Oh [Mini] Christmas Tree!

I absolutely LOVE Christmas, December, the Holidays, everything related to this time of year. Unfortunately, my family doesn’t feel the same excitement, so the past few years it’s fallen completely on me to bring the Christmas cheer to my house. I believe the last Christmas tree I put up was in 2013, but that’s also because I haven’t spent the holidays at home the past few years, so it didn’t make sense to put up a tree if I wouldn’t be here to light it/take care of it if it were real. Last year I hosted Friendsmas and tried to make up for the absence of a tree with the decor, which I think I got away with. This year, I will most likely not be home for Christmas or New Years, but I did want to have at least a bit of holiday cheer at home. Let’s get to work!

I bought a small white tree a few years ago when I was still working at an office to put up in my cubicle, and had mini ornaments in the colors that were “in” that year – purple, teal/blue, pink and green. I used that same tree last year at Friendsmas for the gift table so there was at least some semblance of the Christmas staple present, with a few red ornaments. This year, the obsession with rose gold has been extremely real, but my search for mini ornaments in that color had very little results… Until I remembered, “hey, I’m a crafter!” I found one set of mini ornaments from Target that were a metallic color scheme that included “caramel, silver, and gold,” and I decided let’s make this right. Since the pack was only $3, what did I have to lose?

I ordered the ornaments as well as a gold star topper online and went to pick them up at the store. I have gallons of rose gold paint at home working on items for my best friend’s bridal shower/bachelorette/wedding, so I needed nothing else. I got creative with my placement of the items to spray with color, and got to work! I let everything dry for about an hour before touching it, decorated my mini tree, and placed it on my kitchen table. Voila! A little bit of holiday cheer is here, and Mariah Carey is on all day. I love December ❤

Last but not least, I found this set of copper string lights at JoAnn that were down from $19.99 to $11.99, and now my little tree is properly LIT! 😉

Advertisements

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!

New OBSESSION: Mr. Kate!

Oh. Em. Gee. you guys! I just found the deepest YouTube black hole I’m about to fall into head first, and possibly never come out of. Most people don’t know this about me, but I spend a good amount of time on YouTube, half as a hobby, and half as work/research. Since I work in social media, I’m always trying to study the trends and see how we can implement whatever the kids want to see these days (hello, am I 80 yet?), but I have also inadvertently gotten invested in the lives and success of many of these digital influencers, and counting. And it’s all because of Jenna Marbles.

My top YouTuber to watch for more than a year now is Lilly Singh, aka iiSuperwomanii, who has a comedy/skit based main channel, and a second daily vlog channel where she shares a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in her life and work, and aims to motivate her viewers to hustle hard as we watch her do every day. Now, because of Lilly, I’ve come across many other creators and I have gotten attached to a few of them, but none have taken my heart and eyes by storm as much as Mr. Kate. An interior design/decorator, Kate Albrecht and her partner Joey Zehr aim to transform pretty much any space they walk into within a very short amount of time, and with all the unexpected twists and turns you can’t imagine. I consider myself a pretty creative and hands-on DIYer and handyman when duty calls, but Kate is simply fearless when it comes to juxtaposing textures, colors, materials and even multiple tastes into a single space.

mr-kate-youtube

Kate and Joey, no better DIY Demolishing Duo out there!

Lilly hired Kate to style her bedroom and her home office space, and it was simply love at first sight for me. The magic of Kate – besides her super charming and electric personality, her positive disposition, and boundless creativity – is that when you see each detail she is bringing into any space, there’s almost a speck of doubt “will this actually look good/cohesive with the rest of the stuff?,” and then you get to the end clip where they show the finished work, and you just have to scold yourself for ever having doubted Kate in the first place. She is INCREDIBLE and I can’t get enough of her. I immediately started back-watching everything she had ever posted, which is a lot of content and she has it broken up into series for our convenient viewing. Some of my favorites include:

  • O.M.G. We Bought A House! – a (so far) three-season style show on YouTube, with a format that EASILY competes with anything you can find on traditional TV and the likes of HGTV, where Kate and Joey purchase their first home, and do some serious remodel of every single nook and cranny of a decades-old house.
  • O.M.G. We Are Coming Over! – also known as O.M.G. WACO, taking the original OMG to new heights and places, as Kate and Joey style or remodel the homes/rooms/work spaces of mainly “digitally famous” people who much like themselves, found an online following. This one is a dangerous series, as Kate acts as the funnel to introduce me to many other creators I had no idea existed and now how am I supposed to ever get out of bed from watching so many people?! My favorite part of this one is seeing how Kate really absorbs the personalities and preferences of each of her Creator Customers, and creates a space that they could’ve never in a million years build for themselves, because we all have our strengths, but no one decorates like Kate.
  • Breaking Beige – a shorter series that showcases Kate and Joey making over smaller spaces where regular Joes and Janes suffer at the hands of incredibly monochromatic color-schemes in their homes, and Super Mr. Kate comes to the rescue to break them out of their beige cages and bring color and life into their homes.

All the shows are so well-done, and take full advantage of the season/show format YouTube offers like little other channels do. Kate has a clear vision, and the style of the shows is undoubtedly just as good, if not solidly better than whatever you can find on TV. It’s all really, REALLY well-executed.

I thought about adding pictures to this post of a few beautiful rooms Kate has created, but I simply can’t do that to all the other rooms. You just have to see for yourself! Also, the Mr. Kate channel is just about to cross the One Million YouTube Subscribers mark, so if anyone is looking for a new channel to watch endlessly, I can’t recommend this one enough!

Basically, if anyone needs me for the next couple of months, I’ll be binge-watching Mr. Kate until I can get through all of her videos and take in every gram of the fabulousness Kate has to offer.

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!

Roller Shutter… More Like Roller Brusher Stunter!

I don’t know if this is the correct terminology for this – I looked it up and it seems to be contradicting across the board – but do you know stores in certain cities/countries have these rugged metal gates you roll up and down to open or close the establishment? Same concept as the door of a storage unit. Well, I don’t know if this is the publicly accepted name for it, but from what I saw, I liked “roller shutter” best, so that’s the name for the rest of this blog.

At the end of my Colombia trip for my grandma’s epic 80th birthday party, my brother asked my artistic cousin Jhonathan for help in blowing up the design of his new fast food joint logo, and painting it over the roller shutters of the place. He also asked for some additional artwork on the walls that reflected the available menu items. Since this was near the end of our stays (as Jhonathan lives in Bogota and my family is in another city named Santa Marta), Jhonathan enlisted my help to try and finish quicker – or quite honestly, just finish on time.

The main design for the restaurant named “El Chamo” (a Venezuelan slang word similar to ‘dude’), is this trippy casual guy, minding his own business but also letting everyone know there’s awesome food including shawarma at this place. But before we got to him, we started off “easy” by drawing and painting stuff like chicken wings, bowls of soup, arepas, wraps, eating utensils, etc. on the walls all around the building.

As you can see, the wall they were painted on had a thick corrugation, so these weren’t easy to paint – and we didn’t have great brushes either. But creative people shine when they have to make do with what they have, so we did! We also got help from our other artsy cousins Lizette & Karen, and we got through most of the walls in a few hours.

But now, the big piece. The Chamo logo on the super-mega-corrugated, not-a-single-flat-spot roller stunter… which made it literally the roller coaster of all painting experiences. That’s why I named this “roller brusher stutter,” because not a single stoke went by without a little bump or slide. It was challenging and we had to go slow because if we went too fast we could distort the image a little too much, and so this was way more time consuming than doing the whole wall. Without any further ado, here’s live and in color, El Chamo himself!

If you’re like me, you’re also horribly focused on the fact that that zipper looks a little odd. I know. Throw us a bone. It was really hard to draw on that surface and fixing it wasn’t much of an option. Also, look at that skyline! I can’t put into words how frustrating that was to draw/paint. Did I mention we actually had to do another Chamo guy on another of the roller shutters? Oh yeah…

This one was just half of the body because it was a half gate, so I guess a little easier, but still. Doing this twice? I don’t wish it on an enemy…

After all was said and done, my brother was very happy with the end result and my cousin and I were very proud of our work. He did the bulk of the hard parts drawing almost everything in pencil, and I mostly followed his outline with the paintbrush, so I did have that to my advantage. But I did do some drawing of my own

Here we are, proud artists and our work!

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.

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?