Homemade Sugar Cube Tins

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Is there any time in a day more important than coffee time? When we’re moaning and groaning at 6:30 a.m., hair in a nest on our heads, drool still dried onto our faces, the only thing that gets us out of our warm beds is the comfort of the glorious coffee maker.

This craft makes that coffee time a little bit more special (it’s true, that is possible!). We made our own sugar cubes and decorated little tin cans to put them in. It is pretty enough to set out on the counter and we don’t know why but for some reason sugar is much more exciting when it comes in tiny cubes! We made one batch plain and one with cinnamon and cocoa. In the future we’ll try out some new ideas such as raw sugar or adding dried mint leaves for tea.


Materials

  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon and cocoa (optional)
  • Sugar cube molds

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DIY Cactus Rock Garden

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I am all on board the succulent train. I have one on my desk, I have one on my bedside table, and I’ve managed to convince both of my parents to plant them in their gardens. They make me smile when I see them along the walls of trendy L.A. coffee shops, and I must talk myself out of buying more whenever I pass the aisle at Home Depot. You get it, I like succulents.

So this past weekend when I went over to my friend Evie’s house and saw her homemade cactus rock garden, I got very VERY excited and she kindly showed me how she made it. This craft is perfect for kids, but also perfect for 22 year olds like myself. There is something about the smooth weight of the rocks and the way you can move them around in the sand/gravel that is so therapeutic – kind of like those zen sand trays. I could rake that sand for hours.

It’s a super cute addition to a book shelf or a coffee table, and the best part is we didn’t spend a penny to make it. This craft makes me smile. So thanks Evie, you’ve brought much happiness into my week.


Materials:

  • Smooth, somewhat flat rocks (we went hunting in the neighborhood)
  • A container (we used a recycled tomato can)
  • Sand or small pebbles (we used aquarium gravel)
  • Various shades of green paint
  • A sharpie
  • A glue gun
  • Pink embroidery thread
  • A fork
  • Scissors

First pick your rocks. You want to test them out with your container so that they aren’t so big that they fall out, but also aren’t so small that they look disproportionate. We used a large tomato can, but this craft could be done in any sort of container! Evie’s original was in a cute homemade box, and my next go at this will be in a wide but shallow ceramic pot so that I can use a lot more rocks.

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Fill your container just below the rim with gravel or sand.

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Mix your various shades of green. We did a different shade for each rock (and ended up omitting the neon green rock).

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Now patiently paint your rocks. I say patiently because you must do at least two coats and you have to do both sides. It takes forever and is pretty boring. It’s like watching paint dry. hehe.

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But the wait is worth it because now you have beautiful green stones. I loved them so much like this I was tempted to just leave them so that I could just look at them and hold them from time to time.

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We used a small stone and a big stone painted the same shade to make a cactus with a branch (that sounds wrong… is there a better word for that?). We simply glued it on with hot glue.

At this stage Evie turned to me and said “now  just make your pom pom.” Like I know how to make miniature pom poms… does anyone just know how to do that? Needless to say, I had her very carefully walk me through it and to be honest, it’s quite easy and now I can confidently make mini pom poms.

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So here are the secrets. Get a cute tiny fork with a cool swirly handle (or probably just a normal fork), and wrap your thread around it until it forms a thick bundle. Next, gently weave the end of the thread through the fork tongs underneath your “bundle”. Pull it through and tie it into a tight knot around the bundle. It should look like a oddly shaped bowtie. Remove it from the fork and cut both sides of the “bowtie”. Use your fingers to spread apart the threads and voila! you’ve got a little poof.

 

Glue your pom pom to the top of one of the rocks.

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Use a sharpie with a fine tip to draw on the thorns. We used a variety of patterns to depict them, including stripes, crosses, “v”s, and little lines that look like sprinkles.

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Now you can arrange your rocks however you would like in your little garden. And then you can rearrange them when you get bored. And then do it again. That’s the beautify of this sweet little craft.

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Happy “gardening”!

 

-Kirby

Origami Valentines

king-28-of-39Does anyone else feel nostalgic about Valentine’s day from elementary school years? We miss the shoebox mailboxes that we would customize and decorate to stash our valentines. We miss the sweet little cards from our peers with funny pun notes and lollipops taped on. We miss the cookies that our teachers would bring – the kind from the grocery store with heaps of neon pink frosting and heart-shaped sprinkles. Did anyone else stress way too much over which card to give to your secret crush? It had to be subtle but send a message at the same time… not the easiest task for a 4th grader with Spongebob valentines!

Anyways, this year we decided to throw it back to the good ol’ Valentine’s days and make homemade valentines for all of our closest girlfriends. It’s a sweet reminder that we love them. The day should be about celebrating all of your loved ones, not just the romantic ones.

We opted for paper origami pyramids. They are very easy to make and are perfect vessels for peanut and peanut butter m&ms. Mmmm!

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Materials

  • Paper in various shades of pink & red
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • A ruler
  • Glue
  • Thin ribbon
  • White paper
  • A black pen
  • White thread
  • Peanut & peanut butter m&ms (or whatever small candy you prefer)

Using a ruler, draw a square onto a piece of paper. Then draw triangles on each side. It is important to measure all of your angles and sides so that they are even, or else the pyramid won’t align properly. Add a rounded edge to each side of the triangles. These don’t have to be perfect because they will be folded inwards and hidden inside of the pyramid. Now carefully cut out your shape.

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Use the shape that you’ve cut to trace and then cut out all of your other shapes. For a cuter result, use a variety of pink and red paper colors.

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Now you get to assemble the pyramids! First, using a pencil or a hole punch, make a hole at the end of each triangle. Next, fold the rounded edges on the triangles inwards, so that the shape once again has perfect triangles pointing outwards. Finally, fold at the edges of the square, so that all four triangles point upwards.

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Once you have folded all of your pyramids, use a glue stick (or just Elmer’s school glue) to glue the edges of the pyramid together. Only glue three of the sides together, leaving one open.

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When the glue has dried, cut a piece of thin ribbon to tie your bow. If you are looking down at your pyramid with the open side pointing away from you, thread the ribbon into the hole on the right side of the pyramid as well as the hole in the center. Then thread that ribbon from the inside of the left hole outward. Loop it around and back through the center hole. You should have your ribbon looped through all holes, with both ends now coming out of the center hole on the inside. This sounds confusing, but if you follow the pictures it should be pretty straight forward. Thread the two ends of the ribbon through the hole of the open wall of the pyramid.

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Now you can tie your ribbon into a bow. The ribbon holds the walls together, but when you untie the bow, the wall easily slides open to reveal the goodies you’ve stashed inside.

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Fill your pyramids with candies until they are completely full! Then close the box and tie it together with a bow. We curled the edges of our ribbon since it was the plastic kind.

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Using plain white paper, scissors, and black pen, cut out small hearts and label them with the names of the people you are giving valentines to. We punched a tiny hole in each one with a pin, but you could also use your pen to do it. Then tie the name tags to the bows on the pyramids using thread.

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Voila! Your valentines are complete. We often forget how much a simple homemade gift can brighten someone’s day, and these are the perfect way to remind your friends how much you love them.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Kirby & Michelle

Sharpie Ring Dishes

edited-5As of Christmas, I am a newfound ring owner. My mom gave me a beautiful set of three delicate rings from Armenta that I absolutely love, and weeks later I still look down at my sparkly finger wondering why I never wore rings before. Well the truth is, I lose every piece of jewelry I own, so I avoid wasting money on jewelry. As much as I wish I never had to take my rings off, I have to when I’m painting in my studio, doing dishes, or washing my face. Every time I take them off, I wish I had a secure place to put them, dreading that I will lose yet another special piece of jewelry. I began looking for ring dishes online when I decided I should make my own!

I found this set of 13 appetizer plates and decided it was a perfect opportunity to make gifts for my friends and my mom, as well as myself. While making them, I also thought of my friends Rob and Vicky who recently got engaged while visiting here in L.A., and realized that these also make perfect engagement gifts. They are incredibly affordable, yet practical and thoughtful.

Sharpie art is a Pinterest craze I’ve always been eager to try and this was the prime opportunity to do so. Once you bake your sharpie art, it won’t rub off of the ceramic plate when washed. I used metallic oil-based sharpies (the water-based ones won’t work) and decided to use sticker letters to monogram each dish, but the best part about this craft is that you can design your dishes however you’d like with whatever colors you’d like. Here’s hoping I still have my rings by next Christmas!


Materials

  • Plain small plates or dishes
  • Oil-based sharpies, or sharpie paints
  • Sticker letters
  • An oven and baking sheet

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Place your sticker or stickers onto the plate. Firmly press on them so that the sharpie ink won’t seep underneath.

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Draw your design around the letter. I chose to draw a thick stripe of tiny dots that disperse as they move away from the letters.

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Carefully peel away the sticker. If ink managed to creep beneath the sticker, use a needle or toothpick to scrape it off, or wipe it away with a bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

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Finish all of your plates before you bake them. I kept my design uniform, but customized the letters and switched from gold, to silver, to copper.

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For Vicky’s engagement gift, I wrote the first letter of her and her finance’s names (R & V) and hand-wrote their upcoming wedding date beneath it.

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Once you have finished your sharpie decorations, allow them to dry for at least 72 hours. Then place them on a baking sheet in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 425º F and bake them for 1 hour. Once you turn the oven off, leave the plates inside and let them cool with the oven. The reason for this process is to avoid cracking caused by sudden temperature change.

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When they are completely cool, take them out and they are ready to be used or gifted! I would avoid putting them in the dishwasher just in case, but the ink should be very permanent now. Hopefully my friends will use theirs as much as I will use mine! These also make great dishes to put your keys or change on, so you don’t have to be a ring person to make one.

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Happy decorating!

-Kirby

Lavender Print Thank-You Cards

_mg_7168I hope everyone had an incredible New Years Eve! I’ve been visiting my boyfriend in London for the holidays and we took the weekend to drive down to Brighton, one of my favorite beach towns. It has narrow, cobblestone shops like Diagon Alley from Harry Potter and a cool old pier with carnival games and an arcade (I’m weirdly obsessed with arcades). We rented an Airbnb with ten other friends and spent the day eating, playing games and indulging in lots of champagne. Heading back to school next week will be a very sad reality.

As I head into the new year, my first project is always to write my thank you cards from Christmas. It’s so important to show appreciation for the kindness others have shown, and acknowledging all of the love and support around me helps me enter the new year with a positive attitude. I have a lot of thank-yous this year, and I decided to make my own cards with these simple yet elegant lavender prints. Flower prints are so easy to do and so pretty. You can make them with pretty much any flowers, but I used the leftover lavender from my trip to Ojai this past summer (see my lavender sachets here).

If I could make a thank you card for every one of you that reads this blog, I would. I am so appreciative of the support from all over the world.


Materials

  • Blank cards (I used white and olive green)
  • Acrylic paint (I used purple, dark green, and lavender)
  • A gold leaf pen (I love this one here)
  • Lavender (or whatever flowers you have in the house)
  • Small Paintbrush

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Mix your paints on a thick piece of paper or a palette until you have the colors you would like to use. I chose deep purple for the green cards and dark green for the white cards.

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Using a brush, carefully dab the paint onto  the lavender until it is fully coated on one side.

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Gently press the paint-coated side of the lavender onto the front of the card. Then repeat the process until you’ve filled the card to your liking. Be sure to choose multiple stalks of lavender so that there is some variation in size and shape.

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Allow the cards to dry before you add the additional color details. I chose lavender for  the green cards and a gold for the white cards. Using a thin paintbrush, add small dots of lavender paint to the dark purple prints, and add gold details to the green prints using the gold leaf pen.

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Once they have fully dried, you can begin writing your cards!

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Happy New Year!

-Kirby

 

Fall Leaf Gift Tags

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Autumn has always been my favorite time of the year. Kickstarting the holiday season with my birthday, followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve, I’m rarely seen without a beaming smile on my face. When I was younger, admittedly, one of my favorite parts about this season had to do with gifts. I can still remember the uncontained excitement having just opened my Barbie Dream House at my 6th birthday. And whenever my parents left me alone with the Christmas tree I’d sneakily shake my gifts hoping to discover their contents.

As I’ve grown older, gifts have remained a major highlight in my holiday celebrations, but I’ve become more interested in giving them than receiving them. The act of searching for the perfect gift that will make someone smile or laugh is so fulfilling and I honestly get more excited watching others open gifts than I do opening my own.

Personalized wrapping is the best way to elevate gifts, making them even more special. These leaf gift tags are the perfect addition to any fall gifts, whether it’s tied onto a Thanksgiving hostess gift or attached to an October/November birthday present. My sister, Nicole, recently moved to Oakland with her boyfriend and these leaf tags were a nice touch to the housewarming gift I sent.


Materials:

  • Paper (I used red and brown cardstock, and white and gold striped wrapping paper)
  • Scissors
  • Gold leaf pen  (I swear by this one here)
  • Pencil/pen for tracing
  • A leaf to trace (you can print a cutout if you don’t have one)
  • Hole punch
  • Twine
  • Wrapping paper

Trace the leaf onto each of your pieces of paper, then carefully cut them out. I used three but feel free to add or remove layers depending on what you like. Stack the leaves and punch a hole near the stem.

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Add the gold details to the leaf cutouts. On the red leaf I painted half of it solid gold. Be generous with layers to avoid streaks. For the brown leaf I did a simple gold outline, which gives plenty of room to write a note for Nicole. I left the gold and white paper alone since it already had plenty of gold sparkles.

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Wrap your gift and tie with twine. Then stack the leaves once again and loop the twine through the holes before you complete the knot. I love the simple, rustic look of plain white giftwrap and twine, but the subtle sparkle and color in the leaves gives it a warm holiday feel.

 

Happy gifting!

 

-Michelle