Nail Art

My sister stopped by my house last night and as I gave her an update on some of my art and building projects she pointed out a piece she enjoyed and said I should share it. It wasn’t personally my favorite which is why I haven’t shared it with you yet, but she liked it so I figure it was worth posting about.

Several months ago I collected some scrap MDF (although I think the project would have worked better with real wood) and painted them. For the first piece I painted it a creamy pink color I already had (yay for saving on supplies!).


Next I printed a heart image that fit the mdf and taped it down. I bought some small gold nails from Lowes, and used a T-square (above) to nail in the outside shape of the heart in an organized manor. I nailed it in right through the paper.


Once nailing was complete, I ripped the paper away to reveal the nail heart outline.


I bought pink and red thread from Michaels (look up their online coupons on your phone while in the store and you’ll find instant coupons that they scan right from your phone. SAVINGS!) and wrapped the thread around the nails in a random way. This image makes it hard to tell, but there’s an ombre effect in person of light pink to dark red.


The piece that my sister really liked is this LA metro map made in nail art (she’s a travel buff as you know). Each nail represents every station stop, so not only does it look cool but it functions as a real metro map. I think the mdf backing is why I don’t like it and I’d love to remake it on real wood boards where the grain shows through. Ahhh, future projects.

This was made with the same technique as the heart piece. I painted the mdf and then printed an LA metro map to trace with nails. It didn’t take too long and the tread colors match the real metro line colors. It was a cheap fun project that I did while watching a netflix movie. Give it a try!

Font Friday: Rounded Brush


This week’s font is Rounded Brush which you can download HERE (donate if it’s for commercial use)
This weeks photo is from Karen Michel’s Blog, which you can view/buy HERE.

Feeling artsy? Happy Friday!

Font Friday is about having fun with images and finding new fonts while celebrating design and bringing attention to the under-celebrated art of font creation. Explore + images online to make your own fun designs. Get creative!

Kitchen Storage Unit

A friend recently came to me and said, “Help, we need more counter space and storage in our kitchen” (I’m paraphrasing, as he is far more eloquent). As you probably know, I love any chance to build and use my miter saw.


The first step is drawing out plans and elevations. To get a sense of materials, assembly and all of our options. Since I’m a cheap-o and cost is an important factor in the design, I like to generate my materials list as I go and also divided into sections. This way I can easily say “If I want and extra shelf, it’ll cost me an extra $30” or “designing the table top this way is $10, but this other cooler way is only $5 more”. I take this list when I go to the hardware store and helps me effectively get all the lumber. This list also helps me generate a cut list. I cut list is as it sounds, a list of all the pieces of wood I need to make the table. If you follow your (accurate) cut list, you can cut the pieces and then assemble.


How much wood do you think it takes to make a table? Answer: a lot of wood. See above. It’s good to get an extra piece of each size of wood because you never know what issues might come up. These were each only a dollar or two, and having the extra pieces is really helpful and gives you more options while you’re building.


Once materials were purchased, I began by assembling the butcher-block style table top using nails and glue and then clamping it together. Since I knew this would be a slow process with drying time, I started with this first and then took time between gluing to work on measuring and cutting the other pieces.


Eventually, after lots of measuring, cutting, and screwing down wood, I got to take stock of all the pieces above. Since I knew I’d be transporting this in my car, I had to take that into account while planing my dimensions and assembly. I figured I could lay these elements flat in my car and then assemble them on-site at my friends house, but I wanted to make it so I had to do the least amount of work at his house.


The next step is sanding and staining all the elements. Above is the base of the table top. You can see how dark the stain is against the raw wood. While staining I find it best to lay it on thick, wait a few minutes and then wipe away to desired results. It’s also best to do this not in direct sunlight. You don’t want the stain to dry while you’re waiting for it to seep into the wood, since it’s staining and not painting the wood. Once it’s full stained and wiped down, then it’s good to put it in the sun to speed up drying time.


Look at what a difference the dark stain makes. It became so elegant looking. After more sanding, it was time for the clear coat to protect against moisture (which will keep the table from rotting if it gets wet). I used a luster finish of a clear coat polyurethane. I had used this on other projects and it makes the wood look so finished and smooth.


Doesn’t it look so nice? I did two coats of the polyurethane to really protect it. It also helps soften the rough spots and fill in gaps. I did this with the two shelves, 4 legs and base frame of the table top.


Now back to the table top itself. I let the butcher block style top stay clamped for the week while I waited for the next weekend to finish the project. Once the top felt solid, it was time for heavy duty sanding. The more sanding the better, as it will smooth and even out the wood. Mine wasn’t perfectly level, but I think that’s part of it’s charm. It’s also going in the kitchen of an apartment for three guys so the rougher and more manlier, the better.


The next step is to stain! Like a typical butcher block, they wanted to go with a lighter stain than the rest of the table to make it stand out. Once it was stained and sanded again I did the same two coats of the luster polyurethane and let it dry. Install time!! I drove the elements to my friends house for assembly. It was tricky doing it in their house, but with their help we made it work. I find a good trick is to only screw it in loosely until you feel everything’s at a 90 degree angle and at the right height. Then go back and add more screws and tighten the original screws. It’s very hard making things level and perfect, so take your time with this.


Isn’t it pretty? I’m really happy with how it came out.



Here it is “dressed” as we say in show business.

If you are interested in a table like this, or you want to commission me for a custom original piece, contact me! I love this type of project and look forward to more. I’m actually working on my blog shop, where you can place orders and even purchase art you’ve seen made here on the blog 🙂 I can’t wait to share it with you!

DIY Necklace Holder

A friend of mine (Tamar) came to me and said, “I’ve run out of room for my necklaces. Can you help me hang a bulletin board so I can use pushpins to hang them from?” and my response was “we are making you a real necklace holder”. It made me realize my own necklace holder was at capacity (see below):


That means it’s time for a DIY necklace holder for both of us! I combed pinterest to see what the world is making and love the look of different drawer pulls that jewelry can hang from.


Coincidentally, as this project came up I happened to be wandering around the clearance section of Anthropology (the only part of the store I can maybe-afford) and saw these drawer pulls above. What a coincidence that just as I’m embarking on a project that involves a mix of drawer pulls and they’re ON SALE for $3ea! I hadn’t even designed my jewelry holder yet, but I knew I had to scoop these up while they were there and I sent Tamar to also get a bunch for her holder.


Knowing I would need to cut the ends of the long drawer pulls, I bought a Dremel to add to my tool collection. This is pretty timid as far as tools go, but it’s super handy. I highly recommend it and it comes with all sorts of attachments that can sand, buff, cut wood, and even grind metal.


Above you can see the beginning of my jewelry holder (on the left) and Tamar’s (on the right). Since she has a long closet where she’s hanging it, hers is a 3′ single piece of wood. My necklaces need to fit in a narrower space, so mine is two rows. I sanded and stained them to bring out the grain. Thankfully I collect scrap wood and had left over stain, so this was all free.


Glue time!


Disregard my messy work space, but I want to explain the process as I worked on these alone at night and couldn’t get great photos. Once the stain and clear coat dried on the wood, I marked where I wanted the drawer pulls to go. I then predrilled holes, slightly smaller than the thickness of the drawer pull rod. Then I screwed the drawer pulls into the wood by hand. The rod sticks through the back of the wood where I attached a bolt to keep the pull in place, so then I used my Dremel to grind (cut) through the rod so that it’s relatively flush against the bolt (later images show this).


These 5 hooks aren’t going to hold a massive collection, which Tamar alerted me she has a lot of necklaces. It’s problem solving time!


I went to Home Depot and purchased their largest golden hooks (since it looks nice with the golden wood stain). I came up with a pattern of hook placement that works well with the 5 unique drawer pulls we already bought. You can see above I pre-drilled little holes to make screwing in the hooks easier.


Lastly, you can see above that the bolt which secures the drawer pulls in place makes it so that it will sit 1/8″ off the wall. To make sure this doesn’t cause marks on the wall, I purchased furniture pads with an 1/8″ thickness (which normally go on the bottoms of chair legs) and put them on the edges. I also bought picture hanging kits from Home Depot which allow this to comfortably hang 1/8″ off the wall. Each of these is really cheap.


Above you can see how mine turned out! Doesn’t it look nice? You can’t even tell it’s 1/8″ off the wall.


Here’s Tamars as we were installing it above…


And here’s the final look! Isn’t it great! Now that’s a lot of necklaces!

DIY Lamp Redo Fail + Fix

I have so much to share with you (LA Secret Stair posts, art projects and of course, last night’s Newsroom Season 2 premiere party) but until those are ready, I’m going to share this DIY gem I completed a few weeks ago.

It all started with a trip to the sale section of Ikea (by the checkout). Usually Ikea’s damaged goods section is still over priced for what you get, but for some reason I always check it out.


That’s where I found this simple lamp of beauty.


This lamp was in good condition, it just needed some cleaning and the white lampshade needed to be recovered. It had been a display lamp, so you can imagine all the hands that touched it.


I’ve not worked with lamps before, so I was in new territory. My brilliant idea was to spray paint it. Warning: this is not brilliant, it’s actually a bad idea. But go with me…


So I taped off the inside and sprayed the metal hardware gold, to jazz it up.


Doesn’t the gold look nice?


I wanted a top stripe of gold, so after a layer of gold, I taped off the top inch of the lamp, and sprayed the bottom of the shade a teal blue.


…I thought it would be a little more blue.


Yes, I know, together it looks like a Green Bay Packers lamp. That was not my intention.


My other fail is that when you light fabric sprayed with paint, if it isn’t perfectly even (which is crazy hard), it looks blotchy. Very blotchy. I did get compliments on it (while not lit), but it’s a lamp and needs to look good when lit.

Thankfully, when I fail at a project I always learn something from it (don’t spray paint fabric unless it’s a canvas on a wall).


After a trip to the fabric district, I bought this beautiful gray/white fabric. I removed the green canvas (it was just glued in, so easy to remove) and replaced it with this new fabric. Now it’s a much more subtle lamp, which works better in the room.


I had enough fabric left over to make a small pillow for my barrel chair. I love it! It helps tie the room in together.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Happy Memorial Day everybody! I hope you’re all out bbq’ing, beaching-it-up, and getting ready to also celebrate Arrested Development season 4 coming out on Netflix at midnight tonight.

After an awesome session of Beach Yoga with Brad in Santa Monica this morning, I couldn’t resist stopping into Salvation Army where they are currently having a 50% off everything sale. I found this awesome mirror:


I promised myself I wouldn’t stop in there, as I’ve decided to use this weekend as a tying up loose ends/ planting the garden/ cleaning the house but… thankfully this is a quick DIY upgrade. This $5 mirror is going from this:


To this:


I love it already! I love a quick diy upgrade!

DIY Paper Frames

It’s time to talk DIY crafts! My friends Grace and Tamar (see below) came to me with a design problem. Their stairwell is bare and they want to hang up photos, but it’s a narrow space and frames risk getting knocked over as people walk by. Plus this should be attractive and on a budget. What to do?! After researching ideas via pinterest, we concluded it would be best to buy some fun papers and tape and mount the images right onto the wall. We didn’t want it to feel cheap and dorm -style, so we had some fun with it!


Meet Grace and Tamar. They rock!


We met up at my favorite guilty pleasure: Paper Source! If you’ve never been, even just to browse, make the trip!


Grace and Tamar decided to buy two different types of patterned paper to keep it all feeling cohesive. I decided to also do this project for one of my bedroom walls. I also switched it up and bought different types of papers and even brought along some fun wrapping paper I had left over at home. With a little double-sided tape, we mounted images on our paper.


It was fun to play with the scraps, colors, and textures.



Even wrapping paper made for a fun colorful backing.


I kept laying the images out to make sure I was staying within the same color palette.


Above is Grace cutting up her images. She went a step further than I did and even laminated the sheets so that everything was completely smooth.


Originally we thought we’d use masking tape, but found fun colors of electrical tape to play with. Grace and Tamar used black tape for all the edges to keep it consistent. Precutting the tape on a mat makes sure it’s even and squared corners.


It’s fun to look back at old photos 🙂


I decided to mount my photos around my frame so I can look at them every morning.


Don’t look too closely at my messy bed (which was an impromptu desk for this project). But I love the family pics <3.

DIY Bon Voyage Party Decorations

As you just learned, my sister As Her World Turns just moved out of Los Angeles to embark on an endless trip around the world. We were sad to see her go, but excited for her, as this has been something she’s talked about since we were kids. There’s no way she could leave without us throwing some kind of Bon Voyage (and coincidentally, Birthday) celebration.


She chose the venue of Cafe Gratitude in Larchmont Village. You can see above, Kelocity and I made map party hats, goodie bags, map pennants, stamp+map confetti and more!


The balloons were cheap and so easy to get from Vine America. They have so many color options and even had globe balloons! To make the map party hats I just collected a variety of fun map images online and printed them onto 11X17 paper. I made a hat prototype to get the cone shape and then traced that shape onto all of the map papers. I bought elastic string for like $1.50 at Michaels. Once you get the cone shape and cut two holes for the elastic it was helpful to staple the string in place in addition to the knot. None of the hats ripped during the party and it made for some fun photos.


The map pennants were made with some yellow yarn and triangles cut out of some AAA maps. The scrap pieces of map were turned into confetti with my circle cutter (which I used in THIS art project). I also cut out stamps as more table confetti. Lastly, I made little colorful picture holders to fit my polaroid film. These images fit perfectly in a little moleskin sketch pad. The pad was passed around and people took photos and wrote notes to my sister wishing her a safe trip. It’ll be a nice little memory that she can carry around and look at when she’s missing home.

DIY Kleenex Box Cover

Lately I’ve been noticing how many product labels are in my life and I’ve also noticed that I’m drawn to products that have excellent packaging.. or no labels at all. When looking at the brand logos around my bedroom, I noticed that the boring kleenex box design was standing out. Knowing I have some left over scraps of paper from other crafts, I thought I could make an easy fix.


Kleenex makes an awesome tissue, but in old-school dulls-ville packaging.


Once I found the right pattern (chevron) I traced the box and with a little double sided tape, it was good to go.




Since it’s not waterproof, this is only a short term solution. If you wanted one that will last you, you can always decoupage a plastic tissue dispenser. My plan for this box is to use it as a little mini trash can once it’s out of tissues. Once it gets kinda dirty I’ll just toss it out, and I can do it again on another box (with a different paper pattern).