Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's makeover time again

Here's the next installment of my furniture makeovers. This credenza started off as a pretty shabby buy from craigslist. It was originally a dull white, with cup rings, burn marks, and a sticky texture that turned to crazy glue anytime we put something on it. The inside was a strawberry shortcake pink--enough said, right?

My "before" picture is in two parts, because I didn't remember to take out the camera until I had already removed the credenza doors.

And I can't believe our place was that disorganized just a few days ago! We've come a long way since then, thankfully!

And here's the "after!"

I opted to not strip the paint, in order to save time. But if I had it to do over again (and if I had a work area that I did not also live in), I would probably get rid of the previous layers of paint, to get a smoother surface overall. But, I'm happy for now. I painted the interior a satin white, and the exterior a satin gray (à la Martha Stewart paints). I sealed the fresh paint with a clear, water-based Minwax wood stain. It adds a nice shine, and should hopefully deter the surface from turning into crazy glue again.

I still need a knob for each of the doors, but I'm waiting until I find the perfect one. There are some really cute knobs at Anthropologie I have my eye on. What do you think? Any favorites? Email me--I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I've been working hard on finishing a lot of our furniture, since we moved. Everything is stuff that we already owned, but we're trying to spruce it up and give our pieces some major makeovers for our new place.

The first project was our kitchen table and chairs, which I've been wanting to change, basically since I painted them a year ago.

Here's a before shot of the table (this is actually a picture I took for craigslist, in the hopes that someone would take the table off of my hands....didn't work).

And here it is after many hours of work....

It was a long process that started with stripping the paint. I tried a few different varieties of these horrible chemicals, and discovered that the Jasco Premium Paint and Epoxy remover is the way to go.

After the paint was all gone and I had sanded everything with my new power sander (yay!), I stained two layers of Minwax's Jacobean stain.

Once the stain was finished and dry, I commissioned Ted to cut out 11 inch letter stencils, for the table top. After many attempts to find the right stencil paint, I selected a white stencil paint and brush from Michaels.

The final step was to polyurethane two layers on the table and legs, to protect the stain and stencils.

I'll post more about the new chairs and other projects soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Okay, so it's been a reeeally long time since I've posted an update. We just moved into a new condo in North Hollywood, and we're still continuing with our normal work/school schedules, so the process has been slow. And rather than buy new furniture to fit our new place, we are updating pieces that we already own. I have a lot of projects up my sleeve, and here's the first one:

I originally bought this chair at the Salvation Army for next to nothing. It was super ugly. I forgot to take a picture of the original monstrosity, but you'll just have to take my word for it. The first picture I remembered to take was after I primed the chair with a white spray. Also note the hideous fabric on the cushion...

The next step was to paint (using a sponge brush) the whole chair. I used Martha Stewart's White Calla in a satin finish. (Sorry, I also forgot to take a picture after this step). To finish it off, I covered the dry paint with Briwax in Tudor Brown. This gives the piece a really cool patina, and it looks a lot more interesting than just plain white.

Here's where I need your help...I originally bought an Amy Butler fabric to use on the cushion. But after the brown wax, it doesn't seem quite right. I'm thinking now of using something like the fabric at the French General Store, here in LA. Let me know what your thoughts are, and I'll show you the finished project...eventually.

Friday, August 28, 2009


We're finished with our summer traveling and back in LA for awhile. Anguilla for two weeks, and France for five's a hard life!

And since everyone should have received their wedding "Merci" from us, from France, I'll post some pictures of the card-making process.

I chose some plain postcards in a light blue and embellished the fronts with cutout hearts in a natural colored linen. I then sewed the hearts onto the paper, using a machine (similar to the wedding invitations from a few months ago!)

Next I stamped each heart with a cursive "Merci" in red ink. I like the action shot for this one!

To give each stamp texture, I dusted embossing powder over the wet ink.

And lastly, the embossing "gun" to finish the process...this basically melts the embossing powder so that the stamp now has a raised texture to it. Then we said "bon voyage" to our postcards!

And I couldn't finish this post without leaving you an image of one of the many beautiful views from where we were staying in France. This particular shot was taken at sunset on my birthday! Happy day!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


My good friend Rachel just moved into a new apartment in Los Angeles. I wanted to give her a housewarming gift that would be useful, but of course I had to make it. She had mentioned the other day that she needed an apron, so I got to work. I love the combination of fabrics here. It reminds me of something from Anthropologie. The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner's "Seams to Me."

I also appliqued fabric shapes on a new set of chocolate brown towels. It's an incredibly easy process, and it makes them look so much more interesting!

  • Bath towels
  • Fabric
  • Interfacing (the thin kind that feels like paper, not fabric)
  • Thread in a contrasting color

The first step is to decide what shape you want to cut out of your fabric. I chose a pretty vintage Japanese print that already had little diamonds in different colors.

Using the steam setting on your iron, press the bubbly side to the wrong side of the fabric. After it cools you should feel that it thickens and stiffens the fabric. Now cut out your shape.

Note: Rather than iron on the entire interfacing (and waste fabric), I chose which colored diamonds I wanted to use, and just ironed the interfacing on those, and cut them out individually.

At this point I usually press the shapes one more time, to make sure that the interfacing has really "applied" itself. Again, let the shapes cool and peel off the interfacing. You should have a slightly sticky residue on the back of the fabric.

Place the shapes where you want them on the towel, and iron once more to set. Now they are lightly glued to the fabric, so they won't shift while you're sewing.

Play around with the zig-zag setting on your machine until you get a stitch that you like. I like to clearly see the thread, so I used a stitch width of 2 and a stitch length of 1, in a contrasting color. Work your way around the shape, and don't forget to backstitch at both ends!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Veggie Tales

A few weeks ago (months, for some) I planted some seeds and plants in my backyard. It's so much more fun to eat veggies when you've grown them yourself! Here are my first pickings.

Some of the zucchini were used in Okonomi-yaki that my amazing husband Ted made yesterday (that's a savory Japanese pancake, by the way). They're my absolute favorite, and he makes them a lot. We've adapted our own recipe, depending on what vegetables we have on hand, and what we're in the mood for. But here's our basic recipe:


2 oz. self rising flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup super dashi
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 scallion, chopped
1 cup thinly chopped zucchini and cabbage

2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. Ponzu sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sake
squeeze of lemon juice

Japanese mayo
pickled ginger
dried bonito flakes

Combine the flour, milk, dashi, and salt in a bowl. Add the egg and stir. Next add the scallion, zucchini and cabbage and mix to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over moderate heat, and add the batter, like making a regular pancake. Wait for the bubbles to appear, then turn over to cook on the other side.

Combine the sauce ingredients.

Serve the pancakes hot, topped with Japanese mayo, the red sauce, pickled ginger, and bonito. (This picture is just half of a pancake, since they're so huge!)

And here's the recipe for my favorite sweet, lemon sponge pudding. A great way to use the many lemons from our tree (sorry, my own picture didn't turn out well)!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Table evolution

We finally have bedside tables! Thanks to Britt at, who thought of this design and inspired us to make our own bedside tables, we now have actual furniture in the bedroom. These started off as some very unexciting Ikea cabinets, to which we added a base board of wood, four legs, and then embellished the front and sides with mouldings. And then came the paint! We chose a really pretty minty green that looks great with our chocolate colored duvet. Check out the evolution of the tables in the pictures (I thought I had taken more pictures of the steps, but these were all I could find in the end)...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Post wedding party!

It's been a long time since my last post, for obvious reasons. And I have some great pictures of one of those reasons...after the wedding extravaganza in Anguilla, we came back and had a big party in St. Louis to celebrate with the rest of the family who couldn't be with us on the island. Since it was a regular wedding reception, there was a ton of work to be put into everything. I made placecards based on the same design as the wedding invitation.

We also had tiny Asian takeout boxes for our party favors.

Everything looked great, and the whole day was a blast!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wedding Invitations and Envelopes

I'm finally done! Everyone (except perhaps Ted's relatives in Japan) should have received their invitations by now, so I am free to post the pictures. This design was borrowed from Kathy Beymer's (of brilliant poppy wedding invitation and stitched envelopes. Thank you Kathy!

Ted and I decided to base the invitation on our wedding palette of lime green, gray, and peony pink. We ordered the fabric from Japan and printed the cards with our home computer. Because the pattern of the fabric consists of different sizes of multi-colored blossoms, when I cut out the flowers to applique on the cards, each invitation was individual. It was such a fun process, and I'm so proud to say that I actually made my own wedding (reception) invitations! We wish you could all be with us on our wedding day, but we'll try to bring a bit of the Caribbean to Missouri on that day!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Green Day

I haven't updated this in awhile because I've been busy making my wedding reception invitations (I'll post these soon). But in the meantime, here's a picture of some business cards I just designed and made with my computer and a watermark stamp and embosser. I can't decide which color combination I like better...Now I just have to distribute them!

And of course I couldn't resist including a picture of our baby, Thomas (we're adopting him, by the way). I made him a green "T" pillow, which amazingly is the only stuffed thing that he hasn't torn to shreds (we've already lost a stuffed squirrel, a ball, and a toy dog). I think he knows it was made just for him!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Puppy Love

We have a doggie! Well, technically, he's not ours, but we're fostering him temporarily. He's one of many pooches from the very crowded South LA Animal Shelter. The decision of which dog to choose felt like it was straight out of "Sophie's Choice," but I eventually picked the guy that seemed to need us the most. When I first brought him home, he had virtually no social skills: He cowered from everyone, and constantly had his tail in between his legs. Not to mention the scars all over his face, and his matted, dirty hair.

Since he was found as a stray, they don't know anything about his history. But from his fearful personality, we can guess that he didn't come from a good place. Amazingly, he has changed so much, in the week that he has been with us. Not only is he not shy anymore (AT ALL!), but he has a healthy appetite, beautiful coloring (after two baths and a couple of rain showers), and he is one of the sweetest, most lovable dogs ever!

I'm teaching him some tricks (starting with the basic "sit"), so any training advice would be appreciated! I'll include more posts about him soon--by the way, we named him Thomas!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I got some new sewing books for Christmas, and I wanted to make a couple of the projects for a couple of my many favorite little cousins. The first picture is of a fabric ball made up of hexagons and pentagons stitched together and then stuffed with batting. It's super soft!

Here is a fabric memory game: Ted printed out the pictures on printable fabric, I cut out 36 squares of vintage-y floral fabric for the back and 72 squares of light colored felt for the stuffing. Then I glued together the layers like a sandwich! Fabric on the bottom, then two layers of felt, then the picture on top. To finish it off, I stitched around the images and cut the edges with scalloped scissors.

I used 18 different images. There are two sets of each pictures, so that they can be matched up when they're turned over (we all played this when we were little!). Some of the pictures are of my family, and some are a few of my favorite snapshots from different trips I took this year (France, San Fransisco, and sailing in Maryland).

I hope both of my cousins enjoy their presents, and send me pictures, Aunt Mary!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Brunch

Well, since Ted was going to be gone teaching all day yesterday, I decided to have some of my favorite Los Angeles girls over for a Valentine's Brunch. I sent out invitations a couple of weeks ago, printed on the computer and adorned with fabric hearts.

It was so much fun, and I was glad to share the day with my friends yesterday. I made a LOT of food (with matching restaurant style cards), and we ate ourselves silly. Let's see, where to begin?

Goat cheese frittata with zucchini and Canadian bacon
Balsamic blackberry and rosemary crostata (a big hit)
Mango chutney and white cheddar buns
Smoked turkey and homegrown arugula tea sandwiches with herbed mayonnaise
Mixed salad greens tossed with CA oranges, avocado, red onion, and a champagne vinaigrette
Whole wheat fairy cakes with buttercream frosting

Then we made jasamine scented candles in some tea cups I picked up at a flea market (in my excitement I forgot to take a picture of them all together), and decorated heart cookies. I sent everybody home with a goody bag, so they could take some of the sugar off my hands!