A Scandalous Past

Well, it’s happened. An uprising has formed amongst the Simply Turquoise readers. A grassroots movement to Save the F-Table.

The F-Table, before rehab.

The F-Table, before rehab.

I am happy to report that the F-Table is recovering nicely. It had a short stay in rehab and is now presentable. Its scandalous past is buried under layers of…. maps and Mod Podge.

Mod Podge Map Table.

Mod Podge Map Table, Finished.

In the comments section of my last post, the idea was presented by Prima, in that tone of voice that is issued upon turning 13. After some consideration, I realized it was actual genius, in 13-year-old disguise. She had suggested collage.

New Worlds, Maps from the Age of Discovery.

New Worlds, Maps from the Age of Discovery.

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I recently came across this book, and picked it up to frame a very interesting old map called, “Map of Matrimony,” as a wedding gift. The maps were gorgeous and interesting. They were full of art & history, colorful depictions of Rulers, Dictators and ships. A perfect source for collage material.

Mod Podge.

Mod Podge.

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I read up on homemade glues versus store bought, and decided to use Mod Podge. It has an excellent reputation and should outlast the table itself. The homemade versions apparently do not hold up and it is worth the extra expense.

Choosing the maps.

Choosing the maps.

Gluing down the maps with Mod Podge.

Gluing down the maps with Mod Podge +++ +++ +++ +++














Mod Podge is a glue that contains a varnish that dries clear. I brushed the backside of each map with the Mod Podge, then brushed the glue over the top to seal it. I used a flat wooden spatula to push out any air bubbles and gradually worked and layered the maps until the whole surface was covered.

During the project.

During the project.

I trimmed the edges with scissors and painted them with black paint. I used an acrylic sealer, pictured above, and applied 3 coats to the finished tabletop after the Mod Podge was dry.

View through the kitchen door.

View through the kitchen door.

My dear readers, the table is now fit for outdoor use, waterproofed and practical. Like the maps, the table itself contains a story, a scandalous one, and it is a keeper. Even I am feeling slightly guilty about how close it came to being callously discarded. But in the meantime, reserve your “Save the F-Table” t-shirt, and don’t hesitate to bask in the glory of a recycled treasure brought about by you. I can’t thank you enough!

©copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.


Because You Can’t ALWAYS Shop at the GoodWill.

Christmas Tree at Lucy and Ethel's in Savage Mill, Maryland.

One of the nicest gifts I ever received was a collection of recipes, from the “Food” section of The Washington Post, gathered and organized into a photo album. It was so personal and thoughtful. Now you know why I married him.

The Holiday Season is upon us. I am one of those disgusting people who loves every minute of it. I do not have a single Scrooge-y bone in my body. I think every last gift through, and make sure the teachers have something homemade to take home. My feminist mother is regularly appalled by this.

This is a gift guide, in case you do not have a years’ worth of newspapers sitting around, or time to bake. We have thought up unique ideas, from the finicky to the adored on your list, and you will not be disappointed.

Bond.... James Bond.

This is a fabulous coffee table book. It radiates cool…. I love it and have given it as a gift before. It is available at Amazon for $51.

Ricki the Cheese Queen!

This gift is for the overachiever in your life. The one who roasts his own coffee beans and brews his own beer. I own this as well and it is chock full of goodies. You would never believe how easy it is to make cheese! This starter kit is only $50 and is available from Ricki the Cheese Queen Herself!

Customizable Yoga Mat!

From GAIAM this yoga mat is for your exercise buddy! Choose your own design or color, or choose one of the ready-made designs like the one pictured above. Reasonably priced at $29.50, this is a must have!

Whiskey Rocks.

For the alcoholic on your list… We all have (at least) one! Keep your drink cold without diluting it.  From Uncommon Goods and priced at only $19.50, this is a steal. Course, they are only rocks… just sayin’.

Mommy's Sippy Cup.

This one was recently given to me as a gift. I have no idea where to get it, but you could buy some plain glasses and paint them. Give them to your nearest and dearest Mommy friends and don’t forget the wine!

Vintage Cakes!

I fell in love with the cover of this one. A cookbook from The Smithsonian, and priced at only $24, how can you resist?

Dog Bed!

For your beloved…. dog. A bed made from your old t-shirts. A removable duvet cover so the dog can smell you, but you don’t have to smell it! Genius! Check your local gourmet pet store. I got mine from Mighty Healthy Pet, but it is available on-line as well. and is made by Molly Mutt. It cost a total of $24, for both pieces.


The Smithsonian does it again! A hoodie ($35) that does double-duty! What a great gift for a kid of any age.

Art and Puzzles.

One stop shopping at The Smithsonian. They have great ideas for kids. This Art Puzzle Box has a different masterpiece on each side and is priced at $39. Beware as side effects  may cause your head to explode or learn about Modern Art, either one. This is for someone who enjoys a challenge, a win win!

Simply Turquoise hopes you have a warm and safe Holiday!

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Symmetrical Force!

sym-me-try, noun 1. the correspondence in size, form,and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.

Symmetry is a force to be reckoned with. In design, it provides balance and adds a sort of equilibrium to a space. It establishes order and adds an element of harmony to design. It can be purposefully ignored, but at your own risk. You may find yourself perpetually tilting to the right or spinning in circles all because your room is off-kilter. I crave symmetry, to a fault. It is me trying to impose order on my surroundings.

I buy fruit in pairs. (See above paragraph.) I decided that I needed to spruce up my house a little for the trick-or-treaters that would soon be stampeding through my yard. I rounded up the two pie-pumpkins I had bought at the farmers’ market and some candlesticks for my mantle.

Simple Fall Mantle.

It does not have to be complicated! These pumpkins are doing double duty, as soon they will become my Thanksgiving pies. I got excited by the mantle re-do and decided to spruce up the lady in the foyer as well. Prima visited her dress-up box and the lady got a new Fall look too.

The Lady. Ready to greet my trick-or-treaters.

The simple mantle re-do made me realize how important symmetry is. It is the backbone of a good design. I love how the two found chairs I recently added to my living room accentuate the symmetry in the room. They add to the conversation area and provide a spot for snuggling up to the fire and yet the room still feels balanced.

Found chairs.

If you are in shock over this awesome find, don’t worry, you are not alone. All you have to do is start a blog that says how much you LOVE to find good trash and people just start calling to tell you where the good stuff is. No joke. It is now a neighborhood watch sort of activity. And if you are lucky, you may just find a pair.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Dining Room Saga

I had this idea that I would replace the light fixture in the dining room with a fa-beaux new one. The old ceiling mount fixture was #1 on my hit list, and it had to go. I wanted something large-scale, that did not obstruct the visual space, something that said WOW! I wanted the room to have a cottage feel. I wanted it to feel warm and cozy and different.

Dining room light, before.

Dining room light, before. The Hit List.

I eventually found one that was perfect, although not exactly. I had to transform it from it’s original brass finish before it would be perfect. It was a lantern that would capture the feel I was going for. It was hexagon-shaped, oversized with delicate lines and would do nicely in my dining room. I rescued it from Community Forklift. It cost $119.

The almost perfect chandelier.

Working on the chandelier                                                      

I spent days painting this behemoth chandelier, taking it apart, letting it dry between coats. I eventually got Stuart to hang it, with the help of at least one neighbor. It was shimmering and I was so pleased! Then, I sat down at the table under my new light, and opened up the latest Pottery Barn catalog. A few pages into it, my jaw dropped and I thought, “NO Way!” How did they know? There was a lantern-like light hanging above a beefy table, and it looked a lot like mine:

I did not know whether to be happy or sad about it. I liked my version, and it must have been a good idea, but really? Did they have to go and ruin what I thought was an original-ish idea? At least I could take comfort in the fact that they had not painted theirs first and it cost three times what I had paid at Community Forklift for mine. My light was recycled to boot.

Dining room chandelier, after.

I figure one of the following things happened:

  1. I must be extremely stylish and capable of keeping up with the latest trends (Ha!)
  2. I am receiving subliminal advertising messages from the stores I like and it sunk in without my knowledge or consent
  3. Coincidence
  4. Pinterest is to blame

Most likely, it is a strange combination of all of the above.

Dining room chandelier, after.

Dining room chandelier, after.

I am thrilled with the way my dining room looks, but this project wore me down. Next time, I may just buy it directly from Pottery Barn and save myself the trouble. But where is the fun in that?

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Other Woman

There is another woman in my life. I snuck her into my home, only hoping my husband wouldn’t notice. She served the dual purpose of beauty and function in one. I was intrigued by this see-through lady and wanted her to hold toilet paper rolls and the clothes I was constantly discarding all over the bathroom floor. What a fabulous find!

Me and the wire lady.

I know I am not the only person out there who is tired of waiting for Rosie to come around. Growing up with “The Jetsons”, we have realized so many of their futuristic fantasies including cell phones, flying cars, and machines that dispense food. But alas, where is Rosie, the Robot Maid? This wire lady is the closest thing I have to Rosie, holding up my clothes and keeping the toilet paper within reach. I can’t ask for anything more than that.

Glimpse of the wire lady in the mirror.

I found her at Marshall’s and could not leave without her. I had been looking for a solution to the toilet paper problem and here it was standing before me. I had considered a free-standing birdcage, but I just knew when I laid eyes on her that she was the one. She was a steal at only $50.

My husband gets annoyed by extracurricular pieces of furniture. This is why I had to sneak the lady in. I thought for sure he would understand once he saw her in place. Besides, isn’t this some version of every man’s dreams?

He did grumble and still does on occasion. But the next day, I went into the bathroom, surprised to see her adorned with….

The Other Woman.

This represents peace in our house. At last, she had worked her wiry charms on him.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Reveal! Coffee Table to Ottoman

Only one serious injury occurred while re-doing the coffee table I found in the trash last week. It was overshadowed by excitement and I just yanked the staple out of my thumb and reassured my mother that I have certainly had a tetanus shot sometime in the last ten years, I think. Besides, the staple wasn’t even rusty.

I ordered fabric from a website that I love called They will ship any amount of fabric for $4.99. I was able to get a heavy cotton decorator fabric with a large floral print for $12.99/yard.

We bought 2 inch foam, fleece fabric and buttons from JoAnn’s. All together the supplies cost about $60. We cut the foam with a bread knife to fit the top. We marked where we wanted the buttons to go and drilled holes in the top of the table. Then we stapled a fleece lining around the foam to the underside of the table.

I marked the holes again on the top of the foam and made holes in the foam using a large drill bit. Then we stretched and stapled the fabric over the top of the table, centering the pattern over the table. Using a large needle and nylon cord, I went up through the first hole from the underside of the table and threaded the first button.

I brought the cord back through the fabric and tied one end to a nail. Then we pulled it tight and retied the knot so it would not go back through the hole. This created a tufted top on the ottoman. We did this eight times.

Underside of the table.

This is me in my pajamas working on it. It was helpful to have Angela there to push on the button so the tuft was really tight. She only has a few bruises.

The wood on the bottom shelf was in good shape, so I gave it a quick wipe with Old English and we moved it to the family room. It is so comfy!

I love it.

© 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio