All you need is LOVE...and a DOG.

All you need is LOVE...and a DOG.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing Catch Up!

I can't believe we are already half way through Macrh...where does the time go?

My last blog post was right before the holidays and I've just been too busy to play with my blog. But I did take pictures of all of my crafting adventures, this is what I've been up to for the past 5 months...

{Distressed Chalk Paint Table}

I  took a huge risk using Annie Sloan "Barcelona Orange"for this project. I primed, painted and sanded the table to make it look distressed. I love the end result and I contemplated keeping the table. But I sold it to a very nice lady who said the orange was perfect for the decor in her guest room.

{Metal Cart makeover}

I found this metal utility cart at a garage sale for $3. With Alex's help we took the cart apart and scrubbed at least 30 years of dirt off this thing. We then spray painted it Turquoise and turned it into a mini coffee bar. I love having a special place just for our coffee & tea goodies. 

{Sweater Bling} 

I was inspired by this tutorial I found on Pinterest. I used a clearance sweater I bought for $5 from Old Navy and some acrylic jewels I bought at Hobby Lobby. This was my first experience using glue on fabric. I used 2 different products...Aleens' jewel it (didn't work and the jewels fell off even after 24 hrs of drying time). The 2nd product I used was the famous E6000 glue. This glue worked wonders, but smells really bad and don't get it on your skin :(. All the jewels stayed on, even after washing & drying. Overall this project was very simple if you use the right glue.

{Baby Gifts}

I love anything related to babies especially crafts. I made these 2 receiving blanket & burp cloth sets for 2 of my friends who recently had babies. I made both sets out of a light weight flanel, I love this fabric because every time you wash it, it gets softer and softer. These blankets are great for bundling up on chilly days or being the base for a cozy place to sit and play with toys. I love to pick unusual fabrics and color combos because I feel like a lot of the baby stuff out there is very generic and all looks the same.

{Monogram Wood Art}

I have always wanted a monogram with our initials ever since we got married. I was at Michael's a few weeks ago and found all these cool unfinished wood pieces. The best part is that it was all on sale and I had an extra 20% coupon so I think it only cost me $7 for everything. I hand painted the letters and the ornate scroll piece with some of Alex's POSCA paint pens and the base I painted with basic yellow acrylic paint. I let all of the pieces dry and then I glued the layers together using E6000 glue. I also added a handing bracket to the back ( not pictured). I plan to use this in a wall collage of our wedding photos.

{Wedding Photo Preview}

This is a sneak peek at one of our wedding photos. I absolutely adore my bouquet and how it looks on this tree stump. (Photo by Adam Furtado)

{Diy Magnets}

I actually bought these wooden bicycle clips last summer from World Market. I have a slight obsession with anything that has to do with cruiser bikes! Last month we had a few days of rainy weather so this was the perfect project when your stuck inside. I already had the magnets leftover from another project and my trusty tube of  E6000 glue. I simply glued the magnets to the back of the clips and that's it! I let then dry for 24 hours before using. I love how they add some fun and whimsy to my fridge.

{My latest project}

This is my most recent craft adventure. I'm experimenting with photo transfer on canvas using gel medium. Here's a link to the tutorial that inspired this project that I found on my favorite place in the world Pinterest!  I post pics as soon as I'm done...I've been super busy designing a new website for Amj Art, adding new products to our Etsy store and helping Alex with a very special project!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Handmade Wedding: Part 3

Yeah... it's finally time to show you all the awesome things that I made for my wedding and little things that you could easily recreate for your own wedding or special event. I also bought some stuff off Etsy and found some cool freebies on Pinterest.

{My Bouquet}

The first thing that I decided I wanted to make was my bouquet. Initially my plan was to make a  beautiful brooch bouquet, but after pricing all of the supplies it was too expensive. I then decided to make a fabric flower bouquet. It wasn't hard just time consuming. I bought several pieces of fabric that matched our color palette and got to work.

I didn't want all the flowers to be the same, so I looked up several tutorials and played with the shapes and embellishments. I made about 20 flowers and hot glued wire to the bottom of each flower to create the stem. I purchased an inexpensive bouquet holder and a small bundle of fake white roses to act as a base to make the bouquet more full. I used white floral tape to hold all the flowers together.

I also decided to add extra layer of shimmer tule to the holder for a little more sparkle. I just simply pinned it and then hot glued it in place. Once the bouquet pieces were finished I put them all together and hot glued the holder to the bottom of the bouguet. I then hot glued more fabric to the underneath side and a pretty trim to the handle. I then finished off my bouquet with a hand made "I do" charm and burlap twine. I think the total cost for this project was around $30 to $40 and the best part is that it will last forever!

{ here's a great fabric flower tutorial by rhonna designs}

{Bouquet Charm & Boutonniere}

I used this AWESOME product...Demensional Magic to create the two charms below. The "I do" charm I made for or my bouquet and the other is Alex's boutonniere. 

This was so much fun to make. I bought some charm pendants at hobby lobby and cut scrap book paper to fit and then secured it in place with a little bit of Mod Podge. I then added the (i do & me too) stickers from a Jim Holtz idea-ology Chitchat booklet I bought at Hobby Lobby. The booklet comes with 1088 stickers that you can use to from phrases and all kinds of sayings. Once I placed the stickers and key charm where I wanted them I then filled in the charm with the Dimensional Magic.

Be careful when doing this because air bubbles can appear in the finished piece if you rush this process. Once the charm is filled in you just let it dry for 24hrs. The next day I had to add a little extra to give the charms a more full rounded apearence. I then added the heart locket charm to the "i do" pendant and the ribbon to the top of Alex's boutonniere. I am in love with how they turned out and I think it just added a very meaningful and sweet touch to our special day.

{Bentley's Bow Tie & Leash}

Before Alex & I decided on where we would get married I always knew that Bentley would be part of our special day. I found so many great dog inspired wedding ideas it was hard to decide on what he should wear.

I found a great upcycled dog collar tutorial on Sew Doggystyle that I used to modify one of Alex's old work shirts. I made Bentley's bow tie with some fabric I bought at Joanne's. I also made the dog leash that I'm holding in the picture below, because I'm all about color coordinating. If I had tried to go out and buy this stuff it could have easily cost me over $100 or more. I think I spent about $15 for all of the supplies and maybe and hour or so of my time.

I kinda winged it on the dog leash. I looked up some DIY dog leashes online, but there wasn't really anything solid I could follow to the T. So I bought the corded rope & snap hook at Joanne's and I used Mod Podge to seal the ends of the rope from unraveling. I also bought some rope clamps from the hardware store to secure the leash handle and snap hook in place. 

The end a result is a totally functional one of a kind dog leash that matched our wedding!

{The Wedding Cake & Pinterest Freebies}

Initially I didn't plan on a wedding cake because it was just me & Alex and I also have to do gluten free. At the last minute I decided I really wanted us to have the experience of having some kind of cake to celebrate. I found the most yummy Chocolate Gluten Free Cupcakes at Trader Joe's with buttercream die for!!!

I decided to dress them up with some free printables I found on Pinterest. Some cupcake flags from The elli Blog and I used the pattern I found on 52 Kitchen Adventures to create my own cupcake wraps.  This stuff cost me nothing because I had all supplies at home. The cupcakes looked fabulous and tasted even better.


I only purchased one thing on Etsy our "wedding bands". I had spotted them months before we decided to do this and I showed Alex and he said he really liked them. Neither one of us wanted anything super over the top, we just wanted something special we could exchange with each other.

Our rings were made by Ash Hilton out of New Zealand. This was the most nerve racking purchase I have ever made online. Laurel, Ash's wife was so understanding that she helped me purchase the additional insurance/tracking I needed to make sure we got our rings on time. The rings turned out even more beautiful in person and because we got married in Tahoe the pine tree engraving really made sense. 

Something really cool I realized about a week or so after we got married when I was looking at our rings, I noticed that my ring had 4 pine tree engravings and Al's had 6. The interesting part about this is we were engaged for almost 4 years and together for almost was fate that these are our wedding bands. I love our rings and we get lots of compliments on them.

If you're not as crafty or don't have the time Etsy would be a great place to buy those one of kind handmade things to add a special touch to your big day. I have purchased sevaeral things from Etsy and have never had a bad experience.

{The Missing Piece to puzzle}

While I was planning our wedding, I was constantly on the lookout for cool and unusual wedding photo ideas. I kept seeing rings being displayed in these really cool wooden boxes. When Alex & I first started dating again he pulled out a box of old things and inside it was this box. A puzzle box that I bought him as a gift over 15 years ago when we were friends back in highschool. I was shocked that he had kept it all these years and I decided it had to be in the wedding pictures. 

I thought about making a ring box, but I'm glad I didn't. I think sometimes when people get married they always focus on buying all this new stuff. Sometimes it helps to sit back and think...what do I already have that I reuse and that actually means something to me? This box was a perfect example of a hidden treasure I almost forgot about.

{A Special Thank You}

I haven't gotten our professional wedding pictures back yet, but as soon as I do I will share them. They are gorgeous...thanks to our friend Adam Furtado who was gracious enough to meet us in Lake Tahoe. Along with our other friend Yeshua and his wife Angel from Calvary Amador church who married us. It was a magical day and Alex & I feel so blessed to know people who were willing to go out of their way to make our special day happen.

{The most important thing I learned}

HAVE FUN!!!! This is your wedding and your big day... make sure you have fun and do it the way you want! Something I really wanted was a fun picture of me & Alex in these matching shades. It's not the best quality picture but I think my face says it all.

Thank you for stopping by and going on a journey with me through my Handmade Wedding. I hope you find a project that inspires you. If anyone has any questions about anything please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Handmade Wedding: Part 2

I have a confession to make...I was very excited to share all the cool things I found but when I started to sit down and compile this blog post I became instantly overwhelmed. I had collected so many pictures, projects etc. that I had to sift through everything and find the best of the best.

I laughed and felt like I was planning my wedding all over again. Even though it was just a small ceremony it was still a challenge to pick a date, schedule a hotel, pick a color/theme etc.. If I can give any newly engaged girl some advice it would be "Keep it Simple". The less stress you put on yourself and others the more enjoyable your wedding planning journey will be. 

So in {Part 1 of The Handmade Wedding} I shared a little bit about how we met and what inspired us to do a small ceremony. This post is going to be all about the fun stuff.

{Wedding Fashion}
There are so many choices when it comes to wedding style. There are so many dress styles and shapes that it can be overwhelming. In our situation I didn't have a lot of time to shop and couldn't really afford to buy a super expensive dress so I looked for something off the rack that fit and wouldn't need any alterations. Alex really didn't care what he was going to wear when it came to our wedding, but he did have one request that it be "comfortable".

We had already decided on the location South Lake Tahoe and decided that we wanted to wear something with a very casual with a beachy boho vibe. I was very attracted to gauzy flowing goddess style dresses because they are so romantic and special looking. 

These are some of my favorite dresses...there isn't enough room on my blog for all the beautiful dresses I found.

My wedding dress shopping experience was a mini roller coaster. I'm a curvy girl and was having major issues finding the right fit. I was short on time and couldn't wait several months for a dress to be ordered and altered. It  took about 2 weeks, 2 malls and multiple stores, boutiques and just when I was ready to give up. We found my dress at Old Navy of all places. When I say "We" I mean Alex & I...I know it's bad luck for the groom to see your dress, but I had no one else to help me and he's actually the one who spotted it with his eagle eye. It had all the elements I was looking for and fit the profile for 
a beachy boho wedding dress and the price tag didn't break the bank $34! This is a picture of the dress and I will point out the model is much taller than me. 

Enough about me...let's talk about Alex & Bentley. Alex only had one request..."comfort". I found some white jeans at Macy's and as a joke I asked Alex to try them on. They fit him like a glove and he had to have them. He said he also liked those cotton/linen blend shirts that have a beachy vibe and took me a while but I found a great shirt for him at Target of all places...I think it was $22. He already had a really nice pair of BEARPAW leather flip flops and I found a cute pair of sandals at Target when I found his shirt.

After I finished shopping for us, I now had the fun task of dressing up the 2nd love of my life, our 3 year old Australian cattle dog "Bentley". I'd like to think that Bentley has his own since of style. I found lots of pics on Pinterest of dogs dressed up for weddings etc. and I decided that he was either going to wear a bow tie or a collar/tie combo.

Check out these adorable doggy fashions by Jalina Colon on ETSY.

{Wedding Colors}
Color is one of those things that is so important to me. Anyone who knows me or has been to my house can tell I love color. Color just makes me happy, and Alex being an artist he sees everything through color. Color should also be just as important on your wedding day. I think it helps set the tone for the day just as much as the location. I was looking at color scheme's before I even looked at dresses or locations, but that's just me. 

I decided that I wanted to use shades of Aqua as my accent color. So I had to share these beautiful color references.

Thanks for stopping by. Here's a sneak peek of what you'll see in {Part 3} of The Handmade Wedding. You'll finally get to see all the things I made for our wedding and how it all came together.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Handmade Wedding: Part 1

It's been a while since my last blog post...and for good reason. On June 19th, 2013 I married my best friend Alex in a small ceremony in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. For the past 2 months I have been crafting & planning our wedding and I wanted to share our "Handmade Wedding" journey. 

{How We Met}
We have been together for almost 6 years this July and engaged for almost 4 years. Most people don't know that we met in a high school art class. I had a major crush on him and used to check out the bathroom pass so I could go to his class and talk to him. Things didn't work out between us back then and we both moved on with our lives.

Fast forward to 2007 we were both getting out of relationships and reconnected on Facebook. I know it's so cliche...but it's the honest truth. A few months later I came back to California to visit him and within a year I moved from Texas to be with him.

{The Engagement}
In the winter of 2010 he proposed on Christmas Eve and I have never been so surprised in my life. We had talked about getting married, but hadn't even looked at rings. He asked me what I liked and I told him, but that was as far as it went. Alex never does anything simple and he proposed to me with 3 rings, but he messed up the order and actually had me open the engagement ring 2nd instead of 3rd because he was so nervous. I was in total shock and in awe of not one ring...but three rings.
My engagement ring was a beautiful Princess cut Blue Topaz. Most people were surprised that it wasn't a diamond, but I loved was unique and different just like me. Alex & I laughed because about a year later there was a huge trend in precious stone engagement/wedding rings. I told him he was way ahead of the curve.

We talked about getting married in a year or so, but we were in no rush to set a date. A year or so went by and still no wedding date. We kept going back in forth about finances etc. and then I stopped working and that made paying for a wedding even more challenging. It seemed like our wedding day dreams were moving further and further away.

{The Light Bulb Moment}
Earlier this year in April of 2013 I was on Pinterest and I came across this beautiful photo of this couple on a mountain top getting married and a couple getting married with their dog. A light bulb went off and something inside me said that's what I want to do. 

This picture was from a website called Let's Elope of a Lake Tahoe Cliff Elopement. 

This picture was from a wedding blog I follow Ruffled of a Big Sur Elopement.

I was so inspired by the beauty of the setting and the simplicity of the ceremony that I showed Alex and   asked him what he thought about us eloping. At first we were both worried about our families reaction, but at the same time we were both ready in our hearts to be married and had been for a long time. We did however make a promise to each other that in a few years we would like to have some kind of recommitment ceremony and invite all our friends & family to that and have a huge blow out party in celebration. I realized that after looking at these photos we could still have a special wedding just for us without the hefty price tag.

{The Master Plan}
After we both agreed this is what we wanted to do, I immediately started planning. We decided to get married in Tahoe...just like the couple in the picture because it is the place where Alex took me on one of our first dates and it's gorgeous! We also set a wedding date in June while Alex was on summer break from his classes. We went back in fourth about inviting one or two close friends, but in the end we decided to keep it simple and just have us and our dog Bentley.

I decided that I would make my own fabric flower bouquet, Alex's boutonniere and anything else that I could to save money. We hired a friend of ours who is a photographer and Alex had a pastor friend who could marry us. It was so funny how as soon as we made the decision to do this everything fell into place effortlessly.

This is the end of Part 1 of our "Handmade Wedding"...check back for Part 2. I plan on doing several posts sharing all of the fun, super easy and best of all inexpensive things you can to do to make your wedding day special.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Step Stool Makeover

I am so excited to share this project with you. I bought this vintage step stool at a garage sale about a year ago, I took it apart and never did anything with it. It sat on the work bench for month's collecting dust until one day I discovered "fabric decoupage". I figured if you can decoupage paper onto wood... why not fabric onto metal?

It took me several months to find the right fabric for this project. I wanted something whimsical, crafty and fun...because hopefully this step stool will live in the craft room of my dreams one day. :) I was at Joanne's recently for something else and I found this adorable vintage inspired fabric. I fell in love with the inspirational messages and the bird theme. I bought 1 yard to make sure I had plenty of fabric to work with.

I did my usual prep work...wiping down the metal with a damp cloth to remove the dust etc. I also laid down a drop cloth over my table to protect it from the decoupage. I took lots of pictures that you can see below.

I started this project and had no idea what I was doing. I didn't wash the fabric before starting even though the bottle recommends it.I first laid the chair back onto the fabric and traced the shape with a pen. I then cut out the shape and laid down on the chair back covered with a thick coat of decoupage. I smoothed the fabric out with my hands and then made sure it went all the way to the edge of the seat back. I let the decoupage sit for a while before trimming the excess fabric with scissors. I then covered the top of the seat back with a generous coat of decoupage and set a side to let it dry. The decoupage has a milky color, but will dry clear.

In these pics I worked on the step stool seat. This was a challenge because of the unusual nooks and crannies on the corners of the seat. I also noticed that once the fabric was moistened by the decoupage it had a little bit of stretch and moved around more. 

These pics show me working on the two pull out steps of the step stool. I pulled off the original rubber step and set aside. I then covered the steps with decoupage, fabric and then more decoupage. 

These are metal legs of the chair before I cleaned them with soapy water and steel wool. I decided not to repaint because I liked the look of the old red paint.

I used a heavy duty epoxy glue to glue the rubber pads back on to metal steps. This also comes out clear and dries clear so don't worry if a little bit oozes out of the sides.
This is the finished Step Stool and I LOVE it! It took me 2 hours to put this back together. I know it doesn't seem like much, but when you only have 2 hands and your'e trying to hold legs and push things together it can be quite challenging.
Bentley always trying to get attention. He loves to be a craft pup and to help with all my photo shoots.