Friday, December 4, 2015

Opening a Drawer to Thankfulness

Nothing gives me more pleasure than making with whatever you find lying around. And so an orphaned drawer turned Thanksgiving centerpiece remains on the table because like many simple things, it makes me smile.

I was planning to construct a box from leftover pieces of wood, however,  in my search for suitable pieces of wood, I found  this drawer and thought, why not?

Found some old hardware and wooden knobs and well. 

Removed the drawer front and decided on the round pull. Cleaned it up just enough to retain it's old world charm.

Reinforced the bottom and added the knobs for feet.

Made some chalkboard paint using some leftover unsanded grout and flat paint.

So simple and quick. Using what you have makes for the best kind of crafting.

Yep,  our official day of giving thanks is over, however, this drawer will remain open as a reminder to bask in thankfulness all year long.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Little Holiday Angst

I love the holiday season, really I do, but it seems like every year it comes around faster and faster. No sooner than you pack away the holiday decorations, then it's time to pull them out again and start all over. Is it just me who feels that way? I sure hope not.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that the  focus is on blessings, family and food. Speaking of food, although there is nothing better than sitting down to a nice spread,  quite honestly, I find the process of getting it to the table a bit overwhelming. I envy people who look forward to preparing their holiday meals. For me, however, by the days end, I'm exhausted. I sound like a holiday Debbie Downer, don't I?  I assure you, I'm not.

Now when it comes to table decor, that's where I love to dwell. Although my table never looks quite like the grandiose ideas and pics I see in blogland and on Pinterest, I have to say I sure have fun trying. LOL.

I love tablescapes, however, I don't love the storage requirements that come with accumulating tabletop accessories and multiple sets of dinnerware. Instead, I prefer to repurpose  reinvent, rearrange and use what I have. I have to say, it's extremely hard to resist all that retail tabletop goodness, especially around the holidays, but I'm getting good at doing just that.

I love this centerpiece box. I am putting this on the top of my DIY to do list.

You can find instructions for this one at The Idea Room.

I'm on the hunt for grey plaid napkins. I'm turning into gray fanatic.  Haven't found any just yet so I might even settle for a grey print or solid grey.

I found these linen napkins at Anthroplogie. The color description reads neutral but they sort of have grey undertones, I think.

Although they are adorable, the $118 price tag, most definitely is not. Ouch!

And since blue is my other favorite color, these caught my eye as well.

This lovely is $12. A set of 6 for $72? That's still a little pricey for napkins. Perhaps, I will  resort to making them as well. Hopefully, it all will come together in time for the big day.

How about you? Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Do you enjoy the large meal preparation?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

An Unexpected Presence

Hey! Where did you come from? I didn't plant you. You planted your own seed. You arrived all on your own.  So unexpected. But noticed and welcomed by me.

I cleared the garden for the winter soon to come.  You're all alone, thriving on limited sun and unpredictable temperature changes characteristic of fall weather.

I will water you, notice you and appreciate the surprise of your unexpected presence.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Repurposed T-shirts

Can you recognize the origins of this crocheted piece?

I don't know why, but I have a fondness for undershirts, specifically white undershirts that are no longer suitable for their intended purpose. Yet after they have yellowed or lost their shape, their softness lingers, making them deserving of repurposing.

I wanted some color so I dyed some of them in varying shades of blue and grey.

Next, I ripped the shirts into strips and started crocheting the strips together. Since I was making a bath mat, I wanted to capitalize  on the natural  softness; however, the softness disappeared into the texture.

I needed some inspiration and happened upon this Pin.

Immediately I was smitten and used some blue yarn I had laying around to try out this technique.

I like the result, however, due to the thinness of the yarn there was openings I really didn't want. I will have to invest in some thicker yarn and give it another try.

I do enjoy the experimental  phase of  maker projects; it gets the creative wheels turning,and imagining different scenarios while incorporating inspiration all around. It doesn't matter that things don't work out as intended. Making is a process that doesn't need to be rushed but savored.

To be continued......

What have you repurposed lately?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tiny Living

I am in love with tiny homes. How about you? Although not for everyone, I finally realized why I am in awe of them; they require you to live consciously and with intention. 

The limited space forces you to make hard decisions about all of your possessions, choosing the ones that matter most. Each choice has to be necessary and everything has to have a purpose. 


I am drawn to tiny house living because it reminder to rid my home of the needless stuff that is not serving a real purpose so that I live life with only the possessions that reflect my intentions as well.


I’m thrilled that HGTV has tiny house programming. Multi-function design ideas are necessary for the small space footprint, DIY construction, solar panel technology and mortgage free lifestyle is so engaging.  


I know it looks cozy and wonderful on the big screen. In reality, it will most likely remain a fantasy I will forever entertain in my head. Just the same, tiny house living is a great source of ideas for anyone that lives in a space challenged home where square footage is almost as precious.

How do you feel about the tiny house living? Fad or here to stay? 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Easy Summer Dinner

Summer dinner doesn't get any better than this! Oven free, quick, colorful, and healthy, what more can one ask for? 

Tuna pasta salad atop romaine lettuce, fruit and sliced peppers from the garden, easy peasy! Served with a glass of ice water with a spritz of lemon (not pictured:) I'm in heaven.

What's your  favorite quick summer dinner?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Gardening Perspective

I like to garden. I wouldn't say I'm terribly good at it, but it brings me joy just the same. It made me realize that I don't have to be good at something to enjoy it.

I like experimenting and watching things grow - slowly, quickly, or sometimes not at all. Perhaps, in time, as I gain more experience, the results will be more predictable; however,  for right now it's a learning experience filled with magnificence and uncertainty . Even a struggling plant is a reminder of patience, nurturing and contemplation.

Sadly, the Sugar Daddy Peas didn't make it.

My gardening space is rather limited as most of my yard is concrete. I use pots to give myself a little more room.

garden space

I am in love with my herb pot. I planted spearmint, basil, rosemary and thyme all in the same pot!

herb pot

Almost daily, I snip a piece off for mint tea or to add a pop of fresh flavor to dinner. It's my new favorite thing that makes me pause, appreciate and bask in thankfulness. It's the littlest things that get me everytime.

Although things may not turn out as intended and things get a little unruly,

tomato plants

I can still make the best of the outcome, appreciating whatever harvest shows up.

tomatoes close up

After all,  it's a huge journey from seedling

to mature plant.  No matter the outcome or whatever happens along the way, it's all good and rather magnificent.

peppers close up

How is your garden growing?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Just Words

You know the saying. A picture is worth a thousand words. But does it work the other way around? Can a thousand words be worth a picture. To my recollection, I never published a post without a picture. I might have but I don't remember as I've been blogging since 2009; this is my second blog. You can find my first blog here.  Often, I have something to say with no pictures to accompany my words. Taking pictures diminishes my attention. It robs me of the present moment I am trying to capture. It keeps me from taking in each single minute of goodness. Quite honestly, it is the pictures that hold me back from blogging regularly and consistently.

So picture this. A group of women, moms, sitting in a classroom, a fairly large room, more empty seats than filled ones. They are attending a journaling workshop, one that I created and titled "The Art of Journaling". The intent, my intent was to introduce them to journaling, a practice that saved me in the hopes that it will offer them clarity, insight and resolution in their lives as well. 

I had no preconceived expectations. I had them participate in two journaling practices. I was blown away by their willingness to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. Their honesty and raw emotion generated laughter as well as tears. It was moving. It was powerful. I was thrilled by the authenticity within their words. I wanted to inspire them but I was inspired deeply.  I walked away thankful, appreciative and grateful for this opportunity as I dwelled in purpose, my purpose. I just wanted to linger in each moment. 

A post without pictures, telling a story rooted in present moment.  Although this isn't a thousand words, I sure hope you get the picture just the same:)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Tangled Mess Take Away

Oh this tangled mess required a lot of time and energy to straighten out. Im guessing  20+ hours over several days to get the connections right.

These wires belong to our stove hood.

Who knew this stove hood contained a mother board that shorted out after 5 years of extremely light use?  Who knew that the parts would be unavailable in the U.S. and had to be shipped from Canada? Who knew that the motherboard replacement that arrived sans instructions would not be larger causing a whole lot of additional aggravation? 

Can you tell where I am going with this? It was a disaster in the making. The black capacitor box you see dangling in the first picture could no longer fit in next to the motherboard.

This started out to as a family affair but frustration set in and my husband and son had enough at about hour 6 or 7. 

In desperation, I called the company and was assured it was safe to leave the capacitor outside the black housing box. Capacitor aside, I was still at a loss as to how all those wires were supposed to fit in that little box on top of the motherboard especially because I wasn’t there when it was taken apart.
The wires had been connected and reconnected so many times that a couple of the wire connectors detached from the wires and two of connections fell off the mother board as well. So off to Radio Shack I went for replacement connectors, soldering iron and solder. Yes, I soldered the connectors back onto the motherboard.

Honestly, I wanted to give up so many times, but I refused. After a number of emails and phone calls to the company, finally,  I was able to get it all back together. I have to say I was proud of myself for not giving up and jumping for joy when I finished. However, this is one DIY episode I hope never to star in it again.The family and I celebrated with takeout because the last place I wanted to be was near that stove hood. I needed my space, at least for one night. LOL

So what is my take away from all of this?  Even when we don’t know how to proceed or can’t see a way out, sometimes just walking away helps tremendously.  I walked away several times. I covered the hood opening with tinfoil as this repair was spread over a three week period. 


This tangled mess was a reminder that perseverance prevails!

Have you had a problem, DIY or otherwise, you thought you would never solve?

Monday, June 29, 2015

I Heart .......

Ever think about what you truly love? Family, loved ones and friends aside, can you think of life’s smallest treasures you heart? 

I treasure things that make me smile and if I stay present, immediately, I can feel a surge of endorphins and a mini internal hug.  So here’s my short list of things I heart:

I heart so much more and this list could go into infinity. As I go about my day, I look for things I heart. It ups my happiness factor and helps me stay in present moment gratefulness.

Now it’s your turn! Please tell me what you heart-and the tinier, the better?  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Letters from the Heart

I developed a re-fascination with offline written communication a.k.a. snail mail correspondence.  Do you even remember those hand written surprises and treasures that use to appear in your mailbox and you couldn’t wait to open? What happened to that? Email, texts, posts and tweets just seemed to take over those snail mail delights.

How did this re-fascination begin? Well first, I love pretty stationery and sometimes I just can't help myself. When I see it in the store I just can't resist. So I can't just buy it and then not use it; that would be a tad ridiculous, don't you think? LOL

Secondly, I joined a book club at my youngest son's former elementary school. Although he is about to graduate middle school, I continue to participate because it’s a fun experience and I am reading books that might never been exposed to. Although our discussions are focused on the stories we read, they are infused with our own experiences as well. I truly love connecting with people’s stories, understanding their unique perspectives and sharing my own story as well.

Every year we have a culminating luncheon where all the in Queens, New York book clubs, sponsored by the United Federation of Teachers, come together to share our book club experiences and the books we read in the form of a project, presentation or oral account.  My group decided to do a letter theme project since many of the books we read contained letters as part of the story content.

Each member wrote a letter to whomever they wanted - our children, our younger self or in my case, a high school teacher (I’ll share that in a later post).

The letters are emotional and heartfelt, thus giving way to the title, “Letters from the Heart”.

This experience has inspired me to withdraw somewhat from digital communication, embracing handwritten notes and telephone conversations instead of resorting to email, texts and posts on social media. I find this return to yesteryear, for however long it lasts, is my way of relearning and investing in a one-on-one communication with intention, focus and intimacy - qualities somewhat diluted in our digital exchanges.

How do you feel about the way in which we communicate today versus offline methods? When is the last time you wrote or received a handwritten card, letter or note? 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Time to Garden

It's time to transplant the seedlings outdoors. I started them about three weeks ago from seeds I had left over from last year.  

I thought I give the seedling process another try as I had a successful harvest last summer. 

This year, however, instead of buying a plastic seedling tray, I decided to go into reuse/repurpose  mode and use eggshells and egg cartons to get the seedlings started.  I carefully washed the eggshells in hot soapy water and punched a hole for drainage. If the shell was too shallow, I would stack two of them together to create a taller and wider vessel.

So far I started onions,

Beefstake tomatoes,

and Sugar Daddy peas.

I thought the peas would take longer to sprout because the seed was so large and hard, but it shot up in a matter of days. Look at them now!

I  was hoping to have a vertical garden structure ready before transplanting anything but it looks like I will be in for another season of ground level gardening. No worries, I will continue to dream of a vertical garden oasis and rely on Pinterest to keep me inspired.

What will be growing in your garden? Have any gardening plans or stories to share?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Vintage Rustic Retreat

Do you have a picture or scene that you love to look at? One that just draws you in and almost takes your breath away? A picture that gets under your skin, interacts with every fiber of your being and makes your heart sing?


This picture of a shed turned retreat photographed by Julie Ranee does all of the above for me. I love the colors (that turquoise stove, oooooh la la), eclectic decor and it's vintage charm. It evokes serenity and relaxation.

I could see myself sprawled out on that bed, hands behind my head staring into that pitched wood ceiling goodness daydreaming, meditating and refilling my inner peace bucket. I'm smitten, over the moon in love with this room/shed and putting a copy on my dream board. A girl can dream, right?

So what does it for you? Have a special picture or scene that brings you into present moment clarity?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dish Towel Curtains

I happen to love dish towels. The beautiful prints and 100% cotton fabric tug at my heart strings every time I spot them in the store; I just can't resist; however, I don't just use them for their intended use.

Since I have a small kitchen window, they're just about the right size for curtains. They could be a tad bit longer but perfection is not something I strive for these days.

When I spotted this print in the store, I thought I would trim the lover edge with whatever I could find around the house.  

Don't have a clue when or where this doily collection came from but I thought I could use them in a way that didn't scream "OLD FASHION".

After bleaching them to remove the tea stained color, I cut the scalloped motif from the center section of the doily.

Next, to straighten it out, I made a diagonal cut into each corner, pinned and overlapped the excess together and tacked it in place with a few stitches to create one long piece of trim

The "V" cut out section is hidden by the grosgrain trim I used to attach it to the lower edge.

And there you have it, another simple and easy project that makes me smile each time I glance at it.

Truth be told, my sewing machine wasn't fully cooperating. Perhaps, it was getting back at me for not using it for a very looooooong time. I think some quality time together is long overdue. Sewing use to be such a major and significant part of my life and then everyday life just got in the way. I took it to the repair shop to have it overhauled so it will be ready to go for my next creative idea. Already, I have some ideas brewing in my head for a table runner. Like these curtains, it will be simple, incorporating found materials I already have. 

I find such joy in the smallest of things, so much so, that I devised a new mantra to express my not-so-new found appreciation for life's tiniest moments: Life is about the "small and the now" instead of the "big and the wow".

If any of this resonates with you, from your creative endeavors to your meaningful tiny moments,  I sure would love to hear your thoughts.