Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Paper project - DIY bows

This gift bow tutorial from How About Orange came in handy this Christmas to create some pretty and unique bows for many a holiday gift. 

Experimenting with different types of magazines and catalogs (it wouldn't be as fun or as eco-friendly with regular paper, IMO), I found that the prettiest bows are made using...

Paper Source catalogs!

The variety of colors in the catalog and the stiffness of the paper stock itself is perfect for this project, which you can do even while watching TV.  Save them up to use to wrap gifts all throughout the year, and never buy another pre-fabricated plastic-y bow in the store ever again!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

I hope everyone had a very joyous and festive Christmas!  Now that the craziness of the holidays are almost over, we have a moment to catch our breaths and reflect on all that's happened over the past year.  I always  marvel at how quickly each year passes, and as I get older, time seems to go even faster.  Not only is it the end of a year, it's also the end of the first decade of the new millenium.  I remember thinking on January 1st 2000 that 2010 seemed SO far away, but look...we're almost there! 

Of course, with the start of a new year come new resolutions.  I've never been one to really make new years resolutions (maybe  because I'm terrible at keeping them), but with the start of a new decade, perhaps now's a good time as any to make and committ to some.  Looking around my house at the myriad of unfinished craft projects, abandoned hobbies, and unkept promises in my head to finish what I've started, I think my resolution will be to follow-through on anything that I committ myself to.  First order of business - follow through on finishing this blog post. 


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Random backyard photos

The overcast skies and setting sun made for a pensive mood today, so I thought I'd try to capture this ambiance through pictures.  Here are some examples...

(this one's my favorite!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pros and cons of full-time crafting

There's an interesting article in the New York Times regarding the risks and benefits of turning a hobby into a full-time job.  Specifically, they interviewed a number of Etsy sellers, who to the outside world, seem to have hit the jackpot - having transitioned a side job or hobby which they loved into a full-time, profit-turning business. 

However, many sellers tempered their enthusiasm with what seemed like sheer exhaustion.  Doing what you love and being an entrepreneur seems like the perfect situation, but as with anyone who owns their own business can tell you, the amount of sweat equity one puts into it can be enormous, far more than a typical 9-5, 40 hour/week job.  Calculate into that the time spent thinking about new products, ways to improve your business, and a million other items and one can easily spend 90% of their waking hours on their business, not to mention shouldering a ton of anxious, sleepless nights and tremendous amounts of stress.

Of course, many people will tell you that the gratification that comes with being your own boss and doing something you're passionate about far outweighs any of the downsides associated with it.  I've thought long and hard about taking the risk to start my own business, but realized that it's easier said than done, and that it will take more than just a good idea to make it successful - am I willing to make my job my life?  Yes...but only for something that I truly enjoy and I'll be willing to put 110% of my effort into.  And at the end of the day, that what it looks like some of these Etsy sellers are doing.

To read the full NY Times article, click here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DIY pom pom failure

Maybe I'm not following instructions.  Maybe I'm using the wrong kind of tissue paper.  Or maybe I'm just not a crafty person.

Whatever the case, I attempted to create some DIY pom poms like the ones I've seen on Martha Stewart's and others' websites.  Since they required little in the way of materials, skill, or time, I thought this was the perfect project for me.

In order to be sustainable, I reused some anthropologie tissue paper I had saved.  The result was something that looked rather...sad. 

The pictures above that I took don't look TOO bad because I tried using flattering angles/lighting.  In reality, they sort of look like blooming cabbages.  Or some sort of albino vegetable with red veins.

Maybe using recycled tissue paper was the mistake.  I looked at several different sets of instructions from Martha's to other crafters' blogs.  I do have this theory though that Martha's instructions are purposely a little off to get people frustrated, subsequently leading them to buy her premade craft projects instead. 


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Go crazy with printable moustaches

The Inspired Bride has a post on some quirky printable moustaches for all your nefarious holiday (and post-holiday) shennanigans! See the full post, complete with PDFs and instructions, here.

I'm having family over for Christmas lunch and plan to make everyone take silly moustache photos then, heehee.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A little rain = winter in LA

I've had to bring out my winter scarves and coats now that winter has arrived in LA.  Anyone who lives in um, less temperate climates than us are probably laughing their heads off when we complain about 50-degree weather and a thunderstorm.  Despite catching a cold and feeling a little woozy from medication, I love this weather because it finally feels like winter and the holidays.  It's simply not the most festive feeling when you see your neighbors putting up christmas lights in shorts and flip-flops and sunglasses.

I'll be heading up to Seattle this weekend to visit relatives up there, and I hear temperatures are below the 30's at night, so I better pack up puffy jackets, earmuffs, and mittens in excess to stay warm! 

The days are getting's barely 4:30 in the afternoon, but the sun is already starting its way down the horizon...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kusudama balls as wedding decor

I love the clean, elegant look of kusudama balls, and decided to forgo flowers for our wedding ceremony aisle decor and use these instead. 

Initially, I was totally psyched and ordered several sheets of blue and silver mulberry paper, excited to get started on this project.  Can you believe it took me about 6 months to make 12 balls?  Let's see...5 petals per flower times 6 flowers per ball times twelve balls...okay, makes sense.  I'm pretty flaky when it comes to crafting, but even with every spare minute dedicated to cutting the paper to size, folding, and gluing, it  felt like a neverending task.  Even with the help of one of my bridesmaids, it was still pretty daunting. 

After the wedding, I managed to find and keep 3 of them, which are now hanging from a lamp in our office.  I have no idea what happened to the rest. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

DIY mini-magazine holder

I've seen several DIY magazine holder tutorials online.  Since I had some time last night, I decided to create a holder for my Martha Stewart Food magazines, which are smaller than the average size periodical.

A family size cereal box proved to be perfect for this quick project:

I measured about 3" on the shortest side, up to 7" on the tallest

Then cut along the lines using a craft knife

Here's what it looked like after cutting

The trickiest part was covering the box with patterned paper.  Other sites recommended using fabric, but since I didn't have any I liked for this project, I ended up going with a Wooster & Prince paper I had on hand. 

I ended up just tracing each side of the box on the back of the paper, cutting out each piece with about a quarter inch allowance, and then gluing them in place with a glue gun.

Here's the finished product:

Easy peasy!  Now I just have to actually start cooking some of the recipies in these magazines...

Anthropologie in-store crafting sessions!

Throughout the month of December, select Anthropologie stores will host special crafting sessions and/or reading hours for children.  Hopefully they'll teach shoppers how to create some of those amazing displays they showcase!

All the stores around LA look like they'll be hosting these events, lucky for me!  The complete list can be found on their Facebook event page, located here.

Who can pass up free crafting lessons and babysitting?!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Deliciously delightful baby shower inspiration from Project Nursery

I was so excited when I saw this baby shower inspiration board on Project Nursery, especially with all the juicy, eye-popping colors and simple but whimsical details!

This would also work really well for a cool blue summer wedding or a lucky child's birthday party - just substitute the birds nest for something wedding or birthday-themed!  For more details, check out the post on Project Nursery.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Purple & new favorite colors?

Based on the current trend in my closet, I think purple and grey have outshined blues and browns as my new go-to colors.  I've seen lots of posts about how grey is the new black, which is funny because I painted 2 rooms of my house a beautiful light grey before I picked up on this trend.  It's pretty true though - grey is a wonderful background and can really help make other colors pop.  In addition, there are so many shades of grey to choose from, as opposed to black.

Some items I'd put on my wishlist include:

reclaimed wool sweater brooch from Etsy seller thejunebride

funky purple belt from Anthropologie

The "Carrie" necklace from Etsy seller erinkeys

Elizabeth & James dress from Shopbop

funky vintage-style candle from Etsy seller Madhatterspottery

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy post-Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a wonderful and festive Thanksgiving!  We had a joint family lunch yesterday and I seriously think I gained about 5 lbs. from eating nonstop for 6 hours.  There are some terrific cooks in our family, and everyone brought a couple of dishes to complement the turkey and glazed ham...yummm!

gotta have kimchee at every meal in a korean family!

To help burn off some of the food above, I'm comtemplating whether or not to bother trying to do some shopping later today.  Maybe I'll  make up my mind after I polish off some leftovers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fun with the Nikon D90

This past week, I've spent my spare time learning as much as possible about the Nikon D90 and the tricks to using an SLR in general.  Currently, just trying to get used to all the different functionalities of the camera is a big learning curve, but the vast improvement in the quality of phots I can take is really gratifying to see!  Some examples are below:

Went to the Montrose farmer's market and took some pictures of scrumptious produce and pretty flowers:

I love strolling down the flea market section and perusing the housewares displayed:

Our family dogs are my favorite subjects to shoot, and I never get tired of their funny poses that guarantee to crack me up:

my dog Sophie, always looking so serious

gazing pensively off into the distance (or looking maybe scanning the trees for possums to kill)

My sister's always hilarious dog Bender is full of personality and mischief, as you can see:

Hopefully, my photography skills will continue to improve over the next few months.  I must admit that this camera is so user friendly, especially for SLR beginners like me, that getting some great shots didn't take a whole lot of effort.  Note that all pics above were taken using the 50mm 1.8f lens - a lens I HIGHLY recommend!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Moustache reference guide on your desktop

This is going to be my new desktop wallpaper at work. 

For some reason, it makes me smile everytime I see it.  :)

(from the Moustache blog)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kids clothes, cameras, parties...yes this is random

So this post is really a bunch of miscellaneous items thrown together...

-Anthro kids
I wrote a previous post about how I wished Anthropologie had kids clothes, and it seems like my wish came true! Originally stumbled across a limited selection of items at the store in Newport Beach when I was down there for work event, but now you can find them on their website and in the latest catalog. Super cute stuff (just super expensive too!)

how adorable is this little apron!
(all photos above from Anthropologie's website)

-the long-awaited camera
It finally arrived in the mail on Wednesday and I've been happily clicking away at the most banal and uninteresting subjects to practice (with the exception of my dog Sophie, who's been patiently acting as my primary live model).  I'm still trying to figure how to use the darn thing - there's so much more to SLRs than a regular point-and-shoot - but I'm at least shooting in "P" mode right now, having skipped the Auto functions altogether.  So far, the pictures, even with my nonexistent skills, are looking pretty good!

-party party
Our housewarming a few weeks back was a hit, despite a couple of glitches (namely a few drunk guests and me buying way too much food).  I was so busy with about 40+ guests in our small home at one point that I didn't have time to take any photos.  With the holidays approaching, I can't wait to host more soirees, though this time, they'll definitely be a much smaller and more manageable group.  Hosting duties are fun but can be quite stressful!  I can see why some people call it an art.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DIY letterpress? Sweet!

Who doesn't love letterpress anything?  I'd letterpress napkins, business cards, toilet paper (ok maybe not that far), if the price was right.  My wedding invitations were letterpressed, even though it meant going over budget a little and entailed a ton of work (only because I tried to design them myself and didn't know what the heck I was doing).

Lifestyle Crafts has debuted a new DIY letterpress machine which actually looks pretty simple to use.  Though you're currently limited to using their customized printing plates at this time, the range of different projects you can do so far is fairly cool.

Something else to put on my christmas wish list...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Engagement photos - a trip around Los Angeles

Our engagement photo shoot took us all throughout Los Angeles, and lasted almost 9 hours.  I have to hand it to my husband, he was a real trooper throughout the entire process, and our photographer Paul (also a good friend from college), worked tirelessly to capture our personalities in some wonderful moments. 

We drove from the westside to start the morning in Old Town Pasadena...

@ the corner of Fair Oaks & Green

in the alley behind Colorado Blvd

Then moved on to the Gamble House, a beautiful craftsmen-style home that's now a museum:

the house is more stunning in real life

Next, we grabbed a quick lunch and headed over to the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art):

@ the vintage lamppost exhibit

It's now late afternoon, and monstrous LA traffic is starting to creep into the freeways.  Despite this, we head to our final destination: Manhattan Beach...

@ an old-fashioned ice cream parlor...yummy pistachio ice cream!

we moved over to the beach...

and ended our day as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

We promptly passed out at 9pm that night.  I don't know if I'll be able to convince the hubby if we can do a grueling photo shoot ever again, so it was worth it!