Tag Archives: diy

diy

monday morning craft: painted sticks

 

Happy Monday. Or not.

Here’s something different: I don’t like Mondays! Kidding. Unlike many people, Monday isn’t even the start of my work week, but there is something about the way Mondays feel, or maybe it’s everyone else’s anti-Monday ‘tude, that makes me want to stay in bed. Whatever it is, I woke up this morning determined to defeat the day. Before even getting out of bed this morning, I listened to a guided meditation on my phone. It made me feel good but the subliminal messaging of the mediation kept telling me to envision what a productive day I was going to have. It really drilled it in there and, once I got out of bed, all I could think about was a hundred little projects I wanted to accomplish.

 

sticks

 

What I did not expect was that I would find my inspiration while taking my dogs out for their AM bathroom break. I was staring at the ground, still trying to wake up, when I noticed the large quantity of perfect looking sticks everywhere. My mind flashed back to a million pinterest boards filled with decorative stick mobiles, stick side tables, stick jewelry holders, stick people dolls, stick centerpieces, sticks for dinner. Sticks everywhere! Sticks for days! Anyway. I felt thrilled at the prospect of having an endless and *free* supply of crafting materials so I started collecting the few that looked the most clean and usable which, by the way, really annoyed my dog because she thought it was play time and she does not understand crafting.

I know I’m not the first person ever to paint a stick, but I am impressed at how quickly I put this craft together while simultaneously rushing to get ready for work this morning. In total it took no more than 40 minutes to complete, but my favorite part of my new decor is not even the sticks, its the fancy erlenmeyer flask I used to display them! I received this flask and a small glass beaker as part of a wonderful christmas gift from one of my best friends a few years ago. I am not a scientist, but I do so love to find new uses for everything, so the beaker immediately became a tea light holder, but the flask has sat on my bookshelf without a purpose for a very ling time. Until today!

Congratulations, mr. flask, you are now part of a new decoration in my home that makes sense to nobody but me.  read more »

diy life

Happy Thoughts

SO… I have been missing in action for a while. Eek! I’ve thought about wanting to update every day for the last few months but I always succumb to the exhaustion and stress of other life happenings. This weekend I was supposed to go out of town, but an unpleasant accident at work that ended with a bad bump on my head made me cancel those plans.

I’m fine, thankfully, but still a bit woozy so I’m stuck at home with a couple days off work to breath and catch up on things that i’ve ignored for too long. Who knows, maybe it was the universe’s way of telling me to sit back and relax and reevaluate life? So that’s what i’m doing this weekend instead of running around like a madwoman.

I have a very simple post to share with you all as I ease my way back into crafting and blogging. This is a great idea I have seen circulating around tumblr and I decided to make one myself: a happy thoughts jar.

I love this project because it can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it, but even at it’s most complex it is probably still very easy. It is also very personal and sweet. The idea is that you take a jar, decorate it however you wish, and set it down somewhere that is easily visible and accessible in your home/bedroom/office/wherever you spend the most time. You also set a little notepad or stack of post-its and a pen next to it.

Throughout the following year write down every happy thought, moment, memory you have- then drop it in the jar. It can be major life events, or maybe a nice evening you spent with a loved one, or just a funny thing that happened that brightened your day. Anything that makes you smile at any point in the next year.

Now, you save all of these up until next New Year’s Eve, when you empty out your jar and read all your happy thoughts from the previous year!

Simple, right? But such a cute idea!

I know, personally, that it’s easy to remember the handful of majorly great things that happened throughout the year: a promotion at work, a wonderful vacation, a great birthday party. But it’s also way too easy to remember all of the crappy, unpleasant and stressful things that happen to us and, more often than not, the negative memories can outweigh the great ones. We forget the little things that happen every single day that make us smile and I think this a great way to remind ourselves of what a wonderful year we had and ring in a new year on a positive and open-hearted note.

 

I made my jar very simple and I did it while I was watching TV the other night:

I took a wide-mouth Ball mason jar and swirled some acrylic paint and water around the inside. I didn’t worry too much about getting a solid coat of paint because I like the weathered and faded look. I set the jar upside down on a paper plate to dry overnight and let the excess paint drip out. I finished the jar by screwing on the original metal top and adding a cute ribbon with a hand stamped label reading “Happy Thoughts 2013.”

I will place the jar on the bookshelf right next to my front door, where I usually drop off my mail and keys, and Albert I will start filling it with happy thoughts this New Years Eve.

I can’t wait to start this new tradition, and I can’t wait for the two of us to sit down next NYE and laugh and smile together as we reflect on how great 2013 was :)

 

life

birthday dinner

So, my birthday came and went, and it was lovely! my parents came into town unexpectedly on Sunday, the day before my birthday. I was originally scheduled to work, but Albi covered my shift so that I could spend the day with them and my sister’s family. So charming! <3

we had a really nice time, completely laid-back and (for the most part) stress free. my sister, mother, niece, and I spent part of the day crafting (making cute decorations for dinner and learning about t-shirt yarn.) In the evening Albi and some more family joined us for some amazing salads, grilled chicken, and my mom’s amazing empanadas.

Oh, yeah, and my kick-ass homemade birthday cake.

My sister was (and always is) a great host. On Saturday I had actually spent my day off with her as well and I used her kitchen to bake my own crazy concoction of a birthday cake!

At one point we stepped out to shop for some supplies and got sidetracked at the craft store where we stumbled across some pretty wrapping paper and doilies in a similar color scheme to the cake I had dreamt up.

I fell in love with these 8-packs of colorful doilies, only about $1.50 each. We immediately began brainstorming possible crafts that would justify buying several packs of them.

Well, without a doubt, making garlands of paper doilies is the easiest, quickest, cheapest, cutest thing you can do with them (aside from using them as just… doilies.)

for ours, all it took was several feet of baker’s twine, an elmer’s glue stick, and alternating colored doilies folded in half and lightly glued onto the twine.

adorable!

Dinner was awesome too. For starters there was caeser salad and a greek-style pasta salad (black olives, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, artichoke hearts, green onion and italian dressing mixed up into a heaping bowl of fresh bowtie pasta. Incredible. (I have to admit right now: i have a problem when it comes to pasta salad. I can’t stop eating it. It could be the worst pasta salad in the world and I would still probably inhale an entire tub of it in one sitting.)

 

The rest of dinner equally as amazing: grilled chicken thigh skewers and a batch of my mom’s incredible empanadas. Then there was the cake! My cake started as an experiment, but I was more than happy with the result.

Now, I’m not a baker. I cannot emphasize too strongly how much of a baker I am not. I do love to try to bake, but my kitchen experiments usually end in tears. Thankfully though, this cake turned out pretty awesome. So awesome that I WILL  have to eventually share the recipe with you. the best part was that it was an incredibly simple white cake and buttercream frosting recipe, but with a few twists like strawberry filling and coconut flakes sprinkled on top, suddenly it became wonderful. Along with the cake we served up some elderflower peach bellinis from one of my favorite of food plus words recipes. These are one of my favorite cocktails in the world and I serve them every chance I get.

 So, all in all, it was a great day and it was wonderful to get a break from work to spend with my family. Albi and I spent the following day (my actual birthday) at disney world! But I can tell you more about that in another post.

so long for now! <3

diy

lazy friday

i’ve had a ridiculously busy week and a half or so, ever since we returned from our trip. today has been albi and my first day off together and our first chance to finally get caught up on chores and editing videos, but mostly just hanging out.

i usually can’t stand having an unproductive day off, it feels like an enormous waste of time and I end up getting very cranky, but today it actually felt wonderful to lounge around in pajamas. also, in spite of all the lounging, we have actually gotten quite a bit of cooking, cleaning, and crafting done, so i’m feeling extra pleased with myself.

I started a little yarn wreath project last weekend when my mom was in town and she took my sister, niece and me on a shopping spree at jo-ann fabrics. usually these kinds of splurges end in a pile of unfinished projects, but I’m happy to say I was able to complete mine for once.

I’ve loved yarn wreaths ever since the first time I was invited to my good friend Sarah’s home (of sarahhearts.com) and i spotted the charming set of yarn wreaths on her front door. Now, this was at least a couple years ago, but I’ve never stopped wanting to make one. I finally got around to it and considering it was my first attempt, i’m pleased with the results. I love hanging wreaths on my front door, but until now I had this old, faded, faux floral mess up there that was starting to look a bit tacky. my bright summery yarn wreath has definitely livened up our otherwise dreary front door.

 

All it took was a white styrofoam base that was priced just under $5, 4 sheets of felt at $.38 each, a $2.50 ball of cotton yarn (about 86m/56.7g worth) and myhot glue gun and a scrap of ribbon (already owned).  For a total cost under $10, and a few hours worth of crafting, I’d say this is an awesome project that even the uncraftiest person could rock out. I can’t wait to make another!

 

easy felt flowers made from a series of circles.

 

mom, wrapping the yarn. I started with white, then decided to add a more colorful yarn on top.

 

for more detailed instructions on making a yarn wreath, check out Tommy and Ellie and for some ideas on how to make some cute felt flowers similar to the ones I made check out The Crafted Sparrow.

diy gardening

Adventures in Terrarium Building

Holy Meow!

Well, I previously said I would definitely stick to updating this thing so, of course I didn’t. I had a bit of a hecticly busy last few months, with working at the mall during the holidays, family visits, as well as being in AND attempting to film my dear friend Jaclyn‘s wedding in december. Either way, I’m back now, and not giving up on this blogging nonsense just yet! So, here goes!

Lately my mother has become fascinated with terrariums (the small artsy type you might see on etsy or in an issue of Martha Stewart Living) and has been trying to talk me into making one for a while. I do find them very charming but between school, work, taking care of two neurotic dogs, attempting to edit a wedding video, freaking out about life, house chores, and a 10 mile long to-do list of other crafty projects, I wasn’t quite sure when I would get around to attempting one.

Luckily my mother sprang a surprise attack, I mean visit, on me yesterday and we spent my day off working on a small batch of terrariums and, I must say, I am feeling slightly pleased with myself and the outcome.

It must be noted that, although I know a decent amount about things like indoor gardening and bonsai trees, this is my first attempt at assembling a self-contained garden and I was uneasy about starting. That being said – thanks to the never-ending source of information and how-to guides that is the internet and some old-fashioned creativity and resourcefulness, terrarium building ended up being a fun and almost stress relieving way to spend a day- even for my first try. Here, for anyone interested, is a run down of my process which is far from perfect but I think a good place to start getting ideas (disclaimer: this is by no means a how-to, just my insights and experience.)

Hooray for Terrariums!

Start with a clean and clear plastic or glass container. This can really be any size or shape, just find something that appeals to you. It can also have a lid or not, which really depends on the kinds of plants you will be using and how truly self-contained you want your tiny eco-system to be. If just starting out, make your life easier by using a container that is deep and has a very wide opening. Remember, you have to actually be able to stick your hands in there and arrange things. My containers all came from Michael’s and ranged in price from $5 to $14, but I used a coupon from the Michael’s iPhone app and saved 50% off my most expensive choice, the apothecary jar.

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top left: painting picks. top right: some supplies. bottom left: drying picks. bottom right: plants.

Next, you will need to decide on your plants. I chose a variety of small succulents for most of my terrariums and a small dwarf japanese juniper for my last one. Now, as I found out the hard way, many of the succulents are incredibly fragile and you have to be terribly delicate when handling them and placing them in your container because they will break, fall apart, or go droopy even if you so much as look at them funny. true story. On that note: buy an extra plant, just in case you mess the first one up or need to practice handling them. My other choice was the juniper because I really wanted to make a bonsai-esque tiny forest filled with woodland creatures. I have no idea how well suited this plant is for a terrarium, but I have used them as bonsai trees before and figured I would give it a shot. I used basic bonsai principles and a set of kitchen shears (don’t judge me, horticulture snobs) and trimmed the lower growing twigs and excess bushiness off my tiny shrub to make it look more like a tiny tree. Oh yeah, and wear gloves- these suckers are prickly.

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turning a bushy juniper into a tiny tree

Now you need all the fillers. The basics will be small pebbles or river stones to be placed in the bottom layer of your container for drainage purposes. On top of that will be a layer of charcoal (purchased at a garden center or a plant nursery) which helps purify your terrarium and prevent mold and bacteria and other undesirable grossness (*I used an orchid mix which contains charcoal in addition to wood chips and other things. I have no idea if this works, but my mother bought it, so, we used it). Then comes your potting soil. Use something that is of a high quality and appropriate for your plants. For our succulents, we mixed some potting soil with sand, but it would probably be best to buy soils that are correct for whatever you’re planting.

Now the optional parts: moss and decorations. You can have a living moss terrarium, which looks adorable and will be my next attempt, but this time I used dry reindeer moss for decorative purposes. It was expensive at the craft store and next time I would rather use something I am sure is natural and free of chemicals or dyes. As for decorations, you could really use whatever you want, such as small toys or figurines. I happened to have an unused box of super sculpey which I had no immediate plans for, so I molded my own cute little shapes, poked little craft wire jewelry findings into them, baked them in the oven then painted them with martha stewart craft paint. This part alone added several hours to whole project but it was fun and worth it as I think my custom picks add a personal, goofy touch to my terrariums.

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small terrarium in a candy jar for my niece

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arranging plants in a tall thin container was a nightmare, and the plants suffered some shock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it. Assemble the layers, depending on the size of your container you probably want around an inch of pebbles, inch of charcoal, then 2 to 3 inches of soil, but these estimates will vary in each situation. Then, using your hands and small tools (i find spoons, skewers and chopsticks to be useful, but you might decide to be fancy and buy real terrarium tools) make small holes for your plants and gently arrange them in your container as you would any potted plant. Don’t place them too close to the walls, and it is helpful to visualize or sketch it before you bury them in there. Lastly top them with your moss and decor and sprinkle with water. Now you’re ready to sit back and admire them, probably for hours, if you’re a nerd like me.

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oh, hey there snail dude.

Once completed, set them near a window or under a lamp to make sure they get enough light. Closed lid terrariums should require very little watering, somewhere in the once ever 2 week range (give or take). Open terrariums will need a bit more attention and watering, but in a high walled container, should still function as a little ecosystems.

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my pièce de résistance; the woodland critters.

The most charming thing about terrariums is how pretty they look as decorations in your home with the added bonus that keeping some greenery indoors can liven things up, especially when you live in a drab apartment that is far away from any magical forests or jungles. As wonderfully low maintenance as self-contained gardens are, you can’t forget about them completely. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are getting enough light and moisture or, conversely, you may need to let them breath if they are getting swampy.

Either way, this a fun way to combine gardening and crafting, a lovely gift to make for a loved one or friend, a cute way to teach kids about ecosystems, or just something fun to do when you’re bored.

Send any thoughts, advice, and tips my way! Also, if you’ve made a terrarium of your own, share it with me! I’d love to see what other people have made ;)

<3<3<3

More info on terrariums:

How to Make a Terrarium

Sprout Home

Moss Terrarium

Martha Stewart: Succulent Terrariums