Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Snowing on My Friend's Tree

My friend got her present in the mail, so I can finally show it off here.

The color is a little off in the photo

The back
These customizable clear, plastic photo ornament balls from Michaels are great. As usual, I went heavy on the Modge Podge. Believe it or not, simply using printer paper for the photo is fine. With Modge Podge, it turns out great.

Take a look at the snow flakes in the upper picture. If you flip the ornament upside down, they fall to the top. So, now, it should be snowing on my friend's tree, whatever the temperature.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

At the Risk of Encouraging Hoarding...

One day I'm going to get a good camera so I can take clearer pics..
 Until then... 

Save everything–my latest creation was inspired by the leftover scraps of a doily. I kid you not.

 I stared at the gold foil doilies for weeks at the craft store. There was just something which made them call out to me. I knew ideas were sure to pop up.

Cut to last week. I was finally inspired. I used a doily in a project which will be revealed after my friend receives her gift (I just hate to ruin a surprise). There was enough left that I could not bring myself to throw it out. I was sure there was something I could use the scraps for later. If not, I resolved I would throw them out.

A couple of days passed. I looked at the leftover doily and ideas flowed. I cut out a small circle from the pattern. It all came together from there. 

Filling your room with 1980s collectables, like a swimming pool with water, is probably not a great idea. But, if you have a significant enough amount of material left, hang onto it. You never know where it may lead you. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crafty Last Minute DIY Gift

Here’s a DIY which is so simple it is embarrassing. I have made several bracelets as gifts in this fashion. If you need a quick, last-minute (and perhaps economical) gift, read on for your perfect DIY.

Craft stores sell beads already strung, or sometimes even on chains. These are nearly readymade bracelets. If the strand is the right length, you can simply add a clasp. I made one for my mom for Chanukah. I had to remove a bead for hers. I also chose a magnetic clasp. They are so much easier for the wearer than lobster clasps. 

That is all. Now, should your gifting plans suddenly change–as they do this time of year–you have a quick fix.

With one bead removed and clasp added. 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Jar for Chanukah; No Oil

Today was the first day of Chanukah, which meant a party with the extended family. Here’s a fun and simple craft I made for my cousins. 

I found this placemat with dreidels cut out of it at Bed Bath and Beyond and was instantly inspired. 
          1.          Cut the placemat to size.
          2.          Cut silver metallic tissue paper to size. 
          3.          Set on both on jar lid. (I got a nice looking square jar from Michaels).
          4.          Cover with Modge Podge Dimensional Magic,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
That is all. The picture is a little misleading since I used my ancient cell phone, but it gives you an idea.

A note on Chanukah merchandise: 
In the last decade or so, Chanukah product availability has really expanded. (Hence the placemat at Bed Bath and Beyond). I am amazed by how much exists compared to in my childhood. In the last 5 or 6 years, even Passover goods have started appearing. It is funny, because I know that many Christians are saddened by the commercialization of Christmas, which I understand. Nonetheless, the commercialization of Jewish holidays feels like recognition. Besides, if a walking, wind-up dreidel is wrong, I don’t want to be right.          

Off the Cuff

With Chanukah looming just ahead of me, I have been wondering what to make for my dad. He’s easier to buy for than most dads, but what on earth could I make for him as a gift?  

Meanwhile... a pair of cufflinks was shining like justice in the findings aisle at Michaels. Inspiration! I am excited about how well they turned out. 

Is my 65-year old father a comic book fan? That would be a negatory. He knows The Flash, since Flash Gordon has been part of the zeitgeist for decades. However, he does not know what the other symbol (Green Lantern) is at all. 

Why would I make him these DC decorations? Dad's current favorite show is Big Bang Theory. He falls into a frenzy over Sheldon's shirts. Now to figure out to get cufflinks to work with the Flash t-shirt I got him for his birthday....

Happy Chanukah, everyone! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Resisting Batman-related Joke Title Here

I have been thanking the fashion gods for the retro phase which has been filling the stores of late. I love my Cath Kidston bags bought in Japan and England. Modcloth and Anthropologie entrance me to such an extent that I must stay away from their websites, lest I fear for my budget. Those are a few of my favorite fashions, but my style is quite varied; suddenly, amidst all the retro frill, the Dark Knight rises. 
That’s right. I made a Batman purse. 

On a trip to Michael’s, a sign loomed above me which said “FUN Finds.” My relentless imagination pulled me in. I found a mini Batman lunchbox and was instantly inspired.

I know, I set to buy as few new materials for my projects as possible, but I did not get too far off course. The Batman mini lunchbox was one dollar. I found a shade of ribbon from the dollar section which was a near perfect match to the box. Then, another color for contrast from the same bin. 
  1. Cut ribbon to desired length. (Using wired ribbon for at least one of the strands makes a stronger strap).
  2. Braid.
  3. Tie onto small openings on handle. 

Holy handbag, Batman. Just 3 steps to an awesomely kitchy, fun purse. (Sorry, but getting through this without a bad Batman-related joke was seriously unlikely...) 

A closer look at the strap

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Off the Wall

Ever since living in Japan, I am all about vertical storage. As much as possible, things should be neatly arranged on walls, in cabinet doors and so forth. It is an excellent way to maximize space while keeping things tidy.

In the last several months, I've seen some beautiful boards for organizing makeup. Laura's Thoughts' one is amazing. I would love to claim this as my own idea, but cannot, so thank you Laura's Thoughts for your enviable board.

I kept trying to make mine, but continually hit a wall with budget. Finally, I fell into some luck at a trip to Meijer. As the school supplies filtered in, so did metallic dry-erase boards. It all fell into place after that.

One aisle over were inexpensive, metallic, mesh bins in a contrasting color. I affixed magnets with double-stick adhesive. I had one container per each category of makeup/tool.

The most convenient part of this board is the flexibility. Because of the magnets, I can easily remove and replace each bin as needed.

Oh, organized version of me, you may be far off still, but I can at least see you in the distance.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This One is Really, Really, Really Ridiculously Simple



I have a picture frame which was a nice gift, but differing from my current taste.

Enter washi tape. The versatile paper tape is a must for those of us who wish to revamp our older items, yet remain within budget. I found my little roll by K and Company at Target. It is adorable with a dotted Swiss pattern. Despite being less than four dollars, it has already lasted for 3 projects, with more than half a roll remaining. 
With the washi tape, the rest is easy: 

1. Cover the frame with the washi tape, smoothing out any edges with a bone folder.
2.For any edges which stick out, add a bit of Modge Podge underneath, then smooth down again. 
3.After it sets, cover the entirety with Modge Podge, using a foam brush for a more finished look. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I love hats. A few months after returning to the US from life in Japan, a box of my favorites arrived. I stared down at them and wondered “Just what am I going to do with these?” 

Organization has never been my bag. I have long wished to be one of those “disgustingly organized people,” as I used to say. Despite periodically becoming engrossed in products designed to order one’s life, it was clear the habit would never pass the window shopping phase. 

Now, this is where the hats come in... They sat in their home of several months, looking worn out from their voyage at sea. 

I lacked storage space and realized half the hats would be forgotten if tucked away on some shelf in a closet.  A hat rack was the perfect solution. Unfotunately, stores tended to prefer money over my eternal gratitude as a form of payment. I wondered if it were at all possible for me to make one.  

And so began my new-found DIY habit. Guided by my less than voluminous budget, I have been creatively upcycling items–revamping them, while buying as few new materials as possible. 

So far, most of my projects have been for function. Little by little, my dream of becoming an organized person is being realized. 

Occasionally, I make a less useful project; but what is life without whimsy?

I hope you’ll enjoy my adventures in stylish self-sufficiency. 

Hat rack:

Thank you to EnKoreMakeup for the amazing tutorial. Take a look at his brilliant hat organizer. 

I did not have nylon straps. I substituted an old yardstick instead. It conveniently laid flat against the wall, did not require sewing, and had a great zakka look.

Per EnKoreMakeup’s instructions, I glued binder clips every three inches. The yardstick was quite useful here as the measurements were already marked.  

After letting the glue dry overnight, I used several double-sided no-damage adhesive stickers to affix it to the wall. 

That was all. I had somewhere to hang my hat(s). 

I was thrilled my first big DIY/upcycle project worked out.