It's back to school season and I wanted to do something special for my niece and nephews. I pretend I don't like to admit it, but I do consider myself to be Super Auntie! (I think I need my own theme song that I can cue after I say that. And a cape, lol). With 2 nephews and a niece still in school, I thought it would be a great idea to send them off to school reminding them who they are. Let's admit it, the world is constantly trying to tell our kids who they are, and I would prefer they know the truth about themselves, which is that they are special, AMAZING humans, children of God, who are loved and cherished by their family.
There are personalized message pencils on the market out there, but I wanted to send them something Auntie Teljer made specially for them. Plus, knowing their personalities, I wanted to write just the right note that would be exactly the thing they need to be encouraged in and reminded of daily. Plus, y'all know me, I love to challenge myself. And p.s. They're not perfect, but I think they turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.
OK. Now...onto the diy stuff. Here's what you'll need:
Step 1. Start by writing out the phrases you want to put on the pencil. Keep it short and sweet. I wrote them out to make sure I liked the set of messages I would be giving to each child and that it was something relevant to them. I also liked that I wrote them down because I applied the letters backwards (i.e. from the last letter to the first letter) to ensure that I had enough space for the phrase on the pencil. Trust me, reading a word backwards off the page is easier than doing it from memory!
Step 2. Press the back of the sheet of paper with the rub on letters onto the pencil. You can cut out the letters individually if you'd like (which is what I initially started doing), but I preferred to just press the entire sheet onto the pencil because you get a better grip. I used the point of another pencil to press and thus transfer the ink of the letter onto the pencil. Try to keep a steady hand in doing this so the letters don't float too much and make the line of letters look crooked. Mine weren't perfectly straight, but I was okay with that. And remember, write each word/phrases starting with the last letter, closest to the eraser.
Step 3. Add your gemstones or embellishments. I knew my niece would appreciate these, so I added them for her really. My goal was to make hers look like unicorn pencils, and she LOVES unicorns. To reinforce the gemstones so they don't fall off, you can also apply a tiny bit of Modpodge (i.e. the adhesive every crafter has in their toolbox) to the back of the gems before applying.
Step 4. Spray some hairspray over the letters and gems to keep them in place and keep them from rubbing off easily.
And that's it, really. In 4 easy steps you can complete this cool fun, back-to-school project that kids will love.
Have you done any cool back-to-school project for your kids? Let me know because I'm always looking to score more Super Auntie points!
New desk, who dis? I'm officially two weeks into my new role and I am so excited! Naturally, I'm still getting settled in my new space. One of the first things I made sure to do is decorate my desk. We all love the look of a bland cube or office desk (said no one ever). Boooring!! If you're like me, your environment around you, the style and how it makes you feel matters a lot. The reality is you spend most of your day at work, so you might as well make that space as cozy and comfortable as possible. It will help with productivity, stress, and might spark conversation with coworkers sitting nearby.
My desk decor was pretty simple. Included 3 key elements: a message board, a picture board, and a tassel garland, which I made. I'll show you the first 2, and then I'll go into detail of how I made the garland.
1. Message board
I have one of these at home and I just love writing love notes to myself. I decided to get another one for work because, let's face it, I'm pretty witty and funny, LOL. Well, I am! I thought this would be a fun way to express myself at work and keep myself (and my coworkers) entertained. And who knows, maybe my coworkers will look forward to my messages as I change it out from time to time.
My first message on the board is self explanatory. I'm the newbie in the office, i.e. fresh meat. My immediate team members know I'm new, but not everyone knows - but hopefully now they'll know, lol. I paired it with this cute faux plant that I got at TJ Maxx for only $5!
These boards are typically around $14.99, but I got this one at Kohl's on sale for about $12. I prefer the black background boards because it's modern and looks cleaner. What I especially love about this board is that it comes will special symbols that you can use to flank your text (for example the 4 corners around "Fresh Meat"), as well as a few words in cursive.
2. Picture Board
This was a MUST have for my desk. Pictures make me happy, especially pics of my travels. I found this hexagon push pin board and thought it was the perfect architectural piece for my desk. It's large so can fill the entire space on that side of my cube.
I got this set at Target for $6.99. It's two-sided; one side is cork board, but I preferred the black for the same reason I liked the message board - it looks more modern and makes a nice contrast to my colorful pics. The set originally came with 3M adhesive strips, which obviously won't work in a push pin cube. I got creative and used small file clips and push pins to hang it up. Looks good!
3. Tassel Garland
Ok, now the fun part! These tassel garlands are becoming increasingly popular, and honestly I really like the look. But when I went to buy some, the price was like $10. If y'all know me, you know that I'm thrifty, and that my mantra in life is "I can make that!" LOL. For real, when you look at the construction of the garland, it's not complicated at all! So, in true Living Life to the T fashion, I decided to make my own.
Let me lead with this: this garland only cost me about $3.50 to make! Here is what you'll need:
1. Silver stringing wire (which I already had in my craft box; bought at Michael's)
2. Two balls of yarn in colors of your choice ($1.77 each at Walmart)
Step 1. Measure how long you want the garland to be and then cut the wire. My wire is thin, and although I knew that the tassels would not be heavy, I decided to double the wire (in order to fold it over) for reinforcement.
Step 2. Take your first ball of yarn and string it back and forth flat on the floor. The length is totally up to you. I wanted my tassels more on the thick side, so I strung mine back and forth about 20 times.
Regarding the length of each pile (i.e. from end to end), keep in mind is that you will be folding the yarn over the wire. So whatever length you would prefer your tassels to be, just double it when you are doing this initial stringing. (Trust me, it will make sense in a minute). Once you make your first pile of yarn, then go ahead and cut it off from the roll.
Step 3. Now, fold your first pile over the wire. Secure it to the wire by cutting another small piece of yarn from the roll and tying it to the top close to the wire. Once you have a good knot, feel free to cut off the ends of that piece.
Step 4. You might notice that the yarn has loops in it. That's ok, because this is when we cut of the looped edges. Take your scissors and try to cut the bottom of the tassel as flat as possible. Take some time to pat yourself on the back because you now have your first tassel!!.
Step 5. Repeat this process with the second yarn color. I decided to do a black-green-black-green pattern. Just be sure to determine how many total tassels you will need based on the length of your wire and make enough to comfortably fill the space. I made 8 tassels in total, 4 in each color. Don't worry about spacing too much because you will be able to slide the tassels and adjust their position once you hang the garland up.
And that's it!! Easy peasy tassel garland! The best part is, you'll likely not use all the yarn, leaving you with leftovers for your next project!! Score!!
I love how it all came together at my new desk!!
If my post inspired you to make a tassel garland, please let me know! I'd love to see how you put your spin on it!
Until the next adventure,
It's the first day of spring and I am so excited! I've been waiting for the opportunity to take some of my decor savvy outdoors. As a new homeowner, I get so excited about taking on projects on new parts of my home. This time, I spruced up my front door. I'm a firm believer that your front door sets the tone for your home from the time guests step onto your property. Why not welcome them in style?
I don't know about you but I am FEELING this look! Can you say #fancy! Yasss honey!! I'm going to show you how you too can achieve this look. My front door project consists of several components:
1. Diy Monogrammed Grapevine wreath
This was one of the first things I made for my home. To me wreath's are like jewelry for the door. The hydrangeas scream spring and the grapevine anchors it well. And of course, because I am the monogram queen, I added a hand painted wooden "L" to mark my house with my family name. I'll post a video on how I made this on the blog soon.
2. Layered mats (& Diy coir rug)
After doing a lot of digging around on Pinterest and Instagram, I found that I really loved the layered mat look. The bottom, black and white rug I bought at T.J. Maxx. To my surprise it was the perfect size for my small front door step. It's a soft, woven rug and I paid only $16.99 for it.
The top coir rug was a plain rug I bought at Target and I painted "cute shoes" on it. I saw these rugs on Etsy and I just loved them. I want every person who steps to my front door to feel good about their shoes. But these rugs were selling for almost $40 on Etsy, plus another $17 or so for shipping. To me, that's too much to pay for a rug. Y'all know me, I love to save money. My philosophy is, why pay a lot of money for it when you can make it!? So I bought a plain coir rug and some acrylic paint at Michael's and voila! It cost me about $12 to make it. I will do a separate blog post to show how I made the rug and will provide details on where I found the lettering template (shout out to "Your marketing BFF" for it).
3. Satin nickel handle set
When I bought the house, the front door handle was a basic round handle and deadbolt in gold (oh, how I hate gold!) Plus it was all rubbed off. Ugh - it was hideous. I had to change the locks anyway, so I threw that thing in the trash. I found this door handle set on amazon and I just love it. I mostly love the classy elegance it brings to the door. When guests come over, they are definitely going to look down at your door handle - give 'em something nice and clean to look at and grab.
4. Modern lantern
I wanted to give some more height and dimension to the front step so I decided to add this modern lantern that I bought at a sample sale at the Home Depot for $12! I haven't added a candle yet, lol. And maybe I won't. I have lights in my front yard, so maybe it's not necessary.
5. Simplicam video doorbell
This last piece is not decor per se, but I think it is stylish compared to the plain non-smart doorbell that was there before. Plus, I get to see who is coming and make sure no one tries anything funny with my decor, lol.
I'm so proud of myself in putting this door together! I'll admit, I now stare when I drive up to the house. Makes it feel more like home.
Do you have a cool front door project that you've done? If so, please share it with me!
Until the next adventure,
By now most of you have seen at least one episode of Tidying up with Marie Kondo. If not, check it out on Netflix! It's a show about this Japanese organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, who comes to people's homes to help them organize their homes that are in chaos. But it's not just about decluttering your home, she helps families declutter their lives and reconnect with one another. In this post I'll share a summary of the show. I also give my thoughts and share pictures from my own #KonMarie experience that led me to organize three closets in my home. I'll also share some organizational pieces that were my inspiration for organizing each closet..
Here is a summary of some the topics:
She seems to always start with clothing (probably because Americans typically have much more clothing compared to the typical person in other countries ?). She also spends the most time on this lesson. She has you pull everything out of your closet and put them in a big pile. That way you reacquaint yourself with your belongings (hopefully see the ridiculous amount of clothes you have - preaching to myself here! LOL). Then, you are to take each piece of clothing one by one - and if that item doesn't bring you joy, then you thank it for its service before getting rid of it. My question is this tho - what if all your my clothes bring you joy? Do you get to keep 'em all? (Asking for a friend ?). But seriously though, it's a great way for you to take the time to evaluate whether every single piece of clothing you own is really necessary. Most times you can find a whole bunch that you simply don't need (or want). The final, really cool thing about this lesson is that she teaches you how to fold clothes! She uses a standing method, in which you fold clothes into thirds, and in a way such that they are standing up in the drawer - where you can easily see things from above - smart!
2. Kimono (Miscellaneous items)
Sorting through miscellaneous items can be challenging, especially because you typically don't know where to put them. The key, Marie says, is making sure every thing has a place/home. Other storage tips are putting things in boxes (something Marie seems to be a fan of). So for example, if you have a bunch of things from college you want to keep, try nesting them in boxes with the smallest items in the smallest box. Another example would be organizing your cooking utensil draw by using smaller trays to put cooking spoons, another for tongs, another for serving forks etc. (I actually already do this - wonder if I get extra points??). And as you do with clothing, store as many things upright as possible to ensure you can easily identify it, and use clear containers when possible.
3. Sentimental items
Now this section is about storing sentimental items, and no you can't consider everything "sentimental" as an excuse to keep it! This includes true sentimental items, like your child's first pair of shoes, or a picture of you and your husband on your first date. Just as you would do with clothing, hold each one and see if it sparks joy. If it doesn't, toss that sucker! You can use the same methods storage (like using boxes, storing things upright, folding things in thirds) whenever you can.
My two cents
What stood out to me most is the importance of evaluating the importance of each "thing" in your home. It's so easy to accumulate "stuff." Marie's method forces you to evaluate each item and ask yourself - do I really need this? Can I live without it? And in all honesty, ridding yourself of unnecessary items makes it so much easier to keep you home tidy. If we're honest with ourselves, most times we don't necessarily need a sophisticated organizing system, we just need less stuff. In sum, I would say that there was an underlying message that decluttering your home was also synonymous with decluttering your life. When the families on the show paired down their lives and simplified, it ultimately brought them closer together and it helped improve their quality of life, not just as individuals, but as a unit.
How I got #KonMari-ed
The Marie Kondo method got me too! I decided to tackle, not my whole house, but 3 closets in my home that were full of stuff. When I moved from my apartment into my house, I didn't have much time to sort through things and minimize. What this led to were closets full of stuff tucked away that ultimately needed attention. Thankful that this show helped get me off my butt and got me excited to organize. See my Before and After pics below of my 1) entry way closet, 2) hall closet, and 3) home office closet. I'm quite happy with the results! It feels good to be organized!
First up: Entry way closet.
My inspiration piece were these CUTE baskets I got at TJ Maxx. I mean....look at them. They're wire and lined with fabric. Once I bought these, I couldn't WAIT to get this closet cleaned out.
Second up: Hall closet.
My inspiration piece was this ADORABLE hanging organizer (in grey) from Target. (It's where I'll keep offseason clothes that need folding, and my secret TP stash ?). I looked long and hard to find one that didn't go all the way to the ground. This travelista needed space for all her suitcases! (which are all nested one inside the other of course :-))
Last up: Home Office closet.
My inspiration were two clear containers, which I also got at Target. In one I stored a few sentimental items I decided to keep. The other one has miscellaneous office supplies. These containers are practical because they come with a lids, which I really wanted in order to protect the items inside. I also wanted to easily remember what I have in there. I also used this black metal kitchen island that I had from an old apartment. I had it sitting in the garage, and instead of buying new storage, I simply used this one (reuse, reduce, up-cycle Woop woop!) These shelves were exactly what I needed to store all my craft supplies, my camera and lenses, and all my day to day office bits.
Have you seen the show? And if you have, what parts stood out to you? Comment below - I'd love to hear your story!.
How much do console tables cost?? In my house - $15! This has got to be my greatest Ikea hack to date! I love it so much that I made two of them! Keep reading and I'll show you how!
I just bought my first home about 6 months ago and I've been busy doing lots of diy projects and getting each room set up. As I started to unpack, I realized there were a lot of items I had from my apartment that just did not go with my new home. One of those things was my old tv stand. About a year ago I bought this tv stand at Ikea for about $15. It's a low profile stand and is very narrow. Besides the tv, it couldn't hold much else. It was perfect for apartment living because I didn't have a large tv and I really did not want to spend a lot of money on a tv stand for an apartment, especially because I was gearing up to purchase my home. Additionally, I am all about reusing and up cycling things, if possible. I didn't want to get rid of it unless I couldn't use it for something in the house.
Don't get me wrong - it's a super cute tv stand. It just didn't fit my needs (I'm mounting my tv at my new house). I literally stood there staring at the tv stand trying to conjure up some creativity. I was thinking "hmmm....how could I reuse this table elsewhere in the house?" And then BAM! It occurred to me! Stack the legs, mount it to the wall, and turn it into a console table! Simple, right?!
I made a quick YouTube video of how I created it. Check it out below (subscribe to my YouTube channel while you're at it! #shamelessplug
I think it they turned out pretty good! I turned the original console I made into a bar. It's right by the kitchen and it gave me an opportunity to display my cool bar set I bought a few months before buying the house. I couldn't WAIT to bust it out :) I also bought a small wine rack from the At Home store for when I'm ready to pop some bottles.
Here are some more photos of the finished product.
I turned the second stand into a more traditional console table that has books and frames. It will anchor the small sitting area behind the couch.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think or if you try this!
Who says vision boards have to be ugly? We've all made the vision boards with the newspaper clippings that perhaps we glued to a piece of cardstock only to throw away a few months later because we got tired of looking at it. Those are fine, however they are not always esthetically pleasing and often look like someone's art project. This is not that. My goal was to make a posh, fancy, modern vision board that I would want to keep year round and that I would be excited to use and look at daily. For me, the aesthetic of a room is everything! It has to have a theme, a purpose, a feel when I walk in. Right now, I'm working on finishing up decorating my home office that is not only a work-from-home space, it is an inspiration space where I can blog and work on all the other projects that I have vision for. The look & feel I'm going for is modern, stylish and inspiring. And this pin board style vision board will be the focal point of the room. I'm going to show you step by step how to make this, for under $30, and most items were purchased at Hobby Lobby.
Here's what you'll need:
Ok are you ready? Let's get started!
Start with your canvases. Glue to canvases together with the hot glue gun. I did mine with three canvases across in two rows. Hold each together until the glue dries. Remember to work quickly so the glue doesn't dry before you get them bonded.
Once the glue on the canvases is dry, roll the cork board over the front side of the canvases (i.e. the side you would normally paint), being careful not to let it tear. Secure it with some more hot glue.
Now we're ready for the burlap. Can we just take a praise break to talk about how I found aqua burlap!? My FAVORITE & SIGNATURE color! Come through Hobby Lobby! ?? Ok, rant over. Flip the cork side down and lay on top of the burlap. Then glue the sides up over the back side of the canvases. Be sure the pull the burlap tightly so that it is not loose, and so that the front will be nice and smooth. If you have an upholstery nail gun, use that to keep the burlap in place, but it's not necessary.
Now let's add some reinforcement. Screw the mending plates into the spine of the back of the canvases with your drill, ideally where 4 of the canvases meet. This will keep the board together if the glue decides to come loose or if there are small gaps in between the canvases.
Now for the fun part! So the structure of the board is done. All we have left is to add the decorative nails. Add these all around the perimeter of the front of the board. If you so choose, you can space them using a ruler. I approximated the placement because for me that's enough. (And if you know anything about me, I don't measure anything in my projects, not even in cooking ?)
Now let's get ready to hang this baby!. Drill your hanging hooks into the back of the canvas. I recommend eyeballing the front of the canvas - make sure your best side is up ?. Attach some nails to the wall, and then use the hooks to hang the vision board.
Lastly, add the chalk board header. I hot glued some ribbon I had in my craft box to it and used it to hang it. You can always leave yourself a message of encouragement, but I chose to simply put the word "Vision"
And voila! You're done! I haven't decided how I want to visually display my vision/ideas yet, but I'll likely be doing a combination of pictures and written plan of attacks. I also plan on organizing my vision board by the various parts of my life because I have a specific vision for each one. Without putting all my business out there, I will share two things that are on my vision, which my readers/followers are already a part of: 1) my home (which I purchased this year), and 2) growing and building my blog, which you are already a part of (Thank you!!).
Until my next DIY project! Please let me know if you decide to make this - I'd love to hear about it!
WAKANDA FOREVER! If you haven't seen the Black Panther movie by Marvel yet, you need to go! It was riveting, it was funny, and the afro-centric fashion was errthang! Speaking of fashion, I know you've seen all the African garb and cool outfits that movie-goers wore to pay homage to the fictitious African nation in the movie. Me on the other hand, I'm scrolling through Instagram and Facebook thinking, "well dang, I have nothing to wear!" I know, I know, I didn't necessarily have to dress up to see the movie. But where's the fun in that!? I had to join in the fun :) So the easiest thing that came to mind was to make a t-shirt. All you'll need is an $8 plain black tee from Target, and some glitter gold letters from Hobby Lobby. If you've ever done letters on a t-shirt, it's not rocket science, but check out this quick video of me making my Wakanda shirt.
To complement the look, I wore the little piece of Ankara cloth that I did have, which was a scarf. That, along with my braids in a high bun completed my look. I also wore my newest tassel earrings, that swung back and fro as I strutted into that movie theater lol.
What articles of clothing have you made lately? Share in the comments below!
Let's be clear - I love a challenge. My favorite phrase is "Pshh, I can make that!" lol. I became a self-proclaimed do-it-yourself-er in my college days when I realized the my expensive taste did not match my budget. As a result, I learned to tap into my creativity. Before long, I had made my own curtains, pillow cases, lampshades, coasters, and more.
This project was no different. I had just moved into a new place and ottoman prices were just off the charts! My strategy was to buy one second hand at the thrift store, and then make it my own. And it did just that. The project was quite easy and only took a few steps. Here is what you'll need:
Upholstery foam (sized to fit your ottoman)
Fabric (make sure you get a little extra to tuck under)
Upholstery staple gun and staples
A box cutter or scissors
I started with a simple padded top storage ottoman that I bought for $8 at the thrift store. The fabric was obviously not appealing, but sometimes you have to look past the appearance and see the potential. This ottoman had great real wood legs and had a storage pouch. I could envision it sitting in front of my couch so I could put my feet up and store cozy blankets in it. Ahh...ok back to business.
Strip off the old fabric and the padding with a box cutter or scissors. All that should be left in the wooden top and the legs/body of the ottoman. If you have a storage ottoman, unscrew the hinges top of the ottoman with a screwdriver. This will remove the top of the ottoman from its base.
Then lay out your new fabric and upholstery foam on a flat surface. Place the top of the ottoman (that you just unscrewed) on top to that, keeping the face that would represent the inside of the ottoman up. (You have the option of redoing the inner black lining, but I was being lazy and chose not to.) Pull the sides of the fabric as taut as you can over the foam and over the edges of the flat top. Hold that portion of the fabric down with one hand, and staple it down with your other hand (watch your fingers!). Repeat until the entire perimeter of the flat top is covered.
Finally, return the upholstered top of the ottoman back to its legs and screw the hardware back in. And you're done!! Not too shabby for an amateur! It's not perfect, but the finished product is a beautiful, crisp looking piece of furniture!! LOVE it!
What pieces of furniture have you attempted to upholster? Tell me in the comments below!!
About this page
This "Decor & DIY" page is where I document all my home decor & do it yourself projects, big and small. Come for inspiration and motivation to do it yourself!