DIY World Map Wall Art

For the past three years there has been an empty space on the wall behind my couch. This DIY world map project of the places we’ve traveled together and solo has been under talks for about the same amount of time. The biggest issue preventing this project was the textured, sort of pop-corny walls in the living area. I couldn’t just go online and order sticker decals because they would not stick.

One day the Mister decided to find a way to cure our boredom and this is what turned out. After going back and forth between doing cut outs from world map posters (surprisingly couldn’t find any) and buying a photo projector, I was voluntold  volunteered to free hand the continents. I thought it would be a breeze because I’ve free handed America and Africa countless times in art class but after tackling South America, I decided that free handing just wasn’t going to work. Something was off and I was not about to go through the same cycle for every continent drawn.
Supplies:Foam board
Computer printing paper
Scotch tape
Art blade
Electric nail file
Double sided tape
Sewing pins (optional)

To get the outlines of the continents, we traced them from our MacBook screens. Just zoom  in to the size you want and trace. Most likely if you want a large cut out, you will have to tape sheets together for more space. Plus, taping the sheets are easier to maneuver than using one large sheet.

Next, place cut outs on foam board and cut out with art blade. These are really sharp and will scratch your floors or table so be careful.
Once the cutouts are done, some edges will be jagged. I must have sat there for about 10 minutes thinking about how to get those edges smooth. Using my little battery powered fingernail file just popped in my head and it ended up working like a charm.Lastly, use double sided tape to secure on wall or whatever you choose to secure it. Double sided tape worked for me because the walls are not drywall, so they won’t rip or peel when removing. Nails are an option but I didn’t want them to be visible.
You can decorate your map any way you want. The foam board is durable enough for paint, glue,markers, etc. 
Like everyone else, we love to talk about the places we’ve been and our experiences so we chose to go with pins to mark our destinations. It’s great to be reminded every now and then of the places you thought you’d never get to see but ended up seeing.

I never expected this but the map has really been a great icebreaker for that awkward moment when someone new is at your house and it gets quiet. Believe it or not, I never talk about any of my artwork or DIYs in my house (which is sorta contradictory considering my blog) unless asked but when I am asked, I’m glad to chatter away.

My favorite destination was Florence, Italy. 



Limonjello Shots

These limonjello shots take lemon drop shots to a whole new level. One month later and I’m still hearing about these shots! I’m sure they will be a hit with your guests as well…
Here’s what you’ll need:
8 lemons
1 package of lemon jello
The process is simple, just annoyingly sticky. Halve your 8 lemons and scoop out all the pulp. I used a knife to loosen the pulp and then a spoon to scoop it out. You will not need the pulp for the shots. I put the pulp to the side and used it to make fresh lemonade for one of my non-alcoholic beverages for the night.
Next, make the jello according to package directions but in place of the cold water, use cold vodka. All the other directions remain the same.
Last, place your lemon halves in cupcake pans. This will keep them from tipping over. Evenly spoon jello mixture all the way to the top of each lemon rind. Pop pans in the fridge, let chill overnight, cut into wedges, and serve quick because they will lose their form when too warm.
P.S. These limonjello shots are strong enough to stand alone but I like to booze up my guests so they were required to take a vodka shot too upon entrance;-)


1970s Dresser Before and After

When beginning this blog, I intended on posting various things I like but somehow it has turned into DIY before and after furniture. I just cant help myself! There is something about taking a piece the previous owner considered ugly or dated and turning it into something new and beautiful that amazes me. 
Old brass pull (left) vs. new brass pull (right)
Somehow I missed the broken brass knobs when I purchased the dresser so I had to replace the set of three. It took 6 months of scavenging through EBay (I swear I went through 400 hundred sets, at least) to find pulls because there was always some issue like not being large enough, not being a set of at least 3, the screws were not in the correct position, or I flat out lost the bid. I almost gave up and did the god-awful double knob at one point but I’m so happy I didn’t. I don’t know what came over me because those typically turn out really bad!
I ended up drilling a new hole in the center of the existing holes because the new one has a single screw. Luckily, the dimensions of the new brass pull covered the old double holes so I didn’t have to fill in any holes. 
Originally, I was going to do a little pop of color on the insides of the the drawers with some leftover turquoise paint but I honestly didn’t feel like hauling the drawers outside and waiting for the paint to dry. I’d had enough of that with all of the coats of gray paint I used on the exterior. I got the idea of doing the leopard print on the inside of the drawers one day while I was drawing leopard print on my nails with nothing other than sharpies (all those nail art pens are just too complicated!).
Oh… almost forgot. I Purchased the dresser for $50, knobs for $20, paint was $14, and the pack of sharpies for $5. Not bad for $90!

1960s Record Cabinet Remix

Ok so….. I don’t even own a record player but I had to drag this 1960s record cabinet home. As long as I have space, things that are mid-century modern, in decent shape and a fair price will make their way into my home. I found this piece at Antiques on Hildebrand, San Antonio, TX. 

I thought this project was going to be a real quick fix but it turned out to be the most painful I’ve ever done! I made the worst mistake ever which was taking a “short cut” and not lightly sanding the wood veneer. I know, I know. I should know better but I just figured I could slap on the paint with primer  and everything would be ok. Wrong! The paint just kind of sat there. Lumpy and streaky. I wanted to give up on it because it was destined for disaster with each each stroke. 
Once the inside of the cabinet was spray painted red, I started on the outside with white semi-gloss paint and a paint brush which left brush strokes everywhere. Now, Im no pro but this has never happened before so thats why Im blaming the streaky disaster on not sanding. Once the paint dried, I decided that I would go over it with white spray paint to try to get rid of the streakiness. Surprisingly, it made it a lot better but not quite right. After that I went back at it with the semi-gloss paint but with a sponge roller instead. Doing this made the paint go on a lot smoother and I could slowly start to see satisfactory results.
When the white paint was finally dry, I covered the legs with plastic so I could spray paint the metal tipped legs with gold spray paint. Painting the legs and knobs was the only easy thing about this project (minus the wind which decided to blow really hard the moment I began spraying).
When I put the cabinet in the office I remembered that I actually owned records. Yes, records but no record player. Its like having cereal with no milk (actually, nothing is quite that bad!). 
This past Christmas I was home visiting and I stopped by my friend Noura’s record store, Pyramid Music in Augusta, GA and I decided that I needed to have a record because I’ve never owned one. I can never go in there without wanting to buy something. Not because we are friends (we actually met because I went there looking for the original release of N.E.R.D.’s “In Search Of…” CD back in 2004), but because it’s filled with so much cool stuff! I walked out with these three things…
Vanity 6 and the soundtracks to Miami Vice and New Jack City. I am without a doubt a kid of the 80/90s!
Finally, the after. Now all I have to do is find a record player.

Goodwill Hunting

Just when I’d decided that my hunt at the Goodwill was a total bust, I bumped into this little 1960s cabinet. My first thought was, “Who would send this to the Goodwill? Must be crazy!”. Or maybe I am the crazy one for being such a big mid-century modern enthusiast. Sure it had a little wear and tear but nothing a few hours of DIY couldn’t fix. At the price of $24.99, it was SOLD!
Since the wood veneer was badly damaged in some areas, I scraped it off and replaced it with wood veneer strips. I bought the pack of strips with adhesive already applied at Lowe’s for about $10. The strips were simple to cut. All you need is a good pair of sharp scissors. Other rehab items included: paint scraper (to remove veneer), sandpaper, aluminum foil, iron, paint.
The iron is to melt the veneer adhesive to the furniture. The foil is just to protect the iron from the adhesive.
I really didn’t want to remove the original veneer here because it would’ve been too much work for such a small problem. Instead, I cut a small piece of veneer that was the same shape of the nick to fill it in and then sanded it. The picture below is one of many nicks I filled in. 
This is probably my favorite color (for the moment) but I’m sure you noticed!
I am more than thrilled with the results!!! Overall the project was easy. I thought repairing the wood would be hard but it was a breeze. The only trouble that I came into was keeping the little metal ‘x’ decals on the doors paint free. I tried taping them but it didn’t work out. I eventually got stressed out and painted over them but before the paint dried, I just knew I’d regret it so I grabbed a Q-tip and some rubbing alcohol to get the paint off. Worked like a champ. Overall this project cost me about $48 (including the price of the cabinet). Can’t beat that price for a one of a kind piece!

DIY Vase

5 Minute DIY Vase
This vase was on it’s way to the recycling bin before I suddenly decided to
 give it a little coat of paint to freshen it up.  After five minutes of labor and 
a few hours of drying time, I feel like I have a new vase! 
What you’ll need:
~glass vase~
~acrylic paint~
~small container~
This is sooo simple, I feel ridiculous even going through with the steps. Just make
 sure you don’t put water directly inside the vase because it will cause the paint to 
bubble and peel. The small container is used to put inside the glass container to 
keep the flowers in water. I simply used a plastic tupperware one I pulled 
out of the cabinet. 



Scandalously Fabulous Style

       source                                                                                                 source
  source                                                                                        source
  source                                                                                               source
After watching ABC’s Scandal  last night, I couldn’t help but to think about how fabulous Kerry Washington’s style is on the red carpet. She is always so polished, elegant, and fierce. I just love her style!

Mini Spring Bags

Lately, I just can’t get enough of small bags. Right now I’m carrying Michael Kors “Charlton” on a regular basis because it’s my favorite small bag but I need want something springy. These minis are just adorable! Spring Bags

1. Ivanka Trump Rose Shoulder Flap $95
2. Predictable Mini Bag $59
3. Elliott Lucca Cordoba Clutch $89
4. Mini 5-Zip Clutch $195
5. Frame Leather Crossbody $60
6. Yasmin Clutch Grapefruit $148


Fresh Pesto

Fresh. Simple. Tasty. My days of trial & error with trying to find good store bought pesto are officially over! It seriously only takes about 10 minutes to make. The longest part is peeling the garlic and grating the parmigiano reggiano cheese. 
What You’ll Need
1.5 Cups of basil leaves (no stems)
1 Tbsp. Pine nuts
2 Cloves of garlic
1/4 Cup of Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 Tsp. Sea salt
1/4 Tsp. cracked black pepper
There is no fancy way to do this recipe. Just chop the basil first, and then go down the list, adding each ingredient into a food processor. Traditionalist use a mortar and pestle but I have not found that kind of patience yet.
The key to good pesto is to use good Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. I only buy the kind that has “Reggiano” on the rind. It can get pricey but its worth it. Trust me, I tried to skimp and it was a total disaster. Just because it says, “Parmigiano” on the package doesn’t mean that it’s the real deal.  
Try using the “squeeze test”. If you squeeze the cheese and it’s a little soft- it’s a blend (of who knows what!). Authentic Parmigiano should be very firm/hard when squeezed.
……. Enjoy!!!

Introducing Havok.

I just couldn’t resist posting my lazy little critter. This is Havok. I was in the market for a min pin puppy but instead I ended up adopting a 6 year old min pin. I guess those SPCA commercials promoting the adoption of older dogs convinced me.

Despite his previously given name (the mister added a middle name, “Bartholomew” lol), he doesn’t cause havoc. No stains on my rugs, chewed up cords or heels. Just long walks, quick games of chase, and a lot of naps under his blanket. I’d say I made a great choice!