Couple housewarming gift DIY

Recently, one of my friends moved in with her boyfriend and she invited me to come over and check out her new place. I had been thinking about a nice housewarming gift for a while and finally I  decided to make matching HOMIES t-shirts!

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I was so thrilled for them that I wanted to do something special and make a present myself. I think it came out really well and I’m very happy with the result. It took me about 2 to 3 hours to complete, so if you want to make this, take your time!

Another good friend of mine once made matching girl’s boxers for our reunion of our little group of four friends (we live in different countries) and I was so enchanted with her homemade gift that I wore those underpants until the golden letters were almost completely gone. Loved it!

These t-shirts are not overly romantic, they are just super fun for a couple I know to be a great team. I’m sure they will be a great team of Homies.

Supplies needed for this project:

  • Two matching t-shirts. I bought two black t-shirts, one for her, one for him, but you could also go for different colours, of course.
  • A sheet of gold glitter paper to iron onto fabric. I bought mine here, but you can also buy it on amazon.
  • A print out of your text
  • Scissors
  • Ironing board and an iron

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If you want to use the same font: I used Lucida Bright in cursive, size 160 for the “HOMIES” part. I used the same for “Est. 2016”, but in size 90 (in Word).

First, cut all of the letters out and use them as a template to draw them onto the gold sheet. Be precise! 🙂 Next, cut the letters from the gold sheet and put them aside. Once you’re done, arrange everything onto your t-shirt. I had to remove a thin sheet of transparent paper from the bottom of the golden foil.

This is what it looked like before ironing:

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Next, carefully iron the foil onto the t-shirts, according to the instructions on the package of the gold foil. It took me a few minutes per t-shirt, but I was doing it very carefully.

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This is what it looks like after ironing.

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I think it’s super cute.

This gold foil material thing is actually pretty great. Not only can you transfer text to a t-shirt (or any other kind of fabric), you can also design patterns and drawings and transfer those too. The possibilities are endless!

This is how I wrapped the presents. The blue paper came from last summer’s trip to Stockholm, and the white paper came from the dutch magazine Flow.

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Coffee inspired necklace DIY

I’m an absolute coffee addict. I need at least three cups of coffee in the morning before functioning normally and I consider Latte’s an absolute treat. I got inspired to make a necklace based on the colours of a Latte Macchiato and the result was very satisfying!

Happy DIY

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If you need to brush up on your bead making skills, you can find the tutorial here.

For this project, you will make beads in three different colours, representing the different layers of a Latte macchiato: the white foam on top, the coffee-with-cream colour, and finally the coffee-coloured layer below.

Once you’ve made these different beads, you’ll bake them in the oven and assemble them into a necklace. I will guide you through each of the steps without making the tutorial overly complicated.

Please enjoy yourself during this project and get yourself some coffee!

Supplies needed:

  • Polymer Clay n° 0: White
  • Polymer Clay n° 70: Sahara
  • Polymer Clay n° 7 : Caramel
  • Sharp knife
  • A baking dish
  • Nylon thread
  • A piece of metal chain
  • Pliers and scissors
  • Jump rings and clasps

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Step one: white foam beads

Start by making beads in white polymer clay. Put them in the oven dish once you’re done with this colour.

Step Two: coffee-with-cream coloured beads

For these beads, you will need to mix some of the Caramel clay and some of the Sahara clay. This is the ratio I used, and I made this twice to have enough beads.

Looks yummie, doesn’t it!! I absolutely love these colours.

Make sure that the colours are completely mixed in order to obtain a homogenous colour in the end. Unless, of course, you like it this way.

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Once you’re done with these beads, put them in the oven dish.

Step Three: dark-coffee-coloured beads

The coffee colour is obtained by mixing the Caramel colour with some White polymer clay.

I ended up using much more caramel coloured clay than on the picture below. The ratio should be: 2 parts of caramel vs. 1 part of white clay.

Mix well untill you have a homogenous colour.

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Make the beads and put them in the oven dish.

Step Four: let’s bake some!

Read the instructions on the package carefully and bake your beads according to the instructions. This should take around 30 minutes at 110°C or 230°F for regular Fimo.

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Step Five: assemble your necklace

Once your beads are baked, take them out of the oven and let them cool down. Sit down at a table or a working space, and start assembling your necklace.

Take a jump ring and make sure you’ve completely closed it with your pliers. Now, cut of a long piece of nylon thread and knot it to the jump ring. String the beads onto the nylon thread. Repeat this for all of the colours. You will make three separate rows of beads.

As you can see, you will need more beads on the row at the bottom. Make sure to fit out the different rows on the table before attaching them to jump ring.

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Now that you’ve completed the three rows of beads, you can close the row by attaching and knotting the nylon thread to a second jump ring. Select a larger jump ring and attach all three of the rows.

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The last step is to cut the metal chain to the appropriate length of your neck. Make sure to fit the necklace in front of a mirror before sealing it off with a clasp.

And voilà! You have just made your own necklace from scratch. I hope you’re just as much of a coffee addict as I am ;-).

Happy DIY

 

 

How to make a basic polymer clay bead

Hi there!

Polymer clay bead

This tutorial will teach you how to make a basic polymer clay bead. Once you know how to transform polymer clay into beads, the possibilities will be endless. Many artistic projects lie ahead of you!

Step 1 : pick a nice colour of polymer clay.

Cut off a manageable piece of clay and roll it into a ball.

Polymer clay

My first piece of advice here : our hands tend to be covered in fabric residue and dust. Especially if you’ve just washed your hands and dried them with a towel. This will end up in your polymer clay. So I take a piece of clay that I will throw away at the end of my project, and I press it against my palms and fingertips. As you can see in the picture, I managed to get a lot of dust of my hands!

Step 2 : roll the ball into a longer piece and cut it.

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Use a template to make sure your beads are of the same size.

Step 3 : now roll all of the pieces into little balls

To make them into a proper bead, you will have to pierce them with a tooth pick, like this.

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However, polymer clay beads tend to get pear-shaped when you pierce them. You can correct the shape of your bead by reinserting the tooth pick on the other side of the bead (the side of the bead where you did not begin with the tooth pick).

Step 4 : it is now time to bake!

Place all of your beads into an oven dish and bake the beads according to the instructions on the package. This should take around 30 minutes at 110°C or 230°F for regular Fimo.

The beads will still be “bouncy” when they get out of the oven. During the cooling down process, they will become harder and you will be able to use them as proper beads.

Tadaah!! Well done.

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This could be yours!

5 helpful tips for students on a budget

 

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As a student, I struggled with money for quite a long time. I was a student for five years, and during this period of time, I learnt how to manage my finances.

The first year was especially tough. I can remember sitting in my room during the summer, with nothing left but a jar of Nutella and some yoghurt. Fun times! I had to wait for a couple of day before my next allowance. And so I ate… Nutella.

Living on a budget was a very valuable life lesson. I got the hang of budgeting and of controlling my finances. When money was short, I needed to be resourceful and to look in different directions. I’m happy to share my most useful tips for living on a budget. All of this advice comes from personal experience!

  1. Keep track of your income and of your spending

One crucial aspect about budgeting is keeping track of the money that comes in and the money that goes out. You won’t be able to make your budget work if you don’t know how much you are spending on a monthly basis. I would usually make a list at the beginning of the month of all the expenses I was expecting (rent, food, mobile phone, clothes, books for college) and match that up with the money that I would receive every month. Actually, I still do this.

For example: this month I will receive X dollars (allowance, side job) which makes a total of: X. Next, I would calculate how much money I needed to cover all of my expenses. This gives a very clear overview of what you will have to spend.

If you notice that there is more money going out than coming in, try to make changes to your spending pattern. Is there a way of spending less money? Can you save on the non-essentials (such as a tenth pair of shoes or and Ipad)?

You will now have a clear perspective on your incoming and outgoing money. If you have some money to spare, put it into your savings account (or piggybank if you prefer 😉 ). We all know that life sometimes takes an unexpected turn and you’ll have to cough up money (computer crashing down, your bike getting stolen, we’ve all been there).

2. Sharing is caring

If you live in a dorm, or if you share an apartment with roommates, it is always a good idea to cook meals together and to share the grocery shopping. Why is this? Well, usually, it is cheaper to buy meat, fruit, yoghurt and other things in family sized packages than buying individual portions. You can check this by reading the price/kilo on the label in the supermarket. The smaller the portions, the more expensive it will be.

So: cook together. Make a plan for the week, for example, you will be sharing meals 3 times a week. Do some grocery shopping together and split the bill. You can even take turns cooking. Let’s say you’ll cook on Monday, your roommate Sara will cook on Wednesday, and your  other roommate George on Friday. This means you’ll get 3 meals a week, but you’ll only have cooked once.

Make sure that all of the costs are split evenly. You can make a scheme and put it somewhere visible, like on the fridge, where you write down what you’ve been spending on the grocery budget.

Apart from this method being frugal, it is also nice to unwind from all the studying by sharing a meal with your roommates or friends.

3. Make your own presents

When festivities such as birthdays or Christmas would come up, I would always start panicking because of the expenses that weren’t going to fit into my budget. I felt like I needed to give everyone presents, but I couldn’t pay for it.

So I started DIY-ing and making presents myself. You can find thousands of creative projects on Pinterest and on DIY-blogs. The great part about making your own presents, is that you can make them any time of the year and gift them later. This allows you to spread the expenses throughout the year.

It became somewhat of a personal tradition for me to make jams, marmalade and cookies and to hand those out during Christmas parties. The only thing I regret, is that I always felt like those gifts weren’t good enough. When I look back at it now, I can see a broke student trying her best to be kind and to give a handmade present. It is a great gesture, so don’t feel guilty about not being able to buy expensive gifts.

I’ll make sure to post many DIY-projects on my blog, that you can make during the year and give as a present on special occasions

4. Couponing

For a little while, I was addicted tot he show “Extreme Couponing” (you can watch it on youtube!). The idea of being able to walk out of the store with tons a free products, seemed totally absurd and yet very appealing to me. Sadly, in Belgium, such systems are not possible. We only get the occasional 50 cent discount on an item, there is no doubling of coupons; and we only have a limited amount of free products per purchase.

So I discovered another system. There is a website (in Belgium) dedicated to products that will be reimbursed after purchases (link). You might want to look for such websites in your own country. This website would alert when there was an offer of a “100% reimbursed” product. Basically, you go to the store and purchase the product. You get a form with your purchase that you need to fill in, and you send this form together with the purchasing ticket back to the company. The company then reimburses your purchase after a few weeks.

So, in the end, you only pay the price of a stamp for your product. I had a little stash of products  such as toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo that I had gotten this way.  The downside is that this process is time-consuming.

In the end, I found that the best way to save money on grocery shopping, was to go to cheap stores such as Liddl and Aldi once a week, make purchases for the entire week, and freeze whatever I could. Ultimately, this is the cheapest way to manage your grocery budget.

If you live in another country, check out all of the possibilities when it comes to couponing, free items, etc.

5. Wait for the sales

Unless I needed something urgently, I would always wait for the sales season to buy clothes and other items. In this part of the world, we have a sales period two times a year: during the month of january, and during the month of june. When prices go down by 50%, I stock up on clothes, shoes, bath products and so on. Remember that I said you should save up some money in my first point? This is why: if you have more of a budget to spend during sales season, you’ll end up getting more out of your money.

Keep in mind that most students aren’t living a luxurious life and that is ok! You don’t need the latest Iphone, the newest designer handbag, or an expensive trip. Life has just begun for you! There is more to discover in life than buying things. Now that you’re an adult managing your own finances, you’ll need to prioritize and that is definitely ok. In fact, it gives you a great feeling if you managed your money fabulously and got the most out of our budget.

Good luck! I know you can do it!

Golden vintage bowl upcycle

An easy and beautiful upcyle project.

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A while back, I decided it was time to give the bedroom a small makeover. I went for somewhat of a sea/holiday vibe. Part of the makeover was creating this mosaic bowl out of a vintage tea set.

For this project, you will need the following supplies:

  • An object to decorate
  • A vintage tea set or any other kind of porcelain you’re not using anymore (broken plates…)
  • Strong glue
  • Mosaic grout (white)

This particular bowl came from Ikea and was plain on the outside.

The time has now come for me to confess that I smashed a vintage tea set to pieces. You’ll need to do the same if you want to decorate your object :).  However, this tea set was bought from an online second-hand shop, and I feel like I gave this tea set a new life and purpose.

 Also, it feels pretty good to smash up porcelain.

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So how did I proceed? I put a few cups and dishes in a fabric bag and I took a hammer. I would advise you to also use a fabric bag, because plastic bags will get pierced by the fragments of porcelain and you could hurt yourself.

Seal the fabric bag and start hammering. Check every once in a while that the pieces of porcelain are shaping into the right size for your project. Once you’re done, be careful when you remove all of the broken pieces. Collect them into a container and throw away all of the dust and unusable pieces.

Start adding the pieces of porcelain onto the bowl with strong glue. I used a strong, transparent glue by Bison. A good tip is to fit the pieces next to each other according to their shape: if you have a triangle, fit it into a triangle space. If you have a bit of porcelain with a rounded edge, fit it into a rounded gap.

Next, I let the glue dry for 24 hours, after which I applied white mosaic grout. I just followed the instructions on the box for preparing the grout. Once I applied the mixture, and let it dry, I made sure to give it a good clean, as the different pieces of mosaic tend to disappear beneath the grout.

And Tadaah! Ikea hack. And i got to UPCYLCE a vintage tea set!

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Favorite vacation pictures: USA road trip

Hi there!

During the summer of 2014, my Tall Man and I went on a road trip for three weeks in the United States and it was absolutely fantastic. I love to travel and I would like to share some of my favorite pictures from this trip.

My love for travelling probably comes from the fact that I grew up in Paris. I’m originally from Belgium, but my family and I moved to France as expats. I was nine years old when we left, and I moved back to Belgium when I was eighteen, to study at a Belgian university. My parents still live in Paris.

Bryce Canyon

We started off with the big apple. We stayed in New York for 6 days and during this time we visited Central Park, The Metropolitan, The Museum of Natural History, the Empire State Building… One of my favorite parts was Coney Island. I had no idea there was a beach close to New York. Most fun of all was that I read that “Coney” comes from the Dutch word “Konijn”, which means rabbit. In fact, Coney Island means Rabbit Island in old Dutch.

New York trip

I didn’t handle our eight-hour flight from Brussels to New York very well 🙂

Coney Island

Next, we flew to San Francisco where we had the most beautiful weather ever. I absolutely loved the colored houses of San Francisco, the piers, the general vibe. We ended up driving on the Golden Gate Bridge across the water into Muir Woods, where we hiked.

San Francisco trip

San Francisco trip

Next, we started the actual road trip. We visited Mariposa, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Monument Valley (most beautiful place on earth!!), Arches National Park, Horseshoe bend, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and so on. At some point, being on the road for quite a long time, you get an absolute sense of freedom. All of the daily troubles melted away as we became more one with nature.

Tree-hugging a giant Sequoia in Mariposa.

Yosemite

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Horseshoe Bend

Freedom

I sincerely hope you ever get to experience an amazing road trip like ours. It’s been two years now since we went to the States and we still feel like it was one of our best trips ever.

Monument Valley

 

How to make polymer clay roses

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Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to some new jewelry. But it feels even better if you’ve made it yourself!

In this tutorial, I will explain how to make polymer clays roses. Once you know how to make these beautiful little things, they can have many purposes (embellishing, decor, jewelry). I usually transform them into earrings by glueing them onto a metal base.

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Step 1: choose a colour you like (YAY – fun part!)

 Step 2: cut of a piece of polymer clay and roll it into a ball. Once the polymer clay has been heated with your hands, it becomes more manageable. Roll it out into a long, thin wire and cut it into small pieces.

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Step 3: you are now ready to make the actual rose! Pick up a small piece of clay and flatten it with your fingertips. Gently roll one side of the leaf inwards to create the center of your flower.

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Step 4: pick up a second piece and flatten in with your fingertips. Wrap it around the center of the flower. Continue to wrap small pieces of polymer clay until you are satisfied with the shape of your flower. It is a little bit tricky at first, but try to make a couple of roses and see how they turn out.

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  • By now, you might already have noticed that the backside of the flower is quite pointy. If you want to make earrings out of these roses, you will have to cut of (very gently) the back with a sharp knife. This was you will create a flat surface, that you can glue onto an earring.

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Step 5: bake your polymer clay according to the instructions on the package. Once they have been baked in the oven, let them cool down before you glue them onto the base of your earring.

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These earrings are great to wear during the wedding season, especially if you are a bridesmaid, or if you want to treat your bridesmaids to some lovely DIY.

Or you could just store them away for Christmas or birthday presents!

 

My memory boxes

I have two boxes. They are my memory boxes. In my first box, I keep all of the cards I have received for my birthday, for Christmas, from my friends and family travelling across the world. 

In my second box, I keep all of my cards, pictures, movie tickets, exhibition tickets related to the relationship with my boyfriend.

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I don’t think I’ve ever realised how important these boxes could be.

I am currently struggling to overcome a burn-out. I worked very hard for more than a year in a highly competitive firm, where I had a lot of responsibilities. I never felt like I was treated with respect and I used to work for hours on end without ever being able to reduce the workload. I would work for ten hours a day without any breaks, in a stressful environment. I would never receive any credit for all of the extra hours I was putting in, and I felt very alone.

At one point, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was so stressed out I couldn’t sleep at night. I felt like I was becoming a harsh and bitter person. So I gave my notice and left two months after.

After that, I was home for about a month and a half, looking for another job. The job hunt was quite difficult and stressful, I’m sure I wasn’t bringing my a game. When I finally found a new job, I was relieved.

Even so, I keep feeling down and stressed out all the time. I took on a part-time job because I can’t see myself working fulltime just yet. I have never been so insecure about myself and my abilities in my entire life.

I decided to make a photo album of my trips with my boyfriend and ended up going through these boxes in search of things that I could add to the album. To my surprise, I had a ton of cards and letters from friends and family. There was even an email from my previous employer, from the very first job I ever had, in which she stated that I was a great employee and that I would be an asset to any firm.

You know how you always send out cards for the holidays to your family and friends? Do you ever feel like they are repetitive and meaningless? Well, they are not. People might just hang on to them and have a physical piece of evidence that someone cares about them when they are going through tough times.

I know this is a DIY blog, and that you are probably not expecting a blog post about burnout. But DIY-ing has always been my way of getting through tough times. I started exploring the world of polymer clay and jewellery 5 years ago after an emotionally difficult time. It was a way of escaping reality by creating small objects with my hands.

This is what I will be doing now. I will create. I will make, I will fill my life with handmade joy. Because overcoming a burnout will take some time and being creative always does the trick for me.

I hope you can find some relief in my creative projects as well. 

Happiness. Do it yourself.

Cactus Candle

Hi there!

Welcome to my very first blogpost on Happy DIY.

I would like to kick start my blog by introducing the Cactus Candle DIY project. Cactuses are currently all over Pinterest, Instagram and DIY blogs. I thought I’d contribute to the hype with a project I hadn’t seen on the social media yet. It was a really fun and fairly easy project to accomplish.

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Here’s al list of all the supplies you will need:

  • A candle
  • Colored wax foil for candle decorating. I bought mine at Flying Tiger. I can’t remember the exact price, but it really wasn’t expensive (like 3€). In this package were included: a green sheet, a red sheet and a gold metallic sheet.
  • Scissors
  • A sharp knife
  • A cutting board
  • Several print-outs of cactuses. You could also draw a cactus yourself if you prefer.
  • Tooth picks.

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Step 1: print several cactuses and cut these out with your scissors. Make sure the size will fit onto your candle.

Step 2: transfer the print onto the wax foil and cut them out with the sharp knife on the cutting board. Be careful not to cut yourself.

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Don’t worry about being exact while cutting out the shapes of the cactuses: since the material is wax foil, you can adjust the contours with your fingers.

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Step 3: now that all of your cactuses are ready, you can start decorating the candle. I had to remove a thin sheet of paper at the bottom of the wax foil. Next, I heated the wax very briefly in my hands before sticking them to the base of the candle.

Step 4: I added some detail to the cactuses with a tooth pick. This makes the images a bit more realistic.

I also had gold colored wax foil, that I used for cutting out some grass and a little sun ;-).

Here’s the end result!

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Hi everyone!

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Lena, I’m 26 years old and I love to be creative!
I live in Antwerp, Belgium, with my boyfriend and our cat Basil.

(Yes, this is me eating cake).

NaamloosI consider myself a very lucky person because I have several passions and interests and I have room to be very creative in life.

I studied Art History at the University of Ghent and I obtained my Master’s degree in 2014. For four and a half years, I was discovering the history of many artists. I wrote my master thesis on the history of Belgian jewelry in the 18th century. This was a very enriching experience: I got to research the jewelry collections of several museums and I was one of the first people to ever have researched this topic.

I am also studying to be a goldsmith – next year will be the third year of the four year course. I have also worked in the diamond jewelry industry for 15 months here in Antwerp, which is one of the most important cities for the diamond trade in the world.

It is safe to say that I love jewelry and everything that is related to it, so you will find many blog posts dedicated to making beautiful items for yourself.

The main goal of this blog is for you to get inspired, to start being creative in life and to make a difference in this world by making lots of handmade stuff!

You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy by clicking on the social media buttons.
Please do not hesitate to contact me in case of questions, comments or other things.

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I wish you all Happy DIY-ing!