Did you know?

I recently found out that rubbing alcohol will release hot glue from practically anything!

I recently found this out while prepping for the last craft show I did. I used an insane amount of hot glue on a few of my projects and of course it got everywhere! After taking way too long pulling off hot glue off some glass, I decided to clean off the glass with some rubbing alcohol. Lo and behold, the remaining little bits simply released!


Since then I’ve used it to easily remove hot glue from everything, including porous items like fabric.
I mainly use 91% isopropyl, so weaker ones may not work.

Rubbing alcohol is one of my favorite things, and now I have one more reason to keep it around!

Blessed Update/Budget décor for the budget-less

Okay, remember a few days ago when I introduced you to my newly charming living room? Well, it’s even better after a few more additions! It is STILL a work in progress, as there are a few more projects planned, but here it is as it stands:


Like I said, there are a few more projects planned. Most pressing would be that green couch, which The Mister affectionately refers to as The Green Monster, or the Ugly Green Couch.  It was a craigslist freebie (way back when craigslist was good). I like the style of the couch (I think it’s called Mid-Century Modern) but it could use some new upholstery. I also love the color and it fits well into the current color scheme, so I think I’d do green again. I’m just waiting for the weather to warm up so I can tackle it. 


How about that beautiful red rug! I instantly fell in love when I saw this at Pier 1. I love it even more because it cost me $9.00! Yes, that’s right $9.00! My $9.00 rug!!!  Okay, here’s the math breakdown:  The rug was originally priced at $79.99, but was on clearance for $39.98. I had a coupon for 20% a regular priced item (yes, clearance was considered regular price!). I also had the $25 gift card from my fabulous sis-in-law, which meant I only came out of pocket $9!  How awesome is that?

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Later the same day I went to my favorite haunt, the Goodwill Outlet. If you haven’t yet, read the entry I did on my old blog here. There I picked up this pair of shelves in the above pictures. They were just the perfect color for the room and I lucked out since there were two of them. I also picked up 4 large picture frames used as part of the stairwell o’ pictures. (That’s still a work in progress, hence no up-close pictures.) Oh, and the 2 yards of upholstery fabric which I used on this bench below:


Did I mention I spent a grand total of $12.90! Again, that’s 2 nice wall shelves, 2 yards of upholstery fabrics, 4 large picture frames (complete with glass and backing) for a total of $12.90. It doesn’t get better than that.


This small side table actually has a short story behind it. In its first life it was  desk. Yup, a desk. I purchased it for $40 from the thrift store. It was originally in my daughter’s bedroom. Her room in our current home is too small to accommodate it, so I decided to bring it downstairs and use it as my desk. During the process of moving I broke 2 of its very delicate legs! It broke in such a way that it didn’t look salvageable, until my daughter suggested the I cut off the desk side (which is the side where the legs broke.) Genius that girl. I took my jigsaw to it (on the right side) and the result is what you see above. I did a little retouch on it (more on that in the future) and it looks amazing, don’t you think?


This lamp thingy? Actually a diy embellishment of Ikea’s new Lobbo lampshade. Here’s the basic gist of what I did (once again, more on that in a future post). I glued (what felt like) a million 1inch circles of natural colored tissue paper onto the shade. Can you see where my kids ‘helped?’ Who am I to crush their creativity and sense of adventure with my pursuit of perfection? The lamp shade: $5, Tissue paper: already on hand (but $2 if purchased.) The result? Priceless. I plan on doing another one  *ahem* without the kids’ help.


Above is a close up of my wall art. A friend of the The Mister (upon seeing it for the first time) said ‘Oh cool, you have the Olympic rings on your wall!’, followed by, ‘No, wait, it’s Google’s logo!’ Eh.  I tried.  The wall words I cut from my little Silhouette Machine using adhesive vinyl I purchased a while back from a sign shop for about $3. Since this area doubles as my creative space, I figured the words ‘dream, create, inspire’ made sense there.


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Here is a close-up of the roses in the pictures above. Just gorgeous! I picked them up from our local farmer’s market the morning of my birthday party. I wish flowers didn’t have to wilt and die. Anyone have good tips for preserving them?

With everything I do, I aim for the biggest bang I can get for my buck, since my buck is getting less and less mileage these days. I think even if I was rich, I’d still do the same thing because it is so fun stretching the limits of my creativity to see what I can come up with. I hope that you do the same. Got any good tips? Leave ‘em below!

Raucous Dinner Parties, Oh how I miss you! And other musings…

Oh how I miss entertaining!  Especially after having recently returned from Norfolk, Virginia, our previous hometown and site of our parties of old. Formal dinner parties have never been our style in the AfroMartha household.  We love just having a random group of people over, add some good food, some off-the-beaten-path music, and Voila! you’ve got a night of interesting conversation and a great time had by all.  Man, our get-togethers used to last till 2, 3, and sometimes 4 in the morning.

Ever since we moved to the Midwest, though, we have not been able to make those same kind of connections. I’m sure part of the blame has to lie with us, but boy it’s been tough! Maybe it’s because we’re a little old to be starting over. After all, those connections we had in VA were made mostly when we were young and childless. Out here in the Midwest it just seems that most of the folks we encounter already have their own social networks and aren’t interested in adding new people. When someone does happen to come by, we tend to hold them hostage long past when they intended to leave.  Hmmm…I wonder if that’s why they don’t come more often?

It’s not that we haven’t made any friends at all. I made one good friend and several acquaintances. Poor Mr. AfroMartha has made mostly out-of-town acquaintances due to his traveling for Capoeira.  This has to be tough for him because he’s such a social butterfly. We haven’t made any ‘couple’ friends, and definitely no ‘raucous dinner party’ type friends. Most of the people we meet generally tend to not be interested in doing out-the-ordinary things, like Brazilian music, or Afrobeat, or long evenings of stimulating philosophical discussions. Salt of the earth people though.

Well, I miss it.  I crave it.  Even my cooking has gone downhill since I have no one to entertain. I don’t bake like I used to or try new dishes like I used to.
I must find some people.  I know they are out there…they have to be. I resolve to extend myself and really go out of my way to meet some people. Got suggestions? Let’s hear it!

On a brighter Note…

Today was a very productive day. Operation Purge and Declutter had a banner day. I finally got rid of my stash of bottles and jars from my Taiwosoaps days.  I had tried to sell them on Ebay and Craigslist, but got nowhere.  The thought crossed my mind to just drop them off at Goodwill or even the recycling plant.  That just made me sad because I wanted them to go to someone who would use them.  Who better than a fellow soapmaker?! A quick google search turned up Tanya Brown of Living Simply Soaps less than 5 miles from me! She was so happy to receive my offerings that she gave me a few bars of her absolutely delectable soaps.  Good thing too, because we were running out of soap and I was thinking of making some with the rest of my stash.  Now I can wait a couple of weeks.  Check out her store, you won’t be disappointed! It felt great to bless someone with supplies in the same way I was blessed when I first started out oh-so-long ago. In return, I get a clearer cleaner space in my home.

After dropping the containers of, I got to work on the pile of children’s clothes that needed to be taken to Goodwill.  I got those sorted and dropped off as well!

Phew, all that decluttering got me so wiped, I decided to take a quick nap.  Well, the joke was on me, because guess what I came down to after my nap?  I left the 3 musketeers to make some art to occupy themselves, and this is what happened:

Good thing I had thought to put down the plastic table cloth on the table, and aprons on each of them… The little one, aka Prince Ruckus used so much paint I couldn’t pull off his paper without tearing it. Very nice work they did though, I must say.

This one’s my personal favorite though… it’s Fire!

And here’s The Princess with her “Well, I didn’t do it” Stance.

At least the cleanup was easy. They had fun and it bought me a few winks. Plus they didn’t burn the house down, which is always good a good thing.