My First Gallery Wall


 It’s been awhile since I posted anything because I’ve been extremely busy with variety of things but most importantly…MOVING!! And with moving comes endless new possibilities to decorate (eventually I will blog about how I transformed my little one bedroom apartment to a glorious 2 bedroom).

As part of my decorating endeavors, I decided to christen my new bedroom with my very first gallery wall. And, in keeping with my amateur projects, I made my first attempt overly ambitious and decided to do it all myself late at night. Still, I think it came out pretty good. Could still use some improvements but I’m tired now so I will post the whole (horror) story later. In the meantime…thoughts?


Puppy Projects

AKA Crafts that expose my unhealthy obsession with my dog…

Anytime I see a pet DIY I feel overly compelled to attempt it. Such is the case with the following…

1. Bowie Pillow:


Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure I have the cutest puppy on the planet. And no, I’m not remotely biased.

Anyways, I saw this post from Yellow Brick Home and had to make one of my Bowie.


Kim, of YBH, is infinitely more talented than I am and even has her own online shop of custom pet portraits (here)…but I digress.

I still thought I’d give it a whirl. It really helped that she’s based out of Chicago and I was in Chicago visiting home (she recommends a local printing place, Strange Cargo, leading me to believe that as long as I had that option, the rest would be very possible).

I followed her instructions step by step so I recommend doing the same.


Here it is before I cut, sewed, and stuffed it.

That being said, I’ll share what I learned during my feeble attempt:

1. Pick a light canvas – I think it came out too dark

2. Make the image lighter than you think.

3. Make it bigger than you think you need to. Strange Cargo said that was the biggest they could print it but hers looks so much better. I suspect I did something wrong.

 4. Trace closely to the photo outline. I was scared I wouldn’t have enough white space but instead the border just wound up looking a bit uneven.

5. Use a sewing machine. I don’t have one but after about three minutes (and 5 finger jabs) I certainly wished I did.

Overall though, I’m happy with the result and OBSESSED with the fabric I picked for the back. Overall (including the printing) the whole thing cost $17.


I took that picture of him on his first birthday so I thought maybe I’ll make it a tradition and make a pillow each year. We’ll see…


2. Bowie Silhouettes

I am utterly obsessed with Carter Kustera portraits and, using my amateur graphic design skills, decided to DIY them. I simply pulled an image of Bowie into Illustrator, traced it with the pen tool and filled it in.


I then took the file to Kinkos (or FedEx Office — whatever they’re calling it these days) and had them printed on 11 x 17 glossy card stock. I ordered frames from Amazon and that was really it.


I haven’t hung them up yet because I think I’m moving soon and don’t want to put holes in my wall but there they are. I think they’re kind of cute!

Also, if these tributes weren’t enough, my dad got me this custom portrait for Christmas from Danger Dogs:


It’s a great project that supports local artists in Nepal. Check them out!


More Homemade Holiday Gifts

Although grateful for presents, my mom really appreciates a good deal. In fact, I think she’d be more content with a quirky dumpster dive find than anything money could buy. Similarly, she’s made it abundantly clear that she’s trying to de-clutter and doesn’t really want anything. With that in mind, I took to Pinterest in search of something simple and cheap, that wouldn’t occupy too much space, that I could give her. I consulted my “Gifts” board and remembered pinning this: 



Available for $17.50 on Etsy. My mom has a weird obsession with eye charts (and her worsening eye sight — haha sorry mom) as well as being from Michigan so I for those reasons, coupled with the fact that I’d waited until Christmas eve to get my act together, made this seem like a viable option for me to copy. 

FYI I don’t know if it’s against the rules to straight up copy someone’s design but in my opinion, imitation is the highest form of flattery and I changed it a little…

This is my version:

ImageI thought the orange would go nicely with all the wood in her house. I made it in inDesign and printed it at Staples and then stuck it in a frame I bought at Walgreens. The whole thing cost $7. The image above is a little pixelated because I’m having some computer problems and had to convert it from Adobe Acrobat. Here it is placed randomly throughout my mom’s house:







Merry Christmas!!



DIY Cork Coasters

AKA Christmas Crafts; AKA My mediocre attempt at a Pinterest project..


So… I saw these super cute DIY cork coasters by Martha Stewart on Pinterest and thought they’d make a great xmas gift for my friends. This year, I’m involved in two secret santa pools with two very close groups of friends and wanted to bring something for everyone (not just my ss). Living in New York is expensive and my budget wasn’t huge so these seemed like the perfect option. Little did I know, Ms. Martha makes things look a lot easier (and way cuter) than they really are.Image

My first challenge came at the craft store. I went to both Joanne’s and Michael’s and neither of them had round coasters. Michael’s had some square ones so I figured that would do. While I was waiting in the checkout line I was looking at Pinterest (again, it’s seriously an addiction!) and I saw these cute Instagram Coasters.


I thought it would be fun to personalize each coaster set with an initial, stripes, and an Instagram photo of me and my respective friend.

The Instagram coasters were really easy. I just followed the exact instructions from the original post here:

As for the Martha Stewart coasters, I also followed the instructions as well…but I wanted to share what I learned along the way…

1. It REALLY helps if you use Mod Podge (or something like it) on the cork prior to painting. This helps fill in the little groves and makes the paint go on much more smoothly and consistently.

2. Make sure to press the tape and the letters down VERY well or else you end up with something like this:


3. Seal with another one (or two!!) layers of Mod Podge to polish it off.

4. This project takes a lot of drying time so make sure you’re not like me and try to do it the day before you have to give them to anyone.

Also, the cork was kind of flimsy so I wanted to add something to make it look more industrial. Ideally, I would have used a thicker cork or doubled it up but since I didn’t I thought it would be nice to elevate it somehow. Felt bottoms would have worked nicely but I didn’t have any so I used little hex nuts I had from the time I made these.


It was an easy addition and I think it makes for a more finished looking product.

Here are some pictures of the final coaster sets:


Finally, I wrapped them up with some ribbon (that I had) and these cute little holiday tags I made from a sticker and a cut up manilla folder.



Overall it was a fun and relatively simple project. It probably would have turned out better if I hadn’t been attempting to make ten sets (or FORTY coasters) in one night… but for what it’s worth, I think they turned out pretty well.