Category Archives: DIY

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

11

For the first time in ages, I woke up on Tuesday and declared it a sick day.  I’ll spare you a detailed list of my ailments and just say that this lady bear needed some hibernation. I passed out until around 11:00 and even then felt like I was lingering in a sniffly fog.

12
Once found the energy to meandered to the kitchen where I proceeded to drink my body weight in Detox Tea from Perk & Pearl. I don’t know what is in there (yes I do: ginseng, ginkgo, and spearmint) but it is lovely.

13

And then, because I was home, I decided to decorate for Christmas. So I tied a ribbon on Fern and coaxed Little Fox to stand beside it and look pretty and then declared the job done. And look how much bigger our Christmas Fern is this year than last year!  Growth. It’s a beautiful thing.

14

Then, because I promised I would, I shot a tutorial for making the Fiction Feathers we made for our AU Takeover at Oxfam Bookshop on Sunday (which, by the way, was so. much. fun. But I caught Shopgirl Fever real bad and now all I can think about is owing my own store!). I’ll be posting it to Artists Unveiled soon.

15

See? Cute. I think I’m going to make a Fiction Feather garland and hang it somewhere. Maybe above our headboard… Yes, definitely above our headboard.

16

When I am sick, there is nothing I love more than a steaming bowl of potato leek soup. Magically, I had all the ingredients on hand so I chopped and peeled and simmered and boiled things in a big pot.

17And then I sat on my sofa with a steaming bowl of soup in and watched White Christmas before going to bed.  Divine!

So that’s pretty boring, but there you have it. A sick day! (I’m feeling much better now, thanks for asking.)  I hope you have a wonderful day, dear reader, and remember to take care of yourself! xx

So Fresh & So Green Green

Let’s be real- the closest I will ever come to having a baby is having my mint plant.  I mean, I have a cat, which I suppose is more like a baby than a plant is considering it’s a living, breathing organism that pukes a lot and always needs to be fed, but the cat is more David’s than it is mine so the cat is his baby.  The mint plant, however, is mine all mine, and she is GINORMOUS these days!  (I’m an excellent mother, what can I say?)

Over the weekend, I decided my plant- who from this point forward will be referred to as Bernadette- needed a new home to stretch and grow her roots, so I turned an old paint can into a planter and adorned it with ribbon (many thanks to Brent for the pretty chevron ribbon!).  I can already tell that she loves her new home and both of us are super happy.

Other than painting my bathroom, replanting Bernadette, crying, and cleaning, all I did this weekend was watch the Olympics.  While the Olympics are obviously super inspiring, they also make me feel fat, old, and really under-motivated.  Like, there are people with blades for limbs who are running 400m sprints in way less than a minute while I have two perfectly normal legs and complain when I have to walk up stairs while carrying groceries.  Not hot.  So, last night as I stuffed myself with chips and salsa whilst watching the Athletics, I decided that I’m going to start making a couple changes in my life.  Changes that will help my posture, healthily allow me to release some stress, and become a little more of a superhuman.  I mean, nobody’s going to give me a gold medal for anything I do, but if I do it right, maybe I’ll be able to buy myself some diamonds or a car, or something.  Though I definitely don’t want a car in this country unless I have a full-time driver, too.  Driving on the left hand side of the road scares the shit out of me…. for realz.

Anyway, I hope you find it within you to become a better superhuman, too.  Together, let’s rule the world!  xoxoxo

Top Secret Inspiration

I’m working on a new project that has me thumbing through the illustrations and photos I loved as a child and some of the imagery that has really impacted me over the years.  I don’t do Pinterest boards (I see the point, but loath the photo “sharing” policy and attitudes of most pinners) but I do make my own inspiration boards for big projects.  I often gravitate toward things I can physically interact with, especially in the early stages, and I’ll often touch, feel, and smell things before photographing them and adding them to my personal inspiration board/thing.  Here are just of the few things that are currently lighting my fire, in order of appearance:

  1. My typewriter, which holds such a special place in my heart! It’s an Olympia from the 1960s with a script font and color scheme that makes me weak in the knees.
  2. Stamped letters (hand stamped with watercolor paint by moi).
  3. Chris Ware‘s witty cover illustrations for the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Voltaire’s Candide.
  4. A random photo I cut out of a magazine (or something?) while in college. I have a major soft spot for rose prints.  THEY’RE JUST SO PRETTY!
  5. A couple notecards from Henry Horenstein‘s stunning Animalia collection that I bought at the Harvard Museum of Natural History once upon a time.  I’ve been obsessed with that jellyfish print for years!
  6. Quentin Blake‘s images for Roald Dahl.  His style is simple yet masterfully expressive. 
  7. As a girl, Mary Poppins was everything I wanted to be when I grew up and still to this day I try my best to be practically perfect in every way. These simple line drawings by Mary Shepard take me right back to the ginormous plaid armchair I spent so many days nestled in reading as a child.  I love Mary Poppin’s gangly figure and always-rosy cheeks.  Perfection, indeed!

As this project moves forward, I’ll be sure to share more inspiration and snippets with you. Until that day comes, I will be laboring away like a madwoman!

Cox Quarters DIY: Paint It Black

Ever since I was sixteen and living in Brussels, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a black kitchen.  The idea sparked when I first visited L’Atelier en Herbe in the Sablon, which is a beautiful flower shop that is completely painted matte black.  The flowers dramatically pop against the dark background and I remember thinking how beautiful an eggplant, leek or strawberry would look in a kitchen with black walls. 

Fastforward eight hears and I finally have it- my very own black kitchen!  And though we have a few spots to touch up and some finishing tweaks to make, I can say with much certainty that I am obsessed with my black kitchen.  It is so sleek and warm, so dramatic and clean.  I am in l.o.v.e.

See how the colors just pop!  So cool.  
This is the first major overhaul I’ve made to Cox Quarters so far, but it will certainly not be the last.  I still have major plans for the living room (which will be finished this week), hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.  Basically it’s all getting an overhaul.  And then, knowing us, David will get a job in Bristol or something and we’ll end up moving.  Whatever.  This is just the beginning of a number of changes to our environment that I’ve set it motion to help us take control of our space and our lives.  I got tired of saying, When you get a job, let’s…. so instead of waiting around for the world to meet my needs, I am going to meet them myself.  And boy does it feel good! 

What I Wore to Ascot

My trusty Macbook, which is like 100 million years old, is finally on the way out and it no longer allows me to load photos (or to run two programs at the same time, play DVDs/CDs, or operate whilst being unplugged- basically me and the spinning rainbow wheel are BFF), so I have been waiting ALL DAMN DAY for David to get off our iMac so I could post this.  Sharing a computer is sooooo 1998 and really isn’t conducive to a healthy marriage.  “Are you done yet?” has become the phrase of the day and it’s making me crazy.

ONWARDS!  There have been some inquires from friends (and from my mother, HI MOM!) about the outfit I wore to Ascot last weekend.  I didn’t get many pictures of myself at the event because I was too busy hogging the camera and taking pictures of horsies, so you’ll have to settle for a post-Ascot outfit post. Because it is winter outside (again!) and because I cannot will myself to do that fashion blogger thing where I get all dressed up to distractedly pose in front of some greenery or in an abandoned alley (no disrespect, super-stylers!), these photos will have to do. 

Okay, my outfit!  After some v. laborious Google image research in which I learned that the average female Ascot-goer dresses a) like they’re going to a wedding, b) like a grandmother, or c) like a tacky tart, I made the informed decision to stay as far away from these categories as humanly possible.  Initially I thought I’d buy a vintage pant-suit, but I had (notice the past tense) a Harrod’s gift card that was calling my name and I ended up falling in love with this feathery, flapper-style Michael Kors (aka Queen Tangerine) number instead.

Next step: the hat! Fascinators were banned from the Royal Enclosure at Ascot this year, so I felt that my initial idea of a flapper-style headwrap would be a little too risky, not to mention a little too on-point… I didn’t want to look like I was wearing a costume, after all!  In my head I was envisioning something a la Julie Andrews in Thoroughly Modern Milly and after many exhausting searches, I finally found a hat that was the right shape, but the wrong color.  It was on sale and I was tired, so I bought the hat and a can of black spray paint and came home.

The next day, I tore off the ugly bow and spray painted my blue hat black.  Later that evening (this is the night before Ascot, mind you…) I sewed decorative beads and feathers to the back for a little bit of a wow-factor.  Sewing things onto a straw hat is gory, people!  My fingers still haven’t forgiven me.

Morning of, I put on my dress and painted all twenty of my nails in my favorite simple, clean polish, OPI‘s Bubble Bath (this was a total repeat from my wedding when I painted my nails 20 minutes before the ceremony… when will I learn?!).  I used MAC‘s Party Line on my lips, put on a pair of earrings I bought at a Renaissance festival forever ago (no joke!), tucked my tried and true Clare Vivier clutch- which I lovelovelove- under my arm and was out the door!  I didn’t put on my shoes, which I got from an old co-worker who also has tiny feet, until we got to Ascot.  Usually I’m incredibly overzealous and immediately jam my freshly painted toes into my shoes and completely ef up the finish, but this time I practiced self-restraint and my toenail polish didn’t chip until the next day. YAY!  I’m a lady!

Another fun fact: I couldn’t find black feathers anywhere in my Hobbit Town, so I ended up having to buy a silly mask with black feathers on it and repurpose them onto my hat.  Craziness, I tell you!

So there you have it, my first ever What I Wore post. I can’t wait to don my dress again!  Someone, give me an excuse!

 

And there I am again.  HI!  Men in the service are allowed to wear their uniforms into the Royal Enclosure in lieu of a morning suit.  Pretty snazzy, huh.  OKAYBYE!

DIY: Glittery Nail Armor

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I’m OBSESSED with my gold glitter nails.  This isn’t the first time I’ve used loose glitter to create a look that I like to describe as rough luxury at its finest and back in December, I used loose red glitter for the same effect, but that glitter was finer and the result was more soft and pretty.  This time ’round, my nails look like shining armor.  Very urban warrior, very very sexy. And the best thing is the glitter gives your nails so much texture that a couple accidental chips or dents won’t ruin the finish.  PERFECT! 

The process does take a couple hours, so I recommend starting a new television series on Netflex and touching up your nails between episodes.  David introduced me to Spooks on Saturday which gave me the perfect opportunity to give my nails a super-glam makeover.  

Step One: Paint your nail with a thin layer of a neutral polish.  Let dry for a few seconds.  (If you are using a colored glitter, like red, I recommend using a base polish to match the glitter.)

Step Two: While the polish is still wet, but not drippy, firmly press it into the glitter.  I picked up this pot of glitter at Supernice on Columbia Road near Bethnal Green and I love the way it looks like shards of broken gold.  To get the glitter evenly on the nail, I simply took the lid off the pot and pressed my nail firmly into the glitter.  To dislodge any loose bits, I tapped my finger on the side of the pot. As the glitter dries to the nail, lightly brush off the excess with a clean (dry!) fingertip and softly press the remaining glitter into the polish so it’s not too lumpy and it’s spread evenly over the entire nail.

I recommend completing this step with a piece of tissue or paper lying beneath your hand so loose glitter doesn’t get everywhere

Step Three, Four, Five & Six: Once the glitter has dried to your nail, it will be a little jagged and sharp.  To keep it from catching on your favorite silk blouse or getting caught in your hair (I joke, but not really) you’ll need to apply multiple layers of clear polish.  Like I said, this is nail armor and after you’ve applied enough layers of clear polish, you will have a heavy, sexy, glistening layer of glitter over your nail.  Unless you use a really fine glitter, your nail will never be perfectly smooth, but that’s part of the charm and the lack of perfection is exactly what appeals to me.

Sometimes, when parts of the glitter are heavy and jagged, I will apply a layer of clear polish and, as it dries, press the glitter onto the nail with my finger to make it smooth and less apt to catch on my delicates.  Make sure that glitter knows who’s boss!  I also recommend adding coats of clear polish throughout the life-span of the manicure to ensure the glitter stays together and stuck to the nail.

Et Voila!  Enjoy having the most badass nails on the block.