Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Before we get to the DIY ornaments…

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and maybe some Black Friday shopping done? I’m still in disbelief that we are well into the end of the year holiday season! 2015 was pretty eventful to say the very least, starting with my kitty getting diagnosed with stage 2 kidney disease last December and our home remodel in May-June. A lot of things had to take a back seat to get my life and family in order. But now that the dust has settled, I can finally move onto the hobbies I enjoy (well at least until our kitchen remodel next year!) A quick summary about our remodel: we finally replaced our super gross carpet with laminate flooring all throughout, painted the house inside and out, replaced our A/C and heating system, upgraded our electrical outlets and modernized our light fixtures. I’m telling you, reflooring your entire lived-in house is a MASSIVE project and not to be taken lightly!! We had to schedule several weeks prior to D-day to pack and move everything out of the house. That was probably the hardest and the most labor-intensive of the project, probably because we had so much junk! Planning and shopping for the flooring and picking out the paint colors were fun. Dealing with difficult workers was not. Keeping up with logistics and handling the budget was more than manageable. After about two weeks of noise and dust and living in one cramped bedroom with two kitties, the house looked nice and new. And every weekend after that, it was spent on cleaning, organizing, decluttering, getting rid of (a LOT of) stuff, shopping for new furniture and decorations, assembling and painting furniture, mini decoration and sewing projects, etc. etc. I think we had the Salvation Army and the Bulky Items trucks come out to our house practically every week. We worked diligently on the house for about 3-4 months straight, which took a toll on all of us. I know I talked about posting pictures of the remodel on my Facebook page, but frankly, I’ve gotten so tired of anything that had to do with decorating that I just gave up on finishing the house… well, until some time passes and I get inspired again. At this point, it’s about 80% done and I am completely okay with a living space that’s not magazine-worthy. It’s just not worthy enough for a blog post. 🙂 Maybe when one of the rooms is done and is to my liking, I will do a post on it.

So, after all this, was the remodel worth it? Absolutely! I love coming to a de-cluttered pretty home with new furnishings and decorations. And now that the holiday season is upon us, we have started to deck the rooms with Christmas decorations. We’re still working on the living room so I won’t write about that today. But here are some pictures of DIY’ed ornaments for my pink and grey bedroom. First, holiday greetings from this cute little birdie I found at Target:

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Oriental Trading provided these awesome clear ornaments that I used to make these pink balls. I swirled Martha Stewart’s pearly acrylic paint on the inside to coat the orbs. I mixed two colors in some them. You just open up the clear ornament, pour some of the paint on both sides of the orb, close it and shake it until the globe is coated well. I’ve had to reopen the globe to add more paint when there wasn’t enough. Once you do one or two, you’ll get the hang of how much paint to put in. The “Happy Holidays” sign and the white snowflakes are also from Oriental Trading.
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On a few ornaments, I brushed some Elmer’s glue on the outside and sprinkled either some fake snow or glitter. To finish the look, I added a mini holiday wreath from Michaels to a big white decorational bowl and arranged the ornaments inside. Since my bedroom wall is pink (it’s actually a violet that’s close to pink), I painted the ornaments in shades of pink to match. It’s feminine but also Christmasy. What do you think?
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For the living room, the color scheme is red, green and gold. So I made these golden ornaments by drawing on the outside with a gold metallic sharpie and putting gold glitter inside. These will be going back to the living room Christmas tree after this photoshoot. 🙂
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We got this LED lit ornament tree from Target. It adds a nice ambience to the room and will be staying as part of the room throughout the year! We LOVE Target and their fashion-forward products!
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Hope you all have a nice and cozy rest of the year! This probably will be my only post for 2015 and I’m not promising a more fruitful 2016 blog-wise. lol. But I still love my blog and sharing my craft ideas. So please look on my Facebook page (click on the icon on the top of the page) for announcements! And let’s also remember the less-fortunate during this season. My prayer is for the good Lord to provide them shelter and food, hopefully through people like you and me! Blessings!

**I received the pre-made and materials for the ornaments from Oriental Trading Company for this review. All opinions are my own.

Leather Initial Keychains

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A couple of Saturdays ago, I went to a leather fabric store in Downtown Los Angeles. It was right by the 10 Freeway in a sketchier part of town. But surprisingly, there was a flood of customers for such an obscurely secret place. They sold all kinds of leather; from lambskin to pigskin.
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I went looking for white leather to make a cute clutch I saw online, like the one below. Since I didn’t need a large piece, I went directly to the scrap piles that sold leather scraps for $3.50 per pound! Unfortunately, the only white leather piece I found was too small. So I ended up getting a big sheet of light grey pigskin fabric for ONLY $13.50! Still a bargain!
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Then off we went to look for some purse hardware and trims (for a lamp project I’m doing.) Going to the fabric district is like treasure-hunting to me. And I’m glad to do it with a friend who loves sewing and creating stuff just as much! 🙂 Anyway, before tackling the leather purse, I wanted some practice sewing on leather. So I decided the easiest thing to make was initial leather keychains out of the scraps. One for my name “S” and another for my sis “W”.

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Here’s how I made the keychains:
(IMPORTANT: Before you do this project, please read through the steps and figure out what you’ll need to do for your initial/letter. Since each letter is differently shaped, you’ll need to alter the positioning and cutting/gluing of your shape.)

Materials You Need
* Leather Scraps
* Sharp Scissors
* Clear plastic (as template for initials)
* Fabric or Tacky Glue
* Sharpie Marker
* Scratch Paper
* Ruler
* Binder Clips
* Key Ring
* Sewing Machine
* Denim/Leather Needle

Instructions
1. Select a piece of leather you want. It should be big enough for your initial/letter(s).

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2. Cut the plastic to a rectangle that will fit your letter and set aside. Draw (or print out) your letter(s) on a sheet of paper. I drew mine using a ruler. It took me a few tries to get the shapes I wanted. Place the plastic over the letter and trace over it with a sharpie. Cut out the plastic letter.

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3. Before you place the plastic cut-out on the leather, you’ll need to figure out where the key ring will go. The leather will be folded over to create a 2-ply and it’s the fold that will create the “hole” for the key ring. I’m using “W” as my example and I’ve decided that the key ring will be positioned on the top left (or right) of the “W”. (See picture # 5.) So that’s where the fold will be. When you’ve decided on the placement of the key ring, place the plastic cut-out on the wrong side of the leather. Using a ruler, draw an outline around the letter, about 1/4″ from the edge of the plastic.

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4. Remove the plastic and set it aside. Fold the leather over to create a 2-ply, making sure you have enough space in the fold (to create the hole for the key ring.)

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5. This next part is kind of tricky… Hold onto both layers of leather tightly and start cutting along the outline. Use binder clips to help you hold the leather together. Cut as neatly as possible around the edges.

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6. Here’s the leather initial, unfolded.

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7. Next, you’re doing to glue the 2 layers together with the plastic template sandwiched in between. (The purpose of the plastic is to make the keychain sturdier and less flimsy if your leather is on the thinner side.) Glue on the plastic first, then put glue all over except for the key ring area. Put the two layers together and press gently. Clean any glue that seeps out between the layers.

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8. Let the glue dry for at least a couple of hours before you start sewing.

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9. Here are the initials all glued together. I didn’t take pix of the sewing steps. But I sewed very carefully near the edge of the letters, remembering that there is plastic in between the layers. Actually, I had to hand crank the sewing machine because you cannot make mistakes on leather… Once you’ve punctured a hole, the hole is permanent! So if you’re not an expert with the machine, I strongly suggest hand-cranking each stitch and taking your time going around the edges!

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10. As for the treatment of the edges (apparently, that step is called “burnishing” leather edges), you need more tools. But I wasn’t about to buy more stuff just for these initial keychains. 🙂 So I read up on how to do the minimum treatment. You can treat the edges by using some water and a canvas piece to rub off the roughness for a smoother finish and paint with some acrylic paint or rub beeswax to seal the edges. I painted mine with some gold acrylic paint I had on hand! (The products photographed here don’t show the finished edges. I had taken the photos before I found out about burnishing. lol.)

Hopefully this is easy enough to try it yourself! It took me about 3-4 hours to complete two initials. If you do make your own keychains, please do share and send me a link! Thanks for reading~.-

Heart-Shaped Lavender Sachets

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I made these heart-shaped lavender sachets. Which one is your favorite? Mine’s the white lacy one. 🙂 These are wonderful to use in your lingerie drawers. Or hang them in the bathroom or anywhere you want the fresh scent of lavender!

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Here’s what you need to make them.

ITEMS YOU NEED
* Pretty fabric
* (Optional) Embellishments: Buttons, lace, rick rack, etc.
* Fabric Scissors
* (Optional) Pinking Shears
* Pins
* Needle and thread
* Sewing Machine
* Fabric Marker
* Heavy Stock Paper or light cardboard (Cereal boxes work well!)
* Coordinating Fabric Ribbons or Elastic
* Point Tool or Bone Folder (for turning fabric right side out)
* Dried Lavender (got mine from Amazon.com)
* (Optional) Polyester Stuffing (Poly-fil) to make the sachets plump

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Make a paper template: Cut out a heart from a heavy stock paper or brochure. (The size depends on how big you want the sachet.) Fold it in half, draw a half heart and cut it out.

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2. Trace on fabric and cut: Keep in mind that you’ll have a minimum of 1/4″ seam allowance.

3. Embellish your hearts: After you cut out the fabric pieces, you can decorate one or both sides of the hearts. I sewed on some lace using a small zig zag stitch on the sewing machine.

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4. Trace a smaller heart on the inside: on the wrong side of the fabric, about 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the edge. (You only have to do this on one heart.) You will sew on this line. Also, mark off two inches on the straight side of the heart (either on the right or left side), as shown below. This is where the opening will be to insert the dried lavender.

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5. Pin the two fabric pieces with right sides together. And sew on the trace line you created, leaving a 2″ opening for stuffing. Sorry, I don’t have the trace line in this picture but I sewed around with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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6. Remove the pin and cut around the heart with pinking shears to avoid bulk: Leave the 2″ opening alone. If you don’t have pinking shears, you can cut with regular fabric scissors and clip the curved parts. Here’s a good tutorial on clipping corners and curves. And another one.

(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

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7. Turn the heart right side out with a point tool: I use Martha Stewart’s bone folder as my turning tool and it works great! You can also use the bone folder to fold the hems in on the 2″ opening seams if you don’t want to use an iron.

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8. Stuff the heart: You can stuff with dried lavender or any aromatic ingredients, like dried rose buds. If you find the opening too small, you can use a funnel rolled out of paper to drop in the lavender. (See picture.) For plumper hearts, a good option is to partly fill them with some polyester filling. The amount depends on how nice and bulky you want it. Close the 2″ opening by hand stitching a blind slip stitch (check out this video) or if you’re lazy like me, just use your sewing machine or hand stitch as neatly as possible. haha.

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9. Lastly, sew on your ribbon and buttons: Sorry, I didn’t take pictures of this step. But one thing to point out is to sew your ribbon closer to the top corner of the heart. This will balance the weight so that it doesn’t topple backward or forward when you hang it.

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>>>THE QUICK & EASY VERSION<<<
If you don’t know how to sew or don’t want to, you can make lavender sachets in these cute sheer drawstring bags!! (I got mine from Oriental Trading!)^^
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^^ I received these products from Oriental Trading Company for this review. All opinions are my own.

DIY Magazine Christmas Trees

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! What are you thankful for this year? I have lots to be grateful for but one of them is my talented sister. I love her not only for her creativity but for her spunky and fun personality and her never-ending well of wisdom! And speaking of amazing capabilities, she has done it again. It was time to transform her library with Christmas decorations. So what does she come up with? These wonderful Christmas trees made out of old books and magazines! Ok… To be honest, this wasn’t her clever idea. And I’m sure someone else had come up with this long before Martha Stewart ever did. But here is the link to Martha’s DIY tutorial if you’d like to see where she got the idea from. Wouldn’t this be a great craft project for the holidays with the family?! If you haven’t thought about what to do with your old books & magazines that’s just taking up space in your home (besides tossing them into the recycling bin), give this a try! I guarantee you’ll come up with wonderful results like these…

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Outdoor Wedding Altar – Hawaiian Style

The next series of posts will be on the decorations I designed for my friends’ wedding last month. I had the privilege of transforming someone’s spacious backyard into an outdoor Hawaiian wedding venue! The theme was Hawaiian but more specifically incorporating the elements of earth-water-fire (sand, water, candlelights) with accents of blues and purple.

Back in April, I visited the wedding site and did a rough sketch of what the place should look like:
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And here’s how it turned out!
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Rough sketch of the altar design:
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And how it actually looked:
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It was really neat how the sketches came to life one by one. Like someone said, I had an overload of creative inspirations from all over the internet and frankly driving myself crazy. hahaha. (My Pinterest wedding boards were exploding with images during the month before.) It was very difficult to narrow down my ideas to a few, because I wanted to try so many things! But the original sketches kept me grounded and helped me stay on course, maintaining the simplicity the couple wanted.

The altar being the focal embellishment of the wedding, I wanted to create an airy and celestial feel. I got about 6 yards of white curtain fabric at $2/yard (found it in the clearance section but further bargained with the owner and shaved off 50 cents/yard) that would hang down in the shape of a steeple. I looked around for a super long curtain rod but couldn’t find one at the local stores and the ones online were way too pricey for our budget. I even thought about getting a PVC pipe and cutting it down to size. But I found a better solution at the 99 cents store of all places – Bamboo sticks!! They came in a bundle of 5-6 long skinny sticks and man, did I get so much use out of them! I grouped about three of them together and tied them up with some jute twine to create one strong “rod”. Then I connected the rods with more twine to make one super long pole.
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The location of the altar were flanked by two magnificent pine trees and the challenge was to figure out how to hang the curtains between them. There were branches hanging down between the tree trunks but they were too high up and dangerous for us to reach even with a ladder. So we had no choice but to tie the ends to the trunks and hoped that the weight of the curtains wouldn’t cause the rod to snap overnight! The rod was slightly bending in the middle when we were done setting up but thank God, everything stayed intact well after the ceremony! The resilience of bamboo and jute twine…
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The flower backdrop was made out of cheap plastic leis from Oriental Trading Company that looked rather elegant when put together (if I may say so!) 🙂 And we hung a glass lantern down the middle of the curtains as an accent piece.
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I’m SO GLAD we set up the altar and other labor-intensive items like the paper lanterns the night before. It was a lot of work and I had lots of help! My first outdoor wedding decoration was a blast!
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Happy July 4th by the way!! Have a safe and fun celebration everyone!! Up next, tablescape…

Cinco de Mayo Piñatas!

My creative sister, who’s a children’s librarian, has to come up with lots of kids’ activities that often involves crafts for her children’s programs. This kids crafts section is dedicated to her awesome projects (and me syphoning off her ideas and putting them here on my blog! ) Here’s the first of hopefully many!

A DIY piñatas in time for the Cinco de Mayo celebration! The sis found this great tutorial online and used this guide as a reference . For her Cinco de Mayo project, she decided to make a sombrero out of cereal and cardboard boxes. I’ve documented her progress through these pictures. (For more detailed instruction, please refer to the blog link above.)

You will need the following:
* Cardboard box
* Some cereal boxes
* Scotch tape, mailing tape and scissors
* Exacto knife
* Colorful crepe paper streamers
* Sturdy string, wire or anything strong to hang the piñata.

1. First, cut out the cardboard pieces that would resemble the brim part of the sombrero hat, then tape them together.

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2. We felt that the brim was too boxy looking. So she carved out some from the top and made it more curvy.

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3. The cereal boxes were really easy to cut through and work with. Very malleable for this purpose! Next step was to cut out the top part of the hat and tape the pieces together.

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4. Then attach the two parts with tape.

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5. She also drilled holes on the sides of the hat to insert strings that will hold up the piñata.

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6. And a little cut out door to put the candies in when finished.

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7. Then came the fun part. Cutting the colorful crepe paper streamers and taping them to the hat!

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8. And ta-da~! The finished product!

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¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw! Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Thrift Shop Dresser – Update!

My thrift store dresser got a mini makeover! Pretty shelf lining in hot pink geometric shape! I liked the lime green color on the outside but wanted a punch of WOW on the inside. After a few trips to the local stores proved to be uninspiring, I found these awesome adhesive liners on Amazon.com.

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And here it is, the finished look!

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I simply love it!!

Chalkboard – Thrift Store Find Remake

I’ve always had a fascination with chalkboards. I love how they’re versatile, functional and if you make one yourself, you can make them into any size or shape! With a craft show coming up, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do a DIY chalkboard. Here are some simple steps I took to create one:

STEP 1 – Find an old framed board/canvas from a thrift shop or around the house. I went to my local Salvation Army store and lucky me, they were having a 40% off of everything that day! I snatched up these beauties, all for under $20!

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STEP 2 – Tape the inside edges of the frame with painter’s tape and paint with chalkboard paint using a foam brush (or a mini roller if you have it). I used the Rust-Oleum brand I found at Walmart. The paint can is fairly small but a little goes a long way. The recommendation is 2 coats and wait in between coats to completely dry.

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STEP 3 – Carefully peel off the painter’s tape BEFORE the paint dries completely. I admit, it is hard to do this since the paint requires 4 hours to dry completely before a second coat. I should’ve went over the edges with an Exacto knife before the peel. But since I omitted this step, some of the paint on the edges peeled off with the tape. Oh well. I just went over those areas carefully with more paint.

STEP 4 – After your board is completely dry, go over the surface lightly with a white chalk. This “conditions” the chalkboard before you start using it.

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And Voila~! Here is the finished product. I used it well at my craft show last weekend. It came in very handy for those last minute signs!

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(Oh, a note about the free lip balms. I was giving them out as promotional items with purchases at the fair as well. I think I’ll ask my Etsy customers if they want one with the shipping since I still have a bunch left!) 🙂

I want to paint the frame white in the near future. I like the current gold color very much but the frame didn’t really stand out in the crowd, which is what I wanted it to do.

Have a great weekend everyone!