Category Archives: Weekend

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?

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.

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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

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

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

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And, finally, week 3 and another donation.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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


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

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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.

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


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One to go!




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!

Off to a Good Start

Off to a Good Start

I signed  up with Apartment Therapy’s Janurary Cure. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your home on track. As instructed,  I compiled my room by room project list. This weekend,  I took full advantage of being snowed in and decided to start in my boiler room clean out. It was a little overwhelming and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday sorting through fabric, trim, patterns, craft supplies and a host of other household stuff that got thrown in there because it was easier to do so rather then find a proper place elsewhere.  As a result, it became a catch all area that got out of control.

After some very strong internal dialog with myself, I began the process of letting go of the my unused creative stuff I got real with myself and packed it up to be donated to Material for the Arts which provides arts supplies to public schools and non profit organizations with performing arts programs. The rest of the household items will be donated to Savers and The Salvation Army, all to be dropped off ASAP because I want it gone!

So this is what it looks like now.

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It still has a ways to go, however,  it is the unfinished part of the basement. I’m ecstatic that I can see the floor again. Once the entire space is totally decluttered, Mr. DIY and I have plans to make it into an organized functional workspace.

By the way, if you are not impressed with the  picture above, perhaps you will be after you lay your eyes on the the before pic.
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Be honest, did it make you gasp? If it did, take a minute to catch your breath. Just wanted to keep it real. I m sure some of you can relate to  trouble zones such as these, whether it’s a junk drawer, catch all space or overcrowded garage. It’s something that just creeps up on you, festers and turns into an out of control beast. Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic but the trouble areas in my home are disturbing to my overall well being. Thankfully, I’m on my way  to turning all that around and enjoying the ride to only having what matters.

Do you have  a trouble spot in you home?

The Love of the Challenge

The Love of the Challenge

I participated in the Walk the Walk America Moonwalk NYC last weekend.

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I’m somewhere in that crowd of 1500 women and men walking the streets of NYC during the moonlight hours in our decorated bras. When I made the decision to participate, I kept toying with bustier cover up ideas but my attempts at producing a design worthy of Project Runway fell short. I decided to go bold and be daring and stick to the suggested “bra only” attire realizing that it was not about vanity and everything about the cause. The proceeds from this marathon will help support the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Care Center located in Harlem, New York.

It was the most amazing experience! I challenged myself and I met the challenge, completing a half marathon – 13.1 miles. Even when my legs were feeling a little heavy towards he end, I kept going, strong and confident. I was proud of myself and the months of preparation I endured to get myself physically and mentally ready. Using the Map My Run app, (love it!), it was so easy to stay on point with my training schedule and keep track of my mileage. I walked 136.58 miles prior to the marathon. Wow!

It all started back in April when I asked my friend, Andrea, if she would be interested in walking with me. I didn’t think she would be receptive and was so pleasantly surprised when she agreed to take on the challenge as well. Thank you Andrea! She was just as dedicated as I was and it was so nice to share the training regimen with her.

The actual marathon was the final destination but the journey included so much more; I gained a lot. Seeing things from a walking point of view was new, fresh and exciting. I noticed things on foot that went overlooked driving in my car – whether it be a landscaped garden, a local business or decorative ceramic cats whimsically mounted on a roof of a house – little things that made me do a double take, keeping me in the present moment. I developed a greater love for walking, equally gratifying with company or alone with music pumping from my phone. I gained a deeper appreciation for my community and the surrounding neighborhoods as well. I lost a few too. Although not my intention, I dropped eight pounds as a result of the regimented power walking sessions and went up a notch on my belt.

So now what remains are the remnants from this defining moment in my life.

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A metal presented upon completion Olympic style, the official T-shirt with the cutest graphic and, of course, my decorated bra I wore proudly.


Have you challenged yourself lately? Please share.

In Over My Head!

In Over My Head!

I have been MIA yet again. Totally overwhelmed preparing for the upcoming craft fair this Saturday. Since this is a first for me, I had no idea about the amount of hours required to produce sufficient inventory. I have been up to the wee hours of the mornings over the last three weeks and still don’t have as much as I had anticipated. Oh my goodness, everything I do seems to take twice as long as anticipated. Here is a sneak peak at a few of the things I will be selling.

I love how the footstool turned out. In the spirit of the reuse and upcycle craft fair them, I used a flannel shirt to cover it and make the pillow.

I have a thing for flannel shirts. It’s one of my favorite things to wear during the winter. I got these from the thrift store and pleased with the results.

That’s all I have for now. I sure hope I get a chance to take pics of the rest. For now, it’s back to work for me. I will be sure and let you know how it went. In the meantime, if you have any tips for me, please let me know because I am in over my head!

I’m sharing this post with:

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday
Funky Junk Interiors: Saturday Night Special

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.

Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture

I have been looking for patio furniture ever since I started my patio makeover. I was looking for a lounge chair and a table and chairs. I didn’t want to buy new so I have been looking on Craigs List hoping to score. So far, I did find these chairs. They are in dire need of some TLC; the paint is flaking and some of the slats need to be fixed.

But they are rather cute and I can’t wait to get at them. My brain is already doing double duty trying to decide if I should just repaint them white or do something fun and paint each one a different color. While I am pondering what to do, I decided to use them with my old table until I get lucky and score a “new” old table as well. I don’t know what type of table I am looking for but as long as they will compliment these chairs, I’m open.

As for now, my current table is green plastic with a glass insert. I bought it when we first moved into our house 10 years ago with the intent on replacing it very soon. Never happened. Although it is plastic, I have to say it came from an upscale store and is pretty substantial, a far cry from the typical, inexpensive plastic tables. Here it is in all it’s green un-lovliness.

I used Fusion spray paint for plastic. And here it is after 3 cans later. I was deliberating between a hammer metal silver or gloss white. I decided the gloss white would look better in contrast to the grey patio pavers.

Mind you, I have a lot of touching up to do. I need one more can to finish the job. Perhaps, I should have primed it first. Covering up the dark green took so many coats. My other problem is trying to get to the sections underneath the glass since it’s not removable. I tried to angle the can different ways and could not get in that tight space. I might have to use a brush on paint for those under-sections.

Anyway I think it will work with the chairs once I give them a makeover.

Update: I did my touch ups and now contemplating frosting the glass; but I am not too sure the frosted finish will hold up under the elements. I just want to disguise the not so great paint job underneath. As I mentioned before, it was just too tight of an area. Honestly, I wasted too much time and paint for such a temporary stand in. My time would have been better spent working on the chairs. Live and learn. I guess DIY hind sight is 20/20 too:)

What do you think? Should paint the chairs white or each a different color?

I am sharing this post with:

The DIY Showoff:The DIY Project Parade

Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Coastal Charm:Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Charm Bracelet Diva:Club GW

Domestically Speaking:The Power of Paint Party

Miss Mustard Seed:Furniture Feature Friday

Nephew Proud!

Nephew Proud!

I rarely talk about my family life in any great depth but sometimes I am moved to do so. Sadly, Ohio State is out of the NCAA March Madness tournament. Last night, I was thrilled to attend a game and see Jared Sullinger, my nephew, and the rest of his amazing teammates play Kentucky University.

Prior to the game starting, I waived to Jared from afar, hoping to say hello afterward. It was a close game right down to the end and Kentucky only won by 2 points, scored in the very last seconds of the game. I know very little nothing about basketball but this past year it has been a real treat to tune into ESPN or CBS and watch him excel at what he loves. We would watch each game with such joy and excitement. Thank goodness for HD flat screens because it makes you feel like you’re actually there. Initially, I wasn’t crazy about these visual space hogs since they dominate whatever room they reside in; however, I now see why the male population loves them so. Sounds a little sexist, I know.

Jared scored 22 points and made 10 rebounds. Impressive! Final score 62, 60. You could see and feel their devastation. I was sitting with other familiy members of the players; we were all stunned. I could only see the side of Jared’s face as the team made their exit. He looked bewildered and in disbelief. But Jared continued to walk with his head held high as he and his teammates walked off the court. I felt so bad for them but, I remain in awe of what the Ohio Buckeyes have accomplished this season.

I was hoping to say hello, give him a hug and some cookies I had baked especially for him. But no such luck. Stadium personnel cleared the stands immediately at the end of the game. However, milk and cookies wasn’t going to ease the sting of this loss one bit.

Maybe at this age.

But certainly not now.

Despite this upset, it has been a blast watching Jared perform on the court, listening to the commentators speak about him with reverence, and reading about him in too many newspapers and magazines to mention. Every game is evidence of his dedication and passion for his first love, basketball. So, win or lose, I will always be proud!

Go Buckeyes!