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Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 | 2 comments

Out with the Old: Decluttering the House in One Fell Swoop

Out with the Old: Decluttering the House in One Fell Swoop

Last weekend, as we do every year in mid-January, we drag the Christmas tree to the curb for pick-up. Something then comes over me as I sweep up pine needles. I go into hyperdrive and start cleaning out closets, the frig, and the kitchen pantry. I crawl under the kids’ beds to pull out storage bins and bits of other accumulated detritus (bandaids, socks, you get the idea). The result: piles and bags of discards. (Name it what you will – junque, crap, hand-me-downs.) I have a method to the madness, especially for getting all of it out the door forever. 1. All expired medicines and vitamins go to Stacy at The Neighborhood Pharmacy. The FDA has guidelines for the proper disposal of unused medicines; you are supposed to flush some, for example; others can go in the trash. I take all of them to the pharmacy where they’ll dispose of them properly and recycle the containers. You can call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service...

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Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 | 3 comments

Weekend Project: Turning Empty Space Below the Stairs Into Useable Storage

Weekend Project: Turning Empty Space Below the Stairs Into Useable Storage

For those of us who live in the typical Del Ray rowhouse, we long for ideas to create more storage but not take up more room.  Most of us have basements that boast some sort of hollowed out space below the stairs leading from the main floor to the basement.  I’ve dreamt of turning that space into an office alcove or cutting out the wall and putting in storage like this. But, as life got crazy, sadly I never got around to it.  Have no fear though, my good friend Zach, who has a great rowhouse in Warwick Village, decided to tackle the basement project over the weekend.  Yes you heard right, my overachiever (in a good way) of a friend did this in two days while his wife and cute baby girl were away. Here is a before picture of what the wall looked like before the construction began. After determining the size of the shelves, Zach cut away the drywall, framed up the structure with 2″x 3″ wall studs and covered the...

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Posted by on Jan 11, 2012 | 2 comments

Mermaids, Butterflies, and Princesses: An Enchanted Shared Bedroom

Mermaids, Butterflies, and Princesses: An Enchanted Shared Bedroom

The couple in this installment, Joe and Christi, took one big room and split it into one medium and one small room to accommodate three little girls. The couple loves their Del Ray farmhouse and have no desire to move anytime soon. Together, they designed and constructed a whimsical space for little girls who love princesses, mermaids, fairies, and the colors pink and purple. Here you can see the opening they created between the rooms, with Joe working as the DIY contractor. The opening is flanked on either side with fanciful drapes that the girls can close for more privacy. In the middle, they hung narrow wall-mounted bookshelves. The far room is for the older girl, the nearest room is for the younger two girls. In the bigger of the two rooms, the sisters have loft beds on either side of the room, each with a fun slide instead of a ladder. The beds are high enough to allow for the girls to hang out underneath but not too...

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2012 | 2 comments

A Wild and Wonderful Winter Birthday Party

A Wild and Wonderful Winter Birthday Party

My oldest son turns 6 years old today. Of the many things I love about him, I think it’s so cool he loves to do projects around the house with me. In fact, he uses DIY Del Ray as a verb — “Mommy, are you going to DIY Del Ray this?” So of course I was excited when he said he wanted to have his birthday party at home. This meant that together we could plan the food and games, make the decorations, and “DIY Del Ray” the whole event. Since the party is in January, a winter wonderland theme made the most sense. Our plan was to decorate with cut-out paper snowflakes, make a snowman-shaped cake, and have other games and activities related to winter. Pretty simple. Space is an issue so we had to keep the guest list short — just a handful of friends and of course Jack’s best bud, his little brother Calvin. This would also be the first year for the dreaded drop-off party....

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Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 | 2 comments

DIY Felted Juggling Balls

DIY Felted Juggling Balls

My friend Rachel made our family the coolest gift, a set of handmade juggling balls. She let me watch her make one of the balls so we could share the steps on DIY Del Ray, knowing that we not only have a lot of crafty readers, but probably some aspiring circus performers too. These balls are quick and easy to make (think weekend project). 1. Because juggling balls need to be weighted, Rachel started out with some pennies wrapped in cellophane tape. 2. She took some scrap yarn and started wrapping the pouch of pennies until the ball reached about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. 3. She then wrapped some wool roving around the yarn ball. Roving is a piece of wool that’s been combed, drawn into a clump, and twisted slightly. Roving has not been spun into yarn yet. Rachel’s local yarn store doesn’t carry wool roving, so she ordered some online for a good price at the Brooklyn General Store. With a needle felting tool (the...

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