diy // marquee letter lights.

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Been wanting an unexpectedly fun and 'urban minimalist' decor to spruce up my current tiny kitchen situation. In comes these marquee lights. They're perfect for that future dream kitchen look I'm going for - all white palette, natural wood and silver tones, pops of mint and neon yellow accent colors. Clean lines and all that jazz. I feel these marquee lights are a step in the right direction. It only took me 3 years to actually get started on them, but hey, baby steps, baby steps. This dream kitchen will happen. Eventually. Far future [gotta get a house first] eventually.

Well, what I thought would be a simple DIY turned into quite a time-consuming effort spanning a few days! So much eye-balling and realigning and spacing and poking and cutting and taping. In other words, the OCD in me took over, leading me into some very mixed feelings about these DIY marquee lights. Perhaps they should be of metal material to give that clean industrial look? A bit on the unpolished side? Too DIYish looking? Can't have wonky lights in that future minimalist dream kitchen! So for now, they will do til the real thing.

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Materials // Paper Mache LettersString Lights. X-acto Knife. Gold Spray Paint. White Tissue Paper. Scissors. Pencil/Pen. Clear Packing Tape. Newspaper.

firstdoub
seconddoub
thirddoub
fourthdoub
fifthdoub
sixthdoub
seventhdoub
eighthdoub
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How-to // 1. Use X-acto knife to cut off the top portion of each letter. // 2. Take out stuffing. // 3. Go outside. Lay down newspaper sheets on the ground, plop each letter on top (with open-side facing the ground), and spray paint away. One layer spray paint is enough. // 4. Wait for spray paint to dry. Takes about 15-20 minutes. // 5. Using pen or pencil, mark spots inside the now dry paper mache letters of where you would want the lights to be. // 6. Use X-acto knife to cut through the marks. Cut in an 'X' fashion. // 7. With the X-acto knife or Pen (with a wide base), further widen the hole by sticking the pen through the hole. // 8. Turn the letters over and cut off the excess cardboard with X-acto knife. // 9. Now with white tissue paper, plop the letters on top of tissue paper and trace with a pencil. // 10. Cut the letters out. No need to cut along the trace exactly. I recommend slightly cutting outside the trace for a 'wider' version than the paper mache letters themselves. That way, the tissue paper letter will fit snuggly inside the paper mache. // 11. Fit tissue paper letters inside paper mache letters. // 12. With X-acto knife, puncture holes through the tissue paper straight through the existing holes on the paper mache. // 13. Unscrew light bulbs off the light string. // 14. Fit light bulbs in the holes you've made in the paper mache letters. // 15. Screw the light bulbs back on the light string, this time with paper mache between the bulb and string. // 16. Bundle the light strings to the backside of the paper mache letters and tape them down. Try to tape it down where you can't see the light strings at all when you flip the letters over.

Difficulty // 7.

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besos ... jin.

diy // tissue carnation ampersand.

diy // paper carnation ampersand.

A simple Spring prop for a quick Spring family photoshoot. That's how I roll. (Last-minute DIYers UNITE!) Initially, I had planned to get fancy with the paper flowers. Dahlias. Roses. Peonies. Daisies. Poppies. All of it. Upon making the first of many paper flowers, I've come to realize -- 'I'm running out of time already!!' -- and just stuck with the easiness of paper carnations. In a mere 15 minutes I was done making paper flowers and quickly filling up the Ampersand. (Lazy DIYers UNITE!)

So. It's not all bad changing up the game plan. Less time DIYing, more time playing outdoors. Yeah?

Besides, Spring has finally sprung!

diy // paper carnation ampersand.
diy // paper carnation ampersand.

Materials // Paper Mache Ampersand. X-Acto Knife. Gold Spray Paint. Tissue Paper. String. Scissors. Newspaper.

diy // paper carnation ampersand.
diy // paper carnation ampersand.
diy // paper carnation ampersand.
diy // paper carnation ampersand.

How-To // 1. Using the X-Acto knife, cut out the front part of the Ampersand. // 2. Take out the 'stuffing' found inside the Ampersand. // 3. Go outside. Lay down a few newspaper sheets, plop the Ampersand on top (with the open-side facing the ground) and spray paint away. One layer of spray paint is enough. // 4. As the spray paint dries, make some simple paper carnations! Don't know how? Go here for an uber simple tutorial. I kinda just eyeballed the sizes of the paper flowers until I was satisfied. // 5. Fill the inside of you Ampersand with paper carnations.

diy // paper carnation ampersand.
diy // paper carnation ampersand.

besos ... jin.

love weekend recap.

valentine's 2014.

It's not every year Love Day falls on a Friday and extends it's glorious self right into the weekend. As if that weren't enough good juju already, throw in perfect weather, spontaneous plans, c'est la vie attitude - and life couldn't be better! Seriously, I'm more than convinced that something (love? =P) must be in the air this past weekend. So why was it so awesome? Our Love Day version consisted of cheesy traditions of homemade heart-shaped eats (every year, more challenging!), a morning run with the dog around Lady Bird Lake, an insane 1.5 day foodie adventure spear-headed by an old high school friend and his Houston residency buddies (somewhere in there the Hubster and I went rogue for a bit - a nap, a massage, an intimate dindin at Cafe Josie, another nap - all made it's way into the epic trail-blazin' food coma marathon), and a Jin-made Valentine's card sesh for all my best girlfriends before Monday rolled around.

Whew. Best. Weekend. Ever.

Low-key, adventurous, memorable. Can't every day be like this?

besos ... jin.

diy // l-o-v-e ombre yarn letters.

diy // l-o-v-e yarn letters.

One evening, a hubster's help and a lil vino will get ya through this deceivingly easy DIY. That's right. Deceivingly easy. I must admit, at first glance the thought of constantly wrapping and weaving seemed a little intimidating, thinking it would take forevers. But I went for it anyways 'cause I'm irrational like that. Oh the things we do to have that certain unique decor that just clicks with your own aesthestic style, no matter how time-consuming it seems. 4 hours later and ... I'm done??

(I'm sure switching out the B and S of the original planned B-E-S-O with L and V might have something to do with cutting the time in half.) But hey, what a pleasant surprise to find a 'challenging' project to be notsobad. Even more of a reason to L-O-V-E this project. Huzzah.

diy // l-o-v-e yarn letters.
diy // l-o-v-e yarn letters.

Materials // Paper Mache Letters. Yarn. Scissors. Mod Podge.

How To // My Sister's Suitcase Love Yarn Letters Tutorial.

Note: Besides the obvious use of different yarn colors from the tutorial, I've opted to use Mod Podge instead of a glue gun. It's been almost a week since finishing this yarn project and so far so good with the Mod Podge.

diy // l-o-v-e yarn letters.
diy // l-o-v-e yarn letters.
diy // l-o-v-e yarn letters.

besos ... jin.

diy // l-o-v-e glitter cake toppers.

diy // L-O-V-E glitter cake toppers.

I have a love affair with cake toppers. Particularly the handmade, simple ones. Often times I don't care what the cake flavor is. (That's a lie. Red Velvet or Lemon or Green Tea or any of my top 30 flavors all the way.) But as long as it's unique, fun, pretty - with a touch of whimsy - yah, I guess I really don't care what flavor it is!

diy // L-O-V-E glitter cake toppers.

Materials // Glitter paper. Skewers. Pencil. Scissors. Tape.

How To // 1. Take the glitter paper and turn it over to the backside. This is where you free-hand the L-O-V-E letters. Make them any size, and as wonky, as you like. The more imperfect, the better. Be sure to pencil in the letters backwards! // 2. Cut out the letters. // 3. Tape the skewers onto the backside of the letters. // 4. Go make some cakes/cupcakes pretty!

diy // L-O-V-E glitter cake toppers.
diy // L-O-V-E glitter cake toppers.
diy // L-O-V-E glitter cake toppers.

A much more affordable and temporary version than these BHLDN lovelies, innit?

besos ... jin.

diy // gold glitter xo.

diy // gold glitter xo

Starting off the slew of Valentine DIYs with something so easy, it doesn't even need directions. (Mod Podge first then glitter away, if you're really that clueless!) So that way, I'll really blow your socks off when Valentine DIY decor #3478539 makes it's blog debut next week. Like what I did there? Eh? Eh? Oh the power of teasers!

diy // gold glitter xo

Materials // XO Wood Letters. Mod Podge. Paintbrush. Glitter.

diy // gold glitter xo
diy // gold glitter xo

It never ceases to amaze me how something so insanely simple to make can instantly change the home mood. Oh yes. Things are starting to feel very swoon festive around here!

besos ... jin.

diy // feather garland.

diy // feather garland.

Think it maaay be time to finally take down those Christmas decorations still bedazzling my humble condo abode. Didn't realize we're nearing the end of January! Seriously. 2014 is already blurring by too fast! (No? Just me?) So in an effort to move forward into this new year on the right foot, I've spent the weekend slowly taking down the Christmas Past while oh-so-slowly brainstorming Valentine decor. Good news: I've replaced my DIY Gold Pine Cone Garland that's been making my living room window look good with another DIY garland. Valentine's related. Woot. Impressed that I've got something Valentine's up this early? Think I've impressed myself!

But because it's so freakin' easy to make, it kinda feels like I've cheated a little bit. So easy, I'm not even gonna bother writing up the how-to!

diy // feather garland.

Materials // Feathers. String. Mini Clothespins. 

diy // feather garland.
diy // feather garland.

With these feathers up, feels like Spring is just around the corner. 'Cause, Winter. I'm so over you.

besos ... jin.

diy // gold pine cone garland.

diy // christmas pinecone wreath.

Another Christmas project that was supposed to be done last Christmas (waited too late, of course) aaand here we are a whole year later. Trying again. At the last minute. Of course. ;-) But I was determined to actually get it done this year, being our first Christmas in Austin and all, and so the Monday before Christmas I got busy. Check it out!

diy // christmas pinecone wreath.

Materials // Pine cones. Gold Metallic Spray PaintScrew Eyes (any reasonable size will do). Newspaper. Drill (not pictured). String. Scissors. Plyers (not pictured). Glue gun (optional / not pictured).

How to // 1. Lay some newspapers down outside, plop your pine cones down and spray paint away! // 2. Let paint dry. // 3. I ain't gonna lie. It's so much easier to drill a tiny hole in the pine cone first before applying the screw eyes. But if you can do it by hand, go for it. Use plyers for better grippage when getting those screw eyes in! // 4. Thread the string (of your choice) through the screw eyes. You can tie a knot at each screw eye as you go, but I'm OCD and I like my pine cones evenly spaced. To get that even-ess, skip the tying knot part, lay garland-in-process out on the floor, and shift pine cones up and down the string. Once satisfied with the spacing, bust out the glue gun and glue string to screw eye. // 5. Find a good place to show off that pine cone garland snazzyness!

diy // christmas pinecone wreath.
diy // christmas pinecone wreath.
diy // christmas pinecone wreath.
diy // christmas pinecone wreath.
diy // christmas pinecone wreath.

At one point I wanted to gild gold leaves onto the pine cones. Why not? Had some sheets left over from the Terra Cotta Pot project. But that would've taken a lot longer than need be (no bueno for last minute projects, you see) and besides, the gold metallic spray paint stills gives a nice pretty sheen. Now my tiny little living room window looks all festive and wintery and shiny and new for Christmas and New Year's! 

besos ... jin.

diy // christmas photo tree.

diy photo xmas tree 2013.

Materials // Photos of various sizes. Washi tape. 

diy photo xmas tree 2013.
diy photo xmas tree 2013.
diy photo xmas tree 2013.

If the Christmas branch ain't doin' it for ya and your tiny space, I gots another space savin' Christmas tree solution to offer: the photo tree. It virtually takes no space whatsoever and it's a fun, unique twist to display personal pix of the past year in a somewhat unexpected way. Can we say ... conversation starter? Slap on a lil gold-striped washi tape. (Or hot pink, like I originally had planned.) Perhaps a glittery topper for added festive happiness. But ya know, I can live with it as is. The understated facade looks a bit classy, no? Kinda draws out the quiet humbleness of seeing snippets of your life / past year clumped together like so. Literally like seeing the big picture!

besos ... jin.

diy // christmas branch.

diy xmas branch 2013.
diy xmas branch 2013.
diy xmas branch 2013.
diy xmas branch 2013.

If you're kinda pressed for space like we are - absolutely no place to put a Christmas tree or festive decorations around a hearth, etc. - you kinda have to get creative and think up ways to have that tree and stockings and ornaments and the whole cake (and eat it, too!) without taking up too much of the already precious space. So try this. Take an ordinary branch, put it on a wall (in our case, between our room and the laundry closet) and bedazzle the hell out of it. Totally customizable to your own taste, which I luuurve, so get on with your bad self, girl, and decorate to your heart's content! This year I opted for a Charlie Brown inspired tree. Been on a minimalist binge lately and I find that this style gives me the most flexibility with my own personal taste without compromising any Jinisms. Marching to the beat of your own drum, ftw! (Seriously, get on with your bad self!)

Now sit back and revel in the awesomeness of a Christmas tree and stocking holder in one.

Winning.

besos ... jin.

holiday 2013 featurette on sainsbury's.

My Mustache Straw DIY got featured on Sainsbury's!

Hi, lovelies! Just spent the past few glorious days in Jamaica for one of my bestie's wedding.

Yah, mon.

Long story short, everything about KF + Jeff's wedding was fun and laid-back and fun and intimate and FUN. But more on that later! The reason why I'm posting: 1) It's been a week since I've poked my head around here. Let's face it. I've been slacking. Aaaaand 2) One of my DIY tutorials got featured on a Holiday 2013 article by Sainsbury's! Eee! Now I don't normally blog about things like these, although getting featured as creative/photographic inspiration on various social media and blogs over the past few years has been an honor and a blessing (MUCHO THANKS for the support, everyone!!), but this blog is from UK! Whoa! International, baby! Ch-ch-check it out! There are some pretty amazing holiday tutorials featured alongside my dinky Mustache Straw DIY. Specifically the gold-tipped feather tutorial. I've been meaning to do a similar tutorial, but looks like somebody beat me to it! (Long-distance high five, Copenhaven!)

besos ... jin.

diy // gold polka dot pumpkin.

DIY // gold polka dot pumpkin.

Been meaning to spruce up that pumpkin you've picked up weeks ago, but don't have time to deck it out and just now realizing Halloween is next week? Awesome. We're in the same boat. Into gold detailing like me? Double awesome. Grab some gold paint and a sponge. Ho-hum ordinary pumpkin, no more!

DIY // gold polka dot pumpkin.
DIY // gold polka dot pumpkin.

Materials // Gold acrylic paint. Sponge of any kind. Small container to hold paint. Pumpkin.

How to // 1. Sponge can be any shape, size, type. If you're like me and too cheap to buy an already affordable sponge, an old kitchen sponge will do. Just cut out a circle and you're good to go. // 2. Pour a small amount of gold paint into the container and dip sponge into paint. // 3. Stamp away! Make sure you press a little harder into the crevices of the pumpkin to get some paint in it's nooks and crannies.

DIY // gold polka dot pumpkin.
DIY // gold polka dot pumpkin.

Totally lovin' how my raggity old kitchen sponge makes the most imperfect gold polka dots ever. Kinda gives a fun, rustic vibe, no? Now to get fall festive on my patio and find a spot for all that imperfect gold-dotted pumpkiness!

besos ... jin.

pumpkin tree branches.

mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.
mini pumpkins on a branch.

I saw these pumpkin branch lovelies at Whole Foods and immediately picked up a 'bouquet' without hesitation. Anything with an unexpected twist - I'm on it! Actually, those aren't really mini pumpkins on a stick. They're really ornamental eggplants, or edible eggplants, if ya bravely curious enough to stir-fry away. Def gonna give that a go one day! But purely on the ornamental side, I'm in love with how these branches are utterly simple, yet adds a quiet whimsical-fall-foliage-in-the-forest statement piece in a classy way. Stick them in wine and Perrier bottles. Boom. Good to go. Festive autumn merriments, à la country chic meets city coffee shop, in just a couple of steps. Happy Friday!

besos ... jin.

diy // tissue tassel balloons.

diy // tissue tassel.

I love it when something so ordinary can be transformed into a whimsical beauty in a matter of minutes. Especially one that only needs a simple, insanely easy AND cheap twist to it's facade, such as these gold + mint tassels hanging off my otherwise ho-hum birthday balloons a few weeks ago. Now that's a vast transformation. It kinda makes birthdays fun again, if you're in your 30s (like me) and dreads getting older (like me). =/ Anyways, got 30 minutes? Here's how!

diy // tissue tassel.

Materials // Tissue paper, balloons (picked up from Party City), and scissors. (That twine in there is for the DIY tissue tassel garland, if ya ever wanna go that route. I kinda played with the idea after sprucing up my balloons.)

How to // Now I'd be lying if I said you don't need a step-by-step pictoral spread. Of course you need step-by-step pix! I didn't realize this until after the fact, as I sit here, attempting to list off written directions, thinking, 'This is confusing ish, man!' World's worse DIY tissue tassel directions ever, I know. But too lazy to go back and take step-by-step pix, here's the DIY tutorial from Designs by Nicolina that I based my tassels on. I didn't have a cutter on hand and used scissors instead, which is probably a much longer process. I also didn't cut the last piece all the way through. After the rolling process, I simply wrapped the rolled-up piece around the knotted end of the balloon and twisted away to secure. 1 or 2 tassels per balloon is the max before gravity takes over.

The easy way out on the directions, I'm sure, but honestly, I just really, really wanted to take pictures of the finished product. My favorite step in any DIY! And something I would rather do on my birthday anyways, getting inexplicably lost in the moment, snapping away at pretty things. All day long if I had a choice. Here are a few selects for your viewing pleasure.

diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.

I would love to deck out a giant balloon with tons of tassels like these lovely Geronimo! creations, (an idea for a photoshoot that I've been meaning to do for, like, years) but this DIY was a last minute thing and had to settle with easily attainable materials in a hurry. So last minute, I've actually started and finished the project on my birthday! Queen of last-minute projects right here!

besos ... jin.

diy // floral crown.

diy // flower crown.

I love how these floral crowns are making a huge comeback as of recently, sneaking in cameo appearances in music festivals and bridal showers and tea parties and what not. I don't know what it is about them. Perhaps nostalgia (reminds me of me and my sissy's own teeny weeny floral crowns as little Chus'). Maybe part whimsy, cuz ya know, who doesn't like a good make-believe fairytale when daydreaming at that 9 to 5? Well, whatever it is, I'm bringing them back, baby. Here's to unleashing my inner flower child and kicking off the birthday weekend with an uber easy (and cheap!) DIY floral crown. Should make for interesting shots for the upcoming birthday shoot!

diy // flower crown.
diy // flower crown.
diy // flower crown.

Materials // Various plastic flower stems and garland, scissors, floral tape and/or clear tape.

How to // 1. Measure garland by wrapping it around head. Secure garland circle with floral/clear tape and trim off excess garland. // 2. Cut various flowers off plastic stems and add them to the garland, securing them with floral/clear tape. // 3. Work in one direction until done. Or until desired effect.

Note: Not sure if you'll have the same problem as me, but my floral tape kinda sucks. Like, really, really sucky. You know you got bad quality tape (or maybe all floral tapes are like this??) when it starts unraveling halfway through the DIY. Anyways, switching over to clear tape is a quick and inexpensive replacement. Mucho mejor!

diy // flower crown.

besos ... jin.

{kitchen de ferrer} ombre valentine cake push pops.

ombre valentine cake push pops.
ombre valentine cake push pops.
ombre valentine cake push pops.
ombre valentine cake push pops.
ombre valentine cake push pops.
ombre valentine cake push pops.

It's no secret I would rather take pictures of my food (and eat them!) than bake/cook them. And it's no secret I take even more pics when I actually do bake/cook. Hard work can do that to ya. In this case (if you couldn't already tell from the multitude of aftermath visuals), I worked hard! And pretty dang proud of it. =D

The making of a cake push pop, it seems, is pretty straightforward. Bake a sheet cake, level it off, cut circles out with push pop container, pipe in cream cheese icing in between cake layers. Sounds easy enough! The Jin version is slightly different. Bake mini cupcakes using a mini muffin pan instead! Once cooled, cut off the cupcake tops, leaving the bottom portions (perfect height and width!) to be squeezed into the push pop containers. No need to level off!

As for the ombre part, I opted for various Duncan Hines cake flavors. Red velvet, strawberry and yellow cake. Half the yellow cake batter I added food coloring (red, orange + yellow) to get that nice bright red color.

Aaand construct away! Cake, icing, cake, icing, etc. Top off with lip sprinkles. Perhaps take the decor step further with some washi tape fun. Makes for 'derrricious-looking' (as Hanh puts it) and 'what the hell these push pops are delicious' (as Eric puts it) Valentine treats for Jincent's closest Austin friends!

besos ... jin.

3 days, 3 DIY projects.

Took a break from all the pic editing to do a few uber simple DIY projects in some of my favorite color combos. Got red, pink + gold hues on my mind!

DIY: february 2013 paint chip calender.

1 -- DIY February 2013 Paint Chip Calendar.

Other than using them as various gift tags, I finally found another use for all those extra paint chips I've collected. So diggin' this idea. It's simple (took 5 minutes), inexpensive (free!) and adds a pop of color to my inspiration mood board (pow!). Now if only they were Pantone! Le sigh!

Tip: It's all about the Glue Dots. Double-sided tape won't cut it!

DIY: valentine cards.
DIY: valentine cards.

2 -- DIY Valentine Cards.

For my closest gal pals in my life. =) This is what loads of brown cards, extra glittery gold birds from my wedding, leftover pink acrylic paint, a wine cork and a lil Mod Podge can do. It's as easy and straightforward as it looks!

DIY: birthday gift wrapping.

3 -- DIY Birthday Gift Wrapping.

I love the idea of buying a roll of brown paper (which has lasted me for years and shows no sign of running out anytime soon) and creating any design for any occasion at any time. For Liz's Birthday, an empty tube of toilet paper and pink acrylic paint was all I needed to guzzy up this brown paper. Red ombre nylon string to finish it off and voila! Only 10 minutes of my life came and went. =)

Til next DIY adventure, crafting homies!

besos ... jin.

{Pictures by Jin Chu Ferrer of Contradiction of Sorts.}

[diy] christmas in a box.

diy christmas in a box.

So this 'Christmas In A Box' is something I almost always do every year as Christmas favors for close friends. Almost 'cause there are years where V + I would travel our little hearts out for the holidays. =) These boxes are usually filled with homemade baked bite-size goodness, and every year, as a challenge to myself, I never give away the same holiday treat. There are so many yummy delectables out there, why bake the same recipe twice, yah?

diy christmas in a box.
diy christmas in a box.

This year the boxes were filled with Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites and Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bites. Christmas for your tastebuds, if you will. ;-)  A little bit of mint tissue paper, red/pink nylon string, gold glittery birds (thanks to Heather's awesome cricut!) A nice eco-friendly looking treat box for good measure. Boom. All gussied up and ready to subtlely wow!

diy christmas in a box.

Hope this inspires your own 'Christmas In A Box'!

besos ... jin.