D I Y, Makeovers, Recyling, Reuse, Reduce., T U T O R I A L S, Trash to Treasure

Garden Makeover 2 ~ Transforming garden accessories

The first part of this make-over were my initial attempts at making the Concrete Mushrooms which made very attractive pieces scattered in the lawn.

Frankly, when I begin any art or craft or diy project, I don’t have a clear picture of what the outcome “look” would be, but when the finished “look” is close to good, taking all those pictures and making notes etc, of when it was being processed, becomes so worth the while.

I love making tutorials. Its my way of sharing some joy with my readers and it gives me a great sense of achievement when someone finds inspiration, by something, I shared.  So a BIG THANK YOU to all of you, my dear readers, who appreciated and encouraged me with your lovely comments for the CONCRETE MUSHROOMS !

Back to the Garden Makeover :- The other improvements included giving a facelift to some of the accessories that have been an integral part of the garden for several years.

In a country where most old items and furniture are chugged out easily ~ I don’t like the idea of dumping “things” if there is considerable “life” left in it. I prefer to give mine alittle TLC,  some shine and hopefully some better days ahead for them.

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Dubai receives some very harsh treatment from the Sun for a good 5-6 months. It can become incredibly unbearable for any idle object to sit in an outdoor area and soak up the direct sunlight with temperatures running anywhere between 45* – 49*Celcius for hours, endlessly.  Most of our garden chairs, glass tables, benches and accessories bear the brunt of the merciless Sun.

So this October, I armed myself with some sanding paper and a couple of cans of spray paint and “got my sons to do the needful” !!!!

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The bench was a real sore eye ! So my oldest got around to sanding it with the sanding machine. I cannot emphasis just how important sanding is for wood or anything rusted as well. It is time consuming but it almost renews life into these pieces, let alone the smoothness achieved.  Each one of the boys, took turns to paint a couple of coats of white paint on the bench.



My Eldest, buddy working his charm on the bench 🙂


Two days later ~ we had a beautiful white “shabby chic looking” bench !!



These Ikea lanterns had gotten so rusty and ugly that it was incredibly difficult to sand the nooks and cranny of these lanterns. But I wasn’t ready to present them to the garbage bin 🙂  ~  I think, the boys did a good job considering its previous hideous state.


Not bad ~ what say ?


I have used this tray earlier to display some seashells ~ I have something else planned up for it this time round 🙂


What a drastic change, isn’t it ?


These lantern stands have been a part of my garden for quite a few years and had undergone transformations earlier too, but I think, I like this one much  better :-


Needless to say, just how gross the stands look !! and how pretty the transformation turned out !


Last but not the least, we bought these lovely pine cones from out trip to England last summer. I spray painted it with silver color (I know it looks like white but it is silver)

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So there you have it !! A little facelift can make a huge difference. I was trying to add up all the little transformations that I had made, to bring about a sense of aesthetics and charm in the garden and porch.

Please tell me which transformation is the best  ( in your opinion) :-

  1. the bench
  2. the lanterns
  3. the stand
  4. the pinecones

I  would like to share my makeovers with the following friends and their lovely blog parties :-

Thank you for visiting me today. Your comments add a lot of encouragement to my creative endeavors.

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Where do you buy craft supplies from, in Dubai ?

Dear Friends, Kindly visit the updated and current post for all the art and craft supplies stores in Dubai, here :- 


This is one of the most asked questions I receive in my blog. There are several other places too which I will address in another post.

The whole point of this post is to share information of

  • where you can buy craft supplies,
  • what kind of supplies can be bought from which stores
  • what uses can certain products adapt to.


Let me clarify one thing in the very beginning of this post ~ I am NOT a hoarder.

Ok, so now that we have THAT out of the way, let me explain, that over the past 3 months, while the house was frequented by a regular stream of visitors, I still managed to utilize some of the shopping time with them to pick a few craft goodies for myself too.

 Carrefour at Mall Of the Emirates.

Now, I know, your probably looking for specific stuff – but let me tell you, one of the things that I like best about Carrefour, is that :-

  • They pick commodities in huge quantities = which naturally means a good price for the consumer.
  • They have these special sales of 10 and 20 dhs prices, ( once or twice a year) on household/domestic purpose items which come in handy for us crafters.
  • Buy Christmas ornaments after New Years ! Why you ask ?  Prices ofcourse !!

There are many such things that are helpful and available at Carrefour – Do you have them ?


  • The twine is excellent and, I’ve realized at times, when your looking for them ~ you cant find them.
  • The freezer tape is going to be a great help, for my students, in the next art class.

Christmas Ornaments from Carrefour

While we are Muslims and do not celebrate Christmas, I generally pick scores and scores of Christmas ornaments during the Christmas season. Why ?

  • They come in handy, in several ways :-
  • I can use them as templates and stencils.
  • I can also teach my students how to make them, hence they are inspirational pieces.
  • Some can be used as napkin rings.
  • Some as curtain decoration or tie backs.
  • Some as fridge magnets.
  • Some as book marks.
  • some as toys for the pets (cats)
  • While one sees ornaments here ~ I see endless creative possibilities 🙂


The next time your at Carrefour at Christmas time, think about the above possibilities while looking around for those ornaments.



Daiso is a Japanese retailer who have been in the market selling Japanese products for over a decade now.  They host stores in Ajman, Dubai ~ Mirdiff City Center, Lamcy Plaza and else where.  You may have to look them up for a location closer to where you stay.

I love the store in Ajman coz they are probably the largest with a larger variety. Their prices were very reasonable, as in Dhs 5 for most products. However over the years they have raised it to dhs 7 for most items.

The below items were bought from Daiso.

  • The hair filter can act as a stencil and with the excellent texture ~ it could be used in several other ways too.
  • Ikea has a similar curtain clip too but without the loop.
  • These files are hard to find. They are designed for smaller objects and I know exactly which wooden pieces are going to have smooth corners and surfaces now !!




Brands for less ( in Bur Dubai )

Yes, I know, your surprised ! I was too !  On one shopping trip with my relatives, while they shopped for clothes, I turned to the stationery shelves and was delighted to come across these lovely finds.  Who would have thought that Brands for Less would carry these items too !


  • The circular cutter for only dhs 22 !!! ( My old one is Fiskars, for which I paid a fortune nearly 10 years back )
  • These cones/blue cups are stands for keeping a painted item on it, so as to dry. (Needless to say, I already have different plans for them )


  • These two precision cutters are great too. I would use them only for fine tuning if my dies missed out some tiny corners.
  • For the price I paid, I was jumping in joy ! (well not literally )


Dubai Library Distribution :-

I have been visiting them on Sheikh Zayed Road branch and Murraqabat road branch for alittle over 7 years now and I must tell you, they’ve never  disappointed.

  • My manual paper cutter/the guillotine is also bought from there.
  • They have a large stock of paints and professional artist products too. (paint brushes, easels, frames, paints, varnishes, mediums, watercolors etc)
  • The below shopping was done when I wanted some specific acrylic paint colors, gesso and some stencils. Naturally everything else that you see is just an add-on 🙂  (still not a hoarder)
  • I had shopped at their Al Warqa outlet and was slightly disappointed that they did not carry paint brands Folkart or American Crafts.
  • They are not inexpensive but then professional art materials are seldom inexpensive.
  • I haven’t seen these water color pencils elsewhere, so if your looking for any, you know where to find them now 🙂


  • The medium gel is great to seal art works.
  • The plastic spatulas may not have been my best buy ~ I wish they had the steel ones.
  • Oh and btw the blue pen writes like a dream ! I wish, I’d bought more. (perhaps another time !)

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Creative Minds

Another store that Samie, had asked me visit nearly 3 months back was Creative Minds at Al Barsha. (Umm suqeim road)

On our way back from Jumeirah, we decided to pop over for a “short” visit to this store and I was totally taken aback, once I entered the doors !

Now this is what you call a crafters paradise. I don’t think, I could emphasis just how huge the store is, how well organized and  well-kept their creative tools, supplies and variety is, so its surely a “must-visit” stop for any scrapbooker, crafter, hobbyist !! They have EVERYTHING you can dream of and more !!

Nearly 10 years back when there were merely a handful of stores that carried specific products like rubber stamps for school teachers or charts for school, this store at the Beach center (ground floor) used to carry them. I think, they were called Al wasit trading then. They were quite expensive but the owner had once told me that they bought all their goods from USA directly hence it was that expensive.

I am happy to say, that the owner has opened another store which is Creative Minds !

They have a huge collection of Sharpies too.

The only draw back I noticed, are the prices. I feel, they are quite expensive but I suppose if money is not an issue, then this is one shop that has every hobbyist’s dream tools under one roof.

Although, I had just bought myself a huge load of goodies from DLD just a week back, wouldn’t it seem rather rude, leaving without any purchases, at all ?

Oh of course it would, so I picked only a few paints, stencils, and sharpies (can never have enough of them).


Sharjah ~ Bank street

  • There are several problems associated with visiting and shopping at Sharjah city or outskirts.
  • Travelling the distance
  • Parking chaos
  • Haggling with the storekeeper
  • Most stores are wholesalers and don’t even want to entertain retail-customers.
  • Most of these stores are haberdashery so in essence they cater to the needs of tailors, people related to the textile field etc and not crafters.

I bought these ribbons and the jute ribbon from Sharjah behind Bank street ~ where most textile and tailoring stores are located. But sometimes it just feels, like its too much of an effort for something too small 😦


And Finally this huge treasure of beads, buttons, bows, embellishments was bought from the Malaysia !! How cool is that !

Yippee ~ Well you can just say, it was my New Year gift 🙂  Afterall, a girl can only have so many buttons, ribbons and embellishments – isn’t it 🙂




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Voila !! There you have it. Some stores, you probably were aware of and some, you may want to visit in the near future.

oh yeah, I would like to clarify that this post has NOT been sponsored by any one of the above mentioned stores ~ and I have not been offered any discounts or reductions on the goods I purchased from them in lieu for this post.

This post is for all my fellow crafters who are creative and are looking for the right direction and some guidance. If you found this information helpful, I would love to have your feedback. Kindly join me or subscribe to my blog using any of the following social networks :

Thank you very much for visiting me today. Have a beautiful day and be safe.


Alter Art, D I Y, Recyling, Reuse, Reduce., Sculptures, T U T O R I A L S, Technique

Concrete Mushrooms !! A tutorial.

Every November, I start preparing my garden for some color and delight. Dubai is blessed with nearly four months of pleasant weather ie from November to February. Most of us try to make the best of it by enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.  Also since we were going to play host to a long list of visitors in December, I was determined to add more life to our beautiful courtyards.  The grass story will follow after a few other posts. Meanwhile let me share with you, the other developments and DIY creations that adorned our gardens. This is a pictorial of making sculptures from cement. This was my first experience of playing with this compound (concrete) and there are quite a few mistakes, I made, which I wouldn’t want you to make hence I have outlined my goof ups !! Most sites, talk about premix cement bags. I couldn’t find any so I just hopped over at one of my favorite local hardware store in Hor Al Anz and bought a 25 kg cement bag. Now that is a hugely heavy bag and its always best to keep it as covered as possible. Goof up 1:- Since it was too heavy to carry to the backyard, we kept it at the entrance of the open garage ~ what I never took into account was the frequent rains that we were blessed with this winter  😦

  • Keep all the utencils, spatula, bucket etc ready and on top of some plastic sheet.
  • Gloves are a MUST !! You wouldn’t realize it until the next morning how worn and hurt your hands are going to be. Goof up 2.
  • Since the idea is to give the shape (mold) of the utencil/container to the mixed cement, its best to have everything ready beforehand. Concrete clumps relatively quickly but takes a long period to set.
  • Since we were working on it for the first time, we basically added the cement mix with some tiny gravel and alittle sand with some water. I just added the three and tested with the consistency of the water. Don’t mix with your hands, it will squeeze the muscles out of you ~ use a spatula in the bucket to stir the mix. When I felt confident of the consistency, I placed some hard plastic sheet (u can also use some cling wrap) to a container and fill some of the mix in it. This is where, I wish I would have added some more water 😦  Goof up 3.

Fotor030404017 Press and smooth the base of the mix with your spatula. This is the head of the mushroom !Fotor030404445 For the trunk or stem of the mushroom, I cut off both sides of a large 7UP bottle and filled it 3/4 of the cement mix. Fotor030404917

  • Notice the folds on the first mushroom “head”, in the picture below, I wish I would have given more folds with the other plastics in the containers and hence it would add a sense of realism to the whole project. Perhaps goof up 4 😦
  • Leave the containers to strengthen for nearly 48 hours. The concrete leaves the container quite easily once it is set .
  • It would be a good idea to use a little sanding paper to sand off some loose pieces from the edges.
  • Using an xo knife, just cut open the side of the 7up bottle and voila !! It just falls in your hand like a large cylinder.
  • One end is quite smooth and stable while the other end will be quite rough and rugged.
  • The picture below is that of them both (mushroom umbrella and stem) meeting together for the first time. I wanted to see, which head sat on which trunk best for size, support and stability.


  • I decided to spray paint the mushrooms, green, that I’ll be keeping in the porch.
  • Now, just a word of caution. Concrete does absorb aloooot of paint.  SO for best results, if your going to spray paint, 2 coats will do the job well.
  • Still, I believe, spray paint is not the best choice for concrete.

Fotor030405723 For the umbrella, my wingman sawaab, used some glossy bright red paint and painted the town red 😉 Fotor030412223 Once the paint had dried, we had different size circles drawn on them and filled it with white acrylic paint. Fotor030411954 Once that was done, a single of coat of modge podge to seal the deal 🙂 Very few glues can join two pieces of concrete except the silicone guns. So here my wingmen are using a lot of force and fun to fill the stem of the mushrooms with some silicone glue. Fotor030410023 Arent the colors such a delight !!! Fotor030410547 The two mushroom stems in the next photo shows two pvc tubes running into them. This was done in the mixing stage so that both these mushrooms could get some support when dug into the grass. We didn’t want the mushrooms tilting or falling off, every time a ball hit them. Only these two were painted white unlike the other green ones. Fotor030410842 And there you have it !! Two little happy mushrooms enjoying the sunshine together 🙂 DSCF6040 Notice how firmly they stand due to the pvc poles holding them deep into the ground. DSCF6044_2 We kept the stems white so as to stand out in the beautiful green grass. DSCF6046 DSCF6003_2 All said and done, I feel, the imperfections added character to these little sculptures. Some were great while some were a learning experience 🙂 DSCF6034 DSCF6040_2 I enjoyed coming out of my comfort zone and trying something unique and new.  As much as I realized the endless possibilities of sculpting with concrete, I am beginning to understand its limitations too. DSCF6041_2 DSCF6043_2 All four of these mushrooms adorn my porch and welcome all my guests. Its purely a labor of love !! DSCF6043 Recyled materials :- 7UP bottle, spatula, plastic sheets used by the movers when we shifted here, pvc pipes from other projects. Fotor0304163059

Please share with me if you have ever attempted playing with cement and how your experience was !! I am sharing this pictorial with the following blog friends and their parties. Totally tasty Tuesdays @ Mandys recipe box

Thank you for visiting me today friends. I hope you found this post entertaining and informative. Please leave a comment or subscribe to my posts and stay updated with my latest posts. Have a beautiful day ! 89CD521B678A2BD781B376927E6E3B02