My Adventures in Orlando – Making Over My Brother’s Room!

Due to the flexibility of my schedule, I spent the past few weeks in Orlando with my little brother, which was much needed together time as I miss him terribly and he is starting new responsibilities at his job. I was glad to be there and help out with his apartment/chores so that he had one less thing to worry about.

He’s been living in that apartment for about a year now, with one of his high school friends as his roommate. For the most part, guys have a reputation for not being great decorators or paying much attention to beautifying their surroundings. My brother’s roommate has lots of flags and posters in his room and around the apartment, so in that sense there’s definitely a good amount of visual stimuli in the common areas, but my brother is another story. He’s never been one for posters or any type of decor – and to be quite honest, he’s like 0.5% handy. I’m the one that puts the furniture together, and he’s a great cook. Role reversal to the face, so take that, stereotypes!

At the beginning of my stay, I realized his room was all white walls and grey/black furniture. That was it! For my colorful self, I really couldn’t fathom waking up in that color scheme for days without going a little crazy. I needed to add something to the space, keeping in mind 100% my brother’s taste because of course I’d only be there temporarily and he would be the one that had to stare at it extensively. Aside from the lack of art, the room also needed a little love in general. The toilet seat was broken/unhinged, the shoes took up all the space in the closet floor so it was not really a walk-in, the curtain didn’t reach all the way down the window so light would get through (and my brother decided to stack some boxes in that space to block the light haha!), etc. So, I’m going to stop talking (writing) and show you how over the course of a few weeks, I transformed my brother’s room!

Room Improvement 

 

The next part was a bit tough. It’s always a challenge to decorate for a guy, because adding art while keeping the guyish vibe is a very fine line to toe around. I think I managed pretty well, see for yourselves!

Artsy Remodel 

 

Other details

 

These changes were done slowly (even though it really could’ve been done in a day) but they really completely made a difference and my brother liked and appreciated them all. I had no budget for this, so I tried to spend as little as possible, so this is a testament to the fact that a little can go a long way if you get creative and get your hands dirty!

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A Little Makeover Love for Grandma’s House

It doesn’t matter whose house I’m at or what country I’m in, if there’s an opportunity to do some little house project or craft, I’ll jump in right away. And then when there are no projects people want me to jump into, I’ll create my own.

My grandma’s house in Colombia is a second home for me, and my grandma loves when I show a little love to any corner of the house. She has two very artistic grandchildren, and since she’s a lover of the arts herself, she is all for us getting our hands dirty – but then thoroughly washing them before we touch anything else on the property.

The end of our trip was coming and my cousin and I were itching to do something and get that feeling of satisfaction over a newly completed craft. As I was pacing around the house, I realized the outside of my grandma’s house had some very pretty columns, but they were all white, and they had a lot of detail on the top, the type you see in movies or opulent architecture structures, that should be gold. And so I immediately thought to myself, this is it. This is my project. Let’s make grandma’s columns shine in the full glory they were intended to do! Also, the entire house was white, and it badly needed an accent wall. I’m notorious for pushing accent wall ideas on my mom 😛

gh-bf-3-e1512760743276.png

I picked this for the accent wall because it was small and centric enough to make an impact with little paint

So I went to the hardware store, bought a quart of gold paint, some brushes, paint thinner, and paint tape, and got to work with my artistic cousin. It took us about two days to finish the details (there were a lot), but the final result was absolutely worth it.

Now, not so fast. for our first #FixItMoment of the year: since it was for exterior work, I got oil-based paint and thinner. And since both my cousin and I were painting simultaneously, we needed to have separate containers for the paint, so I poured some for me on a disposable plastic cup. So I’m mid-painting, minding my own business, when I start feeling a liquid trickling onto my toes and I can’t figure out where it’s coming from because I keep looking up… and then as soon as I look down and realize the paint is penetrating the cup and I’m about to cover it before it spills any further, the entire bottom of the cup gives out and disintegrates and ALL of the paint plummets to the ground and sprinkles all over me. I was in shock and unmovable for a good 5 seconds until I gathered my senses and went to grab thinner to clean up the mess before it dried, but you know what I’m also notorious for? Not wearing aprons or craft-friendly clothes when I’m working on something, and I wear pretty dresses instead… long story short, I was able to clean up most of the big mess but there were some dots that got absorbed by the gravel and by my dress, and these are permanent. The ground ones are not too bad or noticeable, and on my dress there was one pretty obvious one, but knowing me, I’ll wear it regardless. Not a total fix, but #ItsHandled.

And now, for the big reveal!

And the accent wall!

What do you guys think?! My grandma was SUPER happy with the outcome and everyone that came over afterwards said what a difference it made to the overall look of the house. Another remodel in the books!

DIY Toddler Toy Chest – Jungle 1, 2, 3 Theme

I know I’m not alone in the #CrazyAuntsClub being absolutely obsessed with my nephew and wanting to give him literally everything he may possibly enjoy, and as a crazy crafter, when the chance comes along to personalize something for him, I’m always on board before I even get asked.

Before my gorgeous and perfect little monster David Alejandro was born, my mom wanted to get him (among other things) something that could be used in his room and that could last him a long time. We were at Michael’s one random Sunday, and stumbled upon a plain blue knit style chest in the basket section, which my mom thought would be useful for anything. She gave me the “can you do something with this?” look, and my eyes lit up. I went over to the paint section to buy a few colors to add to my stash, and we barely made it out of the car before I started working on it.

My brother and his wife decided to decorate David’s room with the Jungle 1, 2, 3 theme, and so my mom wanted me to personalize the chest to seem like it was part of the set. Theme? Check. Paint? Check. Canvas? Check! I started drawing right away, even though I wasn’t sure how I would tie it all together or make it work, I was just anxious to start seeing it come alive.

I started with the monkey in the front – my brother has always had a thing for monkeys and we knew that should be the predominant image. Then I went to one side and made the giraffe, and drew the elephant on the opposite panel. Even though the animals were cute, I felt they were missing something. Since the monkey looked like he was hanging from something, I started painting a branch for him, and proceeded to make a full blown tree run along the whole chest. Looking at the front, I realized that the panel on the top lid had enough tiles to fit his first and middle names, with spaces and everything! I went into my bag of wooden letters, jumped of excitement for having the ones I needed, painted and glued them on to make it even more stimulating for David.

To finish off, the Jungle 1, 2, 3 set only has those 3 main characters, but I saw a couple of other interpretations of the theme with more animals like lions, zebras, birds, etc., so I thought it would be a nice complement to add the lion on the lid. It fit in perfectly:

Top Lid

Top Lid

And that’s it! I’m super proud of how it came out. I did 2 or 3 coats for each of the characters since the fabric absorbs a lot of the paint, and it really looks like it’s part of the original set.

Finished Product

Finished Product

My brother and his wife have used it in a couple of different ways, first for his clothes, and most recently it became his Toy Treasure Chest. It warms my heart to see him playing with it – he lives in Colombia so it’s mostly through FaceTime or videos – but he just looks SOOO cute next to it ❤

David Alejandro getting some thorough use from his toy chest <3

David Alejandro getting some thorough use from his toy chest ❤

I know for a fact that lots of aunts and moms out there go crazy crafting for the babies and toddlers of the house, and I would love to see some of your work! Comment below and link back to your blogs if you have them up 🙂

My life revolves around maps… Canvas Travel Map DIY

I think at this point it’s pretty clear I have a thing for maps and lists, right? But since pretty much all of this obsession has yielded multiple DIY projects I’ve accomplished with massive discounts, I’m going to give myself a pat on the back and call it a day. Cool? Cool.

Do you remember WAYYYYY back in the day when Facebook had a map functionality (which I’m sure it still does, it’s just not “trending” right now) where you could input all the places in the world where you had been and also see what percentage of the world you friends had traveled? Well, this definitely sparked my interest in having a more tangible version of this that I could look at to inspire my wanderlust bucket list, and also would make me feel happy bringing back memories while looking at the places I had been before.

Making this happen took quite a while because as usual, when you have such a strong vision of something you want it’s either super expensive, or it doesn’t exist. In my case, I really wasn’t keen on paying more than a certain amount for something I knew I could make happen for a much lower cost, so I started the hunt!

THE MAP

The first item I was looking for was an actual canvas map of decent size. It’s funny because this was actually MY VERY FIRST GROUPON PURCHASE!! Throwback! #TBT… Now I don’t know about you, but Groupon is definitely one of my top go-to sites/apps when I’m doing research on an item because it usually has some pretty good offers, and this was a great deal to this day from what I’ve seen. Anyways, at the time, Groupon was offering this great deal on canvas maps that were originally close to $80 for just $19.99 + free shipping. I chose the earth-toned unframed map (no longer available) because I wanted the map to be on a cork board so I could stick pins on the places I’d visited. The Groupon was as easy as buy, choose, order! I was very excited when my map came in, and it absolutely fit the vintage-y vibe I was going for.

THE FRAME

After finding the map, it spent a couple of years rolled up waiting for a cork board that fit the size, had the right framing, and of course, was pocket-friendly. One day while I was at Jo-Ann looking for god knows what, I stumbled upon this cork board that looked like it would be a good fit for the map, and it was on clearance! I wasn’t sure about the measurements, but I took the plunge and bought it. To my great delight, it fit it ALMOST perfectly. Isn’t it the best when you stumble upon what you need when you’re not looking for it? YES! Yes it is! Now for the “almost” perfect fit part – the map actually has a cute border design, but it went a little over the frame on the cork board. Not to worry though – pair of scissors enter stage right and bam! I cut off the bottom border and glued it on top of the canvas so it’s still there and now the map fit perfectly! You can’t even tell it’s cut & glued unless I told you.

THE REST

I glued the edges of the map (not the middle so it wouldn’t make the canvas too hard for the pins) to the cork board with some Beacon 527 Multi-Purpose Glue , which is literally my life and soul. I love that freaking glue! And then I wanted the map to kind of look like “dropping a pin” in real life, so I bought some red Loops & Threads Long Pearlized Pins at Michael’s, and started pinning away my prior travels. My map looks like it got chicken pox all over North & South America (and a tiny bit in Europe) and I love it! I’m doing my best to keep spreading the red all over 😉

WCB DIY Travel Map 1

Chicken pox hitting hard in the western hemisphere!

THE MATH 

Map = $19.99

Frame = $11.99

Pins = $4.99

Glue = $2.50 (coupons!)

TOTAL: $39.47

The WHOLE project is up and running for under $40! And it will of course be a beautiful addition to my beloved Craft Room 🙂

WCB DIY Travel Map 2

Dropping a pin on my most recent and unforgettably amazing trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco ❤

Saving the Day When a Project Goes Wrong! Record Player Decoupage

Confirming once again that I was born in the wrong decade, my latest acquisition: a Record Player. While going to thrift stores to try and not break the bank while furnishing and decorating my craft room, I found a few second hand vinyl records and the nostalgia got the best of me. I wanted to know what it was like to play an acetate record and hear for myself the difference in sound that comes with a turntable needle. A trip to New Orleans and discovering the sounds of old Jazz might also have something to do with this new old obsession of mine, but I digress…

Since this record player is going in the Craft Room, I’m being extra disciplined with the color scheme as promised. I found this not-too-expensive record player on Amazon, and I bought it in pink but I planned on re-painting it because it’s not the right shade. I have a tendency to be overridden by a million ideas and then things don’t turn out as I expected because it might not have been a great idea OR I do something clumsy… And this was one of those times.

WCB RP 1

Poor innocent record player… Did not know it was about to be completely re-done

Unlike with the typewriter, I decided to paint the record player regularly. First mistake. Not really sure what would’ve happened if I had spray painted it but the point is, the whole painting thing did not work out. The material just wasn’t absorbent enough and it kept leaving tracks no matter what tool I used (brush, sponge, etc.) or how many coats I did. See Exhibit A:

WCB RP 2

Total fiasco. At this point, I felt like I had already messed up the whole thing and I couldn’t go back in time and ahhhhh why did I have to do this?! But, I had done it and I had to fix it. But how could I… LIGHT BULB – Yes I can! Decoupage! Duhhh! I could cover up the damage AND hopefully make it look cooler. Could I really make it better? I sure would try. In keeping with my weirdness and obsessions, I decided to look up newspaper images from big past events, like the fall of the Wall of Berlin, Pearl Harbor attack, iconic historical figures/artists’ deaths (Marilyn, Michael, Hitler, etc), print them out and cover the record player in them, taking the color scheme out of the equation and making it more about the nostalgia and vintage aspect.

Surprisingly and fortunately, this worked out better than I expected. It was hard to work around the edges and metal embellishments that came with the record player, but with a lot of patience and a trusty exacto knife, I not only fixed the mess I made, but I was actually happier with the alternate ending!

Give a crafter some mod podge and some paper and in the blink of an eye you won’t recognize anything around you…

WCB RP 3

 

And for the final result… Drum roll!

I LOVE it. I really do. It’s something completely unexpected, but I couldn’t be happier with the turnout. It’s funky, it’s different, it’s perfect for the vintage vibe I’m into, and most importantly, it’s unique 🙂 It even looks cool wide open –

WCB RP 7

 

People don’t tend to see me when I mess up because I craft alone 99% of the time, but actually this happens to me A LOT. At this point I try not to panic and just find a different way to make it happen and for the most part it tends to works out. Have you messed up a project and found a way to fix it? Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: after buying the record player, I spoke to a friend who told me that unfortunately these Crosley record players have a bad rep for scratching records and messing them up, so I cannot recommend this buy. I stopped playing my records on it just in case until further notice.

Six-Step Picstructions – Map Scratch Off DIY

Going to start this post giving you a glimpse of my current state:

Meme - I haz excitement

So much excitement! Even though it’s a small little DIY project, I had this idea a LONG time ago and it kept jumping up in the back of my mind for me to do it, so I finally made it happen and now my brain is jumping for joy for checking this off my to-craft list 🙂

Long story short, ever since I opened my Etsy store I get massively excited with every new order, and I still can’t believe I’m doing this. When I first opened it, I told no one, listed two items, and just let the Etsy SEO do its thing, so picture my shock when I got my first order less than a week later! Then, orders slowly started coming in from all over the country and that’s when the idea struck: “I would love to have a cool way to check off every state from the US that I get orders from – and my ultimate goal is to cross off ALL of them! I need a scratch-off map!

I looked into scratch-off maps online, but I couldn’t find any that I liked, and the ones I did find were pretty expensive, so of course, I decided I wanted to do it myself. Which brings to mind this VERY accurate crafter reality:

why buy it

In my defense, I already owned everything I needed for this project and there was no additional expense incurred and no animals were harmed in the making of this craft 😀

So here we are, time to list the materials and Six-Step Picstructions to making your very own Scratch-Off Map!

Materials:

– Desired Image (I used this map of the US)

– Photo Paper (bought this HUGE Kodak ream off Amazon)

– Printer

– Laminating machine + pockets (I’ve owned this Purple Cows laminator for forever, also from Amazon)

– Fabric “puffy” paint (I used Tulip brand “Blazin Blue”)

– Silver acrylic paint + paint brush

– Dish Detergent

Six-Step Picstructions

I’m SUPER SUPER SUPER happy with how the map turned out, and so far I have 17 states scratched off (Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – East Coast representing strong, but a lot of sales are coming from California so the West Coast has a great presence too!) PS: Hawaii and Alaska are in the back of the page, also ready to be scratched off!

I can’t wait to keep scratching off each state, plus it will make a nice addition to my craft room, and it also came with a bonus US geography refresher for me 🙂 This could also work great as a learning game for kids!

Here is the map with all of the current sales states scratched off as of today’s orders, can’t wait to see all the colors out in the open:

What DIY project has been in the back of your mind lately? What “push” do you need to make it happen?

Project Craft Room – Details: Vintage Typewriter

Not too long ago, I got bit by this bug that left me permanently changed: the vintage bug! Sounds funny, I know, but the truth is I’m not really sure how or where it came from, but I became OBSESSED with everything vintage. I’ve always been told I’m an old lady, so it actually kind of makes perfect sense.

Anyhow, my bff Pinterest has helped grow and cultivate my love for the vintage vibe resulting in my “Vintage Bug” virtual pinning board, from which I’ve been drawing inspiration for my craft room remodeling since one of the characteristics of vintage items is pastel colors, and my craft room color scheme matches that to the t. I’ve been thinking of my craft room not only in the context of a home office, but kind of like how guys think of man caves, and I want to make sure the room contains items that are unique to my taste and that make me excited to be there.

One of the vintage items I’ve been most interested in acquiring is a typewriter. Yes. In the peak of the age of technology, miss cavewoman over here is regressing several decades. For me, typewriters have a sentimental value because my mom always tells me about her first jobs where she used to work with them, and I remember seeing her working on one when I was very little.

Now, as I mentioned on my previous craft room entry, I’m holding myself accountable to the color scheme of light teal/white/pale pink no matter what, and it would be AMAZING to have a pale pink typewriter as an accent piece in the room. Problem is, pink typewriters are very very VERY scarce, and extremely expensive, like in the $350 neighborhood. But, I’m determined!

I found this 1950-something blue consul typewriter on eBay from an antiques shop for less than $40, and since it’s a local seller I was able to arrange for pick-up instead of paying for shipping! “But, it’s blue!” you may say, and you’d be right… Except for the fact that I turned this into a crafting opportunity 😀 I’m turning this bad boy pale pink with the help of some spray paint!

See below the process of protecting the keys, and the final result!


I’m so so so happy with how it turned out, and the special touch it gives my craft room. I bought a new ink ribbon for it on Amazon which works perfectly, and the best part is my mom has shown me a couple of tricks to use it and definitely brought the nostalgia aspect I wanted 🙂 Do you like how it turned out? Do you have any items you wish you could paint over?