Candle Remake Again

Candle Remake Again

My love affair with candles continues. The other day, I was in the mood for vanilla soy, not the beverage;  rather, the sweet essence of a vanilla soy candle permeating through the air. But I was all out. I had exhausted my supply.

candles

Instead of heading out to the store, I knew I was long overdue for another candle remake as I did here using all  the candle remnants I acquired over the last few months.

leftover candle remnants

 

When I did my last candle remake, I realized I used the wrong wick resulting in a tunnel burn down the center.

The type of wick matters and although a tunnel burn is good for certain types of candles, it’s not the desired outcome for a jar candle. Fortunately,  I  had purchased  this wood variety  on my last visit to Michaels; they are  especially made for jar candles.

 

wood candle wick

 

The “how to ” instructions on how to reuse your candle remnants can be found here.

candles

Now I have many more candle burning present moments ahead of  me to enjoy. It’s a reminder to appreciate the simpler side of everyday life.
 

candle remake
Do you share my candle love? Have a favorite candle aroma?

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Curb Shopping

Curb Shopping

I got a tip from a friend that there was a load of wood furniture a few blocks away from my house. I thought hard about checking out the stash since the last thing I want to do is to fill up my garage all  over again. However, I couldn’t resist taking a peak. There were dressers, a desk, tall cabinet, suitcases and more. As my mouth dropped opened, I couldn’t help myself. I ended up making, not one, but two trips. First, I picked up this wardrobe.

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How I lifted and maneuvered  this massive piece in the van all by myself is beyond me, but I did.  I guess the adrenaline started flowing and I turned into the incredible hulk and hoisted it into my van. You think the STRONG MUSTY smell would have stopped me but it didn’t.  I thought for sure I could bleach it away. NOT.  Even if I had been successful, though, the memory of that smell would forever linger in my mind. So back to the curb it went on bulk pick up day.

I also picked up these three vintage suitcases.

 

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It was dark and couldn’t see that they were in pretty bad shape. The handle on this one is so brittle, it broke the second I picked it up.

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And the trim is flaking off on this one as well.

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I will probably rip out and replace the lining of all of them because they are soiled and  stinky as well.

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I know I could use newspaper, used coffee grinds, Fabreeze, etc. to remove the smell but they are too soiled for my liking. Even thought these babies might not be salvageable, I want to try and save them anyway. Not too sure how just yet.

I went back a second time to retrieve this desk. It was missing 2 drawers.

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Couldn’t find them anywhere amongst the rubble. However, immediately, I thought I would even out the drawers on each side use baskets as replacements.  What I didn’t realize is that the drawers are angled.

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They are not interchangeable on either side. So I will have to work my creative brain just a little harder. Not a problem, I love doing that anyway. I liken myself to a super hero and refer to it as my creative abilities as my super power:)

Have any suggestions for revamping my new found desk and suitcases?

 

 

 

 

 

Dining Room Table Part 2

Dining Room Table Part 2

I finally finished the dining room table I started a few weeks back.

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This is how it looked when I spotted it in a thrift store.

Thrift store dining room table

 

I took my time experimenting with this table. I didn’t want a solid painted surface and wanted some of the wood grain to be visible yet I wanted the parquet tiling to disappear.

dining room table paint experimenting

I tried various colors of  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and then lightly sanding it but the parquet detail just didn’t want to go away.

So I thought I would try a wood graining tool to create a faux wood grain instead.

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Annie Sloan paired with a  wood graining tool? Unconventional? What can I say? I’m just an unconventional kind of girl! LOL

I used  Annie Sloan Old White and a thin layer of Paris Gray, followed by subtle distressing and a few coats of clear wax, Finally, I achieved the look I had envisioned.

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I cleared everything out of the dining room and moved it in from the garage..

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An easy task since it meant relocating one piece of furniture,  the sideboard.

I just wanted to start from scratch,

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like the empty frame hanging on the wall. Rather symbolic, wouldn’t you say? Now I have two blank canvases to fill and layer slowly and thoughtfully over time. I think it’s obvious what’s top on my list? Yes, the 70′s or is it *80′s ceiling fan.

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Having gone chandelier shopping too many times,  purchasing a vintage chandelier on impulse and later falling out of love with it,  I think I finally found “the one”. Anxious for it to arrive from World Market.

Until then, I’m enjoying my unconventional Annie Sloan Chalk Paint finish.

Dining room table IMG_0473

I hope you do too. What do you think?

 

 

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Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday

Summer Highlights

Summer Highlights

Bye bye summer! I blinked my eyes and you were gone. Time is moving fast! What’s going on?

Oh well, here are three of my summer highlights:

First, my tidy garage is in order and I can now re-purpose and refinish to my hearts content.

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A big improvement from this before pic, don’t you think?

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I donated, had a garage sale and donated the rest.

 

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Although, my DIY and creative abilities allow me to rescue and save just about anything, I am going to be very selective and careful to prevent garage overload from reoccurring.

 

Next, there was Moonwalk NYC 2014. I participated last year as well. Our team of two became a team of four. Our fourth teammate took this pic.

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We named ourselves Bosom Buddies United. Here we are at the starting line up.

 

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I didn’t train as hard as I did the last year, yet the half marathon walk seemed so much easier.

 

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The weather couldn’t have been more perfect too. All smiles at the finish line yeah!!!!!

 

And then my seedlings matured and grew beautifully.

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Not bad for my first try starting with seeds. One thing though, everything comes at one time; talk about tomato overload!

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I guess canning or freezing is in order, but I much rather use it fresh from the vine. I’ve been giving a lot away.

 

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It’s been a joy watching them grow organically.

Although the plants might be withering away, there is still  more to be harvested..

 

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To think these beauties

 

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started from these tiny  seedlings

 

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and thrived in this dysfunctional mess. LOL

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How gratifying!

Hope your summer was a good one as well! have any highlights to share?

 

 

 

Kitchen Makeover-Part 1

Kitchen Makeover-Part 1

Before i begin,  I would just like to acknowledge everyone who was affected and/or lost a loved one on 9/11. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Last November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, I had a grandiose plan to revamp my tiny kitchen in time for the holidays. LOL LOL LOL I laid out a detailed plan on paper and convinced myself that it can be done in a two week time frame. Although my mental clarity was not compromised, looking back on it, I don’t know what I was thinking. Through it all, I learned a lot about myself and what I really love, and what I don’t really love which is always a good thing. I realized that I enjoy DIY with limits. I now know, if it involves plumbing, electricity and gas, I’m out.

Let me start from the beginning. I moved into my home 13 years ago. During that time,  I did 4 kitchen facelifts, mostly with paint,  replacing kitchen counter tops and trimming the cabinets. Unfortunately, I have very few pics of the original kitchen and the previous facelifts as I wasn’t blogging back then. Our home was built in 1947 and the cabinets were a dark brown laminate with  light grey/beige Formica counter tops and back splash and a white linoleum floor that was impossible to  keep clean and all white appliances. And  there was no dishwasher!

original kitchen montage 2a

When we moved in, immediately,  we replaced the old refrigerator with another white standard fridge and pulled out one of the nine cabinets to make room for an apartment size dishwasher. I was more than willing to sacrifice a cabinet for less dish washing. And then there were eight, cabinets that is.

Quickly, I painted the cabinets in desperation. At the time, I was pregnant with my second son. I have to say this disposable camera shot did not do this first attempt justice.

kitchen reno 2 pic 6

It was a step in the right direction and, I assure you, it get’s way better with facelift #2. I finally got up enough courage to rip the Formica backsplash off the walls. And after some patching, I was glad I did.

 

Kitchen reno backsplash removal

I added trim to the cabinets and painted them white, replaced the counter tops and painted the walls Benjamin Moore Bradstreet Beige  This began a love affair with all the shades on that paint strip. Various shades, including Jackson Tan started popping up in every room of our home. I did a faux tile paint treatment behind the stove atop vinyl sheeting that I didn’t want to mess with. I like how this makeover turned out, however, after a few years, I got tired of having to scrub the cabinets all the time so I opted to go dark again.

2nd kitchen facelift

The next attempt was a disaster! I’m amazed that I even took a picture. I was going for a faux wood look but instead it looked like someone smeared you know what all over these cabinets. Yuck!

Picture 095

I was rather distraught over this botched paint job and decided to rekindle my love affair with Jackson Tan since Bradstreet Beige was already on the walls..

Benjamin Moore jackson tan bradstreet beige paint chipsSo I painted the cabinets Jackson Tan.

kitchen reno 3 before

I just wanted to give you the back story before showing you my latest update.  As I write this, the new stove is sitting in the middle of the kitchen waiting patiently for the plumbers to hopefully shorten that gas line enough so that the stove can fit flush against the wall instead of sitting out as the previous one did. Wish me luck, as it has been the bumpiest of rides this time around.

How about you, do you have any DIY limitations?

Natural Dyes and Paints

Natural Dyes and Paints

I took a natural dyeing class at the Museum of Arts and Design. It was a fun experience and I was so glad I attended. I am always drawn to the natural approach to any process and the avoidance of chemicals whenever possible so this class was right up my alley. The Fall 2014 issue of my favorite magazine,  Do It Yourself,  had a whole section on natural dyeing and  this class was a great opportunity to learn even more. The instructor, Isa Rodrigues, is an artist in residence at the museum and  is the Adult Programs Director at  the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn.

The actual process is simple and requires very little  in terms of supplies. Large pots, strainer and  bowls, containers, mordants and various plant materials. Mordants act as a bridge between the fiber and the dye.

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The plant materials are shredded into the pots to which water is added.

 

flower petals 0011a

This mixture is heated and turned off before it reaches a boiling temperature.

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The plant material is strained from the liquid to which the mordant treated fabric is placed into the strained liquid.

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The mixture  is being stirred gently to ensure even coverage.  After a half hour and a great question and answer exchange with the instructor, the dyed swatches  that looked like this.

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The cotton and silk  fabrics received the dye differently; the silk resulted in a more brilliant color while the cotton swatches had a more dull and muted appearance.

Here is the dye process using pokeberries. Although toxic to humans if ingested, it appears to have medicinal qualities when cooked.

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What  I love about this process is that it is highly experimental and the results aren’t always predictable. It requires a trial and error approach and is sure to take full advantage of one’s creative abilities.

By the way,  you can also make natural paints as well. I attended a free class hosted by The Textile Arts Center. Here is my swatch card from the class. The same paint was used on both sides; however, the right side was primed with Gesso.  It was very informative, as well, and it opened up a new set of creative doors for me.

natural paint swatch 001

What do you think? Do your find natural dyes and paints intriguing? Have you tried either one before?

Fine Dining Takes Time

Fine Dining Takes Time

I am so happy to be back in the garage stripping furniture again. It’s been a while, a long while. Now that the clutter has been eradicated, I have room to work again. I’m working on a dining room table  that I purchased some time ago. It’s been waiting patiently for it’s transformation.

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When I saw it in the thrift store, I immediately thought about it’s Pottery Barn cousin, selling for a whole lot more.

pottery barn Tivoli dining table

 

 

Of course I saw beyond the dated parquet top.

 

 

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I wanted a light finish table this time around since my previous dining room tables have had a dark finish. My dining room is really small and I think a light table might help give the illusion of more space.  I saw a bleached wood table I saw in a magazine years ago and always wanted to give it a try. However, After sanding and bleaching it, however,  I didn’t quite get the results I anticipated. Yes, it is a blotchy mess.

 

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So I have to decide, do I give in go with a dark stain or do I paint it ?  I’m a light color. I’m actually on the fence about it. I also was thinking about a two tone finish, with the pedestal base in a different color. I can always try a dark stain and if I don’t like it, paint over it. Decisions, decisions; sometimes, I just can’t make up my mind and get paralyzed by all the options playing out in my head. What can I say, fine dining take time :)

Are you ever unsure how to proceed with any of your projects? What do you do to get off the fence?

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Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

Funky Junk Interior: Party Junk

My Seedlings Are All Grown Up!

My Seedlings Are All Grown Up!

Remember these tiny seedlings?

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I am finally starting to see the fruits of my labor. My seedlings have matured and are now flowering. The tomatoes are growing nicely.

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The peppers are starting to appear as well

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Just a few days prior, I had mostly lush green growth with very few blooms . So I took the advice of  Elisabeth over at  Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth  and treated them with  Epson Salt. So I did just that before going away for a few days. When I returned little flowers had emerged everywhere and a few tomatoes as well.

The seedlings matured faster in these City Picker Garden Bed kits than they did in the ground. It was a rough start at first. One of the wheels didn’t stay in the socket and later collapsed. That was a big deal since portability is one of the key features.

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The plastic cover acting as mulch secured by a over sized rubber band popped by day 3. I was annoyed but when I called the company and they offered to send me a replacement container and more bands I was satisfied. Although, the rubber band popped again the foliage holds the plastic  layer in place.

As for the ones I planted in the ground. although I staked it early on, it grew it so fast  and unruly while I was away that it was difficult to untangle the new growth in an orderly fashion.

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I did the best I could using gardening tape, but it remains a hot mess.  That’s okay, though,  aesthetics  isn’t the goal; the produce it yields is all that matters . Stay tuned……

What”s going on in your garden?

A Blogging Metamorphosis

A Blogging Metamorphosis

It’s been over a month, one month and two days to be exact, since my last post During that time, I sat down to write countless times. I would start typing and a feeling of uneasiness would take over.    I would stop, walk away only to return days later to an uncompleted post. Blogging used to be so much easier for me. Lately, it has been feeling forced. I’m at a crossroads. I want to continue blogging and sharing  but perhaps in a different way and about different things. I’ve been doing some soul searching lately but the answers are taking their time to manifest. And so, I find myself  in limbo, not sure what to do. Does that make any sense? If it doesn’t, that’s okay; I’m confused as well. What I don’t want to do is create filler posts that don’t represent my true voice because authenticity is very important to me. I want whatever I’m writing about to originate from within,  a special  gift from me to you.     I noticed that life lately has been filled with too many blurs and unfocused  moments.

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Blurred moments are a reminder that I am not living with intention. A couple of weeks ago, I was co-facilitating a workshop entitled ” The Happy Life Guide” and gave a talk on journaling.

journal and a pen

It was a great experience because journaling has played a major role in my life offering me clarity, vision and focus.

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I’ve written about my journaling experiences here and here.  It was a treat to share my experience in the hopes of inspiring others to give it a try.  Journaling, on an as needed basis, works for me. The frequency varies according to what is going on in my life.  However,  if I put it off when I feel the need to do so, I can literally feel myself getting off kilter. Like journaling, I decided not to be so consumed with the quantity of my posts and focus all my efforts on the authenticity of my messages and blog when I have something I truly want and need to say. With that in mind  blogging pauses will be inevitable; however,  rather than  force myself to post for the sake of posting, instead,  I will look forward to and wait for the nudge from within to share and connect with you. Do you have a life practice that keeps you grounded and on point? Also, for the bloggers out there, can you relate to my blogging quandary? Any advice?

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

Coming Out of a DIY Slump

The last few months, I took an unintentional break from DIY . Let me rephrase that, I’ve planned, I’ve started, I’ve dabbled but I haven’t completed anything  that I was inspired to write about.  Hence the blog posts have not been forthcoming because I’ve been in a DIY slump.

Happily though, I think I am now back into the DIY spirit and started finishing a project I started last November, my kitchen. It was suppose to be a two week facelift but one thing lead  to another and it turned into a mini makeover.  I have a ways to go and will post about it soon.

Mr. DIY and I have been tackling the dreaded garage for three consecutive weekends.

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I realize this before shot could qualify for an episode on Hoarders and  is rather shocking. But we are ready for change.

We devoted two hours each weekend  and we made real progress. We donated a lot to Build It Green

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Doing our best to spare the landfill as much as possible..

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Then week 2 and  another trip to Build it Green, minus the dishwasher which is going to the salvage yard.

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And, finally, week 3 and another donation.

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As, the clean out progressed we were throwing away less which always makes me happy.

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These days, things are a little more orderly now. Not pretty, just orderly. I can find things again! Yeah!

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One more weekend and we should be done and then it’s garage sale time.

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And, of course,  whatever doesn’t sell will be donated.

Our Summer plan is to turn the garage into a functional workspace . That is a DIY dream that both of us share. Oh that would be such blissful goodness:)

Do you have one of those spaces that always seems to turn into a dumping ground?