Beach Glass, Contact Paper, & Carpet…oh my

We had another busy and productive weekend filled with birthdays, beach glass, football, and good friends.  We also fit in some house stuff.  Saturday morning we spend doing some projects around here.  I started sanding the buffet we scored at a garage sale last weekend and finished a Thanksgiving project I’ll be posting tomorrow. Saturday evening we headed into the city for a friend’s birthday party. Sunday morning we headed to the beach at the end of our block with Daisy.




We found some pretty cool beach glass.  Steve spotted some pretty great pieces.  I’ll have to start a collection jar for our sea treasures.


 Like last week, this weeks chalkboard message sticks with the Thanksgiving theme.


The back of the door in our guest bathroom had lime green contact paper on it.  It doesn’t match the color we painted the bathroom at all!  It has annoyed me since we moved in, so last night I ripped it all down.  There are a few holes in the door, so I’ll have to fill them in and then paint it.



It’s already looking better…even with the holes and the pealed paint…I’m just happy to be rid of the lime green!


Another thing we ripped up was the carpeting on the basement stairs.  The whole basement had this really old blue carpet that didn’t smell the greatest.


We ripped it all up when we first moved in…except for the stairs.  Last night Steve finally got rid of the rest of it.DSC_0913

 The stairs underneath are not in the best shape, so we’re not quite sure what we’re going to do with them.  I would love to do something like this with dark treads and white risers. We still have some staples to take out.  And for some reason there are nails coming through that have split the wood in some spots.


Slowly but surely we’re making progress.  I have a million half-finished projects going on…I’m not someone who can work on one thing at a time.



Weekend Recap

Like all of our weekends lately, this one flew by fast and furious. We spent time unpacking and cleaning the house. Yes, we still have boxes to unpack. We hit up a few garage sales, had a field day at Costco, and continued working on some projects around the house. We did manage to squeeze in some time at the beach with Daisy since it was gorgeous out. I love the fall weather, cool enough to wear a sweatshirt but still warm enough to wear my flip-flops. I hold out on retiring my flip-flops for the winter until the last possible second.

We spent Saturday morning drinking coffee on the beach…


Hunting for treasures from the sea…



And enjoying the colorful views.


Saturday afternoon we found this buffet and these lanterns at a garage sale. $42 for everything…score! I have plans to refinish the buffet and then it will be living in our dining room.



Another score from the weekend is this coffee table that my mother-in-law gave us that I will also be refinishing.

DSC_0890Lot’s of projects going on over here! And still a ton of unpacking to do! We have a busy, busy, busy week ahead.

Oh, and check out our Japanese Maple that just turned this week…the colors are breath-taking!



Since Thanksgiving is this month, my chalkboard messages will have a theme of gratitude.


We ended the weekend cuddled up by the fire with some wine and catching up on DVR’d shows.


How was everyone else’s weekend? What projects do you have going on?



Hurricane Sandy – One Year Later


You sit in your home and watch things like this on TV all the time.   A tornado, an earthquake, a hurricane, a mudslide, a flood.  You sit on your couch and think, “That is terrible, I feel so bad for those people.” On October, 29, 2012, the people of Long Beach, NY as well as many other towns in Long Island, NYC, and NJ became “those people.”

You stand in your kitchen cooking dinner and see images of the National Guard, FEMA, The American Red Cross, and volunteers sorting trough the remains of people’s belongings, rebuilding, and saving lives on your television.  You may send donations, you may send money, you may even volunteer your time…or maybe you just offer up a thought, a prayer, a message of hope.    You never really understand the reality of what a natural disaster actually means until you live through it.  I had been on the other side of the television many times and felt terrible for whatever it was and whoever it was having to live through the disaster.  It was a whole other world being one of the people on the television.

The weather service had predicted a hurricane or possible a tropical storm hitting us the week before.  We had been hit the year before with Hurricane Irene and the damage to the community wasn’t too bad… a few fallen trees, power outages,  a few flooded basements.  This time it was different…very different.  My town, as well as all the other zone A flood zones had a mandatory evacuation.  My husband and I as well as many other people in the town did not evacuate.  We lived in a second floor apartment and figured we’d be okay…stupid I know.  But during Irene many evacuated and nothing happened…it was sort of like the boy who cried wolf.  I was prepared…I had flashlights and candles, extra batteries, and extra water ….I even filled up the bath tub with water.  I had plenty of food and plenty of wine.  I was prepared.  Or so I thought.

The worst of the storm hit the evening of the 29th.  My sister came over to our apartment because she lived in a basement apartment and we figured it would be better on the second floor.  We sat in my apartment, watching TV, drinking wine, laughing.  The rain and wind weren’t too bad.  Then around 8:30pm, it was the peak of high tide.  Long Beach is a barrier island…we have the ocean on one side…the bay on the other.  Steve was out on the deck when he yelled for us to come outside.  Water was coming down one side of the street…slowly at first.  Then a little faster.  The water got higher and higher.  I had never seen anything like it in my life.  At that moment the power went out.  We didn’t know then but that was the last power we’d see in our apartment for a month.  The water continued to rise…it covered the roofs of the cars on our block.  We could see debris and pieces of the boardwalk floating down the street.  I felt like this couldn’t really be happening.  It was all so surreal.  We could hear car alarms and explosions all around the neighboring streets.  Our landlord knocked on our door asking Steve to go next door to help carry our neighbor who is in a wheelchair to the safety of the upstairs apartment because his apartment was starting to flood.  A few hours later the water seemed to stop rising and we finally got some sleep.

The next morning we walked outside to look around.  Everywhere, people started emerging from their houses with dazed looks on their faces.   It felt like we were on a movie set.  This could not be the town that I knew and loved.  There were cars pushed onto people’s lawns or into the middle of the street.  There was garbage and pieces of fence in the street.  I saw brick walls knocked over.  Huge sections of the boardwalk blocks away from where they originated.  I even saw someones hot tub in a parking lot.  And the sand…it was everywhere.  Piles of it…burying peoples cars…up to the windows in people’s houses.  There were cars that had caught fire from the salt water short circuiting the battery.  Several houses burned to the ground.

We headed over to my sister’s apartment to see how it fared the storm.  When we got there we couldn’t even open the door because the water was almost up to the ceiling.  We couldn’t believe it.  Nobody thought it wouldn’t be this bad…but it was.  She lost everything.

The days, weeks, and months after the storm were filled with uncertainty for so many people.  Where am I going to live?  How will I ever rebuild?  Where can I get gas for my car without having to wait hours on a gas line?  And the daily things we take for granted…where will I be able to get food and clean water?

I was teaching in a school in Far Rockaway, Queens, which is also a barrier island.  My school was flooded and we got word that we would not be able to return for a while. In a matter of hours, Mother Nature had turned my whole world upside down.   No place to live.  No school to return to.

Within hours of the storm hitting, people came to our town.  People came to help.  People came to support us.  People came to give us hope.  People came with truckloads of supplies to hand out.  People and businesses  in the community opened their doors to offer whatever they could to others when they, themselves had taken a big hit.  Food, blankets, water, a cold beer, or a hug.  People organized fundraisers and food drives to get the much-needed supplies to the people affected.  I got messages on Facebook from people just checking in to see if we were okay and if there was anything that we needed.   The kindness of family, friends, and strangers was overwhelming.

I can not say thank you enough to my family for giving us a place to stay for a month, everyone who donated supplies to my school, and everyone who sent thoughts and prayers our way.  You will never know how much it is appreciated.

Now, a year later,  things are different.  The places we once knew are not the same.  There is a new boardwalk and some of the businesses have reopened.  Some people have rebuilt their homes and some are still in the process.  But everyone is recovering in their own way, at their own pace.

“Ruin is a gift.  Ruin is the road to transformation.”  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Everyone in this area has a story…a different experience from the storm.  The photos I took in the days after the storm are in this video…this is part of my experience.

Life’s a Beach

sandwatermarkThis is another wanderlust creation.  My love of travel can be found all around my home.  This is a super easy project and a great way to keep track of different beaches that you visit.Image

All you need is a mason jar (the taller the better), clear labels, and sand from the beaches that you visit.


I started with sand from the town where I live.  If you don’t live by the beach, just start with your first trip.  You may want to start with your honeymoon or another special trip.  I printed the location and the date on labels using Microsoft Word and just cut the labels to size.  As I visit another beach, I add another layer of sand.  I love comparing the color of the sand from different places.  I keep this jar on my mantle and enjoy watching it fill up.


Happy Travels 🙂

DIY Shell Planter

I have lots of plants in my house and like to get a little creative with the pots I keep them in.  Since I love and live near the beach a lot of my decor has a beach theme.  ImageMaterials: clay pot (any size), paint, paintbrush, shells (store bought or if you’re a beachcomber like me, your beach treasures), glue gun, glue

ImageYou can start by painting the upper rim of the pot any color you like.  I chose white but a sea foam green or light turquoise would look great too.  Once the paint is dry just start hot gluing the shells all around the pot.  I think I know the title for my next post…”Hot Glue Guns : DIYers Friend or Foe”  Don’t get me wrong, I love my hot glue gun but I can never seem to escape getting a blister every time I use it.  Tip: Start with the larger shells and then fill in the empty spaces with smaller shells.  Feel free to overlap the shells.  Keep adding shells until the pot is completely filled.  Really there is no way to mess this up…just play around with it until you are happy with the result.  ImageYup, there’s Daisy again…she follows me wherever I go.

ImageThis little fellow, my fat happy Buddha, I got at a jade market on our trip to Hong Kong last summer.  I think a person’s home should tell their story.  Almost everything I display is my house was either made by me, made by a family member, or a memento from a trip.  I like that everything is personalized and has a story behind it rather then mass produced in a factory.

Happy creating 🙂

DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters

I saw the inspiration for these coasters on Pinterest.  They sort of remind me of tie dye (I love all things tie dye) so I had to try them out.


Materials: ceramic tiles, alcohol ink ( I used Adirondack which can be found at any craft store), Alcohol Blending Solution (or rubbing alcohol will work), Alcohol Ink Mixative Gold & Silver, alcohol ink aplicator, paintbrush, paint, Modge Podge, aerosol finishing spray, felt pads for the bottom

DSC_1059                   DSC_1068

DSC_1073                    DSC_1084

Of course Daisy has to check out everything that I’m doing…so she’s sure to sneak in to some of my photos.



~ Start by dripping little spots of ink onto your tile.  The colors might start to blend together. Keep adding more color, until you have covered your surface completely. You can play around with different color combos.  I tried a few different ones to see how they would come out.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Allow the ink to slide around before adding your next color.

~Add a few drops of either the silver or gold mixative (or get crazy and add both!) Remember there are no mistakes…you can always go back and use the alcohol to get rid of anything you’re not happy with.

~ Next, add a few drops of the alcohol solution or rubbing alcohol to the felt on your applicator.  Now this is the fun part! Start pressing the applicator to different spots on the tile and watch how the ink reacts.  Continue doing this until you are happy with the results.

~Use a paintbrush and some acrylic paint to paint the sides of the tile.  This will cover up any drips you may have from the ink.

~Let everything dry and now you are ready to add any quotes, pictures, stamps, etc.  I just printed some quotes onto regular copy paper about the beach and ocean (you know I’m a beach bum)  I used Modge Podge (aka godsend to DIYers) to attach the paper to the coasters.


~Once your Modge Podge is dry, spray your tiles with varnish in a well ventilated area to seal.  I sprayed mine out on the deck and left them to dry.  Of course you should make sure it’s not supposed to rain when you do this…I of course did not.  The paper on one of the coaster has a little bit of a bubble, but hey you get the idea.

~After your varnish has dried, put the felt pads on the back and enjoy!


The Finished Product


And there you have it…

These could make an awesome addition to a housewarming gift basket with maybe a bottle of wine and some wine glasses.  (My obsession with theme gift baskets will have to be saved for another post.)

Happy creating!