Monday, February 29, 2016

DIY: Tiffany's jewelry box (& a homage to my Indian sisters)

Have you ever met someone so cool that you immediately want to befriend that person? That happened to me last year when I met Kavya from India. We were assigned in a 4 week project (you can read more about that here) and I felt it was friendship at first sight.

My indian sister from other mister

One of the reasons that made me love Kavya is that she's a giver, she's a very energetic person which mind is always working (not sure if she ever sleeps) finding solutions,  99% of them are intended to help someone else.
Some weeks ago she told me that the craft professor from a NGO she supports left and that she'd appreciate any kind of help on that (this NGO is called Mentor Together and is a program that match urban poor children, enrolled in formal education programs, to professionals like her, who will serve as their mentors, based on shared academic, career and personal interests).
I've been thinking for a while on her request and decided that I'd prepare some DIYs for her and her mentees, I wanted so bad to be part of that because I feel so infected by Kavya's pride when telling me about their long way from lanky teens to responsible and confident young women wording their way towards a college degree.
With that in mind I though about the beautiful jewelry pieces that I've received from Kavya, and then on the pictures she post wearing traditional dresses, these Indian girls are really fancy right? They have a big tradition on using the prettiest accessories and dresses so for this DIY project I decided to create a jewelry box that will help them (and us) keeping all the bling bling safe.

Tiffany's Jewelry Box

Supplies needed:

  1. Scissors
  2. Pins
  3. A box (cardboard or wood)
  4. Oasis floral foam (cut it in the same size of your box)
  5. A small piece of velvet (or any available soft fabric)
  6. Optional: acrylic paint and a brush

Steps followed:

1) Using a ruler mark a lines in your oasis foam deep at stopping at least 1 cm (or 1/2") from the base.
I've seen tutorials where they measure the distance between lines to assure they are at least 2.5 cm (1") apart, but I decided to just calculate based on the size of my rings so I went for 3 lines.
If you'll use your jewelry box for earrings or bracelets you can skip these instructions and jump to step number 5.

2) This is how the foam will look once all lines are marked:

3) It's time to "dress" your foam, using the pins wrap your foam with the velvet fabric until almost fully covered, let the top of the foam loose:

4) With the aid of the ruler push the fabric all the way down on each of the lines that you previously cut until they are deep enough to hold your rings:

5) Once the lines are marked you can use your pins to adjust the remaining fabric and you'll get something like shown in the picture below.
If your box won't be holding rings you can simply pin the fabric around the oasis foam.

6) Place your fancy foam inside your box and you'll get a cute little jewelry box:

7) This final step is optional but as I decided that this would be a "Tiffany's" box I needed to paint it in their classic light turquoise:

This is how this box looks finished, it takes less than an hour to get it completed and once done you'll be happy to have a nice little cute treasure box. If you are anything like me you'll probably be glad to avoid loosing rings and earrings and bracelets and.. Ok, I probably need to do a larger box to get everything secured. 

 Hope you liked today's DIY and the story about my friend's NGO, they say that no one ever got poor from giving and in fact I think it's totally the opposite, the more we give the richer we got, so a round of applauses for people like Kavya and like you (I'm assuming you're part of the givers club), is sooo cool to take some time to do something for someone else that just looking at a big thankful smile can improve even the worst day ever.
Thanks for stopping by, it's time to go now, but won't leave until I wish you a superb start of the week!




Monday, February 22, 2016

DIY: Furniture refashion (from rustic to shabby chic)

Last week's post was about a failed DIY project that become a personal challenge, this week I'm delighted to share the happy ending to that story.

In the picture below you can see how this item used to look like, it's not like it was hideous and the tile art was quite nice but now that we are embellishing our house with a vintage-minimalist- shabby style there was absolutely no place for  this rustic item, and being the DIY enthusiasts that we are we took the challenge to transform it to something that we would love to see standing right next our kitchen bar.

There were just a few supplies used:

  1. Spray or canned paint
  2. Painters blue tape
  3. Paintbrushes
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Acrylic paint
  6. Optional: plastic gloves and protective mask

Steps followed:

1. I started by setting up an open place where I could spray paint without ruining a wall which lead me to the balcony, I placed the furniture in a work table to be cleaned and lightly sanded.

2. Once sanded and cleaned I started painting, now this was a tricky part, I've never used spray paint before so here are some tips for those adventurous rookies like me:

  • Shake the can for a couple of minutes to allow paint mix to be homogeneous
  • Start with the rear or any side that can be messed up(not that we are planning that..)
  • While painting don't push too hard and keep the hand moving otherwise all the paint will be concentrated in a single spot and it will start dripping
  • If it drips and you are wearing gloves use your hand to distribute the excess of paint, don't ask me why but somehow it worked

3. I painted all over the furniture letting it dry between coats, as you can see in the picture below, it will look uneven after the first 30 coats but eventually will look completely painted

4. For the drawer I've decided to protect the tiles from the white paint so I covered them with the painters tape.

5. Once the drawer was completely painted I removed the tape and placed it between the tiles to paint in 3 different colors.

 6. This was the first version of this refashion, not exactly what I had in mind:

 7. Back to the workshop, this time I decided to do it old school using canned paint and a brush:

8. I painted all the furniture (it needed 3 coats to look perfect), for the drawer I sanded the tiles and then repainted all. The new color used was a semi glossy white that instantly put a smile in my face as it was exactly the one I had in my head when planning this project.

9. Drawer tiles strategy was also different, this time I used the same semi glossy paint as a base to create the 3 tones for the tiles to create a more harmonious palette.

10. And finally the swing the holds the water container was placed.

11. This is my refashioned piece of furniture that now is not only functional but also an eye candy.

We hosted a party last Saturday and I received a lot of compliments to my "new" water container-swing-whatever, some of my friends couldn't believe it was the same piece of wood, oh the wonders that some paint and a lot of patient can produce, it makes sense right?, is like when I take the dust off my makeup bag and put some color in my face, not that I recall the last time it happened, but anyway, I hope this project have helped motivating you to apply a makeover for that piece of furniture that you try to avoid staring at or that are willing to replace, it might only take some paint and a couple of hours of a boring day, give it a try!

Love, Tany

Monday, February 15, 2016

When easy is not an option (and failed DIYs stories)

This post is about a failed DIY project that ended up being a beautiful disaster that I simply felt worth sharing.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking in my project's backlog and decided that it was time to start a refashion work of an old piece of loved-hated furniture (it holds a big water container, meaning is more functional than ornamental). I still can't tell what has been bothering me the most about this piece, maybe the fact that it has a rustic vibe that got nothing to do with the minimalistic-vintage style of our house, it can also be that I just realized that until I find something that can replace it (which is very unlikely) I'm stuck with it or maybe is that every time that I look at it I can't help but thinking that this "thing" (not sure how to call it, it's definitely not a chair nor a table) somehow represented the big list of things that I knew I needed to do that I had failed to prioritize in my "tight" schedule.

I needed to do something, and to do it fast

Right, furniture refashion was part of a huge to-do list and I just couldn't wait more, I needed to do something with this growing list and to do it fast so I though that probably the easiest item to check would be the furniture update, in my head I would only needed to spend an afternoon sanding and painting and it would be done,  I even bought spray paint (thinking that it might be quicker) ready to turn this ugly thing in something that could perfectly fit in a Scandinavian home style.
There I was wearing a mask, gloves and ready to defeat the ugliness but something was wrong since the first moment, something just didn't work, starting with my lack of experience with spray paint (have never been a graffiti artist) it took me some time to understand the proper way to do it without messing everything and then I had some weird hesitation moments (Should I sand the tiles? Should I paint the back? ) and by the time I got tired the furniture was not looking half-decent and I had already run out of paint.

The non enviable, no beautiful and no modern result

I took a break, went to buy another can and got back decided to get this done, I really needed this to be done, it was personal now, so here I was in my best "artist" outfit working that paint spray until the "thing" seemed totally covered, then I added a "modern" note with some tile color blocks, oh yeah, I was so inspired thinking the amazing pictures I'd get to share in this blog that I just let it dry and went to sleep dreaming of my new enviable-beautiful-modern thing.
But it was non enviable, no beautiful and absolutely no modern, once I saw it under the daylight it looked weird, the color was uneven and dirty (did I clean it correctly after sanding?) and the color-block tiles? those were the cherry of the cake because with the color selection it now looked like something that belongs to a children playground or a kids party place.
I was very upset, not only it was not completed and I had nothing to post in the blog, but now I needed to rethink this project that was adding more work to my endless to-do list, I decided that the furniture and I needed to take a break so I gave it a rest for a couple of days before I started to think what to do next.

A trivial decision that could mean a lot

What options did I have? Leave it like it was? mmhmm it would be easier but I'd probably couldn't live with that decision, what else could I do? Repaint? Take out all the paint and use oil? Could I?
And somehow I though that taking a trivial decision like this could eventually mean a lot, yes, something as vain as the color of a piece of wood could be the difference between doing what is easy and doing what is right.
I mean, how many times we have settled for something just because it was easier?: food, clothes, work opportunities or even relationships. You probably have been in this position millions of times, deciding between the most convenient/the faster/ the easiest/the cheapest/ the closer and the one that you really want, for me the easiest was living with my Ronald McDonald piece and moving to the next thing, but that just didn't feel right.


Taking the high road pays

And then it hit me, good things take time, and I though that I might need to let this go organically: to re-plan, to do things different, to stop rushing and to enjoy the process, as with everything in life, because there was no reason to settle, in fact we should never settle because if the easier, faster, cheapest and closer option is not remotely similar to what you really want you will have to live with the idea of the now remote desired option that was changed for something more "comfortable".
So cheers for those that take the high road, that go the long way, that do the right thing even when that means doing the most tedious/difficult as starting something over, taking the unpopular choices,  going away from unhappy relations or buying a new can of paint to restart doing a failed DIY project with a smile in the face thinking that when Plan "A" fails it's OK, because there are still several letters left before reaching the Z and that it will always pay off to be stubborn and to go the extra mile until you get what you really want, in furniture and in life, because you don't deserve anything less than that.

 Update: furniture pictures added

 Some of my friends have been asking me to include a picture of the ugly furniture just to understand the size of the issue, so for those wondering about it below are 2 images, in the first of them you'll notice that even with the filter it looks very weird, in the second you'll appreciate how uneven the color was.

Love Tany