diy “JUST <3 MARRIED" burlap sign

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I wake up every morning telling myself… It’s X days to the U.S. trip! That’s right…I’m FINALLY going to the U.S. again but this time, not for a holiday but for my elder sister, Jessica’s wedding! We’ve all been very excited and I must say, time did pass in a blink of an eye. I still recall vividly the time when my mom announced that Donny had proposed, when we were visiting the different hotel venues in Singapore, and when she told me that she would like me to be her maid of honor.

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I can finally say I’ve done string art.

Technology has not been my friend.

I’ve been trying to create a blog post for a while now but since my photoshop trial has expired due to my utter procrastination for not submitting the relevant information to obtain the license number all of a sudden, I have not been able to edit any of the photos I’ve been wanting to post until Adobe decides to reply me. Anyways, I imported the rest of the photos into my camera to see if there were any photos decent enough to be posted as is but since my macbook was severely running out of battery, I had to run upstairs to plug it in and had no chance to check if the photos imported successfully. I then fell asleep, which like Jon would say, “I had the right to because its a public holiday!!!” and finally woke up as my mom came into the room saying “oi! 7pm already!” and here I am at my macbook again to check out the photos but… alas! Why are the photos not in the Events tab?? I frantically tried to look for the photos, praying that the photos were not all lost. Long story short, I finally found them.

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String art has been all over pinterest and I’ve always wanted to try making one myself. I must say that it is definitely easier than it looks and all it took was patience and a little of faith that it would turn out all okay. The perfect opportunity arose as I was trying to think of a good wedding present for Sheryl and Ian. I was keen to do something that they could use at their wedding and at home and thought that a string art design would be a good wedding present.

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diy granola movie snacks

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My mom has been making batches of awesome granola. Really…it’s hands down the best granola ever. I carry a mason jar cup of plain yogurt, fruits and granola to work everyday and eat it at Starbucks while waiting for my friends. The number of stares I get from eating this awesome breakfast is just testimony to how delicious and wholesome it looks! It’s quite funny cuz people usually stare at me eating my granola, then look at the Starbucks display cabinet trying to search where I “bought” my breakfast.

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pretty up your cake boxes! (for storing cupcakes)

I love baking. But what I do love equally is packaging them. I always think that it is such a pity when great homemade goods are put in boring cake boxes and plain favor bags because such homemade goods do deserve equal attention to the commercial (and not so tasty) counterparts.

Cake boxes with cupcake inserts are easily double the price from the normal cake boxes…at least here in Singapore. Buy one with a cupcake inserts and a window (i.e. see through from the top) and you’re paying triple a normal cake box. I’ve tried my luck with a number of these cupcake boxes but they either don’t fit my cupcakes (though using regular sized cupcake holders, I like my cupcakes big and always fill my batter up to its brim) or the inserts are too close together and the tops of the cupcakes can barely fit. Failing which, I would pay through my nose to get a branded cupcake box.

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Remember these boring ol’ cake boxes, pretty them up and make your cupcakes look that much more desirable :) I sound terribly superficial but its true ;D There are a number of ways you can make these plain cake boxes look so much better, at very little cost.

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Add a window – It just makes the experience of giving so much better when you can see what’s in the cake box. After spending so much effort on making the stuff inside, don’t hide it away! Also, it is extremely useful when you’re transporting a delicate cake in the car. I’m always so afraid that something will topple over that I either end up driving with the box open and only tying the ribbon when I’ve reached my destination, or I lift the box slightly to peep at the cake and end up bending the box a little.

Materials you’ll need:
cake box (8″ by 8″ box is good for 4 cupcakes. 10″ by 10″ is good for 9 cupcakes)
sharp pen knife (the sharper the better. cake boxes are quite thick)
cutting board
pencil
ruler
eraser
acetate plastic sheet (you can get this at many large diy supply shops. they usually sell it by length)
strong double sided tape (i use scotch’s advanced tape glider – love it!)

Directions:
1. Depending on the size of the box, cut a square/rectangular that still has quite a substantial perimeter so that the box is still stable. I’ve found that for a 8″ by 8″ box, a 2cm allowance works well. For a 10″ by 10″ box, a 2.5cm allowance works well.

2. Open up the box such that the underside of the lid is facing toward you. Working on one side at a time and using a ruler and pencil, make 2 points on each side with the allowance, measuring from the crease of the folds. Join the dots with a straight line. Once done on all sides, use your pen knife and cut along the pencil marks. Erase the pencil marks that are still left on the box (if you like)

3. Cut your acetate plastic sheet just slightly smaller than the side of the box. If it is an 8″ by 8″ box, cut a square just a couple of millimeters off of 8″ by 8″.

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4. On the lid of the box, paste double sided tape on all four sides. Be liberal with this – you won’t want a part of your lid falling off. Paste the acetate plastic sheet on top. Acetate plastic sheets collect dust easily. To clean it off, use a lint roller and gently roll it on the plastic sheet on both sides.

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Make your own cupcake inserts – its so much easier to make your own inserts because you can customize it exactly to how you would like your cupcakes to fit. However, it does require some time and patience. It is possible to cut these shapes out using a circle cutter like this one but if you have a die cut machine like a silhouette cameo, it will make your life so much easier. If you have a silhouette cameo, and would like the cutting files for the 8″ x 8″ and 10″ by 10″ box, do leave a comment with your email and I’ll send it over!

I like using crate paper/scrapbooking paper since the colors are just so beautiful! I usually choose the paper designs that are hard to make cards out of since those would usually just end up lying around anyway.

If you own a silhouette cameo, load the cutting files. Load a 12″ by 12″ crate paper/ scrapbooking paper and cut! Fold and insert into cake box.

If you do not have a silhouette cameo, here are the measurements I used to help you:

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Create tags and tie the boxes with string or ribbon. Don’t forget the washi tape! – There are tons of tutorials and free printables out there of gift tags that you could print and attach. You can get some kraft tags – they are generic, classy and can be used for any occasion. Alternatively, you can dig through the internet (and of course, pinterest) to find many many many free printables other bloggers post on their site (and maybe mine too someday :P). Some websites which I visit frequently for printables are: creature comforts blog and eat drink chic.

Lastly, don’t forget to add that pop of color with washi tape!

diy hand warmers – keep warm and toasty!

Saying that my office is cold is an understatement. In fact, it can sometimes be so cold I feel a little sick. It’s funny because we have colleagues from all around the world working in our office and almost everywhere else other than Singapore has some sort of winter. Yet, our fellow colleagues from weather way harsher than ours say that they came to Singapore to escape the winter but have to brace the “winter” in the office.

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diy ipad pillow

After much anticipation and hype, the new iOS 7 is finally here! I downloaded it last night and till now, I’ve been getting the “new phone” excitement. Speaking of Apple products, my sister recently got an iPad mini. At night, before she sleeps, she watches movies on the bed. Unfortunately, it seems that the iPad mini cover is really stable on tables and hard surfaces but on the bed, it just keeps falling down. She ends up having to pile pillows to create some kind of a fortress to keep the iPad standing at the right angle.

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diy customizable lunch bags + free printable!

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I am somewhat addicted to pinterest. I can’t help myself but plough through the “DIY and Crafts” section whenever I have time and that includes waiting for my food, for my turn to go to the loo, at the traffic light, waiting for the lift, etc. That being said, I’ve noticed a small trend along the lines of using lunch bags and have seen an awesome tutorial on printing on lunch bags using a home printer. I’ve a different way of doing it which I’ll be sharing today!

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cake design using almonds

I’ve tried decorating the sides of my cakes with nuts a number of times using a range of different methods. I would usually start by toasting the nuts and chopping them up. After which, it is up to my imagination to get them to stick.

On some days, I would try to grab as much chopped nuts as possible and moving quickly, try to press them onto the cake. But usually, no matter how fast I am, the nuts would slip off my hands before they go on the cake and I would end up touching the icing. On other days, I would use the “throwing” method where I would “throw” the nuts onto the sides of the cake. Unfortunately, it would usually lead to uneven sides and nuts all over the table.

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Last week, my mom asked me to bake a hummingbird cake for a birthday and I decided that I would, for once, spend some time and get the nuts right. Mustering up all the energy I had left, I decided to…lay the almonds one by one. I got down on my knees so that I would be on the same level as the cake on the table, put all the toasted sliced almonds next to me, and working as quickly as I could, I started from the top and laid the almonds one by one.

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best diy zippered pouch tutorial

I would say that I am quite a newbie to the sewing machine. It probably sounds crazy but before I learnt how to use the sewing machine, I used to sew everything by hand. I would sew pouches and other random things and because I did them by hand, it would take dayssss. I was spurred on to use the sewing machine mainly because of its speed. It got me excited thinking that something which took me 3 days to sew could actually take me 30 minutes! Hence, I decided to go onto craigslist to find a second sewing machine and was blessed to find the right one. My mom and I drove to view it and bought it right away. I’ve never turned back since :P

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Sewing was quite a challenge at the beginning. The sewing machine is a rather complex machine and can be quite overwhelming for a beginner. My mom taught me how to put the thread through the machine, the bobbin, and the basics of sewing. After which, I was pretty much on my own. I ploughed through the internet for resources and while I’ve seen and tried tutorials that I still cannot understand after reading it 10 times, I’m glad to say that I have found 2 awesome (and in my opinion, the best)  zippered pouch tutorials which I now solely rely on when making zippered pouches – zippered pouch by Dana Made It and opened wide zippered pouch by Noodlehead.

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diy pincushion mason jars

I’ve blogged about mason jars quite recently and I couldn’t wait to try out the pincushion mason jars. We used to have a traditional chinese pincushion that my mom had since her wedding (it was part of the wedding gifts the groom’s family had to give the bride’s family) and since it has been so long, it was breaking apart. I had bought a bunch of pins a while ago but the box it came in never really held the pins well and it was troublesome getting the pins out. Soon, I had pins everywhere as they dropped out one by one. This diy came in perfect time.

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Unfortunately, the picture of the pincushion mason jars I found on pinterest did not link to the source. I searched online for other tutorials and found some. I decided to make mine differently as the tutorials I found online used a hot glue gun to glue the fabric down, which makes it somewhat permanent. I wanted an easy way for me to change the fabric as and when I like, or when the fabric starts to wear out. Hope you find this diy useful!

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