Dining Room Table Part 2

Dining Room Table Part 2

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

So here it is when I first 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.

Dining room table IMG_0168

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.

Dining room table IMG_0473

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

Dining room table IMG_0465

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

I just wanted to start from scratch,

Dining room table IMG_0463

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.

dining room table blank canvas IMG_0469

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?

 

 

Sharing this post with:

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

Funky Junk Interiors:Party Junk

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.

garage clean out IMG_9947

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

garage clean out IMG_8531

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

 

garage clean out IMG_2989

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.

moonwalk 2014 IMG_3053

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

 

moonwalk 2014 125629-020-034h

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

 

moonwalk 2014 125629-054-001h

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

 

And then my seedlings matured and grew beautifully.

seedlings IMG_9886

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

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0393

 

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.

 

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0198

It’s been a joy watching them grow organically.

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

 

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0395

 

To think these beauties

 

garden tomatoes and peppers IMG_0408

started from these tiny  seedlings

 

seedlings IMG_9886

and thrived in this dysfunctional mess. LOL

tomatoe plant chaos IMG_0035

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.

natural dye materials 9997

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.

flower petals in water  0015

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

classmates 0035

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.

natural dye swatches 0037

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.

pokeberry tryptic 505x189

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.

dining table IMG_9985 cropped

 

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.

 

 

dining table closeup IMG_9987

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.

 

dining table sanded bleached  IMG_9989

 

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?

I’m sharing this post with:

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?

seedlings IMG_9892

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

tomatoe plant IMG_0029

The peppers are starting to appear as well

pepper plant IMG_0033

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.

tomatoe plants IMG_0030

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.

tomatoe plant chaos IMG_0035

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.

IMG_0293 blurred

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.

IMG_0293

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.

garage clean out IMG_8531

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

garage clean out IMG_2904

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

garage clean out IMG_2907

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

garage clean out IMG_2928

And, finally, week 3 and another donation.

garage clean out IMG_9934

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

garage clean out IMG_2931

 

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

garage clean out IMG_9947

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

garage clean out_9939

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Special Day With a Little DIY!

A Special Day With a Little DIY!

I rarely talk about my kids in depth and when I do, I do so sparingly. When I started this blog, I wanted to share my story through my DIY journeys without putting too much of their stories out there; that is up to them if they so choose.

However, with epic moments comes exceptions with their permission of course.  Last Sunday, No. 1 Son graduated from Springfield College ( Massachusetts)! It was a beautiful day and I am  so very proud of him. From my perspective,  his educational journey included some challenges, however, he triumphed in the end and that is all that matters.

On Saturday, we had a celebratory dinner with a few of our extended family members. We dined at Tao’s, a restaurant, a place we frequented on occasion during our Springfield visits for Family and Friends Day, school performance, etc.

springfield IMG_0011

The Asian and Japanese cuisine is as great as the service. It was the perfect place to celebrate.If you are ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend it. It’s located at 31 Harkness Avenue, East Longmeadow, MA.

For dessert, I gave each person a single serve cake in a canning jar. I actually assembled them using cupcake slices and alternating it with layers of cream cheese frosting, all made from scratch of course.

springfield IMG_0003

 

It was time consuming but I love offering a little DIY touch  whenever possible. However,  if I ever make them again, which I’m sure I will because they’re fun, I will bake the cake in the jars instead

springfield IMG_0009

 

After dinner, we went back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep,  an early wake up call and a quick breakfast before the heading out to the graduation. This is our last walk through the corridor of  the Residence Inn in Springfield where we stayed many times. We prefer their apartment style layout. We’ve grown very loyal to the entire Marriot brand throughout our many travels.

springfield IMG_2873

I love taking pictures of my guys from the back. I don;t why, but I do. Even with the blur factor, it’s still special.

And the graduation ceremony begins; It was held at the MassMutual Center.

springfield IMG_0015

 

I’m so glad No. 1 Son is tall, I can spot him anywhere. It made picture taking from afar that much easier.

 

springfield IMG_0037

 

He’s about to get the official handshake. Missed  that one, oh well.

springfield IMG_0028

One week later, I am still elated with joy. There’s nothing better than watching your kids succeed. Job well done! It was a special day for our family and I’m so glad a woman stopped and offered to take this picture for us.

springfield IMG_0063

 

A blessed day all around. I’m so thankful. One down!

 

springfield IMG_2884

One to go!

 

 

 

Digital versus Old School

Digital versus Old School

party invite

 

Digital dominance prevails; electronic communication – email, texts, social media posts – comprises the majority of our exchange these days with friends, family, coworkers, etc. We tap keys more, talk and/or handwrite less. Do you remember the last time you received a hand written letter or note? Card exchanges have dwindled, often restricted to holidays, loss of a loved one or an occasional birthday. Has it been the same for you?

This got me thinking about memory preservation and how, back in the day, keeping a collection of letters from a  loved one, friend or pen pal was the norm. Fast forward to our present day exchanges –  texts, tweets, posts and emails – a generic and quicker means to an end. Although they might contain meaningful dialogue and exchanges, they will never have that nostalgic appeal of their handwritten one on one predecessors. Think about it; have you ever printed an email for inclusion in a scrapbook or memory box?  I’m guessing not. Unlike handwritten correspondence,  electronic communication is devoid of any personalization and aesthetic beauty like penmanship, stationery design and impromptu freehand doodles. More importantly, a snail mail personalized message is intended for your eyes only and the intentions of the sender are so much clearer. Your message is not restricted to 140 characters and/or filled with texting acronyms.

 

Silly-mom-acronyms-kids-horz

 

And how about our digital photos?. Most reside indefinitely on our phones, hard drives and or our social media accounts because that is how we share. As I write this post  I have 1035 photos on my phone.

photo screen

 

As you can see, only 109 have been categorized in separate albums. I think that’s a little telling of the lack of  importance of the other 926, don’t you think? Will the majority of these photos ever see the light of day? Probably not. I’m sure I’m not alone and the vast majority of the photos we take will forever reside in a digital void.  It’s been over three years since I put together a traditional photo album. Instead, I now store my keepsake photos, like those that I categorized on my phone or would have printed back in the day, on a dedicated hard drive, organized in file folders for quick access should the need arise to view or print them.

Realizing, on the one hand, that  digital technology allows us to restore and preserve history, I still wonder about the loss of those tangible remnants of our history that will never be created because we are so  digitally driven.

What do you think?  Is there an optimum digital versus old school balance for preserving memories? How do you store, collect and save your digital exchanges and memories?

 

 You can follow The DIY Spot with Bloglovin