DIY Bike Basket

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This Spring and Summer I’ve been battling a pretty bad case of bike lust. It’s baaad. I’m especially powerless against cruiser bikes. With Baskets…front and back. The more colorful the better!  They’re just so dang cute! I mean, just look at this:

Follow Yetunde Rodriguez’s board Bike love on Pinterest.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

So I got one. I got me a vintage Roadmaster Cape Cod.

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Ain’t she cute?

Mine didn’t come with a basket, but that’s ok, cuz that just means I get to choose the basket I want, and…  OOOOOh Project!

 

So anyway, here’s what I used:

A basket (duh). I got one from my favorite thrift for maybe 75cents. I liked the shape and it looked like it belonged on my bike. We won’t talk about the P&G logo on it, ok?
Firm Leather Strips that I cut from the bottom of an old leather purse I got from the same thrift store.
Leather Rivets

Here’s a pic of the tools and materials minus the basket (cuz of course I decide to blog this after the project was done)

materials

1. Figure out how much leather you need. This depends on how far down from the handlebars you want the basket. I used 6”. I cut my strips to 1”x6”

2. Pass the leather Strip through an opening in the basket. If there isn’t one, make one.

3. Wrap the other ends around the handle bars. Mark your hole locations. Punch the holes with the Hole Puncher.

4. Apply the Rivets with the Rivet Setter. Don’t know how? Here’s a nice video

As my 8 year old would say, Easy Peasy!

Here’s an up close shot of the set up:

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I love my bike as is now but I still want to paint it, though the thought of disassembly terrifies me.  Oh, yes, I still need a back bike basket too…

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Goodwill Outlet – Bargain Hunting for the Hardcore

I am a hardcore, unashamed bargain hunter. My belief is that with just a little imagination and some patience you can have anything you want.

It absolutely kills me to see people spending their hard-earned dollars furnishing their homes with boring unimaginative rent-to-own furniture. People! there’s no need for that! There are so many good free, or practically free options if you are willing to give up keeping up appearances and keeping up with the joneses. In the end, it’s all just stuff, and you will eventually get rid of it, so why blow a lot of money on it?

My favorite thrift store, the Goodwill Outlet on Woodman Ave in Dayton is having a furniture sale this Saturday June 14th. There are expected to be about 4 truckloads of furniture there, so there’s sure to be some bargains. If you’re local and in-need of furniture, this is the place to be! (This is not a sponsored post, just my opinion)

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img courtesy of flowerpatchfarmgirl. Read her hilarious recap of her visit here.

This store is hands-down my favorite thrift store for rock-bottom pricing for home items.  Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful treasures from this store. I don’t buy so much anymore because I don’t need so much, but I do still love going to look. I won’t totally bore you with everything I’ve gotten from there, but here’s just a couple.

For $2, I got this perfectly intact, still in box, 7.5 ft tall pre-lit chrismas tree (all lights intact and functional). It certainly merried-up my living room, knowing that I didn’t spend a small fortune for it!

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One of my favorite finds was a small lamp table I bought for $2 ( favorite pricepoint, apparently). After shining it up, it became the  $149 table I sold  on my etsy store. Not bad huh?

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This is a store that confounds even the most seasoned bargain hunter, but it happens to be my favorite store for home stuff.

It is a store that puts off many thrifters because:

It is totally disorganized.  This is that last stop before the landfill, and anything goes.

People get c-r-a-z-y in there, especially at bin change. Bin change is when the workers bring out a fresh steaming pile of junk stuff to dig through. The pros start lining up at the first sign of bin change. Once the bins are opened, people dig through stuff, flinging things about looking for buried treasures, often breaking things in the process. It is not nice, and if you’re not careful, you could get trampled.

It attracts some unsavory characters with questionable hygiene habits.

You need to wear gloves if you will be doing any serious digging. There’s broken glass and questionable liquids in those bins.

It is not for everyone. There are people who will never get the appeal of thrift stores, especially a place like this.  That is ok. Leave it for the rest of us.

If you love to dig for treasures and bargains, like me, make it a point to check out your goodwill outlet store (especially this weekend, if you’re in the Dayton ohio area.) You just might find what you’ve been looking for.  If you’re looking for a friendly face, I’ll be there, so say hello!

What are some of your favorite bargain haunts?

Reset Your Crown

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A few months ago I discovered Reset Your Crown, an online lifestyle magazine featuring African/African-American style. The magazine covers topics such as hair care, as it pertains to natural hair, diet and exercise, crafts and décor. Right up my alley, I say! It’s a visually stunning magazine with gorgeous photography and layout. The publisher, LaKaye Mbah is a professional photographer from my old hometown of Hampton Roads Virginia. 

This month’s issue is all about weddings and couple hood.  It features on the cover, the lovely Megan Jenifer-Harris, a violinist and workout –nut, also from Hampton Roads. There are beauty and styling tips as well as food and exercise. And by the way, there’s a DIY article in there by yours truly!

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If you’re not familiar with Reset Your Crown magazine, I strongly encourage you to make it’s acquaintance. Make a run over there now!

DIY Block Printed Shower Cap

Really? Why make a shower cap when you can get one for a dollar?

Well, here’s the thing. The standard or even so called larger size shower bonnets don’t work for me. It’s not that I have an extraordinarily large head or anything… I just have a lot of hair.

People with locs, you know the struggle is real.

Exhibit A:

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There’s just no fitting all that into a regular store-bought shower cap.

So after so many years of getting my hair unintentionally wet, It occurred to me that I could actually make one. One that will fit my exact situation! Oh happy day!

And being the true DIYer and block printer that I am, it wouldn’t do to just buy fabric. I had to print it myself.

I based the design and construction of this shower cap on a store-bought version I had, which used two layers of fabric: a plastic layer and a ‘cloth’ layer.  For the fabric, what better to use than something designed to go in the shower? Shower curtains of course! I used 2 types of shower curtains to be exact.  For the inner layer I used the cheap vinyl shower lining. For the outer layer I used the ‘cloth’ polyester shower curtain.  I was able to get cut 4 circles out of each shower curtain.

Ps… This post is rated ‘M’ for the gratuitous uses of words like ‘Perimeter’ and  ‘Circumference. Apologies for the flood of  middle school algebra nightmares this may unleash on you…

*You will notice that I have a 2 different prints in this ‘tutorial’. That’s because I made 2 total, before getting it right. That’s what I get for not searching for a tutorial to guide me first. I guess I didn’t think anyone else would’ve been crazy enough to make a shower cap for themselves. So, most of the procedures photos show one print, while the finished product shows a different print. That’s because I goofed up the first one and then didn’t take procedure photos of the second one.

1. Determine the size of the cap. I wanted a cap that would be roomy but not be too big. I settled on 24” wide. This will allow enough room for all that hair/locs.

2. I cut out my giant circles

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3. Chose one of my stamps as well as paint color, then printed a design all over the polyester outside circle..

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The Mister said it looked like an old-lady shower cap.

Wuteva.

(I kinda agree but don’t tell him.)

Next, I layered the printed outside with the plastic inside layer with wrong sides together.  IMG_1580

and sewed a 1/2” seam all around the perimeter, leaving a small opening to flip the printed side out.

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Then I flipped the giant circle right side (printed side) out.

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Once it was turned right side out, I pressed the seam flat and sewed a 1/8” topstitch around the perimeter of the circle.

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Then comes the fun part…the elastic that pulls it all together.

I determined how snug I wanted the shower cap to fit, which dictated the length of the elastic.  I took a measurement of where the shower cap would rest on my hairline. This gave me the circumference that the shower cap needed to be when the elastic was stretched out.  I reduced this length by 2inches (23-2 =21). 21 inches gave me the resting (un-stretched) circumference of the shower cap. This is the length of my elastic. Whew! Clear as mud? And you thought you’d never use math in real life…

I made a casing for the elastic by folding in around 1 inch and sewing all around the circle, leaving about an inch of opening to pass the elastic.

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Once I sewed the seam around, I used a safety pin to pass the elastic through, then closed up the small opening.

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So, like I said earlier, I just kind of winged it, based on a shower cap I already had, but I have since found a much simpler method here, at Whip Up. Go check it out!

Now that I’ve conquered this, I see a night cap in the future…

So, are you game to make yourself a shower cap? I hope so. and I’d love to see it if you do!

PS…if you’re local to the dayton/cincinnati ohio area, I am offering a Block-Printing workshop on June 27th. Learn more here.

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AfroMartha Studio Presents Fabric BLOCKPRINTING workshop!

It’s going down, Friday June 27th, 2014! The first ever Blockprinting workshop hosted by AfroMartha Studios. flyer_withinfo2

I’ve been having so much fun all by myself in the studio I thought I’d share the wealth! I hope you can join me if you’re local…though I’d be honored if you’d make a special trip to Dayton Ohio just to hang out with little ol’ AfroMartha, Smile

So, in this workshop we are going to learn how to use simple foam stamps to print our very own custom fabrics! Do you know what you can do with that information?! Just look below:

Make a gorgeous pillow cover…

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print your own beautiful fabric for your lampshade…

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Beautiful kitchen napkins…

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The possibilities are endless…

I want to empower you (yes, you) to tap into the creativity you already possess. We’re gonna have fun, I promise!

So here are the deets:

Friday June 27th, 6pm – 8pm

Location: Sinclair Lofts Activity room
35 S St Clair St
Dayton, OH 45402

Cost: $35 per person, which includes all course materials!

Purchase tickets below:

5 (plus 1) Secret Weapons in the Kitchen Ninja Arsenal

There are a dizzying array of kitchen tools and gadgets available to the home cook. For people who don’t cook often because they aren’t sure of what to use, cooking can become a terrible chore.  I’m known as somewhat of a Ninja in the kitchen. Every Ninja’s has some tools in her arsenal.  Not having the right tools in the kitchen is like going against an army with a handgun… Ineffective.

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Here are the 5 kitchen tools or gadgets I use regularly.

1. Sharp Chef’s Knife (affiliate link) – A sharp knife is a safe knife, they say. My knife (similar to the one pictured below) has been with me for the past 11 years. The one piece molded construction (like the one pictured below) ensures that there are not rivets to get loose, and no wooden handle to swell. All that’s needed for peak performance is periodic sharpening on my sharpening stone (affiliate link).

knife

sharpening stone

2. Food Processor (affiliate link). I use my food processor just about everyday! With its different blades, It makes short work of chickpeas for falafel, perfectly shreds carrots for salad in seconds,  and chops up frozen okra for Nigerian Stew. I use this tool so much that it lives on my countertop. Another reason it’s my favorite? I got mine (brand new) from my local thrift store or $3, SCORE!!!

foodprocessor

3. Blender (affiliate link) Similar to the food process is my blender. I use my blender to crush ice for parties, make smoothies in the summer, grind up peppers, onions and tomatoes for Nigerian Stew amongst other things. Blenders are another dime-a-dozen thrift store item. In fact they are so ubiquitous that I keep have a spare glass cup portion in case I ever drop and break one.

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4. Electric Griddle (affiliate link) Another favorite workhorse is my Electric Griddle. Pancakes anyone?! I used to slave over a hot stove making one pancake at a time until I experienced using a Griddle. I could have  a stack of pancakes for the whole family within 15 minutes! I also use my griddle to ‘grill’ salmon (just olive oil, salt and pepper, yum!)

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5. Hand Mixer (affiliate link) Of course! One day I will have that beautiful hot pink KitchenAid Stand Mixer. But until then, my super-awesome (thrift store find) hand mixer does justice to my batters: cookies, cakes and even marshmallows!

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So there ya have it. My 5 secret weapons that can take you from Kitchen Ho-Hum to Kitchen Ninja in no time!

Let’s face it, there are a lot of tools and gadgets available to the home cook. It can be hard to cut out the noise and hone in on what is really important. These are the ones I turn to over and again. What tools do you have in your arsenal that you can’t live without. Please share below because I’d love to learn about others.

Coloring Soap Naturally

I’ve been in a very colorful place lately, starting with my textile printing work, and now bleeding into soapmaking.

That has led me to further  refine my use of natural soap colorants. In the past I’ve often  just dumped the herb/spice in at the last minute, resulting in less than impressive results.

Take a look at these gorgeous soaps!

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These soaps were colored with herbs and or/spices. Leaving the ground herbs/spices in results in a grainy texture that I didn’t care for. Instead, I infused my liquid oils with the herbs to get the color then strained out the herbs using a coffee filter in a funnel. This resulted in a gorgeous vibrant color with no grains or streaks.

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The purplish (almost denim) soap was colored with Alkanet root. Strangely, alkanet root is a deep burgundy color, but turns  soap purple. I’m still on a hunt for a natural burgundy color.

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For one pound of soap, I used 1 teaspoon of alkanet root. The peachy colored soap was colored with Paprika. For one pound of soap I used 1 teaspoon of paprika.

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Next time I think I’ll bump up the concentration and see if the purple comes out any deeper. I made my soap in (soap dedicated) crock pot. Hence the rough appearance.

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For soapmaking tutorials, look here.