The Table Formerly Known As Headboard


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So. I am engaged now. Check out my new blingage – not the best photo as it doesn’t show the full wattage of this bad boy and my nail polish is looking raggedy…blingage To THIS GUY ClarendaandMalcolmRemember him? He was the one I sorta kinda broke up with a while back because he was taking too long to put a ring on it although he kept saying he liked it.  For those who are catching up – here is a refresher post. Lucky for him (and me) he came to his senses and realized just how much he did indeed like it – likes it so much so that he wants it forever ever.  And we are planning a lovely little wedding. And now my betrothed– aka the Goose, aka Babes, aka My Boo Thang – known by the gub’ment as Malcolm- and I are co-habitating (blog post entitled THE COMPROMISES OF COHABITATION AND CLOSET SPACE….coming soon). The Haven Maven is now The He Has Almost Made Me An Honest Woman Haven Maven. Whoo hoo! So, like any excited newly engaged lass, I put his arse to work. Immediately. I mean, seriously, there are several projects I just have not had the nerve to tackle but need to be done before we enter matrimonial bliss. I would have done them solo but I have a lil reputation for sometimes causing serious, and occasionally, medical attention-requiring DIY damage.

Of course, being newly engaged, My Boo Thang and I needed a fresh start.  Where better to start than the love nest? While we ultimately will get an all new bed once our budget allows, for now we have decided to make do with a new headboard. More on what we (as in me) selected for a headboard later. The decision to replace the headboard left me with a bit of a quandary because I luuurved the chocolate West Elm circle cutout number that had been so good to me for the last 6 years of bachelorettedom. I saved up for her – yes, it was a girl, for 8 months and then got her on clearance. That’s her – Ms. Headboard – back in my single dayshouseexterior.Here is a more recent close-up of her in all of her chocolately, solid wood fineness….as you can see, she maintained her girly shape:IMAG0493 (1) I thought about selling her, even posted her on Craigslist, but could not bear the thought of permanent separation. I mean, she is one piece of sexy furniture. I felt such a kinship with her. There was only one thing we could do. I mean it was so obvious. We would turn Ms. Headboard into a wine rack bookshelf wall art porch daybed dining room table. And it would be banging……get it? Headboard? Banging? Welp. It was funny to me.

We got everything from Lowe’s. Here is what we used:

1. 4 of these table brackets thingamajingasScrew-on-Table-Leg-Bracket 2. Some ebony stain. I was looking for chocolate but could not find it. The ebony actually matched perfectly.ebony stain3. And four table legs.


So, because I am a trifling quasi-blogger, there are no step-by-step photos so I will have to talk you through the process. In short, here is what we did in 10 easy steps:

1. Used a reciprocating saw to cut off the part of the headboard that attaches to a frame so that we had an even rectangle (Malcolm)

2. Stain the legs (Clarenda)

3. Look for missing screws that Clarenda lost to the legs (Malcolm)

4. Find screws and attach to legs (Malcolm)

5. Fix herself a cocktail (Clarenda)

6. Attach brackets to each corner of the table (Malcolm)

7. Attach legs (Malcolm)

Malcolm table8. Oooh and Ahhh appropriately and then claim exhaustion (Clarenda)

9. Purchase a piece of plexiglass in a panic after discovering that tempered glass cannot be cut 3 hours before a dinner party (Clarenda)

10. Prettify thangs (Clarenda)

And here is the Table formerly known as Headboard (again, sorry for the crappy pics):



and BOOYAH!tabledone

Whose coming for dinner???



DIY Therapy Sept 2012

So after ending an on again off again relationship – again- I did what anyone would do when facing emotional upheaval. I stenciled the dining room table. Funny thing was, I didn’t plan it. The scene went something like this.

SETTING: In family vehicle riding home from church

Daughter: Mom, what is this?

Me: No idea

Daughter: It looks like a pattern or something

Me: Let me see. Oh its a stencil. I forgot I bought this.

Daughter: Oh Lawd. What are you going to do with it?

Me: No idea.

5 minutes later.

Me: I am going to stencil our dining room table.

Daughter: Oh LAWD

Who needs to lay on a couch? DIY therapy is way more cathartic if you ask me. Please forgive my photos being as this was very unplanned sporadic, I didn’t have time to locate my camera which has been MIA since returning from Jamaica. I will have to take some better pictures as my phone didn’t do the table justice and I do not want to deny any of you the opportunity to ooooh and aaaah appropriately. I had already done a distressed finish on my table, a beeyootiful farm house pretty I scored for $50 at Habitat ReStore. So this is what it looked like before I poured my heart into the stenciling…literally.Image

First thing, I had to gather some supplies. Luckily, I pretty much had everything on hand.



Painter’s tape

Paint (I used a high gloss green -a customized “oops” bargain I scored for $3 at Lowe’s)


Clear polyurethane (also gloss- not pictured)

Sponge brushes

So then came the actual stenciling. I decided to just eye things – keep with the whole unplanned organic flow of the project. I started off in the left bottom corner.


Easy enough, right. So then I dabbed some paint on my sponge brush. I am sure a stippling brush would have worked better but, again, this is an unplanned organic project which means you use what you have. Here is how my first stencil came out:

And less than one hour later…..Image

Voila! Eat your heart out:)


Jamaican me change:) Aug 2012

If you are one of the six people on the planet who hasn’t heard, I am fresh back from my sojourn to the beauteous island of jamaica. To say I had a ball is a true understatement. I had a blast! 5 days and 4 nights of absolute maximum chill bliss. I was accompanied by one of my best sisterfriends who had the same agenda as me – an uninterrupted good time. Mission accomplished.

This is me and Bob.Image

Overlooking Ochos Rios.Image

I picked up a few trinkets which I can share later but not now. Now, I am going to talk about how after being a guest of a resort, I had to think about how I could improve my guest accomodations. I mean, look at this:Image

And this…Image

And this….Image

You get my point.

So, I needed to rearrange things.I started off with shifting the guest bed to the other side of the room. Image

I love how the mirrors reflect on the wall…I have to redo the pillows and everything but just want you to get a gist of things. Above the bed is my bulletin board that was a gift from my baby sister Samhari. It contains cards from previous guests, a pic of me graduating with my bachelors, a hand drawn card from my baby boy, and other sweetness.Image

I added some more mirrors to my infamous wall of mirrorsImage

And other pops of color throughout…Image


And the best part is i didn’t buy a thing. I already owned everything. The bed was a $25 craiglist find that I spray painted green. I added the finials.


I found these for .99 a piece at the Goodwill and simply super glued these jokers on.

Now I just need some guests.

Whatchu doin’?

Sentimental Infusion July 2012

As I have gotten older, I have become the very thing that I used to others for. I have become….sentimental (gasp!). Yes, I, the notoriously hardcore , there-must-be-onions-in-the-room-if-you-see-me-sniffling scion of un-sentimental has gotten a bit soft. Ok. Who am I fooling? Those who know me, know that I have long been a lover of sweetness. I have pictures my oldest daughter drew in kindergarten…16 years ago. What I have learned to do, however, is blend in the sentimental stuff in a seamless way so that it has a place of significance without things getting too kitschy. I call this design movement Sentimental Infusion. Sounds intentional, doesn’t it? For example, my son’s declaration of environmental stewardship written on a discarded brown bag is now… a framed and prized manifesto. Andre Breton, author of the Surrealist Manifesto, can kick rocks in this biased momma’s eyes. Here are some other examples of my sentimental infusion: Note the beautiful art in the blue frame? My oldest daughter did that in the 8th grade. Here it is close up: A piece of bark my youngest daughter found becomes the perfect anchor piece for art: and driftwood found while beachcombing with the kids becomes the center of my tablescape, Pull out those boxes of your kids’ artwork and frame them. Decoupage a garage store find with some of those greeting cards that you are holding on to because of the memories that are attached to them. Be sentimental, dammit. Join the movement.

CONTROLLLL…(in my Janet Jackson voice) June 2012


Sometimes, there are things in life that you just cannot control. No matter how much you try-divine interventions, others’ intentions, luck, serendipity, fate, coincidence- something plays a role in things turning out different than you planned or desired. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. I am not one who is able to always handle things graciously when they have the audacity to act in defiance of my instruction. How dare something have the nerve to be rebellious enough to not comply with my wishes? But I have improved with rolling with the punches (key word: improved). And I think that design has a lot to do with that. Lawd knows that things have not always gone according to plan when I have attempted to implement some artistic fete. I need not mention the streaked red walls; crooked stenciling; popcorn ceiling fiascos; etc. etc. But then there are those moments of simple, pure genius that make up for all the mishaps. A tablescape that finally works. A poem that finally feels. And it is those moments when I am able to lose myself in a creative outlet that better prepares me for those uncontrollable moments that can leave me feeling lost. I am grateful for my artistic anchors. I hope whoever reads this has found theirs and it provides you some sense of stability when things are simply beyond your control. Sometimes, its all about control. Then again, sometimes, its not:)

I ain’t chicken


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Remember when being called a chicken was one of the worst insults, second only to “yo mama”? Well, I am here to tell you that I am not chicken…to step outside the box when it comes to my havenly (made up word alert) pursuits. I mean, this is my world afterall – at least within these four walls. I was at this cool antique store in Raleigh off Capitol Boulevard, Gresham Antique Mall, with the intention of buying some vintage mirrors for the guest room. Of course, I had picked out everything but mirrors including an iron porch chair, a black sheer apron (gotta keep it sexy in the kitchen), and a few other odds and ends. I then ran across this peculiar looking cage thingy. I knew I had seen one of these contraptions before but could not remember where. And then it dawned on me. I had seen one covered in good ole poultry poop growing up. It was a chicken crate.

It was marked $60 and it was tempting but I was already over my budget and had no idea what I would do with it. So I walked away. And the memory of that lonely crate wanting a good new home and purpose (don’t we all want to know our purpose?) followed me. So after a few hours, I called back down to Gresham’s to inquire about it and was told that it was 40% off. Hot Dayummm. Sold! I gave them my credit card information and went back to pick up my new pretty a few days later.

In the interim, I had been doing a little research. I ran across Homespun Living’s blog and found out how she repurposed her crate. Perfecto. Here is a picture of Homespun’s awesome crate creation:Image I opted to not add the glass top  since I was going to use it for DVD storage. Plus, I like the rawness of the top of my crate. I also didn’t add the casters since things that roll equate to a means of locomotion for my 9 year old. It was too simple: 4 premade legs from Lowe’s, some brackets to attach the legs, and voila! I have this sweet pretty:Image

Here is a full room view:Image

Its a real conversation starter, for sure. And it is so me. For those of you who are skurrred to take a design leap of faith, cast those fears aside and take a chance. Don’t be chicken. But if you are, feel free to come to our house. We have a place for ya:)

I did it…


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And I am admitting it which is a big thing for me because I was always the kid in the back yelling “I didn’t do it!” I was recently visiting the site of my beloved Apartment Therapy and noted that they were hiring (gasp!) tour contributors (double gasp!) from all over. Now, if you know me, you know I love me some design. I also love my chosen career of nonprofit fundraising so this opportunity would prove the perfect marriage of both. I could take pictures of folks’ homes while asking for money. Win win situation. Or I could take pictures of spaces where I’m planning an event. The possibilities are endless since I come across a lot of interesting spaces in my job. Now the glitch was that I found out about it in the eleventh hour – well, more like the tenth hour but I wasted an hour with the “you can’t do that-sies”. Oh, Ms. Negative Self-Talk is a beeyotch. And she was PMS’ing that day. She was brutal with my poor psyche. So I had to call my best cheerleader who will remain unnamed for now (that’s a whole ‘nother blog, folks) to get my design mojo back. Then I had to call in my darlin’ friend and phenomenal photog John Riddick of 421 Studios to bail my arse out. See, I needed at least 20 high-quality pictures and I was nervous. Sweaty palms do not make for a good shot, my friends. I was doubting myself, OK? Plus, I had to clean up while the pictures were being taken. What??? I got three kids (count ’em – 1, 2, 3) and a dog. And it was on a Thursday. So the house was tore up from the floor up.

Anywho, John came to the rescue and what resulted was pure genius. At least I think so. Even Chewie got in on the shoot. Actually, he was trying to convince someone to play with his dog spit drenched chew toy. I had fun. I completed a House Tour for submission. And I submitted it. So I did it. And whether they want me or not (PLEASE WANT ME!!!), I feel good knowing that I stepped out on a limb to pursue my passion. And that is why I am the C-Shizzle.

I can’t post some of the pics from the shoot since I submitted them for the tour but I will share some of the ones we didn’t use with you. I have hopes of having one of those extremely organized blogs that have tours to all the rooms in the house one day…but not today. Smooches!

My poetry is back!!!

Awww snap! Quills and papyrus, beware. C-Shizzle is coming for you. Seriously, my poetry left for a year. A year! I have begged, pleaded, threatened, and then begged again and nothing. No rhymes. No lyrical word play. Nothing. So I delved headfirst into other creative outlets – discovering a few new ones. I actually like to paint (who would’ve thunk?). I can’t say I am any good at it but I sure do enjoy it. I began this blog. I took some chances with my interior design and DIY skills. Looking back, I guess it was a positive thing after all since, when I was actively writing poetry and participating in spoken word, that was my main creative outlet. Now I have a more balanced menu.

So you wanna read my latest piece? Of course you do – so without further ado…here it is.

These Blasted Butterflies (Meant to be felt, not read)

These blasted butterflies are back besieging my belly

With the fervor of the unhurt

Making my hopes flit around like the weight of heartbreak

Never had them down

How easily love makes us forget

The heart leaves little room for regret

Mine hasn’t learned to respect the fact that you left me


It’s my loyal mind that recorded and faithfully reminds my love container

Of all those times

When all I wanted was for the pain to subside and extend just a little mercy

And my life to regain some semblance of normalcy

(I mean, with normal being relative)

But that heart o’mine; she is so quick to forgive

Forever breeding larvae of yesterday in hopes that

Today The One comes back and metamorphosis commences

She pushes me aside. Who am I to stand in the way of nature?

Of the written?

These blasted butterflies are back besieging my belly

And my heart once again convinces my mind

To let them fly

Poetry, I missed you. I surely did.

I was on Apartment Therapy!!!


Yes, you read it right. The C-Shizzle was on Apartment Therapy. Its only one of my favorite design blogs in the entire world. It was a few months ago when I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of this blogging thing (which I am still learning at a woefully slow pace). I had no idea that I would actually get selected for a House Call. Check out my Apartment Therapy House Call here. Of course, my living room looks drastically different now (tour is a’coming). Look at Mr. Bench. Remember, I originally went with white:

   but I later decided to give him a chocolate makeover (see him to the right?).  Believe it or not, Mr. Bench has undergone even another transformation that I will share with you in the updated view of my living room. Although looking at him white is making me wonder if………

So my goal now is to be featured on a House Tour. Or a Design*Sponge Sneak Peek.  It will happen….because I believe so.

And let’s conclude with the prerequisite cute puppy pic. My Chewie and Mr. Bench have such a close, loving relationship. That dog appreciates quality.

Wetting my pallet…garden


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So I got this thing for pallets too. In case you haven’t noticed, I got a thing for a lot of things. I am absolutely infatuated with pallets. I have no idea why. Maybe its the utilitarian nature of them. Or the fact that I have always loved trying to rescue the unwanted (just look at my past dating history). Or maybe its their sheer authenticity. Whatever it is, I am smitten. So much to the point that I am dumpster diving. You know what they say- one man’s trash is another woman’s…pallet garden (I laughed).

Anywho, I first saw this idea on my fave design blog Design*Sponge in this post. I read thru the comments and saw that people were using them for different plantings – some planted herbs, others succulents or annuals. I also learned that there are some concerns that must be taken into consideration like whether or not the pallet was heat or chemically treated, what it was used for, etc. So I took the safe route and went with non-edibles. I also chose succulents because it takes me longer to kill them. And here is what I created:

Which isn’t too bad for a first stab. Of course, you can see the landscaping material peeping from the right side but I think that adds funk; my junk has too much junk in the trunk. Bwahahahaha!

Materials: you need a pallet, some landscaping paper (had some left over from a failed landscaping project), and staple gun (my birthday gift from my baby girl Amira) some potting soil, and of course, some plants.  I also recommend some sort of cover-up for when you mess up. I used some moss from the Dollar Tree. Now you can follow the directions of those who do stuff right – like Life On a Balcony who gives awesome instructions. Or you can cheat-like me. I sort of made these little pockets with the landscaping material and stapled all around. Because my staple gun doesn’t lie flat, that required me to staple over the outside which was where the moss came in handy.

Now for some reason (ok- because I am a little touched sometimes), I started at the top. Hey, I can’t be beautiful and brilliant. This, of course, meant that my pallet started to topple over after the top sections were complete. So….after 5 hard minutes of thinking, I decided to balance things out with my HOSTO planters. I got these from IKEA last year for $15 a pop and was already using them.  I then added my IKEA BORRBY lanterns with a couple of nails…..

and viola! A succulent garden that almost looks completely intentional.