nifty plant labels

This year I am about to find out if I have a green thumb, or not.
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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.

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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:

Materials needed:
– hot glue gun
– bamboo chopsticks
– acrylic black paint
– white paint pen
– pencil for sketching
– clear protect sealant

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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.

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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.

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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:

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And, voila!

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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:

Envelope Pillows
Toilet Paper Rolls Wall Art
Pretty Carnation Lei

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pretty carnation lei ~ for graduates

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Last week, I had celebrated my cousin’s high school graduation in Virginia. Little did she know, I had a surprise for her when the whole family and I were waiting for her outside the stadium.

DIY: Money Lei for Graduates!
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So what did I want to give to my cousin for her graduation, besides money? I remembered that it is a tradition in Hawaii that graduates receive a lei. And I had also heard that this same tradition was mimicked by some in California. So I decided that instead of giving her a bouquet of flowers (like everyone else does), I would make her a lei out of fresh flowers. The question then became, what flowers should I use? I went on Google to see what flowers worked best. I knew that orchids were out of the question (as they are expensive!). I found a video on YouTube by Milani, and it was exactly what I needed. She was a lifesaver!

Below are the steps that I took to create a lei with carnation flowers.

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Materials:

-sturdy string (crochet thread, classic10, natural)
– long needle with a big enough eye that allows the string to go through
– scissors
– tote filled with 1/4″ of water for your flowers
– carnations of any color! (15 carnations = 1 lei, for a petite person)
– water bottle spray
– clear plastic bag
– magic fingers!

Gather your materials.  First, start by pinching off the stem of the carnations (stem=peduncle).  You want to first make sure you keep the “Sepal (small leaves under the flower)” part of the carnations.

Next, place all the trimmed carnations into a tub, filled with less than 1/4″ of water, to keep them fresh.
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Then, lay out the string and see how long you want the lei to look on yourself.  I had about 62 inches of string, which I folded in half to give the actual length of 31  inches.  The reason for this was because I wanted to make sure the string is extra sturdy and hold the carnations in place.

Then,  tie a knot at the end about three times to make sure that the carnations do not go anywhere.

Start stringing the carnations by piercing through the green stem end of the carnation. Pull the needle through the center of the carnation (this may be tough, so be careful not to prick yourself – as I did once, err..twice.).

Once you’ve got the carnation through, slide the carnation carefully to the end of the knot of the string, and start on the next one.  Read carefully, when adding the second carnation and sliding it down to the first one, make sure the green stem of the second carnation is carefully hidden in the flower of the first carnation.  You want to minimize the look of the green stem.  Even if you allow some of the green stem, it just looks more aesthetically appealing if there is less of the green stem showing.  See below:

Now that you know the process, continue to add additional carnations.  You can alternate the colors to give it a unique look, or add 3-4 more colors, to give it a wow factor.  I have to admit, I was anxious about how it would turn out with 5 different colors.  The grocery store had a limited selection of carnations.  But after I sewed each of the carnations on the string, and tied the last one into a knot, I couldn’t help but to be pleased and wowed with the combination of colors.

Once I completed the leis, I placed the two leis into a clear plastic bag and sprayed water onto the carnations.  I tied the bag and placed them in the refrigerator carefully, close to the door, and not in the back.  I was told by the florist, not to keep them in the back of the refrigerator, otherwise it would be too cold for the carnations and they would wilt faster because of the ice.

About 4.5 hours later, I had to transfer them to the cooler for our 5 hour car ride to the graduation.  I took the bags with me inside the stadium, then took the lei out of the bags.  I was able to wring the water off very carefully and lightly, and allowed the lei to air dry on the seats.  I took them with me to meet up with my cousin.

The look on her face, priceless.  She loved them!  See the family picture below 🙂
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Total cost of materials: > $30.00 for 2 leis
– 6 bouquets of 6 = $24
– 1 roll of crochet strings $1.49 (used a 50% off Michael’s coupon)
– 1 pack of long needles $1.99
– scissors (owned)
– tub of any kind (owned)

 

 

BUT WAIT, there’s more! DIY ~ money lei for graduates

 

 

then there are four large pillows

project #2 – the four large pillows

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After I finished with the accent pillows, I eyed the four large brown pillows on the couch.  It looked like a lot of work, especially because this time, I wanted to add invisible zippers.  It reminded me of the days when my mom had me work on some alterations and invisible zippers were her thing.  I recall watching her put them together on a skirt… and boy, it looked difficult.  Nevertheless, I felt confident enough to take on task/project #2. Below is the BEFORE  picture of the couch:

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I went back to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store, in search of thick, durable cloth. I wanted to make sure that the pillows would not only hold up nicely on the couch, but also hold up in the washer and dryer.  I decided on the heavy duty white duck cloth.

I first used measuring tape on each pillow, then added 1.5″ to each side.  I had to account for the volume of batting around the pillows. Additionally, I wanted to add some life to the pillows since over time they had become flat.  The material inside the pillows were comprised of loose cotton stuffing.  But I was afraid that if I added more cotton stuffing, the pillows might end up lumpy.  The solution? I decided to wrap the pillows with a batting sheet made for quilts and it turned out great.

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After wrapping the batting sheet around the pillow  and reinforcing the cotton with a simple sewing using thread and needle, it was time to move on to the covers of the pillows.  The tricky part was adding the invisible zipper.  Thankfully, my friend’s sewing machine came with a foot, attached to the sewing machine that was designed for attachings zippers (Thank you Olivia!!! Check her out at: The Bean in Wonderland). It was simple, yet time consuming, but I finally did it!  Four pillows later…  It came out like this:
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The finished product?
Yep, super happy.  The apartment looks more spacious with the four white pillows!  Now onto project #3 : two large seat cushions . To add zippers, or to not add zippers?  That is the question…

drawsomething app ~ on an iPhone


I love to draw!  I was flipping through my phone camera roll and noticed that I had screen printed some of my favorites from the app, DrawSomething.  Let me tell you, when the app first came out, I was addicted, having 10 games going at a time.  After a couple of days of obvious drawing,  my friends quickly guessed.  So I decided to challenge them a bit and decided to draw things in a less-obvious and round-a-bout way- haha!

Here are a few of my favorites. These are not the best. I have seen far better out there. But I enjoyed playing, not to mention, drawing on an iPhone was quite a challenge!

Enjoy!

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The picture on the left, is what I drew myself as a “girl.”   I often use this picture as my profile picture for other social media programs.

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Feel free to start a game with me on DrawSomething username: sunshinebelle

couch makeover, almost a cinch!

project #1 – the accent pillows
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About two years ago, my in-laws dropped in for a visit and took a quick tour of our apartment. At that time, we only have a few things: a television on the floor, an air mattress in the bedroom, and two high chairs by the high counter for when we eat. The thing is, I had my eye on a lovely velvet, tufted white sofa from Macy’s. I knew that I had to have it and I was willing to save money for it. Unfortunately, my in-laws insisted that we needed a couch right now. They took us shopping and I was given three options to choose from. Of the three, sadly, I chose the one that I best saw fit for the time being… a micro suede brown couch with leather armchairs (faint yay). Which means, goodbye Macy’s sofa 😦

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Fast forward to today. So after the pillows wore down and the brown couch started to irk me, I looked online to learn how to upholster a couch. It looked like it would be a challenge. After a couple of days I had a vision of what I wanted to do, and was very excited to get started. So I broke it into 3 mini projects:

1) Start small, cover the accent pillows
2) Next, cover the four large pillows with one complementary color to match
3) Finally, cover two large seat cushions, to finish the final product

To get started, I needed a sewing machine, which lividivvy so graciously lent me. Next, I picked out my fabric at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store which has a great selection. It reminded me of High Fashion Fabrics in Houston and I happily walked around and saw the fabric that I wanted for my accent pillows.

As you can see below, this is what I started with:
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I felt that the pillow needed more volume, so I bought batting to give it some fluff, and wrapped it. I have made accent pillows before, and know all too well that if I do not reinforce my pillow somehow, the batting will get out of hand. It took forever to hold down the batting around the pillows (with needle and thread) -but I tell you, it was worth it! Afterwards, I took the fabric I had bought, and made it in a way where it was simple to sew, without any zippers, called “the pillow envelope.” I was starting small, and easy!

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The result, ta-da! (BTW, the couch pictured is my friend’s white couch, which I used as a backdrop)
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decorative wall art, made out of toilet paper rolls

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My wall space above our French doors were bare and needed some pop. I had come across The How-To Gal blog’s page, and knew I had to make this.

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Below is the finished product after working on this for about a week (spray painted it silver).

classy and decorative wall art, made out of toilet paper rolls
My hunt for collecting over 40 rolls took about two to three months.

After a month, my wall art décor started to sag and droop in the middle, and it was not pleasing to the eye. With all the hard work I put into this tedious project, it needed to be salvaged. The answer, “framing the art itself!”

So as you can see below, I bought some square dowels, that can be bought at Lowe’s Home Improvement for about 98 cents a yard.   I used a hot glue gun  to hold together the structure.

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The picture below showed my first attempt at making a frame around the toilet paper wall art.  I had used Aileen’s Tacky glue.  Although it adheared well..  the hot glue gun was much faster to work with.

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The final product? Much better, it’s defined and has structure! I was very proud of myself.

** What I have learned on my second time around **
– I used a large paper cutting board to help speed up the process of making each of the rolls into individual strips.  The board really helped with making the strips even and clean.
– Regular Elmer’s glue is just as good as Aileen’s tacky glue, to glue the toilet paper pieces.  The regular glue takes a little longer to dry.
– I used a hot glue gun, to stick the dowel to the art, because it was much easier and faster to use.

 

Here are some other crafty projects I have made:
Envelope Pillows

Garden Label Stakes

Hello World!

Hello All!

I wanted to first start off by saying, hello to everyone who will be taking a journey with me with my crafting baking, and fashion endeavors.  I am a nervous wreck, hoping that this will actually go somewhere.  Nevertheless, I am ecstatic and filled with joy as I type up these words and bring you all the things that I have made with love, along with some miscellaneous stuff.

Yours truly,
Belle

Sunset at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

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