My original plan for my son’s first birthday was to have a space-themed party, but after I read him the book, Where The Wild Things Are, I knew I had to change everything. For two weeks, my sole purpose was to DIY on the decorations. It became a routine, craft by day (at work, during downtime), and bake at night.
Here is one of the crafting projects that I worked on during the day:
While I’ve always been a fan of streamers, I really fell in love with the fringe streamers. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually really simple and easy. Plus I saved money by making this myself. All you need are large sheets of folded paper crepe. I purchased these from Amazon.com.
The fun is the unraveling part!
Next up, i wanted to create a personalized name banner to affix to his high chair. I wanted it to stand out so it would complement his smash cake. However, having a one year old and doing things pretty much on my own, my plan did not go the way I had wanted. However, I did find a place for this elsewhere.
I wanted a have a craft station for the kids, so I got some gable boxes and lots of Christmas foam stickers from Michaels. As you can see, the tablecloth is not straight.. Since my son got a hold this area and wanted to yank them off. I promise, it did look nicer and clean!
And here’s a picture of my family! This second party (pictured below) was held in Houston. I was able to fly some of my party props with me. You guys, after looking at a lot of these pictures and the overall look.. I realized that no matter how great your decor is, it’s important to dedicate enough time to carefully set up the decorations. Time was not on my side. I certainly needed extra time to set up the decor/props/items galore to make it perfect. Am I happy with the turnout, sure. Could it be better, totally. Am I hard on myself, def. Raise your hand if you’re a type-A like me? *raises hand*
I created mustaches and lips for my guests at my own Gender Reveal Party. If I was in a pinch and didn’t have the time, I would have spent $15 or so on Etsy. However, during the early part of summer 2014, I had just moved to Virginia. I had no job, little $$$ and plenty of time on my hands for DIY and crafts. This ended up being a fun project, they were really easy to make, and personally, a bit therapeutic for me.
With four, $0.33-$0.59 cents each felt fabric sheets and a bag of $0.99 cent bamboo sticks – you can create your own do-it-yourself mustache and lips.
Few extra tools needed to make this happen were:
– Elmer’s glue
– Hot glue gun
– Blank paper and pen/pencil
I started off with a design of how I wanted the mustache and the lips to look. I cut out the silhouette and cut the shapes out onto the fabric sheets. I was able to make 20 mustaches and 30 lips! This project was a lot of fun and doesn’t break the bank. It was well worth it!
Then I took the pieces that were filmsy and had to make them stiff. So I took a piece of a to-go container, added 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of Elmer’s glue and mixed it. Afterwards, I placed each individual piece, dipped them into the mixture and laid them out onto the wax paper.
To speed up the drying process, I put the wet shapes onto my patio, and let them bake in the sun. I ran some errands and came back to the dried shapes.
Soon, I was able to apply the bamboo skewer sticks onto the corner/side of the shapes – by using the hot glue gun. Because we had kids coming over for the party, I snipped the pointy-sharp stick with scissors.
Ta-da~! Your very own DIY mustache and lips prop for silly photos. So you decide: buy these for over $15, or do it yourself for under $4.50.
How to stiffen up the felt fabric:
Guests having fun with the props!
I put off working on this project for almost two years. I was nervous to get started on modifying the IKEA’s “lack” tables. I came across a website, Ikea Hackers, from my Pinterest page. I was immediately drawn to the picture and knew I had to make one. I wanted to repurpose the table to give it a high-end feel to the apartment. The outcome was a success!
My friends, Olivia and Iram, kept urging me to work on it and that they would help me if I needed it. The only thing that kept me from moving forward was the upholstery nails itself! I determined that I would need about 1300 nails (to cover all four sides of the table). I kept an eye on Amazon, hoping to find a good deal, but the best I could find was $120. (so I figured that I’d save up and put this project on the back burner)
Per my usual weekend routine, I swung by MaryJo’s and lo and behold, I found upholstery nail tacks! I quickly calculated the cost.. and would you know? I saved more money at the fabric store over Amazon. It was roughly $62, that saved me $53! WIN!
How I started the project:
I decided I wanted to individually nail in the tables with the antique silver nails I have found.
I measured out the spacing of the table with a pencil and marked where I would hammer in the nails.
I saw that MaryJo’s recommended a rubber mallet. I did not want to spend $9 on a mallet that I doubt I’d reuse. So instead, I used: my own hammer, leftover heavy duck cloth fabric, and a rubber band; I created my own make shift cushioned hammer. It worked really well, because you don’t see the “metal on metal” mark on the nails, while keeping the nails protected.
And then it was hammer time. I wanted to ensure that the lines where as straight as possible and evenly nailed in place as I could. I have to admit, it was very difficult. As you can see below, I started from the top, then nailed the bottom, then skipped to the bottom, and finally nailed the sides. I just wanted to see pieces of the nailing come together.
But it got a little tricky when I started nailing the bottom of the top half of the table. Also, I needed to keep it stabilized, so it would not move. I went to Lowe’s and found me the necessary materials.
Since there was already an existing hole in the bottom of the table, I flipped over the side of the table and pulled out a drill driver. I drilled each of the four holes through into the bottom of the legs. Then I had to drill in the nails from the underside of the top table into the leg of the nails. Mission accomplished! The table itself is now sturdy and sound.
I say stylish and contemporary!
Project spent & materials:
– 2 Ikea “LACK” white tables at $9.99 each
– 55 bags of 25 count matte silver nail heads at $1.19 each / $66.37
– 4 wood screws #10 x 3-1/2″ flat head phillips
– drill bit and drill driver
– pencil to mark areas of where to nail
– time, patience, and math.
Whenever I visit Washington DC, I crave cupcakes (particularly the red velvet) from Georgetown Cupcakes. I still remember my first bite; I fell in love. The cake mix was so moist, the frosting was light and airy, and was not cloyingly sweet. It was perfect! I instantly realized why their cupcakes were such a hit and why people were routinely waiting several minutes or even hours for their cupcakes!
Since I don’t go back to Washington as often as I’d like to, and since I love to bake – It’s only natural that I would try to find the recipe for their signature cupcake and put my baking skills to the test.
I stumbled upon Pop Sugar Food’s website and read over the recipe about 10 times and watched the video for about 5 times.
Here is what I have learned:
– The butter: should definitely be at room temperature. Mix on medium then high until mayonnaise like consistency and then add the sugar until light and fluffy (it took me almost 5-6 minutes)
– The eggs: fully incorporate them into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time on “stir” mode, but only enough where you no longer see the yolk.
– Red coloring & cocoa powder: mix together for a few seconds ahead of time, and set aside.
– Frosting: the butter and cream cheese should both be at room temperature. Afterwards, I would put them in my mixer stand and beat them at medium-high 8, for about five minutes (sometimes a little longer until I feel like the butter/cream is a mayonnaise like consistency). When I add the sugar, I let the mixture become fluffy (looks like mashed potatoes). In doing so, this will allow the frosting to become airy.
This recipe was heavenly and scrumptious! Remember, just be patient, and the outcome will be rewarding.
The smell of the crisp cool air and warm colors of the tree foliage could only mean one thing, chicken pot pie (okay it could mean more than one thing!). It is time to make chicken pot pie. Well, I can make it anytime, but every time I bake these.. It is always a reminder of how delicious it would be during a cold season. I want to thank my favorite chef, Ina Garten for her lovely recipe. I had to put my own twist on the recipe, just to be unique.
The bottom crust:
– vegetable shortening
– cold water
– baking powder
I had to buy a large food processor, because my mini processor was just not worth the extra effort. I have my corn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder in the holder. It is important to have the butter and shortening to be extra cold. I pop the diced butter and shortening in the freezer before I drop them down the tube of the processor. Afterwards, I added iced cold water to meld the crust dough. I quickly knead the dough, onto a floured board for 30 seconds and then wrapped it in a plastic wrap. I let the dough sit in the fridge for about an hour. (I had added the corn meal to the recipe. I felt the crust is distinguished from the bottom crust, and it has that extra corn meal taste to the palate).
– hand shredded chicken
– frozen sweet peas
– sliced carrots
– diced onions
– more diced onions – frozen
– chicken stock
– chicken bouillon
– salt & pepper
The filling is the best part! I love, love, LOVE the chicken to be shredded. It just gives it a more homemade feel to the pie. So yes, I sit there for about 20 minutes or so, just shredding a whole chicken by hand. By the time I am done, I just want to sit down and relax. But no, I have to persevere and continue this long process. The recipe book Ina Garten wants you to season the chicken and cook it, and then dice them. I like to roast my chicken with aromatic fresh herbs and garlic.
Following the recipe to make the filling itself –
After the filling is done, I went back to the dough and rolled it out to the right size of my ramekins. I did not like the ones I previously used.. So I went out and bought 4 pieces of square ramekins. I am a sucker for Le Crueset items! Aren’t they pretty?
The picture below is an old picture I took last year. 🙂
I absolutely have to have hardcover books. The sturdiness allows me to not have to worry about the creases in the spine of the books and slightly worn edges. I know that it sounds a bit obsessive-compulsive, but I promise you I am not. I just happen to like it clean and neat. So to make it seem even more crazy, I gently put away the mint book sleeves in a stack, tucked away behind more books. Then I grab some paper brown bags, and start making book covers for the ones I have bought to read.
I use brown paper bags as book covers; and use a white chalk pen on the side to make it look pretty! They have a dual purpose: on the one hand, it protects my books from the shine, and on the other hand, it makes for beautiful art on my table console. I cannot help but smile at what I’ve accomplished and the finished product.
Okay, I have to admit, I did come across this website which inspired me to make it look the way that it did below. Thank you EdiTORIal
Here is how I did it:
What you need
– large enough paper bag to cover a book
– white chalk marker (or permanent/glitter marker)
I tore open the brown paper shopping bag, where the enclosure is met.
I laid down the book, and cut off the excess paper that is not needed.
I folded the paper at the spine, and marked where I need to make a small angle cut.
The cut I have made above is necessary for enveloping the front and back of the hardcover books.
Afterwards, I folded down the left and right side of cuts (seen in the picture above) I have previously made. The fold should meet where the book fits. Now you have pentagon like shape that is formed.
I removed the book, flipped the paper over, and saw where the two lines I have folded for the spine. I quickly used a pencil to see where I would write the letters in white chalk maker (just to make it centered).
Then I flipped the cover back where you can see the exposed pentagons, and placed the spine book on top of the pentagons. I opened one side of the book flap, and folded the brown paper on one side over, and I did the same to the right side. Then I folded the top left and right corners where the book flap meets at the edge, and folded down, to give it a neat look.
Now if you do this with a lot more books, you’ll have a nice collection of covered books that can be neatly displayed on a table or on a bookshelf. It makes it more uniform and unique, and truly art to be displayed.
Back to School Tip:
– I used to cover my school books all the time back in high school and college. More importantly, the college books were expensive! If I kept the book in great condition, the more money I’d get back.
project #3 – two seat cushions
I finally finished the couch! All the pieces are finally done. I put together the two seat cushions with the white duck cloth (heavy fabric, that has a canvas look and feel to it), put together the four pillows, and finally the two accent pillows. All in all, it really made our apartment look more spacious.
How did I do it? It started out with a lot of measuring and a self-delivered pep talk (You can do this! You can do this!). If you have been following my projects, you have probably seen my Pinterest project #2 (where one seat was covered). At the time, when I covered it, I quickly hand-stitched the fabric. The reason? I had left over fabric and wanted to see if I had enough to cover one seat cushion. I liked the look so much that I decided to leave it there. Sadly, I had to unravel the stitching and correctly sew together the pieces to the seat cushions.
Two weeks ago, I went to the fabric store and bought some more duck cloth and zippers for my project. This time, I remembered to buy fabric chalk, so I could mark the lines where I would be able to cut neatly. If you do not have the marking tool, but crayon works just as well (preferably yellow on a lighter colored fabric).
Afterwards, I measured out the seat cushions and added 1/2″ to each side to leave room for stitching. Then, I laid out my patterns on the floor to account for each of the sides of the rectangular prism. The tricky part was getting one panel that will have a zipper, so I could slip the cushion through like a pillowcase.
After I turned the cover inside out, the pillow looked seamless and smooth. I was so excited to slip the cover over the old brown microsuede!
Here is the outcome of the cover!
Okay, so after I finished the first one, I worked on the second seat cushion. This time, it was much more fitted and clean looking, I had to redo the first one. As you can see below, there was a big difference.
I put the two seat cushions along with four large pillows and two accent envelop pillows together….
Not only am I happy with the overall look, my husband also approves! It is like having a brand new couch!
Total breakdown of cost and labor:
duration of the project – 4 months (but can be finished in 4 days, if committed)
5.5 yards of (5 yd x 58″) semi off-white duck cloth $12.98/yd
1.5 yard of French writing pattern $12.98/yd
1 Fatt Batt bag for two envelope pillows (size: crib)
2 Fatt Batt bag for four large pillows (size: twin)
needle and thread to secure the batting (self)
1 large neutral maxi-lock thread at $8.99/roll
2 – 24″ seat cushion separating zippers $5.40/each
4 – 18″ invisible zippers $2.40/each
about > $180.00
– Yes I have spent quite a lot of money on this project. Nevertheless, I am happy with the final look. Not only does the apartment look a lot more inviting, but it also makes my apartment look contemporary and chic!
– I would probably do it all over again! It took me many months to finish this project.
– I truly want to thank my two friends Olivia and Iram, for letting me borrow their sewing machines! Yay!
– It is always fun to have a craft day with friends!
- then there are four large pillows (sunshinebelinda.wordpress.com)
Every time I look at the sky, I see a beautiful array of colors. The ones that catch my eye are the colors of the sunset. “If only I could capture that in a painting,” was my initial thought. At that moment, I told myself that the only medium I could use to recreate the picture would be watercolor. So I went out and bought myself a watercolor painting set, sketch book, and watercolor paper; and drew some pictures.
I started small, but it became a huge project. I drew a koi fish, with the colors that I had in mind. (I was too nervous to color so I set the picture below, aside, and looked online for some inspiration.)
I came across this simple, yet beautiful design by Riki Zarris own Aqua Purple Chevron Print. It looked like she used oil pastels for her medium (“I have to try to use that someday…” I thought to myself). Afterwards, I started sketching and got my watercolors out and ready to paint. As you can see below, I filled in the lighter colors first (just in case I messed up, the darker colors will overlap the lighter colors).
Then I went out and bought UK’s Letraset brand of Metallic Marker, and outlined the lines in ‘rose gold’.
I am very happy with the overall look. Well, I wished my red was more magenta-fushia color.. I just could not make it happen with the limited watercolor paint set. I call it, Bring Back the Retro. I cannot wait to frame it with a white matting border along with a black frame to give it a pop.
Here are other crafty projects I have created:
- Preparing for a watercolor painting (mockingbirdsatmidnight.com)
- Using only watercolor and gouache paint for competitions (surpriseart.wordpress.com)
I had a huge large wall dilemma behind our couch. I kept thinking to myself, what do I want to fill up the wall space with?
Inspiration #1 Ikea catalog
Collage of pictures with the letter M in the corner (M for Medina, my husband’s last name)
Pro – beautiful collection of our wedding pictures and travels
Con – have a lot of pictures of us up on the bookshelf and table console = overload of pictures in a small apartment
Inspiration #2 Z-Gallerie/William-Sonoma Home
A grand, elegant mirror
Pro – adds more light in the apartment with the adjacent French doors
Con – with my expensive taste, $395 -$499 is just not feasible and heavy – afraid it might fall over on us
Inspiration #3 *brainstorming*
Pro – aesthetically beautiful and would be hand painted by me
Con -what would I draw? What would I paint? Decisions, decisions..
One night, an inspiration came to me when my husband and I were on a sushi dinner date. We were having a conversation when two wall canvases caught my eye. The walls in the restaurant were tall and the framed art, was made out of fabric. The design was simple, abstract, all in a shade of warm tones and gave a nice ambiance to one of the rooms in the restaurant. Of course, I took the idea and decided to create my own version.
What I think I needed, and what I bought to make three canvases:
- 6 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ of spruce furring strip
- 6 – 1″ x 2″ x 2′ of spruce furring strip
- 12 – L flat metal brackets
- staple gun
- 3 – 6.5′ fabric of choice
- 9 – clear thumb tacks
- 12 – 3M Command hanging picture velco dual lock
Here is the pattern I chose below, black and white chevron. I chose this fabric for it’s simplicity and chic look, more so, it was eye-catching.
*Funny story to share… I went to Lowe’s Home Improvement store and spoke with one of the employees. He was very helpful and cut the rectangular wood down to size. When he asked me what I was planning on doing with the wood, I described my idea for a make-shift fabric canvas . He asked how I planned to put together the corners. When I responded with my initial plan, he shook his head, laughed and said, please no. He advised me to buy L-brackets to reinforce the corners, as opposed to my “great idea” of “stapling” the pieces of wood together (I too had to laugh at myself when I considered what I was planning to do). So I went ahead and listened to him.
Here is the result!
As you can see, the two vases between each of the canvas – for the spring. The second picture below, was for winter. Lovely, n’est ce pas?
What did I learn from all of this?
1) using a heavy duty hand stapler hurts
2) next time, buy small equipment that will cut the edges at a 45 degree angle and piece them together (was told it was going to be around $18)
3) still use the L-brackets for reinforcements
4) add an additional > 2′ of wood between each of the canvas in the middle, to maintain the equal structure** this was important, because as I was stretching the canvas, there were areas of stress and you can see a dip on some areas.
5) 3M wall Velcro stickers really work wonders!
6) extra left over wood, which allows me to make 2 more square shaped pictures (a future blog post perhaps!)
Cost of materials/supplies:
12 – 1″ x 2″ x 8′ of sturdy light lumber board ($0.94/each)
1 heavy-duty staple gun ($19.98)
12 – 3M’s Command large picture hanging strips ($10.83)
2.25 yards x 3 (3 panels) fabric of choice (~$84.44)
1 heavy duty scissors (supplied)
1 measuring tape (supplied)
cutting of the wood (free by Lowe’s)
9 thumb tacks /3 for each panel to hold up the wall (supplied)
12 – L metal brackets (~$2.00/bag of 4)
When I move someday, I want to sell this <$140 project away to anyone who would like to keep it. If you live within the Charlotte area, let me know! I would consider selling them to my readers at a discounted rate.
Here are other crafty projects I have created:
This year I am about to find out if I have a green thumb, or not.
Fast forward to last Friday. I went to check on my veggie garden that I have left alone for a little over two weeks. I did not have to water the plants because of the consistent rain. I was SO ecstatic to find an abundance of green roma tomatoes, ichiban eggplants (I was only able to harvest one so far), and growing jalapenos. It looks like I DO have a green thumb after all. In addition, the fruits of my labor are showcased with my nifty plant labels.
How it all started:
My apartment complex in Charlotte provides its residents the opportunity to have our own personal garden lots within its large community garden. I was assigned garden lot 9… Lucky #9. In April, the complex held its “bi-annual gardening get-together.” I was excited because as a first time gardener I was able to learn the basics of gardening and also have the opportunity to work on my garden alongside old friends and make new friends in the complex.
I was itching to spruce up my garden with some eye catching plant labels. I looked online to get some inspiration. I went shopping one day with Olivia at Michael’s and found what I needed! I found these miniature wooden plaques, elegant in their design. And right then, it clicked, and I was full of ideas. This is what I came up with:
– hot glue gun
– bamboo chopsticks
– acrylic black paint
– white paint pen
– pencil for sketching
– clear protect sealant
I first used a pencil to sketch a border, 1/4″ from the edge of the shape. So now I have the same shape, smaller inside the plate, so I am able to paint the inside shape. Basically, by doing so, I am giving an illusion of a chalkboard. After painting seven of the plates, I allowed the paint to dry.
The next step, I used a black sharpie to make sure the words that I wrote out would be centered. The good thing was that if I made a mistake, which I had on FOUR of these, I could always paint over and write on the next plate name.
Once it was to my liking, I used the white chalk pen to write over the black letters. When the ink dried, I was able to attach the one stick of the chopsticks and adhered it to the back of the plate (with a hot glue gun), like so:
Okay, I have a confession to make… I did not use black paint. I did not feel the need to go and spend extra money to buy it. Instead, I mixed together blue, green, and red to make a dark color. It came out dark green, but then after I have sprayed each of the plant stake plates with a clear protectant coating, it became black… strange, I know.
Was there anything that I could have done differently?
I enjoyed this crafty project. I would have wanted my plate in copper metal, with an etching tool to make the letters. I’m not sure how the cost would change if I had done copper metal. In any event, I took the easy route and it saved me some money. I spent less than $5 for 8 plates.
Here are other crafty projects I have created:
- Rainy Day DIYs (toohauteforyou.wordpress.com)