25 September 2022

Sidewalk Furniture: A Bunch of Chairs

Oh New York City! Your streets are filled with treasures! But the word "treasure" is relative, right?

Here are the treasures that I'm talking about:

French chairs, ladder-back chairs, French arm chair


Free chairs ya'all!

If I had extra storage space like a garage or a basement, all these would have gone home with me. Sigh.

Let's pretend I have them in my possession. I'll show you ways on how I would turn them from blah to TADA!


A little description on these classic chairs: 


                Chair Number 1: French ladder-back chair with rush seating


                Chair Number 2: French cane-back arm chair

Because they are in pretty good condition, I would just clean and polish them and not change anything except for the upholstery.

Curations Limited Vintage Louis  Antique Black Arm Chair
via Pinterest

I'll keep it simple by using a linen fabric in a light beige or wheat color.

Or I would use French stripe linen and some toile that'll instantly whisk me away to the countryside:

toile, French strip linen upholstery
via Miss Mustard Seed

a french chair a grain sack and a stencil, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
via Pinterest


painted grain sack stripes and ticking fabric on an old Goodwill chair
via Pewter and Sage

Butaca estampada de lino Casanova
via Pinterest


The following chairs don't have the history of the first two but they are functional nonetheless:


I can keep the existing color or paint them in a neutral shade. 

Grain Sack Chair,  Knick of Time,
via Knick of Time

But I'll definitely add a seat cushion also in the French stripe fabric.

I would likewise experiment with stenciled grain sack fabric like these ones:

Great tutorial to redo a chair into chic design
via Reloved Rubbish Blog

Antique occasional chair, reupholstered in a soft linen with a French stencil added.
via Pinterest

antique Thonet bent wood chair, seat with antique linen and French stencil burlap. รข‚¬138.00, via Etsy.
via Pinterest

I hope you liked these ideas that transform old furniture from "blah to TADA!" Maybe you can do the same with yours?

But if you must get rid of your furniture, please do so responsibly to keep them away from the landfill. Consider donating them to worthy causes: Habitat for Humanity ReStore, The Salvation Army, Goodwill or at a thrift shop or charity store near where you live.


18 September 2022

Last Summer Hurrah

Hello everyone!

I'd like to honor a woman of strength and courage, Queen Elizabeth II:

via CNN

I'm not British and I never saw her in person, but I feel a sense of loss. She's the only monarch I grew up to know, I always paused when I saw her on TV, I watched several documentaries and even "The Crown" to learn about her life story. And what a story it was -- a 70 year reign! Thank you for your service, Ma'am. I can only echo what one British man said when he paid his respects to the Queen: "Rest in peace and rise in glory."


*****


This Thursday, September 22, is the first day of Autumn. How has summer flown by so quickly? Sharing with you some photos that turned my summer from "blah to TADA!"

1. The taste of summer:

summer eats, blah to TADA, lobster, clams, food styling
Eating lobster rolls and clam chowder


summer eats, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, blah to TADA, food styling
Homemade Caprese Salad with Proscuitto


bakery, Emily Riddell, pastries, bakery, baked goods, blah to TADA, Two Persons coffee
Checking out new pastry shops like
Machine Shop in Philadelphia
Tatte Bakery in Boston, and
Kingston Bread & Bar in New York.


ice cream, Fish Town, Philadelphia, blah to TADA
Trying new ice cream flavors at Jeni's,
Il Laboratorio del Gelato,
Matcha Cafe' Maiko, and Dairy Queen.


2. Going on new adventures:

beach, shore, Jersey Shore, sky, sand, sea, blah to TADA, summer, vacation
Weekends at our favorite beach


Presidential libraries, passport, blah to Tada, United States
Visiting the Presidential Libraries of John F. Kennedy and 
Franklin D. Roosevelt. There's a special passport that gets
a stamp for every new one I visit.
Can't wait to see the rest!


tomatoes, peppers, summer, market, blah to TADA
Bounty at the many farm stands & farmer's markets!

3. Getting lost in fun summer reads:

Korean American by Eric Kim, A Table by Rebekah Peppler, Colombiana by Mariana Velasquez, Snackable Bakes by Jessie Sheehan, blah to TADA
Cooking from a variety of cookbooks like
Korean American, Snackable Bakes,
A Table, and Colombiana.


Lucy Foley, books, novel, blah to TADA, beach, beach reads, summer reading
Riveting novels including those by Lucy Foley
(she creates characters that one can get so invested in!)


picture book, children's book, blah to TADA
I also read newly released picture books like
"Holding On" by Sophia N. Lee & Isabel Roxas.
It's about memories made between
a grandmother and her granddaughter.
I wrote a book review on Positively Filipino.


4. Doing something creative everyday:

Filling my sketchbooks with watercolor drawings.

pen pal, stationery, birthday cards, envelopes, stickers, blah to TADA
Designing my own stationery & sending snail mail...TADA!

I hope you had an exciting summer, too. Here's to the new season and what's ahead!

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11 September 2022

A Dried Flower Arrangement

Hello ya'll!

Over the past few years, I've been seeing these arrangements of dried stems and flowers: 
 
trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

Terrain,trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

It may have been part of the cottagecore movement where the aesthetics include plants of all kinds, a palette of neutral and muted colors, and the goal of sustainability. 

I like its natural vibe and the promise that there will always be flowers at home that don't need to be watered or replaced.

Using this as inspiration, let's create something similar. Why buy when we can D-I-Y?

trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

This empty hot sauce bottle will serve as the vase. I cleaned it inside and out and removed the label and lid.

trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

I'm going to try out a faux terra-cotta technique that I learned from crafter Geneva Vanderzeil. For this, we'll need acrylic paint (any color will do as long as they are water-based), a paint brush and baking powder. 

trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

In a small container, add one cup of paint and one teaspoon of baking powder. Mix together with your paint brush until well incorporated. The paint will fizz up and thicken like yogurt. 

Apply the mixture to the bottle with several coats and allow this to dry for a few hours.

trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

 Once dry, the bottle will have a textured feel and matte finish.

trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

Put in some dry stems and flowers. I got these from the park last winter but these can easily be collected from your backyard. Let it dry for a few days before positioning them in the bottle. Dried flowers are also available at craft stores and on-line.  

You can even add fragrance oil in the bottle and the stems will serve as diffuser sticks just like in this project.

trash to terracotta, Geneva Vanderzeil, faux terra cotta, paint, paint brush, baking powder, dried flowers, cottage core, recycle a bottle, turn a bottle into a vase, dried stems and flowers, crafts, handmade, blah to TADA

Display the dried flower arrangement on a console table, shelf or desk. It's a little piece of the outdoors!

And that is how I turned a hot sauce bottle and some foraged branches from blah to TADA!
 

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04 September 2022

People Sketches and a Gift for the Grandparents

I'm glad you're here!

Over the years, I've been practicing my watercolor skills. Sometimes, I like to experiment with faces:

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature, plant lady, garden, gardener

This is a sketch of my friend Jenna who lives in Macau. She has a beautiful apartment with large windows and she is a mom to many potted plants. I sent this to her and she was so delighted by the surprise in the mail.

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature,

This is a sketch of me and my niece Kirsten. I made an imaginary spot in the garden with giant flowers shading us from the sun and each of us lost in a book.

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature, 100 Day Project

I made this as part of the #100dayproject in 2020. It was the height of the pandemic and people all over the world had to wear a mask to stay protected from COVID-19.

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature,

Also during the pandemic, my husband and I worked from home. One day, I made a sketch of the people he talked to on a regular basis on speaker phone. Not having met or seen them, I made these drawings based on their voices ("she sounds like someone who wears pink and pearls"; "he sounds like he surfs during the weekend.") I showed these to him -- only two of these faces matched what they looked like in real life. Oh well.  

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature,

I made this for my friend Irene. It's a family portrait that I gifted her for her birthday.

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature,

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature,

These are attempts in self portraits. 

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature, National Grandparents Day

I also made this sketch of my grandparents. They've called heaven home for many years now and I miss them so. Sometimes I wonder what we'd talk about if they were still around. Would they be savvy enough to do a video chat? Would they take selfies? 

This painting may not exactly resemble my grandparents but it captures their love. I think I'll frame it. 

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature, portrait in a box, uses for an empty box

I found this small gift box with a window. 

blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature, portrait in a box, uses for an empty box, National Grandparents Day

If I put the sketch inside, might it work as a picture frame?

National Grandparents Day, blah to TADA, sketch, watercolor, watercolor painting, people sketches, watercolor portraits, portraits, caricature, portrait in a box, uses for an empty box

It does...TADA! 

Maybe you or your kids can make a drawing of your or their grandparents (frame optional) that you can present to them on National Grandparents Day on September 11. This will definitely turn their day from "blah to TADA!"

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28 August 2022

A Charm Bracelet

I love it that you're here!

Do you like jewelry? I like giving handmade jewelry to dear friends and receiving jewelry isn't so bad either. 

Let me show you what I saw at a department store that sparked some inspiration:



They're delicate and extra-special because they contain affirmations and good wishes. Wouldn't it be TADA! to receive this as a gift?

Today, I'm using this as a springboard for crafting.

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

I bought these clip-on charms many years ago and had them stashed away. You can't see it very well here but each one has an empowering word. 

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

Wouldn't they make a nice addition to this silver bracelet?   

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

The charms are a good reminder to always have faith, hope, a dream, and to celebrate. 

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

More charms can be added later on to keep positive vibes literally at arm's reach. 

charms, Snowbabies charms, faith, hope, dream, celebrate, blah to TADA!, DIY jewelry, charm bracelet, positive words

That is how we transformed a plain bracelet from "blah to TADA!" 

You can find more charm bracelet ideas here, here, and here

Wishing you all a positive and productive week! Please subscribe here if you'd like my blog posts delivered to your inbox. There's a new one every week.


21 August 2022

A Bookstore, a Coloring Book and a Coaster

Howdy all! 

One of life's greatest pleasures is a trip to the bookstore. 


A bookstore is a happy place, don't you agree?


Here's one called Book Culture that I found in Long Island City, Queens.


The space is bright, airy and quiet.


Walls and tables are lined with books.


They carry gifts and stationery, too. 


The entire basement is designated for kids' books and activities, plus a cozy reading area.


It's always good to support independent businesses! One of the things I bought was this small coloring book.


The pages are made from vellum-like material.

Each page has a different bird:




The back page gives a description and color guide for each kind...TADA!


I used markers to add color.


Then I accented with handwriting using a fine-tipped pen. 


Hold it against the light and it does look like stained glass...TADA!

*****

Here's another project useful for the home or office:


I'm transferring the image to a cork coaster.
 
 

Sandwich a piece of carbon paper or graphite paper in between the coaster and the coloring book page. Secure all the elements in place using a binder clip.


Using a heavy hand, trace the image of the bird with a pencil. Carefully lift the layers to see if the image transferred to the coaster, making sure you included the tiny details.   


Color with acrylic paint and let it dry for a few hours.



Here's the result! We not only supported an independent bookstore and got to do some coloring. We also turned a plain old coaster from "blah to TADA!"

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