Tag Archives: diy

Decoupage Memory Box

22 Aug

Many people nostalgically describe college as the best times of their life, but few people warn of the sadness that comes when it’s time to leave. Heading off to college often means saying goodbye to families, friends, homes, and cities that people have known all their lives. And while what lies ahead may be fun and exciting, saying goodbye is one of the hardest imaginable things to do.

I’m lucky because I’m moving only 30 minutes away from home, so I can come home to visit Goose and my family on weekends and even after school some days. It wasn’t just luck though. When you have people in your life as incredible as the ones that I have in mine, it’s impossible to stay away for long.

Saying “See you in November” to friends who you’ve known since kindergarten is tough. On the flip side, knowing that you won’t see them until Thanksgiving makes you appreciate what time you do have with your friends even more. Without seeing friends in school each day, you  have to decide which people are worth going out of your way to maintain relationships with via phone calls, letters, care packages, e-mails, and rare visits.

Packing up boxes of picture frames and sentimental items to take with me to my dorm left my room feeling impersonal and empty. The blank walls and eerily clean bookshelves made the room a constant reminder of my upcoming move, and from my little sisters’ perspective, of my leaving them. In an effort to show them that they will still be as much a part of my life when I go to college as they always have been, I made these memory boxes for them. This project also allowed me to test out the idea of making additional personalized boxes for friends to include in future care packages.

The boxes are really simple to make, as they involve little more than some cutting and pasting; but the personal thought and homemade aspect of the gift make this a wonderful way to show someone you care. Seize the opportunity to get as personal and creative as you want. Draw your own pictures or add text to decorate with. You can even experiment with fabric, wire, mirrors, and other materials.

Decoupage Memory Box

Materials:

  • Wooden box
  • Glue stick
  • Shiny Mod Podge  (or a mixture of 1 part Elmer’s glue to 1 part water)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife (optional)
  • Foam brush (or other paint brush)
  • Pictures
  • Magazine images
  • Letter or 3-D stickers

Directions:

  1. Take your time in going through old photos and magazines to choose a good selection of pictures that either hold a special memory or that you know will make the recipient smile. This is the most important step of the project. I spent months going through old magazines and a good few hours searching through my computer for the very best pictures. Gather more  images than you think you will need so that you can be selective when it comes time to actually lay out your images.
  2. Use the scissors to cut out each of your images. I chose to cut them right on the edge, but you can leave a slight border if you prefer. Just make sure that you are constant in applying the same method to all of your images.
  3. Layout what images you want on the four sides of the box, being sure to coordinate the tone and color scheme as well as possible. The longer you spend in the first step, the easier this step will be.
  4. Use the glue stick to glue down the images to each face, one face at a time. If you want your images to overlap the space where the lid and the side meet, press the top and the bottom together firmly and glue the image right on top of the seam, then use your Exacto knife to gently cut through the image along the seam. The cut will be unnoticeable in the finished produce, and you will still be able to open and close your box without a problem as long as no glue gets into the seam.
  5. Use the 2-D stickers and remaining images to decorate the top of the box, and even to dress up the sides a bit more.
  6. Coat each face of the box with a generous coat of Mod Podge, then top with any 3-D stickers if desired.
  7. Hide a special note or sentimental object inside the box and give it to someone you love.

What I’m Loving Now: July 2012

24 Jul

Ass a follow up to my “What I’m Loving Now: June 2012″ post, here’s what I’m loving this month! With so many websites and blogs releasing incredible new information daily, it’s impossible to catch everything, so here are my 10 favorite tidbits of the month. Enjoy!

10. This week’s DineLA deals got my craving some seriously good food. I’m talking sophisticated, savory meals, not the sweets that I so often cook up in my own kitchen. Easter LA’s round up of LA’s 20 most iconic dishes is the perfect way to keep treating my taste buds while trying to track down some of the city’s best fare. Two of the the highlights on this list for me are #7: Mozza Pizzeria’s butterscotch bundino, one of my favorite (and the richest) desserts in the city and #20: Jitlada Thai Resturant’s green curry, the dish that I’m most eager to try soon thanks to my obsession with any type of Asian cuisine.

9. This charming “Let’s Sleep Under the Stars” print from TheWheatField captures the true essence of the carefree attitude that summer elicits. The soft twinkling of stars and innocence of the red plaid tent illustrate the perfectly childish fun of summer camp, and show what all of us try to recapture each year as the temperatures climb.

8. This “You Know You’re A Food Blogger If…” list from Eat the Love cracks me up! While Not all 40 of these statements are true for me just yet, it’s good/frightening to know what’s in store for me in the future as I continue working on my blog. I think #20 just may be my favorite…or #10…it’s just too hard to choose!

7. I adore this sweet necklace from TagYoureItJewelry! The tiny pendant is sweet and pretty, but still simple enough to wear everyday.  It’s so refreshing to see romance jewelry without an abundance of hearts!

6. My mouth is watering simply from looking as this delicious Eton Mess Trifle from Sips and Spoonfuls. This trifle layers Middle Eastern rosewater and pistachio meringues with luscious strawberry whipped cream for a desert that looks decadent, yet tastes light and airy. This looks like the perfect end to any summer get-together! I can’t wait to ry out the recipe myself (as soon as I return from Europe that is).

5. I was so impressed by Wes Anderson’s latest indie flick, Moonrise Kingdom. Goose kindly gave into my pleas to go see the unconventional love story of two 12-year-old misfits who decide to run away together and eventually fall in love. We both walked out of the theatre in awe of how the two unlikable protagonists manage to have the audience rooting for them throughout the film. Equally impressive are the stellar performances by Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and the young new comers, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The movie has been out for a few weeks, so try to catch it in theaters before it’s gone!

4. I am completely obsessed with Free People’s Indian Enchantment Dress! I wrote a post a while back about how I love Free People’s whimsical, boho-chic aesthetic and this dress is the perfect elevation into formal wear. The wispy, jewel toned fabric is the perfect anti-dote to boring, monochromatic prom dresses. I don’t have any idea what I could wear this dress for, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful!

3. Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation recently released pictures of the duplex that Frank Gehry designed for the project. Gehry’s four-bedroom duplex is one of the 21 new additions to the ninth ward that he and 20 other leading starchitects have designed. PS the home’s new inhabitants chose the lavender color for their new home, not Gehry himself.

2. On Sunday I was lucky enough to witness an incredible feat of partner yoga while walking with Goose along Santa Monica beach. We saw over a dozen people engaged in this trust-based practice that ended with one of the partners in each of the pairs simultaneously lifting the other partner into a handstand. It amazes me how the yogis can have such a deep conviction in their partner’s ability to protect that they  are willing to attempt an already difficult pose while balancing upon another person. I was nervous about trying aerial yoga because I had to put my faith in fabric to support me, but by placing your faith in a fallible person takes trust to a whole other level.

1. I can’t wait to tryout the wonderful step-by-step tutorial for making my own dinosaur bookends from A Life Worth Living. The gold spray paint is such a chic update to classic children’s toys. I’m thinking of making them with zoo animals to hold up all of the books I’ll be reading as an English Major. Just a few weeks ago I decided to switch my major from architecture to English and Creative Writing, so there couldn’t possibly be better timing for this sweet literary DIY.

Mother’s Day Loving From a True Momma’s Girl

12 May DSC_0450

For years I’ve been told by countless teachers, friends, and family members just haw much I look like my mom. Unlike most teens, I think that there is no greater compliment than being told of my resemblance to this incredible super woman. She has a speech pathology degree, a model-esque body, and endless charm, yet she chose to dedicate her life to raising my three sisters and me. If that kind of pure selflessness doesn’t count as a super power, I don’t know what does.

I owe much of my academic success to my mom’s tireless dedication to doing everything in her power to help me. From dropping me off and picking me up at Habitat for Humanity sights that are almost an hour’s car-ride away to running back and forth among all of the art and building supply stores in town to help get me all of the obscure materials that I needed for my architectural models, my mom has never once refused to help me in any way possible.

Not only has my mom been my biggest cheerleader over the years, she also has been my best friend. She is my closet confidant, my shopping buddy, my kitchen companion, and the person whom I can always rely on to try new things with me. While my mom always tries to encourage me to catch up on my zzz’s, when I end up staying up to the wee hours of teh morning, it’s usually because she’s by my side chit chatting with me all night over a shared orange and a few cups of green tea.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have this amazing woman to enstill a sense of endless possibility and to guide me throughout my life. Without her support and daily readership, this blog would not be possible, so thank you Mom!

If any of you lovely readers want to show your apprecaition for your mommas out there too, check out this quick and easy craft as a great last minute Mother’s Day gift or an idea to tuck away for the future. These sweet little tea cup candles are the perfect way to add a touch of vintage chic to any house or office. The great scents of these decorative gems are an extra bonus!

Teacup Candles

What You’ll Need:

  • small sauce pan or pot
  • teacup, with a saucer if you so desire
  • meltable wax (find this at craft stores like Michaels or melt down existing candle stubs)
  • candle wicks with holder, at leas an inch or two taller than your cup
  • dye and essential oil (skip these if you bought pre dyed and scented wax like me)
  • thermometer
Directions:
  1. First scour your local vintage shops, flea market, or grandmother’s china cabinet for a cute teacup.
  2. Generously measure out the amount of wax that you will need to fill your teacup.
  3. Melt the wax in your pot and place the thermoneter in it to monitor the temperature.
  4. While waiting for the wax to melt, tie the top of your wick around a pencil or popsicle stick.
  5. Once the wax reaches 185 degrees, gently dip the wick into the wax, then place the base of the wick into the teacup and let it set.
  6. Balance the pencil or stick on the teacup’s rim, and place the teacup in the sink.
  7. Gently pour the melted wax into the teacup, making sure to stop 1/2 inch below the rim of the cup.
  8. Let the wax cool for at least an hour, then untie the wick from the pencil or stick and cut it to 1/2 inch above the wax line.
  9. Wrap it up cutely and give it as a gift. Punny tea references encouraged.

Real Life Inspiration Board

25 Apr

By now almost everyone has discovered the outrageously addictive world of Pinterest. But who really has time to sift through all of his or her pins? The creators of Pinterest wanted to emulate the concept of inspiration boards, but it seems that now Pinterest has made them obsolete.

I know that when I’m in need of inspiration, but am running low on time, that I only glimpse at a fraction of my pins. Having a real life pinterest board on my wall, however enables me to sneak a peek at the things that bring a smile to my face multiple times a day.

Months ago I decided that I wantd to put up an inspiration  board in my room, soI began searching through my mom’s Glamour magazine, my copies of Dwell, the monthly Free People catalogues, and whatever magazine I could get my hands on. After finally acculating a massive pile of images, I decided to go for it and transform my drab closet door into a colorful collection of inspiration. So I pulled out my mod podge and a paint brush, and went to work. While I was doing it, I was half afraid that my mom would be upset at my defiling of the house, but when I showed her the finished project she was impressively supportive of my project.

What have you got to lose? Go ahead and pick a place in your house or office where you want to display images that make you happy. You can of course do this on a piece of paper, wood, or worst comes to wort, you can always paint over it or put new images on top.

Here are some other inspirations boards from around the web to get your creative juices flowing:

Inspiration board from The Decorista

Inspiration board from Styleseeking Zurich

Chartreuse’s inspiration board from The Glitter Guide

Hanna’s inspiration board from iHanna’s Blog

Tanya’s inspiration board from HeyDoYou

Pamper yourself for Spa Week!

16 Apr

Now that the hectic rush of tax day is finally over, treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment for only $50 during the week-long spa week! Everyday you spend time checking off tedious tasks from your to-do list, so this week give yourself a rest and set aside an hour or two to visit one of the 800 spas across the US that are offering tremendously discounted spa services.

You have from now until Sunday to take full advantage of the amazing deals by scheduling as many luxurious treatments as you want! Simply visit Spaweek.com to see what spas near you are offering promotions this week. This is the perfect time to finally visit that expensive hotel spa or get that long-lasting treatment that you’ve been dreaming of. Participating spas are offering various treatments ranging from your typical hair cuts, facials, massages, mani/pedis, to acupuncture, teeth-whiting, and personal training sessions.

Going to the spa may feel ridiculously indulgent, but seize the opportunity while it’s too cheap to pass up! Going to the spa can have serious mental and physical health benefits. Giving yourself a treat just one day this week can put you in a better mood and increase your general attitude towards others in your life. Massages in particular have been scientifically proven to improve circulation, increase flexibility, reduce blood pressure, relieve tension, decrease depression syndromes, and prevent injury.

If the SpaWeek discounts are not being offered with you, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the wonderful opportunity to give yourself some probably long-overdue pampering. Check out these links for great at-home spa treatments that will cost you next to nothing.

Enjoy! How are you going to treat yourself this week?

Life is like a box of chocolates….or in my case a box of tea

13 Feb

Since my dad is the ultimate movie buff, he made sure to show me all the classics early on. As an 8-year-old, my favorite line from Forest Gump was of course “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” At the time I didn’t really understand what that advice meant, but as I’ve grown up, I realize that this idea has power beyond its salivating reference to chocolate. What Gump was saying is that life is full of variety and unexpected surprises. I try to embrace spontaneity, but not to force myself to live spontaneously simply for the sake of doing so. The trick to spontaneity, is not waiting until the last possible moment to make a decision, but rather being open to all possibilities and being willing to go a little out of your comfort zone and take a risk in hopes that it will make you happier, or t least expand your range of experiences.

The advice that my mom gave me a few days ago could also be linked to a box of chocolate, but is of a very different nature. She told me not to expect any single person to fulfill all your needs because you will end up being disappointed. This is my mom’s secret to always seeing the good in people. By viewing your friends like an assorted box of chocolates, and not getting hung up on the idea of having a single best friend/spouse to fulfill all your needs, you will ultimately be happier. By opening yourself up to a variety of people, instead of narrow-mindedly rejecting any people who aren’t perfect, you will make it so that even if one friend cancels on you, you will have a phonebook full of people that you can call for a reassuring chat or an spontaneous day out.

Even if you haven’t actively tried to categorize your friends, think through them now and see what different niches they fill. Do you have a foodie friend who takes you to hip new restaurants, a therapist friend who is happy to listen to you talk then give your his/her two cents, an outdoorsy friend who encourages you to leave your technologic life for a hike very once in a while, an exciting friend who always knows how to distract you from life’s burdens, or a childhood friend who is always happy to go on walks down memory lane with you? Maybe you are even lucky enough to have a best friend who will always be there for you when you need him/her. This person could be your sibling, your boyfriend, your parent, or anyone who you can always count on to have your best interest in mind. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show all of your best friends how much you care or as a reminded to make plans with one of your best friends whom you haven’t seen in a while.

Tea-filled chocolate box with a homemade teacup candle (tutorial for the teacup candle to come in a future post)

Now back to the tea…I’m lucky that my Mom is one of my best friends. Not only does she always have my best interests at heart, she also shares my love of tea. Every afternoon after our hectic lives calm down for at least a bit, we discuss our lives over tea. This is when she gives me wonderful advice, like the bit about friends being like an assorted box of chocolate. To show her how much I love her this Valentine’s Day, I updated a box of chocolates to give it a personalized twist.

Neither bouquets of flowers nor boxes of chocolates can addequately express my love, so I’m combing the two most quintessential valentine’s day gifts to make this one!

Materials

Heartfelt Box of  Tea

You Will Need:

  • An empty heart-shaped chocolate box
  • Mini cupcake/candy liners
  • Blossoming tea buds
  • 2 1/2 inch slips of paper
  • Red or pink pen
  • A heartfelt card

Box with tea and cupcake liners

Directions:

1. Brainstorm reasons why you love the person and write them down (you want one or two reasons per tea bulb), then cut the reasons into strips

2. Fill your empty chocolate box with the mini cupcake liners

3. Place a blossoming tea bulb and one (or two) of the little notes into each cupcake liner

4. Place the lid on the box, wrap it up, and top off your present with a sweet card

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovely readers! What gifts did you make/buy to show the important people in your life how much you love them?

 

 

 

Final Valentine’s Day Round-Up: Crafts

11 Feb

Over the past few weeks I have been getting excited for Valentine’s Day by sharing cute cards and tasty treats from around the web, and now it is time for my last round up of Valentine’s Day inspiration: sweet crafts that you can make to decorate for Valentine’s Day or give as last-minute gifts. I compiled these lists to show off some of the incredible talents of some of my favorite bloggers, and to hopefully inspire you to take advantage of this amazing holiday to share your love with whomever you want (your boyfriend, your family, your girlfriends, your dog and most importantly yourself.)

Sure you can dread the approaching holiday like an impending plague, or you can seize the moment to unleash your creativity and brighten someone’s day. Here is a round up of crafts that you can make for anyone anyone in your life. The great thing about this holiday is that there is no pressure to give anyone (except maybe your significant other) anything, but you have the ability to give to anyone you so desire. I have been making various crafts for the people in my life, but I can’t share them yet because the people who I made them for are some of my most loyal followers, so you will just have to wait to see those!

For yourself: Dress up a plain wall with a heart-shaped photo collage of people and things that make you smile

From I Heart Living Small Tumblr (no diy explanation...just use your own photos and glue)

For your nature-loving sister: Heart Terrarium for her house to remind her that even if you don’t talk to each other daily, you still love her

From Love + Cupcakes

For your daughters or nieces: Cute as a Button Earrings that they can show off to their friends at school

From The Anderson Crew

For your sentimental boyfriend: Love Card Deck to show him all the reasons you love him

From DIYIYD

For your favorite coworker: Rainbow Hearts Garland to brighten up her cubicle

From Momtastic

For your travel-loving Dad: make your own Hand Painted Globe by decorating a thrift store globe

From Sow Kinness. Gather Love Tumblr (no diy explanation...just use your own photos and glue)

For your tea-loving Mom: Heart-Shaped Tea Bags that you can fill with her favorite tea blend

From Funkytime