A Little DIY: Paper And Washi Tape Mousepad

023a This is what happens when I ask my mom for a mousepad. I have no idea what Korean beauty product this is advertising and the girl's cute and all, but it's not exactly something I want to see every time I use my computer. So I turned to some easy materials to spruce it up!

Mousepad by FuzzyCloudDesigns

Here are are my easy-peasy supplies:

  • A scrap of leftover decorative paper (thick, textured paper will glue down more smoothly)
  • Washi tape
  • Mod podge
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

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And here are my easy-peasy steps:

1) With a sharp or mechanical pencil, trace as close as possible around the mousepad onto the back of the paper.044

2) Cut out your paper carefully. If you cut a tiny bit along the inside of the traced line, it should fit almost exactly on top of the mousepad.046

3) Spread your paper with a thin layer of mod podge and glue onto the front of the mousepad, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles.061

4) Add washi tape in whatever color or pattern you'd like.053

5) Flip the mousepad over and trim the excess washi tape, around the edges of the mousepad.065

And you're done!

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I've been using it for a few hours now and the mouse works perfectly. It even coordinates with this art I have temporarily leaning on my desk.

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It's pretty =) But it sure does make my cheapo mouse look bad. Maybe it's time to go Mac so I can I have a sleek white computer setup like every other blogger/designer seems to have...

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Tile Inspiration at the Getty Villa

Sigh... what a magical place Getty Villa 6-1-2014iPhone 191a

Last weekend, I finally visited the stunning Getty Villa in Malibu and basically stopped and gawked every time I turned a corner. The thoughtful layout reveals different angles and views as you wander in and out of the rooms, courtyards and gardens. There are exquisite details throughout - molding, columns, carved ceilings, fixtures and the tile! Oh, the tile! Me and my toes couldn't get enough.

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My ever-patient boyfriend stopped and waited as I photographed every different tile pattern I came across but I'm sure I still missed some. I love that they took the time and effort to install a different intricate pattern in every room.

If, by some miracle, I become a gozillionaire, this is how I would spend my piles of excess money. The Getty Villa is a beautiful, free art space that will inspire and brighten for so many people over so many years. I feel lucky to have it in my backyard - if you're in LA, you should definitely check it out!

A Little DIY: Cheap and Renter-Friendly Bathroom Makeover

Time for the final reveal of my bathroom mini makeover! I say mini because I didn't make any drastic changes like wallpaper or new fixtures. But I was able to inject a lot of personality and fun into what was once a chaotic, bland mess. And I did it using almost no money and no permanent damage to the walls! Just to remind us of the before:Bathroom Before Collage

And the after!

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And since lists are all the rage these days, here are six tips and tricks for cheap, renter-friendly decorating:

1) Add impact with a hand-painted accent wall - All you need is a little bit of paint and a craft brush and you don't even have to tape off of your walls. It's so easy you can do this in stages, painting a few triangles whenever you get a few moments. See the how to here!002

 

2) Paint a canvas for a inexpensive, large artwork - Inexpensive canvas, acryllic paint and craft brushes were all I needed to create this cute piece of art. Pre-stretched canvas comes in so many sizes that you can create something that fits perfectly in your space. Also, it's light so all you need are a couple of 3M Command strips for removable, damage-free hanging. (BTW, Mr. Narwhal is supposed to be wearing a shower cap but some of my friends say it looks like a blonde toupee. Whatever floats your boat =) 001rr

 

3) Attach art directly to a builder mirror - One entire wall of my bathroom is covered with a basic builder's mirror. It's really useful but also a little boring. But, using washi tape and frames attached with 3M Command strips, I was able to add some interest that is completely removable. I used thrift store frames painted yellow, but you could also use regular picture frames as long as they're fairly light. I've had these attached for a month now and they haven't fallen down yet, so as long as your bathroom isn't steamed up for hours at a time, you should be good. 08c012 (2)

 

4) Make your storage pretty - I added some much-needed organization with these DIY containers which are made out of a cardboard box and an old tin covered in pretty paper. 0046

 

 

5) Use washi tape to dress up and coordinate - All the containers in my bathroom are mismatched, but I was able to tie them together by applying coordinating washi tape. It's an easy, cheap and non-permanent way to dress up what you have!  179050

6) Use kitchen towels in your bathroom - Think outside the box! I loved the color and print on this dish towel I found at Target so why not use it in my bathroom? It makes me smile every time I see it because it says onion which is just ridiculous. 155c007 (2)

I love how fun it is! And because everything's removable, I can always change things up if I get bored. But for now, it's a pretty happy place =)

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A Little DIY: Hand Painted Geometric Wall Pattern

216a I like to keep things simple. This happens to overlap a lot with keeping things lazy. But simple sounds better so we'll stick with that =)

I knew I wanted to add some personality to my bathroom wall and I already had a can of gray paint, but I didn't want to get out a tray and roller and painter's tape and all that. So I got a little creative. Find out what I did with a piece of cardboard, some paint and a single brush after the jump!

DIY Geometric Wall

Isn't it fun?  All I did was hold a triangle of cardbord to the wall, outline it with a craft brush dipped in paint, then fill the triangle in. I made sure to use a high quality craft brush with dense bristles that gave me a lot of control so I could get reasonably neat lines and corners. A flimsy brush will drive you crazy trying to get straight lines.

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First, I laid down a grid of larger dark gray triangles, using a level and ruler to make sure everything was lined up and straight.

DIY Triangle Wall

Then I added random smaller triangles in a lighter shade of gray. I didn't bother with ruler or level for the smaller triangles - just scattered them around for a playful dimensional effect.

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The end result is a bit imperfect, but that's the idea. I like that it's a little kooky and off the wall.  I may get tired of looking at it in a few months, but for now, I'm quite pleased with the result.

A Little DIY: A Clever Use for Flea Market Picture Frames

iPhone 023a When I lived in New York, I loved going to the Brooklyn Flea Market and spending the afternoon browsing and eating freshly-made pupusas and treating myself to dessert at the food trucks. On one trip, I spotted these carved oval frames and knew that a little paint would take them from old fashioned to happy chic. See what I did with them after the jump!

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Since they were so dark, I started with a layer of Zinsser Cover Stain - a hardcore oil-based primer that really prevents bleed-through.

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Then I followed with 3 light coats of Rustoleum Ultra Cover spray paint in the "Gloss" finish. The color? A happy, bright Sun Yellow =)

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These guys traveled 3,000 miles with me when I moved from New York to Los Angeles.  And I've found them to a really versatile decorating element - below are just three ways I've used them so far.

One - In my first Los Angeles apartment, I hung them in a cluster and the bright color and overlapping layers made for really visually interesting wall decor.iPhone 052

 

Two - In my current bathroom, I attached them to the basic builder's mirror using Command 3M Velcro Strips. The vertical display draws the eye up in a visually cohesive way and makes the tiny room look larger.  08c

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Three - Probably my favorite use: as a towel holder above the sink! I just used a small picture hook and gray yarn to hang the frame. So much more unique than a plain towel ring or bar.155c 012

As you can see, I've been having fun injecting some personality into my bathroom. A full reveal post is coming soon, I promise =)

 

Small Stylish and Functional Entryway Inspiration

Alright. I'm sick of googling "small functional entryway" and seeing this nonsense:

First of all, that ain't small. And what magical family has just two pairs of shoes and a ceramic vessel in their entryway?? I'm Korean and my roommate is Vietnamese and our entryway needs to work WAY harder than this. I'm talking Size 13 shoes (his, obviously) and mail and packages and puppy paraphernalia and a mirror and keys. Not to mention it's tiny (3.5 ft x 6 ft) and the front door swings INTO it and it all leads into a real narrow hallway.

No wonder it looks like this at the moment:082

Sad and random; somehow sparse and cluttered at the same time. In other words, FAIL. After six months of living with this disfunction, this area is next on my DIY list. And since I've never been a just-do-it kinda gal, I had to round up some helpful inspiration first.

Lots of shoe storage~~This Ikea piece doesn't fit in our entryway, but it does hold tons of shoes and the top can stash keys and coupons and such~~via IHeart Organizing 

Organized space for mail~~Mounting Ikea desktop organizers to the wall as small, functional shelves is kind of genius~~via ApartmentTherapy 011409ikea-03.jpg

Customizable, vertical storage~~Installing a shelf or rails like Ikea's Grundtal kitchen wall storage system would add much needed (albeit inconvenient for 4'11" me) storage~~via Better Homes and Gardensmm-29.jpg

Personalization~~Love the idea of using pictures to assign cubbies to members of your family~~ via Ikea Hackers

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EVERYTHING!~~This one has everything: shoe storage, hooks mirror, containers to hold odds and ends, a place to sit and a runner to provide impact~~via Apartment TherapyI need an entryway big enough that I can do this.  Maybe then Derrick won't always drop his keys and stuff on the dining table.

A little DIY: Upcycled Boxes Rescue My Bathroom

I had a problem on my hands:bathroomPicMonkey CollageSomewhere between turning thirty and pesky adult acne creeping back into my life (WHY???), my beauty products have steadily multiplied and sprawled into a disorganized chaos over the surfaces in and around my bathroom. I live in a pretty small space, so I don't have extra drawers in which to tuck these things away. And, like I've mentioned before, I'm a lazy practical girl so I want the things I use daily to be within easy reach.

See my chic solution, made mostly out of trash, after the jump! 

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Hooray for hoarding saving used containers! An old coconut water box (the BEST-tasting brand, by the way), an empty cocoa tin and some pretty paper were all I needed to craft my own storage solution. The steps are so easy, they don't even need words, just pictures:

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Now I have pretty little boxes to contain (some of) my mess!

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Using boxes lets me store things vertically and tucks things away so you see more pretty paper and less safety-cone orange. (Side rant: Why do they have to make the severe acne treatment stuff such a bright color? Who wants to draw attention to this?)

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You may notice some other bathroom beautification but that's still a work in progress so stay tuned!

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A little DIY: Rope Embellished Military Jacket

086a Last week I shared a super-duper-awesome thrift store find - a lightweight, cropped military jacket in the perfect olive green for only $10! Of course I wanted to jazz it up and considered adding jewels or studs or other such bling. But, in the end, I decided to go with some more subtle embellishment that wouldn't  go out of style.

 

See what I did after the jump!

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I used thin paracord rope that I got at the hardware store! Most hardware stores have this in tons of colors and patterns at only 20 cents per foot!!  I can't wait to use it to make some jewelry but another day, another post =)001

If you can handle basic stitching, you can do this DIY!

Step 1 - Decide where I wanted to place my rope and cut it to size.

Step 2 - Keep the cut rope ends from fraying. Some of my rope stayed pretty intact when cut and only needed a dab of Fray Check to keep it from unravelling. But, with other kinds of rope, you may need to melt the cut ends with a lighter.

Step 3 - Stitch the rope onto the jacket using matching thread.

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TADA! I've been wearing this jacket just about non-stop since it goes with everything.

See? I tried to pose for photos on a walk outside and bless my boyfriend's heart for trying but I'm terrible at it. This is why I'll never be a fashion blogger =)

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DIY Inspiration: Embellished Military Jacket

I've been searching for a dark green military-style jacket for months but could never find one that was the right color and length for my shorty self. So I was psyched when I spotted this one at a thrift store for $10!! Trust me, I clutched this baby tight all the way to the register out of an irrational fear that someone would snatch it out of my hands. 006

It's got really cute details but I thought it could use a little something to break up all the green and give it a little personality.  So I jumped on the internet for inspiration and came across some interesting options.

~I could sew on jewels like this one via Lovelyish:

 

~Or do something with fabric paint like this tongue-in-cheek take from The Casual Free Style:

 

~Or add pins for a no-sew option a la Silver:

 

~Or sprinkle on some studs like this one via toriasays:

In the end, I decided to take a more subtle route so my jacket will weather the ever-shifting storm of trends and look good season after season. I'm still working on it but really like where it's heading! And I'm using a slightly unconventional material. Check back next week to see how it turns out =)

A little DIY: Gold-Rim Bowl

Gold Rim Bowl 010a Today, a quick and easy way to make your own elegant gold-rimmed bowls, for less than the price of a venti no-whip, skim caramel macchiato! See how after the jump.

I got a couple of these little glazed bowls at CB2 for only $3 each. They were a little plain on their own, so of course, I had to put a little DIY trim on ‘em.

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I just picked up some $2 acrylic gold paint and a small brush and free-handed a wavy line around the inside rim.  The first coat looked terrible because I was painting straight onto a glazed surface, but after four coats total it got the nice opaque look I was going for.

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It’s definitely not perfect, but for $5 it does a stand-up job holding bracelets, earrings and other small bits and bobs.

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Obviously, if I could have the real deal bowl below, I'd trade in a heartbeat. But at $50 each, I'd have the bowls and nothing to put in 'em. So my DIY version filled with things I love makes me pretty happy.

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You could do this with silver, bronze or even rose gold paint to make a bowl that suits your tastes. Happy DIYing!PicMonkey Collage2 - gold rim bowl

 

A little DIY: Knitting Needle Holder

DIY Knitting Needle Holder via FuzzyCloudDesigns Blog Does anyone else see empty containers the way I do? Not as trash but as potential. I guess that's the allure of alchemy - making something useful and beautiful out of nothing. This gets me into trouble with my roommate because I'm constantly hoarding sturdy boxes and well-made containers, but eventually I find a use for (most of) them.

Take this empty Trader Joe's coffee canister, for example.ETSY Knits 067

I knew it would be good for something and later that day, when I was rooting around in my mess of a knitting bag for the fourth in a set of DPNs, it hit me. This coffee canister would be the perfect height to stash all my knitting needles. But when I threw them in there, they just tilted all over the place and my Size 15 giants just about knocked the whole thing over.

The answer to this dilemma?025Rice! Filling the container about half full of uncooked rice weighs it down just enough and keeps the knitting needles secure and upright. Sets of needles stay together so they're easy to see and easy to grab.

To make it pretty, I just knit up a quick cozy using some navy and teal yarn and "embroidered" a heart shape on the front with some of the teal accent yarn. 015

The cozy knit up super quickly (30 stitches knit circular in stockinette using bulky weight yarn and US Size 10 needles). The hardest part was getting the heart shape just right but after fiddling with it for half an hour, I decided it didn't have to be perfect. I think it looks charmingly imperfect and handmade - a fitting vessel for the instruments of my craft =)

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A little DIY: Art for the Kitchen

I know chevron has totally jumped the shark, but I still think it's adorable in small doses and especially in a happy hue. So I wanted to share this easy and cheap project that I did for the kitchen, but really you could do for a nursery or office or laundry nook or whatever. chevron art

And since you can get acrylic paint for $1 and canvases for about $5, it doesn't even matter if you end up hating chevron in a few months. Just paint over the canvas for something entirely new!

See how I did it after the jump!

The only slightly painful part of this process was the measuring, marking, taping, cutting and even some *shudder* math:

Thankfully, you don’t have to get it exactly right – for some reason, the geometric pattern is a bit forgiving even if you don’t line everything up perfectly.

Once the stripes were dry, I just free-handed some letters and (slightly wonky) utensils over the top using metallic gray acrylic paint.

Isn't it happy? A couple of hours and about $15 - not bad, says I.

A little DIY: Nightstand refresh

Before and After powers activate!Nightstand before and after PicMonkey Collage More details on this easy refresh after the jump

I found this cutie on Craigslist for $10 – solid wood and in good shape, but definitely in need of some lovin’.

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Isn't it amazing what a little paint can do? Especially lazy paint, my favorite kind. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is the best because you can slap it on over just about anything. All I did was wipe down the nightstand with a damp rag. No removing old paint, no sanding, no priming. See?

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Just one coat covers so well with no preparation. And it’s water-based so it doesn’t stink up the room. I painted in the comfort of my living room with Food Network on in the background.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is a little difficult to find (I had to order from an online stockist) and it’s pricey, but it’s worth it since you don’t have to buy primer and a little goes a long way.

To finish, I spray-painted the existing knob silver and used mod-podge to glue some pretty paper onto the bottom shelf.

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I just noticed how well that plant picks up the fronds in my bedspread, which in turn, matches the nightstand and lamp. I don't live in a magazine, I swear! It's usually much more messy up in here.

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A Little DIY: Salad Dressing

I'm a bit of a hoarder - every time I use up mustard or spices, I save the little jar. My roommate thinks I'm crazy but they're perfect for making your own salad dressing. It's so easy, I tell ya! You'll never need the expensive bottled stuff again. ETSY Knits 011

My go-to formula:

ACID  +  OIL +  MUSTARD  +  SWEETENER  +  SALT/PEPPER 

I like a squirt of mustard, a dash of sweetener, and a 50-50 ratio of acid to oil, but that's on the lighter side.  All you do is pour the ingredients into a jar and s~h~a~k~e it up to emulsify and create a smooth, full-bodied dressing. If you taste it and don' t like it, just throw in a little more of whatever you think it needs and shake it up again. It's almost impossible to screw up!

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The possibilities are endless! Just use what you have on hand. Any combination of the options below would be delicious:

Acid: Citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) or vinegar (sherry, champagne, balsamic, rice, etc.)

Oil: Olive, grapeseed, walnut, sesame, peanut, avocado

Sweetener: Sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, jam, mashed up berries

Extras: Minced garlic/shallots/scallions, chopped herbs, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds

 

A Little DIY: Rockstar Bangles

The bracelets I was rocking in yesterday's post were a pretty simple DIY. Instructions after the jump!DIY Bangle Upgrade To give ordinary bangles a little more oomph, all it takes is the help of an old friend. 

It’s that’s shiny lacing you used to braid into lanyards in middle school! All you need is this, a pair of scissors and a little bit of patience.

All you do is weave the lacing over and under the bangles like so. It’ll all feel a bit loose and wonky at first, but as you make your way around, it’ll tighten up and come together.

You may need to pause every now and then to scooch the loops closer to each other – the closer they are, the more solid the whole thing will be in the end.

When you’ve gone all the way around with the lacing, you just need to make a few sets of knots (I used surgeon’s knots) on the inside.

And you’re done!

You’ve got a stylish update to your old bangles that cost just pennies! The other bonus is that I never wore these bangles because they were too big for my puny wrists, but the lacing and the knots on the inside make the bracelet just a bit more snug. They also play quite nicely with other bracelets:

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You could make endless combinations with different bangle finishes and lacing colors – happy DIYing!