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DIY Time

Arts, crafts, upcycling, et cetera.

DIY Time: 2018 Desk Calendar

January 16, 2018

Am I the only one who gets jazzed about a crisp new calendar at the start of a new year? Well, I squealed with delight when I saw that my job was hosting a craft night where we’d be making our very own 2018 desk calendars, with help from the kind folks over at Paper Source. Stamps, quotes, embossing, washi tape in all its varied patterns, colors and textures — the world was my oyster while putting together my mini 12-month calendar. I got my entire life, to say the least. I tried to stick with a theme, but somewhere along the way I said, “Bump it.” Click through the slideshow to see my calendar, a month at a glance.

I figured I’d start January with a bright and hopeful tone, hence the “Dream Big” embossing and matching gold chevron-patterned washi tape. Hearts, of course, are the focus of February. March is springy, so I chose two varieties of flowers and accented the month with a sparkly silver triangle of washi tape. April is when Record Store Day, a tradition for me and my guy, happens. I decorated that month with an off-centered vinyl record and a quote about adventure, which is always what follows on that special day. May pays homage to the month when Dash and I met in 2013. Our first date soon followed at CicLAvia in Downtown LA, where we rode bikes and spent the day learning about each other, and laughing lots along the way. Halfway through the year, I thought I might be in need of some inspiration, so I went with a quote from C.S. Lewis about dreaming for June. If you remember, January starts with a little bit of gold and an encouraging word, so I thought it would be a good call-back for June. July — which is by far my favorite month of the year, thanks to my and many loved ones’ (my anchors) birthdays happening then and being smack dab in the middle of my favorite season (summer!) — is sailing smoothly with a gold and blue embossed sea moment. August is when I hope to do some traveling abroad with my bestie Yvette, so the international city-themed washi tape carries the messaging there. September is just a reminder of how awesome I am, and I’ll need a reason to smile now that summer will have officially ended. By October, I totes phoned it in. LOL. It’s a little disheveled, but the gargantuan orange pumpkin is endearing — some might even say cute. But I pick things up in November with a dual-layered washi tape accent and uplifting quote, and finish strong with a silver-lined snowflake fantasy for December.

And there you have it! Twelve months of fun and whimsy to get me through 2018.

See more my crafty moments and home-improvement experiments here.

ashley ♥ adores

DIY Time: Bridal Shower Sign

April 7, 2015

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It’s an exciting time for my family, as my youngest brother will be getting married next month. My mom, sister and I will be throwing my future sister-in-law a bridal shower this weekend, and have been charged with taking care of the desserts, favors and decorations. One nice craft that my mom found on Pinterest was a darling sign for the event venue that greets the bride-to-be and attendees, and announces how many days away the wedding is.

To make this super cute sign, you’ll need a white 20 x 30 x 3/16-inch foam board, a small bottle of acrylic paint (the color choice is yours), a paintbrush, a ruler, painter’s tape, a black permanent marker, some newspaper to protect the area while you paint, good penmanship and a smidge of creativity.

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Find out how these items came together to make something lovely after the jump!

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DIY Time: Last-Minute Couple’s Halloween Costume

October 30, 2014

Last week, I fashioned a last-minute Halloween costume with my BF for his office party. I was able to make my costume with items I already had at home, and Dash’s costume was very cost-effective to put together. There are pictures of the finished product, but first take a guess at what we dressed as.



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DIY Time: Mason Jar Lanterns

May 15, 2014

To make these super cute mason jar lanterns, you’ll need a mason jar, some twine or thick rope, a glue gun, faux flowers or butterflies, sand and tea lights. I made these fun crafts last weekend, and they make a lovely party favor or outdoor light.


My mom found these assorted butterflies at a thrift shop; however, you can find similar accessories at craft stores like Michaels. Fake flowers also make a beautiful embellishment. Really, the possibilities are endless. Nothing’s out of reach here.


Here’s the prototype that my mom’s friend made. Isn’t it sweet? We just used that as the model for the other jars we made.


It’s a simple process. Measure the twine so that it wraps the circumference of the jar with about a half inch of overlap. Next, apply hot glue to the twine. I did so in a zig-zag pattern to make sure the length of the twine was covered to make sure it didn’t sag. I applied more glue to the end of the twine and pressed it for about 15 seconds to make sure the twine was secured tightly.

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DIY Time: Embellished Sunglasses

May 1, 2014

It’s been a while since I got arts-and-crafty, but I was tired of my hot glue gun collecting dust so I put it to good use by embellishing a pair of sunglasses with some pearls. The glasses were $7 from obligatory girly store Zizibeh, and the adhesive pearls were about $4 each (if memory serves) from Michaels. Thankfully, I have some left over for future projects.


I was on the lookout for big rounded glasses but settled for these snazzy two-toned numbers. The true color of the temples (the arms that go over the ear) is teal, though they appear turquoise in different light.


These faux pearls were snatched up a while back on a jaunt to Michaels. I’m glad I was finally able to do something creative with them. I went with two different sizes to allow for fun with the design and to add dimension.


Voila! Here’s the finished product. After a bit of trial and error, I got the hang of picking up the pearls (flat side out) with some tweezers, running the end against the tip of the glue gun (just a little dab will do ya), and carefully placing it onto the glasses. I started embellishing the front (black side) and finished with the temples.


The glue strands are a little too visible for my liking. I may go back with the tweezers and try to scrape some of the dried excess off. Next time I’ll use an industrial strength glue like E6000 to cut back on the hot glue drips.


I’m loving the half flower-esque pattern. A full flower on the widest part of the temples could kick things up, but I don’t want to do too too much.


Hey there! Of course I had to model these spunky sunnies for you guys.


Feeling a bit inspired by the Sweet on the Eyes shades featured in my latest Fancy Things Friday post, I may get crazy and try adding faux flowers to some sunglasses for a bold statement.

DIY Time: (Count Your) Blessings Jar

May 22, 2013


When I think back on all that God has brought me through and eagerly await all that He is going to do, I can’t help but remember that I’m blessed. Truly blessed. So I thought I’d start my own tradition of writing down all the instances of God’s favor and blessings on my life and stashing them away for safe keeping. On New Year’s Eve, I plan to open them up and count my blessings, if you will. (*Cues Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything”: “Momma always told me, [girl] count yo’ blessins’ (count ’em up!”)*)

This was a simple craft, which I found via a Buzzfeed DIY post. Basically, all I did was write the text on the jar using a dry erase marker first, to get a feel for the spacing and create an error-proof template. I then went over the dry erase marker a few times with a permanent marker. Next, I set my oven to 350 degrees and baked it for 30 minutes. The process permanently etched the words onto the container.


By the way, I got this jar from The Salvation Army during its 40-percent-off sale. It originally was $5, but I walked out with this nice and sturdy ceramic piece for a measly $2. It had a few nicks, but I think they add character.



I had some card stock lying around, so I just cut it into eighths and wrote down the myriads ways I’ve been blessed in 2013. I’ll keep adding to the pile a the year progresses. God has been so good!



Speaking of blessings, this is my 100th post since launching Ashley ♥ Adores in February 2012!! Crazy, huh? To commemorate the occasion, I will be conducting a giveaway. Stay tuned for details, which will be revealed on Friday, May 24. Get excited about life.

DIY Time: Chalkboard Message Mason Jars

July 2, 2012

My birthday, July 7, is rapidly approaching and I want to make it extra special. I have several friends from the Bay Area who are flying down to celebrate with me, so I decided to make them party favors they can use while they’re in town for the weekend. The centerpiece of the gift bags will be these nifty chalkboard message mason jars. (P.S. You may recall the chalkboard paint making an appearance in my previous DIY Time post for chalkboard Easter eggs. I have a whole quart, so don’t be surprised if you see more projects in the same vein soon. Tee hee!)

This is a very simple craft to create, and I know my girls are going to love having a personalized keepsake for my birthday extravaganza. Here’s a play by play of what I did.


To start, you’ll need mason jars, painter masking tape, a small- to medium-sized paint brush and chalkboard paint, of course (and chalk when you’re ready to personalize). I also put down newspaper on my table for safety’s sake to avoid any potential spillage.


Next, position the tape in a rectangle that allows a space large enough to write. The good thing about that masking tape is it’s easily adjustable in case you make the section too small or too large.


Dip the brush in the paint and apply it to the jar in long, straight strokes, repeating until the space is completely covered in paint. I put on three coats so that the paint would be even. Just to be extra sure, I waited for the paint to dry one full day.

Then, I pulled the masking tape off. Remember to remove the tape swiftly to ensure that you get a crisp line. I found that removing the first strip of tape on the first jar slowly caused a funky, wavy line. Not cool.


Now you’re ready to personalize your jars!


One of the nicknames my college housemate gave me was “Ashums,” so I decided to write that on my jar. But I suspect I’ll be switching it up just about each time I refill my cup. I went ahead and used different colors of chalk to customize each jar with my friends’ pet names.


To kick things up a notch, I added these darling mason jar lids that I found on Etsy, as well as these fancy paper straws.

DIY Time: Chalkboard Easter Eggs

April 7, 2012


As of late I’ve been on a chalkboard paint kick. I saw the idea for chalkboard Easter eggs from another blogger (I forget which one) and decided to give it a whirl. This was my nephew Jordan’s (he’s 2, soon to be 3) first time decorating Easter eggs and boy did he enjoy himself.

The whole process was pretty simple. Instead of using a paintbrush, I just dropped the hard-boiled eggs directly into the quart of chalkboard paint, one by one, making sure the eggs were fully coated in paint. Next, I laid the eggs out on wax paper and let them dry for a few hours. The blow dryer helped expedite the process.

Once the eggs were dry, my sister Ayesha, nephew and I had a grand ol’ time putting on fun designs. I definitely will do this again next Easter.

DIY Time: Upcycled Chairs

March 10, 2012

Once upon a time, a princess was taking her dog on a quick potty break one mild summer evening, when she happened upon three dilapidated wooden chairs strewn in the alley way.

“Fix us, please! We need a new home,” the chairs begged.

But the princess didn’t know if the risk was quite worth it.

“What if someone sees me taking the chairs? I don’t want to be known as a low-brow trash digger. Also, that’s gonna take some effort to lug not one, not two, but three chairs up a flight of stairs,” the bourgeois little lady thought to herself. “Hmmm. Let me marinate on that.”

So she and her little dog went back inside of their cozy castle and got back to their evening of television and junk food. A few moments later, a car passed through the alley way and shined its headlights on the sad, neglected seats. The princess and the chairs locked eyes, but no words were exchanged. For she knew that she had to do the right thing and give those poor, defenseless creatures some TLC.

The following is a step-by-step account of how one man’s trash became a princess’ treasured household fixtures.


As you can see, the chairs were in pretty bad shape.


I was grossed out just thinking about all the potential diseases hidden within the cushion. Eeeek!


After coming dangerously close to having a germaphobic meltdown, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. The first step was to remove the screws holding the cushions up to the wooden frames.


I then put a thick layer of batting over the cushion, followed by new fabric. A snazzy burnt orange to liven up my dining space.


Next, I stripped the paint finish from the wooden frames with sandpaper. This was the longest part of the process, as I took a weekend to sand the finish off all three chairs. It requires a whole lot of elbow grease, and I opted to take breaks so as not to over-exert myself.


Once the chairs were all stripped of the old finish, I applied three coats of a newer finish. Again, this took about two days to ensure that the paint was fully dry before re-affixing the cushions to the chairs.


Voila! I have three new additions to my dining space.

Lessons learned: Enlist the help of heavy-handed friends and/or loved ones to expedite the paint stripping and sanding process. Also, be sure to spray Scotch-guard or any other fabric protector over the new cushion fabric. The fabric I chose is very absorbent and already has a few water marks.