TV appearance

  I’m taking a quick break from the Screenprinting with latex paint series. I will be back with the conclusion of this series shortly. 

I want to share to share a short video from my recent tv appearance. I was there to help promote the kick off of Third on Third, our local outdoor eclectic market. I will be out there selling my wares, so if you are local to the dayton Ohio area, please stop by! 

Here is the video, enjoy!

Creative living means making do

Creative living means making do, in a good way.

If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me ‘you’re so creative!’ I’d be rich…or whatever.

Little do they know that me ‘being creative’ means I make hundreds of quick mental calculations all day, just to figure out how things relate to each other.

I guess growing up in a time and place where there was no excess will teach you that.

These days it seems like there’s a solution for every single problem that we can imagine.

This past fall I asked my kids to help rake up the fallen leaves in the back yard. My request was met with some major balking, so I explained to them the importance of learning these practical skills for when they became homeowners in the future.

I was promptly informed that they would never need to such menial tasks when they get older since their robots would take care of it.

Well, shut the front door!

You’d best believe, they raked every leaf in the yard, to my satisfaction.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic that we live in such an age of abundant options. Having these options readily available also means that we are conditioned to go out and buy, buy, buy. Which means we start to lose the ability to think of creative ways to use what we already have.

I’m guilty of this sometimes. If I really want to, I will invent a need for a (not so) quick run to ol’ blue and yellow . In the heat of my desire to visit the land of beauty and order, I will quickly forget that I have way too many storage knick-knacks that I don’t use.

I will then later suffer from buyer’s remorse as I go through yet another big purge.

In my old age, I am learning to slow down and think through my purchases.

A wise man once said (and by wise, I mean I don’t know who) that being creative is being able to see the connection between 2 seemingly unrelated things. By the same token, [tweetthis]living creatively means seeing connections between 2 unrelated things.[/tweetthis]

Here’s a look at my thought process when ‘being creative’.

Consider for instance, plain ol’ boring clear Contact Paper (aka shelf liner). Did you know that this thing is magic?

  1. You can use it as a privacy film on your windows.  If you’ve ever looked at ‘privacy film’ in the store, you will realize that it is essentially the same vinyl material. Sometimes there are designs on the surfaces. So go a step further and cut out some designs into the contact paper for a clean modern look.Window with contact paperwindow with contact paper

(Apologies for the sideways photos…there is some sort of glitch.)

  1. Use that same clear contact paper as a screenprinting stencil. Or use it as a wall, paper or fabric stencil. Like this smart lady did here. So, screen printing huh? You really just need something to make a mask on a piece of fabric. That something can be the self-adhesive contact paper. Perfect.
  2. This same contact paper can be used to transfer a vinyl design that I have cut on my silhouette machine to the wall or any other surface. I told you that lady was smart.  Why? well, have you looked at the transfer paper sold for the Silhouette machine? It’s really the same thing, but with slightly less adhesive. Remove some of the adhesive by sticking the contact paper onto another surface first.
  3. Laminate without a laminator with the same clear contact paper. Contact paper repels water. That is its sole reason for being. So repel some water off that printed paper!
  4. De-Lint your clothes with it in a pinch. Hey, you could do this before doing number 3, killing 2 birds with one stone!

See? for as low as $1 (dollar stores carry the stuff), the humble contact paper goes a very long way. You are welcome.

So next time you need something, think about what you already have that you can substitute. Sometimes you may have to walk around the house with a dreamy far-away look on your face while  looking at all your stuff before it comes to you. Your family will think you are crazy, but hey, you’re saving money!

So I’d love to hear from you! What are some things that you use in outside-the-box ways?

The Return

Well hello there!


After much thinking and questioning, I have decided to return to the AfroMartha.

Back at the end of 2014 when I decided to shutter the blog, I thought that was what I had to do. A lot’s changed since then…I’m older, my hair is shorter, my dining room is now the lovely dark gray you see behind me…

Honestly, I have missed it, and you (those of you still checking in 🙂 Things just never felt quite right without all the other parts I felt that I had to cut out.

I find that I have a lot to say, and I look forward to saying it here.

The blog will be part art/print-making, part tutorials, part decor/diy, sometimes food,  and hopefully always inspiring.

Let’s do this.


As 2014 comes to a close, I have decided to bring AfroMartha to a close.

It is a thought I’ve wrestled with for months, as my focus has changed.

I find that I really can’t be “AfroMartha” anymore as I’ve developed more as a Surface Designer, and not the all around jack of all trades home improvement/homemaker person that I’ve been.

I will leave the site up indefinitely and you can always contact me by email with questions. I hope you decide to follow me to my new home:

Thank you for 4 wonderful years.

See you on the flipside.

Adding curb appeal in 5 easy steps

Being such a lover of interiors, I find that I’ve neglected the exteriors of our house. I blame my black thumb…the mosquitoes…the heat…landscaping is expensive…whatever.

I realized one day that, while we’ve done a lot to ‘own’ the inside of our house, we’ve never really ‘owned’ the outside.  For the most part, it looked the way it did when we bought it. There were planters and other yard fixtures left there by the previous owners from at least 7 years ago!


Short of a few half-hearted attempts at a garden in recent years, the outside has been left unchanged. We never even painted the bare wood railing on the porch. I had been staring at that railing for years, thinking how nice it would look painted. Well, I finally realized that there had to be some simple and inexpensive things I could do to pretty up the outside.

Here’s what I did:

1. Clean: Clean off the porch. If you do nothing else, clean & tidy up the space. That goes a loooong way. I removed a ratty old doormat, to be replaced by a nice new coir mat. I swept the porch (bonus points if you use a leaf blower). I got rid of our old cheap ugly plastic lawn chairs.

2. Add Color: Stained the railing  a nice rich black that matched the shutters and trim of the house. This had the biggest impact. If you follow me on IG you know I used the Minwax Polyshades Classic Black Satin with Polyurethane already in it.


Before staining, I wiped down the railing (duh).  See the icky green stuff on railing on the left? That’s moss that forms from years of rainfall on wood. Moss is gross (unless you like that kind of stuff). I cleaned the moss with a mixture of 1Cup of Vinegar in 1 Gallon of water, using one of those flat green scrubbers. Worked great! I let the railing dry very well (not a long time if it’s hot.) Then I stained it using a cheap 1inch chip brush. It took me a total of 6 hours over 2 weekends. It was looking better already!


3. Add Flowers/Plants: At the beginning of Spring this year I had planted some wildflowers in the front of the house… you know, the kind that’s supposed to blanket the area in wild colorful flowers and attract butterflies. I’m still waiting for the butterflies, but the flowers have finally made their appearance. Next year we will add more flower bushes


4. Weeding and Mulching. In the 6 years we’ve been here, I’ve hated the ivy that the previous owners planted. I know some people love ivy, and it might even be considered good ground cover. Whatever, I hate them. They are so ruuuude! They crawl everywhere, even finding their way in if you’re not vigilant. They attach themselves to things, ugh!  Well, we had a ton of Ivy, and it was work getting rid of them. Poor Mister who’s apparently allergic to them. He breaks out in a nasty rash on his forearms whenever he touches them…which was a lot, since he did most of the removing. Last summer we thought we had triumphed over them, but some managed to come back. I decided that this year, I would focus my energy on at least eradicating the ones on the front. Next spring we’ll focus on the sides of the house. So once we got the fronts de-ivied and weeded, we added gorgeous red mulch. I LOVE RED MULCH! Caught them on a good sale at 4 bags for $10. Cheap way to add color.


5. Add some accessories.

I brought out those colorful Ikea lawn chairs I used had in the family room. I loved these chairs at first sight because they were so colorful. I knew the kids would love them, so I bought them for the kids to sit on while playing the Wii. The family room quickly got very cramped with all 3 in there, along with a sofa a daybed, all my craft crap, etc etc. I had wanted to put them out for a long time, but I was overruled by the Mister and the Kids. So naturally I exercised my veto powers and put them out when no one was home. Instant interest to the porch!


And…Say hello to my little friend:


Well hello there, mr. owl (or is it ms. owl?) I’ve always loved windchimes. I love the tinkling little sound when it’s windy and cloudy outside. Well, apparently I’m the only one who feels this way in my house. The Mister thinks they’re weird and The Daughter find them creepy. She said it reminds her of scary movies (that I didn’t even know she watched). She has a point, but whatever, I like them. They got used to it.

I also brought out lanterns from the inside to the outside. Cute, no?


It’s funny, I hadn’t even noticed the hooks sitting there just waiting for the lanterns!

So all in all, I’m happy with how the front of the house is coming along. Clearly there’s still work to be done, but all in all, 128 is looking pretty damn good to me!


So there ya have it…Adding curb appeal in 5 easy steps.


Third On Third Market

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in production! I will be exhibiting at Third On Third Market this Sunday 08/17/14 from 11am-4pm. If you are local to the Miami Valley area of Ohio, please stop by and say hi! I’d sure love to see you. The food trucks will be out, and there’ll be lots of awesome vendors with unique wares.


Giveaway Time! Pillow Cover and Zippered Pouch

giveaway_pillowpouchYes, Yes, it is long past do for me to offer the loyal fans and readers of AfroMartha some goodies! Well, wait no more. Announcing the AfroMartha Block Printed Accessories giveaway!

I’m giving away, at once, not 1 but 2 prizes! More chance to win something, yay! You can enter either contest or both.


Giveaway 1:

AfroMartha BlockPrinted Accessories Giveaway – 20 x 20 Pillow 2:

AfroMartha BlockPrinted Accessories Giveaway – Block Printed Pouch

Chalk It Up! Workshop

Yes, that’s right! The next AfroMartha Studio Workshop is official!

Transform upcycled items in your home with amazing magical CHALK PAINT that you mixed yourself! Take your decor from Drab to Fab with just a few simple items! It’s fun, It’s Creative, It’s Green!

In this workshop we will learn all about chalk paint, we’ll make our own, and we get to turn something we might have thrown away into a statement decorative piece for our homes! All materials will be provided for the cost of the ticket, along with a light snack.

Date: Friday, August 1st

Time: 6:00pm -9:00pm

Place: Hope Arts Center
inside Hope Lutheran Church
500 Hickory St,
Dayton OH 45410
Cost: $35 per person, all materials included



Fabric Block Printing Workshop Recap


I am so happy to report that the inaugural AfroMartha Studio Workshop was a smashing success!  Each participant learned how simple and easy it is to create something so totally custom and unique, from your imagination, using very simple and easy to find materials.

The group represented different skill levels, from ‘terrified-of-sharp-knives’ to ‘art teacher.’ Yet each was able to create something beautiful all their own! That’s the beauty of art and design…no matter what your skill level, if you’re having fun, you will end up with something beautiful.

I was more than a little impressed by the level of talent displayed at the workshop. It is humbling to see what my little instructions brought out in everyone.



And have fun we did! There was food, drink, conversation and laughter.  Enjoy the pictures!

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♫Today I don’t feel like doing anything…Nothing at all.♫

Yup, that’s me.

Except I don’t have that luxury.

I have got to C-L-E-A-N my house. I have let it go a little too long. Plus I have company tonight.


Then I’ve got to C-O-O-K some stuff for said company.


Perhaps when I start doing what I’m supposed to do, I’ll miraculously get the energy from somewhere.

Or maybe someone has some to spare and I can purchase some? (Like my friend and zumba  instructor ‘M’ who teaches 5 or more times a week, takes Capoiera with my Hubs, and still has so much energy to spare!)

How do you get out of your ‘no energy for anything’ funk?