Archive for diy

Weekend review: Apartment update

This past weekend, Mom came up to visit. She hadn’t been to DC since early January, but she also came with the purpose of bringing lots of goodies I had stored at home (particularly kitchen goodies). I can now eat off plates and use real cutlery – fancy eh?

We also managed to knock out a few apartment updates that I thought I’d share. I’m really excited about sharing the ‘in progress’ moments so I can watch my first place evolve as I find my own home style. The big ticket items we scored this weekend were a couch (not yet delivered) and also updated bookshelves. I had these in my last place, but you might remember they were black. 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of Behr’s Parsnip later and ta -dah…


This is technically the back-side, but I tried to make the shelves do double duty so it was appealing to the eye from both sides; however, the shelves were definitely decorated with the side facing the door in mind first.

You might also notice a little updated bedding. I went all white trying to use bedding I had, adding in necessities like a new duvet cover, and sourcing 2 accent pillows from Marshall’s. I actually despise pillows that have no function so wanted to keep the extra pillows to a minimum. And to satisfy my own habits/quirks, both of these pillows are used daily.

Just to give you an idea of the space from the entry way, here’s before:

photo 1(11)

And after:


I’m definitely still missing a few big ticket items, but hopefully the couch will be delivered this week and the rest will fall into place. Here’s an updated list of to-do’s/must buy for the entire apartment. I haven’t shown you the closets, bathroom, or the work/desk area, but I’ve included updates below where needed. The closet and bathroom are pretty much sorted.


  • Buy white duvet cover
  • Buy 4 standard, white pillow cases
  • Add 2 decorative pillows
  • Add decorative mirror or framed graphic over bed
  • Add small rugs next to bed (maybe)
  • Add picture frame shelving next to window (purchased, need to hang)
  • Add soft curtains

Living room

  • Buy couch/loveseat
  • Add slipper chair if room
  • Add graphic rug
  • Add something on back wall over couch
  • Frame out TV on long dresser and add picture wall
  • Add lighting

Work space

  • Update desk
  • Update work area to be functional for both work and crafts


  • Add graphics, small mirrors, etc to wall at entry

So yeah, still a fair way to go. I’ll keep you posted as I continue to update my space!


DIY: Grumpy Cat painted pumpkin

When I visited the pumpkin patch last Sunday, I knew I wanted to paint a pumpkin this year. Carving is fun, but it’s definitely not my forte; and while all of my craft supplies are in storage, I knew it would be very cheap to pick up everything I needed (like $6 cheap).

Of course I perused Pinterest for inspiration, but I ultimately found my guide while randomly google searching Grumpy Cat and stumbled across this fleece hat.


I loved that it was simple and very paint-by-numberish.

Here’s what I started out with:

photo 1(2)

  • Small cream pumpkin ($3.50 at the patch)
  • 6 AC Moore brand paint bottles ($0.59 each)
  • Small set of pain brushes ($1.99 with a coupon!)

Next, I lightly sketched the outline onto my pumpkin. I tried a pencil, but had to use a pen in the end. I tried not to draw full lines, assuming it would come back to haunt me later.

photo 2(1)

And then I just started to fill in areas, allowing them to dry before painting anything else around them.

photo 3(2)

One painful part of this project was the paint didn’t really adhere to the pumpkin as well as I wanted to. It could have been because my paint was $0.59 or because the pumpkin is slick. Either way, I was determined to make it work. So I just kind of dabbed in the small areas to fill it in and did several coats. For the larger areas, I did strokes but definitely painted them 3-4 times to get the effect I wanted. Here’s my first run at the eyes:

photo 4(1)

I admit I was a little nervous this would quickly become a DIY fail, but a few coats later and I was up to this:

photo 1(3)

I know the white doesn’t look brilliant here, but bear with me. I pretty much had to stop at this point because it was getting late and it was a good chance for it to dry overnight. The next morning, I did a quick touch-up on the brown around the eyes and 2 more coats of the white to even it out a bit. And finally, I put in the small details like the outline around the ears, eyes, and nose/mouth.

photo 3(3)

I could have probably lined a few more areas, but I decided that less is more in this scenario. I know it’s not perfect, but I did say this was a DIY. In my opinion, it’s the small imperfections that make it perfect. So without further ado, my no carve Grumpy Cat Halloween pumpkin:

photo 2(2)

I think I’m in love!

Interwebs: A Beautiful Mess app

I don’t normally review apps or products, but I do support fellow bloggers. Particularly, bloggers I admire; so, that’s why I had to share the new app from A Beautiful Mess. I already loved their style, but now they’ve made it easy for anyone to create a fun and custom photos.

Sure it’s super girly, but I like the new ideas and opportunities it brings to my own blogging and instagramming. So without further ado, a few photos you’ve already seen before but now with a new and beautiful mess twist.





Food: Strawberry shortcake cupcakes

I’d consider this cupcake experiment a direct product of fate. There were 2 things that happened in order to not only make this a delicious recipe, but also a healthy treat!

1. I found the idea on Pinterest, via Lady Behind The Curtain

But, I knew her awesome recipe was a little too complicated for me. Plus, I wanted to find a way to reduce the calories. That’s when #2 popped into my inbox.

2. An updated, healthy HungryGirl version of tie-dye (or funfetti) cupcakes

After a little planning, I instantly knew exactly how I was going to make this work. First, I started with a healthier cupcake option, using part of HungryGirl’s recipe. So simple, it fell under my 5 ingredient rule and made these perfect looking cupcakes…


Cupcake recipe (servings: 12)

  • 1 3/4 cup of moist-style white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup of egg whites (4 eggs for me)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of water

Mix together until batter is smooth. Fill your cupcake liners at least 3/4 of the way so you get nice puffy cupcakes. Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes.

While my cupcakes were in the oven, I mixed together my frosting.

Cupcake frosting

  • 1 container of Fat Free Cool Whip (8 oz)
  • 1 box of Sugar Free Vanilla Jello pudding mix

Mix together and whip. Refrigerate after mixed thoroughly.

After the cupcakes have cooled, carve out the center and add a small strawberry.


Next, put your frosting into a small ziplock bag. Cut the corner off and voila – instant piping bag. Swirl around and top your cupcakes with frosting.


Add small chunks of strawberries to the top for a little extra color and flavor.


And finally, it’s time to enjoy your low-calorie strawberry shortcake cupcake. Even though YOU made them, the little strawberry surprise inside is just divine and the cool whip/jello frosting is perfect without being too heavy.


Nutritional facts:

HungryGirl puts her tie dye cupcakes at 135 calories which includes a modified real frosting and sprinkles. I don’t know the exact calorie count, but these should easily come in under 135 since a.) the center of the cupcake has been replaced by a strawberry, b.) the frosting is not only sugar free, but fat free, c.) we nixed the sprinkles. But just to be on the safe side, we’ll say they’re 135 calories.

135 calories for a strawberry shortcake cupcake? Sure why not! I might just even have 2.

DIY: Paper mache Easter eggs

Next weekend, my mom, my sister, and her 2 munchkins are coming to visit for Easter.

Since the kiddos are coming to visit, I knew I wanted to make them something fun for Easter. Of course, my sister and I talked about dying eggs or mini egg hunts in the park, but as soon as I saw this DIY over at not martha, I knew this was how I’d rack up major Auntie points. Check out her tutorial and then see how I did it below.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • Colored tissue paper
  • White tissue paper
  • Balloons
  • Mod podge
  • Sponge applicator
  • Shot glass
  • String & clothes pins (not pictured)
  • Candy (not pictured)


Note: not martha used liquid laundry starch as her paper mache, but I used watered down mod podge (roughly 2 parts water, 1 part mod podge). I couldn’t find the liquid starch and I didn’t want to make my own paste using flour because I knew I wanted to make the eggs at least a week in advance and they warn that the flour paste can mold.

So, I watered down the mod podge and went with a watery consistency. Basically, I used what I thought would hold – you know, be enough glue, but also enough water. Now, let’s get started…

1. First, cut out your tissue paper. For the white, I worked in 3 to 4″ strips (mine were roughly cut). I then applied it to my balloon. Use the shot glass when needed to hold your balloon.

Note: my first 2 eggs only had 1 or 2 layers of white tissue paper, I’d recommend at least 3 to 4 to give them a sturdier/thicker base. You’ll see why a bit later on.


2. Next, cut out your colored tissue paper. I did the polka dots like not martha and cut a 2 inch strip and folded it back on itself. I used my shot glass to trace a circle and then cut it out. After, cut all the pieces a part. photo(124)

3. Apply your colored tissue paper making sure your pieces overlap a bit, but not in the dotted area. For areas where you can’t fit a whole piece or fit the dot, I just filled in with the colored tissue paper, amply applying my paste. Save your excess tissue paper for later.


4. When you’ve completed your egg, hang it up to dry overnight. Yes, overnight. So just wash, rinse, and repeat and make a few more of these little guys while you’re waiting for the others to dry.


5. When your eggs are dry (the next day), cut a hole in the balloon to let all the air out. At this point, you’ll be able to remove the balloon from the top. Now, don’t freak out if your balloon kind of imploded on itself like below. This happened because I didn’t use enough tissue paper base. But, I kept calm and pushed it back out to form from the inside, using my fingers.

Note: this did NOT happen on my second batch of eggs where I used more tissue paper. There was a dimple or two, but nothing like this.


6. Cut a slit from the top down the side; avoid cutting any of the white areas. You’ll use your colored tissue paper to patch this up later.


7. Now, the fun part! Stuff it with candy 🙂


8. After you’ve added all the candy you want, make a pull tab and patch up your egg. not martha suggested the pull tab as an easy way for the kids to ‘crack’ the egg back open. Made sense to me!

I used card stock and thick string and placed it in the slit. Then I used the colored tissue paper to paper mache it closed again. You’ll need to let this dry for at least another day.


9. After you’ve filled all your eggs and allowed them to dry, enjoy! I had so much fun with this project that I made 3 more chocolate filled eggs. 1 for the BF and 2 for some very lucky friends.

Aren’t they adorable?



DIY project regrets?

If I did the project again:

  1. I’d probably use smaller balloons. not martha suggested water balloons, but I already had some on hand. Of course, I do kind of like the dinosaur effect they’ve got going!
  2. Use more tissue paper on the base. I did this the second time, but not on the eggs going to my niece and nephew.

DIY: Painted bead necklace

I can’t remember how I first stumbled across Laura Parke, but I’ve been bookmarking a few of her crafts for awhile now. I think the first one I knew I had to make was this painted wooden bead necklace. It was simple, yet so fun.

I kept putting it off because for whatever reason, I couldn’t find the right wooden beads. That is until I went a little craft crazy with my mom last week in NC. I think we visited A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, and  Michael’s at least 3 times that week…not to mention all the bead boutiques! I was appalled to learn how lacking my own craft stores were.

Anyways, after a few days of scavenging for craft supplies, I was finally ready for this simple DIY. Laura gives a thorough step-by-step tutorial and even suggests using painters tape for clean lines, but I like to live on the edge and free-handed my project.

To get started, you need:

  • 10 wooden beads
  • craft paint, colors of your choice
  • paint brush
  • necklace (I used cord)
  • clasps


1. First, paint your beads cream. Laura actually left hers natural, which I didn’t realize until after. But, no bother, I like the cream base.

2. Next, paint the colored bit. Here’s where Laura used painters tape. Note: I did have to give my beads a few coats of paint, but I put that down to the quality of my craft paint.

3. While your beads are drying, sort the clasp for your cord/chain. I used a lobster clasp & cord crimps (I think that’s what they’re called) since the cord I had was too thick for crimp beads. Only attach one side so you can still slide on your beads.

4. Check the inside of the beads to see if there are any shavings stuck inside. If so, use your paint brush to push and clear it out.

5. String your necklace with like colors together as above (i.e. cream to cream, pink to pink). You may notice a bit of paint transferred onto my cord. This was due to my own impatience as I thought my beads were dry, but apparently there was a tiny spot of wet paint inside.

6. Lastly, add your other cord crimp and the other half of your lobster claw. And voila!

Even though there’s a little bit of paint on my cord, I’m really pleased with the finished product. I have to say, the more jewelry I make, the more I like this little hobby. In related news, I wore one of my mom’s jewelry creations out on Saturday night and I just have to share…more or less, because I’m so proud of her talent. Isn’t it gorgeous?


DIY: T-shirt necklace

I have a lot of craft items in my apartment just waiting to be crafted so this month, I decided I would refrain (as much as possible) from buying new craft things until I knocked out a lot of the freebies I had around the place. This is particularly true for my fabric collection that’s slowly growing arms and legs under my bed. However, that’s neither here nor there as this DIY was not only completely free, but it also helped me clean up a bit of clutter too!

As I was de-cluttering it up a few weeks back, I decided that I didn’t need all my sorority girl tees from college anymore. I’ve slowly been weeding them out over the past 5 years and this time I got it down to just 1 or 2, mostly to keep for the winter months since they are long sleeved. However, I did keep one brightly colored tee for a recycled craft I found many months ago from here. See how I upcycled an old tee below:

To get started, you’ll need:

  • t-shirt of choice
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • chalk to mark your lines
  • embroidery thread

1. First lay your tee out flat removing all the bumps and lumps, especially on the bottom layer.


2. Use your ruler to mark lines. About 3/4 of an inch between each line.


3. After you have enough, start cutting. Cut off the hem and discard.


4. After you’ve finished cutting, take the strips of tee and pull at each end so they curl (as shown on the right in the pic below).


5. As you pull & curl, lay them down in to a pile so all the ends are together. The original project says you can just secure them together and go from there, but my pulled tee turned out to be fairly large/long. I grabbed some embroidery thread in the same color and secured both ends.


6. I matched those ends together making sure it laid nicely as a necklace and wrapped it with an extra piece of the tee to give it a more finished look. Look in the mirror to see the back of the necklace.


And voila, an upcycled t-shirt necklace.

Usually, I never really review a DIY as it’s sort of a given that I love it if I’m posting about it. However, I feel compelled to say I was little underwhelmed by the final product here, but decided to post about it after the 150+ reblogs and comments that happened over on my Tumblr. It is nice and I’ll probably keep it for a few years and most likely wear it as a scarf as opposed to a necklace, but I don’t see it staying in my DIY collection forever. There’s just something about it that’s not totally my style. In the end it cost me zilch to craft, so if I throw it away then no big deal. At least I got my creative juices flowing for $0.


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