DIY decorated mugs!

I recently decided to try a fun (and very easy) DIY project 🙂  I saw an article here for completing these quirky, monogrammed mugs.  Brett and I decided not to exchange 1-year anniversary presents.  I thought making a few of these mugs using one of our wedding stationary fonts would be a creative and inexpensive way to make 1-year anniversary mementos 🙂

I followed the general directions provided by the DesignMom blog but because of how I wanted to decorate the mugs I did deviate a little from the instructions.  I went to Goodwill and purchased a few mugs.  I had trouble finding 2 that were exactly alike but finally stumbled upon a few that I liked.  Plus, you can’t beat $0.50 a piece!  Then I went to a few craft-y stores and bought graphite transfer paper, some tape, and some scissors.  My first deviation from the instructions provided by the DesignMom blog comes from the pens that I used.  I bought a pack of the Pebeo Procelaine markers in black.  Instead of using the fine point, I used the Bullet Tip marker for a slightly thicker stroke mark.  I bought mine off of amazon because I couldn’t find the exact marker I wanted anywhere in town.  I actually thought I was buying a single pen and ended up with a whole pack of them!  (good day!)  🙂  The DesignMom blog used single letters to decorate the mugs (hence the name of the original project being monogram mugs)…but you can really do whatever you want.  🙂  I printed out the phrases, Mr. Right! and Mrs. Right! onto normal, printer paper using one of the primary fonts from our wedding stationary.


I had never used graphite transfer paper before but had absolutely no problems.  I cut out a piece about the size of the writing that I wanted for the mugs.  By taping the darker side to the mug and the printed writing on the outside, I could use the printed font as a guide.  I used a normal pen, traced the printed words, and the transfer paper did the rest!  The transfer paper left a graphite residue where I had traced over it with the pen.

blog_mug2Then I started using the procelaine pen.  I traced over the graphite markings with the text and added some fun embellishments to each mug.  I tried to make mine a bit more feminine and Brett’s a bit more masculine 🙂  I made some mistakes along the way but until the mugs are baked, you can use soap and water (and some scrubbing) to remove the marker.



Bake as recommended by DesignMom…


…and you’re done!  Make sure to let them cool a bit when you take the mugs out of the oven…they will be quite hot!  The mugs (after cooling haha) are ready for use!  (and ready for dishwashing…which is a huge plus in my book)



Tips that I learned along the way:

1) Be careful with the pens…they are a little juicy and a little messy.  I had to wash the paint off of my legs more than once because the pen had been hanging above my legs and had dripped a little 🙂

2) These pens come in multiple colors…that might be fun 🙂

3) Having a plan ahead of time about how you are going to decorate the mug is helpful

What do you think?  The possibilities to take this project to the next level are really endless both in terms of decorating and in purposing the mug before giving it away.  DesignMom gives some ideas for ways to use this great project for the important people in your life.  Do you have any others?  🙂

DIY art with paint swatches

I have completed a new project 🙂  You know all of those beautiful paint swatches in the hardware store?  Well I recently found a blog post where those swatches were put to good use for some DIY crafting fun.  A dear friend of mine just moved all the way across the country (literally…from Connecticut to LA) and I figured that I could help make her new apartment feel like home from afar…because going out and visiting right now just isn’t an option. 🙂

I had a more difficult time than I expected assembling all of the necessary supplies.  I definitely had an idea about what exactly I would need to complete my vision of the project but some improvisations were required once push came to shove (or once I actually started circling around the craft store haha).

I took a regular, 11×13 frame


I then assembled all of the pretty paint chips onto the paper insert from the frame.


Using glue dots (1/2″ diameter), I adhered the paint chips carefully in place


The blog post where I found this project used vinyl letters to spell something out on the paint chip mosaic.  Instead, I found some great, blue, glitzy flowers


The gem in the center of the flower was too thick for the frame though so I removed it, and put some wrapped ribbon in its place.


I put everything back in the frame and voila!  🙂


I hope she likes it!  🙂


I’m a Crafter!

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and crafting are things that have recently been made more popular by sites like Pinterest.  While I have an account there, I have had trouble getting into the swing of ‘pinning.’  🙂  My first crafty-DIY project was around the holidays when I decorated some loose leaf tea storage for my sister-in-law.  With video ready, I set out all of my supplies and set to work.  The finished product looked nice but I found it much more difficult than the cheery women in the video made it seem 🙂

Some months have passed though and I’ve completed another DIY project!  Brett’s mamacita’s birthday was this past week (Happy Birthday Patti!) and Brett and I decided that we wanted to get creative and think of something that came from the heart, fulfilled a purpose, and was all-around wonderful to give her for her birthday.  Since we’re literally swimming in photographs from our wedding, I thought immediately of this ABM post I had seen in a blog that I have recently come to LOVE, where they literally transfer pictures onto canvas!

The instructions posted on the ABM blog were really easy to follow.  Here are a few of my ‘in process’ images…




I found a few things helpful while I was completing the project myself though:

1) When applying the printed photo to the canvas coated in liquitex, don’t let the picture wrinkle…it’s not the end of the world if it does but the final product will then have wrinkles.

2) When rubbing off the paper from the canvas, try not to use too much water.  Too much water doesn’t hurt anything but I found it much easier to remove the paper when it wasn’t too wet.

Here’s the final product!


Do you have any favorite crafty-DIY projects?

Girly Wednesday Post ~ i

Here at we like to please our audience with updates on our little family involving everything from tinkering and hobbies, home improvement projects, our history with cancer, chats on graduate school, and just generally, our lives as newly weds.  So I openly admit that this post might not interest everyone 🙂 but there is no denying that one of the members of our relationship is a woman who likes dressing up, wearing makeup, and experimenting with different ways of wearing her wardrobe.  So!  This is the first of our Girly Wednesday series!

Many of you may know, that currently I have longer hair than I have had since I was an undergraduate  🙂  I wanted to share some of the fun things I’ve been trying with all of that new hair!

This one is called a ‘fishtail braid’ and you can see a detailed tutorial as part of this video tutorial or this weddingchicks blog.  My hair isn’t quite long enough to get the full effect but its a great way to keep my hair back and it doesn’t take very much skill (or time!)

blog_hair1This next hair style was inspired by the ‘twisted sister’ as described in this beautydepartment blog  article.  I think I still need some practice (and I actually ended up combining my techniques with the knot bun tutorial shown here.)


hair1I tend to style my up-dos when I’m running short of time and don’t want to dry my hair…but the added texture that dry hair has, makes most of these styles turn out much much different!  Its just all dependent on what kind of a look you want.

I also just like to throw it up in a simple bun from time to time.


That’s all for the first of our Girly Wednesday series.  Do you all have any fun ideas for hair styles?  I’ve started with twisty, wrapped up-do styles but I’m always ready for something else to try!  🙂


the return of hobbies!

Brett and I LOVE hobbies! 🙂 We have quite a few of them… and often times don’t seem to be able to make time for anything of them. There are entire weeks in our academic lives where we get up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, work some more, and then go to bed…with some doggie loving happening whenever possible while at home 🙂 BUT this post isn’t about research or work or grad school…its about the stuff that we LOVE to do when we’re not doing all of that other stuff! (though many already probably know that Brett’s hobbies and his research are often heavily mixed, haha).

One thing that I love to do is bake. 🙂 I wouldn’t say that I love to cook…because while I do cook dinners and make lunches…sweet things are my absolute favorite and I seem to only find the motivation to spend over an hour in the kitchen if what I’m making is SWEET 🙂 This past weekend I made some of those shortbread, caramel, chocolate layered desserts that I have talked about before . I made them again and they didn’t take nearly as long this time and turned out buttery and wonderful 🙂 Here is a picture before the chocolate was poured over the caramel…


Brett is pretty big into photography… I owned a DSLR before we met but he has gotten me WAY more into this fun hobby and talked us both into purchasing better lenses about a year ago. Here are a few shots that I took after getting the fun new lens




Just as a side note…all of the pictures that I have previously posted to this main ‘blog’ portion of the website (all the ones besides the three above) have all been taken with my iPhone…crazy right?! 🙂

Lately, Brett has been experimenting with time-lapse photography and has been seeing if he can’t rig something together with supplies that we already have at home. This is him toying with something in the kitchen


The return of warmer weather has meant some awesome running in the neighborhood with the pups. We have found exercising to be a really fun way of spending time together…especially when we go through periods of time when we need to get some serious miles on those sneakers while training for races! When the wind dies down a little though, we really LOVE biking 🙂 It takes us about 15 minutes of biking to be deep into the corn fields for some really nice road riding. This is us at our ‘half way point’ for water, food, and a picture break during a 21 mile ride this past weekend.


Everyone once in a while we splurge on a weekend brunch. 🙂 Here, we’re waiting for our names to be called


Lately, some of our hobbies have taken a complete back burner. Over the winter, Brett and I got really into stained glass…but since school and research got super busy and then the weather got warmer we haven’t gotten any closer to finishing some of those projects. I’ll be sure to post some pictures though when we get back to them! Another thing I’ve really been wanting to try is candle making. My dad got me this awesome kit 2 Christmases ago and I still haven’t made them. The kit came with wax, jars, wicks, colors, and even scents. Brett’s interests go in and out depending on what his research requires…for a while over the holidays, we had a downstairs FULL of poster board cut outs for potential holiday yard displays. 🙂 Most of all though, I think we spend most of our time being goofy with one another. 🙂 Here is one of Brett’s signature faces


What kind of hobbies do you and your spouse/significant other/roommates like to do? Do these change when the weather gets warmer? 🙂