Category Archives: crafts & diy

[this minute thursday]

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this minute thursday 2

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[lusting after] the entire spring collection at anthropologie. i held off on this shirt yesterday in lieu of the brocade charlie trousers (in grey) which i am obsessed with and can’t wait to wear with every single color under the sun, however, it was not easy.  i tried on about 30 shirts/skirts/dresses and literally wanted to buy them all. after adding up all my “must-haves” and deciding that it simply being a wednesday was not an excuse to spend $450, i just bought the pants. i’m proud of myself for making this budget-savvy decision, but you better believe i went home and pinned everything i tried on. this shirt came dangerously close to coming home with me; i still can’t get over how awesome stripes and florals look together. 

[instagramming] a picture of my new arm party! i’ve been on the hunt for some fun bangles and dainty bracelets (check out the druzy bangle i’ve been lusting after for awhile now) and i finally found the two on the left yesterday at anthropologie (on sale for $9.95 each! a steal!) i love the little bit of sparkle and the pop of teal in the second one from the left. the cream bangle is kate spade (similar) and my watch is michael kors. nice little left wrist arm party if i do say so myself.

[watching] so many guilty pleasure shows! but last night jesse and i watched a new show starring kevin bacon called the following. we had tivo’d it last week and he finally convinced me to watch it last night and it.was.so.good. it was definitely super suspenseful and intense and had some gore as well, but i can’t stop thinking about it. basically there is a serial killer who has developed a cult following to carry out his “master plan” while he is behind bars and an fbi agent (kevin bacon) who is determined to solve the puzzle. it’s kind of like the saw movies (less gory but similarly twisted) meets any crime drama. we watched the second episode on my computer because we hadn’t set up a “season pass” with tivo (don’t worry, we remedied that) and i am anxiously anticipating episode three. it’s not too late to get hooked! it’s on fox on monday nights at 9pm. here is a more in-depth synopsis if you’re interested.

[crafting] a little sneak peek at some valentine’s day cards that might be coming your way soon! i love valentine’s day, not because it means a fancy date with jesse, but because i love any excuse to gorge on chocolate and wear a combination of pink and red in the same outfit. i do like to have a reason to send out homemade cards though, so be on the lookout! 

d.i.y. “corkboard” frame

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i’ve had this project up my sleeve now since last summer. i dilly-dallied, procrastinated, forgot about it, didn’t have the right tools, etc etc etc. aka i made up a bunch of excuses. glad i got that off my chest.

i found this glorious huge vintage-y empty picture frame at the old luckett’s fair in august for a hefty $10 and decided i wanted to transform it into a cork board for the blank wall by jesse’s side of the bed so he could pin up all the cards i’ve gotten for him (i love buying cards even more than i love making them, ha) over the past few years. in addition to lining the frame with cork, i wanted to cover the cork in burlap and make a crisscrossing pattern in lace so he could just slide the cards into place. jesse loved the idea, i loved the idea, everyone loved the idea.

my first order of business was to procure some cork. i measured the frame and then checked out amazon. turns out they had a cork roll that was the exact same width as the frame: what luck! it would be too long but i figured that was good in case i made any errors (which i was bound to do of course). once the cork arrived i realized i’d have to get some burlap and some lace, and this is where i ran into problems. i’ve had burlap sitting in my cart on etsy for about 3 months and i just never pulled the trigger. other things kept taking precedence over this project and i kept saying “oh i don’t have any burlap yet. i don’t have enough lace.” more excuses.

cut to one chilly january morning while jesse was out of town. i decided i would finally make the frame into a big bulletin board and have it hanging up by the time jesse got home. so i hauled my butt off to joann fabrics and bought up some supplies: burlap, craft glue, wood glue and lace trim. once i got home i unrolled the cork and thought “hmm.. i probably should have unrolled this months ago so that it could flatten out” but i pressed on. i started to trim the cork to the size of the frame and it started ripping. turns out the cork was so thin that every time i put a little bit of pressure onto it, it would rip. ugh. 

i finally got the cork to approximately the right size (with only one small tear) and got started cutting the burlap so that i could essentially wrap the cork with it like a present. however, when i went to glue the burlap to the cork, it wouldn’t stick! after a few more failed attempts, i threw up my hands in frustration, left a giant mess on the living room floor, and sat on the couch and pouted.

later that day i cleaned up the mess, threw away the cork, and brainstormed different ways to make my vision come to life. i decided to staple the lace to the frame and then staple the burlap behind the lace, and then use clothespins to hold the cards to the lace. once i bought a staple gun, i got right to work and the project only took about 20 minutes from start to finish, thank god.

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i played around with how i wanted the lace to lay on the frame, and decided on two corners of lace and then two stripes of lace across the frame.

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it’s very important that the lace be really taut across the frame so that it doesn’t sag once you pin the cards to it.

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measuring, as it always seems to be, was a bit of trial and error.frame4

watch your fingers! this is real life people, i can’t avoid a goofy picture.frame5

not pictured: a quick ironing of the burlap to help it lay flat. (turns out it gets a little wrinkled and lumpy if you ball it up in frustration and shove it under your desk.) make sure to pull the burlap as tight as possible, staple away, and then trim the excess.
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admire your handiwork. ignore the thought in the back of your mind that you should have ironed the lace as well. no one has time for that. tell yourself that the clothespins and cards will cover that up.frame7

have your cute boyfriend hang up his cards!frame8the finished product! pardon the iphone photo.

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i also covered the clothespins with a red and white patterned washi tape to add just a little extra pizazz (yes, pizazz).

so there you have it, the finally finished cork board that i’ve been talking about for 6 months.

lessons learned: when in doubt, use a staple gun. and always iron your burlap.

resolutions and how to keep them

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last year i had one new years resolution: to floss. unfortunately, it’s also on my resolutions list this year because i didn’t do too great last time around. however, i will prevail! also, dental health is very important. my parents would probably kill me if i messed up my teeth after all the braces, retainers, expanders, head gear (gasp!) they paid for. but i digress, flossing is not my only resolution this year. and since resolutions are probably easier to stick to if you share them on the internet (something about that pesky accountability), i’m going to share mine.

+ flossing regularly. no explanation needed. teeth are a necessary part of my life because i like steak.

+ budget better. i don’t need to be super strict with spreadsheets (i should be, i am just realistic and know that’s not going to happen) but i need to be smarter with my money. like making coffee for myself instead of getting starbucks every day. like not buying that perfect $88 polka dot chambray from j.crew i’ve been eyeing forever, because i already have a perfect chambray shirt that i adore (even if it’s not polka dotted). like taking the metro or the bus instead of a cab even if it’s annoying and takes about 20 times longer. it’s also about 20 times cheaper.

+ blog! i enjoy it so much, i just need to force myself to make time for something that i love but that gets pushed to the wayside so easily because “i’m busy” or “the voice is on” or “i don’t feel like it” or “mmm ice cream.” it’s one of the most rewarding things i’ve started and even though it might be small and trivial, it makes me feel better about myself and more confident and more creative. and those are very important things to feel.

+ write a business plan. now this is obviously a big one and will probably require the whole year since i have absolutely no idea where to start except on the internet, in the library, and by forcing small business owners to get coffee with me. so actually, i do know where to start. remember my post on starting? yeah, it’s scary and overwhelming but there’s no other way to achieve your goals than by putting yourself out there. no one is going to hand you your dream job, unfortunately. they should tell you that in college.

+ spend more time with friends who live in the area. i have a lot of friends who live in the dc area and i barely see them, and it’s baffling. we are all so busy, and all have significant others who of course take up significant amounts of time (in a good way!) but it’s important to keep true friends close, and i’ve been slacking. i want to spend more consistent time with my pals.

+ be grateful. i have so much to be grateful for– my family, my friends, health, love, but also material things. i have so much but because i am a constant blog reader, pinterest pinner, and online peruser, i always find something else that i covet. i am not saying i have to stop admiring pretty things and pinning them to my wish list, but i’m going to make an effort to say “you know what, i’m so incredibly lucky for all that i have” and then maybe i’ll get off my computer and go for a walk and admire the beautiful city where i’m grateful to live.

so there they are. my resolutions. of course, i always want to do daily crunches and push ups and eat healthier things that qualify more as “meals” as opposed to “snacks” and de-clutter but those are general things that i have been working on in my life day in and day out and that i think will always be a struggle for me. i would like to conquer these resolutions above because most of them have tangible products, like if i budget then i can plan a girls trip to italy with my besties from vermont. if i blog i can become a better writer and market myself and my business (see business plan resolution) better, and with a business plan i can start to achieve my career goals. being grateful and seeing my pals will make me a more smiley and happy person and that is just icing on the cake. there.

so now onto the title of this post “and how to keep them” because we all know january is half over and so probably a lot of the resolutions have already been tossed to the wayside. i’ll admit, i’ve only flossed twice. this year. but it’s on my radar. keeping resolutions is really a pain in the butt. we get busy, we fall into old habits, we decide “meh, a muffin top really isn’t that unflattering” etc etc. the problem is holding yourself accountable and remembering why you made the resolutions in the first place. i want flossing to be part of my daily regimen because i don’t want gingivitis. done and done. have you ever googled gingivitis? don’t.

one of my favorite bloggers in the dc area is the hyperbalist. she is probably the funniest person i’ve never met; reading her blog makes me laugh out loud and her writing is so amazing, i actually feel like i know her, which i don’t, so it might be creepy when i talk about her like i do know her. sorry. so anyway, one day as i was reading through her blog archives as people do (don’t they?) she mentioned her new years resolutions and how she wrote them up on pretty paper and framed it and then hung it where she would see it every day. um, hello genius! so i filed that away and now i’m doing it too, and trying to remind myself that making and attaining goals is important even if it’s just to floss. so thank you alina for giving me that brilliant idea and also being hilarious. 

stamping

why not turn this into a small craft? break out those stamps.

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don’t mind the dust.

i think i’m going to keep it in the bathroom because that’s where i’m guaranteed to go every day (and floss, of course) other than the refrigerator, and it would be weird to have a framed resolutions list just hanging out in the fridge next to the beer and the cheese and the other non-meal items.

do you guys have any resolutions you’d like to share so i can send you annoying emails like “hey how’s exercising 3 times a week going, lazy bones?” (out of love, of course).

photoshop knockoff

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i don’t have photoshop and i’m not very computer savvy, but i’ve been playing around with opening photos from my computer with preview and then adding text over them. i’ve learned how to download new fonts to my computer, and voila, it’s like photoshop! “fauxtoshop” if you will.

iphone photo, instagram effects, font: channel.

iphone photo, instagram effects, font: sail.

photo by jesse, no effects, font: dutch & harley.

photo by jesse (he’s pretty impressive), no effects, font: book antiqua (from microsoft word).

so there you have it, my fake photoshop skills. do you have any fun photo editing tricks to share? do you have photoshop and do you love it? any favorite fonts to share?

thanks for stopping by and happy saturday!

little notes

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i want to share a few little cards i’ve made over the past few months for birthdays and things. my card-making is still a work in progress but these are some of my favorite projects that i’ve done…

this first card i made for a very special friend’s birthday. i bought a book of vintage style papers from michael’s and cut out a few of the flowers from one of the pages to add a little interest. i love how the white lettering really stands out against the navy card.

another birthday card i made for my friend blaire. i was inspired by bunting flags i had seen floating around pinterest and decided to add some lettering in the flags for a whimsical and playful look.

i love leaving little love notes around for jesse to find and this is one of the first ones that i made for him. i used the peony stamp color (my favorite) against this teal card stock (my favorite combination of colors!) and added some silver hearts in gel pen. 

sometimes a simple sentiment like this one is all you need during those tougher times when you’ve lost a loved one. grey card stock, black ink, and a ruby rose stamp make an impression here.

this weekend i’ll be reunited with some of my best friends in the world for our friend’s bachelorette party in atlantic city. i can’t wait to get all dolled up with these girls and have a great time. do you have any fun plans for the weekend? stay cool!

the craft that started it all

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i have done a lot of moving over the past four years since graduating from college (gasp! four years?!) — from college to sarasota, sarasota to tampa, tampa to nashville, nashville to dc, and now i’m on my third home in dc. putting it that way makes me sound like i’ve been a very busy girl! in all my apartments and houses, i’ve never felt quite as settled into a home as i do right now, here in cozy little apartment 802!

when we first moved in, i knew i wanted to do something a little more personal than just sending an email off to everyone that i know to inform them of my new locale, so the idea of an address change card was born. of course, i just thought i’d bounce off to paper source (my happy place) and buy a cute pre-made card boasting “our new home” or something in that vein. 

of course, if that happened, this would be a very boring story. they didn’t have anything like that, so the helpful saleswoman helped me pick out some fun paper, envelopes, and a stamp so that i could go home and make my very own address change cards. 

when i got home i was confronted with the problem of design. umm, now what? i had planned on just filling in my address on a few lines and a “love, k-lee and jesse” at the bottom. not the case anymore. after digging out my measly scrapbooking supplies from about 10 years ago under my bed i found my stencil set and some crayons, and set off on a little trial and error.

here’s the end result! 

creating this small project made me feel so accomplished and happy that a little lightbulb went off above my head– hmm! i like working with paper and making little cards and things! so here i am now; i’ve been talked into a heat embosser and all kinds of craft paraphernalia, have started a blog, and have pretty much lost the use of my dining room table due to a constant state of craft explosion.

what can i say? a hobby was born.

“Oh, do you use a heat embosser?”

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devil words i tell you, that ended up goading me into spending $200 at papersource tuesday afternoon. 

last time i allowed myself to get lost in those magical, colorful, creative aisles i was asked the same question, but was able to fend her off with the “i’m new at this” feeble, innocent lamb look. not this time. armed with the sense of being a more confident crafter (after completing one project mind you) and an excitement of projects to come, i excitedly replied “um, what’s that?!”

cha-ching! the sales assistant’s eyes lit up. “ooh, come with me.” i willingly followed her back to the exclusive craft table. you know- the huge table in the back of the store that’s always covered in stamps, glitter, half-finished projects, and (in my mind anyway) a gaggle of talented, creative minds sharing die-cut secrets over iced lattes… no? that doesn’t happen?

onward. so this lovely associate starts telling me about this heat embossing tool for stamps, and hot damn- it is kind of cool! by sprinkling this magical craft fairy dust powder over your stamp, and then blow drying it with a doll’s hairdryer- i mean the hot pink heat embosser- it transforms your boring old stamp into a shiny, lacquer-y, raised beauty.

but wait! there’s more! endless options are being explained to me at a mile a minute- clear powder over the pigment dyes you already own, so it’s not  a huge investment (uh, lady, i own two stamp pads, i was bluffing), gold, copper, silver powders for your fancy projects, white powder (not cocaine) to really pop out the stamp you are going to use on that navy cardstock i eyed in your basket- oh you don’t have a basket? let me grab you one- ahh! i had opened the pandora’s box of stamping. shit.

“so,” i casually asked, “how much is this heat embosser thingy?”

“oh!” just $23.00!”

my god, why didn’t you say that before, woman?

and i’m back in the game. grab me that basket, i have some shopping to do!

why birch and lace?

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welcome to my messy little corner of the blogosphere! 

i decided [yesterday] to start a blog because i was getting knee deep in a craft explosion and thought– wouldn’t that be kind of cool and interesting to start a blog to document my trials and tribulations, successes and woes, glitter messes and glue mishaps as a beginner crafter? plus, i love to write and have kept a journal off and on over the years, so it just seems natural to air my dirty laundry over the internet… i mean share my stories!

of course, i won’t be sticking to just crafts. i’m hoping that this blog will evolve to encompass all sorts of fun little things that delight and inspire me- hence the tagline “curator of lovely.”

in talking with one of my dearest friends a few months ago about my career path (which is less a “path” and more of a starting line that i have yet to cross) i remember saying “i just want to do something that involves pretty things.” well folks, here you have it- a foray into blogging. i hope to write about all manner of things– from things i’m coveting at anthropologie, fun outfits i’m daring to pull off, why i just can’t seem to keep a plant alive, home decor projects at apartment #802, and the craft projects i’m trying out.

but wait a second– the name of this post is “why birch and lace?” ahh yes my dear fans (aka my mom and boyfriend)- the title of this blog. one afternoon as i was daydreaming about my dream job, i came up with the little phrase “birch and lace.” i know it’s not a phrase but actually just a pairing of words, but in my mind it took shape as a symbol of everything i love- elegance, natural beauty, dewy morning light, wispy sheer dresses- you get the idea. birch trees are my (and my boyfriend’s) favorite trees, and lace is by far my favorite fabric- i literally cannot get enough. the phrase has stayed with me over the past few months and when i decided that i wanted to start keeping a blog, it seemed to be the natural fit. 

so with that said, please pardon me as i take over our dining room table in a fit of crafty goodness.

i hope you’ll keep me company along the way!