Astrobrights Donation Giveaway

by Dinah Wulf

Astrobrights Paper donated $30,000 total value in school supplies to an elementary school in the tiny town of Iola, TX. Astrobrights ran a Facebook campaign a few months back and Iola Elementary was chosen out of the thousands of schools entered in the ‘Give a Brighter Year’ sweepstakes.

The donation ceremony took place at halftime of Iola High School’s Friday night football game on November 2. The Iola Bulldogs went on to win 50-34 in a classic Texas shootout, while Iola Elementary School went on to win something bright of its own. The $30,000 donation took shape in over $10,000 in Astrobrights school supplies and the remaining difference of $19,926 presented to school administrators and students in a colorful, oversized check.

In current economic situations, school districts are quick to cut spending educational supplies for students, placing pressure on parents to increase spending on essential learning materials. Astrobrights Paper alleviated that pressure for a town currently struck by difficult economic conditions and experiencing significant cutbacks in educational spending.

Astrobrights Papers recently hosted the “Give A Brighter Year” sweepstakes asking students, families and teachers across North America to submit a K-8 school for a chance to win the donation of radiant paper products. By entering their favorite school, Astrobrights fans received a chance to win a $500 Gift Card for themselves and also choose the winning elementary school to receive the donation.

The donation revealed more than Astrobrights’ true colors. Lorraine Denman, the fan who submitted Iola Elementary to win the sweepstakes, donated her $500 personal prize to the students. She hosted an arts and crafts contest in each homeroom, where children were asked to show how they can help others in society, with the winning students taking home a piece of the $500 total prize.

Astrobrights Papers offers a wide assortment of high-quality, affordable paper products that come in 23 vibrant colors, so your bright ideas always get noticed. All bright-colored papers are FSC® Certified and meet the mark of responsible forestry. Astrobrights Papers is available for sale at a variety of leading office and retail outlets nationwide.

With the holidays quickly approaching and in the spirit of the Iola donation, Astrobrights wants to offer a mini donation to my readers, so they can do something meaningful for a local school, family or organization in need. One lucky winner will receive a colorful shipment of Astrobrights products ($100 value) – a true way to brighten someone’s day. Enter a giveaway for the chance to receive this opportunity from Astrobrights!

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The Big Ass Book of Bling

by Dinah Wulf

Last week I had the honor of attending Mark Montano’s The Big Ass Book of Bling launch party at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I DID know that I wanted to go and support Mark, whom I recently befriended at the Socal Social I attended last month.  I was so lucky to receive an autographed copy and had been perusing its pages every day since.  With project after fabulous project, I HAD to go to the event to check it out.

I invited a couple of my besties to join in the fun (after all, I heard there was an open bar).  We walked through the front door of the museum shop filled with one of a kind jewelry, housewares, clothing, and more all by local artists.  We were immediately greeted by some friendly faces behind a desk to get our hand stamp (a Hello Kitty one, BTW) and checked off the guest list.  We also picked up our free ring pop… yes, ring pop… bling is a must at this party!  Many of Mark’s projects were displayed in glass cases to our right and they looked even more amazing in person.  At the entrance to the party outside there was a sponsor wall, perfect for photo ops that made you feel like you were a part of the red carpet.

We walked inside (well, technically outside) and Mark was in the middle of a thank you speech. He also announced the entertainment for the evening, a folk artist named Nikko (I hope I spelled her name right!).   She was amazing with just her and her guitar, and had the most beautiful soothing voice.  Excitement was in the air as we were surrounded by an eclectic mix of people socializing and drinking, making their very own bling at the craft table, enjoying their newly purchased books, or taking pictures with people dressed in elaborate costumes and makeup.  There were even a few camera men there filming.  The bar was stocked with wine and a large selection of infused gin and vodka including every flavor from honey to blueberry.

I was lucky enough to chat with Mark a few times and he even introduced me on camera to thousands of fans on a channel that was streaming live.  I bought another book for one of my best friends that couldn’t make it and had Mark autograph it for her.  I had an amazing night overall.  These pictures don’t even do it justice.

To top it all off we left with a bag of swag filled of crafty goodness!  I am so happy for Mark and even happier that I could be there to participate in all the success of The Big Book of Bling!

 

 

 

 

Oh before you go! I had to change my Hello Kitty witch into a Hello Kitty Pilgrim!  Here she is! :)

 

 

 

Repurposed Inspiration from Antique Shopping

by Dinah Wulf

I can’t believe this is my 400th post!  Thought I’d celebrate by sharing a lovely event I went to.  Recently, I attended the Socal Social here in Orange County, a local get together for Bloggers.  I didn’t know what to expect, as this was the first blog conference I had ever attended.  All I have to say is, WOW! Well, OK that’s not exactly ALL I have to say.  It was fantastic and far exceeded my expectations.  From meeting the most inspiring women to finding repurposed inspiration from antique shopping all day, I had a blast.  There were lots of swag, giveaways, and even celebrity writer and television personality, Mark Montano. By the way, you have to check out his new book, The Big Ass Book of Bling!  Some of my favorite projects are jewelry made from bobby pins or safety pins.  It’s fabulous!

I spent most of the day with Loren from Pandora’s Craft Box and Jen from Something Turquois.  I was also able to chat with Barbara from Chase the Star, Tara from A Spectacled Owl, Erica from Gee Whiz Designs, among so many other amazing fellow bloggers.  Of course, our hosts were Vivienne from The V Spot and Bev from Flamingo Toes.

The event was held in the historic Orange circle if Orange, California also known as the Orange Circle Antique Mall.  Needless to say, I found some fabulous repurposed and upcycled antique finds that I wanted to share with you.

Baskets turned Wall Storage

Utensil Chandelier (Check out the spooky picture at the bottom…ew!)

Umbrella Pendant Lamp

Vintage Suitcase Vanity

Chair Swing Flower Pot

Mason Jar Glasses (love these!!)

OK, these bottles aren’t necessarily repurposed, but I thought they were pretty!

Last but definitely not least… MY FAVORITE… Bird Cage Chandelier

I can tell you how great it was to meet like-minded ambitious women that knew EXACTLY what I do day in and day out.  Thank you ladies!  I had the time of my life… until next year!

 

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A Submission Lost

by Dinah Wulf

Today’s post is a little different; no tutorial, no repurposing inspiration.  I just wanted to share something that I wrote in November 2011.  I had only been blogging for seven months and I was loving it.  I decided to submit a letter to be considered for the magazine, Artful Blogger.  Below is my letter.  It’s been 10 months and I haven’t gotten a response. Not even a “no thank you”.  It is now a submission lost…

 

I would be honored to be considered as a featured Blogger in Artful Blogger.

My blog has become like my child except it doesn’t cry or talk back and I am in complete control of it. I maintain and care for it each day. When I’m away I think about it constantly. I believe that since having it, it has made me a better person.  I am officially obsessed with it and unashamed.

April 23, 2011. That was when it all began just seven short months ago; my first blog post. What is vexing about the whole “obsession” thing is that I believe it started six months and twenty-nine days ago.  That first post was published and I was instantly hooked. I had no idea what to expect. I originally decided to blog for myself and myself only because I was a new stay at home mom and ex-workaholic that needed something to do. Writing about things I like or appreciate would keep me contented, and perhaps if anyone did stumble upon my website, just maybe I would give them a little inspiration too.

As I continued to write and research other blogs, I ended up inspiring myself rather than my initial intention of inspiring others. I could not believe how many talented and creative people there were that had my same interests.  The blogging community was just that… a community, that I was a part of now.  I’ll never forget the day I opened up my email and I had a friendly request from a reader in Holland to post a free printable that she thought suited my blog. Imagine that.  In the beginning I didn’t even think about the power of the World Wide Web, the power of literally reaching the world or at least anyone with a computer or access to one.

Although my blog is mainly DIY tutorials, I think it’s important to have those moments of reflection as well.  These posts are the ones that remind us of the beauty or people that surrounds us daily… the true inspiration. Blogging has certainly changed my perspective on life and my everyday surroundings.  I tend to stop and look a little more. I bring a camera everywhere I go for those “just in case” inspirational moments.

Through this journey I have met some people who have attempted to blog but ended up quitting.  I couldn’t imagine abandoning my “baby”. If I were to give advice to a new blogger, I’d tell them to write about what makes you happy.  Write about your passion and the readers will come.

 

Elegant Black and Red Anniversary Party

by Dinah Wulf

There something chic and exotic about black and red.  This color combination is the formula to throwing a memorable and sophisticated party.  I wanted to share an elegant Black and Red Anniversary Party, styled and decorated by Maily Cano.

 Maily’s floral hobby is truly an art.  She has a natural knack for party planning and decorating.  For this anniversary party, she created gorgeous red and black floral centerpieces in tall vases for each table.  It fashioned both height and depth to the party decor.

 She draped each rose filled centerpiece with black feathers and black beads.  This is an inexpensive way to add class and style.  Consider using crystals as well.

A single rose bud in a small glass cup was placed at each place setting.  It’s a simple touch that adds a lot of elegance.  Each table was covered with red table cloths and red linen napkins.

Maily printed the evening’s menu featuring each course in simple black script on white cardstock and made a matching place card for each guest. She tucked each menu into each napkin creating a nice presentation.

Another, gorgeous party, Maily!  If you haven’t had a chance to view Maily’s parties, check out some of her other floral masterpieces or the sassy and pink Hello Kitty party she hosted for her niece. 

All Black and Red Anniversary Party photos were taken by Brendan Cao Photography.

 

A Little Help for My Friend

by Dinah Wulf

Over this first year of blogging, I have learned that I have the power to reach thousands and thousands of people per day.  With that said, I wanted to take today and share a story about one of my friends.

 

 

Tim Hamilton was recently seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. On May 11, 2012, Tim was riding his motorcycle along route 75 in Maryland, when his bike crossed the double lines and struck a pickup truck head-on. Tim was thrown from his motorcycle and taken by medevac helicopter to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, MD. He suffered numerous broken bones, a ruptured spleen, and bleeding and swelling on his brain. He was in critical condition for many days, and his life was hanging by a thread. His condition has stabilized, but he has yet to regain consciousness.

His wife, Jennifer Hamilton, is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met in middle school and have been great friends ever since.  Since this horrible accident has occurred, she has not left his side. She has been staying at a hotel in Baltimore every night so that she can stay late and arrive early to the hospital. Her parents have been staying with their two children, Liam age 4 and Sadie age 2.

This is a very uncertain time for them. Right now, it is a waiting game—everyday just waiting to see if he will wake up, waiting to see if he will recover, and waiting to see if his life will ever return to normal.  As you can imagine, this accident is taking quite a toll on the Hamilton family.

I am asking you for a charitable donation. This donation can be anything that you see fit. We, family and friends are planning on having a silent auction at a benefit in my hometown Cumberland, Maryland on July 21, 2012. If you have any items that would be suitable for the auction, or if you are able to make a monetary or donation, it would be greatly appreciated.  Please email me at dwulf@diyinspired.com if you are interested.

Thank you so much.  I truly appreciate the readership of the DIY Inspired community and appreciate that I can put crafting/party/DIY to the side for a second to write about what is truly important to me.

Dinah

Paypal Donation

100% of the proceeds will be given to the Hamilton Family



Kids Design Contest

by Dinah Wulf

THE COMPANY STORE ENLISTS AMERICA’S CHILDREN IN

KIDS DESIGN CONTEST

 

10,000 Comforters to be Donated to US Military Families

 

NEW YORK, MAY 25, 2012The Company Store®, one of America’s largest home décor and bedding companies for more than 100 years, is proud to announce the launch of its “Kids Design Contest” in which children nationwide will have the opportunity to design comforters to be donated to military families. This year, The Company Store has partnered with Operation Homefront, an organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of the United States’ service members and wounded veterans, to give away more than 10,000 comforters to military families in need across the nation.

 

Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched the Joining Forces initiative to mobilize all Americans to ‘step up and do what they do best’ to support veterans, service members and their families. Roughly 75% of the military families served by Operation Homefront live at an income level substantially below the median income for their communities.

 

“The Kids Design Contest is a way for a child’s creativity to brighten the spirits of thousands of military families facing difficult times,” said The Company Store Director of Marketing Karen Feldman. “We couldn’t think of a better way to engage children to support these incredible servicemen and women by giving them the comfort and care that they so deserve.”

 

The contest runs from Memorial Day Weekend May 28, 2012 through June 22, 2012. Voting will take place on Facebook from June 23-30, 2012 and the winners will be announced on the 4th of July 2012. Three winning designs will be made into thousands of comforters and donated to the families of servicemen and women around the nation.

 

In addition to the creation the comforters, the three “kid designers” with the most votes on Facebook will each win a gift card as a token of The Company Store’s appreciation.  Children and organizations interested in participating can go to www.thecompanystore.com and click on the tab “Kids Design Contest” to view the official rules.

 

About The Company Store:

The Company Store is renowned for providing 100 years of quality, comfort and care through the best US-crafted comforters, fashion bedding, and home décor for adults and children. Six- generation experts in comfort, The Company Store still produces its signature LaCrosse down comforters in LaCrosse, WI, while sourcing the latest trends and styles from around the world. The Company Store and CompanyKids offer comfort and style at every price point for the quality-minded consumer. To learn more visit, www.thecompanystore.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

About Operation Homefront:

A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers across 22 Chapters and has met more than 590,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002.  A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally, 94 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes directly to assist service members.  For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.

 

The Reverse Graffiti Gallery

by Dinah Wulf

I have always been a big fan of street art.  Art is the operative word.  In fact, I have a large three panel Banksy piece hanging in my living room! AND with Earth day coming up, I thought it was appropriate to show one way to help demonstrate a healthy sustainable environment.

When I saw The Reverse Graffiti Gallery project from Green Works, I had to spread the word, because it’s a) eco-friendly, b) it’s something I support and believe in, and c) well, it’s FANTASTIC.  Green Works is eco-friendly because it’s formulated using plant- and mineral-based biodegradable cleaning ingredients, and it is packaged in bottles that can be recycled.

Check out this one minute video clip on how the magic happens… amazing!
Main Video: You Tube Reverse Graffiti Video

This one, is the artist, Paul “Moose” Curtis talking about clean tagging.  He even mentions Banksy! ;)
Video: Green Works Reverse Graffiti: Clean Tagging

 

About The Reverse Graffiti Gallery

“In 2008, we set out to create a unique and breakthrough way to demonstrate the efficacy of Green Works products.

We chose a high-traffic, extremely dirty, and large spot in San Francisco – the Broadway Tunnel – to become the canvas for a live 140-foot Green Works product demonstration. We enticed Paul “Moose” Curtis, a British pioneer of an art form called “clean tagging,” to help realize our vision.

Green Works products are at least 95 percent plant-based, so we decided to reverse out a mural of plants and trees on a dirty city wall. With a powerful and larger-than-life demonstration, we encouraged people to think about what Green Works could do in their home if it could clean the dirt and grime off a busy transit tunnel.  We saw great results with the original Reverse Graffiti project. We’re excited to elevate and continue the program on a larger scale with the creation of the Reverse Graffiti Gallery by Green Works in Los Angeles.”

 

Green Works Sweepstakes!

Green Works is making one of LA’s grimiest corners, alleys or nooks beautiful this May and now’s your chance to help!

Enter the Reverse Graffiti Gallery sweepstakes on the Green Works Facebook page for the chance to win a trip to Los Angeles.

While there, you can lend a hand in helping to create a reverse graffiti image with artist Mr. Kiji to appear as the final art piece in the Reverse Graffiti Gallery.

  • The winner of the grand prize will receive a three-day trip for two to Los Angeles to attend the Reverse Graffiti Gallery opening, a $1,000 gift card and access to the best art the city has to offer with day passes to some of the city’s museums.
  • Three additional entrants will also be selected at random to win Green Works products.
  • Registration for the sweepstake ends April 26th at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time)

Good Luck!

Thanks to Green Works for sponsoring today’s post!

Fiber and Fire

by Dinah Wulf

Oh my gosh… I can’t stand it! I am obsessed with the craftsmanship and knack for design of this talented mother and daughter team, Patricia and Andrea also known as Fiber and Fire.

I was doing my usual rounds of blog exploration one day and I came across Fiber and Fire on Picket Fence Blogs. The Ad button alone caught my eye.  I clicked on the link and scrolled down each post and several clicks later I was inspired.  Wishing I lived close enough to attend one of their upcoming shows, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the color and pattern combinations that worked so well together.  There are SO many great pieces in the online portfolio that I had to keep editing myself down to share these select few.

These pictures are more than I intended to share but I couldn’t help it! They are all so amazing! I mean really? How am I supposed to pick?

If you’d like to view the full portfolio click HERE.  Also, check out their Facebook page for the latest updates. The Fiber and Fire blog is also filled with several awesome before and after pictures.

Here is the rundown for the upcoming Fiber and Fire shows.  Hopefully you live close enough to attend!  If you do, let me know how it goes!

February 10-11, 2012

  • Las Cruces ‘A Century of Enchantment’ Quilt Show; Las Cruces, NM Convention Center

March 8-10, 2012

  • Arizona Quilters Guild Quilt Show; Mesa Convention Center Mesa, AZ

May 10-12, 2012

  • Home Machine Quilting Show; South Towne Expo Center Sandy, UT

August 31 – September 1, 2012

  • Midway Swiss Days; Midway, UT

OK, one last picture… I swear… :)

 

 

Versatile Blogger Award

by Dinah Wulf

One of the most rewarding things about blogging is the community.  I have met some amazing fellow Mommy Bloggers over the past eight months I have been blogging; moms that I admire and moms that I can relate to.  I wanted to make a big THANK YOU to Summer from A Happy Mum for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award!

As part of receiving this award, I’d like to share 7 things you may not know about me.

  1. I’m completely OBSESSED with blogging.  It’s really become a problem.
  2. I have the most AMAZING family and friends (and yes, those words can be used interchangeably).
  3. I am a stay at home Mom and have a sweet little 17 month old daughter who loves to wear hats.
  4. I was born and raised in Maryland and moved to sunny California at age 18.
  5. I have an addiction to Scrabble and am proud of my knowledge of two letter words (I may not know what they mean but I know they are words!).
  6. I have two dogs, Pablo the Chihuahua and Harley the Pug.
  7. My daughter and I listen to music and dance EVERDAY.

As for the lovely fellow Mommy Bloggers I’d like to nominate, here is my list of 15.  They have all inspired me in one way or another; mostly by their words, philosophies, and ideas. Many of these blogs have an emphasis on reuse and recycling.  I love that I get to pay it forward, and acknowledge these moms through this virtual award.

  1. Vixen Made
  2. Handmade Con Amor
  3. Fashion Reincarnations
  4. A Clever Spark with a Clever Heart
  5. Green Mam-a Jam-a
  6. Mommy Has to Work
  7. Going Green With Noah
  8. The Eco-Friendly Family
  9. Jen and Joey Go Green
  10. Coping with Frugality
  11. Random Recycling
  12. The Green Mom
  13. Cheap and Creative
  14. Going Green Mama
  15. Happy Healthy Homemade

Mommies, if you are on this list.  Here is a link for the rules to receive your award.  With much respect, thank you for the inspiration!

 

Easy Monkey Banana Treats – Free Printable!

by Dinah Wulf

One of the best parts of blogging, at least for me, is developing relationships.  Thanks to the World Wide Web, I am introduced daily to creative people with my same interests from across the globe. Recently, I was introduced to Anneke van de Langkruis from Holland.  She sells items at her Etsy Shop, Villa Figura, such as prints and gift tags with her whimsical illustrations, perfect for a nursery.

The tutorial and free printable below  is courtesy of Anneke van de Langkruis!  Follow her on Facebook here.  Thank you, Anneke!

Easy Monkey Banana Treats by Anneke van de Langkruis

BananaMonkeys-Result

 

Preparing fun birthday treats for one or two year old’s can be a real challenge. Forget about hard candy, chocolate and chips. Too sweet and hard to chew with no teeth! Don’t bother coming up with original and complex ideas those little ones won’t even understand. Think simple and healthy!

Here’s a fun, fast and easy idea I designed for my son’s first birthday. Banana Monkeys! Their tail curls all the way around.

 

  BananaMonkeys-Print

How to:

1. Print this simple design on craft paper or brown paper.

2. Cut around the monkey and cut out the tail into a spiral.

3. Curl the tail around a banana.

4. Fasten the little feet with a staple or small piece of tape.

Looking for a jungle-theme? Present the group of monkeys in a cane basket
and cut some green jungle leaves to affix to the basket.

- Enjoy!

 

Maily Cano Floral Design

by Dinah Wulf

Maily Cano is probably best known for her successful automobile brokerage company, Dealer’s Network celebrity clientel and all. She has been in the automobile industry for quite some time.  I’d say a female pioneer in a male dominated business. She’s the type of person who will tell it like it is.  No sugar coating… whatsoever!  You want her honest opinion? She’ll gladly give it to you. She’s far from being a stereotypical auto professional, rather she’s probably one of the most generous and kind hearted people I know.

When I think about Maily, the words diligent, professional, and strong minded, all come to mind.  That was my first impression of her when I met her years ago.  But what I found out later, through an amazing friendship (what most may not know about Maily) is her creative side and her incredible talent for floral and wedding design.

Maily definitely brings creative inspiration to me.  She was asked to do the flowers for a friend’s wedding, and the next thing you know just by word of mouth, she has created an impressive book of business in a short amount of time.

I know her work first hand, as she graciously did the floral centerpieces for my bridal shower. They were gorgeous.  I don’t think there was one guest who did not compliment them.  She has an eye for design and arrangement and pays attention to detail by adding things like lighting, crystals, beads, feathers, or ribbon while at the same time takes into consideration height and dimension.

This jack of all trades, floors me… and it’s so great to have her in my life.  Need a car? Call Maily.  Need your wedding planned? Call Maily.  Need the truth about your newly shaved head? Call Maily!

All the photography was taken by Brendan Cao Photography.  He is available for couple photos, family photos, and other events.

 

 

 

Etsy Halloween

by Dinah Wulf

Halloween plus Etsy equals fabulous!

I can spend HOURS on Etsy.  The artistic talent is immeasurable. If you are a loyal reader, you know how important I think it is to support artists that I admire.  With the help of the World Wide Web, you can get inspired by people across the country or even across the world without meeting them in person… beautiful!

As you may (or may not) know, I heart HALLOWEEEN! It’s my favorite holiday. Since there are hundreds of unique and creative handmade goodies on Etsy, I thought I’d pick out my most favorite Halloween Etsy treats and share them all with you.

BTW, This is not a paid endorsement.  I just really LOVE these pieces and like I said, admire the creativity of the sellers!

Tutu trick or treat bags by KidsBowtique

So how cute are these? KidsBowtique has several cute tutu totes including a pirate wench and Snow White, but this Wizard of Oz Dorothy tutu tote is my fave!

Sesame Street Tutu costumes by Shoppe3130

Keeping with the tutu theme, Shoppe3130 makes these adorable Sesame Street character dress up costumes.  You can buy Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch.

Yoda Dog Costume by HandMadeMonster

As I’m strolling through pages of awesomeness, this completely stuck out on the page!  Can everyone with a Chihuahua PLEASE get one of these… OMG!

Halloween Soap Fingers by HowardsHome

The best part of Halloween is freaking out your friends and family (at least that’s the best part for me).  The best part of HowardsHome? All proceeds are applied to the medical bills of the seller’s son Michael who was born with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Check out these parts!

Vinyl wall decal by InAnInstant

So cool! This made to order wall decal would be perfect to show off at a Halloween party.

Murder in the garden ring by ChanceryLane

ChanceryLane out of Singapore, has some REALLY cool and eerie (what a combo!) jewelry.  Check out this bloody ring… and there’s a matching necklace too!

Vintage Halloween Labels by BrandyWine

These lovely vintage labels are perfect for your specimen apothecary jars. You get five labels in a set… love them! BrandyWine has beautiful paper crafts inspired by the Victorian era.  Check it out!

“Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.” -James Russell Lowell, American poet and critic

 

 

Inspiring People: Alison Parks Poland

by Dinah Wulf

I heart blogging and social media.  Let me explain.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such talented friends and family. Some I didn’t even know about until I started blogging.  Blogging has surly opened my eyes, one of the things I love most about it, and has allowed me an outlet to share the inspiring artists I stumble upon. Social media, on another note, amazes me.  It enables us to be able to connect and reconnect with friends and long lost family. SOOO, when I’m stalking my friends on Facebook to find out what they have been up to, naturally I get to brag and blog.

The first thing I thought about when I reconnected with Alison Parks Poland was how I had a crazy allergic reaction to her five kittens that I insisted on sleeping with (in a tiny sleeping bag) when I was attending a birthday sleep over at her house circa 1988.  The second thing I thought about when I reconnected with Alison was, “holy crap she’s an amazing artist.” I had no idea.

Other than her inspiring works of art, what made me want to write about Alison was what I recall best about her.  Ever since the sixth grade, I remember Alison being strong and sweet at the same time.  She cared about others and was nice to everyone.  It turns out, almost twenty years later; Alison has carried on that altruistic spirit and uses her talent to benefit others.  Her passed events include foundations including but not limited to Make a Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, Hoops For Africa, the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and The Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research.

Alison has a graduate degree from University of Maryland, College Park in Architecture. She utilizes various medium including charcoal and paint to bring her urban surroundings to life. The pieces on this post are some of my favorites.  Check out her website, www.paintedwhitecanvas.com and her Facebook page. Her limited edition prints are available for purchase.

Thank you, Alison for inspiring me!

 

 

Inspiring People: Michal Sparks

by Dinah Wulf

I stumbled upon Michal Sparks, when I wrote the post, Recycled Plastic Grocery Bags. I found her ingenious credit card holders on Etsy.  I thought they were so cute and wanted to share with all of you creative ways to recycle plastic bags.

I first have to say, one of my most favorite things about blogging, is crossing paths with inspiring people.  It’s even better when you establish some sort of communication (emails, snail mail, or face-to-face) and get to know a little more about them.  I get to write about these people, share their stories, and I have an eternal virtual record to look back on and reflect.

What I learned about Michal, and what intrigued me even further is our similar story.  Michal was once a stay at home career mom working for her art.  What gives me hope is that she has been doing what she loves successfully for over twenty years now.  Her kids, now 13 and 15, were her inspiration for her credit card holders.

It gets better… After delving into her website, I found that she is inspired by many things. What is so amazing is my little search on recycled plastics, led me to find a true Artist, who not only creates and designs these adorable little holders, but an artist and teacher working in fine art, jewelry, textiles, and illustration (just to name a few).  My favorite pieces are Michal’s eco book art.   Her nature inspired water color paintings are beautifully painted on antique poetry pages.

Please support her art and check out her website, Michal Sparks Art Life and her Etsy shop, ACleverSpark.

P.S. Those credit card holders are sturdy little suckers!! Can you say, stocking stuffer??? LOVE them! Below are pictures of mine…

Nate Berkus Best of House Proud

by Dinah Wulf

Nate Berkus Best of House Proud

One of my favorite shows, The Nate Berkus Show, has a segment called House Proud.  This segment embodies his motto to “love the way you live”.  It showcases viewers who are proud of their resourceful decorating efforts, many of which achieve this on a budget.  They shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and even search dumpsters!  House Proud is a great resource for design inspiration.

Here are some of my favorite House Proud guests.

Carole from Philadelphia, also known as the “Dumpster Diva”, has an entire room made out of trash!  She and her girlfriends have dinner and then go dumpster diving as a hobby.  She has found some amazing things including two 1930’s fireplace mantels.  She placed one on top of the other to create height and framed out other treasured finds. She refurbishes or repurposes her finds and literally turns trash into treasure.

Michelle from Tuscan has some great ideas. She used a white slip cover on a pair of office chairs with clean modern lines similar to the one below.  She found them on the side of the road and picked them up for free.  She used the two chairs at each end of her dining table.  Another idea she had was to sew two linen napkins or an old baby blanket to make throw pillows.

Mandi Gubler calls her style thrift shop glam.  She used acid on these mirrors to eat away the reflected coating and then placed fabric behind them to make this vintage design.  She also collected old mirrors and painted them all one color and displayed them in the entryway of her home for a dramatic effect.  Mandi also combined two inexpensive rugs by cutting out a zebra pattern and merged them together…genius!

Lizzie Carney lives in a small 1930’s bungalow.  She definitely has a knack for decorating for a small space.  Many of her finds are from reclaimed wood and lumber and salvaged materials.  She has seven chandeliers, three of which are in her kitchen. She also turned her den into a gorgeous dressing room; a room she uses every day.

I saved the best for last. Barbara’s home is an old dance hall.  Her design is all natural materials, concrete, wood, metal, steel, and has no paint.  Her coffee table is made out of and old postal sorting table similar to the one shown below.  Her home has an amazing industrial style that I love.  She used a giant metal sign on hanging rollers as a room divider that slides to create privacy.  She also attached skateboard wheels to metal armoires that also doubled as room dividers.

Recycled Plastic Grocery Bags

by Dinah Wulf

I can’t believe that this is my 100th blog post!!! Wow!

I have an amazingly supportive family.  When I first started blogging, they were probably the only people who even bothered to read my posts. It was their love and encouragement that kept me going.

My talented Mother-In-Law, Jolene, crocheted these lunch totes out of plastic bags after I had posted the idea from Marlo’s Crochet Corner a few weeks ago. Jolene is the one who inspired me to write this post.

One of my favorite websites, Etsy.com was the first place I decided to look.  I always admire the inspiring talent I find on there.  I searched for “recycled plastic bags” and found these awesome Etsy sellers and their unique items.  These are all currently selling right now, so if you are interested, just click on the link!

SarahRacha has this colorful recycled plastic bag basket for sale.  She used a giant birdseed bag with a picture of sunflowers and birds on it.

Planarnstar made this mint chocolate chip plarn bracelet with a vintage button out of green plastic shopping bags from a farmer’s market.

AccentsAndPetals2 made this cute coin purse keychain.

Believe it or not, this necklace by Holly Cline from TwoBranchesJewelry is made out of recycled plastic bags! It’s gorgeous everyday wear and can be worn with anything.

How cute are these credit card holders made our of fused plastic by Michal Sparks from ACleverSpark? Colorful and fun… a perfect and thoughtful gift.

Now THIS is awesome… a recycled plastic bag lap top case by Rebekah Charlston form BirdsByBekah!!  Absolutely genius!

I love the use of color for this recycled plastic fashion bag and this rain hat by ArribaCycle… a true artist!

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely inspired.  Support these talented artist from Etsy and buy one of their handmade treasures!  They make great eco-friendly gifts! Hey Mom, hint hint… :)

 

 

Carnival Theme or Circus Theme Party

by Dinah Wulf

Carnival Theme or Circus Theme Party

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One of my best friends, Jennifer Hostetler, ALWAYS comes up with amazing ideas for a theme party.  This year, for her daughter’s first birthday, she decided to do a Circus theme.  With a little do it yourself creativity and a lot of imagination, Jennifer hosted a fabulous party on a budget.  Carnival theme or circus theme parties are great party theme ideas.

DIY Centerpieces

If you read this blog, you KNOW what a HUGE fan I am of dollar bin decorating, especially for a kid’s theme party.  Jennifer found these great circus themed pieces for the centerpieces. She took it one step further and glued popcorn and peanuts to give them a more realistic look. I love the way she made them all different.

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Carnival Game Ideas

Jennifer came up with these easy and inexpensive party game ideas to fit the carnival theme.  To keep the little guests busy, some of her party games included, a ring toss, baseball toss, and balloon dart throw.  For the ring toss she secured each empty beer bottle with glue onto a square wooden board.  I give it two thumbs up just for the beer bottle recycle factor!  Jennifer also recycled baby snack containers for the baseball toss by removing the label, painting the can, and weighing them down with pebbles.  She simply stacked three cans on a bar stool.

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Candy Dessert Table

I’ve posted before that a candy dessert table has a trifecta factor.  It is beautiful to look at, gives the guests something to do, and is tasty to eat.  Check out Jennifer’s gorgeous and colorful candy dessert table. She used a round table, which looked beautiful and yummy from all sides.  She created height with wrapped boxes and color and pattern with ribbon.

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Do It Yourself Decorating

One thing about Jennifer is her attention to detail.  Check out these other great do it yourself decorating ideas for a circus theme party including a photo booth, cake table, and signs.

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Jennifer is definitely someone who inspires me.  I didn’t even post half of the amazing details of this party.  Look out for her upcoming budget party blog to see the rest!!! I’ll be the first to let you know when it launches!  Thank you Jen for the inspiration! Love you!

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