Category Archives: Field Trip

Have You Taken a Me-cation Lately?

Have You Taken a Me-cation Lately?

Me-cation, I thought I was being original and made up this word. But then I googled it and learned that someone had beat me to it.
So here’s my personal take on the definition; Me-cation - an outing  or experience for oneself, by oneself for the sole purpose of restoring ones inner spirit. Little or no planning is required and the execution is up to you.  Easier than a vacation or staycation, it can be purely spontaneous and the duration can last minutes, hours or even a day. The when, where and how is solely up to you but the why is an opportunity for one to (re)connect and (re)acquaint oneself with the essence of who we are. Life can be extremely busy and often overwhelming; some me-time is in necessary to nourish our soul.

So, off I went to the Arboretum Planting Fields, in Oyster Bay, New York.

Meandering through acres of lush freshly mowed greenery and trees,

I could hear Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music ….”

Here, strict rules prevail encouraging solitude, quiet thoughts and appreciation for all nature and it’s beauty.

I was so happy to spend a couple of hours observing and snapping pictures of whatever caught my eye. Like this magnificent tree, for example.

It has such presence, don’t you think?

And the beautiful flowers still holding their own.

Oh look, a frog taking his/her own me-cation as well. :-)

Hmmmmm, what’s down this path?

Wow, the gates are open!

How did anyone even know I was coming? :-)

Look at all the magnificent beauty!

It made my heart sing!

On my way back to the car, I noticed pinecones trailing along the path.

They were so pretty, I picked one up, still sticky with sap, and it smelled sooooooo good! Thinking ahead to the holidays, I got a bag from the car and filled it up, just as I was filled up from this experience.

So on this day, I took the “Road Less Traveled”

“……and that has made all the difference” A great me-cation and I am a better me. My cup now runneth over.

I’m hoping you had some fun me-cation experiences? I would love to hear about them.

A Little Piece of Heaven at Haven 2012

A Little Piece of Heaven at Haven 2012

I attended Haven in Atlanta last Thursday and Friday and boy am I glad I did! I was in need of some blogging inspiration and direction and Haven was the place to be for just that. Both days were jammed packed with informational sessions like Basic Photography/Photostyling, I Love Thrifting, Blogging PR and I Like Big Blogs:Tips on Growing Your Blog; networking opportunities and vendor exhibits. Breakfast and lunch were provided too so there was no reason to leave the hotel. I was amazed at how the eating areas transformed into classrooms within minutes.

The vendor booths included HGTV Home, Minwax, Purdy, Rustoleum, Frog Tape, Pure Bond, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint any so many others. And if receiving a Haven product bag filled with all kinds of goodies wasn’t enough, there were so many vendor giveaways, I had to ship my goodies home via UPS. I won a quart of Annie Sloan too! Woo Hoo!

Forget Christmas in July, it was Christmas in June at Haven.

Between the classroom sessions and talking to other bloggers, I got bits and pieces of helpful blogging information. The highlight of the conference, though, was attending Advanced Painting given by Miss Mustard Seed.

She talked about paint types, techniques and finishes. And yes, most of what she talked about she has already generously shared on her blog but being able to ask specific questions was terrific!

She is just as authentic and forthcoming in person as she is in her blog posts. I admire that tremendously.

I also got to meet Mr.Goodwill Hunting. He was a hoot.

His has a comedic delivery that is very entertaining.

All in all Haven was an informative gathering and I am glad I made the commitment to attend. It was tough getting there as I had to leave hours after No. 2 son graduated from fifth grade. I purchased a ticket last October, long before graduation dates are determined. Fortunately, I was able to celebrate with some of his classmates and their parents before flying out. I organized a pizza luncheon at a local restaurant and we had a great time. I felt bad about missing his first dance that Friday, but No. 2 son was okay with it and I was able to forget the mom guilt thing because I got lost in a little piece of heaven at Haven.

How about you, have you attended any blogging gatherings or conferences lately?

Hello Miami!

Hello Miami!

Mr. DIY was scheduled to work in Miami for two weeks and the kids coincidently had Thursday and Friday off so I thought why not combine business and pleasure for a long weekend getaway. Yeah!!! We’re on the plane and the pilot announces he’s never seen a line up quite as long as the one that’s ahead of us; 30 planes! He’s says it will be at least an hour before we take off. Ughh!!!

The flight was long and we finally got to our hotel around midnight. We decided to turn in and get a good head start in the morning. Although most people do the beach thing while here, we have little interest. I’m sure that will seem a little strange to most but that’s just who we are. However, we did drive out to the beach yesterday evening and walked along the boardwalk for a bit.

We love to experience the culture of any place we visit by driving, walking and exploring the nuances of different neighborhoods. We look at homes with such enthusiasm, recognizing the similarities and dissimilarities. For instance in Miami, masonry homes with tile roofs and gaited front yards prevail.

We’re staying in Coconut Grove which is very nice. Thursday, we strolled through the Lincoln Mall, bustling with foot traffic and a mix of store fronts and restaurants with alfresco dining.

Then right in the middle of the mall sits Miami Beach Community Church. Surprised by its presence, I was taken back by the architecture as well.

Today, we drove through Little Havana and Little Haiti en route to Las Tias, a vintage home store I found online.

After browsing the store, I had the opportunity to talk with the owner, Esther, who was happy to give me a brief history of the store which is packed with an eclectic mix of 40’s, 50’s and Mid Century Modern home furnishings. Turns out this unique store with “upscale resale” lettered on it’s facade was an unexpected surprise in the making. Esther, a real estate professional, was unable to rent the building. She began using the place as storage for finds she acquired during her real estate dealings. Fast forward 3+ years later, she and her partners have created a store full of vignettes jam packed with consignment furniture and accessories worthy of careful examination. Have a look for yourself.

Isn’t this chair fun offering a little of the unexpected with the shaggy fur on the back?

Love this lamp!

And these night stands are adorable.

If you’re ever in Miami, Las Tias is worth a visit. There is definitely enough eye candy to tempt the appetite of any design enthusiast.

Got Junk?

Got Junk?

When I found out about a store called Junk, I knew I had to go and check it out. It is located in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn and quite honestly, I can’t remember if I’ve ever been in the area before. Although exploring neighborhoods on foot is one of my favorite things to do, we have so many that it would be nearly impossible to visit everyone. And the neighborhoods are constantly changing;even a year can make a huge difference in what you will see and experience. Williamsburgh has the feel of Soho (Manhattan) and Astoria (Queens), at least to me.

Junk has two locations within a short walking distance of each other. As I approached the front entrance, my heart started beating quickly. I could tell this was going to be my kind of store.

Shelves and shelves of glassware, dishes, vases, need I say more?

I always admired these insulators. If I could have found at least 3 in this color, I would have bought them. Though, not sure just what I would have used them for.

Furniture and lamps galore.



and buttons.

Couldn’t leave without purchasing some, of course.

Pictures and frames lined the balcony,

And here’s a shot from the balcony.

So many interesting things tucked into every square inch of the store.

Oh yeah, remember these?

I know I am dating myself but I imediately slipped into a nolstagic euphoria.

And 45′s too!

There were some things that caught my eye, but I just couldn’t buy. Too many items already waiting their turn in my garage.

Junk is delight for makers or vintage connossieurs. It is a creative breading ground for all your DIY project ideas. You never know what you’re going to find in this treasure trove. If you’re ever in the area, I hope you will have a look for yourself. The addresses are 197 North 9th Street (between Driggs Ave & Bedford Ave)
and 567 Driggs Ave (between 7th & 6th St), Brooklyn, NY 11211

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Fabric Row

Fabric Row

Last week Mr. DIY, No. 2 son and I spent a few days in Philadelphia visiting family and hitting some of the tourist and historical spots like The Mint, China Town, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. My sister-in-law and I have a thing for fabric so we ditched the husbands and kids went on a girls only field trip to Fabric Row, 4 blocks of fabric and trim eye candy. What a treat! It reminded me of my teen days when I would travel downtown Brooklyn, New York to purchase fabric to make my back-to-school wardrobe. Fabric, notions, trim and buttons housed in small storefronts along Bridge Street. Although those stores are long gone and are now a distant memory, it was fun to relive the experience at Fabric Row.

So, I was in heaven when I walked into this store.

With bolts and bolts of fabric

and buttons galore!

Zippers in every color and every size

and trims, so many, my oh my!

Just wanted to share a little piece of fabric heaven with you. But now it’s your turn. Where is your fabric heaven? I would sure like to know.

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Dining Room Chairs Redo-Again!

Dining Room Chairs Redo-Again!

These chairs have a long history with me. I have been working on them for quite some time now and they have remained unfinished longer than I care to admit.

First they sat in my garage stripped for at least 2+ years, then I couldn’t pick a color after I primed them (16 months ago), then I couldn’t decide on fabric so I decided to make my own fabric using art stamps (4 months ago). I covered all the seats and then decided to re-reupholster them using some fabric I had all along. I know, I know, ridiculously indecisive, I drive myself crazy! And though I attribute this indecisive madness to an overly creative mind, nonetheless, it hampers my productivity big time.

And even after all this creative drama, there’s more. I couldn’t find the right trim to finish the edges. Everything in my trim collection was either too narrow or insufficient yardage. I decided to make my own cording but I wasn’t able to manipulate it to form square corners. So I decided to buy some trim. I had no luck with that either. There are few stores and very limited selection in my area. So out of sheer frustration and desperation, I went back to making my own fabric trim. Here’s a closeup of how it turned out.

So 16 months ago they looked like this

and 4 months ago like this

And now they one of them look likes this

The other three are waiting for the their trim. But, I haven’t decided if I really like it or not. I like the seat but the back doesn’t WOW me. I’m thinking about experimenting some more; however, these dining room chairs have been sitting around way too long without a purpose. Funky Junk Interiors is hosting a slipcover theme party this Saturday so I might make a slip cover shrug for the top until I decide how to proceed. So please, let me know your thoughts. Can you relate? Any suggestions – 12 step program, creative rehab, trim store etc. would be greatly appreciated? I wasn’t kidding about needing help. It’s about time for this story to end, don’t you think?

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Holiday Windows

Holiday Windows

No. 2 son and I went to see the holiday windows and visit with Santa at Macys Herald Square last weekend. I think this is the fourth year since we started the tradition of getting up before sunrise and venturing into the city to beat the crowds. At age 9, however, it is not quite as exciting as it used to be which means it will probably be replaced with a new holiday tradition. I think this will be the last year for believing in Santa and the question I try to avoid answering “Is Santa really real?” which is precisely the theme for Macy’s windows.

This year’s story was about a girl, Virginia, questioning the existence of Santa Claus. Here she is:

I apologize for the lousy pictures due to the glare and reflection from the window.

I like her mother’s response though:” Believing in Santa isn’t something you prove. It’s something you do when you are kind to others, that makes Santa real. That’s the proof.” That works for me! Not so sure about No. 2 Son.

And a few more not so great photos:

Even though his excitement is waning, mine continues to grow. The creativity behind the design will keep me coming back even when No. 2 Son says “Enough already, Mom. I’m too old for this.”

A Date With Nate Berkus

A Date With Nate Berkus

Actually, I had a date to attend a taping of the Nate Berkus Show. But I got to see him up close and personal and had the pleasure of shaking his hand. Swooon! The man is even cuter in person! How could that be? I have to say, I was smitten. Anyway, I have been watching and enjoying his show so much, I wanted to to see how it all comes together behind the scenes. Slightly different then I had imagined, it was so fascinating. Clearly, you can see all the hard work and planning required by his crew and staff to orchestrate each segment. As everything unfolded before my eyes, I watched in amazement and smiled the whole time. Even though cameras are in your way at times, it was a wonderful thing to watch.

Dina of One Funny Mother, warmed up and kept the audience laughing between segments. The segments flew by quickly and, honestly, I have to say I was so mesmerized by everything and everybody that I didn’t absorb all of the subject matter so I will look forward to watching it again when it airs. I might even get a glimpse of myself in the audience since I was sitting next to an audience member who was selected to participate in one of the segments.

At the end of my date the taping , Nate graciously thanked everyone for clearing their schedules to attend, recognizing how hard that can be to do. How nice is that? I walked away energized and feeling so good I just wanted to scream! The audience participants got gift cards and the rest of got a role of removable wall paper that he used in one of the segments. I might use it to finish out a couple of white bookcases I brought back to life recently.

I definitely would like to attend another taping and I highly recommend it even if you don’t live in the area. A couple of people started out on their journey to the Nate Berkus Show at 1:00 AM traveling from Boston. Now that’s loyalty! I had a wonderful time and this was definitely a highlight. Life is good!

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Belated Thanksgiving greetings! Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday simply because it’s about food and family; materialism is not a part of the equation. It was dinner for 6 with both my mother and mother-in-law. Both Moms bought some sides and I started cooking the day before and it was so much less stressful. We ate early, around 2:30, sat around the table talking and laughing for a couple of hours and by 6 pm everything was finished. I was able to sit back and relax for the rest of the evening. Yes! You know, simplicity is my new best friend. Hats off to all of you who host really large family gatherings. I know my limitations and big gatherings just exceed my capabilities.

On Thanksgiving Eve, I decided to take No. 2 Son to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being inflated. What an experience! It was so much different then when I took No. 1 Son years ago. Here is just a little of what we saw.

It starts out a little abstract; the balloons are so massive and up close you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at.

As you can see Mickey was not quite finished being inflated

But as we moved on, we began to recognize everyone.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid made his first appearance,

a few of the many workers we saw that night,

helium trucks of course,

and the Macy’s star was the last thing we saw.

As for the experience, it was a bit hectic. There were just too many people there. I would love to know how many people come to see the balloons being inflated vs. the actual parade? I felt bad for the kids in strollers because all they could see is the back of people’s legs. Literally everyone was walking shoulder to shoulder, inching along taking baby steps. I am not exaggerating. Every other step I took, someone was stepping on my heels. It took about 45 minutes to walk from the train exit to to the starting point (2 blocks away). And it took at least 1 1/2 hours to finish the 4 block tour.

For those of you who may consider doing this in the future, if you don’t mind large crowds, I mean really large crowds, go for it!

However, I found it to be more of a chore than a wonderful experience. Even No. 2 Son got irritated and overwhelmed at times. It was one of those things you do once, and perhaps never again. It was so much nicer to watch the parade the next day on the HD flat screen, in a warm home while preparing dinner. I think I will stick to our holiday windows tradition instead.

How about you? What are the Thanksgiving festivities like in your town?

Chloe Alberry

Chloe Alberry

Hope you had a beautiful long weekend. With the extra day off, I managed to work on a few unfinished projects and feel good about how they are progressing. I will share them with you as I complete them. Although it’s hard, I am refraining from starting anything new unitil the unfinsihed projects are completed.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Portobello Road Market, I visited Chloe Alberry, a must visit if you’re ever in London.

Happily surprised, when given permission by the shopkeeper to take pictures, I wanted to devote an entire post to some of the eye candy hardware you will find there.

Normally, I would apologize for all those reflections, but I think it’s a rather interesting photo in a strange sort of way.

Chloe Alberry has a huge assortment of…

stunning stone and gorgeous glass,

pretty porcelain,

charming ceramic,

shiny silver,

brillant brass,

beautiful black,

knobs, pulls, hooks, brackets….

tantalizing tins and so much more!

I was drawn to the ceramic knobs so I purchased a couple of them. No project in mind, just because. Because what? Because they were pretty. You just can’t walk out empty handed. Everything is just too irresistable. Chloe Alberry is a gem of a store that will have you saying out loud in that high squeaky voice, “oh, how preeeeetty,……. oh, how cuuute”, you know, like when you’re talking to a baby. Quickly looking around to see if anyone heard you thinking out loud, you will soon realize, everyone else is doing the exact same thing.

Have a “must visit” store you would like to share?

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Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

A Soft Place to Land: DIY Day

Shabby Chic Cottage: Transformation Thursday

Mustard Seed Creations: Furniture Feature Friday