frosted heart & star glasses

it’s coming up on valentine’s day, so everyone has heart item DIYs up. i like hearts, but i don’t loooove them, so i decided to make these frosted etched glasses with both hearts and stars.

first things first. if you have amazon prime, it is the way to go for ordering random things like “armour etch” and “painters’ tape” – items i do not normally have in my house and am not exactly sure what they are. i know, i could go to the craft store (right?) or maybe home depot to get them, but i’m scared of those places. i’ll have to get over it at some point, but right now, i’m happy to online shop so i can google what it is exactly that i’m buying and whether i’m buying the right thing.

ANYWAY. i got everything from amazon and tried to make these glasses so that my friends and i could watch the bachelor in style.

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what happened? i failed. sort of. let me explain.

things started off okay. i realized after the first glass that you need to use smaller pieces of painters tape to line the rim because one long piece wouldn’t actually make it around the rim properly. i keep typing rim and it’s making me giggle. i blame the jet lag. moving on.

i bought stemless glasses for this, which was a mistake. the stem would help make it easier to hold these suckers while applying the stickers and etching stuff. but whatever, not a huge deal.

i used stars and hearts, to end up with two glasses with stars and two with hearts. the tiny star stickers were super annoying, because you could barely apply them and then when i put the etching stuff on, that would make the points of the stars curl up, so i’d avoid tiny stickers and stickers with pointy parts at all costs.

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i am not the best designer but i was happy enough with my random assortment of stars and hearts on the glasses. then went on the etching stuff. i clearly didn’t put enough on because this is what happened when i rinsed off the star glasses.

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in case you can’t tell from the photo, there was no “frosted” on the glasses, just weird streaks of what looked like dishwasher soap that didn’t come off in the rinse cycle.

i hadn’t rinsed off the heart glasses yet, so i globbed some more insta-etch onto them, hoping to salvage them, which it did! yay! so i decided to see if drying and doing a second layer on the star glasses would help fix them and it did!! phew!*

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all in all, not a failure, even though it felt like it there for a minute. my final advice:

1) do not use glasses without stems

2) stay away from stickers that can pull up and really tiny ones as they will drive you crazy

3) don’t get a manicure before you do this, it will ruin it

4) GO TO TOWN with the etching stuff. seriously. when you think it’s enough, add more. this is no time for moderation.

in the end, the heart glasses came out much better than the stars, not because of the etching issue, but because the star points pulled up so some of them aren’t quite perfect stars. that said, i really like them both – they’re not my usual style, but a cute set of glasses to have around for sure.

*yeah, that’s a lot of exclamation points right there, but you have no idea how bummed i was at the thought of failing at my second DIY project.

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japan is adorable

okay, japan is awesome. and lovely. and full of interesting history, food and craziness. but it is also freaking cute.

“how is everything here so cute?”  was our most common question to each other in japan because everything, i mean EVERYTHING, is adorable. the buses have cartoon deers on them.

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the subway has cartoon people explaining where to go. you often wander into giant furry characters on the street.

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and the paper! fabric! pens! books! everything is either adorable or gorgeous. or both. how? no idea, but it is. i want to do research and write a paper on why it is the japanese feel the need to make everything, from maps to food to buses, so cute. i mean, there is a town full of deer. yes, DEER. that just freely roam the street, looking to be fed and occasionally biting your ass.

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CUTE. SO CUTE.

of course they have a special word for the japanese type of cuteness: “kawaii.” see? even the word is cute. i learned this while being made up to look like a 14-year-old harajuku girl, when my makeup artist kept squeeing: YOU ARE SO KAWAII. took me a while to realize it was a compliment. but of course i was kawaii, i was being turned into a harajuku girl – they may not have invented cute, but they seriously perfected it (no joke, there are actually instructions as to the cutest possible way to hold your fingers up in a peace sign for a photo, down to the degree – 45 degrees, if you’re curious).

point being, i have no idea what they put in the water to make everything so freaking kawaii, but i wanted to bottle it and bring it home. instead i just brought home a ton of fabric, yarn, stickers, washi tape, gorgeous handpainted paper and japanese whiskey, which is another story. i am set on the cute project basics for a while, although i’m somewhat at a loss at exactly what to do with all my adorable swag.

first off, i’m not quite sure what to do with the amazing paper i am now the proud owner of. check it out, it is STUNNING. there is a paper store in tokyo that has all handpainted paper and i went kind of crazy in there.

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i bought an insane amount of it because well, 1) it was so beautiful, and 2) i have issues with moderation. i mean, look at the gorgeous vibrant colors, the interesting designs…  basically i’m in love with the stuff. and i better be because it cost a pretty penny and was a pain in the ass to travel with.  but i digress. i originally bought this paper with the thought that i might make this project with paper instead of fabric. but then i went to tokyo’s version of the rose bowl flea market and ended up with a ton of gorgeous silk vintage fabric, which is basically perfect for that project. so now i’m on the hunt for a paper project that will showcase this paper better than my gift wrapping skills does.

but first i’m going to handle this jet lag. it is so not kawaii.

the bachelor

look. i’m not saying you’re missing out if you’re not watching the bachelor/bachelorette but…. you’re totally missing out.* the show is ridiculous and wonderful and awful, all rolled into a group of drunk, pretty people.

just watch the 10 most amazing minutes of reality tv ever  (from the bachelorette a few years back) and tell me that you’re not missing out.

*yeah juan pablo, the current bachelor, is kind of a homophobe, but he’s also a guy who went on tv TWICE looking for love. he obviously has major issues. but he looks hot shirtless and has a sexy accent.

knitted earflap hat

i live in LA, and oh my god, has it been insanely warm here this winter. the rest of the country is living through the polar freeze or whatever they’re calling it, and i’m turning on my a/c in the afternoons because it’s so hot. i know, champagne problems but still. i miss the little bit of winter that we usually get. why else do i have scarves and mittens and boots if not for those LA days when it gets all the way down to the mid-50s?

i’m getting a bit of winter by heading to tokyo and kyoto for 10 days. before i departed for japan, i decided to knit myself a hat since i have exactly one (cute) hat in my closet.

i made this hat (daisy chain earflap hat by knit culture). it was like, $4 for the pattern, and a less than one day project, even though i had to start over twice (first time i forgot the 14 inch length for the end of the first earflap, the second, well, discussed below). it’s a very simple, fun hat (nothing more than rows of stockingnette/reverse stockingnette in the round). plus, the daisy chain yarn is just too adorable.*

if you decide to make it, and you should, here’s a few tips:

  • make sure the earflaps are both facing the right way before you start to knit them together. i didn’t and had to restart, because otherwise one earflap was showing stockingnette, the other reverse stockingnette, which, no. not okay.
  • the pattern doesn’t tell you to cut the yarn after making the first earflap. i’m assuming that’s what you’re supposed to do and that’s what i did, but it’s confusing when you read it. do not, however, cut the yarn after the second earflap. just keep going and cast on the new stitches.
  • make the straps longer than 14 inches, or don’t be so exact with the 14 inches. i was and i wish they were a smidge longer.
  • block the earflaps when you’re done. i didn’t because i’m lazy, but i think it needs it.

i love it and i’m sure it’s going to keep me all kinds of warm in the only winter i’m going to see this year!

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*fair warning: if you start buying knit culture yarn, you will not want to stop and it will bankrupt you. all of their yarn is just so pretty and lovely and glittery, i want to make everything with it. that cozy blanket i’m making? yep, knit culture yarn. anyway, proceed at your own risk.

fringed leather wall hanging

things i learned from making the darby smart fringed leather wall hanging:

1) do not get glue on: your cat, your hands, your camera strap or your nice table. it will happen, so have a kleenex/paper towl/cat brush handy.

2) cutting strips of fringe hurts your hands after a while.

3) have some tea or coffee or wine ready to drink while you wait for the glue to dry. if you’re like me and you don’t yet trust glue, you may sit there for 20 minutes between gluing each piece of leather on to make sure it stays put.

4) no, really, don’t let your cat get glued to the leather.

okay, so this was a definitely a good beginner DIY project. everything came in this cute little box, with easy to follow directions.

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first you cut the leather so you can glue it to your sticks.

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then you let the glue dry (possibly too long in my case). then you fringe.

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then you put the different parts on the wall, using hanging tape

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and trim to your hearts content. voila!

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that said, some things to consider:

i got better at cutting as i went along. i was really nervous at first about making everything even, until i realized i couldn’t, which bummed me out. then i realized you’re not supposed to cut everything evenly, which made it all better.

i decided to use the double sided hanging tape they recommended for apartments, and i’d recommend it for apartments or houses. why? because i switched the pieces around at least 3 times, and probably will switch them around again. it would be pretty annoying to go through the process of nails/screws just to have to redo it a bunch of times. so go with double sided hanging tape, that shit is awesome.

i’m not 100% in love with my final product (i think i just need to trim it a bit more) but i’m going to let it hang for a bit before i do anything else. i do think i will love it, once i’ve figured out exactly how i want it to look, and whether it really belongs in my living room or bedroom.

all in all, i give it 5 stars for ease, 4 for final product. oh and you could totally do this while drinking (i didn’t because it was 10 am when i started), although i’d sober up for the final fringing.

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(scarlett while she was lounging on the glue. it took an hour and the loss of some fur to get it out.)

a cozy blanket

when i get overwhelmed combing through DIY projects that seem impossible to me (which seems about every time i start looking for my next project), i like to head to the knitting projects because knitting, that i can do.

when i was 23, i got horribly sick for a summer. i was unemployed, living in LA with my best friend, and pretty much a total mess. mostly i was bored, but being sick for 3 months straight, i also couldn’t do much of anything. one saturday, i went with my mom to visit my (ridiculously awesome, now 101 years old) grandma, who took pity on my bored, sick self and taught me how to knit to help pass the time. since then, knitting has been the one thing i can officially call a hobby, besides watching the bachelor and dating the wrong guys (crap, do you think those two are related?). i’ve gone through phases of knitting like a maniac, and phases of not knitting at all. before my trip to japan, my travel buddy told me she was knitting a scarf for the trip, so i decided to knit one too. and a hat, because why not?

knitting that scarf led me to want to work on a bigger knitting project. and thus began the pixie dust blanket.

my living room is kind of a mish-mash of colors, so i decided to go with snowflake in pixie dust, the sparkly white yarn from knit culture.

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this yarn is ridiculously gorgeous, i swear the photos don’t do it justice at all. it’s also ridiculously expensive. i have no doubt this blanket can totally be made for much MUCH cheaper and end up just as beautiful. i think any somewhat heavy yarn (is that worsted?) that varies in weight would work, but i really couldn’t resist the glittery white.

i started this blanket about a week and a half ago and am almost done with it (i’d be more done with it if clementine would stop posing on it). it’s super easy, fast and lovely, although the weight of it gets pretty cumbersome as you go along. A+ project for any level of knitter.

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DIY project #1: walls, walls, walls

i have a wall problem. i am terrible about buying things to put on my walls or hanging up the things i already have. generally i just ignore the fact that i have blank walls everywhere i look. i worked at my firm for six years, in the same office, and it took about three and a half years to actually hang anything on the walls.  and once i did it, i wanted to kick myself for not doing it sooner, because of course it made the office pretty and homey.

so here i am, a year and a half after moving in to my new place, and you guessed it: there’s almost nothing hanging on the walls. one mirror in the living room, that’s it.

the biggest thing that bugs me is an empty corner of wall space in my living room, because that’s where i spend most of my time hanging out in my apartment.  it’s partly my fault because the way the furniture worked out, there’s no shelving or bookcases and it’s just kind of empty. there’s one orange mirror (and some string lights leftover from my christmas party, i’m both lazy and i like twinkly lights), but that’s it. it’s a big, blank, depressing space. i honestly have NO idea what to do with it.

i also have nothing hanging on the walls in my bedroom or my second bedroom storage room second bedroom, for that matter, which is another problem. the wall of my room that faces my bed is  also large and empty, and i have no idea what to do there either. ditto to the wall above my bed.

i’m motivated, i swear, but first i need to figure out what to do with the walls, how to break up this massive amount of space, and how to make some interesting wall decor happen.

i looked at a ton of different projects to try for my entre into the DIY world. a few i considered:

  • fringed leather wall hanging (yeah it’s cheating a little because it’s a DIY project that doesn’t require me to gather all the ingredients, but i still have to make it.)
  • fabric panels (i really like this idea, but i’m wary of trying to pick good fabrics to match the space.)
  • wall art (i love the colors and style. that said, i’m not artistic at all)

i decided to go with the first one. partly because i like the idea of training wheels when it comes to DIY, but also because i genuinely think it could be cool, if not in my living room, in one of my other rooms. we shall see.