Friday, July 27, 2012

Indoor glass bottle herbs

Hello everyone! For those of you fasting, God willing your fasts are accepted! So I wanted to share with you my little indoor herb garden. I love plants around my house, whether it's potted plants or blooming flowers for a couple weeks. Unfortunately though, since we are travelers potted plants are scarce at home since I don't have anyone to plant them while I'm gone. And fresh flowers are the equivalent of my kids' school tuition. So...ummm.. yea, I'm not planning to spend that kind-o-money on plants that will die sooner than later. 

So I decided to pull some basil, mint, and wild flowers from my backyard and stick them in some pretty bottles I've collected out here. I've switched the plants out 3 or 4 times so far. 

First time around: basil and some green onions that sprouted from my brown onion. 
Love that two-for-one special lol.

See the beautiful basil sprouting in the back right? Smells great too!
This batch died after a small trip we took. Boo :o(

Seconed time around: Mint and basil only. 

So fresh, and pretty!

Third time around: kept track of how fast roots grew.

Kids loved watching the roots grow because it happened quickly.

Having clear glasses is perfect for displaying the roots once they fill in.
It's a great sight for the kids to see. Like a science experiment.

Mint roots.

Basil roots.

These pretty vessels used to be: a nescafe jar, water bottle, fanta soda bottle,
olive oil, lemon juice and sweat corn jars in their previous lives. 

It's amazing how pretty the jars and bottles that package our common foods and drinks. 

Next time you buy a drink or food product in a glass container, look at it and ask yourself: is it cute enough to be a vase? Most likely it is. You can even put some fresh flowers and gift it to your host during Ramadan iftar or any occasion for that matter. Cheap and beautiful. Best combo ever! And you don't even need soil. For the record, my third batch died after almost 2 months, my previous batches died of neglect. Sorry ;o(  So what do you say? Think you can pull off this easy project? Give it a try! Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Ramadan Crafts: Fasting Calendar

Happy Ramadan everyone! If you're not Muslim merry summer? (o: Today is the first day of Ramadan out here in the UAE. You still have a couple hours till suhoor in the west coast and are probably already having suhoor in the east coast. Today I wanted to share with you a quick craft to help your kids track and be proud of the number of days they've fasted. Even if they only fast a couple hours a day or fast between chicken nugget breaks haha (o: they can take part of this super fast, easy and fun craft.

Outlook Express or any calendar making program
8 1/2 x 11 paper
craft paper, glue stick, scissors or paper slicer

I asked my hubby to print out two large calendar's for me at work. But you can do this at home too. Size 8 1/2 x 11 is great so the kids have space to write in the box and admire it from a distance.

Then I practiced in pencil writing, what I  would have them print, where to position it and get an overall idea how it would look.
'Day's I've fasted'

Then I had the kids use my paper slicer and cut out a small rectangle to use as a legend or key and write symbols representing half day, and full day fasts. They can also write if they prayed too!

Z1: "Don't tell me you're putting this on your blog?"
me: um...yes? Notice my scattered Quran books? (o:

Z2 taking artistic charge of his calendar 

Z2's finished calendar

Z1's finished calendar

and they're....


Find a nice place in your home, probably where you plan on breaking fast, so they have easy access to mark their calendar. Don't let the rush of breaking fast stop you from marking each day finished. Maybe they can mark it a couple minutes before time. Your kids will be so proud to mark it each day even if they only fasted five minutes! Let them mark it everyday so at the end of Ramadan they can appreciate their hard work and look forward, instead of burdened, to fast! They will be so happy to share this with family and friends.

Taped to my kitchen doors

I know many of us will be busy praying, cooking, hosting, reading Quran, traveling to the mosque and visiting friends and family, and napping in-between all that (o: but make sure you don't drop the ball on crafting with your kids during Ramadan. It's crucial in keeping the spirit of Ramadan alive and making this holiday special for the little ones. EVEN teens! 

Thanks for stopping by! Now quick, before fasting starts!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A tale of new chairs: dinning room in progress

Have you ever had a totally awesome idea pop up that wasn't directly inspired by any one, place or thing you had scene before? And when you google your idea to reaffirm the sanity and coolness of it you find that it's a trend? Like Z2 always says, Awesome! I love when that happens. My mom is one of those people who has that happen to her A LOT! I love that. Her sister, on the other hand, hates that. You see, my aunt spent and spends a majority of her life living, breathing, eating and sleeping design magazines, constantly seeking the most trendy and unique styles to apply to her home. My mom on the other hand loves to decorate aesthetically and practically. She has to LOVE it because it makes her comfortable/happy and it must be realistic to live in. The best part is when my moms home unintentionally becomes a fashionable space. Part of the reason for this phenomena with my mom is due to her timeless sense of taste. She loves classic shapes, rich dark wood tones, royal, but not gaudy and simply elegant and definitely not matchy-matchy everything.

With that said, I must share my totally awesome uninspired, reinforced, hamdillah (thank God) on trend idea. I have this dinning set that I absolutely love. It was a perfect fit in the dinning space of my old home. Very big table, long and narrow, with leaves at each end not in the middle. Exactly what I wanted. And the benches were perfect for the space as I didn't want crowding from too many chairs.

On sale now at World Market

The only pic I had of it before we moved. 
See how long and narrow it is? Perfect for the space. 
And it held tons of food!

Some action shots of the set in my current home
Host and hostess chairs also from World Market

The infamous bench, I still love you though.

Lately, however, my kids have been tired from sitting on the benches everyday. Since there is no back rest on it they end up laying down during dinner and sometimes falling asleep. Not good. So I thought about building a back support similar to this.

Unfortunately the power difference (120v USA vs 240v UAE) forced us to leave our brand new saw back home. Honestly, with the high prices and poor quality out here,  we don't want to buy another one either. SO, building was out of the question.

Then I thought how about buying a cute settee or french style couch the two could sit on? Something like this... 

But, again, my resources were limited to dubizzle, UAE/mid east version of craigslist, and only boat sized couches were available. Cue: wingback chairs, ( angels singing). Finally, a more practical idea. But was I insane? Could I really use two wingback chairs as host chairs and it wouldn't look odd? Hmm...let me ask google.

And so my uninspired idea was confirmed; trendy, popular, and very doable! Ho-ra!

Decorated by Windsor Smith

Even the celeb's are sportn' wing backs at their dinning tables. I was definitely on the right track and continued driving on dubbizle road. It was on that 'street' I found not one, but two matching, curry scented, and spring busted wingbacks. YES! They were ugly, but in a new born baby kind of ugly way. No matter the nastiness of them, you still hug love them because they are your babies. And off I will send them to bathe in new upholstery. Here is a sneak peak of them at birth. While my own kids were not born with the scent of curry, they did poses a slightly unphotogenic charisma. ;o)

I sprayed them with febreze and left them out side for 4 days to air out. 
The smell successfully went away.

Notice, I moved the old host chairs to one side, left one bench
and I'm currently using the other bench as seating for the key board. 

I shall paint you and dress you in brand new linens oh pretty! 

While they are still a work in progress I will definitely update you on some nice fabrics I find. Maybe an indoor/outdoor material that will withstand food and drink spillage. Until then, thanks for stopping by! What do you think of host/hostess chairs and benches for that matter? Please, leave a comment below!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Pottery Barn Inspired Table

I hope you all had a great weekend! I got to finally finish a project I am thrilled with. Even though I see some imperfections, I can still call it my own and one of a kind. Isn't that what home decor is all about? Something special and unique to you and your family? That's what I would like to think  ;o) here is the inspiration for the project.

What a beauty isn't she! I'd like to think something that beautiful would be a 'she' and not a 'he' although I have seen some very beautiful 'he's' like my hubby! Focus! So like I was saying, it's a 'beaut', but for 3,301.51 dirhams! (price in dirhams sounds way more dramatic) which is $899.00 buck-a-roos, I was willing to take on the project my self!  Let's see some 'before' and 'afters', shall we?



Not bad, right? Obviously it's not worth $899, but it is worth my blood sweat and tears. In total it only took me about 2 hours to spray paint and 4 hours to hand paint it, but the reality is that I didn't have a 6 hour block to myself and the time was spread over two or three weeks. Here is the list of supplies and how it went down...

Supplies: ACE brand primer in grey,
 Krylon, ORB (Oil Rubbed Bronze)
Delta craft paint in White
FolkArt craft paint in Linen
Krylon can gun
Not shown: medium grit sanding block

For the record, for my UAE readers, I do NOT recommend ACE brand Spray paints, however it is my only option out here thus far. The white primer doesn't cover well, but I was lucky to find Krylon in gray which worked for this project, but I am dying to try Zinsser. I have read time and time again that pretty much any Zinsser primer product is the best in the West. Literally, since I'm in the East and the closest thing we have to Zinsser is Zat. Zat is the way people out here with heavy accents say "that". HA! I couldn't help myself with zat that one. Ba rum rum, pisht! Seriously though, no disrespect to people who speak more than one language. It's actually admirable to learn a second language especially as an adult. Moving on! Don't use ACE if you have other options. 

Whenever I spray paint a table I always like to spray the legs first and then the top. That's just what works for me. If I can, I will elevate the table like I did here by placing it on another table so I don't have to break my back bending down to spray the legs. For this one, I was on a time crunch and couldn't pull out my folding table. 

I almost gave up on this table because I actually prepped and sanded it months ago, but just didn't know what to do with it. Then my kids knocked it over a trillion times and it was dented all over! See those bright spots around the edges? They were all cracked. Thank God I was able to sand it a bit more and it was just like new. 

Table originally from K to the Mart. I think it was around $50-60 
about ten years ago. ;oO

Before. I sanded it and wiped it clean of any debris.

I flipped it upside down and gave it almost two full coats of primer. I think the above pic was before I finished priming; I see a little brown peeking through. But I made sure it was all covered in primer before I finally painted it with the ORB.

I flipped it back right side up and also gave it two full coats of primer.

I only sanded the top after priming because it was a little grainy. That tends to happen when I spray at an angel instead of straight at it. The legs were smooth as butta!

I hand painted the legs free hand and randomly. Then I started the top. Also free hand and random. I wanted to use Antique White from Appel Barrel, but I only had a small amount left from what I brought with me from LA. I could have maybe found it here, but the only craft store I know is in the Beach Center in Jumeirah Beach. That would have been a 30-40 minute-not-worth-the-drive-adventure. Yes, I hyphenated all of the. What-are-you-gonna-do-about-it? :o) So I used my White and Linen and mixed at a ratio of 1:1 it turned out great. And I think I only used about 2 1/2 teaspoons of paint on the whole table. That paint goes a long way!

I let my older son help out. He is always motivated to paint 
when he sees me working.

And the after party!

The top still feels a little naked to me, but I'm just going to absorb it first and then see 
if I want to add anything else. 

Overall, I am very happy with it considering a couple things: 1. I thought this table wasn't worth it and should have been dumped after what my kids did to it. Thank GOD I didn't, because I was able to fix it and it's beautiful now! 2. Originally, I wanted to paint the base black. I asked my husband to pick me up some black spray paint and he picked up the Oil Rubbed Bronze instead. The return policy is so lame out here and I didn't want to deal with the employees at ACE so I sucked it up and used it. At first it was very VERY brownish. I was so turned off and bummed. I really wanted a stark black. After I looked at it for a couple days it grew on me and the brownish effect disappeared. Especially when I painted the design on it, it really started to look more blackish. So after overcoming those two issues I was very happy with the way it turned out. 

One thing I love about the ORB spray paint is that it feels textured which helped the craft paint grip well. So I actually didn't put a protective coat on it. At least not until I find a really good one. The selection of great products out here sucks! So for now the craft paint is set. If I find a good sealant, I'll use it. Hope you like it as much as I do and thanks for stopping by! Love to hear your comments, please leave one below. 


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