Category Archives: Things I Love

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

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?

 

 

 

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?

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?

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!

 

 

 

Loving The Voice

Loving The Voice

The Voice Season 6 has been a thrill to watch. The caliber of vocal ability is astonishing. Whenever I watch a competitive show, I usually root for the underdog, provided he or she has a sweet, humble disposition. Well this season there aren’t any underdogs. They’re all good! I do have my favorites, however, and sadly two, Sisaundra Lewis and Delvin Choice, have been eliminated. Even though they’re no longer on the show, I downloaded their songs so that I get to listen to them again and again and again….. As the semi finals approach, I will continue to cheer for Josh Kaufman.

The performances that blew me away are:

Though the show is about vocal ability, I find the fashion intriguing. I have such a deep appreciation for how people use fashion as a form of self-expression.

While Delvin adds unique flair and styling to otherwise traditional pieces

The Voice - Season 6

Josh has a vintage vibe that usually includes showcasing the ankles

The Voice - Season 6

and Sisaundra is all about classic style mixed with statement accessories.

The Voice - Season 6

As for the back stories, I have mad respect for both Sisaundra and Josh; Any parent can relate to the difficulty, heartache and mixed feelings of being separated from their children. However, by example, they are teaching the invaluable lessons of realizing one’s passion, following one’s heart and pursuing one’s dreams. Kudos to them for taking the plunge.

I hope Sisaundra and Delvin will reach their dreams along a different journey and Josh will triumph in the end.

How about you? Are you a fan of the Voice or any other competition shows? What are you most passionate about? Has pursuing your passion caused you to make hard decisions?

Eggplant and Peppers

Eggplant and Peppers

Eggplant and peppers, hmmmm, that sounds like it can be a tasty combination.

seedlings IMG_9892

Fortunately, my eggplant and pepper seedlings are catching up to their tomato neighbors.

seedlings IMG_9891

A few days makes a world of difference. I love watching them grow little by little each day. It’s the simple things that make you sit up and take notice.

You can follow The DIY Spot with Bloglovin

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I love Friday’s. I look forward to Fridays. I always have. I raised my children on “Happy Fridays”. Sometimes I would buy an unexpected treat just to celebrate the completion of a busy week and the beginning of a two day break.

Just in case you may not be in a happy state as you start your weekend perhaps a listen to “Happy” by Pharrell might do the trick. It’s my new personal anthem because it’s an instant mood booster.

What song do you claim as your personal anthem?

Happy Weekend!

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

book-artforger-shapiro-500

girl with brushes

I wanted to share with you my last read, The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. I loved it! Even though my book club met two weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about the main character, Claire Roth, a struggling artist who supplemented her non-existent income by painting reproductions of well known artist to sell on reproduction.com. She lost her credibility in the art community when she made the decision to paint a painting for her married professor boyfriend who was lost in an artistic manic episode in an effort to save his reputation. However, it all backfired propelling her to take part in an illegal forging scheme at the promise of her own art show. Claire struggles with internal and external judgement of being considered a master artist or master forger.

But why can’t I get Claire Roth out of my head? Probably because I can relate to her creative abilities and her intense painting sessions where she could stay in the present moment and create despite all the chaos and drama in her life. Here are a few excerpts:

“The shower cleans the sweat and the odor of fear from my skin, but it does nothing to wash away the residual emotions smoldering inside my body. Once I start painting though, the feelings disappear.”

“As the excitement grows at the thought of working on my own paintings, I push myself even more. I’ve taken to sleeping in multiple, short stretches during both night and day, upsetting my natural circadian rhythms and further cutting myself off from the cadence of the world…………I remain in the zone for longer periods of time than I ever believed possible.”

“When he leaves, I go right back to work. the zone is the safe place for me now.”

I can identify with that zone, that creative place one can go to escape, a place to take a mini break from everyday life and just be, reconnecting with who you are, all the while, filling your internal cup. Like Claire, who gets into her zone when painting, I am in my zone. of course, when I dabble in DIY and pursue my creative pursuits. It’s an important part of who I am. It’s cathartic, my respite and my heaven on earth.

Can you relate? What do you get lost in? How do you get into “the zone”?