Tag Archives: craft

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.
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Top 8 Dine LA picks

19 Jul

Last night I I had the most delicious dinner with girl friends at Ryan Gosling’s Moroccan restaurant, Tagine. Normally with I dine with friends it’s at CPK or one of the local pizza joints, so going out to a real adult restaurants with amuse bouches to start and a fancy dress code was such a treat! There’s nothing better than catching up with old friends over great food!

This week and next week, DineLA is making it easy for everyone to get a chance to enjoy delicious food from some of the city’s most talented chefs. Over 250 restaurants are offering 2-course lunches and 3-course (or more if they are small plates)  dinners so that you can sample some of the city’s most talked about fare. Prices vary to fit any budget with $15, $20, or $25 lunches and  $25, $35, 0r $45 dinners. With so many options, it’s hard to decide where to go during the 12 days of food sampling, so I helped narrow it down with my list of the top 8 DineLA picks.

Dinner at AOC: This French bistro/wine bar on West Third Street was one of the first restaurants to jump on the small plates trend and continues to craft delicious, seasonally inspired dishes. Their DineLA menu includes a salad with tzatziki, cucumber, and cherry tomato; pork belly, nectarines, ricotta salata, and abbamelle; crushed fingerling potatoes with creme fraiche; and olive oil cake with plums, mascarpone, and pistachios.

Lunch at Asia de Cuba: This Latin-Asian fusion restaurant st the Mondrian Hotel offers incredible views off of Sunset Strip. Yelp reviewers have even described the massive planters on the outside balcony as creating a whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” feel. The lunch and dinner menus are extremely similar, except for the $20 discrepancy in prices. Start with the smoked salmon pancake or the Asian noodle box, then move onto the pallomina of beef or the wild coho salmon. After enjoying the side of plantain avocado fried rice and wokked vegetables, end the meal with a dessert sampler.

Lunch at Babalu: Spend the morning shopping along Montana Avenue (and maybe catching a YogaWorks class at their Montana location) then head on over to this Santa Monica Caribean stand-by. Although it may be known best for its brunch and bakery items, this 5-star yelp restaurant also has tons of savory island-inspired dishes. Begin with the blue crab cake, then move on to the sweet summer corn agnoloti or the vegetarian burger and finish it all off with a slice of the key lime pie.

Lunch or Dinner at Bar & Kitchen: This small bar in Downtown’s O Hotel immediately won me over with the sweet blurb at the top of its menu that claims “we’ve created this menu specifically for you! why? well. it’s because we love you.” After reading something that sweet, how could anyone resist giving the restaurant a try? They incorporate the freshest summer produce into both their greatly varied lunch and dinner menus, so it’s hard to choose which time of day to come. Come at lunch to get the tomato gazpacho with lump crab and the restaurant’s famous shrimp & grits. Or come for dinner and get the tuna crudo with yuzu puree, the sweet corn risotto, and the peach panna cotta.

Dinner at Craft: This is your chance to try the raved-about fare from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s Century City restaurant at reasonable prices. The restaurant run by Top Chef’s head judge is quite the place for power lunches, so instead come by in the later hours for a leisurely dinner. Enjoy the more relaxed, peaceful atmosphere while sharing the endive and arugula salad, the ham with fig mosteada, and the diver scallop ceviche with the whole table. Then chose from dishes including the corn agnolotti, Alaskan salmon, and flatiron streak. Finish off the decadent meal with the brown sugar pavlova with peaches and blueberries.

Dinner at Culina: Enjoy the upscale Italian fare of the Four Seasons  in the heart of Los Angles’s hip East side. This restaurant is a real gem because in addition to the beautiful gardens to dine in, the chefs are masters of preparing raw seafood crudos and steamy pizzas alike. Start off with the crudo sampler of intricately dressed ahi tuna, salmon, and yellow tail. Then move onto the delectable Prince Edward Mussles. Next enjoy the Maine lobster farro or the lamb chops. Finish off the meal with macerated stone fruits and house made gelato.

Dinner at Ray’s: This is the place to go for the quintessential evening in LA. Spend the afternoon walking around the Grove, then head on over to LACMA for some museum perusing. Next head to Ray’s, the new farm-to-table restaurant at LACMA, and finish off the night at a concert at the Wiltern. Enjoy charred octopus, squid ink pasta, and market stone fruits at this hip new space that simply oozes culture.

Dinner at Scarpetta: I know, I know, not another hotel restaurant, but the Montage’s modern, seaonally-inspired Italian restaurant Scarpetta really is such a treat that it can’t be left off the list! While the Montage’s other restaurant, Bouchon (another DineLA contributor) usually gets most of the fame, I think that Scarpetta’s delicate preparations make this restaurant the hotel’s real gem. The prices are usually pretty steep, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to try the delicous food at discounted prices. Start with truffled mushroom polenta, then move on to the short rib agnolotti or the mediterranean branzino, and end the evening with the coconut panna cotta with guava soup and caramelized pineapple.

Where are you going to participate in DineLA?

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

12 May

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.