Posts Tagged ‘ diy ’

Leopard Print Nails, or, “Hi, my name is Megan and I’m a polish-addict”

Well, if you have missed me and my (infrequent) blog posts, I have a couple excuses.  One, I haven’t been making much recently, but I do have faith that one of these days I’ll feel inspired to dust off the ol’ sewing machine.  Two, I’ve become completely addicted to nail art blogs.  Like the come-home-from-work-and-paint-my-nails-at-midnight-to-unwind sort of addicted.   It’s a relatively cheap hobby, but it’s also a slippery slope before you find you can’t leave the house without buying a new color, and you’ve fried your laptop by spilling nail polish remover all over it.  I guess that’s another excuse I haven’t been blogging lately.

In any case, my friends, I wanted to share with you my favorite nail blogs with the hopes you find as much enjoyment in them as I do.  Chloe’s Nails, the first one I stumbled upon about six months ago, taught me some magical things about scotch tape (check out the tutorials section).  Nailside is another of my favorites with some great tutorials for tape or freehand designs.

Anyway, I used this tutorial to do my nails the other day (ok, night/morning, really).  Thanks to Nails by Kayla Shevonne for the great design.  I used french tip guides for the half-moon and dotting tools to make the spots.

OPI “Keys to my Karma” – red base

Sephora by OPI “Neutral Beauty” – half moon base

nails inc. “Hampstead Gardens” – spots

OPI “William Tell Me About OPI” – dark detail


Recycled Leather Earrings

An old leather purse of mine came apart at the seams, so I decided to save the leather for who-knows-what.  I eventually came up with an easy pair of earrings.


  • leather scraps
  • an x-acto knife and cutting mats
  • jewelry glue
  • gold-filled glue-on earring posts

  • gold acrylic paint
  •  a small spray bottle (travel size is perfect)
  • a cardboard box or piece of poster board for spray painting
The Method

1) Cut four strips of leather, one long pair and one shorter pair.  The shorter pair will be in front, so pick which side you would like to face outwards.  I liked the seude-looking side of my leather.

2) Put some gold paint in your spray bottle and thin it with a little water so you can spray without clogging the nozzle.

3) Spray some gold splatters on the shorter strips of leather.  My favorite technique:  Put the strips inside a cardboard box and direct the spray at an inside wall of the box (instead of spraying the leather directly).  The back-splatter created by spraying the side of the box makes nice splatters on the leather.  Allow to dry completely.

4) Glue the top of the short strip to the top of the long strip.  Glue the ear post to the back of the long strip.

5) Let dry. Done!

Happy Valentine’s Day!: The Lace Dress Tutorial

Last spring I made this lace dress after seeing a little girl’s version in this tutorial on Project Run and Play.  I thought it would be the perfect project to share with you on Valentine’s Day.

It was definitely one of the most time consuming sewing projects I’ve embarked on.   The trip to the fabric store was an endeavor in itself.  I purchased:

  • somewhere between 20 and 30 yards of white and ivory laces of different patterns and widths
  • Red RIT dye
  • cotton muslin to make a lining
  • bias tape for the neck and arm-holes

When I got home, I laid out all my strips lace on my work table in a giant rectangle.  Then I sewed each strip together with a zig-zag stitch.  When I had attached all the laces to one another, I used RIT to dye the lace and my cotton muslin red.  The best part of the dyeing process is that each lace (being of different fabrici content) takes up the dye differently.

Then cut the muslin lining into a front and back piece for my dress.  I sewed these together and tried it on, just to make sure I wouldn’t mess up my lace fabric.  It fit!  So I used a seam ripper to take the pieces apart again.  I laid the muslin over the lace and cut two pieces of lace to fit my pattern.  And finally, I sewed them together to make my dress, adding bias tape to the sleeves and neckline.  This dress took a lot of work, but the end result is one of a kind!

Labradorite Earrings Tutorial

These were inspired by a pair I saw in Sundance.  I like the mix of gold and silver and the iridescence of the labradorite.  To make them, you will need:

  • two labradorite rondelles
  • 2-4 gold disks
  • 2 sterling silver head-pins
  • 2 small sterling silver round beads
  • sterling silver beads
  • 2 gold-filled ear-wires
  • round nose and flat nose jewelry pliers

Start by putting one small silver bead on your head-pin. Follow with the labradorite rondelle and the two gold disks.  Add your silver beads until you reach your desired length, and then bind off the head-pin with a wrapped loop.  Attach to your ear-wire. Repeat for the second earring.

Things I Can’t Make: Ichibana Vase by Don Lawson + Tiny Stencil Tutorial

I’ve recently decided to expand the scope of my blog with a category that features “things I can’t make.”  Since evenings are my favorite time to work on arts & crafts, my work hours often preclude me from creating much during my work week, but I figure that shouldn’t stop me blogging.  The “Things I Can’t Make” feature will share some the interesting pieces of art I buy or am gifted because, frankly, I couldn’t make them myself.  I think it will be a great way to introduce my readers to some awesome artisans I’ve discovered.

I can’t do woodworking, for example.  I recently admired this Japanese-style ikebana vase while window shopping with my mom in Auburn, CA, and on her last trip to San Francisco, she surprised me with it as a gift-for-no-special-occasion (my mom’s the best!).  The vase was crafted from maple wood by Nevada City artist Don Lawson.  The metal dish that rests in the wood is known as a kensan — a component of flower arranging that features densely packed metal spikes that can support individual branches or flowers.  I encourage you to look up ikebana; it’s a very beautiful art form that can be both minimalist and very elaborate.

Tiny Stencil Tutorial

I’ve stenciled a few rocks recently because it’s a very quick and easy craft.  They make nice paperweights, pretty little decorations, or gifts.  You’ll need:

  • contact paper and sharpie
  • x-acto knife
  • spray paint
  • rocks

Draw your tiny design on the contact paper with a fine-point sharpie.  Carefully cut out the design with your x-acto knife and stick it to the rock.  The contact paper will likely only adhere to one side of the rock, so before you spray paint, hold a piece of paper or card stock over any exposed areas so the spray paint will only get on the stencil-design. Spray your design.  After allowing the paint to dry a few minutes, remove the contact paper and enjoy your tiny design.

DIY Postcards

When it comes to holiday shopping, I’d rather stay home.  This year my hunny and I are filling homemade stockings for each other, so I’m trying to get crafty and make some fun stocking-stuffers.  I’ve had this old San Francisco map sitting in my laundry room, so I decided to make him a set of postcards for Christmas.

The Method


  • Paper of your choice (old map, wrapping paper, recycled holiday cards, etc.)
  • cardstock or cardboard
  • Spray adhesive
  • x-acto knife
  • pen and/or stamp to decorate

Cut equally sized rectangles from cardstock and use spray adhesive to join them to the paper of your choice.  Let the adhesive dry and cut your postcards out with an x-acto knife. Decorate their backsides with lines and/or homemade stamps (I made a stamp stamp — silly, I know — but if you’re interested, you can read more about stamp-making here).

Easy peasy! If you don’t have any time left for holiday crafting, these would also make great thank-you cards.  I bundled a few together for my hunny’s stocking and kept a few for myself.

DIY Stamps and Monograms

I get cheap around the holidays.  My hunny and I usually have a $25-30 gift limit, so I’ll spend a lot of my free-time making things.  Though I’ve been making my own stamps for a while (last year I gave my roommates personalized monogram stamps and stationary), I’ve never posted a tutorial on stamp carving.

The Method


a cutting mat

rubber printing block (I use Speedball printing blocks — available at Flax or your local arts & crafts store)

scrap paper and a pencil

an exacto knife and a lino-cutter

ink pad

If making a stamp with words or letters, write them in pencil on a separate piece of paper. Im using tracing paper here, but plain paper will work as well.  Place your stamp on top of the printing block.  Hold the paper in place while rubbing a pencil eraser over the words to transfer them to the block.  You are making a reverse image of the words, otherwise your stamp will come out backwards.

Here is how the block will look after your have transferred your image.  Now, follow your writing with the lino cutter to cut out the words.  You don’t have to make the scores very deep for the stamp to work.

When the words are all cut out, use the exacto knife to cut the edges of your stamp to whatever size you want it.


With this stamp, as with the monogram stamps I have made, you are using the lino cutter to remove the design you ultimately want to see.  In other words, the background will be colored and the design will be blank. Alternately, you can make stamps by using the exacto knife to carve away the negative space, leaving only the design.  This is easiest to do with simple pictures or big block letters.

Here are examples of the monogram designs I used last year, followed by my roommate Alona’s stationary.

Happy holiday crafting!