Spring Break

It's that time of year again, spring break. It's time to clean, organize and refresh. I have spent a large portion of the last two weeks doing exactly that.

My biggest priority was our bedroom. The walls have been the same sage green color for over 10 years. The closet was overflowing with junk. And let's just say that the one picture hanging on the wall was less than inspiring. It is time to breathe some new life into this room.

First, the walls. This is what they have looked like since shortly after we moved into the house. Clearly, they need a little brightening. Maybe purple?

On to the closet. I am too embarrassed by the mass quantities of ill fitting clothes, worn shoes, and tattered accessories that I have accumulated over the years to include a "before" picture of this. Let's just say I took everything out of the closet, piled it on the floor, and only kept the things that fit, look good, and aren't outdated. The result was five bags of stuff to donate to the Goodwill and two bags of trash.

Finally, the pathetic single picture on the wall. Clearly, it must go. Fortunately, I was inspired by an idea I found at designsponge.com for wine bottle vases. (I have this pinned on my Upcycling Board on Pinterest.) I love upcycling ideas and I have collected a number of wine bottles suitable for projects like this.

The directions for how to mount the wine bottles on the wall and what hardware to use were fantastic! It was going to be a simple, inexpensive decorating project. There was just one hitch, getting the hardware. The only place in Tucson that I could find it was Lowe's. I hate wandering up and down the seemingly endless aisles, so I decided to order the parts online for in-store pick-up.  Everything was in stock and ready to go. But alas, when I arrived to pick it up, they told me that not all of the items were in stock and that it would be a couple weeks until they had all the pieces available. Grrr.

So, it was time to revisit my New Year's resolution. No, not the part about going running every day, the part about being passionate, determined and inventive. After a lot of thought, and a few internet searches, I decided I would try drilling holes into the back of the wine bottles and hanging them on small nails. I headed back to the big box store to get a diamond drill bit that could drill through glass, charged the drill, and voila, my version of the wine bottle vases!

And now for the "After" photos. Freshly painted walls, organized closet, creative decorating touches.

For those of you counting the shoes, I wish I could say I only own six pairs of shoes and two pairs of boots. However, I admit I have a shoe addiction and there are a number of shoes cleverly concealed in the closet or in other rooms of the house.

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Make a Difference

"Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are."

Theodore Roosevelt

I really like the idea of this quote. I think it applies to everyone, everywhere. We all can do our part, with whatever resources or abilities we posses, to make the world a nicer place. A little thoughtfulness can make a big difference. This week I was happy to use my crafting abilities to make a difference. 

It started with an e-mail from Nancy, a volunteer at the United Way of Greater Duluth in Minnesota. They are hosting an event on May 3, called Power of the Purse to raise money for the  Imagination Library, a program that gives a book, at no cost, to kids 5 and under every month to promote literacy and a love of reading. One of the highlights of the evening is a silent auction of purses and bags donated by a variety of people and businesses. I was thrilled to donate two of my handmade bags for the event.

I think that the ability to read is one of the most important skills we can teach our children. A love of reading can provide years of entertainment and education. I can not even begin to tell you how many things I have learned how to do or make because I picked up a book, or got on the internet, and read the instructions. Reading can be such an inspiration.

Thank you, Nancy, for letting me know about this event. I wish the United Way of Greater Duluth the best of luck with their Power of the Purse evening. I'm glad that I was able to help support this great program!

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Faith, Family, Friends, and Fido

It's hard to think of anything that defines us more than faith, family, friends, and fido. This week, my projects revolved around them.

The first was a small painting project for a friend of mine. She was changing the look in her living room and was brave enough to try an idea that I have never attempted in my own home, non-matching picture frames. I've seen designers do this effectively on different TV shows. They always make it seem so easy, but the engineer in me needs to be surrounded by matching, symmetrical elements. Therefore, I have boring matching frames in my house.

My friend however, pulled off the idea flawlessly. She found some fun frames, filled them with great pictures, and arranged them carefully on her wall. For the finishing touch, I painted the words Faith, Family, and Friends to accent her work.

I think we were both very pleased with the finished product. It is a very welcoming display.

Moving on to Fido.

Just in case you didn't know, I have have the most awesome dog ever! She is a Xoloitzcuintle, or Mexican Hairless Dog. You guessed it, she is the dog wearing a scarf on my logo. Although I have never actually made her wear a scarf in real life. She embodies my love of unique and interesting things. She is The Chilly Dog.

She's getting on in years and spends a good portion of her time snuggled in her bed under the built-in desk in our kitchen. She has a bed that fits perfectly in her little lair, but the cover was getting pretty worn and shabby. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a new cover for the bed, so I decided I may as well just make one. I set off for Jo-Ann's to get fabric. I found some fun paw print fleece for one side, and a durable solid cotton blend for the other.

I think she approves and will enjoy many cozy naps on her new bed cover!

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