DIY: Herringbone Pattern Painting

When my roommates moved out, they left some rather large (36″X36″) prefab art canvases. I decided it was about time to revamp them because now they don’t match much in the house. After browsing around pinterest, I came across some great art pieces where a white herringbone pattern was painted over brightly colored designs and I thought- easy-peasy!


Here’s what I started with. Since canvases are expensive, it’s nice to start by recycling something else to use as the base. Check out Goodwill for old canvases, and you can find something that’ll work for you, for cheap.


I went to the fashion district recently, where I picked up fabric for several projects. Knowing this has been on my to-do list, I made it a point to find bright, colorful fabric, in a linear direction. I then wrapped the canvas with this fabric.


Since I don’t have a ton of pinks around the house, I decided to paint and add in colors from my left over paint. I added lots of blues and oranges.


After 5 minutes in the hot LA sun, it dried up quick.


I was dreading this next step, because I thought it would take a long time. The next step was taping off the herringbone pattern. This past Saturday I was up early drinking coffee in bed while TBS was on. A movie had just started and I decided to use the time efficiently, and I just started taping it off while watching the movie.


It was actually very easy, as I wasn’t being fussy with it. It was kind of nice repeating the steps over and over while watching the movie.


Time flew by and before I knew, I finished!


That’s a lot of herringbone! For visual interest I pulled a few pieces off to reveal…


This! Keep in mind, where the tape is, is where the colorful pattern will be showing on the final product. It’s challenging to think reversely like this.


Time to paint before the masking tape peels off! My white spray paint was acting up, and I was still in pjs (not about to run to the hardware store) so I decided to use a roller and my left over Dove Valspar paint from Lowe’s.


I was careful to not un-stick the tape while rolling the white paint. Three coats of paint and a short drying time later…


It’s time for the big reveal.


It came out excellent! It adds just the right amount of texture and color to the room. I just can’t get over how easy it was.

DIY: Baby Room Pennant Banner

A few months back my good friend (who was 7 months preggo at the time) joined me for a lunch out in Silver Lake and we stopped in the (awesome) store Yolk. If you got to LA Mill you should stop in Yolk next door. It’s a cute little shop with all sorts of home goods and a kids area in the back. My friend was looking at these hanging pennants longingly, but they were out of budget in the $40-50 range. It got me thinking that I could probably make her one using inexpensive supplies from Michael’s Crafts… and I was right!


See those pretty pennants above? The nice thing about designing my own (as a gift for my friends baby shower) is that I could make the colors work with her room design/colors.


I went to Michael’s Crafts and bought the following:

O Gray Yarn ($2?)
O 5 Different Shades of Blue Felt (75 cents each?)
O Gold string (like the thread you’s make a friendship bracelet with) ($2?)
O White small Pom-Poms ($1?)

Here’s a tip for Michaels: They have online coupons offering 50% off the highest valued item. If you are in Michael’s, just pull out your smat phone, google for the coupon, and then they scan your phone at the register and you get the discount. It’s an awesome deal.

In the photo above, you can see I braided a 6′ piece of yarn together to make a thicker string, for which the pennants will hang from.


Next I made a template out of plain paper, and made a triangle, that would allow for 3 triangles to be made from one sheet of felt. I then used a ruler and sharpie to trace the template and cut a bunch of triangles from all of my felt. NOTE: I added an extra inch to the top of the triangle, so I could use that space to sew later.


Then I laid each pennant out along the string to see if I wanted a random pattern, or a repeating pattern.


I like it! Time to assemble!


I started by hand sewing the white pom-poms to the end of each triangle. It’s super easy, as I am by no means and expert.


Once the pom-poms were securely on, I pinned each pennant where it would be along the yarn. Be sure not to pin to the actual yarn, but instead make a loop with that extra inch of fabric you allowed for at the top of the triangle (below).



Then I used the gold thread to sew the triangles in place, and also add a little sparkle to all the blues.


Isn’t she pretty?! I’m so proud of this impulse art project as it probably took an hour of my time, and it came out looking so similar to the $50 pennant!


My friend shared this photo above of the pennants home in here baby’s room.

Clue #5… so close!

You’ve seen clue #1clue #2clue #3, clue #4… and we are SO close to the big reveal, so I thought I’d share some out-takes:

I didn’t realize I would end up on camera.. so I was not exactly dressed up- I didn’t even have my contacts in! Oh well… the final photos are still being edited, so more on that later. People were asking for an update, so I had to share. All photos courtesy of Erica Meyer. Contact me if you want her for your own shoot or event. I’ll have more on her when I post the final photos.

Blog Central

I’ve been telling people about my “closet office” for a while now, and it’s about time I shared it with you. Personally, I think it’s genius. I have a very large closet which is only half-filled with clothes, the other half is an amazing workspace. The best part is when Im crafting at the desk and I need to take a break, I just shut the door and the mess goes away. When I’m ready to pick up the project again, I just open it up and Im right back where I left off. I save SO much time by not cleaning and then resetting. Plus the desk and chair (both Ikea) fit perfectly inside the closet, so closing the door is easy. As a blogger and freelancer, having a desk set-up is so critical but I don’t have the luxury of a traditional “office”. This set-up makes it so if I don’t want to think about work, I just shut the door. As a friend told me, when the closet is open it makes the room feel so much bigger. It’s so simple, I LOVE it!

DYI: Frosted Windows

I live in Los Angeles, which means when I look out my window.. I look directly into a neighbors window (about 10′ away). As you can imagine, this means there’s not a lot of room for sunlight and privacy. My shades are always down, and for someone like me who loves sunlight (vitamin d!), it’s hard to handle. I’ve been at my place for several years now and I’m about to embark on another year there, so it’s about time I solved this issue… the cheapest way possible. Here’s the BEFORE:

This was taken at 4pm in the evening (unedited). Notice the IT Crowd on my tv- awesome right? Anywho, there’s zero light, as my shades have to stay closed. I made an exploratory trip to Home Depot and realized the “real-life” frosted solutions were too permanent for my rental property (I need to have it eventually come off clean) and also too far above my budget. I realized that all I needed was a large sheet of vellum (you can get at any proper art store) or even as a temporary solution, trace paper, which I already own. This DYI project requires trace paper, double stick tape, and scissors  (or an exacto blade).

I just put the smallest amounts of tape in the corners of the windows, and then stretched a large piece of trace across it. Leave extras along the edges that you can trim away later. Fill the window and then use the exacto to clean the edges. I had to piece some trace paper together so I have a few small seems, but if you spent some money and bought a large sheet of vellum, it would be seemless.

Below is the AFTER shot taken at 6pm that same day. Isn’t the difference astounding! I went from needing my lights on any time past noon, to not needing to use electricity until 7pm! It’s such a difference. That’ll help my wallet, and my sanity!

DYI: Postcard Art

It’s time for a fun art project! Remember my Etsy Fair loot? I bought a $10 wooden postcard by Cardtorial knowing that I wanted to display it as artwork and not as its intended function. Isn’t it cute?

I’m on a very strict budget, so I decided to take inventory of the items I own and could use to jazz up this artwork. I happen to own this small wooden frame, which was a little dented and just taking up space in my closet. I bought some colored paper a while back at Michael’s (on sale), and figure with these items I could make something awesome.

The pack of paper has a zillon colors, so I played with several until I picked one I liked. The nice thing is that I can change out the color as my tastes change. Once it gets closer to fall, I’ll want to change it to a deeper color.

After I cut the paper, I realized that the wood of the frame was taking away from the wooden postcard. Too much wood for me, so I went through my box of tricks and found some old gold spray paint. The golden color actually brings out the yellow of the postcard. I like.. I like..

The nice thing about the frame color and paper, are how easy it was to make and how easy it is to change. If I decide I want a white frame and purple paper, it’s such an easy fix.

I’m very happy with this easy 10 minute craft project. The only thing that took time was waiting the hour to secure that the gold spray paint had dried.

Refinish Table Part II

It’s funny how even when you’re unemployed, you can still have a sucky day. I’m not sure how it works, but it managed to happen to me today. After a busy stressful day, I decided I needed to do a walk to pull me out of this gloom, and it really helped. That Secret Stair walk will come to you later this week, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you what 25% of the stress was about: my side table project.

Lets start with the “Before” image:

Then there’s the “Now it’s clean, but still not great because it doesn’t match anything” photo:

And here’s the “After” shot:

I love the final product, despite it’s small issues which I’ll get to later. Now the dark color matches my bookcase and makes the table feel brand new and special.


I started by taking inventory of what I already own, and then used a Michael’s gift card to pick up some additional supplies (Thank you Uncle Doug and Aunt Chris for making this possible!).

Next, I lugged the table and it’s parts outside to my driveway, laid down the drop cloth and began sanding. I made the mistake of using too harsh a grade of sandpaper. It would have been bust to use a finer grade, and just do a lot of it. That was fail one on my part. But I did get a good arm work out from the sanding I did do. I don’t own a sander, so it was good ole’ fashion elbow grease.

After sanding I waited a day to start the staining process. I also second guessed my stain color, which set me back another day. A good rule is always test the stain in a less obvious place on the furniture, to confirm it’s the right color before you cover the top in it.

Now that the project is complete, I think I could have achieved a better result with a different type of painting process, but what is done is done. I love the results I just think over time it’s less protected this way and will probably need to be reworked when it gets scuffed. I chose to stain it, which is a heartier assignment since you have to let it sit and then remove the excess stain and do this repeatedly until the color is right. You’re also supposed to let it sit for several hours between each coat. Lets just say this process took a while and was a great excuse to sit outside and get a tan while catching up on my book.

Although the neighbors had a fancy Father’s Day gathering on Sunday and all of their guests had to pass me sitting on the driveway in my painting clothes (it’s not pretty) and stain all over my hands and legs (I’m a sloppy painter). I definitely earned a neighborhood nickname or two. Oh well, it was all worth it.

Oh and I got silly with my sunglasses and gloves. Did I forget to mention that I wear bright blue dishwashing gloves when I paint? Yeah… it’s quite a sight.

So after an extensive 3rd(?) day of staining I put on the top clear coat to help protect it. It was almost perfect when I caught a paint brush bristle in the clear coat. Thinking it hadn’t dried (since I JUST painted it) I tried to grab the single brush hair. It turns out that the clear coat starts solidifying immediately and when pulling up the hair it cause 1.5″ diameter skin-like peel of the top coat. This meant the color looked lighter underneath, and you could see the thickness of the peel. Such a fail on my part. To effectively fix it, I really would need to take off all the clear coat on the table top and start over. I just don’t have the time, so I did a quick patch and will have to learn to live with this one imperfection. My patch job made it nearly invisible, but you can feel it to the touch. At this point, it’s time to move on as it looks lovely in my room. Wanna see it again? 😉

She is such a beauty. Through all the trial and error I would still call this project a success and I am very happy with the out come.

Holiday Cards!

I had every intension of going to the gym last night but I got wrapped up in a more creative project: Holiday Cards! This year I want to make my own cards and I know that as it gets closer to December Im getting busier and busier, so if I want to do it, I have to start now. I can’t reveal the cards Im making until after they’ve been sent (I want them to be a surprise for my friends) but I thought it would be a great day to compile some clever ideas that can be adapted into your own personalized cards.

The Christmas Postcard is a great way to send a greeting while being environmentally friendly. It’s also easier to tack to a fridge with a magnet. And if you create one that doesn’t need and envelope, then you save SO much paper.

Stencils are a fun cheap way to make unique holiday cards. With just a can of spray paint and some paper, you can create custom designs. Here’s a great example I found online:

KSD Creations: Kraft Christmas Card Using a Stencil

This card is made using some snowflake stencils (easy to find online, print yourself, and cut out yourself aka FREE), put them on the card and sponge a little white paint on top (or you can use spray paint) and write “Happy Holidays” on it and you have an awesome card. The fun thing about stenciled snow flakes is you can make many versions and play around with the placement on the card, so each card is as unique as a snowflake (cheesy but true).

Design Sponge is a great blog with crafty ideas and DYI projects. I’m sure I will talk about their ideas a lot in future posts, and you should check out there website for inspiration.

I hate to cut it short, but work’s a madhouse today. In the next few weeks Ill develop more card ideas and keep you posted. But for now, you should start thinking about it, because who doesn’t love receiving an awesome homemade holiday card?