and you get a 30 something with the idea that these mystical hidden worlds really do exist.


Anyway, I selected the gnome kit, only to find out that there was some reason why the code was saying they couldn’t sell it to me.  I was upset, but she took my name and number to let me know if she could get it in the system.  You know, they don’t always call you, especially over a gnome kit…..
But this is a story about how I LOVE Aldi, and of course they did not disappoint.  Within hours, she called me and left me a voicemail saying my kit was tucked safely in the office with my name on it.  I got it later that week.
I’ll admit I didn’t have a vision for this kit.  I figured I’d get a vision from the box, but I didn’t want to put it outside, and then I didn’t want all that dirt inside.

But I have these plants that are thriving inside, so I decided to spruce that up a bit.


See that crazy mini kalanchoe?  I had no idea you had to prune a mini kalanchoe, and if you’re wondering what one looks like if left to run wild…well there ya go.  After doing a tad bit of research (that thing was getting out of control) I found I could cut off the top and start a new plant.  It’s doing well, and I plan to make a few more from that vine I had growing there.

I like that from far away, you can only see the fence, and it’s not until you come closer to investigate the tiny magical realm, that you see my little gnome is hard at work shoveling.

He’s got a mini pet sheep, grazing at his side.


This little gnome world could easily get out of control, and take over the whole table.  I’m prepared to let my imagination run wild, and see what gets added to this tiny world.
If you want to create your own little magical world, you can get similar items at Hobby Lobby, or other craft stores, and be sure to take a nature walk to add some authentic and free elements to your scene.  This would be so cute with some herbs in small pots too.  The plate can be thrifted, but this one came from the Dollar Tree, and so did the plastic pots.   Now go out and create your little magical worlds!


Calling all Weirdos


(I dunno why I haven’t uploaded a gif sooner!)
Calling all Weirdos!!!!  Wait, I need to specify this… let’s reduce that down a bit and get a little more clear on the term weirdo.  I might get what I’m not looking for around these parts.
I am a quirky, kitschy crafter.  There, I said it.  I admit it.  And I embrace it.
My vintage loving, thrift store hunting, estate sale rummaging, and unashamed dumpster diving lifestyle is fun, exciting and thrilling to me.  But rarely are those around me who get it.
I recently reached out to Magpie Ethel, who’s crazy collections, and frivolous creations are the stuff of my dreams.  Her crafting studio is up there with Amanda Hayslip in my eyes.  These women are my role models.  I asked her how she gets people to “get” her work.  She told me she was lucky that her community was very accepting and vintage loving.
They make their art, carefree and unashamed of these odd ball and unique creations, that exist only to bring joy and whimsy into the world.  I’ve struggled to find my artistic voice, but when coming across these Instagram feeds and blogs finally proclaim in my heart and mind, “Yes, there ARE others out there!”  Safety in numbers, I suppose.
So this is a plea, for weirdos like me…..(that sounds a lot like a punk rock lyric) who love to craft with vintage found trinkets, and ephemera.  The ones who want to collect boatloads of “good junk” as mom would call it.  Yacht sized collections of nothing but vintage gumball and cracker jack charms, costume jewelry including earrings with screws on the back that may or not be missing their mates, and other trinkets that once graced the shelves of a vintage dimestore for only 10 cents.  Like those items, I am getting more valuable with age.
I’ve been trying to make this surprise ball… or Nicolyndime Prize Puffs (my husband thought up that name) thing work out for some time.  But in reality, I haven’t REALLY been trying.  I’ve done little to get it out there, and it’s not for giving up or failure of the idea.  In fact, soon I’ll be posting about why I’ve had to back burner this idea for a while.
But like a dog with a bone, I’m not going to give up this idea.  I’ve got some new plans in my mind.  I’ve got some new paths to pursue, and I’ve gotta figure out to work it into my crazy busy schedule!  (Trust me, it’s a very good crazy busy.)
Back to the plea…. If you are like me… I want you to “make thyself known” (another hocus pocus reference).  If you collect, or sell these vintage trinkets, Hong Kong dimestore stuff, vintage craft supplies, vintage cake decorating supplies, love going to estate sales, or ogling images of vintage collections on instagram and pinterest, or relate in anyway to what I’m talkin about here, please leave me a comment to see your blog, IG account, shop, etc.  Introduce yourself please, as I’m looking for a community of like minded individuals!


Not Enough Vintage Halloween! An Easy Halloween Paper Craft.

There’s never enough vintage in my house.  I probably wouldn’t stop until I had a kitchen straight out of a 50’s movie set.  It’s harder to get the vintage going in other areas because, well… it’s not the 50’s anymore!
But I thought I had a LOT of vintage Halloween.  I got it all out, and had it on the floor and it sure looked like a lot.
But once I started setting up my vignettes, I realized… nope, not enough vintage.
This would have been an easy fix in PA.  I would go to the thrifts and find something vintage, or something that looked vintage.  Pat Catan’s (oh how I miss thee) would most likely have some vintage Halloween repro.  Something would have ended up in my cart.
But here in Florida land…. I scoured three thrift stores over the course of several days and all I found was this:
Seriously!  These thrifts should have all the Halloween goodies out… but thrifting is pretty big here so my fear is it is all gone.
So what’s a gal to do when she wants to have more vintage Halloween but there’s none in sight?  You make some of your own of course!
Last night I whipped up some of these easy peasy rosettes, and an elementary school paper chain.
To my delight, they seriously breathed some Halloween style into my kitchen.




 I’m not done, but nice to see that some black and orange construction paper can bring in the festivities.  Soon I’ll be giving you a tour of all of the vignettes in the house, plus the story behind specific items!



My Florida Room Tour

On Monday I presented a Florida Room Inspiration Board that Global Real Estate Firm, Douglas Elliman asked me to create to inspire people to use their outdoor spaces year round.
When we lived in our last rental, we had a nice screened in patio, but it had a screen roof too, making it hard to add anything other than my potted plants and traditional outdoor elements for decor.
Our new rental has a porch with an actual roof, so I got creative using some cozy fabric elements.

My florida room

Let me take you on the tour…
Before the porch was just a concrete box.  It felt like a prison.  Hard, Cold, and featureless… it definitely needed a little of my nicolyndime touch.  A perfect excuse to thrift a little.  Our $75 patio set is a lonely sight.
I knew I wanted to add some light sheer curtains.  Walmart has sheer curtain panels for around $5 a piece.  I used my favorite way to hang curtains, tension rods, for a simple no damage, no hardware solution.


I found some cheap rag rugs from walmart and stitched them together.  I made two separate rugs so that I could more easily throw them into the waster and dryer.




I purchased some yarn in a color that blended in with the various colors of the rug.  Each rug is actually made up of 3 kitchen rag rugs.


After the rugs were down, I thrifted some pillows in matching colors.  They were $1 and $3 each.
I had a little spot by the sliding glass doors where I imagined a bistro set.  This table was found at a thrift store.  The owner was selling it as a set with bulky wicker chairs that I knew would not fit.  I kindly asked the owner if she would break up her set and she said she would.  She had a piece of felt over the table as a tablecloth, and when I lifted the felt, was surprised to see a decorator table.



She wanted $10 for it, but after I explained that I could get one new online for $8 with coupons, I offered her $5 and she kindly took it.


I draped it with some red fabric I had, and bought two $10 black metal chairs from Walmart.  Can you see husband’s walker in the background from his epic leg breaking incident?   🙁   If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about this!
Next was the most fun part, and that was to find objects that fit in with my theme.  Here I displayed a ceramic tree stump container that belonged to my grandma with a church rummage sale gnome bank found for 50 cents.  Most other objects were already in my possession, like my affinity with old pop bottles, small apothecary jars, shabby chic silver lazy susan, and flea market ceramic and glassware for pennies on the dollar.  Also I brought some of my plant collection in, with a dollar aloe plant rescued from the Lowes clearance shelf, and some free aloe pups that I got from craigslist.  A ceramic fish I made in 6th grade art class, and a heavy lantern I found on the side of the road round out the look.  Makeshift side tables that are certainly weatherproof were improvised by using some of our many leftover Rubbermaid tubs from moving all around!
At night the string lights I hung with outdoor command hooks bring a peaceful coziness to the area that even looks great from sitting inside the living room looking out.
The total project cost around $100 for the tension rods, curtains, pillows, table, chairs, rugs, and odds and ends.  See how you can be frugal and still create a great space?




Vintage Denim Patch Jacket DIY


A few years back my mother in law gave my husband all of his merit badges from his scout days.  I still have my mom’s girl scout sash with all of her patches, and though I could never rip the patches off that, I wanted a way to display my husband’s patches.
I don’t know when I came up with this idea, or where inspiration hit, but shortly after I had it I found one in an estate sale listing.  I went a little after the sale and it was already gone.  Then I found one on etsy, and it was listed at $300.  I knew I was on to something.
I have since been finding some vintage patches here and there, and I incorporated those into this jacket as well.
Plus it was an excuse to go to the thrift store!!!  Goodwill had a few different denim jackets but I selected one that looked very vintage.
First I laid all of the patches out the way I wanted to sort them (small, medium, large) and then I placed them on the jacket to my liking.  I took a photo, and thought to stitch them in place just to hold them there so I didn’t have a ton of straight pins throughout the jacket.



But I quickly realized that only one stitch wasn’t holding my patch in place while I hand stitched around the patch, and it was shifting.  This one had to be undone.


So I grabbed my liquid stitch to hold them in place, and this idea worked a lot better!


I wanted to use this clear thread for everything, but it was too thin to stay in the patch, and the knot wouldn’t hold.  SO….after finding matching thread for every patch…I’m still not totally done!  My fingers hurt, and sewing some of these patches is hard work!


I will debut and model this jacket as soon as I get the last 2 patches sewn on… and hopefully I find my shutter button in the meantime….so I can take easier photos.


Not every patch made the cut, but I will continue to add more onto the back when I have enough that look just right.
I love this DIY because you can make a collection into a wearable piece of art.  My husband likes that I am honoring his childhood days too.


Super Simple Frugal: Make your own Dry Shampoo


I love my Dove dry shampoo.  It’s one of the best drugstore buys I can find.  It creates some fullness in my hair, and because I only wash my hair once a week, I use it on days when I need a little refresh.
But I had found this article pinned on Pinterest from All You Magazine, and was curious.  My Dove dry shampoo does leave my hair looking a little dusted sometimes because I have brown hair.  The recipe evidently comes from the Free People Blog, and is oh so simple.  In fact people have been using cornstarch for many things for many years, from face powder, to diapers.  Why not try it in your hair?
For darker hair use 1/2 cup cocoa powder to 2 Tablespoons cornstarch.  For lighter hair, it tells you to try baking soda, but I might try a baking powder instead.
I can only speak for the cocoa dry shampoo which works great.  Simple combine, and add to a shaker.  I put mine in a garlic salt container, and as you can see, didn’t bother to take off the label!  (Use baking soda to remove any odors from containers.  Mix with a little water and shake shake shake.  You can repeat if needed.)
This cocoa dry shampoo not only smells great, but when I missed my hair washing day when that dreaded sick bug hit, this was a lifesaver.  Hubby wanted to go out for Valentine’s Day, and I thought I could muster it.  I didn’t have time to dry my hair (or the desire) and didn’t to go out with a wet head.  This stuff worked BETTER than the Dove dry shampoo, when the Dove wasn’t cutting it!
It’s way more affordable too, and you know what’s in it.  That being said… disclaimer alert!  If you are allergic to cocoa, chocolate, or cornstarch for that matter… do NOT use!  Anything put onto the skin is also absorbed by it.


An Organized Vanity


My DIY Vanity was finished off with a bunch of collected treasures, and frugal finds.
The mirror is a Dollar Tree find simply propped against the wall.  My sister gave me a lighted vintage makeup mirror, and once I figure out how to change the bulb inside, I will also display that on this vanity top.
These vintage milk glass containers were my gram’s and they are where my collection sprouted from.  These have some cotton swabs, and cotton balls inside, and also house my vintage lipstick tube collections.


Speaking of vintage makeup containers, I thought this was a fitting spot for my vintage compact collection too.  That one on the far left is a gift from my best friend.  She got me a gift certificate to an antique shop and I picked that little treasure out.  That blue Damask print perfume cover is a vintage Shalimar that also belonged to my gramma.  The print complements my damask scrapbook paper!
On the other side I have another thrifted milk glass that is perfect for holding my brushes.  Neighboring that is an Avon Poodle.


Inside the vanity I chose some simple dollar tree organizers and rubber shelf liner so the containers wouldn’t slide around when I open and close the drawers.
As you can see I used a flatware drawer organizer for my liner pencils.
All this organization is a thing of beauty!  These two towers also house my hair accessories, sunglasses, and other beauty odds and ends.  I love this little diy, and it was so simple even I could do it!


A DIY Vanity for Under $70


This was the project that I wanted to do when I first saw our walk in closet when we viewed our new rental home.  I must have had delusions of grandeur after we left, because once we rented it and I came back to view the place alone, I literally laughed out loud because it actually wasn’t THAT big, but it is much bigger than our reach in closet from our last rental.
I put my thoughts of my diy vanity aside, and got to unpacking.  Once I got everything put away, I realized that there was a perfect space in our much larger bedroom for me to put my diy vanity.  So off I went to find my supplies.
I originally found this idea on pinterest.  That’s where all of our successes and failures start right?  But I am pretty proud of this project and how it came out!
First you can make a cheaper version of this if you get the 3 drawer units from Walmart.  They run roughly $10 each.  I wanted to create a vanity with a little more height, and with some different drawer sizes.  These five drawer units were $19.88 each.
You can also make it cheaper and save yourself some steps if you like white, or can find them in black.  I wanted black, but they weren’t in stock at my local Walmarts (I tried a few).
I headed on over to Lowes and a helpful employee showed me to the scrap wood section.  I measured the depth of the drawer units.  They were 14.5 inches, and had the employee cut me a piece that was 4 feet by 14.5 inches.  He only charged me $4 for the slab.
Next I headed to the craft store to pick out a paint color.  Now, I bought the spray paint that says it is for plastic, but since have learned that they make a plastic spray paint primer.  Get that if you want to spray your drawer tower.  Just do it.  I did it the hard way…


Here I sprayed the towers once, but tested the spray paint.  As you can see, I can easily scrape the paint off so I knew I had to purchase some type of sealer.  After talking it over with my sister, I settled on Mod Podge.
I sprayed the towers once more to get an even coat.  The next day I gave both towers a healthy sloppy coating of mod podge.  (All this easily avoided had I the knowledge of a spray paint primer for plastics!)


You can see brush strokes but that wasn’t something that was going to bother me.  I contemplated getting the glitter mod podge actually…. but wanted it to match our bedroom set so I didn’t!
Once I had everything painted the black color, I sprayed the wood top with a simple lacquer, and cut some scrapbook paper to fit in the drawers.  I used 10 sheets at .59 cents a sheet.


I LOVE it.  I finally felt well enough to put some makeup on the other day and sat down to use it… and boy is it NICE!


On Friday I will give you a tour of the inside and of the items I used to accessorize my vanity!
Happy DIY!