DIY Agate Slice Drink Coasters

diy-agate-coasters-intro-chic-stealsOn a recent trip to one of my favorite gem supply shops in the Portland area (Ed’s House of Gems as I wrote in an earlier post here) I found some pretty agate slices that seemed like they would be perfect for drink coasters. Sure, I got the idea from Rablabs many years back…but those coasters were $65 at the time and way more than I wanted to spend. So I decided to make my own DIY agate drink coasters – with a little metal leaf to glam them up – and some cork “feet” to protect my table. You can find agate or geode slices many places now (including at your local Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics stores!) and you can buy them on eBay or here as well. I also shared this project idea on Darby Smart awhile ago…but I figured it was high time to turn it into a full-fledged tutorial. So here it is!

You Need:

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agate slices (you can use dyed agate though the dye may bleed a little)  /  Mod Podge or metal leafing glue  /  clean, soft brush  /  metal leaf sheet in your favorite metal color  /  adhesive cork disks (find these in the furniture protection section!)  /  small scissors  /  adhesive sealant (optional, not pictured)

How To:
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1. Brush the edges of an agate slice with Mod Podge or metal leafing glue. (If your agate is dyed, you may find that the color starts bleeding into the glue here.)
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2. Allow the glue to dry a few minutes so it is tacky. Roll onto a metal leafing sheet, pressing hard and covering all edges completely with the sheet. Just rip and reposition!diy-agate-coasters-step-3

3. Making sure your brush is completely dry (or just use a different brush), gently brush off the excess metal leaf.diy-agate-coasters-step-4

4. Usually the adhesive cork disks that are sold for furniture are too large for coasters, so cut each disk into smaller pieces.diy-agate-coasters-step-5

5. Place the cork pieces at opposite ends of the agate slice so the slice will sit level on a flat surface.

And that’s it! diy-agate-coasters-done-2-chic-steals

Pretty, colorful, organic coasters add a touch of class to any decor. If you’re concerned about the metal leaf coming off with use or exposure to liquids, I’d advise a quick spray of acrylic sealant around the edges of the coasters to make that permanent.diy-agate-coasters-done-1-chic-steals

These coasters look so lovely shimmering in pale colors below translucent drinks!

What do you think? Is this a project you’ll be trying out?

xo
Carly

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And if you love agate projects (or need something to do with any extra agate slices you may have acquired ;-)…my DIY Agate Keepsake Box (above) materials are still available on Darby Smart…and you can buy them individually in case you only need one or two supplies. (And…pssst! Right now [early Spring 2016] in Target’s front $1 section right in front of the doors…there are beautiful hinged WHITE wooden boxes…for only $3, which I suggest you snap up IMMEDIATELY to take advantage!)

January Email Giveaway: Choose Your Book

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Hi friends!

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been revamping the Chic Steals email newsletter. One new feature I’ve added is a NEW monthly giveaway to my subscribers!

January 2016 Email Subscriber Giveaway

This month you could win one of these books pictured:

WIN THIS: The Magic Pattern Book

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You can read my full review of The Magic Pattern Book here. This book comes with its own CD of patterns in the back of it. You can also read more about The Magic Pattern Book: Sew 6 Patterns into 36 Different Styles! on Amazon here. This was given to me as a review copy and though I used it for the linked review, I haven’t opened the CD or used any other part of it. The book is like new.

WIN THIS: Girly Style Wardrobe

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This book comes with full-sized fold-out patterns in the back of it so there’s no drafting involved. The instructions are meticulous and the clothing designs sweet and girly. If you love Japanese pattern books and have a little girl to sew for this has a number of adorable projects. I received this book as a review copy and only opened it for the photographs above. The book and patterns in it are brand new and unused. Read more details about Girly Style Wardobe on Amazon.

WIN THIS: Handmade Flowers from Paper and Fabric

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If you like floral crafting this is an excellent (rare) book on making flowers by hand. Featuring just about every flower you can imagine and covering a variety of techniques, this book is fun to delve into and a beauty to read. I’ve had this book for ages so it is slightly used. Read more about Handmade Flowers from Paper and Fabric on Amazon here.

So…you’d like to know how to win? All you need to do is sign up to receive my weekly newsletter below:




Then just before the end of the month you’ll receive an email where you can choose which book you want to enter to win. Choose one – and I’ll select one winner from all valid entries for each book – and send you your book anywhere in the world!

Sounds cool? You bet it is!

Sign up here if the form above doesn’t load. You’ll get weekly digests of Chic Steals posts, exclusive content and giveaways, and there’s a lot more on the way for you guys. Hope to see you there!january-email-book-giveaway-1

xo

Carly

3 email subscribers will win 1 copy of each book pictured. The subscribers will be chosen randomly based on their selection of book they want to win in an upcoming email. ARV of the book ranges from $15-$49. Entering your email in the Subscribe box subscribes you to a weekly digest of posts from Chic Steals, as well as occasional emails announcing products or services that may be of interest to my readers. I do not use emails for anything else. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Inspire: It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done Quote

It Always Seems Impossible Until It's Done Gold Typography quote

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

-Nelson Mandela

From one of the most inspiring people of our time comes this quote, effective in its simplicity, awe-inspiring at its most humble.

When things seem impossible, know that they only do on this side of them because they aren’t done yet. And persevere. Like the brave and untiring Nelson Mandela did.

Truly inspiring.

xo
Carly

Sponsor Spotlight: PandaHall Beads for Every Beading Project Known to (Wo)Man

DIY jewelry ideas using PandaHall beads
FTC Disclosure: The post is part of a partnership with PandaHall, who purchased a banner advertising slot in my sidebar. If you are interested in purchasing a banner ad (or sponsored post) coming up on the editorial calendar, click here. Small businesses welcome! My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Hi friends!

To start 2016 off with a bang, I’m looking at stocking up for many projects on the horizon. (It’s going to be a huge year in many ways!!) Here are a couple of my favorite projects for the New Year (with [affiliate] links to the beads you need):

1. J. Crew Beaded Rose Bracelet

Such an elegant little bracelet, you could make it (and the similar necklace) using this brass link bracelet as the base, these Rose Quartz Gemstone Cabochon drops as the petals, and these rhinestones as the centers.

2. ModCloth How’s the Feather Up There? Necklace

A pretty and delicate layered necklace with feather charms, you could make this using these Electroplate Glass Bead Strands and these Tibetan Antique Gold Feather Pendants.

3. Anthropologie Valence Drops

These refined gemstone earrings could be DIY’d in a similar method to these DIY Illusion Jeweled Rhinestone Chandelier Earrings that I made, and using these supplies: Mixed Acrylic Rhinestone Montee Beads, Brass Lever Back Hoop Earrings, Glass Rhinestone Montee Beads, and clear PVC vinyl.

4. Free People Luxe Triple Necklace

Another layered necklace, this could be made with the Black Agate Bullet Big Pendant, Howlite Round Gemstone Bead Chain, Tibetan Style Latin Cross, Natural Black Rutilated Quartz Beads.

5. Pearl and Chain Spike Choker Necklace

Last time I worked with PandaHall I created this tutorial using their Non-Magnetic Hematite Rectangle BeadsSilver Color Aluminum Twisted Curb Chain, 6mm White Glass Imitation Pearl Beads, and Aluminum Twisted Curb Chain. See the full DIY tutorial here.

Hope these ideas prove inspirational to you!

What’s on your to-do list for fabulous jewelry this year? Do tell!

xo
Carly

Inspire: Discover Your Why Quote

Discover Your WHY gold typography quote

“Discover Your WHY”

So many people ask me how I’ve been blogging so long (8 years this month now!) and how I’ve been able to keep motivated for so long and consistently (er…mostly) kept up with posting, week in and week out, for many, many weeks (and months…and years…)

My answer is: I’ve discovered my WHY.

I can’t stress how important this is to every endeavor you may undertake in life. (I’m not sure of the attribution for this inspirational quote, but the words are so singularly important I’ve chosen to share this here.)

No matter what, if you are putting time, energy, and passion into it…you must have a WHY.

An overwhelming, underlying reason for WHY you do it.

And WHY you must keep going with it, even if energy, time, and passion fail. A greater conviction. A higher moral calling. Something to get you through thick and thin, through the dark days of uncertainty and self-doubt.

I find sometimes the best thing to do when my passion or focus flags…is to ask myself WHY. WHY do I blog? WHY do I put time into it? What do I get out of it?

And whatever answer I have…ask WHY again. Keep asking WHY until I reach the core reason – and that is what I must hold on to when motivation flags or I begin to doubt.

This is a great tool for discovering (or re-discovering!) your purpose, or getting in touch with your passion, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to continue a creative endeavor long-term.

Discover your WHY – and you can keep going until that WHY changes. May it buoy your wings…

xo
Carly

DIY Gold-Painted Agate Bookends

diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-title-chic-stealsSo…sliced agate bookends are a big THING…but they can be ridiculously expensive. Just browse One King’s Lane or Joss & Main (and those are discounted to around $66, sheesh!) to see what I mean. Or Z Gallerie to see the full-priced version at $99. Even Target released a pair as part of their Threshold line…and of course the pair is about at the $25 mark. That’s still a price I think I can beat, so I began searching for how to create these lovely bookends for less.

Unfortunately to get good-quality sliced and polished matching agate chunks, you’ll have to pony up some cash, there’s no way around that. If you can score a pair on eBay for cheaper, that’s awesome…just be aware to factor in shipping to make sure you’re getting a good deal (those things can be heavy). Amazon has some great agate bookend options…similar to the lower pricepoint I found mine at – so I’d recommend buying through them!) Personally, I like to source my gems at local rock shops since I can get a pretty good deal depending on what they have in stock – and a favorite of mine is Ed’s House of Gems in NE Portland (don’t look at their website, it doesn’t begin to do this amazing store justice). Needless to say, I managed to find a beautiful pair of agate bookends there recently for a mere $18 – and set out to spice them up and make them look as nice as the Target (or the more expensive!) versions. (You could also cover the rough sides in actual gold or silver leaf if you wanted…but I had some spray paint on hand and figured that would be easiest.)

How to Make DIY Gold Painted Agate Bookends

You Need:

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sliced agate pair  |  painter’s tape  |  gold spray paint (here are a variety of great options)  |  acrylic sealer (optional)  |  newspapers or something to protect your surface  |  sticky-back felt dots (optional)

How To:

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1. Spread painter’s tape over the flat sides of each bookend, extending the tape beyond the side. diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-step-2-chic-steals

Press firmly at the edge where the flat polished side meets the rough, rocky edge to prevent seepage.

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2. Place on newspapers outside, and spray the rough, rocky sides gold. 1-2 coats should suffice.

3. Allow to dry.

4. (Optional) Hit the gold-painted side with a coating of acrylic sealer if you’re concerned about the gold rubbing off.

5. (Optional) Place sticky-back felt dots on the underside of the agate pieces to keep your shelving safe.

diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-done-1-chic-steals

And there you have it!

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You could easily just place the agate pieces as-is on your shelves and none would be the wiser…but I wanted some more finished pieces. They would also make a fabulous gift that looks oh-so-expensive…and you never have to tell anyone that you crafted them for a steal!

Happy DIY’ing!

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If you’ve made your own version of these popular sliced DIY agate bookends – how did they work out for you? Let me know in the comments!

xo
Carly

Inspire: Ideas Come From Everything Quote

Ideas Come From Everywhere gold typogrpahy quote

“Ideas come from everything.”

-Alfred Hitchcock

One of my favorite quotes ever because it encourages you to look around yourself and feel inspiration surrounding you. Never feel that you are at a dead end…since the mind’s ability to pull new thoughts and wisdom from anywhere is unparalleled.

Thank you, Alfred Hitchcock!

xo
Carly

Chic Tip: Discover Happiness with a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude Journal on faux fur footstool with pen and DIY gold bangleI’ve found that the right attitude is truly half of a chic life.

But sometimes, even if life isn’t getting us down and we aren’t depresssed per se, we can get into a rut of wake up, go to work, go through the motions, come home, go to sleep, and do it all the next day…without even feeling present in our own lives. We can feel complacent and bored; tired and irritable; or just flat-out burnt-out.

To feel that you are indeed RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE living a chic life, full of abundance, comfort, and happiness, requires a massive shift in focus. But it can be a very tiny change in what you think, to start a cascading ripple that emanates out to all other areas in life. So often we focus on minutiae: what hasn’t been done, what lacks in organization, never-ending home repair projects, the tediousness of daily life. In order to rediscover the minutiae that bring happiness, sometimes it is as simple as writing it down.

How to Start a Gratitude JournalGratitude Journal on faux fur footstool with pen and DIY gold bangle, open to quote pages

To Start Small:

Write one thing you are grateful for down in your place of choice before going to bed.

What makes you smile, what are you glad to have? What couldn’t you do without? How is your life blessed? Focus on each one as you write it, truly feeling thankfulness as you write it. Write it on paper, spell it out with scrapbooking stickers, leave a note on the mirror in lipstick. Any way to permanently record something that you are aware of that makes your existence better in some way.

To Reiterate:

Write down ONE. Just ONE. One thing, little or big – from that you’re grateful to have a roof over your head to you’re grateful for your best friend to your grateful that it’s tangerine season because you love snacking on those little suckers. Challenge yourself to write something different each day (doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering)

And then…:

At the end of a week, re-read everything you’ve written and feel it wash over you like a wave.

Finally:

Upgrade your journaling habit to include what you will do to show this gratitude to the person/thing referenced when you note it down at the end of the day, as a To Do for tomorrow. Feel it tonight, create some action tomorrow. Whether it’s calling your Mom to tell her you love her, slipping a note under your neighbor’s door, complimenting a coworker, texting an old friend out of the blue. Write…then show. And watch how these actions create bigger ripples of positivity and happiness in your life – and the lives of others.

You have abundance. You have many things. You have many friends. You are living a full life.

This lovely Gratitude Journal was given to me by my friend, Lex Casciato (also known as the musician Little Warrior, who put together a lot of cool curated Spotify playlists for this site awhile ago). I am filling it daily with my gratitude – and my first entry was all about my bestie and how talented and thoughtful she is!

Here are a couple of my favorite Gratitude Journals:

5 Recommended Gratitude Journals by Chic Steals

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  (aff. links)

And there is even an app for that! TheGratitudeApp

Do you keep a Gratitude Journal? Has it helped your outlook or mood at all?

Gratitude Journal on faux fur footstool

xo

Carly

P.S. The gold bangle in the top 2 photos is my DIY Free People Wrapped Quartz Bangle – click for the tutorial!