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Posts from the D.I.Y. Category

IMG_3431i didn’t want to leave the blog so gloomy over christmas, but it turns out to be another gloomy day. my aunt ellen passed away this morning after struggling the last few months with an aggressive form of brain cancer.  i dedicate this post to you aunt ellen. ellen was a happy, beautiful, and lovable person. she was giving, creative, and a great cook. RIP in aunt ellen. my heart goes out to my uncle mike and cousins joni and anthony.

 before all this sad stuff happened, i was actually getting in the christmas spirit. i have been kind of a grinch in the past and i haven’t spent christmas with my family in two years. last year, i even spent it by myself. oddly enough, i still got in the spirit and reflected on what it meant for me. i think it prepared me for spending it with my large family again. being so large, we don’t always exchange gifts and the kids usually do so with just the kids. since, i have no kids and didn’t have anyone to buy for ( my parents are always saying don’t get them anything), well, i just couldn’t settle for that this year. i was in the giving spirit, feeling excited to give and to create gifts. plus, while i was at home trying to nurse little lola i started recording all those good christmas movies like love actually, the holiday, the family stone, and scrooged and i was getting in the christmas spirit. just a few of my favs.

i decided that i would make gifts this year for the adults and find some silly gifts for the kids, but some pretty cool native american stuff too. i  made little medicine bags for the little ladies and found some really cool geode rocks for the boys you crack yourself at the local gem store by my new house. i have to admit, i am excited to see what’s inside.

my sister did something similar a few years ago making all sort of yummy homemade treats. i was trying to figure out what to do that would be cheap and still “classy” hopefully using things from around the house that i already had. check out the recipes and techniques below! only thing is, if my siblings read my blog they know what they are getting for christmas, sorry guys!


chocolate bark with almond, dried cherries, lavender, and sea salt

got a bag of chocolate chips and some nuts laying around the house? melt the chocolate in a double broiler on the stove. spread it into a square shape on some parchment paper. top with any toppings you might have in the house. i tend to always have nuts and some sort of dried fruit. i used semi-sweet chocolate topped with roasted almonds, dried cherries, culinary lavender, and sea salt. let the chocolate harden and break or cut into pieces. package as you please.

IMG_3388IMG_3406PicMonkey Collage1

orange and lime zest sugar

roasemary, sage, thyme sea salt

other easy on the wallet ingredients are sugar and salt. herbs are a bit more pricey, unless you grow them yourself (man, i miss that LA garden), but citrus is a pretty cheap way to go! i infused sugar with lime and orange zest and sea salt with rosemary, sage, and thyme. i luckily had some herbs leftover from other recipes. i chopped em up and layered them with the sea salt in a cute little jar. set aside in a cool dark place to infuse. for the sugar, zest your citrus and layer the sugar and citrus as well in a jar. you can use the inside of the   fruit to make a compote or jam as well…never letting it go to waste! i thought the lime/orange zest sugar would be a tasty add to a cup of coffee. the salt, good on most anything savory and hearty. you could also do a lime zest salt for margaritas!

PicMonkey Collage

rosemary infused olive oil

lavender body oil

infused oils! easy as pie. i found the oil dispenser at world market. heat up olive oil with rosemary just until the oil gets warm. set aside to cool and pour into a container. for the essential oils, i have been wanting to make these for a while now. on my europe trip a few years ago i bought some essential lavender oil. i also had some jojoba, almond oil, and vitamin e around for personal use. i combined all four of these ingredients into bottles that were actually from lola’s meds from a few years ago. i obviously sterilized the hell out of them. i just love the brown glass and eye dropper tops. i clearly, save a lot of bottles!

PicMonkey Collage3


 i also had a bottle of vodka hanging around for quite sometime. i decided this was another easy and cheap thing to do since i didn’t have to buy any vodka.  to make i combined one bottle of vodka with the zest of 5 lemons in a container. set in a cool dark place to sit for 5 days. strain  the zest from the vodka. next, combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar with 3 cups of water and boil until the sugar dissolves. let it cool and add to the vodka. jar it as you like. again, i had these bottles hanging around the house.


holiday music mix

make a playlist. it could be christmas tunes, it could just be anything the person likes. i made a playlist of christmas music since i was in the spirit.

below is a bad picture of the little medicine bags i made for my nieces.


and my gift to you…a christmas music playlist on spotify. click the link below to listen. some of my favorite xmas tunes from john denver, dolly parton, low, bird and the bee, she and him, neil diamond, aimee mann…just to name a few.

merry christmas guys! i hope your families are healthy and happy!

as i mentioned in my last post, i may or may not have illegally picked some california white sage on my adventure to ojai last week! once, i discovered it growing on my first day of hiking, i immediately began a hunt and a mission… to hoard as much as possible.  it was so fun to forage this beautiful treasure, and couldn’t help but to think of mushroom or truffle foragers. how fun to be on the search ending in an instant gratification of triumph! the prize is yours. kind of like thrift store shopping! i have always felt this sense of peaceful accomplishment when finding my most prized possessions in nature. some sort of natural instinct turned frivolous vs. survival? 🙂

california white sage, only grows in southern california, but you can find it for sale in many places. there are other types of sage that are harvested and sold for the same purpose.  sage is used in many global indigenous practices to cleanse the body, the soul, sometimes tangibles,and mostly negative feelings. the sage can be burned taking the smoke cupped in ones hands and and rub or brush it over the body. when harvesting it is best to cut at the soft part of the stem, not the woodsy part. this will allow the plant grow two more branches the following year, otherwise it will grow none. traditionally, indigenous people would leave a gift like a piece of hair or a seed to honor the gift they have been given. if you wrap your own be sure to use cotton or hemp, other unnatural products will smell awful.

after doing some research on the internet, i have come across some negative feelings about the new age connotation of using sage amongst “rich white people”, or the misleading use of native american culture.  we are clearly currently seeing this in trendy clothing stores and boutiques. pendleton blankets are a commodity, even my jewelry line is inspired by native americans.  i couldn’t help but to ask if this is a shame for the native american culture? i can see where people might be taking advantage of such and not respecting the true context of the culture.  for me, it has always felt personal. i have always identified and extremely admired the indigenous tribal traditions of this land. as a child we were always taking trips to the mountains as a family. i would buy all the indian trinkets and children’s books. to this day i can remember vividly reading a story about a young boy sent out on a journey at the coming of age. the book was bought in jackson hole, wyoming and and am still on the hunt for it again (even scouring my parents basement). it inspired me so much as a child.  my mom loves to bring up how i am channeling our sioux ancestor. now, this was a long time ago, but we love to talk about it, much like we love to talk about being italian, even the small amount we are.  it is said that my dad’s uncle looked truly native american. this is when i wonder about past lives and the link to our ancestors. perhaps, this is where it begins for me subconsciously.

i do believe the founding fathers deeply wronged the natives to america, i do believe they suffer to this day and their cultures and lifestyle are badly badly bruised as a result of our ancestors. i do believe this is spiritually their land, unfortunately, like many things, violence won.   such beautiful traditions and beliefs destroyed and i hope that my love and inspiration only helps to keep it alive and perhaps help in the future through education and respect. check below for some links i have looked into for donating or volunteering.




it is getting to be that time of year when the garden will slowly start fading away.  even if living in socal gives us year round gardens, the summer garden is the most exciting for me!  i am sad to see her go soon, she gave me such smiles and warmth on a daily basis.  i love watering her soil and discovering the treasured buds her plants would give life to.

i attempted a winter garden last year, but somehow forgot to tend to her. i have started research on what to grow this fall, but if i book it out of LA soon, i won’t have the ability to garden. i will have to forfeit until next summer. that is one of the many beauties of southern california, the lack of harsh winters and distinct seasonal changes, allowing for year round gardens. it can still get pretty chilly and rainy here, and i have gotten use to the mediterranean climate.  i keep thinking about the winter i might be about to embark on, and wonder if i will frolic in the snow, or have a minor breakdown? i have always been nostalgic for winter ( i grew up in northern indiana where there is plenty of it) and believe the seasons have a great purpose and lesson for rebirth.   i will have to let go of her until next year when i can give her life again. drying the herbs might just be a way of holding on to the luxury of being able to grow such wonderful specimens…and not letting her bountiful beauty go to waste.

this year i am growing two kinds of basil, oregano, two types of thyme, mint, rose geranium, and parsley. a bay tree already grows tall in the yard sharing many, many leaves for use. my dad took home a bag full on his last visit. everyone might just be getting jars of bay leaves for christmas this year!

harvest your herbs before they flower.  this will need to be done throughout any growing period. once annual herbs flower, they have gone to seed and will produce no more leaves.  cutting back allows you to grow more! lots more! cut back basil to above bottom two sets of leaves. thyme, at about 1/2 to 1/3. you can use what you cut back to cook with or this is when you start drying or freezing.

smaller leaves, like thyme, oregano, and even the bay leaves can be dried on baskets or even screens(window screens, perhaps purchased from the thrift store?).  if you need to wash off dirt, do so and pat dry before spreading them out on the basket/screen. store out of sunlight with good air circulation until dry, possibly up to 7 days.

some leaves with a lot of moisture content, like basil, mint, and tarragon, can not be laid on top of each other to dry (sometimes oregano too, but mine worked out fine. if you live in a humid environment i would try this method for any tender herb) instead, you can make a bundle of stems (3-5) tied together with gardeners string to hang upside down.

if the leaves are not quite dry, like sage, you can pop them in the oven at the lowest possible temp for 5 minutes.  you do not want to store any herbs in a jar with moisture, as this will cause mold.  if you have a dehydrator, you can also use this. check out the website at the end of the post for more info on using the dehydrator.

to test if the herbs are dry and ready for storage…check the crumble and the crackle.  if the leaves have turned brown they are not good for culinary purpose. you can find other purposes for these brown herbs on the web.

store the leaves whole, away from light and heat. crumble  at time of use to release the essential oils, giving a more intense flavor.

this is a great website for gardening tips!


soooo….let us back track a few weeks. before the colorado road trip, my dear friends stacy and allan were hitched at the culver hotel here in los angeles.  i can honestly say it was one of the most endearing weddings i have ever been too. the words of their friends, family, and their vows to each other made me fall in love with LOVE  just that much more.  when two people like this find each other, it makes me believe it is worth the wait!

the culver hotel, located in culver city, is near culver studios (that is a whole lot of culver) which is where the wizard of oz was filmed and the munchkins stayed in the hotel while filming.  stacy and allan did a tongue and cheek podcast, but chock full of information, for the guests staying at the hotel. if you like old hollywood, take a listen! it will now turn into a regular program! i think it is brilliant!

stacy’s friend, sharon, took on the flowers and decorations for the wedding. the hotel is beautiful and charming itself, so it was just about adding a few pieces.  i helped sharon pick out some flowers at the LA flower mart, but i can’t take credit for the arrangements. that was all sharon! sharon, also came up the fabric strips sweetly draped from the banisters and the book wreaths. i think she found her new calling!

the wedding was so sweet and endearing. complete with cupcakes and dancing!

congrats stacy and allan! love you guys!

Culver Hotel Audio Tour!-1

man, what a weekend! that fresssssh, high altitude air surely makes a mark every time…and i think that mark is getting deeper and deeper. i might just explode if i don’t let that mark heal…by moving. shall i even say, i feel closer to leaving this land of angels? because next week i might be right back where i was last week. oh, geez. i sure wear myself out.

but let’s talk about how awesome the weekend really was!! old friends, new friends, landscape, and relaxation. we were somewhere between buena vista and salida, colorado. an area known as the “banana belt” due to mild winters. a high mountain desert with mild temperatures…does it get much better than that? i have to admit, after my last trip through washington and oregon, i missed the desert. i love a good lush forrest, but there is something about an open desert landscape: the sunshine, the air, and being able to see for miles. this was kind of like the best combo.

we stayed at mt princeton resort, but spent most of our time at laura and burke’s cabin down the street. equipped with their own hot spring, a creek, and a constant party! sometimes i felt as though time was standing still…slowly passing along to take in the smallest of moments. there was so much laughter, silliness, and smiles.

laura and burke had such a smooth set up.  normally everyone is running around,i’ll just say it, like assholes. luckily, they were able to set up the day before. so, we helped decorate and ice cupcakes in between dips in the hot spring, beers, and silliness.

laura and burke were actually married already and this was the party to celebrate. the  decorations were so intimate and creative. i wouldn’t expect any less from laura.

each guest received a corsage(ladies) and a pendant (dudes) handmade by miss laura. not to mention the lovely little gifts of jewelry she made us as well. we were spoiled.  if you haven’t already figured it out, LURKE is a combo of their names, laura and burke. so, we also all got a lurke pin. the tables were decorated with doilies, succulents, candles, and trinkets. colorful flag banners, paper lanterns, and tissue poms filled the room with color. i was severely admiring the vintage and colorful dessert table, not to mention the 20 cupcakes i may have consumed.  laura’s mom was the cutest with her frilly socks and crochet gloves.

but the cutest of all…laura and burke. love is the bestest !!! and so are my friends!


Salida on Dwellable

unique LA was a success!!! we had such a great time and i have to say that i learned a whole hell of a lot! there were a whole lot of highlights for me, but i think the biggest stand out moment was when sonja, the creator and founder of unique LA, purchased one of my necklaces and wore it the whole day!  i couldn’t have asked for a better compliment! thank you, sonja!

i have lots of photos to share of the booth.  marianne, sean, and i cohesively and smoothly created a booth trying to be as frugal as possible, only purchasing a few key pieces and then using things from around each of our houses. i am including some ideas as well for booth set ups. as newbies at our first craft fair we were’t sure what to expect with the setup. so, we both searched the internet for ideas, but it was hard to find. we thought why not help out others, if they want it or need it, with our trials and tribulations of a booth set up.

we wanted to do something for the backdrop as opposed to the white plexi walls.  i found some thin brown paper at a local hardware store and with some poster tape it laid very nicely. we thought about using the big rolls of brown paper….but it can sometimes buckle and we wanted something that looked neat.  although, our neighbors had a nice paper wall set up using the big sheets, but they have been doing this a while! i still really like the way ours turned out!
and look, there is donna g! she came to help me set up.  she was a great merchandiser!

i have to say, i think the booth turned out pretty darn good. we all love merchandising though and have all worked retail…so, it was a no brainer in a way. i have to say there are a few things i would change about mine. it started to become a bit cluttered and there was a lot to look at (a general theme in my life). i would probably do a different tablecloth next time, something more simple… and possibly move the sign.  i played around with the merchandising throughout the event to see how people responded. making it a bit more simple seemed to draw a few more people in and when i featured different items on the wood on the table, it was picked up much more often!

i tried spreading out the necklaces or doing more simple pieces in-between.

we decided to do one joint wall in the back to tie our two booths together and then we would take either side for our own shops.  marianne came up with the idea to do the ladder and the shelves. i pitched in the idea to do cinder blocks as a base for the bottom shelf.  marianne and sean bought 3 blocks and 4 bricks. the bricks are layered between the cinder blocks, if you look closely.

i found all these sticks in my brothers backyard that i really wanted to use to hang necklaces from.  i attached a nail (per sean’s brilliant idea)to one side and wrapped twine around the nail and ladder to secure it. the other side was strung from a door hook from home depot.

sean came up with the idea to secure the top shelf in place with rope. brilliant! they also had a lot of hanging terrariums to hang and they came up with this brilliant chicken wire and rope display. the globes hang from s hooks!

now…let’s break it up by our sides.  marianne and i hit up a vintage furniture dealer downtown to buy some crates. i took this old drawer and added some small eyelet hooks so i could hang necklaces from s hooks.

i also did two slabs of cheap wood from the local hardware store that were already cut. i stained them and added some hefty nails to hang necklaces from.

i made signs by staining almost paper thin wood and using recycled brown paper. i burned the edges of the paper.

earrings and keychains hung from vases i had at my house.

i found the pyramid display case on ebay. i added in pieces of fern for some green and earth.

my sister in law made me this wood art that sits on an old rake. i used the rake part to hang the more delicate jewelry from. the mirror i bought at a vintage store in highland park.

now, let’s go over to marianne and sean’s side. they rocked it! people loved the terrariums and ate them up! be sure to check out marianne’s blog and her online store. if you want to make your own terrariums she sells supplies!!

i LOVED their side! it looked so pretty, and like a real store! they did such a great job merchandising and the neon pods gave such a perfect pop of color! people would b-line it for the booth…no joke!

i think our sides meshed together really well!  although, i have to say we had a totally different customer. i wasn’t sure what to expect, but now i do! it was fun to watch this and figure it all out as it went along.  we made some really great connections and have some fun things planned for the future. two more shows this summer, patchwork june 10 and renegade july 28-29.

we also have a little secret brewing…

if you are a design blog junkie like me, then you have probably seen the paint dipped craze taking over the DIY scene.  in my defense of being late on this, i did this DIY like two months ago. ( i clearly prefer to be a leader, not a follower…it’s the aries in me). i just had to do that last shot to secure the post, and it just sat on my list of things to do, for two months.

since i put the effort in, i thought i would still share the post.  i had some wood spoons left over from my friend donna’s party back in could also use plastic spoons or even silverware to add a trendy touch to your cutlery.  i took a little spin and double dipped the spoons.

you need:

2 paint colors

possible bowls for paint

spoons/cutlery/or anything else you can think of to dip paint

egg carton/paper/paper towel for drying and cleaning

i think this needs clearly little instruction. except if you want more of  a swirl look to dip the gold while the white is still wet. for the drip, set the spoon upright to dry, like i did in the egg carton.

use the spoons for parties… or to eat your pudding!

super excited to announce that sun and glory and bird and feather are teaming up for UNIQUE LA in may and PATCHWORK -Culver City in June! Check out the website and if you are in LA please come stop by!

if you can’t come to the LA shows, check out our websites as well as any possible local craft fairs in your area! support your local artists!

i have lived in my house for over a year and a half…and until about a week ago i didn’t have a curtain for my bathroom. the space was often covered up by a piece of fabric … or a towel. ha! how horrible. i just couldn’t find a curtain i was okay with and i always wanted to try and make something. i just kept procrastinating and procrastinating…and finally more procrastinating. every time i went into the bathroom, it drove me nuts, but yet i continued to let it sit on my list of things to do, always putting other tasks first, like making cupcakes.

a few months back i did a shoot in this old supposedly haunted house, paramour mansion, in the neighborhood of silver lake here in los angeles. they had wardrobe set up in the basement near what was once the kitchen, where servants made the meals. first of all, this house was insane!!!! i have never been in anything like it. i wanted every single piece of furniture. the lady who owns the house collects things… and i mean she really collects things. it was better than any museum i have ever been to. but the one thing that caught my eye, possibly because it was the one thing i could try and recreate at home, were the beads hanging in the window above the kitchen sink. i loved the simplicity of it and the colors. it didn’t do much for blocking anyone from seeing inside, but it was lovely.

i decided i wanted to try and do this in my house somewhere. yes, the bathroom. it would be perfect for the bathroom. i went bead shopping and well, all those beautiful strands of beads were just out of my price range at the time. $10-20 on a strand of beads and 40 strands later, it ain’t cheap! so, i settled for a bunch of cheap wooden beads.  when i got home and started stranding them, i didn’t have enough to cover the window …so that no one could see inside.

i found this photo on tumblr…another lovely idea.

 i also tried ombre dying muslin and then ripping it into small strands to create a fringe curtain. this however, again was not enough. i was going to make a second piece, but  in between that idea i had already bought the beads. so, i decide to combine the two ideas. ripping strands of fabric and adding beads in for flare! it definitely looks homemade, but its cute. when i go into the bathroom i now have a sense of relief that something hangs in the window!

what you need:



muslin (according to the measurements of your window!)


curtain rod

string your beads

cut your strips of fabric into the size you like. i did inch strips. if you make a little snip in the fabric, it will then easily rip. there will be lots of strings roaming around. if this annoys you then cut the whole way down. i like the fringy look, though!

tie your strands of fabric around the curtain rod. you need to measure the length of your window and this will determine where you need to tie the knot. i left about 8 -10 inches that kind of act like a valance!

now add your strands of beads in a pattern you desire! and hang your curtain!!

i use to have this habit of taking weekly trips to the newsstand (and amoeba, but that is another story) to buy lots and lots of magazines. this habit gave me a large collection of printed zines, one i have been slowly trying to purge for years. see, i sometimes have a hard time throwing things away. especially pretty magazines with lots of pretty pictures.  this collection started staring me in the face and so i conjured up lots of little projects with magazine tear pages.  sewn envelopes being one of them! i did most of these years ago, but i thought it was a good DIY idea for the blog. (along with a few more projects to come!)

what you need:

magazine pages you like

spray mount


cardstock or brown paper bag

sewing machine


first you want to line up your magazine pages with either card stock or you can use a brown paper bag. this creates a sturdy backdrop so the paper is not so flimsy. trim where needed. be sure to leave an extra inch or two for the flap of the envelope, so you can seal it!

next, using spray mount (which i love but can be very messy…i suggest doing this outside) spray one side of your paper and attach the second piece of card stock or paper bag. pressing firmly to make sure there are no air bubbles!

pick your thread colors. line up the two sides of the envelope and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around the paper. you can stop at the flap, but i think it looks better all the way around.

to seal the envelope i used double sided tape ( or top stick, a wardrobe girl’s right hand). i had some shipping labels from around the house and used those for the address.

perhaps you can add a little letter on a page too! i use to send letters on magazine tears or wrap a cd mix in one.  snail mail isn’t so common anymore…but it should be. really! who doesn’t get excited when you get a hand written envelope in the mail? an email just is not the same thing.

you could even line these envelopes with bubble wrap if you want to send something a bit more fragile!

just another way to reuse those magazines instead of letting them pile up. although, i have always kind of wanted to keep them for my grandkids…vintage mags! these days, i only buy magazines that serve its purpose on an airplane or ones i wouldn’t dare tear any pages out of.  kind of sad magazines are becoming a past time…but i probably wouldn’t have this blog if they weren’t.