long overdue

Yes, it’s been a while since I gave up some décor/crafting goods.  Sorry ‘bout that.  The sweatshop has consumed me of late.

Anywhoo, here are a couple of projects I did a while ago as part of my ‘bringing in the charm’ project for my family/craft room.  The room tends to be dark since it is situated in the back of the house under shade trees. It also had a lot of warm wood tones. In my attempt to work with the warm wood tones that came with the house, I had previously chosen this unfortunate shade of orangey-yellow (when will I learn that me and orange just don’t get along when it comes to décor??)


A few months after the orangey-yellow mess, I went with a greyish-white wall, and ultra pure white trim.  I LOVE it.  Now the room feels light and airy, and almost scandinavian, thanks to all the Ikea in there. The white background is also the perfect backdrop for all my colorful crafty stuff.  I love color, but apparently not in large blocks.


Since the family room doubles as my creative space (yes, it IS that big!), I decided to I add interest by hanging my large DIY word/wall art.  I  fashioned this art out of a $5 Ikea cabinet door  (gotta love the as-is room!) and some Amy Butler cardstock paper left over from another project. Lucky for me there were enough panes on this door to spell out the word “C.R.E.A.T.E.”  For this project, I simply used my handy-dandy silhouette cutter to cut out the word in various fonts.  I then attached the letters to the glass using glue-dots. Easy peasy!


I also made some embroidery hoop wall-art to cover up some ugliness… Now you know my secret shame. My house is not perfect. Sometimes things have to be jerry-rigged to make things work, like this shameful randomly punched hole that connects our modem to Mr. AfroMartha’s home office.

So, behind this:


Is this.

Just shameful.


To make this project, I simply stretched some cute fabric that I had on hand over some embroidery hoops and hung them on the wall. Now when Mr. AfroMartha is not working, the cords are neatly tucked into the wall and the art covers the hole. Yeah, that’s what’s supposed to happen…

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!

Fabric Printing

I have been practicing printing on fabric using screenprinting, block printing, stamping, and stenciling.  I am itching to get some products out there onto my (currently empty) Etsy store.  For now I will content myself with practicing honing my craft. (Note: I don’t have pictures of my block prints here)

These prints I did on repurposed fabrics. I am really fascinated with the idea of printing on repurposed/recycled fabrics, which are  abundant. I detest waste. I feel like objects have more than one life in them and I try to use what had been previously cast aside as being no longer worthy. In the following prints I’ve used fabrics that would otherwise be destined for the landfill.  It was a great feeling to know that I got a little more use out of them.

The picture above shows my attempt at printing ‘ribbons’.  I printed these using block stamps of my own designs that I cut by hand out of self-adhesive craft foam, I then mount the shape onto a piece of clear acrylic.  (Side note: The acrylic blocks are sold in craft stores with the rubber stamping materials.  Buy those if you like paying a lot of money for your things.  I prefer to go the the glass/plexiglass section of home depot or lowes, as asking them to sell me their discards.  I got a bunch for about $2, which I cut down to size using the plexiglass knife.) These ribbons were printed onto a deconstructed twin fitted sheet I was kind of tired of. I ripped it into strips about 2 inches wide.

The image above shows a design I drew and cut out onto plain ol’ contact paper.  I used the contact paper as my stencil by sticking it onto the screen. I do this method for short run printing or when I’m just itching to print and don’t want to burn a screen. The fabric comes from a cut up pair of linen pants that Mr. AfroMartha didn’t want anymore.

I love doing repeat/allover patterns just as much as single placement patterns but they can be tricky when using the the screen printing method!  The pattern above is my first attempt at a repeat.  I had a hard time lining up  my design on the fabric. I am going back to the drawing board to master registration before I burn any more screens.  The fabric comes from an ikea curtain I purchased from the thrift store.  The fabric is really nice and sturdy, and I wish I’d gotten both panels instead of one.

The ribbons again… The pink and red ribbon was hand-stamped.  The fabric was some random piece of fabric I had around and decided to dye to try out the packet of iDye. The dye took pretty well, and I thought it was a nice backdrop for the stamping.  My daughter begged me to dye her white sundress pink, which I did along with this fabric. It looks smashing and she loves the dress even more now, but I can’t wait to add some designs to the bottom of it.  Of course I will post once it’s completed. Stay tuned…

Knock this off: Storage Headboard

Well it’s springtime, and I’m in full home decor/rearrange mode again.  I had been wanting to get to work on our Master Bedroom, and had a few projects and dilemmas lined up.  As you may know, with home projects one project often-times depends on another.  For instance, I had planned on rearranging the room but we planned on laying down laminate floors, so it would be pointless to move everything around just to move it all out again.  This is a project we had planned on doing since last March.  We had the supplies, but since we were doing it DIY style, we had to do it when we could.  Well, we finally got around to the floors this past weekend.  We spent all day Saturday laying down the flooring and now I can move on to the other projects, yay me!  I’m still sore all over, but the floors look smashing, and it totally changes the mood of the room!

One of the major dilemmas for the room had to do with the positioning of the bed.  The geniuses who installed the duct work thought the lone vent in the room would be perfect in the most logical place the bed!  (Gotta love old homes and all the retrofitting involved). Since we have a king sized bed, this poses a problem.  I didn’t really think it would be the best move to heat/cool just under our bed!  As an added dilemma, there is no space for beside tables on which to place books/magazines, lamps, a glass of water, etc.   Since The Man refuses to downsize to a queen or full, I had to find a creative solution. I have mulled this over for the past few months, but I believe I have found the right solution!

Enter the Bookcase headboard! I knew I would have to build some kind of shelf behind the headboard, and I came up with a few ideas, but I think this is by far the best.  I saw this on BHG.com, and I can’t wait to get it done.  I already have 2 small Ikea bookshelves (Flarke, discontinued, damn!).  They are a bit short, so I think I will build a box base to raise them up so that we can use more of the shelves. I will also make a headboard to go across the bottom part of the bookshelves so that we are not bumping our heads agains the shelves.  I will post pics when the project is done.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When I was a young (crafty) child fresh off the plane from Nigeria, I was amazed at how much useful stuff people would throw out. This led to me saving a whole bunch of those styrofoam trays from the grocery store. I just knew they could be turned into something. I made lots of picture frames, but after a while, I had to let them go because they were rapidly piling up. This was a pivotal point in my ‘junk to treasure’ attitude. Today, I still love to save little bottles, cans, boxes, etc to be used for something later. More and more lately I’m finding things that can be reused. This goes with the whole GREEN movement, but hey, I was Green before Green was green!

It is my aim with my etsy shop to use as many ‘upcycled’ items in my work as possible. I am really impressed with the things I’ve been able to make from household discards. Following is a tutorial for a small shipping box.

Small Shipping box from a drink carton.

If your household is anything like mine, you go through a lot of containers: Cereal boxes, soup cans, soymilk cartons, jugs, etc. It kills me to throw these things away, so I’ve been saving them to use. Here’s a pictorial of me making a small shipping box with an empty juice carton (you know, the dole/welch’s juice kind)

You will need:
-Craft Knife with a fairly sharp blade (I used my trusty 10 year old X-acto)
-paper to wrap the box in (as USPS won’t allow you to use any old box)
-small item to be shipped.


Step 1. Cut off the triangular shaped top of the box.
Step 2: Slice each of the four corners to the desired depth toaccomodate whatever object you’re sending. I just eyeballed it, but if you’re anal about this type of stuff you can measure.
Step 3: Fold down each of the four sides, and crease.
Step 4: Place the object to be mailed in the box, fold down the flaps and secure the box with tape.