A Time to Prime

So I made a little Goodwill run the other day to treasure hunt and came home with a lamp, lampshade, ONE curtain panel. I needed to redo a window nook in the apartment and since I only found one window panel, I decided to cut it in half.

corner before

Here’s the corner of the room I felt needed a little pick me up.


I found this curtain panel for $12 that I wanted to use to accent the window. Very nautical.


And the lampshade? I love it. AND it goes with the curtain.

items to prime 2

I gathered my items to prime. The lamp and shade were at Goodwill for $7 a piece, the curtain was $12 and the small light fixture was at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for $4. The owl spent the winter in our garden and was affected by the seasons a little too harshly.

owl before

I was granted permission from the boyfriend to paint his sad owl. My choices? Re-paint it to look like a realistic owl, or paint it all one color and make it look like a glorious statue. I chose the latter.

BIN 123 primer

Here is my primer of choice! I needed something to stick to all surfaces, and to block dark colors. painted items

For some reason I don’t have any pics of the items primed. I must have been busy with the Veronica Mars marathon I was watching. BUT after a coat of primer, these babies were ready to paint. The owl got an alabaster white coat, and the lamp got a black satin (can in picture) coat of paint. It’s an indoor/ outdoor enamel so I knew it would hold up on the lamp.

black paint

While I was at it with the black paint, I painted a picture frame laying around for a watercolor I did, and the light fixture got a coat of black after being primed as well.


Here’s a comparison of the light before in all of it’s crackled and gold glory.

feather pic inspriation

Here’s the feather watercolor I did for the corner of the room. The left was the inspiration I found on Pinterest. I did a watercolor of some splashes and then drew on it with a sharpie pen.

corner after lamp off

Here’s what my facelifted items look like together, after. Like they were meant to be!

corner after

And with the light on.

corner after 3

So, what do you think? Happy DIY’ing!

DIY Bag made with Shorts

Last year I was looking for a shortcut to not have to make pockets for insides of a bag. What has a lot of pockets that are already assembled? Shorts! Men’s bermuda shorts (or ladies) have 4-5 pockets and a lot of material to work with. They are usually neutral in color, or have subtle stripes. So I decided to buy a pair really cheaply, and get to work. First I needed to come up with a plan…

shorts pattern


I opted for a shoulder bag, big enough for a magazine or two, maybe a tablet, some pens, and whatever else. I wanted the back pockets to be the inside, which left me with the front pockets and extra fabric for the inside flap and sides.

shorts pocket before


My measurements were 11″ tall x 8″ high. I cut two pieces with the back side for the insides of the bag. I made the depth 4″, wide enough to put a cell phone in the sides of the outside.

shorts before 3

I also undid the hems to give myself more fabric.

shorts before 2 bag inside

I got so caught up in making a bag I neglected to take too many pictures, but I didn’t intend to make a tutorial, just show the readers what you can do with re-purposing!

bag inside flap pockets

I used the front pocket to make some storage in the front of the bag. Perfect for pens, toiletries, or anything really.

bag after collage

I used a piece from the bottom for a side pocket, and the tiny pocket from the front on the other side. I even found a matching belt for the strap!


The finished messenger! I had the blue canvas as a gift from a friend, and the leather was a scrap piece. The only thing I bought was the buckle. The button even came off of the shorts! The finished product is on my Etsy store. Think of all YOU can do with a pair of shorts or an men’s shirt?

Happy re-purposing!



New Bat Name, Same Bat Blog

Verbena Simple Living round logo

Practical Enrichment is getting a little facelift! Through the years, “Practical Enrichment” has been my moto and my career goal. Living practically and enriching life more simply. Finding ways to be frugal, and turn nothing into something.

I’m also changing the name of the Blog to simplify… the blog! Verbena is a word that always makes me happy. It reminds me of my favorite movie since it’s the name of Sally’s Shop in Practical Magic, it reminds me of my favorite herb, Lemon Verbena, that makes me think of summer in the middle of winter and reminds me of the color green, the color of life.

Stay tuned for more of the same, crafts, cooking, simple living, and of course, DIY. Thanks for reading!

DIY Leather Tassel Key Chain

Rainbow of tassles

This DIY is super easy, and cost me $0. I have so much leftover leather from samples I’ve acquired that were to be tossed at the Interior Design Studio I used to work at. What to do with all of that leather? Well my sewing machine isn’t made for more than one layer, so there goes plans to make cute little leather bags… Tassels! The perfect accessory to a bag’s zipper pull or the perfect keychain. Here’s the DIY.

You need:

 A leather piece 6.5″ x 3.5″
Superglue- I like to use the gel kind

Blue tassles step 1

I took my piece of leather and cut 1/4″ slices along it  2/3 of the way up. Cut another little piece 1/4″ thick by 2″ long to hold the key ring.

Blue tassle step 4


Fold the key ring into the small piece, and put a dab of superglue towards the and and pinch shut. Then put the key ring piece on the pain piece (inside) and put some superglue (not too much or it will run) and begin to roll. I put it on as I went along because the leather absorbed the glue.

Blue tassle step 5

Roll it up! Roll it tightly, but make sure you’re keeping the key ring piece square. Don’t put too much superglue on the way end, it will squeeze out, you’ll get it on your fingers, and glue them together. Most likely. Let’s avoid that.

Blue tassle step 6- rubber band

Rubber band that up till it dries.

Pile of tassles

My new pile of tassel key rings! Yes, they will be for sale on Etsy. What else am I supposed to do with all of these?

Happy DIY!

Happiness Journal

For years as a teen, and in my early 20′s I kept a journal. I have either packaged them away or thrown them away due to the fact that I was using them to vent and complain in. Mostly about my relationships and my negative home life. But what good does that do to me, and my mental state to dwell on the bad things? Sure at the time it was cathartic to be able to get out my emotions on paper and it helped to make sense of them sometimes but later it didn’t help me to see how far I’ve come, just how lost and confused I was. And I felt bad for the old me that I was in certain situations that I had little or no control over. So I decided to make a “Self Help / Happiness Journal” book, as it were. I keep it in my purse and read through it when I’m feeling down about myself or life, but I should read it every day. I fill it with articles  and uplifting quotes that are motivational and let me know I’m normal in my feelings, and how to improve on my mental well being.

Truth be told, I’m someone that needs “cognitive behavioral therapy,” which is (in a nutshell) constant positive reminders to change negative brain waves and patterns that weren’t normal or proper that I grew to know as facts, due to being surrounded by negative people as a child. Now that I’m an adult, I know that I feel something should be different or I should feel a certain way but I don’t, and I need to remind myself things over and over to change and retrain my brain.

Happiness Book Cover


My “journal” or little book is a basic Moleskin book that I’ve colored a picture to the cover of. I got the kind with blank pages so I can do drawings inside if I like as well as write.

Happiness Book 1

Some of my scribbles. This article on “How not to feel like an Outsider” was helpful.

Happiness Book 2

10 Habits of Happy People. I just watched a Soul Pancake video on how not just gratitude, but expressing that gratitude makes people happy. It’s proven!

Happiness Book 3

Free ways to reward myself and things that make me happy. Otherwise I love to reward my happy days with shopping. Bad idea. Retail therapy always works, but it can get as expensive as REAL therapy.

happiness book 5

An article I read on 5 unchanging elements of an incredible life. The next page says “I Will” instead of “To Do” because making a to do list telling yourself you WILL do something means you are more likely to get it done.

Reminders about why I should be and stay happy are exactly what an existential person like myself needs! I suggest this for everyone. Even a small book with quotes in it can be uplifting in a sour time.

Happy motivating!