Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DIY Felt Streamers

Anthropologie is hands down one of my favourite stores to peruse. Their clothes are cool but pricey. Same with their accessories. I can't afford shopping there. I go just to enjoy their window and in store displays. They are simple AMAZING!

Last year, I drove down to the States and of course, stopped by Anthropologie.

This is mind blowing. And... it's just string and tissue paper!

One day I want to make a TON of these streamers for a huge party!

For now, I'm content with working on a MUCH smaller scale. I mentioned earlier that I'm working on decorations for my nephew's small 100 day celebration. The sheep art is done. The only other decor I'm making are a few of these streamers but I'm using felt instead of tissue paper.

I bought six sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" at the dollar store and cut out these circles. You can just eyeball it- they don't need to be perfect. In fact, I think they look better if they aren't perfect.

Life: Designed
This stack was for one streamer. I would have liked to have used more felt per streamer but I didn't want to make another trip to the store to buy more sheets...Lazy much?

Now make a slit through the center of the circles using whatever method you find useful. I was in bed watching TV as I was making this so I just used scissors to cut a slit in the center. Make sure the slit isn't too big or else you'll have problems with the next step.

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If the slit's big, you're going to need a BIG knot to prevent the yarn/strong from slipping through.

Next, cut your yarn/string to whatever length you need- don't forget you'll need more yarn/string than you think because of all the knots you're going to be making.

I worked from the bottom up so I tied a knot, fed the green circle through, eye balled about 2", tied anther knot and fed the white circle through. 

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You can do a gradation of colours, make it all one colour or mix up the colours. I used a more regimented system of light green, white, dark green, repeat. Looking at them now, I kind of wish that I did the colour gradation method... oh well. Next time!

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If you're going to try this, get A LOT of felt. Mine turned out quite sparse...
And if you're going to use tissue paper... I figure you'll need hundreds of sheets to get good volume.

You can also vary the distance between the circles or have 3 circles together then a knot, 5 circles, then a knot, etc. - all suggestions I'm going to try the next time!

I'm thinking of hanging these either behind the sheep art or on either side of it. I'll post images of the total look after the party in about 2 weeks!

We're keeping it simple so that's it for decorations. All I have left to do is to make cupcakes! Yummy!

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Antique" Skeleton Key Art

I have a problem.

I am obsessed with frames.

In the past week I've posted about thrift store frames here and here.

And here's another one!

A couple weeks ago I was at Michael's and saw these "antique" skeleton keys for $1.50.

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I was so happy to find them there because I LOVE skeleton keys and have been looking for some cheap ones for a while. Looks like I wasn't the only one seeing as there were only handful left. I wish I picked up more than 2! I went back the next day and they were all gone.

I know skeleton key art was all over the internet a couple years ago... but that's okay. These aren't trendy to me. They're classic!

I love that abacus! When I was a child, I watched my dad do all his math on an abacus. I have no idea how to use one but I think they're pretty sweet.

So... last weekend I was completely procrastinating from working on my school project so I decided it was time to do something with these keys.

I found this little 80's frame from.... the thrift store (surprise surprise).

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 Bring on the spray paint!

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The brass frame didn't take to the paint as smoothly as wood but that was fine by me. I like that the gold is still showing up in places.

I printed off a random sheet of music from the internet- it's some sort of polka song.. haha.

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I spray painted the frame in an box so I couldn't get to the sides at first. Once the front was dry, I was going to flip it on it's side but then I realized it was fabulous as is! I LOVE the two toned look! The gold edges have little black flecks from the spray paint and it adds to the antique look.Don't you just love happy accidents?

Total cost of this little DIY project: $3! Love the price tag, love the look!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Commune Cafe

So as part of my research for my restaurant project, my friend, her daughter and I went to Commune Cafe last Sunday for the first time.

Commune Cafe

Of course the first thing I noticed was the decor. The pendants are made of cork- love! And the red chairs are pretty awesome. The seats by the windows are made of really densely compacted felt so it was like sitting on a wood  bench but much easier on the derriere.

Commune Cafe

As you can see they have this long table for 18 guests.

I arrived a little nervous- expecting to commune with others. This is completely out of my comfort zone...but... I wanted to push myself to try something new.

When we arrived, the long table was half full. 

But half full like this: (the coloured squares represent different parties)

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There was no room for a threesome so by default we sat in the "booths" by the window. I was a bit disappointed but it gave me the opportunity to see how the communal table was doing. I guess if I really wanted to, I could have asked someone at the communal table to move over but... I'm not that bold. 

But this is exactly what I'm talking about. All the guests had the opportunity to commune with and meet strangers at a place called COMMUNE Cafe but instead they left empty seats between them and the next party. Why do we always feel the need to have a buffer?

I'm not bashing these patrons. I'm exactly like them! When I go out with my friends, I just want to talk with them, not with strangers. And when strangers are so bold as to cross that buffer, they get the stink eye... There's something really wrong with that, right?

While we waited for our food I told my friend about my project and she looked around and saw how everyone was in their own bubble and she said, "It won't work. People won't do it.".

And that's problem right there. It's not "normal" to interact with strangers. Like I said in my previous post, communal dining is NOT for everyone. It's ironic that I'm so antisocial but I have this desire to design a communal restaurant. I look at my nephews and niece and I want them to be friendly, social and to genuinely love other people- whether they know them or not (within reason of course! I still want "stranger danger" to be on their minds!).

OK so going back to this plan view I made:

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Half way through our meal, someone came and sat across from Purple Square who had her head in a newspaper the whole time we were there. Purple Square looked up at New Square who gave her a smile. I don't know what Purple Square did because I couldn't see her face. I just saw her immediately return to her newspaper. Shortly after Purple Square got up and left. Aw... poor New Square.

People watching is fun!!

It's my friend's bday is next week and we're going check out The Irish Heather. I honestly feel anxious about it...but as uncomfortable as it will be... I think this is just something I have to do!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Necklace Display

I have a love/hate relationship with necklaces. 
I love wearing them, I hate storing them. 

There are lots of creative ways of hanging necklaces that I've seen on the internet but I just never around to doing anything about my small collection.

Currently I have a huge styrofoam sheet leaning on my desk, leaning against the wall with thumbtacks holding up my necklaces. The styrofoam is a left over piece from a school project and is currently being used as a bulletin/jewelry board. It's sad. I know.

Here's a little snippet of some of my necklaces on "display":

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The pins aren't even lined up... and I get so lazy I hang multiple necklaces on each tack...I told you it's a sad situation.

A little while ago I was at the Nood outlet store and I came across these candle stick holders. (What does this have to do with my necklace situation? Hang in there.. it's coming).

I wasn't sure how I felt about these when I first saw them...but the big one was marked down from $12.50 to $4.50 and the little one was only $2.50- if anything I'm sure they would look okay on a bookshelf or something.

The guy ended up giving both of them to me for $5.00. I can live with that.

I took them home and they sat on my messy side table for a while.. no real home, no purpose- should I have saved that $5 bucks and bought a mocha instead?

Then one day I was rearranging my room so down came the styrofoam board and the necklaces. I needed somewhere to put them so I just quickly placed them over the candle holder. I did a double take. Genius!

The candle holders act as little mannequins! (In the above pic doesn't it look like an armless lady wearing an A-Line dress?)

So now I have 2 of my statement necklaces on "display".

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I turned a thrift shop mirror into a tray to complete the display!

Whenever I see it or walk past it, I secretly pretend (just for a second) that I'm shopping at a little boutique. Haha... 

(The mirror was actually a fabulous find at the thrift shop. I got 3 of them in perfect condition for $9. I've had them for about a year and haven't been able to bring myself to paint them because I love the worn out/antique look they've got going on.)

Are statement necklaces still "in"? 
I don't care if they're "out", I love them- even if they're just eye candy. =)

I've actually never worn the gold and pink one. I bought both necklaces for my friend's wedding (I was a bridesmaid) a little over a year ago and ended up wearing the one on the right which went better with the dress. I can't bring myself to part with either one- the black one for sentimental value... and I just love the gold one!

I also have this statement necklace that I wore when I was my eldest sister's maid of honour just two months prior to my friend's wedding:

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Now THAT'S a chunky monkey!

I want to display it differently than the other two... but I don't know how yet. Here's to hoping for another happy accident!

How do you store your necklaces? The chunky and the delicate.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY Sheep Frame

In a couple weeks, my youngest nephew is celebrating his 100 days! For what this whole 100 day (baek-il) celebration is all about, check out my post here.

It's going to be a very small family affair and since I'm swamped with school, I'm just doing some minor decorations for his celebration.

I wasn't sure about a theme but my sister and I were talking about her eldest boy being born in the year of the "golden pig", her middle son being born in the year of the "white tiger" and when I asked about her youngest son she said with a laugh, "Oh.. he's just a sheep".


(All this animal talk is in reference to the Chinese zodiac calendar. "Golden" and "white" mean they were special years. Our family is not into any superstitions or horoscopes but for whatever reason, we like to know what "animal" we are. Just for kicks I guess.)

When my sister said "just a sheep" we had a laugh about it. The poor kid won't feel so special next his brothers who are "golden" and "white". So for this 100 day celebration I decided to play up the sheep. 

Be proud and "Baaaa" loudly, little one!!

I took an old thrift store frame I've had for a while, cut some poster board and drew a sheep on it. 

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The frame photographed a bit gold but it's actually a nasty brown.

I went to the dollar store and got some cotton balls and glued away.

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When I first opened the bag of cotton balls, I was disappointed that they weren't the traditional cotton puffs like this:

But as soon as I started gluing them on, I realized I liked the rolled up look!

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So now the frame... I wanted the frame to be green and I thought about painting it but I didn't want to go out and buy paint... besides, what I really wanted to do was wrap the frame in yarn! How sheep-like!

And I knew just where to get me some yarn! My mom knitted my dad a dark green scarf for Christmas and so I snagged her left over stash.

After spending a good while wrapping the frame with yarn (it took a lot longer than I thought!) I finally ended up with this:

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Ta Da! And all it cost was a dollar for the cotton balls! 

It's gonna be hung on the wall along with some felt streamers that I'm making- more on that later!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turn Shopping bags into Art!

I love getting really nice shopping bags from stores. But what do I do with them when I get home? I fold them nicely and store them in my closet. 

Last year, as I was printing off a bunch of Kate Spade ads and putting them around my room, I came across an old Coach bag. At the time I was going through a blue and yellow phase (it's still not completely over). 

I figured instead of stashing my bags away, why don't I frame it like I did the Kate Spade ads? And so I did. 

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I was a bit hesitant. I mean... Did I really want to cut up a bag that was in perfect condition? Then the non-hoarder in me kicked in and I cut it up. I suppose you could do this without cutting the bag - if your frame size allows for it. That way if you ever REALLY needed the bag, you could still use it. 

One day I'll switch out the boring black frame for a nicer one but for now, I'm working with what I've got.

I did some searching and found this awesome blog: Unidentified Lifestyle by Maria.
She did a post a while back on this very topic and had this image:

Moth Design
(I hunted around and finally found the original here)
I love everything about this closet! You don't have to break the bank for frames- these are Ikea frames. Or even better- you can use thrift store frames!

This one's pretty cool too- a different take on the norm. The creator gives a detailed tutorial on how to make this.

In My Own Style
Both are great ways to upcycle your shopping bags!

PS Your art doesn't have to advertise name brands. Some bags have really cool designs on them and you can just cut out the store name if you don't want to brag that you shopped at (insert overpriced store name here).

For example, this is the side panel of a bag.

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I'm going to cut it out and frame it as is or I'll throw it into photoshop and change the colour of the furniture pieces (the grey's a bit washed out). Most likely I'll do the latter. 

I just threw this in because I thought it was a pretty clever!

What do you do with your (non plastic) shopping bags?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Genius Icing tip!!

The first time I tried icing baked goods, it was a bit of a messy process...and I wasted A LOT of icing.

I had misplaced the Wilton's reusable icing bag I had bought at Michael's so I improvised and used a cellophane bag... It should do right?

Wrong. Maybe I was doing it wrong but icing was oozing out everywhere.
Still I pressed on... After I had gone through several bags and half the icing I gave up, ran home and searched my room until I found the magic bag!

It's really not that magical but it was a MAJOR step up from the flimsy cello bags.

My nephew`s 100 day celebration is coming up and I`m so excited to make cupcakes but the thought of having to ice those babies was not something I was looking forward to... "magic" bag and all. It's just so messy and kind of gross to deal with, not mention the clean up (even with the vinegar trick).

THEN I came across this amazing video on how to ice baked goods with NO mess. How is this possible?? Well make sure you click that link and find out!

For those of you who don't want to watch a video, refer to the image below. It's pretty self explanatory.

That's what I call magical! Brilliant! Genius!

There's minimal mess and waste. Not to mention it's just SO easy to clean up! It's also uber handy when you want to use a variety of colours. 

In two weeks time, I`m gonna try this out and let you know how it goes! Wish me luck!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Love Kate Spade...Ads

I posted a while ago that I love Louis Vuitton ads. They are stunning images! That Annie Leibovitz sure knows what she's doing.

As much as I love them, I think I love Kate Spade ads even more, simply because they make me so happy!

I don't remember how it happened but I came across Kate Spade ads on the internet one day and I've been a huge fan ever since. 

The ads are fun, colourful and all around happy! Colour is something a lot of people are afraid of. Walk around the streets of Vancouver or go to any Vancouver event and you will see (for the most part) black shoes, black jackets. I totally understand. Neutrals are safe. 99% of my closet is full of dark neutrals. Colour requires a hefty commitment. 

As much as my eldest sister loves purple, I think she would bust a gut if I ordered her a purple sofa. 

But look! It's lovely if it's done right!

C'mon take a look at these images and tell me you don't love colour!

I actually have some of these images in frames scattered around my room and I LOVE them. 

Life: Designed
This is one of the only bright pops of colour I have in my wardrobe. I got it a couple years ago on sale at a Kate Spade outlet in the States. Sigh... this image screams spring/summer. Hang in there... just a few more months.

I got those Dahlia's (my favourite flowers!) at a street vendor and spent the day feeling oh so feminine with my bright bag and lovely flowers. Haha...

Keep it up Kate Spade- your ads ROCK!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What To Do With Thrift Store Frames

I love thrift stores. If I could, I would spend days sifting through every store in town finding goodies. 

Funny... I can't spend more than 5 minutes rummaging through racks of clothes looking for a good find but switch those clothes for home decor and I can stay all day!

Frames are the one thing I consistently look for at thrift stores even if I don't have a specific need for one. 

Dollarstores seem to be up-ing their game recently.  I've been able to find score some decent ones like this one:

All I needed was some spray paint and wrapping paper. Yes. Wrapping paper. I was going through an owl phase and found a really cute, colourful pattern at a local shop. It was sold by the sheet which is awesome. I find wrapping paper that is sold by the sheet tends to be thicker paper and just higher quality in general than the wrapping paper you get in rolls.

So in no time, I had this:
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It's hard to tell but I went over the frame with light sandpaper so some of the gold is showing through for a wee bit of a distressed look. The wrapping paper is so fun and cute! It was perfect for my niece's nursery.

Here's another piece I was working on from a large frame I found at the thrift store:

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The happy yellow background is another sheet of wrapping paper. I like the sort of giraffe, animal print I get from it. 

Remember this ABC storage cabinet? I used the left over place mat for this frame. The glass for this frame unfortunately was damaged so I replaced it with acetate. This was actually a blessing because it made the frame 5x lighter. 

For a 3-D quality, I painted a wooden C that I got from the dollar store. At this point, we didn't know the gender of the baby, let alone the name. It worked out though because both mom and dad's last name start with C. 

I really loved this but the yellow wrapping paper is REALLY yellow. You can't tell in the picture but it just didn't go with the more orange yellow drapes I had already sewed. 

So sadly I swapped out the wrapping paper and used left over fabric I had from some cushions I sewed for the Toy Chest

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On their own, I`m not sure which one I like better...

But in context with the room, I know this one is the winner.

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What do you think? Feel free to disagree.
The room needed more art and I absolutely love ABC or 123 prints for kid's rooms. So being on a SUPER tight budget, I decided to make one! I am by no means a graphics minded person but I gave it a shot using Publisher. 
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Again, this frame is a thrift store buy. It didn't have a glass or plastic panel but that was just fine. As you might have noticed, I love three dimensional qualities in frames.

All that is, is a thin foam core backing, my graphic work of art (haha) mounted on 3/16" thick foamcore and then I just simply pinned it to the backing. I actually like that you can see the pins in the corner.

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There they all are! I think in total, the cost of all three was about $30!

Okay, just ONE more. I promise. 

My brother-in-law wanted to add a Mickey Mouse poster from his childhood bedroom.

I couldn't find a suitable frame at the thrift stores so I decided just to make one using foamcore. (Due to school, I have foamcore coming out of my ears).

With some spray paint and acetate, it was done!

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There it is on the top left. One day hopefully a more suitable frame will be found! But for now, a foamcore frame is just fine!

I'm currently collecting a BUNCH of frames for a friend's wedding. Here's a small collection I gathered from a thrift store and dollarstore:

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What's going to become of these?? Just wait and see!

Thanks for reading! =)