Felted Fish Tank

I received a Fido Felts for my birthday from my boyfriend’s parents and I was very excited. I had never tried felting and it seemed like a really cool new craft to try.  I also love dogs, so I was excited to make the mini felted dogs the kit offered.  If you’re not familiar with felting, it’s pretty simple.  You take some wool and essentially stab and shape it with a needle until it’s in the shape you want.  The dogs from the kit are actually quite difficult to make, but I still had a good time making them.

Recently my grandfather has been in the hospital and a rehabilitation center, so I wanted to get him something.  He lives on the other side of the country, so it’s not easy for me to visit.  I figured flowers are very cliche, and I like making things.  I did a lot of googling on things I could make or get for him other than flowers and I came across a post on radmegan where she made a goldfish aquarium.  I thought this was a great idea!  My grandparents have a huge fish tank in their living room, so I thought this might give my grandfather a touch of home at the hospital.  I made some tweaks to what radmegan did, so here is my take on a felted fish tank.

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Materials:

Felt for felting – specifically orange, yellow, black and white felt
Felting kit (needles, styrofoam, etc)
Large jar (I used an old pickle jar)
Blue ribbon
Aquarium gravel
Pipe cleaners – blue for fish stands, green for plants, purple for starfish
Silver & white small pom poms
Hot glue gun

Instructions:

  1. Ensure your jar is clean.  If you’re using a repurposed jar, there might be lingering smells, so be sure to clean thoroughly.  If you want to keep the top, you can definitely do that, but I find it difficult to completely remove smells from the jar top.
  2. Felt your fish.  I created a large goldfish and two smaller yellow fish. I used this tutorial on Youtube and thought it was very helpful.  The changes I made were that I added felt eyes by felting some white onto the body and then two small black dots inside.  I also added a smile.  For the yellow fish, I did not add a top dorsel fin and I made their tails slightly longer than the goldfish.

  3. Once your fish are complete,  take the green pipe cleaners and mold them into a wavy pattern for the plants.  I used 4 pipe cleaners that were cut down a little, but depending on the size of your jar you may want more or less.  Fold the bottom of the pipe cleaner into an “L” shape and using the glue gun, glue the bottom part of the “L” onto the bottom of the jar.
  4.  Use the hot glue gun to glue pipe cleaners onto the fish.  You’ll want to cut your pipe cleaners to the lengths you’d like your fish to be at.  Then, fold the pipe cleaners in a “]” shape, glue gunning the top part to the bottom of the fish, and (when that part is dry) the bottom to the bottom of the jar. I used the same pipe cleaner for the two small yellow fish.

bottom-of-tank15. Once the glue is dry, pour your aquarium gravel into the bottom of the jar until the glued bottoms of the fish and plants are no longer visible.
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6. Create a starfish out of pipe cleaners and place into jar.
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7. Take one or two silver and white pom poms and drop into jar (I imagined these as sea urchins).
8. Lastly, take your blue ribbon and tie it around the top of the jar.  I glue gunned it down in a few places so it would not slip around.
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9. Enjoy!

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Halloween Crow Wreath

My favorite season, Fall, is here and Halloween is fast approaching.  I’m not afraid to admit that I essentially love everything “basic” about this season.  Although I do find pumpkin spice lattes a bit too sweet, I love decorating, going to pumpkin patches, and the impending chilly weather (but in SF it’s more like the weather finally matches the season).  In the past I had put some maize corn on our door as a decoration, but last year I saw some really cute fall wreaths on Pinterest and decided to make my own.  Here’s how you can make this really cute wreath yourself!

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Materials:

materialsStyrofoam “donut circle” – 12in diameter
1 yard black ribbon
2 yards chevron orange and white ribbon
Toy crow
Gold felt pen
1 ft twine
Hot glue gun & extra glue
Black felt square
Small piece of fabric of your pattern choice – I purchased 1 yard at the store because I knew I’d use it again, but really you only need enough to make your crow a large enough hat.

Instructions:

1. Start with the chevron orange ribbon and styrofoam. Using the hot glue gun, glue the beginning end to what you’ll deem the back of the wreath. Then, slowly wrap the ribbon around the styrofoam.  Every two wrap-arounds, use the hot glue gun to glue down the ribbon.  In the image below, I would put a small line of glue where the ribbon is hitting the styrofoam.  Do this until you have again reached your starting point (it’s OK if it overlaps a little), and make sure the end part of the ribbon is glued on the back.

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2. Take the twine and measure the length you’ll have the “boo” sign reach one side of the styrofoam to the other and cut.  You’ll want a bit of slack so it looks like the sign is hanging.  Do NOT glue on styrofoam yet.

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3. Cut out three small triangles from the black felt and write out “BOO” with each letter on a separate triangle.

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4. Using the hot glue gun, glue each triangle onto the twine.  Once the glue has dried, glue the twine onto styrofoam at the points where you previously measured.

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5. Time to make a cute hat for your crow!  Take a piece of fabric and roll it into a cylinder hat shape that is an appropriate size for the crow.  Use the hot glue gun to glue it together.  If you’d like, you can take a piece of twine and make a bottom liner for the hat and glue on with the hot glue gun.  Once you’ve created your hat, glue onto the crow.  I found the easiest way to do this was to put some glue on the crow’s head approximately how wide the hat is and press down lightly.

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6. Hot glue gun your crow onto the wreath wherever you’d like him to sit.  I also took some twine and feathered the edges to make it look as though he was sitting on a broom.  Hot glue gun that near his feet!

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7.  Lastly, figure out where you’d like to hang the wreath.  Take your black ribbon and loop in around the top of your wreath and tie the top into a nice bow.  You can shorten your ribbon if you’d like the wreath to hang higher. boo-close-up

8. Hang your wreath and enjoy!  Happy Halloween!

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Dim Sum Steamer Round Shelf

As I’m sure many of you also do, I rent.  I also have a bunch of tchatskis/pictures/etc and not a lot of space, so I need to utilize some vertical space to display them.  I bought some shelves from Urban Outfitters that I thought were really cool, but would have required 4 screws each.  Eight holes in the wall is not really the best situation when you’re renting.  My boyfriend and I kept getting cold feet before putting them up, so I started exploring more options for shelving that required only one small hole.  (Ps – If you’re interested in two really cute shelves from Urban Outfitters and are not concerned about holes, hit me up.)  What initially came to mind was some type of shelf/shelves that hung with rope or string and therefore required only one or two holes each (thus creating little damage to the walls).  I found a round shelf I really liked on some site, but waited too long and it somehow totally disappeared.  I wasn’t able to find a similar style, which really surprised me.  Anyway, upon looking endlessly for DIY round shelves, I came across this post from A Pair and A Spare DIY and thought it was a really great idea!  I think she found her dim sum steamer just walking on the streets in Hong Kong, so I was initially a little skeptical of how I was going to replicate this.  However, my boyfriend mentioned that we could probably find one at a restaurant warehouse store.  HE WAS RIGHT!   A google search just happened to bring up Kamei Restaurant Supply in San Francisco, and it just happens to specialize in Asian restaurant supplies.  Jackpot!  Were able to find a fairly large one that would nicely match the size of our wall (and fit a bunch of stuff!).  Anyway, this is a great project for those of us who want something a little unique with little damage to the walls.  Now here’s what you’re really looking for…how to make it!

Dim Sum Steamer Shelf 1

You’ll need:

A Dim Sum Steamer of your size choice

Piece of plywood – got this from Home Depot

Rope – I used Wellington 28764 Manila Rope, 1/4″ X 50′ (you can find it on Amazon)

Wood Glue

Hacksaw

Wood file

Drill

Measuring tape

Hanging materials (Hercules hook, picture hook, nail, etc)

 

dim sum steamer shelf supplies

Directions:

1. Remove the criss cross backing of the dim sum steamer.  This was actually pretty easy and you just need to wiggle the pieces to get them to come out.

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2. Cut the plywood down with the hacksaw so it is an appropriate size to fit approximately where you’d like the shelf to stand.  I put mine about 3/4 of the way down, but you can make it higher or lower as you please.

3. We cut wedges in the plywood so it sat comfortably and fit like a puzzle in the sides of the steamer.  This also required some use of the wood file to make it exact. (Thanks to my awesome boyfriend for helping me with this step!)

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4. Use the wood glue to glue the shelf onto the sides of the dim sum steamer.  The shelf should fit snug and stay put naturally, but it was very hard to get it that way, and still wasn’t completely exact, so I’d recommend using some glue to ensure it stays.

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5. Use the drill to drill two holes on both sides of the steamer.  Be sure to measure so that the holes are even!

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6.  Thread the rope through the holes and tie.

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7. Hang up on your wall using whatever hanging materials you deem necessary for the wall you are hanging it on.  We choose a picture hook.  Decorate however you please!

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Terracotta Pot “Upgrade”

So this is nothing special really…just thought I’d post this cute idea (I think!) for some terracotta pots.  I bought these cacti from CVS for about $.40 (they were 90% off for some reason) and we all know I can’t resist a $.40 plant.  Anyway, I mixed and matched the color scheme to get the plant matching pink and yellow look.

Painted Terracotta Pots

DIY Ombre Pots

So as you will end up eventually noticing on this blog, I really love plants.  I can’t put my finger on what it is I like about them, but I think they bring a lot of life and decoration to a room.  My apartment has a balcony, so naturally I have put a lot of plants out there!  I was looking for an easy way to spice up the pots I have outside, since decorated pots can get fairly expensive, and I’ve been resorting to mostly terra cotta ones because they are super cheap.  However, having all terra cotta pots can get a little boring!  I’m sure that I saw this idea when cruising along Pinterest at some point, but I came up with the idea to spruce up some of my smaller terra cotta pots by giving them an ombre paint job.  It’s fairly easy and you definitely don’t have to be an artist to do it.

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ombre pots

What you’ll need:
One terra cotta pot (this project will work best with small to medium pots and is best to start out with smaller and work your way up to medium)
Two 2 oz bottles (your color choice + white) of Acrylic paint (Folk Art & Americana are good brands!)
Paintbrush (smaller brush size – this is a good example)
Newspaper (so you don’t get paint on the floor/ground!)

Directions:
1. Begin with a plain terra cotta pot (this one is actually plastic, but works just the same!).  Lay down newspaper.

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(^^Pot I used…sans newspaper.)

2. Squirt out a dollop of colored paint and white paint onto the newspaper.

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3. Paint a ring/line the first layer of the colored paint around the bottom of the pot.

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(^^This older lady is extremely impressed by my painting skills.)

4. Add a little bit of white paint to the colored paint and mix.  You might have to add more white paint or colored paint depending on how light/dark it gets.  You’re aiming for slightly less than a shade lighter.

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5. Paint another ring right above (and every so slightly over the top of) the the previous ring.

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6.  Repeat adding paint to make a lighter shade and painting above the previous ring until you get to the top.

7.  Let dry and your pot should have an ombre shade to it!

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DIY Simple-Sew Dog Bandana

Major makes his Laur of All Trades debut! So the story of Major (full name: Major Tom)…he was rescued by my boyfriend about 5 years ago and is now 12 years old. He’s a little up there in age, but he’s doesn’t act it. He’s always been a lounger and his hobbies include: sleeping on the couch, sleeping on his pillow under the desk, sleeping on the bed, chilling with us on the couch…you get the drift. He is a Lhasa Apso-Poodle mix and is the sweetest dog ever. When I was back in NJ recently for my brother’s college graduation, Major went to the groomer (PetSmart – they’re really great there) and he came back with a PetSmart bandana. When I responded to the picture with, “He loves that bandana!”, Kevin responded with “Dude loves bandanas!” I’ve known Major and Kevin for a year and half and this is the first I’d heard of any Major-bandana lovin. Naturally, I was on a mission then to make this cutie his own bandanas. I went to Fabric Outlet in the Mission as soon as I was back in San Francisco and got four different fabrics: island theme (because it’s summer), bad dog skulls (it’s funny because he is the total opposite), western themed trains (because…ADORABLE), and Halloween (the next upcoming holiday!).  I also got fabric for another project, some thread, a hot glue gun + glue, and mod podge (again, for other projects).  In short, Fabric Outlet is awesome.

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I did meet some opposition after I took off the PetSmart scarf and used it to figure out how large I should make this one though…
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He got over it and has been enjoying his new one since!

So without further ado, here’s how you can make your own simple-sew dog scarf!  No sewing machine needed and these particular measurements fit a medium size dog (Major is 25 lbs).  If your dog is any smaller, this will definitely be too big, so I’d recommend getting more fabric than you might need for the first one to cut out a few test sizes (you can use the same proportions, though!).

What you’ll need:
Fabric of your choice (I found a cotton blend that is very similar to a typical bandana)
Sewing needle
Placeholder needles
Thread (color is whatever you think might match the fabric the best)
Scissors
Ruler

Instructions:
1. Trace the measurements you will need (I created a template scarf which I’ll keep moving forward to have an easy trace).

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The top should measure 20″ across, each side 15″, and from the middle of the top to the tip, 10″. (Note: Please keep in mind that this triangle is not to scale. I’m only illustrating what section needs to be what length.)
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 2. Cut out the triangle.

3. Fold down the sides so that the frayed part is rolled underneath the fabric, so the seam is clean.  “Seal” with a needle.  The “fold over” should measure about 1/4″.  If your dog is smaller and you’re hands aren’t as nimble, you can definitely make the “fold over” larger.

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4.  Sew it and you’re done!

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Major loves it!hawaii2

DIY Herb/Garden Markers

I’ve always been a big fan of plants and gardening, but I’ve never actually grown my own food.  I decided to take the plunge and start out with some basil, so I bought a variety pack of seeds at Home Depot.  They were only about $5, so relatively cheap if things don’t work out.  Basil is amazing took cook with and the pack came with Cinnamon, Italian, Lemon, and Thai.  I can’t decide which I’m most excited about; I use Italian basil on a regular basis, Thai basil will enable me to enhance some amazing Thai dishes, and I’ve never used the other two, so I’m really excited to try them out!

Now, with four different types of basil that will probably all look the same, I was going to need a way to differentiate which is which.  I had a bunch of old corks lying around (I’ve been collecting them for show and reasons like this), and with some pinterest inspiration, my DIY Herb/Garden Markers were born.

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All you need:
Corks (how many depends on how many markers you need)
Permanent Pen/Marker
Your seeds/plants/and all the fixins for that

How to do it:
The process is incredibly simple (as I’m sure you’ve figured out)…all you need to do is plant your seeds (I don’t have an actual garden, so they are in a rectangular pot), write the name of the specific plant or type of plant on the cork, and put it in the appropriate spot!  I split my seeds up into four square sections in this pot, so I put the marker where each one ends.  Voila! You have your markers.  You can also add sticks to them, too if you want them to pop up more.  I would recommend using kebab skewers cut in half.

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