Of Paper Flowers and other Teacher’s Gifts

Teacher’s Gifts…Ah, that mind boggling category that comes around every school year a few times annually. Thank God for Pinterest. I love it for its massive inventory of ideas and then some. We have always done handmade teacher’s gifts along with the quintessential gift cards. This year hasn’t been any different. My 11 yr. old loved making the special gift for his teacher as did my 8 yr. old, for the Valentine day, for hers. Here are pictures of some of the gift projects we DIY’d for them. Pretty sweet!

Hope you will enjoy it. Do share pictures under comments, of any DIY gifts you do for your teachers.



Crafting n then some!

Hallelujah! I am back. I know I say this with every post! Guess, some folks are just not cut out to be on top of their regular posts on social media. Case in point, yours truly. The one bright spot on that is though, that we do a lot of crafting, baking, art, writing, and teaching here at our home to compensate for our do-nothingness on social media especially blogging.

We have been busy bees and been doing a lot of artsy stuff. I did complete another painting. The kids meanwhile did more than a few, courtesy of being in my art class. They are doing great and improvising on their pencil sketching and painting skills. They have understood the basics of art pretty well and rattle off about shades, tints, neutrals, hues, values, elements of art, all in one breath. Which I think is quite an accomplishment by the way. They are also getting used to talking about various artists and their incredible art. I love that some of this is taught at the school too. I think the public schools do a great job of inculcating the love of art in children. Both my 11 yr. old son and 8 yr. old daughter adore art. Some of their favorite school projects are the ones where they could use their creativity and come up with a unique perspective on a project.

Since October (which is when I blogged last), we have been through quite a few class parties, teacher’s gifts as well as art classes at home. All of these required some sort of creative twist or two. I am sharing pictures of some of these art projects. Hope you will enjoy viewing them.

Until next time…which hopefully would be sooner than later!



The elusive tree-minus Treehouse

Yes! Our tree house aka the clubhouse is finally done! Phew…..what a ride its been. From some rough, old pallets to this tiny house. We love it.

So, I was thinking the other day that maybe the reason I got so obsessed with this project is because we have been watching “Tiny House Living” and “Tiny House Hunters” on HGTV which probably stoked my obsession with the tree house. It doesn’t help that the kids started watching “Tree House Masters” on Animal Planet & “Tree House Guys” on DIY network around the time that we started building this bitty thing. Talk about pressure from our little bosses (rolling eyes here). As they say, all’s well that ends well. We are hoping that this tiny house will be part of a whole new set of memories that the kids will create with their friends or by themselves as they sneak an indulgent snack or two and some sugar laden fruit juice or even candies to pour over some interesting books with adventure and mystery much like their own time in there.

Here are some pictures of the little house. We can’t wait to make a sweet, fragrant garden around our Tiny House come Spring : )

untitled (62) untitled (63) untitled (64)

Adventures in 5th Grade

My first born is now in his last year of elementary school. We have mixed feelings about this. The fact that next year he will be in middle school sort of hits home the fact that losing the ‘elementary” school title makes it official that he is no longer a little kid but an aspiring teenager! Whoa…where did that come from? Don’t get me wrong, 5th grade has been great. I am finally a room Mom this year. Figured that for my son’s last year at elementary school, I could do this. I have volunteered at the school and kids classrooms always but never wore the Room Mom crown. I am glad though that I committed to it this year. We get to plan the big graduation and other fun stuff for their last year of elementary school. Yay!

So, just the other day, my son sprang a surprise on me. He got off the school bus and told me he was running for President! I did a double take on that. So up until now our school has not had a student council or any student officers, so this is a wonderful, pleasant surprise. Preparation for his nomination speech has reached a crescendo and tonight we finalized on his pitch speech to get a formal nomination. If he wins that, he will be debating with the other two candidates and then the voting happens and the finale. The President shall be chosen and the Student Council will come into being. I can imagine all of us going crazy with the campaign posters if he wins the nomination. We will be all over Pinterest and our art supplies, putting our best artist skills to use. My 8 year old is so excited that she is already making flyers and posters for big brother much to his chagrin and even rallying her friends to his side : ) Little sisters are the best, aren’t they? I speak here from experience ; )

Here is a snippet of his speech. Irrespective of the outcome, I am so proud of him. He came up with the Ari_SCT_Speech
speech on his own as well as thought of the agenda all by himself.

What do you think? Would he get the nomination?

Next blog post, we will be back to the clubhouse aka the ‘non-tree’ tree house. I still owe you all the final pictures : )



Refresh and Re-Use

As it so happens, even though the clubhouse is done, thanks to hurricane Joaquin and all the rain it brought along with it, I have been unable to take decent pictures…sigh…I had the blog post ready en all but sans pictures it did not make sense to post it.

So, instead, I did a quick project to keep the rainy day blues away. The kids table that I had bought almost a decade back after my son was born had been staring me in the face with its little toddler pout. The baby toys are long gone along with the little toy trucks and construction kits that were the theme for the play room back then. As my daughter came along, we kept the cutesy table with its little toy trucks etc. on it since she seemed to enjoy it. But now with the kids at 8 and 10 yrs. old, their interests more along the lines of action figures, video gaming, dolls, pretend play, board games and lego, the table really was in need of growing up as well aka a makeover. I decided to do something that wouldn’t start looking childish in a few years, and would carry them through their tweenuntitled (56) untitled (57) years. And so, this is what I came up with the leftover paint. What do you think? Its settled down quite well in it’s surroundings and is commanding the room like it belongs in it.

That’s it for now. Until my next post then.

Stay creative and keep creating!

The Poppy Chair

It’s all about the chair. The Poppy chair.

I always get caught up in myriad projects all at once. There are a million ideas flitting about in my head and accumulating. Instead of sorting them out in the order of preference, I always end up diving head long into multiple projects. From hoarding up on surprise thrift store, yard sale finds to my DIY and makeover projects, its hard to keep up. Its tougher than it sounds. I am working on it though. One project at a time. Next up, is the completion of kids clubhouse that I blogged about last time.

As I mentioned in one of my blog posts back in February (yikes) , I scored a mid century modern chair which was just too gorgeous to pass up on. The idea was to paint it and reupholster the seat cushion. While the painting happened soon after I brought it home, the fabric for the cushion was another story. After months of procrastinating and thinking that I will design my own fabric for it, I relented and just ordered something off of Spoonflower. This most amazing website lets you design and get your own fabric printed as well as has a vast array of fabrics in every theme or color you can think of. Since I love poppies and they are so reminiscent of 50’s-60’s to me (don’t ask why..maybe the opium vibe that I get from it ), I went with a mid century modern poppy kind of print. It works perfectly.

I also had some cool mirrors that were thrift store finds which I painted and used to make a cozy, little corner for my Poppy chair. Yes, its been nicknamed “The Poppy Chair”. It commands attention and is in general quite demanding. I am attaching a picture. Let me know what you all think. I adore this new corner. Did I mention before, its all about the Chair? Even the cast of Game of Thrones would agree with me….their chair has had bloodshed follow it, while mine is pretty harmless and in general evokes feelings of creativity and happiness. So much better ; )

untitled (49)untitled (55)

Time really does Fly…believe it!

How is it that one month has passed since my last post? I had resolved to be more regular with my blog but somehow the time just flew by. I think we use the phrase “time flies” so loosely without realizing that actually, magically and unbelievably, time does beat us each time. Sigh…

Kids are back at school and the Summer camps are a thing of the past. Before my Fall Art classes start, I used whatever free time I could salvage and embarked on a new project. This one is for the kids. Its a treehouse minus the tree! Ok, so its a clubhouse as the kids call it or a backyard playhouse but why get into technical terminology when any and all of these words scream fun! My poor husband did not know what he was signing up for! It all started during the Summer vacation when the kids and I made one of our many trips to the local public library. As you have probably guessed, we are still big on actual physical books and not much for e-books. We or rather I, checked out this book titled “Housebuilding for Children” thinking it will keep kids busy and I will give them some wood pallets and scrap wood etc. to tinker around in the garage. But, no sooner had I got the book home that I realized my folly. Soon I was hearing things from the garage that sounded like “Mom, can I use the saw?”, “Mom, I want to hammer something”….oh well, that ended pretty fast. We had to take it up a notch and get some muscle power in there. Why buy something when you can make it yourself. We obviously like to make things just a wee bit difficult or lets just say challenging, for ourselves. Makes life that much more interesting. Ha. In steps Daddy..completely in the dark and not knowing what to expect. From there on started a laundry list of materials needed, construction plans, math tutorials and lot of enthusiastic neighborhood kids who wanted to help. After some hits and misses, we have a pretty decent house up. Sure its missing the roof, the window frames, the front step, the landscaping, and the interior decorations but all in good time.untitled (29) untitled (25)

Give us couple more weeks and you shall see what two amateur carpentry enthusiasts along with two little minions can accomplish with their extremely limited wood working skills but intensely high motivation to create something from a scratch.

Do you have any ideas about how we should finish the roof?

Back from the dead and yes its Summer!

Back from the dead! I am not even going to talk about my extended absence from my blog. I think I have truly reached new heights when it comes to blogger disappearances! To admit I am ashamed about it would be truly an understatement. But, shame can’t hold me back….

I have been having a busy summer. Amongst other things, I started teaching art or rather STEAM art part time at a new academy (NoVA Enrichment Academy) near home. For those of you who are not familiar with STEAM, its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) with infusion of art in it. Pretty neat eh? The kids are hilarious and I love how they twist and shape each art assignment to their own interpretation. These are kids ranging in age group from 6-8 years and as you can imagine their imaginations and creativity are boundless and not yet hampered by conventional ways of thinking. Sometimes I feel, we get boxed into the conventionality and lose our perspective somewhat. We did various projects based on science concepts and wove them into the art tapestry. The results were incredible! Here are a couple of pictures that I think you all will enjoy. There’s tons more stuff to share especially considering the amount of time I have been absconding..but I will get to it slowly. Don’t want to make this post too long and boring. I need you back the next time : )untitled (20)untitled (19)untitled (16)

A love affair with a dining table!

Sorry for being MIA for so long. We were out of the country vacationing for what felt like forever! Finally home and getting back into swing of things, as they say. Its hard to believe how much stuff can pile up when one is busy vacationing in a far away land. It was a total technology detox for me as well. Hard as it was, I had decided that I won’t be doing any blogging, FB, texting or even emailing (unless it was a life or death situation, which as I realized it never is…we create it for ourselves). It was blissful to not think about updates, posts or pictures..mine or someone else’s! But, having said that, I am happy to be back in the era of technology. Everything is good in moderation, wouldn’t you say?

Moving on, here’s something I have been meaning to share. I am so totally in love with my new dining table. For the longest time I have been obsessing about reclaimed wood and having a table that comes with an interesting story. Boy, did I find one..or rather got one made! Oh how I love to tell this story. As luck would have it, I chanced upon Bryan. He is a carpenter or rather an artist who works out of his workshop in Staunton, VA. Believe it or not, he is a 12th generation direct descendent of Mr. John Alden, who incidentally was one of the carpenters on the ship Mayflower. This just keeps getting better and better, wouldn’t you agree? The wood from our table comes from an Apple Orchard from the 1840’s. To say that the wood has a lot of character would be an understatement. It has beautiful mill marks from a sash saw, and most of the wood used in the table was part of the white pine wood joist from the barn, that came from an over 300 year old tree. The design I wanted was a simple straight plank table with a trestle base and Bryan suggested doing a keyed mortise and tenon joint. I did not want any wood stains so we just went with simple polyurethane. The cherry on top was Bryan’s family crest burnt into the table as his signature. Now all that is left for me to do is to put all this information down, frame it and display it in my dining area. I can imagine all the fun meals and love that would be shared on and around this unique piece of art.

My current project involves finding dining chairs that would do this beautiful table justice. The hunt is on! Stay tuned for updates on that…hopefully, coming soon.Table3

Hope you will enjoy looking at this table as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. (please ignore the carpet…it was a place filler and a new and improved version has replaced this old thing) ; )

Ciao, until my next post.Table_2 table_base_2

Spring…almost (non technically speaking)

The blackened, salt, and sand infested snow mountains are finally melting. Yay! We can actually see our yard and not just vast expanses of snow that had frozen into a level 10 skating rink ( I am assuming there is something to be said for a skating rink that is more challenging than your average rink). I can hear the birds chirping, the children outside, and happy people everywhere. I do so love Spring.

Since I last posted, my chair project hasn’t progressed all that much. I know, its pretty reprehensible and doesn’t reflect well, but all I can say in my defense is being a perfectionist does have its downfalls – procrastination and taking too long to finish a project being just a couple of them. Nice way of putting it, right? I am looking for that unique, ideal, fabric that till now is only in my head. I need to take it a step further, design it, and get it printed. If you want something unique, that’s what you have to do. Create it! There is this amazing online store by the name of Spoon Flower that does custom fabric printing and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I have tried them and the results were nothing short of exhilarating. Besides designing and getting your own fabric printed, they also have an extensive collection of fabrics for sale, designed by other artists, designers, DIY’ers, decorators, enthusiasts, like yourself.

So, I am off to creating that special print for my chair seat cushion. Also, considering my favorite Downton Abbey and Game of thrones seasons are over, I should have time for it ; ) I need to rant about those in another blog post.Chair_project

I am also attaching a picture of the chair for your viewing pleasure, after I painted it. I am obsessed with turquoise. I think it looks great and would make a statement in any room once the cushion gets the makeover as well.

What do you think? Does the color speak to you? Its been saying sweet nothings to me in its bare bones, skeletally avatar. Hang in there bud, your pal “the cushion” is not too far behind!

Until the next rant or project … Whichever happens first.