DIY Embroidered Dishtowels

Update: This blog has moved! You can check out this post here.

Those who read this blog regularly know that I love to travel. It is particularly meaningful to me when I am able to get to know the culture and lives of the people. There is no better way to get to know a country than to stay with people that know it well, and I have been fortunate to have been welcomed into the homes of many around the world. I always try to bring a small gift that is meaningful and represents something from my little corner of the world.

I have found that dish towels are something that everyone can use. They are light and easy to fit in a suitcase. Best of all, they are customizable. You can put anything on them. There are many patterns to buy, but I prefer to draw my own. This is one that I made for doña Rosa, the woman I stayed with in Costa Rica.

DIY embroidered dish towel

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DIY Photo Booth

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My brother and sister in law had a photo booth at their wedding. Everyone enjoyed it so much that I was determined to have one at my wedding as well. Unfortunately, when I priced them, the cheapest one that I could find cost $1000 for the evening. That was more than I had left in my budget, but my desire to have a photo booth did not wane as time went on.

diy photobooth

Then, I found How To: DIY Your Wedding Photobooth at A Practical Wedding. This post gave me the confidence that I would be able to do it myself. I started googling “do it yourself photo booth” and found that there were almost as many ways to make one as there were people who tried. I was able to make a photo booth for under $100.

Update: This blog has moved! To read the rest of this post, go here.

Rainy Day Projects

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I wrote this post on Monday, and I  considered not publishing it considering after the tornadoes in Oklahoma caused so many people to lose everything. It suddenly seems petty to be worried about how my walls look when some people do not have walls at all. I decided that life must go on, but my thoughts and prayers are with the people that suffered so much tragedy this week.

Although I live in New York, the events hit close to home for me. My family moved to Oklahoma while I was living in Venezuela in high school. My father and sister still live there. I am a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. Though, I am not “Sooner born and Sooner bred” I am a Sooner through and through. Oklahoma is a special place for me, and Tuesday was a difficult day while I waited to hear from my dad, sister and friends. My family safe, and so far I have not received any bad news from or about my friends in that state. I was back visiting my father and friends after the tornado in 1999. The devastation at that time was overwhelming to me, and I cannot imagine what Moore must look like now when the tornado was worse. My heart is with you.

tornado destruction Moore, OK 2013

Image from Oregon Live. Visit to see more pictures of the destruction in Moore, OK.

The following post is exactly as it was written on Monday. Update: This blog has moved! You can finish reading this post here.

Drum Roll, Please! New Coffee Table

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I have been excited for this project for a long time. After finding this drum in the trash in 2010, it did not take me long to decide what I wanted to do with it. I thought that it would make an excellent coffee/side table. What did take me a long time was actually getting started on the project. Anyone else have a problem with procrastination, or is it just me?

Drum used as side table

On Monday, I decided that this was the week. On Wednesday, I took the drum to a local glass cutter to get a piece of glass cut for the top. The shop is a lovely family-owned business. They quoted me $50 + tax to have the 1/4″ glass custom cut. It goes to show how I have been raised that I balked at the price at first. My grandmother attributes our thriftiness to our Scottish ancestors, but all I know is that no one on my mother’s side of the family likes to spend money needlessly. I justified the cost in a number of ways. First of all, I was supporting a local business, and that always makes me happy. Secondly, I did not spend any money on the drum, so in the end it was going to be a cheap side table. When I went to pick up the drum and glass on Thursday, they only charged me $45 total. I am so glad that I went ahead with the project.

Update: This blog has moved! You can see how I made the drum table here.

Homemade Cleaning and Personal Hygiene Supplies

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For years now, I have made 70% (percentage approximated very unscientifically) of my cleaning supplies with rubbing alcoholwhite vinegarand baking soda. It has saved me money, and my house is clean as ever. Then, in November, I read this blog post about homemade deodorant, lip balm,shower scrub and eye make-up remover. Deodorant was on my shopping list at the time, and I thought that I would like to try a homemade deodorant. It took me a while to get around to doing it. Do not worry! I have been using antiperspirant in the meantime. I just pulled a stick out of my travel bag. Then, on Tuesday, I read this post on Apartment Therapy about cleaning the washing machine. I am not sure how, but that made me wonder if I could make my own laundry detergent and other products as well. I did some research, and my loving husband went out in search of the ingredients. He had to visit three grocery stores to find everything I needed. The good news is that I have large quantities of everything left over, so it will be a long time before we have to buy them again. Everything is available online, and next time I might just order everything from Amazon and skip the running around to different stores. The kitchen then became ground zero for production.

Making cleaning supplies

Update: This blog has moved!  Here you can finish reading this post to see how I made toothpaste, deodorant, laundry soap and dishwashing detergent.

No Whining Over These Crates

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Here is one of our projects from this weekend. I have had these wine crates for several years. I took three of them from the trash outside a wine store when I was living in Manhattan. They put some out every week, and I wish I could have taken more. At the time, I used them as “drawers” on my bookshelves. Later, I found another and used them in my kitchen cabinets here. Then, I saw this post on offbeathome.com. I have wanted more storage in my kitchen since I moved in, and this seemed the perfect solution. Here is how it turned out.

Wine crate shelves

Update: This blog has moved! Click here, to finish reading this post and see how we mounted these crates on the wall.

DIY Fall Wreath

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I came up with this idea while on a walk with Douglas and Kahlua. We were surrounded by all of the fall foliage, and I wanted a way to capture some of it. It is possible that I have seen this done somewhere else, and I apologize in advance if anyone thinks that I stole their idea, but as far as I know I did not.

DIY Fall wreath of leaves

Update: This blog has moved! You can finish reading this post and find out how I made the wreath here.

How to Get a Divorce in 21 Easy Steps or How to Paint a Kitchen

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It was Douglas’ idea to title the post this way. I must admit that things were a little hairy by the end of the weekend, but you will be happy to know that I unpacked my suitcases and Douglas is no longer filing for divorce. I jest, in case you thought I was serious. We are not truly in jeopardy of separation. We are, however, still sorting out a very young marriage. Many people have told me that the first year of marriage is difficult, and while we have not suffered great difficulty, we are still working things out. We both lived alone for many years and had become somewhat set in our ways. We will survive, especially if we can ever finish all of the projects in the house. Is that even a possibility?

This weekend we worked on the kitchen. Here is what it looked like pre-painting, or at least this is what it looked like in August 2012. You can check out the whole house here.

Kitchen

Update: This blog has moved! You can finish reading this post here.

DIY Air Freshener

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I made my own air freshener with items I had in my home.

DIY Air Freshener

Update: This blog has moved! You can finish reading this post and see step by step instructions with pictures here.

DIY Halloween Zombie Costumes

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Douglas and I decided to reuse our wedding clothing and be a zombie bride and groom for Halloween.

Zombies for Halloween

Update: This blog has moved! You can finish reading this post and see detailed instruction with pictures here.