Tag Archives: DIY

The 10 Best DIY Gift Ideas Just in Time for the Holidays

Have you ever attempted a handmade Christmas? A few years ago I committed to creating all of my Christmas and holiday gifts. I loved the thought and intention that went into every gift.

I know handmade gifts can be an intimidating, if not unwelcome, thing. But I’ve rounded up the best DIY gift ideas on the web. Trust me, your friends and family will love these!

The Ultimate Handmade DIY Gift Guide. Make Christmas and the holidays extra special for your loved ones with these DIY Gift Ideas.

from top left to right

  1. The Cutest Mini Face Planters from Sugar and Cloth
  2. Elegant Copper Candles from The Merrythought
  3. Leather and Brass Hanging Planter from Vintage Revivals
  4. Floral Bath Bombs from Emma Mag
  5. Minimalist Mountain Clock from Say Yes
  6. Iron-On Transfer Dolly Parton Bag from A Beautiful Mess (It’s perfect!)
  7. Deer String Art Decor from me
  8. Cheerful Hand Painted Mugs from A Pair and a Spare
  9. No-Sew Adventure Resolution Banner from Breathe Happiness
  10. Herbal Pre-Shave Beard Oil from The Merrythought

So, which is your favorite? I kinda want all of them!

If you need more ideas, be sure to check out my DIY and Crafts Pinterest board.

hanging yarn banner

I have historically categorized any type of wall art into categories like: “later,” “unnecessary,” and “not now.” When it comes to budgeting my time, money, and decision-making capacity, I can never commit. Even if it’s something cheap and small.

My homes throughout the years have suffered from a sad lack of art and decor. It stems from my minimalist and frugal tendencies,  but another part comes from the side of me that is loathe to pull any type of trigger.

In my mind, it goes something like this, “If I buy this piece unframed, I can save money by getting it framed locally. But where would I do that? I’d have to research this. How much money would I really save? God, this is turning into a lot  of work…” And the dialogue goes on until I decide I have other things I need to focus on. So I table this discussion another few months only to start it over.

I’m working on it. I really want art in my house. Until that happens,  I’ll continue to supplement my bare walls with interesting shelves, statement walls, and the few plants that manage to stay alive.

Wall-Art-3

I’ve seen a few of these yarn wall pieces floating around pinterest, and I thought, “why not?” I needed a reason to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio by Union Square. I was pleased to find the quality of yarn was much higher than I expected and the prices were on the low side, which is a relief if you know what it’s like to try to find reasonably priced yarn in NYC.

I settled on these three colors.

Yarn-Art-2

The gem of this batch was the light yarn with the gold leaf, which stays attached to the yarn quite well.

Yarn-Art-1

I was so thrilled when I found it, when I took it home to Ryan, I showed him with pride, exclaiming how it matches our gold and white theme in the house.

To which he replied, “I didn’t know we had a gold and white theme.”

Doing a face-palm never felt  more appropriate.

Wall-Art-4

Hanging Wall Art Supplies

-3 different types of yarn. You won’t use a whole skein, so this is a good project for leftover yarn.
-2 two-feet wooden dowels
-Copper wire or twine for hanging

This project is pretty simple and fast. You’ll want to prep the yarn by cutting it into a lot of equal-length strings.

Grab the bottom dowel, and  taking the cut yarn, loop some knots working left to right. Continue making knots to the width that you prefer. I stopped in the middle to change colors, making sure the outer colors had the same amount of knots to keep the symmetry.

Yarn-Art-3

Once you’ve completed the bottom row, do the same with the top row. I wanted my top row of yarn to have a smaller width, so I did fewer knots. Then I secured the two dowels together by tying them together with copper wire. You can also use string or twine for this step.

Wall-Art-1

Once they were attached, I took the scissors to it to try to even out the shape. It turned out nicely.Wall-Art-2

One of these days, I’ll get around to creating my own weaving to display on the wall. I’ve even taken a loom weaving class! But in the meantime, this piece adds a bit of texture and color to the room.

DIY Spa Pedicure Essentials

If there’s anything I like more than  crafting and cooking, it’s pampering. I’m always sold by products that promise to pamper your skin, hair, teeth, whatever. It’s not a “I’ve gotta have it” impulse, just a voice in my head saying, “ah, that would be nice. I deserve a break.”

So, usually after a long day, I’ll flip on some netflix (gossip girl) and show my toes some love. I’ve practically destroyed them from living in NYC and running countless miles. And while no amount of scrubbing can make them look like they did when I was a teenager, I like to think, “well, at least I’m trying.”

Here are a few of my favorite things to use for my at-home spa pedicure.

At Home Spa Pedicure Essentials

DIY At-Home Spa Pedicure

  1. Before you soak your feet, take the pumice stone (#5) and go to town. Scrub all over the bottom of your feet, paying particular attention to your heels.  This will make them feel incredibly smooth.
  2. Grab a large tub (big enough to soak your feet in) and fill it with warm water.
  3. Pour 1/2 of a cup of epsom salt (#3) into the soak and stir it around to dissolve. I’ve been taking epsom salt baths since I was a kid. It’s great for any aches
  4. Add a few drops of essential oils (#1)  in your foot soak and prepare to feel like a queen. I think peppermint, orange, or eucalyptus work best for giving you that “clean” feeling, while lavender works best if you’re trying to achieve the “relax” mood.
  5. Grab your favorite glass of wine (#7) and soak your feet for 20 minutes or until the water gets cold.
  6. Dry your feet and cover them with a generous spread of coconut oil (#4). Wrap your oiled feet in saran wrap to keep the coconut oil from getting on your furniture and floors. Secure the saran wrap by covering your feet with an old pair of socks. Stay put, have another glass of wine, and let your feet “marinate” for another 10 or so minutes. They’ll be super soft by the time you’re done. Also, since coconut oil is a little pricey, you can avoid the organic stuff. It’s going on your feet, not in your mouth.
  7. When you’re finished with step six, wipe off any residual oil and dry your toes completely.
  8. Trim and file your nails like you normally would.
  9. Add a base coat (#6) and let it dry before you start with your polish. Base coats keep your polish on longer and keep your nails from discoloring.
  10.  Paint your toes with two coats of your favorite nail polish. I love Essie brand (#2). Let it dry in between coats.
  11. Finish off your toes with a top coat (#6) to seal in the color and protect your new polish job from chipping.

That’s all it takes. Here is product list below (affiliate links).

  1. Essential Oils
  2. Essie Nail Polish Winter 2014 Collection
  3. Dr. Teals Epsom Salt Soaking Solution in Lavender
  4. Coconut Oil
  5. Earth Stone Lava Pumice Rock
  6. OPI Top Coat and Base Coat
  7. Your favorite white wine

So, what do you do to relax after a long day? Have you created your own spa night? I’d love to hear how.

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece

My ideal craft is one that takes an episode of TV to watch. It’s usually something small and charming that brightens up a room or something unique that draws the eye. A big necessity to being a craft blogger with a full-time job is that I can’t spend a lot of time building or constructing things. It has to be something that helps me unwind.  I need to be able to partially zone out as I watch TV and get my mind off of the stress of the work day.

I still hope to one day build my own chair, coffee table, kitchen table and/or other piece of large furniture. But right now those types of projects aren’t conducive to  my Brooklyn apartment and work schedule.

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece

So instead I create pieces that are on the daintier side, like this small Thanksgiving centerpiece.

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

From start to finish, the whole craft took about as long as an episode of New Girl. That show is so good.  It cracks me up.


Materials and Tools

  • 3″ foam half-sphere
  • 2 bunches of plastic flowers, your preference
  • wire cutters
  • 1 small clay pot (I painted mine with spray paint leftover form this project)
  • hot glue gun and hot glue

Step 1: Using the wire cutter, cut the flowers about an inch from the bud.

Step 2: Pierce the flowers into the foam, beginning on the bottom of the half-sphere. Place the flowers close together, making sure the buds cover any visible foam.

Step 3: Plug in the hot glue gun. Once the glue is warm, drag the glue across the rim of the clay pot, creating a complete circle. Then place the half-sphere on top of the glue to fasten it.

You’re all done! Don’t you think a few of these pots would look cute on a Thanksgiving table?

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Ryan and I are flying to Portland to visit his family. I’m too excited.

quick fall craft: star studded pumpkin

With everything that’s going on these days, I’m determined to keep the project time on crafts down to a minimum, or else I’ll have a bunch of half-finished crafts hanging around.

Studded Pumpkin-5

This star-studded pumpkin took just a few minutes to make! You can customize it any way you like, and as added bonus, it was practically free to make. The foam pumpkin was left over from last year (but originally $1 from a dollar store). The spray paint was left over from this project.  And the brads were free at a craft swap!

Studded Pumpkin-4

It was so refreshing to be able to wrap up a cute craft knowing I didn’t spend an entire afternoon and $50 on it, because we all know that can certainly happen.

You will need:
– Foam pumpkin (I bet a real one would work too!)
– spray paint (optional)
scrapbooking brads/paper fasteners

If you want to change the original color of the foam pumpkin, spray it with two coats of spray paint. Waiting 15 minutes in between coats. I did the dishes during this time and felt like a big champ.

After you’ve placed your final coat of paint on the pumpkin, wait another 15 minutes or so for it to dry. You want the pumpkin to be dry to the touch.

Studded Pumpkin-1

Then get to poking! You can put as many or as few brads as you would like.

Studded Pumpkin-2

Go ahead and customize your pumpkins by switching up the spray paint color and the type of brads. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Studded Pumpkin

DIY Geometric Pegboard Tutorial

When Ryan and I moved into our new apartment, we saw it was lacking kitchen storage, but couldn’t let that stop us from signing a lease on an otherwise great place.

As a solution to our storage problem, I finally got to set up a pegboard! It’s been a dream of mine to have a pegboard. I know, I fantasize about the weirdest things for my apartment. I immediately knew it had to have some gold or copper and geometric print, of course. Since I didn’t want to spend a lot of time, I decided to go with a simple geometric triangle pattern.

DIY Geometric Pegboard

The entire pegboard cost around $15, including the paint and mounting supplies. I guess most pegboards are a bit more expensive, but we bought ours used at a local hardware store, so we got them for $5. They were a bit banged up, but mostly just dirty, so I gave them a fresh coat of white paint.

Peg Board-11

If you decided to do this tutorial, or any pattern on a white pegboard, I recommend giving it a base coat of paint. A coat white paint (I used some leftover semi-gloss) makes it much more vibrant.

You will need:
-two pegboard panels
-white paint (I used some leftover semi-gloss)
-paint brush
-spray paint (I used Copper Rust-Oleum)
-painter’s tape
-drop cloth
-triangle stencil (see instructions below for making your own)
-two pieces of 1-inch bracing wood, the length of your board
-mounting screws with anchors
-nails

For Triangle Stencil
-x-acto knife/box cutter
-cardboard
-pencil
-paper
-scissors
-ruler

To Make the Stencil

Fold a piece of paper in half, lengthwise and draw a few half-triangles on the crease. I used a ruler to help with creating straight lines.

While the paper is still folded, cut out the half triangles. Select the size you want for the stencil.

Peg Board-1

Trace the paper cut-out onto a piece of cardboard.

Peg Board-2

Using an X-acto knife, cut out the triangle to create your stencil.

Peg Board-3

Decorating the Pegboards

Decorate your pegboards before mounting them. Place some drop cloth on the ground in a well-ventilated area. Coat the pegboards with a layer or two of white paint, waiting for the paint to dry in between coats.

To create a more symmetrical look with your design, try to center your stencil one the same pattern of peg holes. I found that centering the triangle on these five holes created a good guide.

Peg Board-5

Using the painter’s tape, secure your stencil to the board. Standing about a foot away, spray your paint with a consistent stream until you’ve filled the stencil.

Peg Board-4

If it’s a particularly windy day, you might want to cover up more of your board with a few pieces of cardboard, to keep the spray paint from accidentally splashing over onto the white parts

Peg Board-6

Continue with this strategy as you continue to put triangles around the board.

Peg Board-7

Mounting the Pegboard

To mount the peg board, you’ll want to frame it on the top and bottom with a piece of bracing wood that’s the length of the combined boards. It’s important that you mount the pegboard onto this frame, instead of mounting it directly onto the wall, because you need space for the pegs behind the board.

We used this very helpful step-by-step tutorial.

I really love the way we can store our pots and pans on this pegboard. And boy, do we have a lot of them.

Peg Board-11

Every time I see the geometric triangle pattern, I can’t help but smile at how fun and modern it is. It’s definitely one of my favorite pieces in the kitchen.

how to cold brew coffee

I know it’s fall and we’re all scrambling around trying to figure out what pumpkin dessert/craft/drink we’re going to indulge in today, since pumpkin season always seems to go so quickly. But I have to pause and share with you my cold brew recipe that’s perfect for summer, which is ending.

how to cold brew coffee

There are lots of reasons why I’m only now, in mid-September, posting a mid-Summer recipe. They might be:

  • Some people will still drink iced coffee in the fall. I could drink it until the official start of Winter, because I love it so much.
  • It turns out, drinking two or three cups of cold brew a day doesn’t make you more productive. Unless productive means, “I should be blogging but instead I’m going down a Gawker rabbit hole.”
  • It make you pee a lot, which delays posts. And life.
  • Mostly though, I didn’t have enough self control to take an “after” picture. I prepared the cup and just drank the iced coffee instead.

This is a cold-brew technique, which means the beans are never heated. A lot of people think it’s a better way to drink coffee cold.

My favorite part is you make a big batch on the weekend and you have iced coffee for the whole week!

You filter the ground beans once through the mesh strainer. Then, cover the strainer with the muslin cloth and pour the coffee once more through the strainer. The cloth will filter out the smaller grinds and oils.

how to cold brew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This cold brew coffee recipe only takes 10 minutes to prep and then sit it in the fridge overnight. In the morning you'll have a nice iced coffee.
Author:
Recipe type: drinks
Ingredients
You will need:
  • A beverage pitcher
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • A 12 square-inch piece of muslin cloth (see notes for information)
  • 2 cups coarsely-ground coffee
  • 8 cups water, plus 2 cups
  • Ice
Notes
This recipe uses a muslin cloth to filter the beans. Muslin cloth is a plain 100% cotton cloth that can be found in any fabric shop. It’s very cheap and usually un-dyed. If you can find organic cloth, that would be best. In a pinch, you could use a large paper coffee filter, just beware of it tearing.

Step by Step Instructions:

Go ahead and grind your whole beans, if you haven’t done so already.

Grind the beans

Pour the coffee beans into a large beverage pitcher.

Pour coffee beans

Then add eight cups of cold water.

add water

Cover the container and let it sit and steep overnight in the fridge.

steep the beansOnce the coffee is done steeping, cover a mixing bowl with your mesh strainer. Pour the coffee through the strainer, so it catches the grinds.

filter coffee with mesh strainer

Discard the grinds (or use them as a facial cleanser!).

Rinse out the pitcher, removing any leftover grinds, then pour the coffee back into it. Clean out the mesh strainer and the mixing bowl and repeat the pouring process, but this time with the muslin cloth. Pour it in a cup or two at a time, since it will take longer to strain. If the coffee is getting clogged (so to speak) in the cloth, just pick it up and give it a squeeze or wash the cloth in between pours.

using the muslin cloth

Place the cloth over the strainer and pour the coffee through the cloth to filter it.

muslin cloth filter

Once it’s gone through the muslin cloth, it’s well-filtered and drinkable. The cold brew is very strong so I add the other two cups of water to dilute it. Then add some ice to make it a true iced coffee! Fix it up with milk and sugar or maybe some fancy syrups, if you like. Whatever’s your preference!

How to cold brew coffee

So, what about you? Do you miss iced coffees in the winter?

10 DIY Photo Booth Ideas – a roundup

10-DIY-PHOTO-BOOTH-IDEAS

Wouldn’t you love to attend a party featuring a photo booth? Have you? They seem like a great way to add a lot of fun to a party or wedding. So many people bring their own cameras and who doesn’t like taking pictures.

A lot of photo booths look intimidating, but they’re so easy to make. Here are my to ten favorite DIY photo booth ideas. Which ones are your favorite?

(from top left to right) 

1. Gold Sequined Photo Booth – perfect for New Year’s.
2. Ombre Pinwheels Photo Booth – lovely for a wedding.
3. Floating Hearts Cutout Backdrop – very romantic.
4. Wax Paper Backdrop – bright and airy, almost like you’re floating.
5. Tissue Paper Photo Wall – I love how much color this would add to a party.
6. Colorful Streamers Photo Backdrop – a lively (and interactive) addition to a party.
7. Classic Scallops – What can I say? Scallops are the best.
8. String Lights Backdrop – dim the lights low and let this backdrop set the mood.
9. Balloon Photo Booth Wall – What’s a celebration without balloons?
10. Floating Marshmallow Backdrop – I can’t believe how dreamy this looks.

DIY Garment Rack

DIY Garment Rack

When Ryan and I moved into our Brooklyn apartment, we were so thrilled about the large backyard and extra storage that we didn’t even realize it was missing a closet in the master bedroom. We just sort of made the assumption that there was one and took for granted that, in our previous apartments, closets in bedrooms are a standard – but not in New York. We went about looking at different Ikea closet storage systems and none of them fit the room. They were too bulky and modular and would make our bright and big room feel more constrained.

After some stressing, which is what I do best, Ryan suggested we build a DIY garment rack. I was hesitant at first, thinking it would look junky, but it really did seem like the best option. After all, Ryan and I would be sharing a closet for the first time, so it needed to be big.

The total cost of this project was around $80. The steel pipes are a little pricy. But it took no time to assemble.

DIY Garment Rack

What You'll Need

What You’ll Need
I’ve linked to the amazon pages to help you get a better idea.

Step By Step Instructions

Start by assembling the feet. You’ll need four of the elbows and four of nipples. Screw the elbows onto the 12” nipples, one elbow per pipe.  Position the elbow so it’s facing down, to steady itself against the floor.

Feet Assembly

Once you’ve done this, connect two of the nipples with a Tee. You may have to adjust the way the elbow balances on the floor by re-screwing it a bit. Repeat this step with the other foot.

Feet Assembly

Put the feet to the side and start working on the frame of the garment rack. Start by screwing two elbows onto both sides of one of the 60 inch pipes. This will be the top of the rack.

Assembly Top Rack1

Place the top part on the ground to prepare for the next part.

Assembly Top Rack

Screw the remaining two 60 inch pipes into the other side of the elbows on the top rack.

Assembly Legs2

It’s easiest if you can get them to lean up against a wall.

Assembly Legs1

While the rack is still upside down, screw on the feet that you created earlier.

Assembly Legs

Once both feet are on, turn the rack right-side up and make sure the feet are nice and balanced on the ground. You may have to re-screw them if it’s wobbly. Also, make any adjustments to the elbows that touch the floor.

Assembly Feet

Here’s what it looks like completely standing.

Clothes Rack 2

A note about those yellow stickers: I left them on for this tutorial so you can see which sizes I’m using during the process. But they’re a pain to get off! You need some Goo Gone, a paint scraper, and serious determination.

I really love how large this closet is. It’s definitely big enough to fit both of our clothes. It has plenty of space underneath it too!

DIY Garment Rack 1

This method is flexible with sizing. Ryan and I added an additional foot-long pipe on the sides so we could raise it over our dresser. We’ve actually put a dresser under there.

DIY Garment Rack with Dresser

the weekender 5/23/2014

collage

Happy weekend friends! I hope everyone has a relaxing and beautiful three-day spring weekend. I was hoping to get out of town for a quick hike, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I might go to The High Line instead or try to catch the cherry blossoms at the Botanical Gardens.

I was taken by this collage (above) and all of the other prints by Beth Hockel.

I just love this homemade driftwood seahorse. It would be perfect in a beach cottage.

Making an owl cake seems easy, right?

I’m dying to fill the house with succulents and this d.i.y. hot pink clay planter is so much fun.

It’s the season for lighter foods! I’m craving these zucchini fritters and this shaved asparagus salad. What about you?

Want to start decorating your cupcakes like a pro? Amanda from I am Baker shares four ways to frost a cupcake with just a star tip.

I’m so excited because I bought removable wallpaper (also known as renter’s wallpaper). Now I need to settle on a design. Vintage Revivals did a geometric wall pattern with a sharpie. And Mandi did one with a stencil. They’re both so great! Which one would you do?