Monday, June 2, 2014

Miami Dolphins Wreath

Wow, it's been a long time since our last post! Sorry, we suck.
We will try our best this summer to make up for our lack of posting! 

As my first post back from a long hiatus, I'm going to post what is possibly one of my favorite things that I have made. 

It looks incredible and is totally representative of the person for whom I made it. 
Sorry for the low picture quality, these are the best ones that I have. 

Yeah, that's right, the Miami Dolphins have reverted back into their childhood forms. 

This project all started when my ex moved into a condo with a ceramic cherub wreath hanging in the back patio. As a joke, his dad sad "no matter what happens, you have to keep that wreath."
So as a Christmas present one year, I made the wreath something that he would want to keep, no matter what happens. 

I started by cleaning the wreath and priming it with white paint. 

Next, I went through and started painting all of the leaves Miami Dolphins aqua blue and orange. 

When the leaves were completed, I got the names and numbers for each player that he wanted on a cherub. 
I spent a lot of time on Google looking at pictures of them. 
Once I got a good idea of what they looked like and labelled which player would be which, I started painting the skin and hair for each individual player. 

After I had painted their hair and bodies, it was time to add names and numbers to the jerseys. 

#13 - Dan Marino

#19 - Brandon Marshall

#23 - Ronnie Brown

#99 - Jason Taylor

#34 - Ricky Williams 

And coach Don Shula.

When I finally finished painting all of the players (which took forever), I sprayed the whole wreath with a clear protective top layer and it was finally finished!

I wish I had some better quality photos of this thing, because these don't really showcase how amazing it actually is. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Custom Coasters - Rock Chalk

I know it's been a while, but I finally have some time to post! 

This Christmas, I made some custom coasters for my boyfriend's parents. 

It's a pretty easy project, the hardest part is that you have to get it done early so that they are completely dry before you give them as a gift. 

-Square tiles (4" x 4") 
-Spray enamel (I used Rustoleum clear glaze) 

Step 1: 
Cut the cork to fit on the back of the coasters. The cork that I used was already sticky, so I didn't need to glue it! 

Here's a picture of the cork- I found it at Home Depot with the shelf liner and contact paper. 

Step 2:
Print and cut out the pictures that you want to put on the coasters. 

Step 3:
Use a glue stick to lightly stick the pictures to the tiles. Make sure they are lying flat on the tile and they don't have any edges sticking up, otherwise they won't look as clean. 

 Step 4: 
Spray the coasters with a thick coat of spray enamel. Let dry. Repeat. And then repeat again. And again. 

I think I sprayed them 4 or 5 times of the course of two days. 

Make sure that you don't let any hairs or pieces of dust get stuck in the wet enamel- if you do, use a toothpick to get it out right away! 

Step 5: 
Let them dry for a very, very, very long time. 

I finished mine on a Tuesday and on Friday I had to wrap them in tissue paper and bring them across the country. They felt dry to the touch, but the acrylic hadn't completely set. When we opened them up again, they had imprints from the tissue paper in the acrylic. I would recommend giving them AT LEAST a week to dry. 

And the finished product... 

You can make a coaster like this using pretty much anything! 

I have used paint chips on a set (which we still use after almost two years!) and I made a set using dried flowers from a wedding bouquet. 

These Jayhawk coasters turned out pretty well though! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Handling Stress & Anxiety

I wanted to write a post that's a little different from the usual DIY/craft tutorial. 
Stress and anxiety is something we all face and it can be paralyzing for some people. It ebbs and flows for everyone and it should come as a comfort that you're not in it alone. Since the holidays are coming up and the end of the semester, for those of us in school (which is never easy), I thought now would be the perfect time to share some ways I like to deal with stress and anxiety.


10 Simple Ways to Deal with Stress & Anxiety:

1. Drink Warm Lemon Water

Life feels easier when you start your day off right. It's like building a house with a strong foundation. I like to begin energized and one way to help with that is by drinking a mug of warm water with lemon. 

-Aids in digestion
-Balances pH levels
-Helps flush toxins
-Highly beneficial for the skin

If you want to read more about it check out this link . It goes into detail about how it aids in your well-being.
I use a kettle to boil water then add a slice of lemon and wait for it to cool down to lukewarm. 

2. Get Your Vitamins

Get the vitamins your body needs, whether that means taking a vitamin supplement in tablet form or making sure the foods you eat have the necessary vitamins or both. 
Do your research and make sure you're getting what your body needs. A good place to start is here. It's an honest an informational article. 
When your body is well balanced, your mind will be too.

3. Go to Sleep

Sleep becomes an issue when dealing with stress. You lie awake worrying or if you're in college like me, you pull all nighters.
Sleep is essential to humans being able to function properly. Staying up all night cramming for an exam or finishing a project is unhealthy and the results probably won't be your best. I'll admit, I've pulled my fair share of all nighters and am always absolutely miserable the next day. I end up crashing for 12 or more hours and take more time sleeping than I would have in the first place. 
Make sleep a priority, even if it's only for a few hours. The link below is a "sleep calculator" it tells you the best times to fall asleep depending on what time you need to wake up in the morning. It measures by sleep cycles and will help you wake up feeling rested. Even if it's only for 3 hours.

4. Do Some Yoga

Yoga is as much an exercise for your body as it is for your mind. Try the sequence I linked below. It is really easy and you don't have to have any previous yoga experience to be able to do these poses. 10-15 minutes is all it takes to turn your day around and ease that stress.

5. Utilize Lavender

Lavender is amazing! You can use it for all kinds of things but what I use it for is relaxation. It comes in a variety of forms; essential oil (for a bath), candles, lotions. Find what works best for you.
I use the "stress relief" lotion from Aveeno every night before bed and it does wonders for me. It's loaded with all kinds of good stuff.

6. Drink Some Calming Tea

The health benefits of tea could fill a novel. Find a tea specifically for stress and anxiety.

-Passionflower tea
-Valerian Root tea
-Chamomile tea
-Peppermint tea

I recently found an organic tea shop in Cave Creek and picked up some "Holy Basil" tea. It targets stress, anxiety, depression, and even cramps and headaches. It's exactly what I need right now.
For a list of more calming teas check out this link. Then head to the grocery store and pick some up.

7. Listen to Music

Music soothes the soul. If you need a pick-me-up to get going try an upbeat, positive song. I've been loving Brave by Sara Bareilles. 

Brave by Sara Bareilles

If it's time to get down to business and get some work done go with classical. It's soft and helps with concentration. Create a Classical Pandora station or find a video on YouTube.  
I tend to be drawn toward the cello.
Here's four hours of Vivaldi Concertos, if you're interested.

Vivaldi- Complete Cello Concertos (Ofra Harnoy)

8. Show Gratitude

The Science of Happiness- An Experiment in Gratitude

There are now scientific studies proving that if you show genuine gratitude toward someone it helps to improve your own mood. The video is about 7 minutes long but it's worth it.

Write a letter to someone you love.
Call an old friend.
Or even just smile at a stranger.

Not only are you brightening their day, but yours as well. Trust me, it works!

9. Treat Yourself

You deserve it!

Buy yourself some flowers.
Get a coffee.
Take a bubble bath.
Buy that sweater you've had your eye on.

Only you can affect the way you feel.

10. Take A Step Back

Life gets crazy, things speed up, time flies by. Take a step back and look around. Turn off the technology, take a break from what you're doing and just breathe.
Step outside. Even if it's for 5 minutes out your front door.
Just take the time to appreciate what you have and bring things back into perspective. 


Those are 10 fairly easy things that have gotten me through some anxious times and are currently getting me through. I hope they can help you, too. I encourage you to try different tips and tricks to figure out what works best for you. Listen to your body and mind. It will let you know what works.
Most importantly, HANG IN THERE! The stress and anxiety is only temporary.

(Since Jen and I have our Winter break coming up very soon we'll hopefully get some new DIY's going up here! It's been too long.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cardboard Chair

Oh yes, you read the title correctly. For one of my architecture classes my design collaboration group and I were required to design and build a chair out of cardboard, strong enough to hold a 200 pound person. Challenge accepted.
Although this isn't really a "tutorial" I still thought it would be fun to share the process and final product.

We all had different ideas in our heads to begin with but we agreed notching the cardboard and making a kind of "honeycomb" would make the chair structurally sound. Did I mention we couldn't use glue or any other hardware?

We started with a basic shape I sketched with the plan to replicate it 4 or 5 times.

Next, we created a tiny incomplete model to test the integrity of the chair and see if it would hold 15 pounds.

To our delight, it did!

Although we wanted to charge full steam ahead and start building the final thing, I decided to build a half-inch scale model to save ourselves the headache and possible heartbreak of failure. We needed to see how all the pieces would be cut out and fit together as a whole.

Work in progress...

Fitting it all together...

(Finalized model)

 I was so happy with how it turned out!

(Two models together.)

And imagine my excitement when I figured out I could sit in the little chair and not crush it!

At this point we knew we were going to need large sheets of cardboard with no bends or holes in it for the final product. Can I just tell you that sheets of cardboard are harder to find than the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?! 
But, we weren't going to let a little thing like that stop us.

And we found cardboard...

(This wasn't even all of it. Suffice it to say we were drowning in cardboard!)

As a side note: Do you know how hard it is to work on a chair when there is a sleeping kitten on it?

(Best distraction ever.)

We repeated the process used for the half-inch scale model at full size and in no time had our finalized chair!

The seat is 18" high (from the ground) and the back is 36" high, so it's an average size chair that is around 1 pound and 100% recyclable!

I have to say I'm really proud of the final result. Given our restrictions and requirements it turned out well. Some of my group mates had never experienced dreaming up an idea and then making it a tangible reality so it was really fun to see their excitement as we worked on this together. 

It's always exhilarating for me to so this kind of work, especially for school, and sometimes I have to take a step back and pinch myself to make sure it's real. 

P.S. I wrote this sitting in the cardboard chair :)