Burlap Holiday Tree

Burlap Holiday Tree

This Christmas, I decided to to forgo a traditional Christmas tree now that the children are older. They have lost interest in decorating a tree so I thought I would decorate in a different way. I even sold our fake reusable tree. It was a little too big for our living room and this would be year two of it not being used and taking up much needed storage space in the garage. It was time to let it go and be of use to another family.

Quickly, I went into “use what I have” mode and came up with this beauty!

burlap tree IMG_0829

It evolved effortlessly from what I had in my craft stash.

I attached some Christmas lights along three lampshade rims that I slipped on a metal rod and secured in place with rubber washers.

burlap holiday tree

The rod is threaded on one end so I screwed it into a scrap piece of wood and topped it with a picture frame for the base.

burlap tree IMG_0844I

Then I began draping the burlap tirm and securing the tucks and folds with clothespins, my new favorite thing.

 

burlap tree IMG_0854

Used pine cones for a tree topper,  securing them around the rod with a fabric remnant.

burlap tree IMG_0835

 

I so adore all the little pockets and folds that I stuffed with tree branches and paper packaging materials.

burlap tree IMG_0837

Every angle is unique and interesting.

burlap tree IMG_0836

Here is an upshot from underneath. The paper adds volume and additional texture.

burlap tree IMG_0833

Added a little trim and a few ornments. Done!

burlap tree IMG_0831

And there you have it, a burlap holiday tree. I love, love, love it, especially because, with the exception of the tree branches, I made it from what I already had along with some remnant items I had laying around. I went to a Christmas tree lot and picked up a large bunch of clippings.
 

burlap tree IMG_0829

Although I’m in love with my holiday tree, I realize it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me!  

Happy Holidays!

Sharing this link with:
Funky Junk Interiors:Party Junk
Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday

Wreath Disaster

Wreath Disaster

After Thanksgiving, I began pulling out the Christmas decorations. I went straight to my ornament wreath from last year.

wreath close up IMG_9912 500 x 492

Last year, I hung it up unfinished with spaces left to fill. Although the spaces are obvious in this close up, they are almost unnoticeable from a distance. Needless to say, it never got finished but I enjoyed it just the same.

I bubble wrapped and stored it in a wreath bag. Imagine my horror when I opened up the bag and and found my wreath had fallen apart.

broken wreath_0758

I was mortified

broken wreath_0762

Not only had the ornaments fallen off the styrofoam base,

broken wreath_0759

some of the ornaments had shattered as well.

broken ornament wreath

My heart sunk. I’m not too sure why the hot glue held up in some areas and not in others. I’m guessing the seasonal temperature shift in the basement closet might be to blame. Unfortunately, I don’t have room anywhere else to store it. I tried a couple of other glues and had no luck so I went back to the glue gun.

After removing the broken pieces, I reattached most of the ornaments. However, I’m on the hunt for some more ornaments since I didn’t have enough to replace all of them. Boo Hoo:( Wish me luck!

Note: I think shatter proof ornaments are the way to go for this design.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2014 tablescape IMG_0792

Happy Thanksgiving!  I decided to get a jump start on the table setting by doing it the night before. I wanted it to be a forethought instead of an afterthought. which usually happens when I get caught up in the meal preparation frenzy.

I used a blanket for  a table cloth. I’ve seen others do it and fell in love with the look. I like when part of the table is exposed.

Then I grabbed whatever I had and worked from there. When I ran out of these little mini wreaths

I continued the look with these mini pine cones.

I didn’t have a complete set of wine glasses so I pulled  these monogrammed glasses out of hiding.

IMG_0805

I think they will take our beverage of choice, sparkling cider, up a notch.

A small flower arrangement, and that’s it!

Nothing fancy. I like to think of it as basic casual elegance. That’s me.

Ready for a Thanksgiving dinner lunch since No. 1 son has to be at  work  for 4:(  If everything goes as planned  though, we will be sitting down at 2 pm.  But early is a good thing because you have the rest of the day to recuperate relax.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

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?

Sharing this post with:
Funky Junk Interiors: PartyJunk

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.

wardrobe IMG_0502 (2)

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.

 

curbside shopping IMG_0487

 

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.

curbside shopping IMG_0486

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

curbside shopping IMG_0488

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

curbside shopping IMG_0493

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.

curbside desk IMG_483

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.

curbside shopping IMG_0498curbside shopping IMG_0499

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.

Dining room table IMG_0473

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.

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

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.

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