How To Recycle Old Coffee Mugs #DIY #Project

It’s SPRING!

What a great time to freshen up the yard with a totally 100% free project using items we already had. re_up cycleDon’t throw away those cracked cups with broken handles!

We all know I’m a collector of things, whether it’s empty boxes (‘cos you never know when you might need one) or bathrobes ( I have about fifty of them) or seashells (of course!) — and all the rest: shoes, jewelry, books…

I’m also a breaker of things — like coffee mugs and wine glasses.

At any given time, I have half dozen injured/wounded/disabled cups that’re in various stages of rehab on tugboat man’s repair table.

He’s the BEST fixer.

I might wield a mean glue gun, but he has the patience and fine motor skill to join together broken pieces of china, another of his great qualities, I might add.

Most of the repaired cups and mugs aren’t really usable for holding hot liquid, but I’ve held onto them because I love them and they’re special to me…Hello Kitty, Yale Mom, and the ones with seashell motifs — I mean, how can I just toss these guys in the trash?

One fine Sunday afternoon, I felt the itch to start another DIY project but nothing specific came to mind — just thought I’d wander around until something sparked interest — then I discovered an old boat ramp behind our greenhouse (not sure what boat it came from). I’d seen this ramp for YEARS and overlooked it a dozen times. This time, however, I had an epiphany.

It’d make an awesome shabby chic plant stand for the coffee cups!

Now I needed to find something to lean it up against, and chose a Brazilian Pepper Tree that we never really liked ‘cos it’s invasive, but it’s been here since the house was built, and the birds like it — because of that, so far it’s been spared. You can’t really grow anything under it (that’s only one of its problems) and the roots protrude and are gnarly.

Think Oklahoma dust bowl. Think Grapes of Wrath. That’s exactly what that neglected little area brings to mind. It was time to render a little aid and LOVE.

I filled the mugs with succulents that I already had growing in the garden.

View from the deck: A perfect location to turn into a bohemian hippie focal point.

coffeecuplanter3jupitersbeardI planted a square of Jupiter’s Beard from seedlings I propagated; it’s a drought tolerant plant with lush pink flowers — really easy to grow, and it’ll fill in an otherwise kind of ugly and barren spot.

I took a bird bath from the front yard and an assortment of other planters gathered from the garden and clustered them all together to create visual interest.  The worn and broken tiles add to the shabby chic feel.coffeecupplanters

Bonus upcycle DIY: Turn an old hat into a planter by cutting off the frayed brim and attaching twine. So simple to set inside a pot of colorful flowers; hang and enjoy!
coffeemugplanter1

You can never have too much aloha spirit!

Share your best up/recycle #DIY project.

She sees seashells and shelves near the seashore

That “sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not” tugboat captain of mine is leaving again in a couple of days.

I’m working hard on a meal for tonight that recreates the lovely Nepalese and Indian food we had in Berkeley.

I’m making Lentil Daal, Curried Rice, Naan Bread, and Raita, a delicious yogurt-based dipping sauce.

I’ll document it all for tomorrow’s post.

In the meantime, I took photos of a few new shelves hubs so kindly made for me to display my ever increasing hoard of shells, his craft of marlinspike seamanship, and my small but growing collection of mudmen from China, and fans.

Yes, those really are seashells covering the screws in the lower part of the shelf.
Seashells can be so very useful, can’t they? Useful and beautiful.

mudmen collection

blackbottleonshelf vaseonshelf fan on shelf fan2

Dear Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz

Or, as the world knows you, Jon Stewart, lord and master of The Daily Show.

Shabbat Shalom to you, my Jewish prince.

Four nights a week I watch your wit and candor and passion and rage and humor.

Most of the time I agree with you and LOL (laugh out loud) ‘cos you’re so darn funny.

I love most of the skits and sketches and some of the interviews.

To be perfectly honest with you, I fast forward through a lot of interviews (snooze) to get to Your Moment Of Zen.

I’m not writing to boost your ego, get show tickets, or a fake signed picture of you for my bedroom wall (although I wouldn’t turn it down!)

NO, I feel the need to take pen to paper fire up my MacAir to shake my fist at you, Mr. Lee-boh-vitz!

I take umbrage, sir!

Umbrage I take!

How dare you mock the millions of us who are Etsy creators. HOW DARE YOU!

This is a verbatim quote from The Daily Show, January 23, 2013:

“…it’s all–we get it, you have a glue gun, okay!”

http://archive.org/details/COMW_20130124_070000_The_Daily_Show_With_Jon_Stewart#start/381/end/411

Look at it this way–those of us who are Etsy devotees create beautiful and practical items in a much too harsh and ugly world.

I proudly wield my glue gun and embellish as many things possible with seashells, rocks, and beach glass. From toilets to walls to my front door, there’s a seashell wherever you go. Want a mirror surrounded by seashells? I’ve got several to choose from and I’ll give you a great price, you know, us both being Jewish and all. (Come see me after the show.)

This is a call to arms! Glue gun enthusiasts UNITE! We need to organize and hire a lobbyist and storm the White House and Congress and raise awareness for the plight of the glue gunners. We need some appropriations–we NEED laws protecting our right to bear glue guns.

You really hurt my feelings with your scoffing and derision of Etsy. I think you and I need to sit down and glue a few seashells on a picture frame and you’ll see it from a whole different perspective. Whadddya say?

You could make it all better by inviting me to appear on The Daily Show with my glue gun(s) and a selection of my creative wares–and we’re not talking only gluing here–my tugboat captain husband is an expert in marlinspike seamanship. On long journeys across the oceans he weaves magnificent jewelry and covered bottles and picture frames. 

I’m looking at my schedule right now–I’m free just about anytime.
So…I’ll be waiting for your call.

Yours very truly,
Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

10 reasons why seashells are enchanted

I’m still in the throes of harnessing my inner beeyotch (the lady who slammed on her brakes and made a u-turn in front of me got a taste of that new me) but I took a teensy break to ponder the oft-asked question: Why do I love seashells?

1. Just like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Some are almost perfect twins, but there’s always an individual characteristic if you look close enough.

2. Unlike a snowflake, they don’t disappear.

3. They are all beautiful in color and shape and size.What a treasure!

4. Shells can be worn as jewelry.Abalone necklace with rope work, earrings, pearl bracelet, necklace of polished shell pieces

4. There is appeal in their symmetry and asymmetry.fairshells

5. For me, seashells impart a tangible tactile and visual state of bliss.

6. Shells give birth to episodes of intense creative passions. This is my most recent seashell bouquet; an organic interpretation inspired by a froggy vase acquired at a local thrift shop that helps victims of domestic abuse.newfrogvase

7. Once upon a time, a seashell housed a living creature.

8. Cowry shells were used as currency in China.cowry shell

9. If you love to collect dust, start collecting seashells! They are a dust magnet, prolly their only negative trait.

10. A small grain of sand–a foreign body–inside a seashell grows into a magnificent pearl.  A pearl is an annoyance to the shell,  just exactly like the way I am oftentimes an annoyance to the captain!white-pearl-in-oyster     

Seashell insanity–Episode #452

Well…my tugboat man spent pretty much the entire day surfing. He came home at 2:00 p.m and said he had been trying to catch a wave in to shore for over an hour or he would have been back sooner. RIGHT.

Does he think I just fell off the turnip truck? Do I look stupid? I know that trick–the old “I couldn’t get in so I just had to stay surfing until the sun went down and the tide changed” lie.

I was so mad at him for abandoning me that I had to devise a painful retaliation to convey my displeasure. I decided that we were going to go walking in our little village of Carlsbad and go in and out of EVERY shop. That is absolute torture for my hubs, which meant it was perfect. And since I’ve gotten my Chanel, she hasn’t really had a good outing and begged to come along and see and be seen by all the tourists and locals in our little town.

We went to every single store including one where I bought some beautiful seashells, ‘cos, you know, I just don’t have enough seashells. I made him go into antique stores, sandal shops, shoe stores, clothing stores–up and down State Street and Grand Avenue without a moment to rest. When I felt he had been punished sufficiently, we went home and he installed a shelf that he made for my new shells and my seashell box we created together.

There’s more surf tomorrow, so I’ll be thinking of more ways to make his life miserable.

shelf1shelf2

 

 

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, line up! Yoo hoo, Pinterest, I’m calling you!

I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family. S

o, Cousin Fur and Aunt Cheeky and Second Cousin Far Removed Tracy F for Fantastic, this one’s especially for you guys.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–‘cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. {Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!} 

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I luckily don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts on it is a close second.

Carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in. Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical decorated elliptical

A drizzly Saturday in Southern California

Captain and I just finished a cosmopolitan (not that kind) Euro-style lunch of homemade pickled hardboiled eggs, freshly baked brownies, and espresso with a twist of lemon and steam-frothed nonfat milk. Now he’s napping on the sofa with college football — Stanford vs Cal — on TV. My son sent resumes in to both of those universities, so we’re rooting for them equally right now. Whoever wins will be the one who hires him! Ha ha. We took a short break from the bathroom remodeling; it’s almost finished except for last minute touchups. Oh, and the seashells that will adorn as much wall, shelf, and counter space as possible. The theme is Coastal Caribbean (I just made that up) with the same fern green and aqua walls as our bedroom, bamboo-y flooring, and those ever-present seashells. There won’t be any pictures taken until it’s complete with new bath accessories; rug, towels, drawer pulls, etc. I ordered ceramic shell knobs from Amazon.

Seashell Shaped Ceramic Cabinet Drawer Pull Knob

I’ve been dreaming of new locations to hang, glue, display shells, rocks, and huge chunks of brain coral plucked from somewhere in the South Pacific.  Here’s a cool photo of what they all look like from She Walks Softly.

Pearls, driftwood, seashells, and sage

The driftwood is from an area we call Old Man’s (yes, the apostrophe is properly placed) in Carlsbad. I think it is just a term we coined because that’s where all the old men longboarders go surfing. I mean really old men who should never ever ever EVER go without a shirt or rash guard, if you get my meaning.   If I ever in my wildest dreams desire to see wrinkly old skin that has lost all elasticity and collagen along with saggy, deflated breasts, I’ll look in the mirror, thank you very much! (When DIL sends me the pic she took of a guy who was a Neptune look-a-like, I’ll post it. That pic will be worth the proverbial thousand words.  Nuff said on that subject.)

The sage is from my garden. I’m not quite sure where the sand dollar came from or the other shell. I wish there was some way to label each and every treasure I acquire, because there is no way to recall time or place! We have a California native garden with several kinds of sage, ceanothus, lemonade berry, manzanita, rosy buckwheat, and coyote bush. The vase is from Anthropologie.

My favorite seashell

Nantucket

Nantucket (Photo credit: eoringel)

We got this on a trip to Nantucket a couple years ago. After one of the captain’s long assignments, we flew east to visit my son and daughter-in-law. Since neither of us had been to Cape Cod or Nantucket, we all camped for a couple days near Chatham, and then the cap and I planned a ferry to Nantucket, but the weather was terrible and the water was too rough, so the ferry people cancelled all the runs. We had reservations at a B&B and didn’t want to stay in Hyannis and waste the reservation, so we ran to the airport and took an “airplane” (so small, like for eight people) which was kind of dumb ‘cos if the weather was bad enough to make rough seas, the air wasn’t too stable either. I don’t like to fly anyway on the best of days, and this was so scary-windy, rainy, foggy- that I was petrified. I did not enjoy the fifteen-minute or so flight at all, but the pilot was really good and we landed safely. My husband had an injured hand from the vise-like hold I had on it all the way there, but he recovered quickly and we had a neat time there.

I treasure it not only ‘cos it’s a beautiful shade of rose, but because it came from a little shop on the island. The artist creates magnificent (and very expensive) pieces out of seashells. I can’t remember his name, but as we were admiring his creations, he offered me one of the shells, and I was as excited as if it were a four-carat pear-shaped diamond– well not that ecstatic, but you get the picture. I packed it very carefully for the trip home and have cherished it ever since. I don’t know what kind it is, but I don’t have another one like it. I took the pix using the “sugar”technique I learned from reading Seashells by Millhil   I’ve heard of brown sugar being used in photo shoots and around wedding cakes to represent sand, but I love the white sugar idea. It really sets off the details of this jewel from the sea.