Friday, February 28, 2014


Did some impromptu painting in the living room this weekend and for a while it looked like this.....will take finished shots soon.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Best tacos ever?

This weekend I made the best tacos I'd ever had. Or at least it felt that way when I was eating them. I was reminded while walking home of a summery salad my mom had made the previous year so I swung by the grocery store to pick up ingredients and then I saw some really nice corn tortillas and I thought, why not make this into tacos and I couldn't come up with a good reason not to. The salad was a mix of black beans, corn, avocado and sweet potato with cilantro and a dressing made of thai sweet chili sauce and lime juice. I was able to make an big batch Friday night, have a glorious dinner, and then eat the leftovers throughout the weekend and it tasted fresh and delicious the whole time. I think this would also be super tasty with some lime chicken or pulled pork but the flavors together really are so good there's no need to add meat. And I figure if it's so good I eat it three days in a row, well that's something special.

Monday, February 24, 2014


At the beginning of the year I started hearing about this 100 happy days thing. I thought, what is that? Being happy for 100 days sounds nice. It turns out it's this social media project where you document a happy moment every day for one hundred days. I liked the idea of making a point to recognize happiness on a daily basis, even if it's a small moment in a day of chaos, so I decided to take part in the project starting February first. Here are the first twenty days rounded up together, so far so good and honestly, there were multiple days where I had several different things I felt I could have chosen as my happy day post and I had to choose between them. I look forward to seeing the final collection and I've been thoroughly enjoying checking in on the growing hashtag.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I wore this penguin print skirt I made earlier this weeks with stripes and it seemed to induce smiles wherever I went. I think penguins are a universally liked animal!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A fresh coat of paint

My first apartment, when I moved to the city, my bedroom was technically not a bedroom. It was probably intended as a dining or living room and had double doors opening onto the main space. It was also very small and oddly shaped for a bedroom/studio combo. I made it work however thanks to the ever handy papa J who took the sliding doors off the extra wide closet and then build a giant desk to fit exactly into that space. When I moved to my next apartment and then this current space after that, the desk came with me. It was an excellent work surface, a big sturdy piece with massive amounts of storage. But it wasn't the most exciting thing visually. I toyed around with different ideas but finally came to the conclusion that if I painted it white it would (hopefully) look more intentional, as well as being a bit less obtrusive in the room. So I went from this:

To this.

Of course being the crazy and impulsive person that I am I decided to paint the desk in place in my room, and I also didn't feel that I had to empty it out entirely to paint it. So I piled the boxes that lived in the right side shelves off to the side, and then I opened the drawers to various depths and just covered the contents and painted around it all. I started at about 8am and was done with the third coat (including drying time inbetween) some time in the afternoon. After the first coat on the desk I looked around my room and decided that I might as well paint the filing cabinet too (It was black under the quick contact paper fix I attempted long ago to lighten it up. So I took off the contact paper and roughed the metal up a bit with sandpaper and slapped a coat of semigloss on that as well. The good news is this whole thing cost me zero dollars as I just used things I had on hand. The paint was the leftover gallon of semigloss white from painting all of the apartment trim, and even the new hardware was just things I had on hand updated (in this case the desk drawer pulls were old Ikea ones I updated with gold nail polish and the original filing cabinet pulls were spray painted with gold and then brightened with gold acrylic paint.

It was fairly tedious overall but well worth the day of crawling around on the floor and the paint I later had to wash out of my hair (not the first time that's happened) because this looks so much better. I am very much enjoying the more open and bright work space, and of course gold hardware makes me smile every day so that's always fun.

Now what can I slap a coat of white paint on next......

Monday, February 17, 2014

one year

It's been a year now (well exactly one year on the 14th but I won't quibble) since I started sharing projects here and I've been doing a lot of looking back on my work and life in general. I was working on something over the weekend (and will share soon) and I needed to use my pliers. When I went to grab my toolbox and I noticed how beat up it is looking these days, I started thinking about how long I've had it. Papa bought it for me at Ikea when I was first moving into the dorms when I was seventeen. He figured it's always good to have a hammer and screwdriver around. The toolkit was with me through all for years of University where it was utilized for many art projects, after which it moved with me to countless apartments where it assembled furniture and hung artwork. Every project in my current apartment has utilized these tools, from opening paint cans with a screwdriver to taking down blinds and installing curtains, to building furniture. I'm thinking it's time for me to invest in some bigger more grown up tools as my home improvement/DIY impulses don't seem to be going away, it's probably time for a cordless drill and I certainly wouldn't say no to a sander of some kind, but I know that this cracked and crooked box isn't going anywhere and that with it, I can make just about anything.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I know Valentines day is over now, and the stores have all clearly moved on to the next holiday (Saint Patrick's Day or for some it's even Easter) but I just wanted to share these Valentines real quick. I wasn't feeling good a few weeks ago and so I spent a day in bed watching movies. However it's not easy, actually it's pretty much impossible for me to just sit and watch tv, so I dug around in my filing cabinet and gathered a stack of red and pink papers, and started cutting hearts out of them. After I had a giant pile I sewed the hearts together into little garlands and then wrapped them around some leftover watercolor paper remnants that I had saved from a past project. I used some decorative scissors on the edges of the cards and added a bit of watercolor wash and then added the 'XO' on the front with rubber stamps. The envelopes were leftovers from wedding invitations last spring and I thought that the pink looked pretty against the gold liner paper. I gave some out to friends as I saw them but most of them (I think there were about fifty when I was done) were sent out into the world because everyone likes receiving pretty things in the mail. A special thanks should be said to the lovely gentleman at the post office who understood the need for pretty stamps to go with the water-colored envelopes and pulled out all the options he had. He (rightly) suggested that the vintage seed packet stamps would love best. Here's hoping each envelope made it safely to it's person!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

feel-better confetti

Yesterday was an odd, possibly not so good day. So when I got home and wasn't feeling motivated to work on my current projects I sat down and started making confetti. Honestly it was first that I wanted to try out the heart paper punch I picked up at the dollar store, and then I like the way that the colors of a few paper scraps on my desk looked together.
Next thing I know I had a mad scientist spread of mixing bowls on my desk and I was making confetti.
It was a mix of cut shapes and hearts, and I used up a bunch of paper I had left over from various projects (including a bridal shower that was two years ago!!!!) and ended up with a fantastic mix of red, pink, orange, violet, white and gold. Of course then I thought about what to do with the confetti, because much as I like the look of it in a giant pile on my desk, I felt like it would be better if it were shared and enjoyed out in the world.
So this happened:

What is this you may ask? I sewed up a bunch of paper packets which I then filled with confetti, taped closed (yay for my washi tape hoarding because it finally got to be used here) and then decided they needed a little perforation and instructions so I sewed across each with my machine unthreaded, and added the little *tear here* instruction to the back.

Finally something more exciting to add to the candy dish at work, there is also a giant jar of them at home and I've got a bunch in my purse as well. I figure everyone needs a little cheering up sometimes and I know it worked for me because when the pile of finished packets was sitting on my desk I had actually forgotten that I had been having a no-good day, so I'm going to enjoy passing the fun on to anyone else who needs it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Closet lighting

My closet has a bare bulb for lighting. This is great providing making it very bright, but not so great because it's pretty unattractive. But I didn't want to install a new fixture as anything bigger would make getting things off the top most shelves a bit of a challenge. Finally it came to me, what if I made something like a paper lantern that fit over the bulb and diffused the light a bit but was easily removable to make things stored on the top shelf accessible? That would work, of course then I needed to figure out how and what to make.
Luckily it was a very rainy weekend which put some painting and outdoor plans on hold and provided time for fooling around with some sort of lighting solution. I pulled out supplies I had on hand, including an extra large embroidery hoop, a pile of small paper birds I had sew into strips for some unknown past project, and a bunch of pink tissue paper. I took the embroidery hoop apart and made a simple drum shade shape with tissue paper. I then layered the birds over the tissue and finished the edges with some old black velvet ribbon.

I hung the shade over the bulb with fishing line and some tiny cup hooks in the ceiling. It is very easy to remove, and just four tiny holes to patch, but also very secure. However there was one element I hadn't thought of, the pull chain for the light. I had cut small circle in the tissue on the bottom of the light, perfectly centered, but the chain wasn't exactly in the middle and the first time I tried to turn on the light it tore through the tissue. I tried cutting a bigger opening in the bottom but it looked a bit shoddy.
So I got out the leftover pink tissue paper, cut out a bunch of leaf shapes and made a little insert which I glued to the bottom of the shade. The loose leaf shapes don't get in the way of the chain and look very pretty from below. Overall this took me about two hours of casually glueing while watching oscar nominees, and all the materials I already had on hand so it was a pretty simple fix considering how incredibly happy I am to no longer be met by a glaringly ugly bulb first thing every morning. Also it makes the closet glow pink which is pretty appropriate considering what holiday is fast approaching!

Monday, February 10, 2014

mini pancakes

While it was wonderful to have rain all weekend, from sprinkling to heavy, it did make staying inside and being cozy sound awful appealing. I decided to make mini or silver dollar pancakes Saturday morning, because everything is cuter small, and it made for a satisfyingly tall stack without being insanely filling. They were just what I needed and afterwards I sat in the window seat and watched the rain.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I decided to try my hand at macrame in an attempt to get clear some space in the apartment. My current need to adopt all the sweet plants that Cole Hardware has in stock has led to a lot less available table and counter space. This was my first attempt, using a nylon cord and just guessing and where to make the knots. It's held up for a week now without dumping it's plant unceremoniously onto the floor so I'm thinking this was a success. Of course now I want to get a bunch more drapey hanging plants....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

going for the gold

So I changed up my typewriter. Again. I was going up to the roof to spray paint a side table was looking through my apartment thinking about what else I cold make over since I was already setting everything up with tarps such when I caught sight of my typewriter case. About a year ago I painted my old Smith Corona hot pink (here) and while I loved the bright color it didn't go with any of the spaces in my current apartment so it was languishing in a box instead of being out on display.

So I decided to try spray painting it this time (which involved about an hour of methodical taping off of every mechanical component, all of the individual keys etc) and since I have a whole cupboard full of paint from previous projects I figured I would use something that I already had. Which meant that I turned this:

into this shiny gold beauty!
I decided to keep the Smith-Corona logo in gold this time, and I find I actually like the keys, which are an odd green/gray tone, a lot more with the metallic body of the typewriter. It is ridiculously silly/glam looking just sitting on my console table and I can't wait until the next time I need to type something up. All and all this was a fantastic zero dollar fix.

Monday, February 3, 2014


A friend of mine is having a  baby. I wanted to make something for the shower, something decorative but useful, which fit with the safari nursery theme. I was pretty stuck for a bit until I doodled this guy here and then it all came together.

Remarkable I had everything I needed for this project already at my house (thanks to a major craft supply hoarding problem) and I only needed to add one color of felt (the light gray) to complete it. I drew a whole bunch of animals and tried out several versions of each before deciding on an elephant, hippo, zebra, giraffe, rhino, crocodile and lion. The babies room is going to be blue and green so I also made an effort to include those colors in the palate.

Past that it was a simple if time consuming process of hand sewing each animal ( I caught up on a lot of movies) and attaching a length of mint ribbon to each.

For the base of the mobile I used the inner circle of an embroidery hoop ( I have a bunch of them from an old decorating project)which I wrapped in a beautiful mint silk ribbon. I measured out the placement of the animals and then estimated the length so that there would be some longer and some shorter, for more movement, and then it was time for the fun math/balance portion of the show.

For this I hung the mobile up in the door frame and slowly adjusted each animal until it was hanging straight. Then I attached everything, slowly, with pauses after each animal to check the balance (this was a bit tedious) added a pretty blue trim to the inside of the hoop to cover up all my tinkering and added a little blue bow to top it off.

Then I sat back and just watched it move, which I found very therapeutic. Of course trying to photograph something that is moving is not the easiest but I tried my best to capture all of their different faces. Hopefully this can be something that Baby B and family will enjoy looking at just as much.