Monday, March 25, 2013

Pinned It and Made It

My latest Pinterest-inspired crafts include several very simple projects. All of them involve just a couple of supplies that are easily found everyday objects. Also, construction of these crafts requires hardly any use of tools except for maybe a pair of scissors. 

The first Pinterest-inspired craft, that I call Paper Mini-Crowns, is based on a pin (that I repinned from someone else's board) from my Pinterest Board "Dress Up and Play". I made these cute mini-crowns out of craft paper for my goddaughter's 10th Birthday party.  Although the pinned version crowns were made using felt fabric, I opted to use paper. This decision was mostly due to the fact that I didn't have any felt fabric handy at home and I only had a few hours to make them.

I drew a quick crown template (my version is 7-point crown rather than 5-point), cut it out, and used it to trace a handful of different colored and patterned paper crowns. I used clear scotch tape to close and create the cylinder shaped crown together. Again, I didn't have much time so scotch tape seemed like the best quick solution. I also cut out paper circles attached with tape to the bottom of the crowns. I then attached plastic headbands underneath the bottom of the paper crowns using more scotch tape.  Moreover, I added little cut out paper embellishments to each crown by gluing for example small circles or flowers to the top of the each crown point. In the end, the paper crowns looked party fabulous and all my little nieces (and even my little nephew, Milo, and my son Tomás) loved wearing their mini crowns!

Pinned It
The felt fabric mini-crowns.

Made It
My nieces and their paper mini-crowns.


These next two Pinterest-inspired projects involve the use of cinder or concrete blocks. I've come to appreciate these heavy, industrial looking blocks not only for their affordability but for their versatility. If you do a search on Pinterest on concrete blocks, you will be amazed by the multitude of designs made by using these blocks.

One such design that seemed pretty simple was using concrete blocks as the base of a coffee table. By using any wood table top (e.g. store bought or salvaged hardwood boards) and placing it over a couple of cinder blocks, you've created an inexpensive, unique, and instant coffee table. We made a very basic version of this DIY coffee table for our backyard using two concrete blocks as the base and a piece of left-over butcher block countertop. Also, I made sure to coat the wood with water seal exterior wood spray to help protect it from water damage.

Pinned It
DIY coffee table made from wood board and concrete blocks. A pin from my "Outdoor Living Spaces" board.

Made It
Our small DIY coffee table.

Another concrete block design discovered through Pinterest was a garden planter made entirely of concrete blocks. Not only do they work perfectly as planters but they also make great statement pieces when stacked randomly. We had some extra concrete blocks (a total of 6) in our backyard and decided they would work well as planters for our small herb garden. So far we've planted orange mint, rosemary, and a garlic plant inside our new concrete block planter. 

Pinned It
My pin of a cinder block planter.

Made It
Concrete block herb planter in our backyard.


I hope you enjoyed my latest "Pinned It and Made It" post! It is my goal to try to make at least one inspiration per year and so far I am ahead of the game. Up next, I think I'll try to a new recipe or perhaps make a cocktail or two!

Happy Pinning!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Photo Book Collection of My Mermaid Paper Dolls

I have so many photographs of all my mermaid paper dolls taken for my Etsy shop Rock Paper Tekla that I decided to put them altogether through a series of mini-photograph books. I love each and every paper doll I create and I'm always a little sad when I have to send them off to a new home. So with these books I can at least remember them through my photographs.

Since all my photos are stored on our Mac computer's iPhoto I thought it was easiest to make the photo books through Apple. I chose their soft cover 8 in. by 6 in. books which I felt were the perfect size - very light and could easily slip into my tote bag. So far I have made three volumes with each book showcasing 25 of my mermaid paper dolls. The first volume contains the first 25 mermaid paper dolls I made for my Etsy shop complete with their name and number. Of course, volumes 2 and 3 contain the next 50 and 75 paper dolls, respectively. Also, in each book, every mermaid has its own dedicated page and a few have a two-page spread.

Take a look inside at my three latest photo books:

Mermaid Paper Dolls: Volume 1
The front cover of Volume 1.

Mermaid Paper Doll 12 "Bewitching Hazel"

Mermaid Paper Doll 13 "Pretty in Pastel"

Two-page spread of Mermaid Paper 9 "Americana"


Mermaid Paper Dolls: Volume 2
The front cover of Volume 2.

Mermaid Paper Doll 29 "Stunning Stella"

Mermaid Paper Doll 46 "Gothic Maiden"

Two-page spread of Mermaid Paper Doll 37 "Iridescent Pearl"


Mermaid Paper Dolls: Volume 3
The front cover of Volume 3.

Mermaid Paper Doll 54 "Northern Narwhal"

Mermaid Paper Doll 62 "Striped Onyx"

Two-page spread of Mermaid Paper Doll 55 "Golden Brocade"


I had so much fun putting these photo books together! I love that they bring to good use all the time I spent not only making my mermaid ladies but also photographing them for my Etsy shop. Moreover, I now have a beautiful visual record of all my mermaid paper dolls that I can personally enjoy, share, and treasure for many, many years to come.  

Thanks for being here!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Work In Progress...Making an Eco-Friendly Backyard - Part 3

Almost four months later and we finally started our garden! Our backyard has been a work in progress since last summer (see Part 1 and Part 2). And slowly but surely the transformation of a more eco-friendly backyard is near completion.

After a couple of trips to our local Home Depot and the City Farmers Nursery, we came home with quite the selection of fruits, vegetables, and several California native plants.  Our fruits and vegetables include: japanese eggplant, bok choy, beets, crookneck squash, broccoli, cabbage, a variety of lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro. Our natives include: Louis Edmunds Manzanita, San Diego Willowy Mint, and Beach 'Lipstick' Strawberry. 

For our native plants, we made sure to pick plants which had flowers that were particularly attractive to butterflies. My boys love watching butterflies! Moreover, my oldest son, Paco, requested at least one plant that bloomed purple flowers because it attracts the California Dogface Butterfly. The Dogface Butterfly is California's official state insect. We chose the San Diego Willowy Mint, a highly aromatic flowering shrub, which has lavender mint-like flowers present almost year-round and is a great attractant for butterflies. In addition, a pleasant tea can be brewed from its leaves and stems.


California Dogface Butterfly (Source: statesymbols.usa.org)

Kerry McFall's drawing of the Dogface Butterfly and how its name came about.


Our first batch of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

San Diego Willowy Mint, a native plant.


We installed chicken wire with PVC pipes around our raised garden planters to keep out any unwanted visitors particularly cats. For some reason, our backyard is a hot social spot for stray cats and in the past when we had another raised garden they would use it as their special kitty litter. Not pleasant! 

Our raised garden planters with chicken wire and PVC pipes before planting.


We had the boys help us dig holes, place each fruit or vegetable plants in the soil, and afterwards they also help water them. Watering the garden is now a new chore for the boys and everyday after school they take turns watering the plants.

Paco and Tomás digging holes.

Tomás making a hole for japanese eggplant #1.

Paco digging his hole for japanese eggplant #2.

Our tomato plants in their pots.

View of our fruit and vegetable garden.

Another view of our garden.


In addition, we finally placed the remaining rocks around the unfinished portion of our backyard. We planted our native plants throughout this back area with our Louis Edmunds manzanita located in the far back corner and the willowy mint and beach strawberry planted along the perimeter of the back fence. Our IKEA SKARPO armchairs and homemade outdoor coffee table (made from leftover kitchen counter butcher block and cinder blocks) sit in this back area also. Eventually we'll add an outdoor umbrella with the armchairs and maybe more fun seating options like the new IKEA VARMDO indoor/outdoor rocking chairs...I love rocking chairs!

 Our white IKEA SKARPO armchairs and homemade outdoor coffee table.

Chair I Love: IKEA's VARMDO Rocking Chair available in black and red.

Meet 'Louis' our baby manzanita. Hopefully he thrives in our backyard and eventually grows to be a small, pretty tree like the one pictured above. (Source: nativeson.com)


Next up: Cleaning up the backyard and removing any left-over trash piles (i.e. old termite eaten wood fence panels). Also, we have a handful of cinder blocks remaining from our old garden that we plan to repurpose. We hope to reuse them as planters for our future herb garden. We also didn't get a chance to buy our rain barrel yet as well as hanging our rain chain. We plan to purchase a rain barrel before next winter to take advantage of hopefully another wet winter season. Of course, there is still the finer details like adding bits of decoration throughout the backyard like maybe a small water feature powered by a solar water fountain pump. 

Stay tune for Part 4 and a more detail look at our nearly complete, eco-friendlier backyard! Cheers to a healthy garden and good eating!