I realize most of you have been sitting on the edge of your seats, yearning for a new blog post The Craftitect, only to find yourselves disappointed each day. I’ve completed a few crafts recently, but for the past few weeks I have been consumed with work, so that’s what I’ll be writing about today, instead.
Mr. Craftitect’s dad (who I will refer to as “El Jefe” from here on out) is an accomplished General Contractor whose work focuses on high-end residential remodels. In January he asked for my help with a few projects, and we have been collaborating ever since.
The first project we started to work on together is a complete exterior overhaul of a beach house located in a very exclusive area of Malibu. The exterior is a plain stucco box that does not do its location or its interior justice. I can’t divulge too much about the house, but here is a photo of the incredible view from the living room:
I met with the client a few times to work out the details of my design. Once we had settled on a design, I had to scour the internet for the perfect building material. The client wanted a mixture of rich chocolate brown wood grain and light gray pre-cast cement panels.
However, finding beach-appropriate building materials proved to be extremely difficult – the product’s look had to match the client’s desired aesthetic, and the product’s performance specifications and installation requirements had to meet El Jefe’s strict guidelines. After weeks of research I stumbled across this incredibly beautiful high-performance product from Nichiha, a company based in Japan. El Jefe ordered some samples and we were both amazed at the density of the product.
The client loves the look and has approved my material choice – which means the next step is to order enough material for installation. I am SO FREAKING EXCITED for this project and cannot wait until material installation begins. I think seeing my realized design will be intensely rewarding. (I apologize for how dusty the samples are in these photos – welcome to life on a construction site.)
A few weeks ago El Jefe asked for help with another project – one with a much tighter timeline. The client wanted to completely remodel the kitchen, dining nook, family room, master bedroom, and master bathroom, all before their baby’s due date, less than ten weeks away! Here’s a photo of El Jefe in what used to be the breakfast nook, but will become the kitchen:
When El Jefe’s crew ripped into the wall that separates the family and dining rooms, they found a little structural surprise – joists running perpendicular to what was shown on the “as-builts” (which supposedly show how things are, as they were built … duh). But El Jefe is a masterful problem-solver and we modified the design for the entertainment center built-in to make room for extra structure that we didn’t originally know to account for.
Once the interior remodel is in the construction phase, I’ll be able to relax a little, and spend more time crafting, and blogging. I am excited to post photos of both homes after the work is complete!!
I have a large bedroom dresser that is in desperate need of a makeover, but I have been avoiding going through with the makeover for quite a while. Every time I think about beginning the project, I get nervous and back out, because my father-in-law made the dresser for Mr. Craftitect’s childhood bedroom!
This past weekend I decided to complete a “practice” makeover on an Ikea stool that Mr. Craftitect and I have had for almost four years. The stool is solid unfinished beech wood and lives in our kitchen; it obviously sees a lot of use and has absorbed its fair share of spills.
I went to Home Depot for some materials and stumbled across a miniature can of “solid color” weather proofing wood stain from Behr, which seemed perfect for this project. When I realized that I could get the entire project done in one step (stain) instead of anticipated three steps (prime, paint, seal), I was sold. I chose Boot Hill Grey, paid $3.68 for my mini can, and was on my way.
Here’s the stool after a good sanding, and one thin coat of wood stain, which I applied with the paintbrush. You can still see the beech wood through the stain; the effect was kind of weathered and vintage-y, which was pretty, but not the aesthetic that I was looking for.
I applied another thin coat of stain, and then let the stool cure for two days. It dried to a perfectly matte solid gray. The solid wood stool isn’t sticky or tacky; it can get stepped on and spilled on and wiped down with no issue, thanks to the weatherproofing in the wood stain.
After this small success, I’ve decided that my practice round is over. I’m ready to move on to the big leagues!
I get excited to post every single project, but I am extra excited for this one because it combines two of my favorite things – crafting, and UCLA!
Mr. Craftitect and I have too many UCLA t-shirts, so we are constantly wondering what to do with the extra t-shirts we have, but can’t bear to part with. I recently found this cute scarf listed on Etsy and decided that I would try to make my own version using Mr. Craftitect’s old T’s. I wanted to go for a similar look, but I wanted to hide the seams, rather than celebrate them. I was pumped to begin “upcycling” my husband’s old shirts into a comfy scarf, until I realized that stretchy jersey is not the easiest material to work with, especially when you have no idea how to properly use a sewing machine.
The front side of the scarf is made of three panels. Mr. Craftitect happened to have the same T in two different colors, so I used them for the end panels. I oriented the matching end panels in a way that would allow the UCLA logos to read upright when being worn.
Here’s me at the last UCLA Gymnastics meet of the season. I have a huge grin on my face because I am obsessed with UCLA Gymnastics and love going to Pauley Pavilion, so I was super glad to have my scarf ready for the girls’ final home meet.
The back of the scarf has no logos – instead, it has rubgy-style stripes of navy, gray, and cream. My mother-in-law jokes that I should turn the scarf to the backside when the Bruins lose, but I beg to differ – that is the move of a fair-weather fan!
I took Boomer with me to UCLA. I’m including a photo of her in front of the Richard Serra sculpture (my favorite spot on campus), because she is so cute that it would be doing my readers a disservice to not include her photo.
My mother-in-law has already requested a scarf and is raiding my father-in-law’s closet in search for the perfect T’s for her scarf. I suspect I’ll be posting another scarf sometime soon, so stay tuned.
My friend Andrea is intelligent, accomplished, beautiful, and kind – but what really makes her different from the rest is her heart. She is selfless and generous, and constantly gives without asking for anything in return; as Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect would so eloquently say, Andrea has a “fat heart, and that’s what matters”.
In the past two years, Andrea has been the primary coordinator of at least two bridal showers (including my own) and three baby showers – and those are just the ones that I know of! It’s kind of amazing what this tiny girl can do.
Most recently, Andrea planned a baby shower for her long-time friend Liz, and I was honored when she asked for my help with a few of the details and decorations. As Liz and her husband have chosen to keep the baby’s gender a surprise, Andrea and I knew that the items we made would have to be cute but gender-neutral. Andrea and Erin (Liz’s friend and Andrea’s shower planning assistant) decided to go with a white and yellow color palette, with a duck and button theme for the decorations.
I did the graphic design for these items and then assembled everything with Andrea’s help. My favorite part about this project was getting to spend time doing what I love with my best friend sitting across from me.
The favors were plantable buttons (which you can’t see in this photo) as well as lemon cookies and Loacker wafers. Loackers wafers are my favorite – Andrea and I felt free to help ourselves liberally as we filled the favor bags. I printed the tags on pearly white paper and then we used my tape glider (seriously, one of my favorite crafting appliances) to attach them to the cellophane favor bags.
I also made these “wishes for baby” cards that the guests filled out for Liz’s baby to read when he or she is old enough. I came across this blog post via Pinterest, and was inspired – I really like the sentiment. I printed these on cream cardstock instead of pearly paper to make them more pen-friendly.
Last (but not least), I sewed a fabric bunting! Andrea and Erin chose a few different yellow and white fabrics, and I used a spool of white grosgrain ribbon leftover from my wedding. I had never made a bunting before so I was a little nervous about screwing everything up the night before Liz’s shower, but it was easier than I anticipated and it was done in no time. I even commented to Mr. Craftitect that this bunting was the only thing that I have ever sewed without making a single mistake! I never formally learned to sew, I had to teach myself during graduate school for my final thesis.
This bunting happens to be double sided (I love double-sided) and I’m really happy with the final result. I especially like the grosgrain ribbon and will definitely be using it again on future buntings.
As an added bonus I have modified the name tags, favor tags, and wishes for baby cards to be free PDF printables that you can use at future baby showers! Click the links below to begin your download. The light gray crosses mark where the printables should be cut out (I recommend using a paper cutter).
Favor Tag Printables
Name Tag Printables
Wishes for Baby Printables
Every year around the holidays my parents get together with my dad’s brothers and sisters for a Christmas gathering and mini-reunion. This year was my dad’s turn to host the event, so on December 27th about thirty relatives arrived at my parents house ready to reunite and chow down. My mom and I were in charge of making enough appetizers to serve the masses so we spent two days baking cookies and another two days prepping hors d’oeuvres. In addition to making endless finger foods I also created little signs for each item to explain what it was.
I designed the tags in Adobe Illustrator then printed them out on pearly white cardstock to give them a festive touch. I borrowed cute placecard holders from my mother-in-law, who had them leftover from my rehearsal dinner a year and a half ago; she got them at Williams-Sonoma, but they have since been discontinued.
Instead of just showing you guys what I did, I’ve decided to include two free printables with this post! One file is the tags as you see in the images above, but without the text (you will be adding that yourself). In the second file I kept the design the same, but changed the colors to be holiday-neutral and gender-neutral, so that you can use them for any occasion that might require a tag. You’ll notice little crosses along the edges of the sheet of paper – those are guides that indicate where you should make your cuts. Click the links below to begin your download.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I’d also love to see photos of any tags that you guys make.