Projects

Floral Letter DIY

So last summer I decided I wanted to make a pretty floral letter “L” for Lillian’s room, and this spring I finally got around to making it! (Oh gosh, I guess that’s how projects go sometimes when you’re a new parent!) I decided I would try to approach this project in a similar fashion to the beautiful autumn wreath I made a few years ago (oh, and the pretty little wreath my niece and I made together!).

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First I gathered my supplies: a foam letter “L” from the craft store, flowers from the dollar store, a glue gun and hot glue, scissors, floral wire cutters, craft paper and ribbon. Then I removed the flowers and some of the leaves from the stems using my wire cutters and scissors.File_001
Originally I started wrapping the ribbon around my letter in the same way I did with the wreaths I made, but I became kind of impatient fast because it was harder to do on a letter than on a round wreath. It occurred to me that the front of the “L” would be covered in flowers, and you wouldn’t ever see ribbon on the back of the letter, anyway. Then I thought, why not just trace the letter onto paper and glue the paper on the back? And that’s what I did. File_002
After getting the paper glued to the back of my letter, I made a general arrangement of where I wanted certain colors in bunches before I began to glue them on with my hot glue gun. File_003
Then I added leaves to a few places in the arrangement, adding additional leaves all around the edges of the letter in case any foam was showing. File_004
The back isn’t perfect, but who is going to see the back? I mean, you’re obviously seeing it now, but you get my point πŸ˜‰Β  I used a picture hanging strip to on the back to attach the letter to the wall when I was finished (just like with my DIY jewelry holder.) File_005And voila! A beautiful floral letter “L” for my sweet daughter’s room. This project only took me a little over an hour, and was so inexpensive and easy (especially when I decided not to mess with the ribbon!). Let me know if you try this project, and if you’ve made any other cool letter projects!

xx Caitlyn

Projects

How I art journaled my way through 2015

Happy New Year! With the arrival of 2016, it’s time for me to start a fresh art journal! It’s amazing to look through my 2015 journal now–not only did I manage to fill in the entire journal for every day over the past year, but by doing so I was able to record a lot of really neat things and improve my art journaling skills in the process! IMG_4180After I finished adding in a few cards and things yesterday, my journal was even thicker than it is above!

As with my last journal, I’ve chosen to use a planner as my 2016 journal, but this time I chose one that has a little more space for each day so I can write a little more if I like. There are a few other things I like about the layout of my new planner a little better than my 2015 one, and a few ways my approach to journaling has changed. When I started my 2015 art journal using the planner method (as mentioned here), I would always write the weather, a color of the day, a word of the day, and an image of the day. As the year progressed, I found that for me, the weather and a chosen “color of the day” didn’t really reflect much that would be memorable or important about my day. Over time I started filling my daily entries with more specific things about my days instead.
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In the above right page, I answered an art prompt asking about a childhood object I made. I remembered painting little wooden horses for a carousel.

Sometimes entries about my day would just end up being a short sentence or two, like in the pages pictured above. Then I would add other things like quotes that were relevant to me recently, ticket stubs, business cards and other collected things from the week, washi tape, images or drawings, and writing prompts. If I had more that I wanted to do with a writing prompt or journaling, I would do it on the lined pages at the end of my planner or attach more paper with washi tape. At the end of the year, I also chose a few writing prompts from Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead free downloadable workbook to fill up some of the extra lined pages in the back and reflect on my year.
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This week was the last week of 2015, but I hadn’t finished New Year’s Eve day yet at the time I took the picture. In case you’re wondering, we celebrated by having a yakitori dinner, playing old-school Mario while Chad drank copious amounts of champagne, watching a movie (The Big Short), and going to a local temple just after midnight. Check instagram for a couple pictures πŸ™‚

Other days I would write more details about my day, and have less space for extra things like quotes and prompts. Basically, I just went with how I was feeling. I also would go back and forth between setting up pages in advance with colors, add-ins (like pictures or ephemera, etc.), and washi tape, etc., and writing everything over the week first and then adding all the art.
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Each month, I added a calendar page from the amazing 2015 calendar Chad gifted me the previous Christmas with pictures of our kitties. I also added month tabs cut out from my Rilakkuma planner (that I used like a traditional planner over the year) to mark each month so I could flip through months at a glance.
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On the back of each calendar page I would either paint/draw/create images relevant to the month (as seen here), or add pictures from the month. I also sometimes added extra brochures or memorabilia that I wasn’t able to squeeze into the daily pages.
IMG_4182My 2015 planner has monthly overview pages in the front of the book, followed by the weekly pages for daily entries. I filled the overview pages with extra memorabilia and pictures as well.
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Above I taped in a birthday card my coworkers made me in November, along with some pictures of my birthday dinner and cake.

One thing I like about my new planner/journal is that the monthly overview pages are distributed between the start of each month instead of being altogether in the front of the book. It’s a small layout difference that makes a big difference to me πŸ™‚
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If I had even more memorabilia that I couldn’t fit on the calendar pages, I once again took advantage of the lined pages in the back of my journal. As pictured above, I sometimes used brochures or parts of greeting cards given to me to make pockets for things like ticket stubs.

It is really fun to look back at all of my memories from 2015, and I am looking forward to being able to do the same for this year. I love that I could spend as little or as much time as I wanted to fill out my journal, and my plan is to continue with the approach I fell into over the course of 2015 this year. I also hope to continue learning and trying new ideas (like pairing my daily journaling with The 52 Lists Project!).

I hope that sharing my approach to art journaling has given you some ideas and inspiration, and would love to hear what kinds of things you do in your art journaling!

xx Caitlyn

P.S. Here is another post with some of my favorite pages from 2015. In the post I also mention some interesting things about pregnancy in Japan!

Projects · Spring Bucket List

Inspiration on the Cheap!

Well looky what I found today at my local one hundred yen shop: two really cool books for artsy types! The one on the left is a book of postcards with two per page–one already colored for reference, and another that is blank for you to color. The one on the right is full of cute paper cutting templates, printed directly on patterned paper to use. IMG_1854 IMG_1855
The paper cutting “book” has an added bonus: instructions in English! Above you can see a few examples along the edges of what you can make inside. I’m thinking I might actually make a bunch of the stencils into templates so that I can choose my favorite paper to use, and also so that I can make paper cuts I like multiple times. Can you believe this was only the equivalent of roughly $1!? I’ll update you with any projects I make using the book as inspiration.IMG_1856As for the “coloring book,” it too has instructions, including some tips on using colored pencils. This book is only in Japanese, but it’s pretty easy to get the gist from the pictures.
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Here is an example of the setup of the book. I definitely think I will try coloring some of these in the future (there were also more books in the series with flowers!), but today I decided to use the book in a different way.Β Remember how one of my Spring Bucket List assignments was to decorate my kitchen? Well, I made my photo garland, but our kitchen still needed something more. I decided some of the pretty pre-colored postcards would be nice additions to my kitchen decor, so I set to work!IMG_1858
I chose my four favorite postcards from the collection and attached them to a lonely-looking wall in the kitchen.IMG_1859
After that I just added a border of craft tape (an idea similar to the washi tape frames I made for my cute living room gallery here), and viola! I’m thinking I might redo the border with actual washi tape eventually as I had to cut the thick craft tape in half and the unevenness might drive me crazy, but we’ll see.IMG_1861
So here’s how a big part of our kitchen is looking at the moment. My new artwork on the left, a rack hanging in the back for cooking utensils (since we have only one small drawer for them otherwise), a few cookbooks, a basket for oil, spices, etc., another basket for produce, our French Press, drying dishes, cards and pictures, and my little Matryoshka (don’t mind the dirty dishes in the sink *ehem*).

I have to admit that there was a plant where the Matryoshka are, but I sort of killed it by over watering it. I also have to admit that even though this part of our kitchen looks a little cluttered, I still think overall it’s pretty cute. (Especially with my easy, cheap DIY art (just 200 yen! *woot*)!)

I have a feeling more fun is to come from these two little hundred yen shop books. Have you found any inexpensive inspiration lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

xx Caitlyn

Projects · Spring Bucket List

DIY Photo Garland

I am so excited to share my most recent project with you: a super easy and fun photo garland! On my Spring Bucket List, one of my goals was to decorate my kitchen in my rental apartment, so making a photo garland was one of my first steps. Here’s how I did it!IMG_1411Step One: I printed a bunch of pictures, and then prepared washi tape, die cut stickers, photo envelopes and colorful clothespins. I chose to use FLAKY STICKERS for my die cut stickers, and pre-made photo envelopes from moodsnviews, both of which I got from a local craft store. You could use pretty much anything you like, and if you can’t find pre-made photo envelopes or colorful clothespins (though I’m sure you can because I remember seeing them even back home!), they would be easy enough the make yourself!IMG_1412Step Two: I chose my pictures and started playing around with where I wanted to put my die cuts and washi tape.IMG_1413 IMG_1416Step Three: I hung up my beautiful work!

IMG_1417 IMG_1418 IMG_1419 IMG_1434I am in love with this project! I can’t decide whether I like this project or my washi tape photo wall better, but both are certainly sprucing up our place! This project cost me less than $10 USD (less than 1000 yen), and took less than 45 minutes, but I am ready to enjoy it for a long time ahead!

Talk to you soon, lovelies!
xx Caitlyn

Projects

Decorating a Rental Apartment

My, my, my, am I ever feeling pleased with my little Monday night project. You see, before leaving for Japan, I had printed some photos and random prints to use for art journaling, but I never got around to using them. After arriving in Japan, I thought some of them would be fun to hang on the wall, but how could I do it in an apartment? After all, no holes are allowed in the wall, meaning we have to be careful about even using tacks. Plus tacks can be, well, tacky.

IMG_0228As I thought about my predicament, I suddenly remembered something I’d once stumbled upon on pinterest–a solution to my problem!IMG_0229So how did I hang my pictures, you ask? Washi tape.

And what about the frames for the pictures? Washi tape.

And what was the entire solution to my predicament? Washi tape.Β  IMG_0231Look how fun the wall in our living room turned out! I absolutely love it, and plan to do a few more pictures throughout the apartment as well. (Don’t mind all the blankets–at the moment we’re sleeping in the living room, but as we acquire more furniture we will get things more and more situated!) IMG_0232 IMG_0233
Things I loved about this project:
1. It was super inexpensive! I think I probably paid about 500 yen or less for all the washi tape? (So around $5.00 USD?)
2. It isn’t permanent, meaning I could test hang my pictures and easily move them around when I was working on the project, but also that in the future I can easily switch things up!
3. I got to decorate my apartment and see pictures of people I love while I did it. (Though we have more pictures of loved ones around the house as well!)

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In the past when I lived in Japan, I had trouble with decorating our rental apartments, but I am happy to say that this time around I’m getting ideas to make our little place more homey every day. I’ve started a new pinterest board about living in smaller and/or more temporary places that is sure to start growing. Looking forward to sharing future posts about sprucing up our apartment, too!

Have you ever used washi tape for decorating? What are some fun ways you’ve decorated a temporary space?

Have a lovely week!
xxCaitlyn

Thrift Store Challenge

Thrift Store Challenge~!

Hi everyone! I just got home from work, and from time to time when I’m walking home, I’ll stop by one of the local thrift stores to see if anything catches my eye. Today I stopped and ended up coming home with several fun items that I am super excited to transform. I have a few ideas rolling around already, but I was thinking it might be fun if YOU got involved in a thrift store challenge with me!

Here’s what I suggest: 1) Choose 3-5 items from your local thrift store, 2) Transform them or update them or find a new use for them, etc., and 3) leave a comment about your project and/or a link to your blog/pinterest/etc. that showcases your approach to the challenge in the comment section below by November 1st! Once the deadline passes, I’ll post some of my favorites in another Thrift Store Challenge post. We can keep it going monthly, and change the conditions of the challenge as we go (for example, next month perhaps we could all try to make something in particular!). Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Here’s what I’ll be working with:

IMG_1253Two clocks, a dirty old spice rack, an empty Suntory Whiskey bottle, and a rectangular basket. All of these items cost less than two dollars each.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you want to post about your project before November 1st, feel free to use the hashtag #littlesnailthriftchallenge on instagram, twitter, etc.!

xx Caitlyn

Projects

DIY Felt Koozie

Last weekend at Wheatland I volunteered to help with making felt purses. Although I’ve had lots of fun working with needle felt, I never tried felting with water, so I was interested to learn how it worked. Turns out, felting with water is pretty easy, though I can’t see myself making loads of things in the style.Β  One thing I did venture to make, however, was a beer koozie. Of course.

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So above are the necessary materials you need to begin: a bottle or can for sizing reference, a pan at least an inch or two deep, needle and thread, dish soap, and wool in the color(s) of your choice for felting.IMG_1052Begin by separating the felt into two layers in your pan. The first layer should go across the width of the pan, and the second layer should go up and down, in the opposite direction. This ensures there won’t be any thin areas in your project, and helps prevent holes in the end result.

IMG_1054Once you’re satisfied with your layers, drizzle dish soap over the prepared felt.

IMG_1057Curry Chan was very interested in this step…

IMG_1058Next, add some water, just to cover the felt, and press it down like a pancake using the flat of your hand. IMG_1059The next step is pinching the felt together like a pie crust, all over. Once you’ve pinched for about five minutes, you’ll flip the felt over and repeat the pinching on the other side. It should take around 10 minutes, if you have the patience.

IMG_1060 IMG_1061Once you (and your cat, if applicable) are satisfied, it’s time to rinse out your felt.

IMG_1062(Turns out Curry was just on a path of destruction, hoping to run off with the remaining felt and roll all over the carpet with it. I shouldn’t be surprised after the sad fate of cute Mr. Turnip…)

IMG_1065Here is my ball of felt after washing.

IMG_1066Roll out your felt and place a bottle or can on it to measure your Koozie. I measured the width first, and then measured out a circle for the bottom.

IMG_1068 IMG_1069 IMG_1070Next, sew the edges together. I did a bit of a hodge-podge job on part of it, but I didn’t worry too much as I knew I’d be turning the koozie inside out when finished. A big part of this project was not worrying about perfection.

IMG_1071Next up, you can sew on the bottom of your koozie and inspect your work!

IMG_1072Here is my completed koozie before turning it inside out.

IMG_1073And that’s it! You can now put your beverage of choice in your koozie and enjoy. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also add strings of beads of other decorations onto your koozie, but I decided to run on the side of simplicity. (Or was it laziness? One can’t be sure.)

Do you like the wet-felt method? What kinds of felt projects have you made or would you like to make in the future?