DIY of the Day involving the VMA’s?!

Have you ever looked at a mason jar and thought, “I love you.” Well, I haven’t unless it’s a super old one that’s tinted blue or if it’s been made into something functional and cute.

Black Mason jar

The project I’m about to go into, involves an insanely cute mason jar… that I did not make. Before you freak out on me and call me a poser, I know how to make it, but I chose to buy it from a celebrity instead.

“What celebrity would sell DIY projects?!” you might ask. Could it be Kendrick Lamar? Miley Cyrus? One of the girls from Fifth Harmony?? Or am I just naming people from last night’s VMA’s? The answer will come later. For now, here’s the step by step guide to making a chic mason jar night light.

Items needed to complete this craft include: a mason jar, black spray paint, a candle or string of battery-powered lights, string, and tape.

To start, you’ll want to think of the design you want the light to show through the jar. The one I have is shaped similar to a sun. Cut and place the tape accordingly on the jar. Remember, you will be spraying the rest of the bottle black, so make sure your design is big enough for light to show through.

Once you’ve taped off your design, go outside or to a super airy space to spray the entire bottle black. Make sure you take off the mason jar lid during this step. I would do two to three coats, just to make sure you get full coverage.

Let that dry for over 24 hours. Then peel away your tape. Looking cute at this stage, I know. Just wait, it gets cuter. Then, either place your candle, or string of lights inside and screw on the outer ring of the lid. You can discard the center part of the lid if you used a candle (don’t catch on fire like Kendrick’s backup dancers on MTV), but you can choose to keep it if you went with the better option, in my opinion – an LED string of lights. (The celebrity who made this chose the candle, just FYI). Last step! Wrap the string of your choice around the top of the jar just below the lid. Do this a couple of times, then tie a bow! So rustic chic!

And voila! You have a modish night light you can use to add that warm ambiance to your home. Ok, time for the big reveal…  Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” LaValle made this adorable piece for me! Check her out at her shop on Etsy called Nicole’s Craft Room. She’ll even autograph your one-of-a kind-item! ! Sending DIY love to ya girl!

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Doing the Splits

My chin is hovering over my knee cap. As I look over my extended leg I see my neatly painted toes. They’re shaking. Come to think of it, my entire body is shaking as I hold the position. I’m almost there. I can basically feel the carpet underneath me, and yet, there is space, a gap of air. Mocking me.

A 30-day journey to the splits taunts me. Day one, two, and three, have come and gone. Just like the weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have all passed and now I’m left with Monday and the start of the work week.

Life is like doing the splits. Each day, I inch closer and closer to my desired position, yet I reside in a place where a breath of air separates me from the ground, from my dreams. I continue to push and strain, and push and strain, but I’m exhausted. All I want to do is lie on the ground and watch time pass above me, but I have to push. I have to gain an inch, then another. If I don’t, I’ll feel static. Like the grey walls surrounding me.

Today is day four, another day that I get just a little bit closer to the ground. I long to sit comfortably, with my legs stretching out on either side of my body. It’s funny. Once I achieve this, I’ll have to keep at it. I still can’t just stop and stare at the clouds. I have to keep lengthening, keep doing the splits day in and day out.

Even as I keep stretching, pushing, I can feel myself being pulled too thin. It’s as if each leg is an extension of my body, of my efforts, being pulled like Gumby.

I guess I’ll just have to learn to do the splits while watching the clouds pass over me in a timeless moment.

DIY of the Day: Branch Necklace Holder

For all you Urban Outfitters lovers out there, this one is for you. I’m OBSESSED with the company, but their stuff can be pretty pricey. Over the years I organized my jewelry in several different ways, but my current necklace situation was NOT working out. I needed a new system, which is when I turned to the good ole Urban Outfitters site. I found the cutest necklace holder that was made out of a tree branch with thin rope and tiny, perfectly proportioned hooks.

Urban Outfitters version:m_5914c54b2ba50a1c70012dcf

Since my husband is an engineer and can actually make my crafts a reality, I showed him the product that I MUST HAVE. I then expressed how maybe next month I’d be able to buy it, to which he said, “we could literally go get a branch from the yard and make that.”

It was a face palm moment. Of course I didn’t need to pay $40 for a stick I could go find in my own backyard.

After searching for about 20 minutes, I found THE PERFECT branch. I coated the glorious tree limb in a clear varnish, as to prevent the bark from flaking off onto the floor, and onto my necklaces.  I used a continuous thread of thin rope, which was wrapped around each end.

My handy man of a husband then drilled tiny holes for the chic white hooks that would hold each of my precious necklaces.  All that was left to do was pick out a spot on my wall and organize my necklaces accordingly.

The materials for this simple project were purchased at Michael’s for a whopping total of $15…. much better than Urban Outfitters prices, and mine caries the value of my own work and craftsmanship.

Having trendy functional items on a budget can be tricky, but as Hailee Steinfeld says: “We’re on the right side of rock bottom.”

My thoughts exactly on DIY, girl.

My version:Capture

DIY of the Day #BecomingBickelStyle

I’ve crafted my fair share of DIY projects, from my wedding centerpieces (and every other decoration) to cute home décor, to functional pieces. I’m OBSESSED with it! Not only does it save money, but I love being able to say “Yeah, I made that.” No big deal…

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It’s kind of like writing for me. Each week I expel one piece of writing onto the interweb. It’s like taking all of my bouncing thoughts and getting them out, as if they’re threatening to destroy me if I don’t.

Do It Yourself crafts are similar in this way. I find a concept I like or most likely LOVE, usually on Pinterest. Times do exist where I’ll come up with my own ideas. (Hard to believe, I know.) I see if I have the materials in house because, let’s face it, I have a tower of craft supplies, or as my mom calls “junk,” sitting next to my desk at home.

Usually I can make do with most cutesy projects, but what I don’t have I find on sale or use mega discount coupons at Michaels. That place is my second home, or at least it used to be before I got on a budget. Now, my husband forbids me to go there most of the time. Harsh, I know.

I want to take you through a DIY project from start to finish, through the nitty gritty dregs that go along with each joyous process. I have so many favorites that I’ve completed over the years, so just know this was a hard task to narrow it down.

Since it’s almost my one year wedding anniversary, I’ve chosen one that celebrates that! I made each and every centerpiece for my medium sized wedding which required 35 of them. Holy crap, right?!

Each centerpiece consisted of three wine bottles of various shapes and sizes. To start this process, you have to fill a tub or large sink full of hot water. Make sure you fill each bottle full of water as well. Lay them down and let them sit overnight. The next day drain and refill the tub with hot water once more for about an hour. Take them out one bottle at a time, letting the rest sit in the water until it’s their turn.

Lay a towel down on a counter that doesn’t scratch easily. Take an exacto knife, old kitchen knife, or blade of some sort and scrape the label off away from your body. Goo Gone is your best friend in this process. Trust me! I did 35 centerpieces, each containing 3 bottles, that’s 105 bottles, not counting the cute ones scattered around the venue! (Drank!) My pour fingers were raw by the end of each batch, which was about 10 bottles.

Once you have removed all of the labels and made sure NO STICKY RESIDUE REMAINS, it’s time to spray paint. If your bottles are still sticky, the paint won’t look right. I used three different colors, mint green, chalkboard black, and gritty sandstone. I went through so many bottles of spray paint, that I wish I kept track so I could blow your mind with the end number, but I was too focused on getting the job done.

This requires several coats of paint. I did this in the middle of the night on several occasions. Make sure and lay towels down where your spray painting because it WILL get on EVERYTHING. Let them dry overnight. I made sure each bottle was spray painted before I completed the next part.

To make them super cute and rustic, cut strips of burlap and canvas to wrap around the top portion of each bottle. Don’t hot glue your fingers to the bottle. It’s painful. Then once that dries, take hemp string or light colored string and tie a bow around the canvas, gluing it in place.

I didn’t just want the bottles to sit on the tables with nothing under them, so I came up with the idea of stacking vintage green books underneath them. Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds to find decently priced old GREEN books that you know you’re never going to use again after the fact. Vendors Villages are AMAZING when it comes to books priced at fifty cents to a dollar.

The next step required grouping the bottles into threes, making sure each grouping had one of each color and different heights and sizes of bottles. I stacked two books and glued the bottles on, varying their heights, all the while making sure to put stack the books the same way each time and glue the colors in the same place for each centerpiece (you’ll understand with the pictures). My florist provided the GORGEOUS flowers and cotton that were strategically placed to have the most aesthetic appeal to the eye.

And voila, you’re left with about 20 of these things after the wedding,  and you’re so attached to all the hard work you put into each one that you end up keeping half of them and giving the rest away as gifts. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I got so many compliments on them and they were so worth the trouble and effort. One is displayed proudly in my home as a reminder of my romantically whimsical wedding.

See below for your viewing pleasure!

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**Thank you to my bridesmaids, mother, and grandmothers for helping with the process. And a HUGE thank you to Michael’s for having all of the supplies all bought with coupons!