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.

A bit of this, a bit of that!

A lot of thoughts going on in my mind right now, the upcoming Winter storm in our area, the Downton Abbey’s latest episode, the DIY chair project that’s been staring at me, the 4th season DVD for Game of Thrones, kids, my work, etc etc….

Yes, I am perplexed with the assortment of stuff that goes on in my mind too!

As I was watching Downton, I can’t help but be mesmerized with the simplicity or rather the mundaneness of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the show. For all its stiff-English-upper-lip emotions, its staff drama, the family squabbles, the ever morose Lady Edith, the rudeness of Lady Mary, the quick witted and most-entertaining Lady Violet, Mrs. Crawley’s new romance or the mystery that’s Mr. Barrow, I find it all truly fascinating. My favorite character is Lady Violet Crawley, the Countess of Grantham. Her quick witted, timely and ever so appropriate come backs and witticisms make the show what it is for me. I was ready to burst into tears and go cold turkey on the show when last season she almost died. I was rooting for her like she was my very own grandmother! Touching….So far, this season has been somewhat slow to the uptake. Last night’s episode though made Ms Bunting look like the epitome of respectfulness towards the Grantham family members. The Grey boys and their absolutely detestable monologue on Lord Grantham’s dining table targeted at their soon-to-be-stepmom, left everyone stunned for words! Oh, how I love the show! Can’t wait to see what the next episode will bring.

Along with the cold emotions of the show, we have some seriously colder weather coming our way as well. If you know Virginians, you probably know that we don’t deal with winter well. In fact, we loathe it. A mere mention of a snowflake throws the entire VA population into a crazy spree of grocery stock-piling and a demonic dash to the gas station. Yes, if you didn’t get my drift, we don’t like winter so much. We do like the sledding and all of the fun that comes along with the snow but snow by itself, doesn’t sit well with us. And oh that accompanying cold, that’s just not acceptable.

As for my DIY project, here is the picture of the chair I scored a few weeks back. Its a beautiful mid-century modern chair that I want to paint and reupholster as an accent piece for one of the rooms. I am planning on finishing it in the next few days. Will update you all with the pic as soon as I get done. Chair

Ciao for now. Next time I will write about how torturous it is to wait for Game of Thrones 4th season to be released on DVD. I might need some sinfully chocolate chocolate cake to not let this torture completely destroy my life ; )

Of bickering and squabbling!

a5b7f00579d3071ee296ee9096c19e64If you are a parent who has more than one child, you can probably relate to this blog post’s title! Winter is the worst. With all of the snow days thrown in and all this energy to burn, the little angels turn into sort of demonic beings that want to devour anything that happens to come in their path and looks at you askance when challenged. We’ve all had those days and I am having one right now. As much as I love my kids, there are times during the day when I wish for nothing more than to curl up with a good book and retreat into a peaceful, quiet corner of the house. A warm cup of freshly brewed chai tea would not be turned down at that point : ) But all of that is a dream that only comes to fruition when the school’s in session and the little kids are doing the robot dance there ; )

During my 10 minutes of skimming over the newspaper today I came across this interesting article where a Mom who had got tired and wary of her children’s bickering’s struck this moment of brilliance in a unique, new idea. She thought of an award system to calm the kids down and to motivate them to be at their best behavior. This is no “you get a candy if you are good” award. These are a series of special commemorative plates that are used as special awards and have inspiring words written on them telling the kids how much their good sibling or Samaritan behavior, is appreciated. You can read more about it here.

I am hoping to strike up a genius idea like this one of these days. In the meantime, there’s Pinterest and screaming! The rate at which the kids are growing, which incidentally seems to be like a weed or is it bamboo? Well, you get the idea, I think their hostility towards each other will be over sooner than I can come up with that multi million dollar idea. That’s all for good, though. I can keep my sanity instead of the money. What say? Having said all that, I still wouldn’t change anything about our wonderful life or our precious kids. Each of their characteristic is as unique as they come. I have embraced it as I embraced my “scary Mommy” avatar.

What idea of brilliance would you think of next? Do tell.

Mermaids and Ballerinas

IMG_3385We are on day 3 of our snow days here in Virginia. The kids are of course beyond excited as even though there is no snow (just freezing rain), the prospect of watching a movie on a weekday (maybe) is wauntitled (2)y too exciting. Usually we do some crafting and art on our days off but today is one of those days where after exhaustively working on their duly appointed homework, they chose watching TV over crafting. Yes, I am a hard task master who before dispensing of the rewards demands sacrifices from her loyal subjects. Its for their own good if you must judge.

Since I am big on art and crafts as well, I notice that my 7 yr old daughter is quite happily following suite. How wonderful it is, when your child tells you that they aspire to be like you. A designer, a creator, a crafter or as my daughter lovingly refers to me as “Clay Maker”. She is my biggest fan and admirer.

We did a couple of crafts. Love Pinterest for it has a limitless supply of cool ideas for anyone who has a glue gun, odds n ends, beads, buttons, rock, paper, scissors…(shoot)..Just kidding, and a healthy imagination, along with of course, excited, craft loving kids! My 7 yr old and I decided to do some papier mache ballerinas to hang in her room along with our paper flowers. It was so much fun to rip the tissue paper, soak it in glue and slather it all on the ballerina wire frame. Here’s a picture of the outcome of our labor and sweat. What do you think? I think it adds a lot of charm and movement to her little reading corner.  She got so inspired that she also ended up sketching and coloring this totally awesome picture of a mermaid as a bonus.

Maybe next time we will try a boy version and maybe make some super heroes out of this! That would be pretty cool.

Ciao…until our next snow day and next craft hack from Pinterest!

Here’s a link to the pinterest pin we used.


The Smell of a brand New Year

Now that the champagne bottlese3d0a3522464280ad15fd7e5f9e2f4a4 are in the recycle bin and the heels have been put away to tend to sore feet, the time for reflection is all in the past as well! We are headlong into a brand, spanking new year. My very first resolution of the year was to make sure I blog on the first day of the year. Ya, that really did not go as planned. How do folks do it? I am in awe of bloggers who are able to find enough time during the day to put their thoughts together in a creative, awe inspiring, methodical and original way. Where do you get the content from people? Are you doing a DIY project a day? Don’t you have kids who tell you that you spend way too much time on your smart gadgets and laptops? What am I doing wrong? My other resolution that evolved out of my first failed one, is to understand this mystical fact. How?

The year is off to a great start though. We danced and sang our way into the year. Ate too much, drank too much, and laughed too much! I have to say that if we did this the entire year, I would say the year turned out great. I do have a long list of things I want to achieve this year. I am sure you will hear my rants about some or possibly all of those as the year goes along. For now, I just want to wish all of you a very Happy and Healthy 2015. They don’t say Health is Wealth for nothing.

I sign off today’s post with this beautiful and well known poem of Lord Tennyson’s.

 In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]
Lord Alfred Tennyson, 18091892
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

No Pine needles here!

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Its Christmas Eve! Yay! I am all done with gift wrapping…yes, an achievement in itself since its not even midnight yet. The Mister helped with the Santa letters and true to his style it was typed out and not handwritten. Guess, Santa needs to catch up to technology and modern times like everyone else. And here I was all these years using my not so good hand to painstakingly write letters to the kids from Santa….sigh…how is it that Dads always take the shortest route possible and still make it to the top of the kids list? Hmmm….

So, the kids have been asking me for a long time to get a Christmas tree and I have been having them make do with decorating the mantle or doing decorations around the house. Not that I have anything against the tree. I just did not want to add to my long list of things to do, even if its once a year. Knowing myself, I would be going crazy trying to outdo my own best efforts where decorating the tree was concerned. Or worst still actually killing myself to make those unique, one-of-a-kind, pinterest worthy ornaments! (Not saying that’s not going to happen still). But, tonight I caved in and just put something real quick together. My love of tree stumps and holiday lights all combined and got together to create this party on my family room wall. I love it..what do you think? Don’t mind the birthday wrapping and don’t judge or maybe do : ) Though not a tree hugger, I hate to see perfectly good wrapping paper being torn to shreds and thrown in trash so I save and recycle the paper most of the times (only exception being Christmas : ) Aren’t I generous?) or even throw in some newspaper…a bit of juicy news while unwrapping never hurt anyone ; ) I think the bits and pieces of various gift wrapping paper makes it that much more colorful and gives the “gifts under the tree” unique character. You know me, all about the unique stuff!

Can’t wait to see the kids reactions tomorrow morning. I am as excited as them for Christmas morning. Their generosity and love makes me swell with pride. My little man who is down with flu, actually took money out of his savings and wrapped that for all of us since he couldn’t get us a gift and my little Miss Feisty, got after me to take her shopping so she could spend her money buying gifts for us. (Gift of the Magi story comes to mind here). I am so proud of both of them. I wish their generosity towards everyone grows with them.

Very Merry Christmas wishes to all and a wonderful and creative 2015. Create beautiful new memories and cherish the old ones. Signing out as I need to make sure Santa makes his appearance…wink wink…downing the cookies and milk as I sign off. Lucky me!

Of cookies and treats!

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Love this time of the year. The home smells heavenly with all of scrumptious, sweet, delectable, rich, and savory baking going on. The decorations make the home look so festive and jolly. I sound like quite the Martha Stewart, don’t I?! Well, I did do a whole lot of baking. Cookies mostly and kids took care of the decorations. I am sharing a picture of the awesome job they did decorating the mantle. Didn’t they do just great? Although, I have to admit, I had to hold myself back and not obsessively rearrange and add to what they did with their sweet, little hands with so much thought and planning between the two of them. So proud of my two munchkins. But when you have obsessive, compulsive need to do things your way, its hard to let go! Being a Mom though does help you turn it down a notch : )

The cookies turned out awesome and were shared with the very thankful staff at the kids school. The ones I have at home are being devoured by yours truly, more than anyone else. And this is when I don’t even like cookies that much….sigh, doesn’t look good, does it? I will definitely be making it to Santa’s naughty list if I keep at it. I do need to share the recipes with you though. Here are the links to the recipes on epicurious. I love their recipes and most of the times they are right on mark. The reviews by the site users are a great resource for recipe modifications/additions as well. Let me know if you put a twist of your own on the recipes. Happy Baking!



Time Warp: To the 1930!

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As promised, here is a glimpse of our Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic’s recreation attempts. When it comes to elementary school kids you can imagine the silliness and fidgeting that comes along with it! Boy, was it tough to convince them to get into the costumes and on top of that to look serious and rather stern! As the story goes, it was Mr.Wood’s sister, Nan, in the painting and she was not happy about being made to stand next to an older gentleman, who was Mr. Wood’s dentist Dr. Byron McKeeby, and made to look like his wife. She wanted everyone to know that she was the “Farmer’s daughter” and not his wife. Once the painting was released to the public, a lot of folks were shocked at the depiction of an older gentleman with a much younger wife! Wood, bowed to the public and changed his story behind the painting to depict an Iowan Farmer and his daughter. It’s one of the few paintings to achieve iconic cultural status, along with Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Edward Munch’s “The Scream”. It is one of the most reproduced and parodied images ever made and has inspired as many spoofs & controversies.

Now that I have explained the intrigue and story behind the American Gothic, back to our recreation. So after multiple trips to the area thrift stores, we managed to get some similar looking clothes for our costumes in the painting. A bit of rick rack here and a bit of adding the collar there and voila..we came close!  Another Mom painted the backdrop and what a fabulous job she did of it : ) We had so much fun having the kids pose for this recreation, though if you will ask them, they will say “not so much”….but, they will come around once they see the results. I insist on it.

What do you think? Does it look like the real deal? Also, here’s a link to a creative spoof SNL did on the painting!

There is no blue without yellow and without orange!

Its a beautiful thing to be truly inspired by a work of art and its essence. For me the artist who invokes countless feelings and emotions, is Vincent..of the Van Gogh fame. For as long as I can remember, I have been crazy about him and his work. His art has that surreal and mesmerizing quality that enthralls you just by looking at it. He was an enigma. A genius who was misunderstood and died oh so young. Imagine, if he had lived just a few more years, what more evocative works of art he might have produced. The reason I write about him today, is because as I mentioned in one of the previous posts, I am working on an art booth for our school. Last year for the same booth, we did Van Gogh as one of the artist who’s self portrait we recreated with kids. It was such a success and the results were nothing short of true beauty. This year we are doing the American artist Grant Wood and recreating his painting the “American Gothic”. Will post the outcomes of that soon. For now, here is a glimpse of the Van Gogh’s portrait recreated at our school.

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