A DIY Valentine’s Day


Happy February, friends! Valentine’s Day is coming up in less than two weeks already, sheesh! Growing up, this was one of my favorite holidays because it had nothing to do with dating and relationships when I was little…as far as I was concerned, it was craft time! OK, fine, by fifth grade it did start to be about whether or not a certain boy named Ryan liked me back (those were some agonizing days). But before that, every year, one of my teachers would come up with a clever art project for us, whether it was hand-making cards or decorating shoe boxes filled with candy and kind notes for classmates. All in all, it was just a fun excuse to make something for someone else.

So in honor of that spirit, and also because it’s been forever since I’ve touched glue, tape, paint, or anything of the sort, I thought I’d share a few fun DIY projects for the holiday. I found some great ideas thanks to Minted—a high-end stationery store specializing in paper products and wall art prints created by designers all over the world—and their adorable blog, Julep. Below, three DIY projects to gift to friends and loved ones…

1. Painted Hearts Valentine: A handmade poster cute enough to hang all year round. How-to here.


2. Disco Ball Valentine: I was just reading how a disco ball can transform your entire living space, and this would be a really cute Valentine’s Day twist on the idea. How-to here.


3. Valentine Present Toppers: Already bought a gift? Add a personal touch with these adorable toppers made from free printable designs. How-to here.


This post was kindly sponsored by Minted and their blog, Julep. Hope you love their ideas as much as we do!

A Weekend Made for You

Renegade Craft Fair

If you’re as scarily behind on your Christmas shopping as I am, this weekend was made for you — literally. Not only is it time again for my favorite craft market of the year, The Renegade Winter Market, but I’ve also caught wind of two other markets making appearances in the LA area this weekend that just might turn my Saturday into an all-out craft fest: The MiA Project Art & Performance Market, which features goods from local LA shops and the Echo Park Craft Fair, which is bound to be filled with artsy hipster finds. With any luck, I’ll avoid the mall altogether and have some thoughtful handmade gifts to show for it.

Hammock Dreams

Me napping in a hammock at the Red Sea in Egypt

All my life I’ve loved hammocks. My all-time dream is to travel to a beachy destination that stays nice and warm through the night, sleep in a hammock right on the beach and then wake up in the morning, grab my surfboard and hit the waves! I’ve had some experiences pretty close to this in Egypt and Colombia, but so far, I’m still waiting for my full dream scenario to come true. In the meantime, I’ve decided that I need to quell my hammock obsession by taking a nap in one at some point this summer (thus Summer Bucket List item No. 18). But even that poses a bit of a challenge as my apartment, while nestled in a nice little courtyard, isn’t quite set up for a permanent hammock. And my other option – sneaking into a hammock display at the local World Market store – doesn’t sound too appealing or relaxing.

So I was very excited to see this DIY hammock idea from Design Sponge, which not only gives me an excuse to buy some of those fancy towel/blanket/things I’ve been seeing around lately but also a fun way to check No. 18 off my Summer Bucket List.

Whirlwind Weekend Ahead

U.S. Open of Surfing from Nikeblog.com

You guys, there are just too many fun things happening this weekend, especially outdoors. As much as I would love to get to them all, I just don’t think it’s physically possible!

Since my Summer Bucket List says so – and I must abide – I’ll definitely be making my way to Huntington Beach (probably via bike) to see the start of the U.S. Open of Surfing. While I prefer to catch the tail end of the event next weekend when all the pros are out in full, I have something ultra important to attend to for work: our rover Curiosity is landing on Mars! (If you’re not privy to all the excitement with THAT little chestnut, watch this. And I’ll post more on how to watch all the landing excitement next week.)

Here are some of the other fun, outdoorsy things happening this weekend – and beckoning me to do some major multitasking/commuting.

  1. Renegade Craft Fair – July 28-29, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Los Angeles Historic Park, free
  2. Cinespia presents The Big Lebowski – July 28, gates: 7:30 p.m., movie: 9 p.m., Hollywood Forever Cemetery, presale reservations sold out
  3. Eat | See | Hear presents The Princess Bride and band State to State – July 28, doors: 5:30 p.m., movie: 8:30 p.m., Brentwood’s Paul Revere Charter Middle School, $10-$20
  4. Downtown Grand Park partial grand opening and National Dance Day Celebration – July 28, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.,  Between Grand Avenue and Hill Street along 1st Street, free
  5. Shakespeare Under the Stars presents As You Like It – July 25-29, 8 p.m., VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center Campus, $12.50-$20 on Goldstar

Sounds fun, right? Which one of these events or others will you be attending this weekend?
{Photo via Nikeblog.com}

Summer Bucket List #24: Learn a New Skill?

Summer Bucket List #24: Learn a New Skill

You know that part in Project Runway when someone decides to go all out with their design and get super creative and suddenly it’s one hour till deadline and all they have is half-sewn dress that looks like something Betsy Johnson would design on acid? That was me three hours ago.

I’ve always considered myself a creative person. I’m pretty good at coming up with unique concepts, putting the odd ornament or piece of jewelry together, and I can take a decent photo. But painting and drawing have never been areas where I excel. Last year, I had this great idea to paint this amazing scene from a dream I had that involved a giant red horse. So I bought this huge canvas and spent the next month drawing horses that looked like what my mom used to put on the refrigerator when I was 6  (thus Summer Bucket List item No. 15).

So I figured why not make my summer bucket list skill learning to paint! I found a 2.5 hour “CRASH” course through Hands on 3rd‘s Culver City location. And — equipped with purposely paint-splattered jeans, a friendship bracelet and a tie-dye shirt — I was ready to paint. The inspiration: Pablo Picasso’s seated woman portraits.We started off with a charcoal drawing, and I must admit, I was pretty excited about mine. It had just the right amount of Picasso-inspired elements mixed with my own ideas. What happened over the next few hours is hard to say. I know that as soon as the first bit of paint touched the canvas and I realized I couldn’t hit Ctrl-Z, I had a deep feeling of dread. And it kind of went downhill from there. In the last hour or so, though, I channeled my best Tim Gunn “make it work” moment and turned it into something … interesting. Let’s just say that the final product looked a lot better than it did at 8:15 or so.

I think I still have a long way to go in the learning to paint department, but it was a good lesson in creative humility. Here are some of the things I did learn:

  1. If you’re new to painting, keep it simple.
  2. Never look around at other students’ work while you’re painting — especially if you have the feeling yours is starting to look kind of crazy. (I made this mistake early on in the class and I don’t think I ever fully recovered, but kudos to all the other students who created some really beautiful paintings!)
  3. Just paint over what you don’t like (the caveat to this, of course, is that sometimes, it takes a lot of paint and a lot of time, which you may not always have.)
  4. Keep your inspiration and maybe some color pallets nearby. I’ve become so accustomed to clicking around on the Adobe Illustrator color wheel that I was at a loss for what to do about color when I had to make it up myself.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s all part of the learning process.

As for my future as a drawer/painter, we’ll see. I’m not giving up just yet. There still that red horse that needs painting …

Summer Lighting

© Tulipanka Photography (Glowing Jar Project - From Panka With Love}

As silly as it sounds, there’s very little that makes me more excited for summer than the thought of sitting outside under a canopy of Christmas lights with a glass of wine and good company.

I’m beginning to think that these amazing little DIY jar lights from From Panka With Love might be even better. I stumbled across them on Pinterest this weekend, and I immediately had a flashback to the summers I used to spend chasing fireflies around my grandma’s neighborhood in Indiana.

The jars sound relatively easy to make, although like one commenter said, five hours for the larger jar seems like a bit much. Even if you just stick to the small variety, these would be such a beautiful addition to any evening summer hangout, don’t you think?

{Photo © Tulipanka Photography}

Top (Hat) of The Morning

DIYable: top hat lighting - Mr. Kate

I counted yesterday. I’ve technically been to London at least six times. “Been to” is a relative term, though. So far my longest stint in London was 13 hours … overnight … during a layover on my return from Egypt. I’ve even done some sightseeing. Once on a bus from London City Airport to Kings Cross tube station, I passed by Big Ben and the Eye of London — but it was more like a scene from the Griswalds’ European Vacation than an actual tour.

That said, during my last layover there, I had just enough time to see my sister’s new apartment, grab a pastry and a coffee and discover this amazing idea: top hat lighting fixtures! How adorable are these? I spotted them at this yummy little pastry shop in London’s Angel neighborhood. So naturally, I had to find a DIY. Here’s one from blog Mr. Kate that sounds pretty easy.

A perfect souvenir from another layover in London.

{Photos via Mr. Kate}