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  • InCrafts, DIY

    The Glamourous Life: DIY Ikea Server

    Welcome back!

    Confession I am a habitual upcycler.  Basically finding new a purpose for things laying around the house. For example these DIY napkin rings made from a paper towel roll and old blouses.  I like to revamp inexpensive furniture so it is custom and one of a kind.  It is a great feeling when you made something yourself and people ask Where did you get that from? Ikea is a wonderland for all your upcylcing dreams.

    My latest ikea hack is the expedit shelf. It normally costs $39.99 but I got it for free.99 from the Salvation Army! (long story do ask)

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    Pretty boring isn’t it.

    I wanted this to be a jazzy server with open storage that can double as a mini bar when needed. Staying with the theme of “Black Excellence” I used pictures of famous actresses, models, entertainers of African descent from yesteryear.

    imageDid you know Hattie McDaniel was the 1st African American person to ever win an Academy Award in any category? She won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Gone With The Wind. 

    What you need

    Printed images in various sizes: I used black and white pictures to give it a more vintage feel.

    Scissors

    Primer: I cannot stress this enough YOU CANNOT PAINT ON IKEA FURNITURE WITHOUT PRIMER. I hope that was enough stress for you. If your paint doesn’t already have primer in it you can use 1-2-3 Zinsser Bulls Eye.  You don’t have to sand anything down for it to adhere.  I would recommend using oil based versus water based because it will cure faster. Water based takes up to a week to fully cure. Ain’t nobody gat tahm fo dat’.

    Decoupage Glue/Mod Podge 

    Polyurethane: To seal your images and make it durable for heavy use. I used oil based it stinks when you are applying it but I wont have to worry about water marks from glasses.

    Fine Sandpaper (360 grit) to buff in between coats.

    What to do.

    Clean your surface.  

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    Cut your images and arrange on the top to your liking.

    Top row: Dorothy Dandridge (The first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.), Phylicia Rashad (The first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.), Debbie Allen, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Holliday (the original cast of Dreamgirls) Marian Anderson: The first African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera, Dionne Warwick, Lena Horne, Maya Angelou.

    Second Row: Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Iman, Olivette Miller, Ruby Dee, Hattie McDaniel,  Beverly Johnson first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine , Diahann Carroll with Shirley Chisholm (The 1st black woman to be elected into congress.), Esther Rolle,

    Bottom row Eartha Kitt, Lena Horne with Rita Moreno Rita (She is an “EGOT” winner of a Emmy, Grammy,Oscar and Tony award Whoopi Goldberg holds this honor as well.) Josephine Baker (The 1st black international “Superstar” also is the only American-born woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral), Cicely Tyson, Grace Jones, Tina Turner and Pam Grier.

    These starlets were active in their communities, talented and looked beautiful doing it!  My friend at livingfiesta.com has some tips to achieve that perfect red lip.

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    Using decoupage adhesive glue your images to the surface and smooth it out.  I used a popsicle stick.

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    After all your images are glued down you can decorate with glitter if you like.

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    Seal the images with decoupage glue. Let dry.

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    Apply a 4-5 thin coats of Polyurethane and buff in between coats with fine sandpaper. *Note* Polyurethane takes up to 3-4 hours to dry in between coats so get a snack.

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    The colors I used here Eggplant and Wampum. These colors look kind of familiar. Hmmm. Remember what I said about priming your surface? It is important. You can do it before or after you work on your images, your choice. 

    Expedit Shelf $39.99

    Printed images $8.00

    Polyurethane $12.00

    Paint $4.00

    Other materials (sandpaper etc) $6.00 

    Total cost $70

    You have completely transformed a piece of furniture to suit your home! Wipe the sweat from your brow and take a bow you deserve it. 

    This technique can work with any kind of table or images. if you are looking for a great functional way to preserve to old pictures and keepsakes this is perfect!  Old maps if you are a traveler, excerpts from your favorite books, baby photos etc.

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    Yay open storage!

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    The final product.  Make sure you come back so I can show you how to build a lighted vanity mirror to go over your server. “A Star is Born.”

    ~A.V.

     

  • InCrafts, DIY

    Behind The Scenes Of “Black Excellence”

    Time is flying I cannot believe it is February already! I have been working hard for most of January to revamp my living room and stay under budget. What was my exact budget you ask? As little as possible. That is the exact number “As close to zero without committing criminal acts.”  I must say I am impressed with the results thus far.  Starting tomorrow and every Wednesday of this month I will show you guys a project from my living room. All low cost. All you can do yourself. All #OperationMacGyver

    I like themes it keeps me in line with an overall vision but there is a fine line between themed and campy. One too many florals can turn your “Garden Oasis” into a funeral parlor.  The theme of my living room is “Black Excellence.” My roommates and I are creatives living in NYC, so there is always a lot of dancing, writing, painting, singing, crying, and brainstorming going on.  I wanted to channel that energy into our common living space and pay homage to legends that paved the way for us from Josephine Baker to BIggie Smalls. All while being chic!

    This is a four part series the projects vary from easy to challenging. From 15 mins to multiple days. you can recreate the entire room or take whatever elements suit your space best.

    Here are some pictures from “Behind the Scenes.”

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    Beautiful.

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    Zinc by Martha Stewart/Glidden perfect for this accent wall.

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    Such a deep rich color.

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    Say Cheese.

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    I am ready for my close up.

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    Me in my mask and onesie!

    Come back tomorrow for our 1st installment.  ”Glamourous Life” is a server/mini bar with open storage. *Note* open storage should be reserved for your nicest/most unique looking dinnerware. See ya later!

    ~A.V.

    UPDATE

    Here are the direct links to the completed projects.

    “The Glamourous Life” DIY ikea hack Bar/Server 

    “A Star Is Born” Lighted Vanity Mirror

    Lady Sings The Blues: Reupholstered Chair

    From Baker To Biggie: DIY Coffee Table

  • InCrafts, DIY

    Decor Do Over: Lantern Display

    Recently, I was roaming around New York City and I happened to find myself in Restoration Hardware an awesome decor store. I like store because they have unique yet rustic items like chemistry cloches as statement pieces.

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    As I am browsing  I see a simple yet beautiful display of candles and ornaments, now what wasn’t simple was the price.  To purchase this exact display would cost me over $200 not including the tray. I don’t have that kind of money…yet. I put my own spin on it with this ”Decor Do Over” and it costs less than $25! 

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    Is it worth the price?

    What you need
    Burnt out pillar candles (I forgive you for not originally buying candles from here to begin with but I hope you learned your lesson.)

    Tea light candles to illuminate your lanterns.

    Carving tools (feel free to try and use a knife and spoon if you are feeling caveman-ish)

    Mason Jar Lantern (optional)

    Pine Cones

    Spray Paint (any color of your choice)

    Glitter (any color of your choice)

    Scissors

    Decorative Platter/Tray/Plate

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    Hallow your candle the closer you get to the edge the more light will shine through be mindful not to break the candle. 

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    Trim the wick as you get lower scrape until you get about an 1/2” away from the bottom and 1/4” from the sides.  

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    Place a lighted tea light candle inside each “wax lantern” to test the opacity.

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    So pretty but we aren’t done yet!

    Go to the park or local craft store to get pine cones.

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    Adding on to a stranger’s snowman is completely optional.

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    Try to get as many different shapes and textures as you can it will make it interesting!

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    Use rubbing alcohol or a quick spray of Lysol spray to clean your cones once it dries prime them with white spray paint.

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    Paint with any color of your choice and dust them with glitter for a little extra bling. After you are done place them on a platter and voila! You have completed your first Decor Do Over! 

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    I decided to use cones instead of ornaments because it will extend the life display beyond the holiday season.  What do you have some ideas that seem “out of budget?” Share!

  • InCrafts, DIY

    How to Make A DIY Hot Chocolate Kit

    Christmas is in two days! Did you get your “Secret Santa” gift? Maybe you met someone new but you aren’t sure about making a big purchase? You can make ordinary things more memorable by putting some love into it, all you need are a couple items that you may already have at home! Plain white coffee mug, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, and decorations.  This is super duper last minute but super duper cute and easy.  

    What you need

    Plain white coffee mug (from the dollar store works actually the cheaper the better so the glaze doesn’t interfere with the marker ink)

    Sharpies (the colors of your choice)

    Cocoa mix

    Mason Jar or any clean jar with a lid 

    Hot chocolate mix

    Chocolate chips (Semi-sweet and white chocolate)

    Marshmallows

    What to do 

    Clean your mug with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry.

    Take your mug and sharpie and draw what ever design you want. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like twerkin’.

    If you plan on writing words on your mug, use painters tape to make a guide line. It is very difficult to write straight on a curvy surface.

    Is it all done? I recommend waiting 24 hours for the marker to fully dry. Some people have had better luck after doing this.

    Place your mug in the oven on a baking sheet while it is cold.  The mug needs to be in the oven before you turn it on so that it slowly heats with the oven. This will prevent cracking. Turn the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off, you can shut the oven off. DO NOT REMOVE YOUR MUG. If you remove your mug immediately after, there is a chance that it might crack. Let it cool down with the oven.  *Note* These mugs are no longer dishwasher safe.

    Take this time to fill your jar with goodies while your mug is baking!

    Pack hot chocolate mix, chocolate chips, and marshmallows in distinct and even layers within your jar.

    Add ribbons and any other decorative items and you are done!

    You aren’t limited to hot chocolate you can tailor this for a coffee or tea drinker. You can jar anything peppers, pickles, etc. Sky is the limit! (FYI pickles don’t really match with mugs but do whatever works.)

    Enjoy!

    ~A.V.

  • InCrafts, DIY

    Easy DIY Christmas Tree

    Ever since Thanksgiving I have been feeling festive so much so I decided I wanted to put up a Christmas tree!  It is a big deal to me I haven’t done it in years but there is a catch. I didn’t want to shell out the moola for a fancy tree.  I don’t have space to store it during the year so most likely I would have to throw it away. Not really cost effective.  The solution? Make my own tree!

    What you need

    Branches any size or amount you want
    Wire or twine
    Vase, container, bucket etc. Clear or opaque.
    Something to weigh the container down I used decorative gems but if your vase is opaque sand or soil works. 
    White spray paint
    Scissors
    Optional but it is really cool when you do it.
    Touch n’ Foam Max fill foam expanding sealant. (it is in the plumbing section)
    Textured spray paint in white (to create more texture)
    Hot glue gun (To create ice).
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    1) Arrange your branches to accommodate your space, tie together at the bottom  with wire and place in vase.

    2) Fill vase with weight (sand, gems, soil etc.)

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    3) Begin strategically putting foam in the joints & other spots to recreate snow. WEAR GLOVES when working with this foam… don’t ask me how I know the consequences just trust me on this one.

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    4) Use stone spray as needed to add texture.

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    5) Use white spray paint to uniform the color of the foam and stone paint.

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    6) Use hot glue to recreate ice. You can let it drip some for effect (it looks pretty in the light.)

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    7) Let your tree dry and add decorations as usual.

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    You can make ornaments out of anything! I used old light bulbs and wire for these.

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    And wine corks for these two.

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    This was the inspiration.

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    I also added old bracelets to the tree.

    Be creative and have fun!

    ~ A.V.