Happy holiday season everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve last posted so I’m extra excited to be sharing my latest creative endeavor with you. Each year all the women in my family get together for a festive Christmas dinner and gift exchange. This year I decided to take the DIY approach and create these super cute yet useful tea trees! Relatively easy and very price conscious, these trees were a big hit for minimal effort. To recreate the look, you’ll need a handleless mug, a styrofoam cone, approximately 30 tea bags, a hot glue gun, and a fun tree topper. Starting at the base of the cone, use a small amount of hot glue across the top of each tea bag and attach to the cone. Work your way around the base, slightly overlapping the bags to insure the cone does not show through. Continue adding tea bags up to the top of the cone and finish off with your chosen tree topper. To affix the mug base, cut a separate block of styrofoam that fits snugly inside the mug and glue to the underside of the cone. For added visual interest, use a variety of differently colored tea bags. And that’s it! Thanks so much for reading, happy holidays everyone!
Woodworking Project #2: Nail Polish Cabinet
I hope everyone is having a fun summer! I decided to take advantage of the long 4th of July weekend and tackle my 2nd woodworking project: a custom-built cabinet to house all of my nail polish! While I don’t consider myself a “girly-girl”, I have always enjoyed painting my nails and thus have accumulated quite the collection over the years. The building process went fairly smoothly. I began by cutting all of the pieces to size (hooray for using a miter saw for the first time!) and pre-staining them a trendy weathered grey. After that, the piece came together quickly. I constructed the cabinet and door separately, added the stainless steel handle and glass inset, and finished the piece off by attaching the door with 2 profile hinges. Interested in building your own? Adapted build plans can be found here courtesy of ana-white.com. Happy building!
DIY Retro Overnight Bag
Hi everyone! This month I decided to dedicate a free weekend to creating this super cute retro overnight bag. As I was searching Etsy for the perfect sewing pattern I came across Swoon Patterns, and I’m so glad I did! Swoon Patterns are awesome. They offer digital downloads of their 45+ handbag patterns, which are easy to print and assemble. The instructions, compared to standard pattern instructions, are very clearly written and include detailed illustrations, which made constructing this bag an absolute delight. But my favorite part of Swoon Patterns is their awesome community of sewers on their dedicated Facebook page. Here you can get inspired by photos of finished bags by other users, get any questions you have answered, and take comfort in the fact that you are not the only person spending your entire paycheck at Joann (haha). This was my first time working with piping and foam interfacing, and I must say, I think these details really take the bag to the next level, adding both polish and stability. At 17″ wide, it’s a great size for day trips, a carry-on, gym bags, etc. Interested in making your own? You can download the pattern here. Happy sewing!
My First Woodworking Project
Hi everyone and happy February! I am so excited to share my latest project with you. I have always had an interest in woodworking, but never really pursued it. After receiving a jigsaw as a gift this past Christmas, I was extremely motivated to finally put this interest into action. While a fairly basic first project, I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of constructing this art piece. The process was smooth. I started by trimming 4 boards down to size and connecting them via 2 vertical braces along the backside. I then used the jigsaw to cut out the silhouette of my dog, Ace. I finished off the piece by sanding down the rough edges, using hammers and chains to distress the wood, and adding a rich walnut stain in varying shades to really bring out the wood’s character. I enjoyed this project so much, I’ve already got a list in my head of woodworking projects I want to tackle in the future! Thanks for reading!
Book Review: Burn Your Portfolio
Hi readers! I came across this book unexpectedly at my local Barnes and Noble and have been wanting to share it with you ever since. In a nutshell, Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, But Should, recognizes that it takes a lot more than a design school degree and a killer portfolio to succeed as a creative professional. Written by Michael Janda, owner of the design firm Riser, this book spews out a ton of real-world advice in a relatable and funny tone. With chapters focusing on relationship building, managing difficult clients, effective production processes and more, Burn Your Portfolio opened my eyes to the many working parts of the design industry beyond stellar knowledge of Adobe CC. While I highly recommend giving this book a read as it is jam-packed with far too much knowledge for me to share with you, I will include a few of my favorite tips that I highlighted as I read. Enjoy!
- “Teamwork, client skills, communication, social aptitude, production speed, and business savvy all play a GIGANTIC part in what will make you successful as a graphic designer.”
- “…your friends will willingly and freely market your business, so it would serve you well to make a lot of friends”
- “You want to be a graphic designer? That means you’re a designer, a writer, a programmer, a photographer, and sometimes an illustrater…you often have to fill the holes left by your client’s inability to deliver necessary assets.”
- “Bad FPO image usage can scar a great design and keep a client from recognizing the greatness behind a comp…”
Sew Fun Tote Bags
Hi everyone and happy December! I’ve just about wrapped up all of my holiday shopping and thought I would share two of my favorite gifts to give this year. Perhaps selfishly, (I have been dying to dust off my sewing machine and get back in the sewing swing), I decided to make some fun and floral tote bags for a few of my family members. The bags were super easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and I loved roaming the aisles of Jo-Ann searching for the perfect fabric pairings based on my recipients’ individual personalities. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the few hours I got to spend working on them, the recipients equally loved the homemade aspect and special touch. Happy Holidays!
Diet Coke Cake
Hi everyone! Hope you are all having a great summer. I’m back with another cake post, this time for my dear old mom’s birthday. This year’s inspiration comes from my mom’s slight addiction to Diet Coke, and while I’m not saying I condone her obsession (I have been trying to get her to lay off that stuff for years) I had to admit that it would make a pretty awesome cake. I started off by pouring melted dark chocolate into an empty Coke bottle, using it as a mold to create the exterior shell. Once the chocolate hardened, I peeled away the plastic bottle and filled the chocolate shell with layers of Coke flavored cake and frosting. Reapplying the label and bottle cap were the perfect finishing touches to this deceivingly delicious cake.
Valentine’s Cupcake Bouquet
Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you had a pleasant holiday. This flower pot cupcake bouquet is something that I had been wanting to try out for a while. It is super easy, makes a great gift, and can easily work for a variety of occasions including baby showers, birthdays, get well gifts, etc. All you need is a standard terra cotta pot, a foam ball that sits nicely atop the pot, approximately 18 cupcakes, toothpicks, and some tissue paper. Simply attached the cupcakes (without frosting) using toothpicks to the foam ball. Frost the cupcakes and complete with green tissue paper to disguise the remaining foam from showing. That’s it! Now share with friends and family!
Hello everyone and happy November! I am very excited to be moving into the holiday season. This year I was determined to start my Christmas shopping early in an attempt to avoid getting overwhelmed at the last minute. As I was strolling the mall this weekend I came across this amazingly detailed hand-carved door. I love the floral pattern and natural wood finish and would love to be able to have something like this in my home someday.
Hello everyone and happy October! I’m back at it with another cake post, this time for my Grandma’s big 8-0. I wanted this cake to be different from any of my previous cakes so I took a more traditional approach. I learned a new quilting technique which turned out to be super easy to do and looks so beautiful and understated. I also made the cake topper myself after being inspired by similar designs I had seen online. I was pleasantly surprised by the finished product and my Grandma loved it too 🙂