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Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 | 1 comment

A Backyard Makeover Part 1: Installing a Dry Creek

A Backyard Makeover Part 1: Installing a Dry Creek

When we moved into our house three years ago, the backyard was pretty much a blank canvas. We always knew we wanted something different but turned to interior and front yard projects first. Last year we added a slide, a rope ladder  and some chalkboards to make it a little more attractive for our children. This year it was finally time to direct our energies towards the back yard. We decided to call a professional designer to help us turn our ideas and vision into a plan. The space is not large, but consists of various areas which we wanted tied together in a meaningful, aesthetic and useful way. We searched high and low for the right person and came across Beth Ginter of The Honeybee Group in Silver Spring, MD. She turned out to be exactly what we were looking for in a designer — with an emphasis on sustainability and use of native plant material and a lot of experience in creating versatile outdoor spaces for families. Beth...

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 | 0 comments

Making a Schultuete: A German First Grade Tradition

Making a Schultuete: A German First Grade Tradition

Today’s post is by our regular DIY Del Ray contributor, Kay Sidhamed, owner of Oikasa, interior design business. This year’s back-to-school preparation is accompanied by a special buzz of excitement in our family. Our oldest child Gaia will be entering first grade. Not a big deal, you might think, but in my native country Germany, it is a BIG deal. First grade is when German children start school and proudly call themselves a Schulkind (school child). Anything before that is called kindergarten, but has hardly anything in common with the U.S. kindergarten. Until first grade, German children spend their days playing, crafting, singing, and more playing. Formal academic instruction in reading, writing, and math marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives — going to “real” school. Our child is equally excited as her peers in Germany upon becoming a Schulkind very soon. She spent the past three years at the Waldorf School in Arlington where formal instruction in academics has not been part of her kindergarten days...

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Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 | 2 comments

Easy Kitchen Makeover with DIY Chalk Paint

Easy Kitchen Makeover with DIY Chalk Paint

Ever since we moved into our home two years ago, we have never been quite in love with our kitchen. Though it was brand new when we bought the house and we were able to customize the counter-tops, the overall cabinet style and color is just not our thing. Replacing the cabinets or remodeling the kitchen is not an option, so we decided to paint the cabinets. When I received my designer kit from Devine Color earlier this year, the color “Devine Ripe Banana and Beans” immediately caught my eye and I started to see yellow in our kitchen’s future. My husband and children all agreed on yellow but it took us about a week to decide between different hues. We tested out four colors on large pieces of poster board. We also tested two colors on the cabinets. Sherwin Williams’ “Butter Up” (below, left) was my family’s favorite and I liked it for its crisp and modern character. After viewing the paint samples for several days in different...

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Posted by on May 5, 2014 | 0 comments

Dancing Around a Spring Maypole

Dancing Around a Spring Maypole

We’ve featured Kay Sidhamed’s home and office design on the blog and admire the creativity and DIY expertise she brings to her family life and interior design business, Oikasa. We’re thrilled to welcome Kay as a contributor to DIY Del Ray.  Maypoles are my all-time favorite feature of the spring season. With their colorful ribbons inviting children and adults alike to happily skip in the round, they are just a pure joy to watch. Maypoles appear in many European folk festivals, often on May 1 or midsummer.  Accompanied by traditional music, dancers follow a routine that creates a beautiful braided pattern on the pole with the ribbons. When my daughter Gaia was in her first year at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington, I attended their sweet and simple May Day celebration, which manifested my love for maypoles. Watching the children with flower crowns on their heads and the sparkle of astonishment in their eyes dancing around the pole was one of these moments when as a parent you...

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