Category Archives: DIY

Spring Forward


I’ve been mildly obsessed with this gorgeous photo of ranunculus flowers by Jessica Nichols ever since they popped up on my Pinterist feed last week, where they were pulled from Poppytalk. The flowers in and of themselves are spectacular, but the combination of colors against that fabulous blue-grey background ups the ante for me. And so, I couldn’t resist pulling some of those colors out for our admiration.

Today also happens to feel so amazingly spring-y that I wound up decking my hair out in flowers on a whim to celebrate. At first I was just playing with a mega high bun to pair with my gleefully bare shoulders; then came a little headband (which I need to find in more colors); one flower, the orchid; and then! why not circling my bun in them?A sort of little tiara of flowers. It’s my first time doing it, so I may need to experiment more, and maybe find some new flowers. But definitely a fun prospective springtime little ‘do.

A little bit softer now


Dumpling dears, would any of you care to hazard a guess as to what those little off-white rectangles are? (this is my college apartment, affectionately dubbed The Pomegranate Estate)((and if you know what belongs between those little thumbtacks, consider yourself really special)). Not sure? Think we were crazy? Here’s a little hint:

Now a little story (don’t worry, I am going somewhere with all of this): One day my roommate Bunny and I were eating breakfast, absentminded-ly switching between our barstools which looked out onto this window (it used to have panes)((that was another hint)), and the futon couch that sat directly below these windows and looked onto the kitchen, which is just to the left of the first picture, while we ate and chatted away. It was a lovely weekend day, and the sun was shining through the windows onto the wall. It made a very pretty little pattern. And one of us though aloud, “Wouldn’t it be neat to paint the shadows on the wall?” And of course, the other piped up something along the lines of a gleeful, “I was JUST thinking that same thing!” (did any one you guess it?!). Since we were both so clearly on the same page, we jumped right up, grabbed some paint and a paintbrush from our brush cup on counter and both went at capturing the sun before it went away. (This sort of little agreement is how we got into most of our shenaniganry.) We then signed it and marked it with the date. Most people could usually make the connection about what those marks were back when we had the multiple windowpanes. They’d look at the marks weirdly, then at us like we were crazy, then at the windows and back again to the wall. Oh. Ohh! And it dawned on them. I was reminded of this when I saw:

You look at this and think, oh what a pretty shadow!

Goodness, whatever is outside must be very pretty.

And maybe if you got real close to it you’d realize: it’s paint! Oui, these are all paintings by artist Mary Temple, who I spotted on The Jealous Curator last week (or so). I just love the hint of outside. The softness of the paint. It’s beautiful and quiet. And yet, fuels your imagination and creates “light” even if there are no windows.

Quiet, you see, is important. Because this morning my building’s superintendent woke my roommate and I up bright and early banging on our door and yelling about how there was too much noise last night. Which would be pretty much impossible, as it happens that the only thing that was moved around was paper. I could go on for a long (long long long) time about a lack of quiet that is not produced by any one in this apartment but you don’t want to hear me rattle on about that, and neither does my super, because he walked away. And we just stood there in silence, baffled, and nowhere near awake enough to fully comprehend what had just happened. I stumbled back into my room but could not fall asleep so busy was my mind thinking about the intricacies of quiet. Of maybe having to walk around on fluffy little cumulus clouds. Oh heavens and oh hell.

And then! Oh and then! Right when I was feeling grumpy and distraught, I realized I’d wound up on the front page of wordpress. And very suddenly my door was being banged on again (metaphorically, that is), but instead of a grouchy super (who really is usually very helpful and nice) it was all of you! Goodness, you cats and kittens just rained on in on me. And I was in my pajamas and had my hair in pigtails and kept finding myself very startled to find myself being paid so much attention. I mean, you always want attention and all, but it tends to happen when you’re not expecting it. Like when you’re donning pig-tails, like a 5-year old. Oh my. You start to feel, for a second, that maybe people can actually see through the computer into your room. It’s cool though, I like you all, you can stick around. You’re sunshine. You’re reverse (or environmental) graffiti:

Have you heard of it?

It’s “graffiti” made from cleaning.

These three pictures are from an installation done by Paul “Moose” Curtis, who originated reverse graffiti, on an overpass in San Francisco.

Beautiful isn’t it? And it kind of reminds me of Mary Temple’s work in it’s softness. I had actually never consciously noticed it before yesterday when I was perusing around for the paint chip post. Connecting these two, made me think about white tattoos on pale skin. How it can look barely there and delicate. But I have yet to find any pictures of ones I really like to show, and I hear they’re kind of risky.

So, yes, after yesterdays Bright and Colorful post, and my busy kooky what-the day, I’ve opted for a moment of hush hush prettyness. But, you know, I think this look could be done nicely with color, too, when you use two colors that are fairly close together only a few shades lighter or darker. Create a subtle design. Hmm. Or an “intricate subtle” using a few colors that are close enough together to be subtle but can be differentiated enough to render a little pattern. Maybe possibly. I’d experiment and show, but I’m tired. Some other time perhaps, we’ll play.

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Paint chips: the art supply that comes free evolves


I love paint chips. A lot. Really. In case you hadn’t noticed. I’ve been using them to decorate in a number a different ways since 2005 or so, but I had not thought of using them like this:

Veronica Diago, (via)

John “Eric” McGrew of Amidst Blog, (via)

Peter Combe

Peter Combe

The “blop” lamp created by emocja studios.

Definitely interesting to see paint chips used in a different but still recognizable form. With all of the recent love of both paper as a medium and paint chips used as decoration ( you’ve seen the rampant posting of paint chip walls and pixelated-esque murals on the web, no doubt) and not just for their intended decision-making function, it makes sense that the two would eventually merge into a hybrid. The idea makes me excited. And it’d certainly be fun if it caught on. Especially since paint chips are free. 0:)

DIY craft evolving into art = yay

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Sew little time


I like pincushions and I like watches. So, when I spotted this little ditty by litteclouds I felt a little giddy. It’s perfect. And I love stuff like this. It’s handy AND it’s like a voodoo doll/object for that never(!) enough(!) time(!) feeling we all get sometimes.

Maybe you remember the project in the young days of Thoroughly Modern Tilly where I made a lip gloss “watch”, after discussing why I love things like the watch pincushion above – click the pic to check it out:

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Wooden blocks & polka dots


I’m rather enjoying this “Unbreakable” necklace as created by Kristina of the popular blog Kris’s Color Stripes. I love the colors, and the variety of sizes. How it’s large but not overwhelming, and how it doesn’t look too contrived. I like how they bump and smush against each other a bit. Pics of the process excited me even more:

All the little wooden balls seeped in color look so jolly. And then it struck me! They look kind of like polka dots. I’ve always been a fan of polka dots. I’d love to get my hands on those beads! Kristina’s site informs that she’ll be selling something similar soon in her shop, which is exciting. But also makes me think about making big funky necklaces myself. Especially when I remembered this:

This fun and colorful little ditty was created by artist Merrilee Liddiard while playing with her son and his educational lacing beads. I wholeheartedly agree with her “inspiration can be found in the oddest of places” sentiment, as expressed on her lovely blog Mer Mag. I can’t lie. Getting a set is kind of tempting….

And/or figuring out other fun large things to use to make fun, kooky, chunky, lovely bold jewelry that doesn’t take itself too seriously. :)

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Anatomy of a dress


In the closet of my studio, I have a large bag filled with many 2 gallon sized Ziploc bags, each of which contains the pattern pieces to one of my design projects in college. It seemed like a good idea to save them, considering how much work I put into their creation; but, I’ve never been quite sure what exactly to do with them.

In addition to being a saver, I’m also a fan of putting strange things on my wall as decoration. Always have been. I’d buy a box a pretty notecards, and hang them on the wall. I’d buy old records, not necessarily for the music (until I got ahold of a record player, at least), but because they were pretty. And onto the wall they went. Purses. Clothes. Paint swatches. Old sheet music. A period where I was obsessed with aluminum tape(…). Pennies. And an endless stream of etceteras. All standard fare in my decoration handbook. So, of course I’ve pondered decorating my wall with all of those dear, lovingly handmade patterns of mine. But I wondered if it’d be too odd. Or something? But! Then I saw the lovely above photo by Italian fine artist Maurizio Pellegrin and I smiled. Because it looks oh so intriguing and classy. And I love how he incorporates the dress and other elements. The chaos is organized. It has a nice visual texture.

My pattern paper, though, is stark white and splashed with numbers and letters and x’s in addition to my hand jottings. Not sure how it’d look up against my already stark white walls (which I ought to do something about anyway…). Also, being fond of somewhat complicated garments (considering, at least, that I barely knew how to sew upon entering design school) and very full skirts, a lot of the pattern pieces are very oddly shaped. Could be fun though, to have them all jumbled up. I could have a party and play a game with all of my design novice friends called “Guess what part of the garment this piece belongs to !!!!”.

Could be practical, too. Small pattern pieces can get lost and misplaced very easily. Don’t ask how I know.


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Hello eclectic


The quest usually starts out as simply enough; it’s that everyday adventure called Time to Get Dressed. I grab an item of clothing – in today’s case, that large swatch of pink and dark dark blue swirled fabric – with the attempt to wear it simply. Sometimes it works – I tie that piece of fabric into a shirt, throw on a pair of jeans, grab a cardigan and go(!)… and sometimes it doesn’t. I start to fiddle. I add a little bit of this, a little bit of that; I find something else (*ahem* lovely DKNY skirt I practically forgot I owned) that’s similar but different, toss it on, and soon enough find myself in Let’s Experiment Land (!!!!). And then, whoa boy, you never quite know what I’ll end up in. I surely didn’t quite expect all of this to work, but somehow it does (at least in Tilly-land). It’s the common colors, I believe that help tie it together (the pink and dark blue that’s almost purple that shows up in the skirt. The pink, red, and variations on taupe-y gold-ishness in the bag that make nods at the skirt. The fact that they’re all kind of loopy, discombobulated, fuzzy sorts of patterns).

And there’s the humorous fact that my nails match, too. I didn’t plan that at all. It actually may be my new favorite nail polish technique: The one nail different look. I got the idea from some guy I saw on the subway holding onto the pole, and also a book I think, with his thumbnail (and only his thumbnail) painted red. And I was intrigued. So, I tried it out first on my toes and, pleased enough with that result, moved onto my fingernails. I really rather like it, because you can do it with classy sorts of colors (or not) and it adds just a touch of offbeatness to the look.

So, yes, my lovely reader people.. go forth and experiment with the stuff in your closet. It’s fun, I promise.

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