DIY Upcycled Projects and Razzle Dazzle Artsy Stuff

I'm a craftin' fool!

I've been meaning to publish these pictures for a while now. The photo album in my phone is getting a bit full, so now is the perfect time to unload all of my glittery glamour onto this blog. 

These photos are a collection of things I have done in my place in Morocco  and little doodads and odds and ends of crafty creations. The only exception is the pictures from the former beach house with the light blue walls. Some of you may have seen a few of these pictures elsewhere but I'm putting them up on here anyway. 

Before I start, I want to give another HUUUUUGE thank you to my Mom, Dad, and sister Rujanna for buying these amazing art supplies to send here. A special thanks also goes out to Alena, aka Stace for chipping in to pay for extra luggage for the flight here. None of this would have been possible without my super cool friend Sarah because she lugged an entire suitcase full of art supplies from Tampa Bay back to Agadir with her. So the whole group of people made the jazziness of this house come together. I love you all!~

First up, the lovely Eva Holbrook was my first visitor and she so graciously brought me a cupcake pan. I'd been dying to make cupcakes for so long and she totes saved the day! Except...I didn't have an oven at the time.  You know, minor details. Instead, the cupcake pan turned into my handy-dandy mixing palette and it worked great because the paint washed out so easily because of the Teflon. I have an obsession with paint splatters and how it looks during the mixing process so that explains the picture above. :)


I'm just including these pictures of the Aorir (not Tamraght) beach house because I like how the paint turned out. I didn't have a plan and just went with the flow as I started to paint. I also put up a curtain that I cut out from a sheet. I paid $2.40 for two flat sheets as a set. They were new, too and I just cut it and put it on a curtain rod bought at the souk for around $3.00 I think. 


AFTER: A little pop of color.

The next part is all about cabinets. When I first walked in the new place, I saw these grody, nasty brown wood cabinets and my first words were, "Uh-uh. Noooooo way, man. Not today, not ever. These have to be changed immediately. How gross ARE these? Eww dude." Then I told Mohamed I wanted to paint all the wood in the kitchen (including the window frames, windows, and the wood I hadn't bought yet--but envisioned-- as shelving) to all white. He literally laughed and said, "That's gonna look stupid." I laughed back and said, "HA! We'll see how stupid it looks when I'm all done. So I painted away and turned it from this grimey, grungey, dingey kitchen into a light, bright, cooking space. 

Before: Crusty Cabinets

After: Like 100x better, right?!

Mohamed actually said, "Ok, you were totally right. It looks way better now." Thank you, kind sir and please become accustomed to saying the words "you were totally right" as you will be using them often in the future. Haha!

None of the doors had handles on them so I decided to get a little wacky. I bent forks over the top of the kitchen sink and formed my new cabinet pulls:

Supes Cute!

Fully functional, or FORKtional. :)

The next thing is kind of boring, but it's a good tip if you need kitchen space on a budget. The white pole you see in the picture is actually the lightweight metal tube from the beach house curtain rod. I still had the hardware and mounts with me and as luck would have it, it fit perrrrrfectly where I wanted to hang it. I made my own metal hooks to hang the pots with out of 2 wire coat hangers. I clearly don't travel with a saw, so I just used a smooth-blade fruit knife and cut it. I know, right? Whatever, it worked and didn't take hardly any elbow grease.

Don't call me a pot head.
PS-- shout out to Victoria J. for bringing me the red measuring cups from Denver :)

Baller on a Budget craft idea # 3,476:  The super cool string light.

This project was almost free. Sarah gave me some  purple yarn and I bought the punching balloon from the souk for 3 dirhams or about $0.35. I wandered into a hardware store and picked up this bucket of Elmers-like glue for about $1.85. The plastic drop-cloth came wrapped on one of my custom canvases so that was free. 

I blew up the balloon and greased that bad boy with some medical ointment for backaches because I didn't have Crisco. Then I undid the yarn and wound it around my elbow and wrist like an extension cord and dunked it in the bucket of glue. Let me tell you how messy this project is: UMM..AVOID MAKING THIS AT ALL COSTS. It's seriously a big gooey, gluey, gloppy mess. Definitely NOT a kids project. Long story short, I wound the string around the ball, let it harden and then popped the balloon. Scroll down.

The cast of characters

Pretty sweet!

The Couch Surfer:

Ok fine, there's nothing surf-related about this but there is a couch theme goin' on here. This lovely  hideous couch and chair came "grah-twee" with the apartment. My first reaction was almost instant: "Ahhh...NO." But then I thought, "What the heck? I can try my hand at furniture upholstery. Why not?" So I super hard-core cleaned them up and took some fabric, hair pins, and nails and got to work one Sunday afternoon. I've never reupholstered anything so I just used common sense. Here are the results:


upcycled couch
Before (obvs)


After I redid the couch and chair, I figured why not try to keep up my streak? 

Sitting in the basement of Mohamed's mom's house was this horrifyingly ugly chair. It was wood with quite possibly the world's most hideous flower fabric on it. Ever the one to find a glimmer of hope in something ugly, I begged Mohamed to let me have it. He looked at me like I was nuts. With a little convincing, reluctantly agreed and sighed while shaking his head. (Behind him, I was doing a victory dance of course).

I knew I needed to re-vamp the whole chair so I bought some fabric and small can of buttercream colored paint. I got to work and totally transformed that beast. My friend Eva from the intro above was the first person to step foot in the new spot. Of everything she saw, she said she loved the chair the most and saw potential in it. I will have all of you readers know that she is *EXTRA LOUD THROAT CLEAR* a highly sought-after interior designer based out of San Francisco and she rocks. So apparently, my eye has good taste. Hopefully she likes the end result as much as I do. :)

BEFORE: I don't even want to sit on this.


Quickie Project 1:
This next project was totally free and took me less than a half hour to do. There's a mirror shop around the corner and they always leave scraps outside, which of course are not garbage if you're an artist.  All I did was put tape on a mirror and then painted the sections with paint. When it was dry, I took off the tape.  Afterwards I added glitter, too because honestly...everything is better sparkly. It's about as long as a cookie sheet and as wide as your hand.

Matte Paint

Razzlier and Dazzlier
Quickie Project #2

When you move into an apartment in Morocco, all the crud from the tenant before you is still there. Whatever they leave behind is now your responsibility--on top of you having to clean the whole place from top to bottom. Dumb. Anyway, the landlord painted the whole house a really nice buttery color so at least that was fresh. Of course, he left behind his trail of trash, empty soda bottles, and cigarette butts for us to enjoy. Thanks guy! His gigantic paint bucket lid was thiiiiis close to going in the trash until I heroically rescued it at the last second. 

This is yet another free project for me. I had the paint can lid, some striped tissue paper from my last trip to the dry cleaner, and a black permanent marker. First I painted the lid navy. Then I put a thin layer of glue on it and put the already cut out tissue paper circle on the glue. When it was dry, I sketched a cute little teapot onto it and later filled it in with black permanent marker. Because my obsession with glitter never ends, I decided to outline the edges with silver just to make it pop. Now it hangs on my wall in the tea room!

Trash? Not so fast, Bucko!

That's better.

Quickie Project #3

Once again, this was free. It took about 45 seconds. 

Step one: drizzle paint into an old bottle
Step two: drizzle a different color paint in there
Step three: add a few drops of paint thinner and shake until you're satisfied

And PS-- this "wine" looking bottle is actually what the first bottle of paint thinner came in. I of course do not drink. 

The next 2 pictures are of a 4-piece painting I did. 

On one of our beach trips, I picked up a ton of shells (and even a crab claw!) on the beach. There was an old (typically ugly) frame that I had in mind while I was collecting my beach treasures. It was brown wood with fake gold trim and some even fake-er flowers on the inside. I find it hard to believe that people actually think this kind of decor is even slightly attractive. So I changed it.

I painted it all with a sand-colored paint and removed the flowers and junk inside. I took a picture while at the beach and had that printed for about 30 cents. I put the picture in the newly painted frame and glued all kinds of stuff around the edges. Now every time we see this, it reminds of us of a day we spent at the ocean. Cheesy, but true.

BEFORE: Seriously?

AFTER: Can you find the crab claw?

Ok, so this next one is not technically art but whatever. This is my blog and I'll do what I want. I decided it would be a good idea to give my finger a mustache with henna for the sole purpose of giving  Mahmoud a baby mustache. Yeah. Lasted 2 weeks. 

Looks like Raul Julia a little, no? (The dad from the Addams Family movie)

Another random quick and easy project I did:

Free Project # Whatever

The stick light:

1. Find sticks.
2. Take them.
3. Glue them.
4. String the corners.


The Glitter Mirror.

This one was free, too. (Do you guys see a pattern here?) I took a piece of scrap wood from a kitchen shelf and painted it purple. Then I glued purple glitter scrapbook cardstock to it. I set my free mirror scrap on it and then banged some nails in until it held the mirror in place. I just happened to have purple glitter glue (are you shocked?) so I covered the nails with it to camouflage them. I stuck a peacock feather in there just because it reminds me of my mom.

...and SPEAKINGGGGGG Of peacock feathers:

I painted a huge painting of some peacock feathers for the salon. Mohamed was sweet enough to get some canvases custom stretched to the exact size I wanted and I wasted no time in getting to work. The first picture is kind of close up so you can see the inside of the feathers. It looks like they are a swirling navy blue galaxy. I umm...(cue side eyes) added a little navy glitter in the middle only. I seriously have sparkle issues.

One of the other canvases was used to make a painting to hang over the little breakfast nook. The pictures do NOT do it justice. You can't see any dimension and it looks blurry, but in real life it's totally not like that. If you want to see it up close, then come visit me. Entrance to the "house gallery" is free. :)

In the salon, I painted 2 walls peacock blue (which shows up a different color in every picture, none of which is true to life) and one wall is like avocado green. The 3 shelves all have a blue and purple theme and I made everything except the tagine and antique lamp. The middle part has a book holder that was once a bird house and the purple bottle was one I picked up on a trip to Spain. It had juice in it but I painted the inside and stuck peacock feathers in it as you can see. The little polka-dot thing is actually 2 books wrapped in scrapbook paper and sitting atop it are two jars filled with purple sand. 

The paper on the book holder is cut up articles from an Aer Lingus mag I picked up on a flight to Ireland. Everything is recycled somehow. 

One of my favorite posts of all time is called "The 7 Day Scramble." (it opens in a new window if you click HERE). If you read it, I talk about how I was on the Marrakech Express and there was an incident with my shoes. The Babouche shoes I was wearing are now hanging on my wall with plants in them. I made 2 loops out of an old T-shirt and hung them above an antique Berber knife. The shoes are very very common here and are traditional style with embroidery on them, black on black.

This little cluster hangs next to the teapot thing from above.

Finally, we have the shirt pillow. Simply put, I bought a button-down cropped shirt from the souk and sewed it into a pillow. The buttons go in the back so you can't see them and I just filled it until it was fluffy and firm. 

As you can see, there are some jazzy pillows in the background. You didn't think I'd let the couch go sparkle-free did you? Come onnnnn...

If you liked anything from this blog, feel free to pin anything you want onto Pinterest.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go throw a handful of glitter in the air and then run through it...

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Karim Msaad said...

Love it :)

Sarah said...

I love this post...and I LOVE the growdy basement chair that you gave new life to...the fabric is beautiful, really nice work. I bet your house is one of the most colorful houses on the block (are they even called blocks?)...and one of the most sparkly! :)

Jasmine said...

My absolute favorite is te ball string light. I swear I am making that this weekend for my kitchen. My fiancé is going to look at me like I completely lost it

Anonymous said...

So sweet; all is needed is a creative mind like that one

The Loerzels said...


Anonymous said...

you should make a book about the book

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom,


Yaay for re-using! Too many of buy something new to try to have some character in our homes. Our homes have meaning when we craft our lives first and then remember the times through the items.

I loved the shoe plant holders and the fork handles. I might have to use that pole in the kitchen idea....Loved the painted wall. ZOWIE! That's some color!

Yes, loved all the upholstery BUT I know that my hub is anti-old furniture. "There are bugs!"

I want you to read up on Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis and British designer William Morris. Both of them have that same love you have for what is beautiful and useful.

Lastly, a reminder that whatever THING you are creating, your life is the best and most beautiful thing you've ever put together.

Stay cool! I get sweaty just LOOKING at your temps!

Anonymous said...

I luuuuve everything you've done here! Masha Allah. Esp the goopy messy string-ball light shade. And the upholstery. You could totally start a diy blog and have put each project up as a separate post. Keep rocking sistah!

Anonymous said...

Amazing "Before and After" shots! The kitchen transformation is stunning. Love the bold use of color in design. So many creative ideas with found objects. Your place says "An artist lives here."

Jasmine said...

The utensil handles are so anthropologie loooool you should sell them your idea