Category Archives: Resources

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.

Containers,

clamps

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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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

Paint-a-Stain Finish

Paint-a-Stain Finish

I have to first start by confessing to a problem I have. Last week, I realized I have PDD or Project Deficit Disorder. I find it extremely difficult to work on one project at a time. And now that I have so many unfinished projects waiting to be completed, my PDD is at an all time high. Through it all though, somehow, I am feeling very productive, working on a few projects simultaneously.

Mr DIY started building a bed for No. 2 son about 3 years. He didn’t like the way it came out; ahe joints weren’t up to his expectations and he wanted to chuck it and start over. He even attempted to stain it and, well let’s just say, that didn’t help matters any. So it sat and sat in the basement, then the garage. I decided to make lemonaide out of lemons, work some DIY magic and rework the design since perfection is truly overrated and the bed is solid and very sturdy.

I started by removing the Colonial Maple finish. I have worked with a lot of stain hues, but I don’t quite understand Colonial Maple. It could be me, but the orange tint is unattractive. I have tried it on various types of wood and it have never had good results.

Here is what it looked liked before:

and after sanding:

It still had an orange sheen that would not go away. I even tried to bleach it out and had no luck.

Next, I applied a dark stain with the hopes that the orange color would disappear. No luck, the orange hue continued to stand its ground and was visible just enough to annoy me. So I turned to paint. I watered down some chocolate brown latex paint I had lefteover from another project. I brushed it on and the orange hue was gone, with the wood grain was still visible, resulting in a stained appearance. I did add some streaks of watered down black acrylic paint to further enhance the wood grain. This is what it looks like now:

I am almost done applying a satin polyurethane finish. Unfortunately, my PDD caused me to have a little mishap, perhaps you can help me with. Multitasking the other day, I forgot to wash out the brush I was using. Does anyone know if it is posible to remove a water based polyurethane from a brush after it has dried? Turpentine, denatured alcohol or mineral spirits perhaps? I invest in good brushes so that I can reuse them and would love to save this one.

Have you ever used paint to create a faux stained finish?

Between naps on he Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Domestically Speaking: Power of Paint Wednesday

Funky Junk Interiors:Saturday Nite Special

Got Ants?

Got Ants?

I hope you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. As promised, on Saturday, I announced The DIY Spot’s first giveaway winner. A special thank you to everyone who participated.

Although nothing to do with DIY or anything creative, I thought today’s post might come in handy at some point in your everyday lives.

You see, for the last two months I have been fighting the war on ants. It has been a tough fight. I knew they were coming in somewhere around my kitchen window; however, I could not find the actual entry point. No matter what I used, they kept invading our home. I actually found two places where they were breeding outside my home; one was between the layers of a flat of flowers waiting to be planted and rhe other place was underneath the mat at my front door. I hosed the two areas but I was still left with a problem inside. I wanted to avoid using toxic substances and tried some earth friendly ideas I found online. One suggestion was to use cinnamon sticks. I did. The ants simply walked around them. Smart ants, I guess.

I decided I had to step up my game. After all, this was a war. Here are a few of the products I tried:

Ortho B Gon Bait
Grant’s Kill Ants Stakes
Grant’s Kill Ants Syringe (looks like peanut butter)
Orange Guard (made from orange peel extract)
EcoSmart Organic Home Pest Control (clove oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil and thyme oil)

The first two did not work at all. Happily, the two that were most effective were the green products, Orange Guard and EcoSmart. Yeah!! I try to go green whenever I can. It is available Home Depot.

Got ants? What did you do?

Project Runway Has Nothing on YOU!

Project Runway Has Nothing on YOU!

Can’t wait to see Project Runway tomorrow! Why? The remaining designers will be designing their own fabric which is near and dear to my heart.

Think this is just a TV thing? Guess again! You too can be your own fabric designer at budget friendly prices. Interested? Then check out Spoonflower, Fabric On Demand and Karma Kraft for their digital fabric printing services. Spoon Flower offers a choice of natural fibers, there is no minimum order and allows you to order a swatch or yard prior to placing a complete order. There are no minimums with Fabric on Demand, as well, and they include a color blanket (similar to paint chips) option that allows you to see the colors on the fabric of your choice ensuring your color expectations are met. Karma Kraft processes orders in 5-7 business days, pricing starts at $20 per square yard (as opposed to liner yard) allowing you to order the exact amount you need for your project and offers various methods of color accuracy including the use of the Sherwin Williams Color Guide. Another plus, just in case you don’t sew, they offer sewing services and can produce a finished home or fashion accessory product.

After searching on and offline and not being able to find just the right fabric for my dining room chairs that remained unfinished, I just might give this a try.In the meantime, check out the “on air” creative process of fabric designing during tomorrows episode.

Who is your favorite designer from this season – Mila, Maya, Emilio, Seth Aaron, Jay, Anthony or Jonathan? Who do you think will win?

Home Goods Style Scope Quiz

Home Goods Style Scope Quiz

Home Goods offers a style scope quiz to determine your design style. After answering a series of questions, I found out I am Elegant Classic. My full description reads:

You have a refined sensibility with an appreciation for history and tradition in your furniture and your rooms. You value beauty, things that are well crafted, and family heirlooms. You are visually sensitive and understand how symmetry and a formal layout give order to a room, and hence your home is refined and calming. You are not taken in by the trends of the moment. You go for things with a timeless appeal, and appreciate old-fashioned virtues like manners and handwritten notes and making a home that is welcoming for others.

You value creativity. You are stylish and fun loving, and can be an inspiration to others. You have a natural sense of drama, and you know you have to be willing to take risks—whether with colors, finishes, furniture choices, or ideas—for your home to stand out. Your home can be happy and lively and the place all of your friends want to be.

I have to say this is a accurate description of who I am. How about you? What is your design style?

A Little DIY Organization

A Little DIY Organization

Whenever I am about to head out to store or tag sale, I often find myself scrambling for measurements, store addresses or fabric swatches. To avoid this in the future, I decided to organize everything and make a “grab-and-go” binder that included everything I needed to make informed purchases, avoiding impulse buys or return purchases.

I came up with the following sections:

Store contact information – Using business card sleeves, I organize the stores I frequent by category; fabric, thrift, home improvement, hardware, etc.
store-contact-info

Floor Plans – of each room drawn to scale.
floor-plan

Additional measurements – including window length, width (inside and outside molding), ceiling height, bookcase/display shelf openings etc.

Swatches/Paint chips – existing upholstered items, window treatments, carpet, wall color, trim. Photos can be used for an area rug or purchased window treatment.
swatches

Wish list of items with approximate measurements of things I am searching for along with pictures or tear sheets helps me to stay on point.
Wish-list

So now the next time I find myself on and impromptu shopping trip to a flea market, estate sale or thrift store, I am ready to go.

Sounds like a good idea? Why not join me and create your own DIY “grab and go” binder. Can you think of any additional items or sections to add?

It’s Easy Being Green

It’s Easy Being Green

Part of my reason for creating this blog is to show the DIY/ green connection. In addition to using biodegradable rather than conventional products, compact fluorescents, reusable shopping bags and the standard household recycling, I am passionate about using my DIY skills to keep things out of the landfill. Restoring and redesigning furniture destined for the landfill is my personal contribution to saving the environment.

Even with proper planning, raw materials can accumulate with my creative projects and my husband, Glen’s woodworking hobby, creating clutter.

After cleaning out the basement work area, we decided which materials we were less likely to use in the future. Mostly, there were miscellaneous pieces of wood and trim. Rather than contribute to the landfill, I brought it to the Build it Green! NYC warehouse where you can donate as well as purchase supplies, rather than buying new. Some of the inventory has never been used, while some require a little TLC, to return it to its former glory. It’s a win-win situation because you are taking and instrumental step in reducing landfill wastes and making purchases that are easy on the wallet. About 3 years ago, I needed a replacement door with a slatted top for ventilation purposes for my basement. After visiting the major home improvement stores in my area, I found out it was a special order item with a starting price of $300. I went to Build it Green and found one “in stock” for $25; only sanding and painting required.

Do you have a similar green center in you area? If so, please tell us about it including the contact info.