Always a city girl at heart.

My friend sent me a quiz: “What City Should You Actually Live In?” from Buzzfeed. If you want to take it, here is the link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/what-city-should-you-actually-live-in

I don’t really put much stock into Buzzfeed quiz results, but found it ironic I got home city as a result:

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A greater sign from above to go back to the Big Apple?

Hell no.

I’m not quite done with this small town yet 🙂

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Thriftshops = Decorating For Cheap!

As the focus of my posts have drastically shifted, you can tell that I’ve got bitten by that home decor bug. I’v always liked decorating my dorms and rooms I have lived in before, but for the first time I have an entire place to populate with items by myself! I’ve found it to be a lot of fun, but kind of frustrating. It’s sort of like a creative puzzle. You want things to look like they belong together, but I personally don’t like the matchy matchy look. Also, even though I’m working doesn’t mean I want to break the bank!

My biggest tip? Visit your local thrift shop.

I found the following goodies at the Goodwill by my apartment.

1. A Malma Ikea mirror for $1.99! It was a little banged up, so I primed it and repainted it to fit my bathroom’s design.

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Figure.  Before! A normal Malma mirror, square and a bit beaten up.

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Figure. Primed and ready for a face lift!

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Figure. Tadaaa! Pretty in pink and shining bright like a diamond.

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Next up, this framed quote! Apparently it was a custom frame and very well done.

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Figure. I resonate with the quote very much.

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Figure. Just in case you can’t read the framed version 🙂

Finally, this nifty candle holder that caught my eye before leaving.

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Figure. It reminds me of a tree!

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Figure. Here it is with an old candle I had.

It can be sometimes hard to see the potential of old or use items versus brand new and shiny items lined up in department stores, but I personally think it adds a story to the recycled piece.

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Figure. Action shot of my two thrifted items flanking the ends of my living room feature wall.

Curious what else is there? Here’s a list:

  • Lovely photographs my brother in law took and framed for me as a 23rd birthday present.
  • A set of 3 floating shelves from Ross, though I have seen similar one’s at Khols, Amazon, and Bed Bath and Beyond
  • My own DIY canvas art pieces. Learn more about them [here]
  • 3 frames I got from Pier One. What’s framed? Blood cells! I got these images from my old college textbooks. Why? Because that’s just how biologists roll and science is quite beautiful.

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Figure. Close up of my biologist blood cell decor frames. Left: Red blood cells with sickle cell anemia formation, Center: White blood cell attacking an E. coli cell, Right: Healthy human Red blood cells.

DIY: Braided Rag Rug

Hello, and here is another DIY for the home! I wanted my kitchen to have some pop of color, so I decided to make a very bold rug. It is simply made of braided scrap fabric I had laying around.

Reference: I used this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop that I found on Pinterest as a guide: http://www.modabakeshop.com/2009/02/braided-rag-rug.html

Materials:

  • Bedsheets/spare fabric
  • Placemat
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Non-slip shelf liner OR rug grip pad

Note: some of these materials may sound familiar from my last rug DIY.

Procedures:

1. First, I ripped up a bunch of spare bedsheets and fabric I had lying around the house. Then, I started braiding using a clipboard to help me keep the tightness between the strands even.

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Figure 1. Blue, mint, and white seemed to fit my kitchen’s motif! 

2. Repeat the braiding until you have  a super long strand you are happy with!

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Figure 2. I think my braid ended up being over 5 feet when I was done haha.

3. Now to start the mat creation process! I measured about 6 inches in the center of the placemat so I would know where to start my braidrug.

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4. And so begins the winding of the braid! I suggest to make sure you have enough fabric to make your rug as big as you want before hot gluing it to the placemat. Alternatively, you could sew the braid onto a fabric placemat instead, which would enable you to throw it into the washer when it gets dirty. I wanted a quick rug DIY and figured by the time this one gets gross I will want a new rug to DIY 🙂

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5. When attached, flip over and glue some of that non-slip shelf liner or rug grip so you don’t slip and fall when you step onto your almost ready rug! Again, I was able to get an entire roll at my local Dollar Tree.

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6. Tadaaaaaaa!

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And an action shot!

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Hope you enjoyed this simple, easy, upcycle DIY!

DIY: Urban Outfitter Knock-Off Rugs

The work schedule has been a little cray cray with the final push to end of the quarter, so to relieve some stress I have been DIY-ing a lot again for the apartment. I hadn’t realized that Urban Outfitters had a pretty snazzy Apartment decoration section online, until fellow blogger Kristina blogged about it. I had always associated Urban with cute yet pricey clothes based on the store located on UPenn’s campus (that particular Urban never had any good sales).

Anyways, this DIY is a copy cat project! I had been eyeing the following Urban Outfitters, but sadly, I didn’t buy them in time and they are no longer for purchase on the website. 

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Figure. The original Urban Outfitter rugs that inspired this DIY.

Edit: The rug on the right “Plum & Bow Apartment Sweet Apartment Mat” is still for sale for $24! [Urban Outfitters Link to Rug]

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Figure. The versions I yielded after a bit of planning and work. Sorry for the slightly anemic colors; I swear it looks even better in person haha.

Intrigued? Keep reading for steps to make your own!

Materials:

Here is what I used for this DIY to make 2 rugs. I listed the price and places for items I specifically bought for this project.

  • 2 placemats (Dollar Tree, $1/mat)
  • 1/2 yard of burlap fabric (Walmart @ $3/yard)
  • Non-slip shelf liner OR rug grip pad (Dollar Tree, $1/roll)
  • 3M painter’s tape
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Heavy books
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint pen (optional)
  • Stencils

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Figure. Your weapon of choice for this particular project.

Procedure

Step 1. First I took this unattractive placement and covered it in two layers of fabric, attaching it with hot glue.

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Step 1 Tips: Alternatively, you could paint the placemat first or use a solid colored one to use only one layer of fabric. Since the texture of burlap has tiny holes in it, you can see through it easily. Also, while you want the fabric to snuggly fit over the placement, do not pull too tightly when gluing or else you might warp the fabric’s pretty texture.

Step 2. After gluing, the mat might look a little puffy, so what I did was iron down the rug and then left it overnight under some heavy textbooks to flatten it out. Haha, this is how college graduates make their old books useful!

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Step 3A. Painting time! I used fabric paint, 3M painter’s tape to make borders, and stencils for the lettering.

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Step 3 Tips: You might have noticed one of my rugs ended up having a messy border. While I liked it for that particular rug’s style, I would suggest not using  sponge to apply fabric paint. Use a normal paintbrush to decrease the chance of paint bleeding through your tape and stencils! Also, highly suggest using 3M brand because it’s the only one that has given me such crisp lines! I freehand painted the comb.

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Step 3B. For the “Apartment Sweet Apartment” rug, I actually opted to freehand it completely. I used the paint pen to write the words in script and a paint brush to make the designs. Surprisingly neat considering how horrific my normal penmanship is (just leaf through my work NB).

Final Step. Cut your liner or non-slip mat to fit the back of your new DIY rug so that it stays in place on the floor! I simply hot glued it to the back, making sure to cover the raw edges of the burlap to prevent fraying.

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I’m not entirely sure of the longevity of these DIY rugs, but I’m really happy with it. I was able to make two of these rugs for super cheap, using many materials I already had in my craft supply. Also, I think they kind of look true to the originals 🙂

BONUS PIC. Engineering in progress on the right! I tried imitating the “Apartment Sweet Apartment” more closely, but it ended in tragedy. Which is how I ended making the one on the left the way I did. I would suggest concentrating on centering the script first rather than making the borders and being concerned about fitting in all the hearts. Also, as you can tell from the prototype on the right, using a paintbrush to write script is super hard. Haha.

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The KEY to a dressed up Ikea dresser…

Remember this lovely transformation?

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Figure. Malm dresser 2.0 – The fabric Mod Podge project.

Well, I wasn’t satisfied! The color scheme and fabric print seemed too young and childish for someone my age, as much as I enjoyed decorating it. I wanted something a little more toned down to still be a showcase piece without clashing with my nightstand I loved DIY-ing together.

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So what did I do?

  1. Repainted: I threw on the complimentary color of my blue nightstand, a nice Harvest Pumpkin Orange using acrylic paint.
  2. Lines: I used 3M Painter’s Tape to create bold, black lines to outline and add a a little decor accent to the plain face of the drawers. I was pleasantly surprised how well the tape kept the paint from leaking under, which yielded very crisp lines.

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    Figure. Can you believe all you need is tape to make these beautiful lines? A great technique/artist tip from 2D art class from high school!

  3. Mod Podge: While Mod Podge plays a less critical role in this project, it was still my choice of sealer since I had it on hand at home.
  4. Feature Pieces: KEYS! I found this beautiful over-sized and ornate keys at Michaels’s craft store for $1.50 a piece. Of course the key designs that I liked the most and seemed to be able to lie flat the best were originally colored white. Luckily, I had some Liquitex acrylic black paint that easily covered these metal keys in about 3 coats.

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    Figure. I think that these antique looking keys have the potential to spice up a very clean and modern looking piece of furniture!

  5. GLUE! My trusty E600 industrial glue did the trick to hold up these heavy keys onto the drawers faces. The trick is to apply glue onto the key, wait 2 minutes to dry a little, and then hold down onto the surface of the drawer. Allow to dry over night.

The results?

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And up close!

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TADAAAAAA! Just goes to show that you can make Ikea furniture appear a little more grown up or at the very least a little more trendy with a bit of creativity.

While I think my color scheme was largely influenced by the fall and oncoming of Halloween, I think subconsciously my old video game loving self keeps creeping into my designs for DIY (sorta like my Yuna inspired key!). This dresser feels inspired by May from Guilty Gear, what do you think?

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Figure. Adorable and deadly! Would love to cosplay as her one day.

Ikea Hackers:

Special thanks to Ikea Hackers for featuring my project again on their website!
http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/10/the-key-to-a-dressed-up-malm-dresser.html

If you want to learn more about Ikea Hackers, you can read my blog post about it here: https://chubbyriceball.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/ikea-hackers-interior-design-inspiration/

Final Fantasy X Inspired Home Decor

This simple DIY project was inspired by Final Fantasy X’s Yuna Braska and her cool looking staff.

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Figure. Yuna’s default staff in FFX.

When I posted the project on Facebook, I mentioned that I wanted something FF inspired without being too obvious for the entrance of my apartment (don’t want to scare away visitors too quickly).

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Figure. Key before paint job.

I found this cool, but plain key piece at my local Michael’s craft store on sale for about $10 (marked down from $35). Originally, I wanted to paint it like a keyblade from Kingdom Hearts. However, the top piece of the key reminded me of the sigils and temple symbols from Final Fantasy X.

I used acrylic paints, both basic and metallic colors, to mimic the design and color scheme of Yuna’s staff. I think it was quite successful and was finished in just one night. It was sealed with my new favorite craft savior: mod podge.

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Figure. Key after paint job!

I unintentionally have a slight travel theme going on in my living room (ironic because I haven’t traveled to many places compared to other people I know).  So, I was thinking of completing this entrance wall with a quote from “The Hobbit” along side this beautiful Middle Earth map poster that Naomi got for me. I’ll update later if I ever get around to doing that.

I hope you have enjoyed this and hope it provides some inspiration for more subtle video game home decors out there 🙂

DIY Project: Canvas Map Art

*PHEW* I am on that DIY rampage. But this one is very special and close to my heart.

Introduction/Inspiration

Believe it or not, I have been waiting to do this project for months. This is actually an original project of mine inspired by the 3 cities I have been traveling between for family and school for the past 5 years in college. The idea came to me back in March when I initially graduated while I was brainstorming for decorations for my then-hypothetical new apartment.

Concept & Sketch

As most of my projects, the idea was set into motion with a sketch. I knew I wanted to make 3 pieces of artwork on canvases for each of the following cities: New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. I also knew that I had subway maps from each city that I usually hung on my walls like posters. However, I wanted to incorporated these maps into the the art. What I decided was to make each canvas display the nickname of each city using their respective maps.

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Figure 1. It all started with a sketch.

Here are the nicknames if you cannot read them on the sketch. The word in quotations is represented by the map in the shape of an image.

  • Philadelphia aka City of Brotherly “LOVE”
  • New York City aka The Big “Apple”
  • Washington, DC aka The Capital of the “World”

Materials 

  • Maps of Philly, NYC, and DC
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paints
  • Sponge brushes
  • Mod podge
  • 8 x 10 flat canvases
  • Sticker stencils (for the words)

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Figure 2. My materials all ready to be used.

Methods & Procedures

For each canvas, I painted the background two tones for a distressed look. After stenciling the words onto the canvases, I Googled silhouettes of each picture I wanted to trace out and cut from each of the maps.

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Figure 3. This is the image I used for the NYC canvas art.

I used Mod Podge to attach the cut outs of the maps and seal the entire canvas for a slight gloss.

Final Results

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[Click the thumbnails for close ups of each piece of art!]

I think my favorite one is Philadelphia, though I am pretty happy with all three of them as a whole!  Sidenote: I stained some newspaper with water and acrylic blue paint for a texturized ocean! Also, I splotched on some silver paint so that it looks like it has stars.

They now happily hang in my living room where I look at them every day and think about these three very important cities and the people who I love that live in them!

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Hope this serves as inspiration for others to do their own map art! 😀