crafting 101

Starting a diy project seen on pinterest can be intimidating. There are always many items needed, usually a trip to Michael’s, and probably at least one failed attempt at the project (I wish mine were perfect on the first try too, practice practice practice). I realized that I reference “my craft drawer” enough that I should clarify the first ten items you should invest in to get your craft drawer started. My art bin (bin, chest, bucket…whichever vessel you can spare for crafts) started in college when it was required for classes. It’s much more manageable now when I’m not forced to decide whether I really need a fifth tube of gauche or if my time would be better spent at the wine bar (hopefully with crepes too, thank you Pauly’s). My sophisticated supplies have since dwindled and morphed into a crafting chest. I started comparing supplies with my roommates past and present–living with creative types the last 5 years has it’s perks–ie. no last minute trips to Michael’s when you need just a little more hot glue mid project. Below is a compiled list that should get you started with projects (at least ones seen here) and not break the bank. Have fun :)

crafting 101

10 supplies to start crafting (in clockwise order):

  1. acrylic paint (you can make everything you need with the primaries–invest in black and white to add depth later on)
  2. paint brushes
  3. sharpies (because they’re permanent and precise and black)
  4. glue pen (seen in tutorials here & here & more to come)
  5. fine glitter (same note as above)
  6. twine (Folly knows how I feel about twine–once you have it, you’ll discover you can use it everywhere)
  7. card stock (nice, thick paper can take a project from blah to bam in a heartbeat)
  8. glue gun
  9. scissors
  10. dirty glass or cup for painting (I wanted the list to be a nice even number…)

diy : holiday thank you notes

‘Twas just three days after Christmas and all through the house, just one creature was stirring with glitter all about.

After D and I used a glue pen and glitter galore to tag our holiday gifts, it seemed only natural to carry the theme through for the entirety of the gift giving process. With just a few items found in your craft drawer you can make these personalized, unique thank you cards for those special people.

You will need:

  • card stock and envelopes (quantity varies)
  • red and/or green paint (blue/gold would be beautiful for menorah loving gift receivers)
  • small paint brush
  • paper plate or card board
  • glue pen
  • glitter
  • scrap paper

First, chose a unifying theme (dots, stripes, zig zag, look to pinterest if you need more options) for your cards. I chose stripes–I painted three thick stripes (somewhat evenly spaced out) on each card. Then let dry completely.

items      step 1

step 2     step 3

Next, take your glue pen and write thank you in any way shape or form that is suiting to you or the receiver. Again, I liked to keep one similar element since I had varied colors in my card stock. First place scrap paper down on your writing surface. In cursive, write thank you on the card in the desired location. Pour glitter on the card, shake off the excess glitter and let sit for 10-15 minutes before writing your note. Note: it’s become hard to say (or do) any shake it off reference without thinking about Taylor–here’s easy access for this step of the diy. I aim to at least get them in the mail by New Years so my holiday stamps don’t seem out of date–hopefully you can too. Now you’re done with your holiday gifts and it’s time for New Years!

step 4     ready to send

diy : abstract art

First of all, I feel honored that I am in sync with one of my favorite blogs (and role models), a beautiful mess. There were the phrase shirts last week and now abstract art–does this mean I’ve made it? Are we on the same cycle?! Anyhow, I have a fun and inexpensive art project to give your walls a face lift! This past weekend D and I finished our final MadMen binge (at least until 2015). In attempting to treasure our beloved show, we continued to discuss Cooper’s taste in art and his Rothko painting that was added to make others think and feel something, whatever you would like it to be. The more we saw it in his office, I realized: we could totally make these! With a trip to Michaels, we had our supplies:

paints       the setup

  • red, yellow, blue, white & black acrylic paint
  • 16″ x 20″ canvas
  • paint brushes (various sizes to vary your brush strokes, such as these)
  • trash bags or tarp to protect your surface

To begin the project, we first taped down 3 trash bags cut in half to avoid getting acrylic paint on the table. Once you have a nice surface to work on, begin mixing your desired colors. I painted with cool colors so that D could take home my masterpiece (that way I could have the warmer piece and an original of his). Once your work surface is set up, begin applying a base coat to the canvas. And remember, it’s abstract–you can do whatever you want and it is still called art ;)

painting process       painting in progress

I started with a gray undertone, painting the edges of the canvas and a 2-3 inch border to give the painting some depth. Then I began adding a deeper black on top of it and let the colors blend. After the gray base, I introduced blue onto the canvas. You can go as bold as you’d like through this entire process. I wanted to have two sections to my piece so I made one a little lighter and one darker to differentiate between the two sections. D lined his with a two inch black border and filled the inside with red. He opted out of my “art school” blending tips and wanted something with more straight lines and rigidity…but wound up mixing some yellow in to add orange and thus fusing the colors on the canvas. A good compromise. We spent about an hour for this project: adding more layers, mixing colors to add atop the canvas, and of course, letting paint dry.

final-cool       final-warm

After some finessing at the end, we were both pleasantly surprised with the final product. My abstract leaned towards a Monet and Rothko mix (my interpretation) while D’s stayed true to Rothko’s vibrant hues with an additional Uhelski flair 3 sided border. He placed his at the entry to his apartment with not a lot underneath it–what every bachelor pad needs, a gallery wall. With a lack of wall space at my apartment, I found a nice place above a little art niche above our “drawers that have everything.”

Stay tuned to see if I can keep up the streak of thinking like my favorite sister blogging duo —a beautiful mess, if you want to collaborate, bake ANYthing, or create a “DIWR: do it with rachel” day, I’m your girl. xx

diy : phrase t-shirts // beyonce

I’m clearly on a “phrase” kick, but nonetheless here is another fun word art project, this time for your wardrobe. I saw these great t-shirts from thuglifeshirts that got my wheels turning. After sending the link to all of my friends and discussing which shirt we needed, I began thinking of any funny sayings me and my girlfriends (or boyfriend) use. I’ve been on a MadMen binge with Dane, so any Don Draper (or Pete Campbell) quotes were instant options. But, I was drawn to the QUEEN bee. With the Beyonce show just around the corner, my concert going girls and I put our heads together for the perfect word tee to celebrate Bey in all her glory. We landed upon: I want to bey yonce’ 

shirts      letters


  • t-shirt (fine v neck from american apparel in gray, light green, & light blue–any plain shirt you have is fine too, just wash everything first)
  • iron on letters–be sure to check your phrase for duplicate letters and be sure the pack has everything you need (I bought these from Michaels)
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • tape and paper to make grid & letter layout

tape & giggles       in action

With supplies in hand, begin cutting out the iron on letters. Cut as closely to the letters as possible so you can be sure to make your phrase straight when laying it out. After you’ve cut our your phrase, place the letters on the shirt however you like. We went with a centered phrase. To decide where to place the letters, we tried them on then adjusted the letters using tape. Molly helped me play with the arrangement to be sure the letters fell in the right places, we’re seeing Beyonce after all. Important: if your shirt isn’t pre washed, wash it now! (the letters have a hard time sticking to the new shirt film)

grid       letter layout

First, slide your shirt around the ironing board and heat your iron the the wool. Place a grid around the letters so you can remove the tape and letters while keeping the shape. Iron the desired area inside of the grid. Then reapply the letters face down with plastic side up. Spacing is important here. Place a cloth on top of the plastic backs then iron the cloth covering the desired area for 60 seconds. Turn the shirt shirt inside out and iron the inside of the shirt for 20 seconds. Let the letters cool for a minute (or more) and peel off the plastic backing and be amaaaazed. Stay amazed and enjoy your latest wardrobe addition!

completed shirt