Organizing Craft workshop and designing masks.

Did you know, not every great artist can be good teacher.

Arts and Crafts are a very personal affair and very few of us have the flair to “teach”.

Most of us are excellent at demonstrating our skills as artists and designers but teaching is a skill, all on its own and not all of us are equipped with what it takes to be an motivational teacher.

I believe a ‘good’ teacher is one who can inspire you, one who has patience, and one who is prepared to accept the chaff (those who may not be exceptional talented but who are zestful and eager to learn ) as well as the wheat grain.  Alot of people believe that you have to be born with artistic skills – but I don’t adhere to that theory. Skills can be cultivated and talent can be honed.  Everyone who stumbles upon a craft-kit, is not looking to build something magnificent – but he might find comfort in simply ‘trying’ to build something abstract out of it – maybe that is his prowess. That’s where the creative adroitness of the instructor comes handy.

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I’m going to talk more about crafts here, rather than arts.

I have been teaching crafts for the last 12 or so, years, in schools, art institutes, with corporate organizations, and one aspect that stands out in “crafts” is that, alot of planning and organisational skills are required for a workshop or class.

Some of the aspects, you should figure out before committing to a workshop are :-

  • The length of the activity
  • The age of the group
  • The ability of the group
  • Will any assistance be provided for a group larger than 7 or 10 participants ?
  • The venue and availability of wash basin, electric socket.
  • Hanging equipment if project needs to be hung for drying.
  • Leg work on the theme :- research the theme, source photographs, make a fancy power point presentation and have a small write-up to introduce the background story to the students
  • Plan all the supplies needed.
  • Inorder to calculate all the supplies and quantities needed, I suggest to ‘actually’ work this activity out and figure out how much time and the quantity of supplies needed. Then add that by the number of participants.  And remember to carry spares.
  • Visiting the venue atleast once before the workshop is a good idea. And it also helps to develop a smooth rapport with the coordinators.
This December, I was invited to give a workshop at DUCTAC located at Mall Of Emirates.

Crafts are so much fun but it can be challenging when we coordinate the activity with the curriculum or in this case, the theme.

The theme was Threads:  A link between two totally different cultures or countries, of a peculiar habit, tradition, game, food, ritual, structure etc. Obviously, I had to come up with a craft based on it as well.

I found this theme very exciting and after a day of relentless research, i was fascinated with what I discovered. While at it, I also realized, what separates us, are our differences, while in our similarities, we find solace and unity.

Here are just a few of the similarities I found, in my research. (ofcourse, there must be a few hundred more !!)

  • China – India                                                            ⇔ Kites

    Both the countries are known for the zest with which they enjoy the sport of playing with Kites. However, kites in China, are much more elaborate and designed in various shapes, much unlike India.

  •  U.S.A – Russia – China – Burma                       ⇔ Bells

    Amongst many other countries, these four countries are known to have Bells playing a remarkable and important historical role.

  • Egypt – Mexico – Cambodia – China                ⇔ Pyramid structure

    Although the Egyptian Pyramids are the most popular structures known worldwide, Mexico, Cambodia and China are also known to have their own ancient mystical prism structures.

  • Africa – India – China – Japan                           ⇔ Masks

    Different cultures symbolize the mask with various deities, animal, spirit or human. Made from ceramic, wood etc, communities use masks for weddings, funerals, coming of age. They ask for spirit blessings, protections etc. They use it to tell stories and impart wisdom. Used in puppetry as well as ceremonial celebrations.

  • Australia –  USA Arizona                                    ⇔ Boomerang

    Although the earliest boomerang was designed in Australia, it is widely used and played with in Arizona – USA.

  • Mexico – China                                                     ⇔ Bowls

    (Taco Bowl / Bowl to eat rice and noodles) Rice is one of the staple grains in both Mexico and China – Infact they handicraft their own bowls to eat it in !

  • Bali – Mauritius                                                    ⇔ Woven baskets  

    Both Bali and Mauritius weave their own baskets but in different designs and colors and techniques.

I decided that my subject would be Masks.  It intrigued me just as much it did, to the children.  I provided the children with cardboard after the power point presentation on how, why, when and where masks are worn,  all over the globe and then asked them to design their own masks, providing them inspiration and a whole lot of recyclable material. It was amazing what the children came up with – far beyond expectation. mask-making-craft-3

Here are a few samples from one of the groups.

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One of the reasons, I love this project is becoz it helps children play and utilize scraps of foam, cardboard, buttons, macaroni, foam cups, beads, thereby realizing and understand the main concept of reusing items found around the house.

Clearly the kids enjoyed it and got to take a little of History and Geography back home too !!

I believe imparting  knowledge and information is very gratifying.

I hope I have been able to inspire you into trying something new, something unique and something fun today. If so.. please do write to me.

Thank you for visiting me today. Trust you will stay a while and leave some love in your comments.

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Ikea Pigeon Hole Organizer Makeover Tutorial

Ikea pigeon hole organizer makeover

I love the Ikea pigeon hole organizer.  Not necessary for functionality but I just love the look of tiny pockets ! This pigeon hole organizer  has been in the family for a couple of years.

Buddy would keep his hot wheels cars in them.  Eventually He outgrew the toys and I was only too happy to be the next recipient. Ofcourse, by now, you already know, that few things get dumped in our home, until and unless the cats chew on them or pee on them !!!

A little tender, love and makeover is all it kept screaming out to me for ~ until finally I decided to decoupage it.

Decoupage sounds like a very fancy French word but in reality, it just means to stick objects with paper cut outs. So don’t let the French term, intimidate you 🙂

The surface needs to be cleaned and sanded well. A layer of modge podge or any such medium can be applied. Then you can cut out pieces of tissue or paper and stick it on carefully. Make sure to get any air bubbles out.  When your certain, that its dried, apply another coat of modge podge to seal it. This is the tutorial in a nut shell.

Here’s the pictorial 🙂

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Hideous, isn’t it ??? Whats the connection between little boys and the skull face with two cross bones, still remains a mystery to me !!

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Ugly paint sticking out from our previous wall paint on its edges.

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First, I gathered design paper, in various patterns and colors and decided how the collage should be placed. This project is excellent at getting rid of good by small scraps of paper !

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Took measurements and decided which cutouts would contrast with which patterns. Then came my drawer of amazing edge punches ! Oh how I love Martha stewart 🙂 ok ok Fiskars, I love you too 🙂

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One after the other, I distressed the edges and kept covering them all with modge podge. (I am quite the distress-addict 🙂

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For the top, side and bottom, I painted some off-white synthetic paint. Two coats got me the results I wanted.

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Finally, I coated one layer of modge podge on the pigeon holes.              AND ………………………………………….. VOILA !!!!!!!!

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Talking of decoupage, If your looking for decoupage supplies in Dubai. I am happy to recommend the decoupage specialist, Creativa Middle East. Located at Times Square, they have a huge array of art and decoupage supplies. Definitely the go-to place for Decoupage.

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I love the transformation and hope you liked it too.

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I am linking this project to the following parties HERE.

Savvy Southern Style  , Between Naps on the porch.

Have you attempted any transformations lately ? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Thank you for dropping by.

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Wooden Crate Makeover ~ Tutorial.

This wooden crate is from ELC had been a resident in Eman’s room (the youngest son)  till last year,  where a couple of Action Men has established their headquarters in it.  As Eman grew older so did his collection. I made him a more suitable place as the headquarters of his Action Men. (that’s another later post)

You already know that very few storage items find their way to my trash can, hence that also meant that the little box was again at the mercy of yours truly.  I decided to work on its appearance before qualifying it to enter the “girl” domain (my craft studio)

Naturally (darlings as they are)  my boys always come to my rescue  (or should I just say, I have my ways of persuading them !!) We got all those hideous stickers out, alittle sanding, 2 coats of matt pink paint, some stencils on the longer edges and some chalk paint on the shorter edge and we have a pleasant looking crate !

 

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I think, all the pictures are in the way of a self-explanatory pictorial. I hope you like the new look of the charming little crate. It has been housing several tiny buckets of paint brushes, copic markers, and stationery.

I am sharing this crate transformation with the following link parties here.

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Upcycle Cans to 8 Tealight designs.

Upcycling cans is such creative fun. However alittle caution while cutting the cans is necessary.

I have made 8 different designs out of the cans. Ofcourse, there are many more designs which can be created but for now, I am pleased with these designs.

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Very straight forward ~ just cut the cans and snipe the ends to leave a pointed end. I masked the end with a little tape and spray painted the rest. After it dried (which is relatively soon). I peeled the tape and here’s what it looks like.
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I’ve cut thinner stripes here. Once cut and spread on a flat surface. I folded the stripes inwards in half. Its quite simple but has a lovely effect. Then I spray painted it.
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This one is probably the easiest. I cut the stripes wider and then spread it on a flat surface. Then I masked tape at two random measurements and spray painted it. when dried, I had the tapes removed to leave me with this lovely effect.
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This probably looks abit complicated but its really quite easy. Like the rest, I cut thinner stripes and instead of folding it inward, I had them fold inward horizontally and hide behind the alternate stripe. kept continuing till all of them were folded and then spray painted it.
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This one is slightly tricky. Cut 1/3 of the can ~ all except two stripes on the sides. Attach those stripes on the top with a stapler and spray paint the can.
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Here I have just curled the stripes slightly down wards to give it a spider effect.
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Using the end of a paint brush, roll the stripes inward and voila ! Spray paint.
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Around 1 cm from the bottom of the can, make straight cuts toward the top. continue to do so. Once you have cut enough stripes, just squeeze the can gently to form the lantern shape. Give a gentle pull to help get the stripes out. Spray paint.
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The tab of the drink can be used to hang it from a branch or a stand.

8 upcycled cans tealight holder designs          

I’m sharing these tealight holders with my  favorite parties here.

Do you like to recycle ? Have you made any lanterns or tealight holders lately ?

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Easy Spring Wreath from recycled material ~ Tutorial.

Making a wreath does not and cannot get easier than this !!!

This simple wreath is made from cardboard from cartons, magazine paper, some ribbon and a few handmade flowers from paper, a can of spray paint and some hot glue !! This is again one project that is all about RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE !!

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Cut a cardboard using a bucket rim as stencil and the inside using a large plate. Using a blade make the cut. Apply a thick layer of wood glue and adhere thick stripes of magazine paper rolled up to form a loop. Place the outer circle first followed by the inner circle.
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Once they are all adhered to the wreath, spray paint some color of your desire on it. I have not covered the entire space coz I wanted parts of the print peeping thru the green. Let it dry.
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I made a bunting with some leftover pieces of design paper and ribbon. Adhereing it to the bunting randomly with some hot glue.
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I rolled up some scrap paper and made some flowers and attached them using some hot glue.

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I’m linking this wreath at my favorite hangouts  here.

Thank you for visiting me today. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes today :-

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Repurposed Bedside table to a CAT TREE / Tower.

Hello friends. My last post was about the cat tree that I built with some left over wood.

You already know, there  is no dearth of cats in my home as well as outside my home. Hence, ‘ONE’ cat tree/scratching post is not going to suffice all our needs.  I’m always on the look out  for stuff that can be improvised/repurposed/upcycled and used as a cat home or shelter.

Summers in Dubai can be rather cruel. The stray cats around the house, find protection from the scorching heat under cars or the few trees in our area.

I knew that this summer, I wanted to provide Charlie and Oreo, the kittens outside our yard, a safe space to hide in the afternoon.  The first cat tree had been quite a hit with all my fur babies and it was time to try out something different and better !  God helps those who help themselves couldn’t be far from reality in this case. I found this red bed side table and knew instantly, this was my answered prayer.

That afternoon, I got to work on it ~ ofcourse with my super helpful sons (those lovely boys who are constantly lending a hand to their madly creative mom 😦  )

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So this is how we found it. We removed the leftover drawer and the steel rails too.
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The table was sturdy but missing two drawers. My base had to be very strong so that when the cats jumped on the higher levels, it shouldn’t knock the base and this easily qualified it.

 

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Ofcourse, I dived into my pile of wood and pallets and came up with some pallet wood which was then cut to equal size and glued and nailed to a large piece of thin cork wood. (the kind that forms the back of Ikea Billy bookcases )

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After gluing and nailing all four wood supports, I cut an MDF wood similar in size to the one already used with the same dimensions.
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We then drilled 2/3 screws into the MDF and adhered it the four supports. My son is hammering some nails on the corners for extra strength, This guy is my wing man 🙂
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……..and its already turned night 😦 We nailed the thin side of the ‘trunk’ onto the side table. Then we stapled the pieces of left over carpet onto the two, bases, above.
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Ofcourse we do have a quality inspector, without who’s consent, the product is not released forward 🙂
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Voila !!! There you have it !!
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I stapled a tiny cat toy, made with some yarn ~ Just to lure them into trying out the new ‘hangout’
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My youngest had it trolleyed to the main gate. That’s my Dad in the background. He’s one of my biggest inspirations, whom I have watched for years, churning out amazing projects.
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Found its resting place close to the gate.
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That’s Sofu, sharpening his nails on the carpet ~ exactly like I wanted him to do with it !!
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Miscki is third in line, to inspect the “watch tower” 1st level # checked !
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Second level # checked !! Miski has given her approval too 🙂

 

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I love it when a project works out as I had envisioned it.  I am happy to report that the cat tree/watch tower has survived for the last three months but is inhabited totally by Pepper – my Tom. He has laid his claim on the watch tower. Its his throne becoz its placed at the point of entry into the house. He guards the house from atop the tower !!!  There are times, when I believe, there is a watch dog somewhere inside Pepper and at other times, I convince myself that he’s just a very very very territorial Tom.

What started out as an attempt to make Charlie and Oreo comfortable, turned out to be Pepper’s new turf. Oh well, that just means, I have to work on another cat tree in the near future 🙂

I am linking this cat tree idea to the following link parties here.

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DIY Cat Tree Tutorial.

Once upon a time, we lived in a lovely home at Arabian Ranches with our sons and two cats ~ the Arabian mau, we called Pepper and an elegant but snooty calico called Keiki.

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My handsome 7 year old Pepper. (rather fed up of the constant intrusions in the house )
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My beautiful princess ~ Keiki. Doesn’t she look glamorous ?

After 8 beautiful and blissful years, we moved to Al Warqa house ~ a much larger home and decided that we could earn extra blessings by fostering homeless new-born kittens with their mama in the summer, till they were old enough to be adopted.  Long story short ~ Two little ones who never got adopted last year, are still with me.  ENTER ~ Sofu and Miski.  Sofu is a super friendly but reckless boy while Miski has reservations about EVERYTHING ! While sofu prefers to sleep right on top of my face ~ Miski prefers to remain at a safe distance by my feet !  While Sofu is fearless and highly energetic  ~ Miski fears EVERYTHING !!   They both are loud ~ oh so loud !!! They are such a delight to have around ~ but then, aren’t all cats ??

Introducing ………….. Sofu and Miski  { at 4 months age }

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Sofu and Pepper are the two boys in the house while Keiki and Miski are the girls.

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Pepper and Sofu ~ each claiming his own place on the porch.
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Pepper and Sofu ~ have claimed many a chairs, this way.
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Miski, Sofu and Pepper ~ basking in the sun. They even claimed who would sit infront of the tyre and who would sit behind it.

Pepper my tabby ~ took 3 months to get used to their presence ~ Keiki still cant stand them 😦   Reserved as she is, she just keeps hiding from both of them. The new babies are a year old now, while my older ones are 8 and 7 years respectively.  . . . . . .  and you thought this post was about a Cat tree ?????  Hang on ~ Just kidding ~ IT IS about the CAT TREE  !!

I noticed the turf wars between Miski and Sofu occurring more frequently and decided perhaps giving Miscki her own little space would be a good idea, since Sofu (the boy) is super dominating and super possessive, she always got the shorter end of the stick.  After checking out some of the Cat trees prices in a couple Pet stores ~ I decided I would have to try and build a simple cat tree by myself ~ after all, necessity IS the mother of all inventions !!

So off, I jumped into my pile of planks, pallets and chunks of wood in the backyard and grabbed two large sturdy pieces of mdf.

The base has to be a larger rectangle while the other piece can be 30%  smaller. I had 2 pieces of grey-colored carpet left over from another project which came in handy. I cut out two pieces to the size of the planks.

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Measuring the carpet to the size of the planks.
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Dont try to cut the carpet using a normal scissor ~ It WILL break ! Use an x acto blade or a scissor for fabrics.
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This large piece of wood was chopped down to a short size. This would form the trunk of the tree.
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I marked the center of the rectangular wood to figure out where I would be drilling the holes.
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Before drilling the holes, the carpet needed to be fixed to both the base as well as the roof of the tree. Here, I have applied some white wood glue and let it settle for just a bit.
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After allowing the carpet to stick to the planks, I stapled the edges from all sides ~ this is necessary becoz the cats would be pulling/clawing/scratching the carpet a lot and we wouldn’t want the carpet to get pulled out easily.
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Here both the pieces are ready having been glued and stapled. I let them dry all night.

The next morning ~ I drilled 3 holes in the base of the tree from the side which did not have the carpet attached to it and had the ‘trunk’ attached to it. The same process was carried out for the roof of the tree, but from the side of the carpet. I did not color the trunk, becoz the cats would be using it to stretch and file their nails, anyways.

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As if, she knew all along that this was going to be her favorite spot !! She jumped right on !

And Finally !!!!

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Poor Sofu, is showing just how neglected he’s feeling !! Quite an actor ~ that sofu 🙂

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This project was fun and so creatively gratifying. I loved that my cats appreciate and fully utilize it too.  If you have cats and planks at home and are not intimidated by the drill machine, then you could easily try out this project too.

Don’t you just love such trash to treasure projects ?? I know I do !!

I am linking my cat tree to the following fantastic link parties here, as always.

Thank you for visiting me today ~ I hope you leave alittle inspired.

If you liked what you saw, kindly subscribe to my blog or any of the following media platforms to keep in touch with my current projects and ideas.

Till we meet again ..

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DIY Family Organization Board Tutorial.

Dressing up mundane objects with a little color, some craft paper, few embellishments and alittle TLC gives me a lot of creative satisfaction. Ordinarily we tend to throw a lot of packing material, pieces of fabric, and even things that can be easily recycled. But not me 🙂  A large part of the “junk” is cleaned/washed and stored for future projects and ideas. {and then hubby and I quarrel about the amount of “junk” being stacked up in the shed !! ~ sounds familiar ?}

Jokes apart ~ Its one of those things that I so wish to educate kids about. A little change can go a long way in saving the state Mother Earth is in 😦

This project is totally, an upcycle freak’s dream ~ Everything is recycled in this project ! I made this board a couple of days back when felt the need of an organizational board to keep track of some of the engagements, meals, doctors appointments and reminders for the week ahead.

I didn’t need something fancy ~ just something simple and reliable. I dived into my backyard wood stock and came across this thin sheet of cork wood. It seemed to be perfect. Alittle sanding here and there and it was ready for being dressed.

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I’ve always been a sucker for polka dots and I had just the perfect, bright and happy design paper for the background.

I needed a couple of containers to hold pencils, pins, rubberbands etc ~ I reused milk cartons and some laban cartons to do the job.

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With a little spray paint ~ they really perked up. For a more aesthetic look, I added some scraps of the polka dot cardstock and finished off the look with a few tiny clothespin. Has made an immense difference, isn’t it ??

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Next a few clothespin were modge podged with co-ordinating stripes pattern.

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I also placed one old cork coaster for pinning school circulars or reminders.

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I had this title printed off my printer with some fancy font and layered it over a nice textured bright orange handmade paper.

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Assembling the whole board was really quite easy.  Naturally the title went on top while the rest just fell into the place that could leave enough space to pin things, clip things and hold stuff in the containers.  They were all modge podged ( the word is a verb too !!! ) except for the cork coaster and the milk cartons. For those, I decided to use E6000.

Btw ~ do you know that you do get the duplicate of E6000 ? Trust ‘reliable’ China to come up with ANYTHING duplicate. Its E600 and the tube looks almost exactly similar to the original.

Once everything had dried ~ I modge podged over the board along with everything (embellishments ) again. That gave it a really nice and more professional finish.

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And Voila !!!! Two holes were made on the top of the board {goof up :- those holes would look a lot better and less chipped, had I drilled them instead of hammering them } so as to hang it with a cord.

family organization board tutorial

family organization board

This project took nearly 2 – 3 hours including drying time. And all the materials are recycled so you don’t really have to buy any of the tools or materials. Its readily available in almost all homes.

Do you have an organization board at home ? Would you like to share the picture with me  ?

I’m sharing this board with the following fantastic parties here

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Thank you for visiting me and hope you leave a little inspired 🙂

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Garden Makeover 2 ~ Transforming garden accessories

The first part of this make-over were my initial attempts at making the Concrete Mushrooms which made very attractive pieces scattered in the lawn.

Frankly, when I begin any art or craft or diy project, I don’t have a clear picture of what the outcome “look” would be, but when the finished “look” is close to good, taking all those pictures and making notes etc, of when it was being processed, becomes so worth the while.

I love making tutorials. Its my way of sharing some joy with my readers and it gives me a great sense of achievement when someone finds inspiration, by something, I shared.  So a BIG THANK YOU to all of you, my dear readers, who appreciated and encouraged me with your lovely comments for the CONCRETE MUSHROOMS !

Back to the Garden Makeover :- The other improvements included giving a facelift to some of the accessories that have been an integral part of the garden for several years.

In a country where most old items and furniture are chugged out easily ~ I don’t like the idea of dumping “things” if there is considerable “life” left in it. I prefer to give mine alittle TLC,  some shine and hopefully some better days ahead for them.

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Dubai receives some very harsh treatment from the Sun for a good 5-6 months. It can become incredibly unbearable for any idle object to sit in an outdoor area and soak up the direct sunlight with temperatures running anywhere between 45* – 49*Celcius for hours, endlessly.  Most of our garden chairs, glass tables, benches and accessories bear the brunt of the merciless Sun.

So this October, I armed myself with some sanding paper and a couple of cans of spray paint and “got my sons to do the needful” !!!!

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The bench was a real sore eye ! So my oldest got around to sanding it with the sanding machine. I cannot emphasis just how important sanding is for wood or anything rusted as well. It is time consuming but it almost renews life into these pieces, let alone the smoothness achieved.  Each one of the boys, took turns to paint a couple of coats of white paint on the bench.

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My Eldest, buddy working his charm on the bench 🙂

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Two days later ~ we had a beautiful white “shabby chic looking” bench !!

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These Ikea lanterns had gotten so rusty and ugly that it was incredibly difficult to sand the nooks and cranny of these lanterns. But I wasn’t ready to present them to the garbage bin 🙂  ~  I think, the boys did a good job considering its previous hideous state.

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Not bad ~ what say ?

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I have used this tray earlier to display some seashells ~ I have something else planned up for it this time round 🙂

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What a drastic change, isn’t it ?

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These lantern stands have been a part of my garden for quite a few years and had undergone transformations earlier too, but I think, I like this one much  better :-

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Needless to say, just how gross the stands look !! and how pretty the transformation turned out !

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Last but not the least, we bought these lovely pine cones from out trip to England last summer. I spray painted it with silver color (I know it looks like white but it is silver)

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So there you have it !! A little facelift can make a huge difference. I was trying to add up all the little transformations that I had made, to bring about a sense of aesthetics and charm in the garden and porch.

Please tell me which transformation is the best  ( in your opinion) :-

  1. the bench
  2. the lanterns
  3. the stand
  4. the pinecones

I  would like to share my makeovers with the following friends and their lovely blog parties :-

Thank you for visiting me today. Your comments add a lot of encouragement to my creative endeavors.

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