DIY painted canvas shoes, and a backstory about relationships with expiry dates

(Long, irrelevant essay incoming! If you want to see my latest DIY project, skip to the second last paragraph, please.)

For every hello, there will be a goodbye.

People enter your lives for a reason, a season, but not for a lifetime.

I used to have a friend. An interesting friend who always have an interesting opinion. It was like, 2008, and we were in my car heading somewhere and she suddenly went into this thought provoking subject.

She said that each of our lives are like lines constantly traveling over time. We were born into this world separately in our own time, we eventually meet one another by chance, and when it’s time, we all will separate and go our own way.  Just like in a graph, where two parabola lines converge, intersect, and then move away from one another.

I nodded while I steer the car in equally confusing late afternoon traffic, pretending that I understood half of what she just said.

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She went on, demonstrating the converging lines with her hands, “So, picture your life as a line constantly moving on an angle, then other people’s lines enter that line of your life, both lines intersect, you spend time with that other person, then when it’s time, (dun dun…) the lines separate, they eventually get further away and leave. And when they leave, it means their role in taking part and influencing our life is done. We don’t need them anymore and they don’t need us either. Then it’s time to move on.”

“Ah, I get it, yeah it’s kinda sad but I get it… It’s like chapters in a book or acts in an opera.. Hurr durr”

“Life is all about those intersections.” she said. “And how you make the best out of your time with each person you have the chance to interact with.”

“Because before you even realize it, they will move further away and be gone, like forever, in the constantly moving parabola-equation-graph-thing of life”, I added. (I sucked at describing stuff! How did I even graduate high school as a science major in the first place?)

“Right you are.”

“Then you’d say that every relationship has an expiry date? When the other party’s role is done in the story of your life?” I asked.

“Right on. That’s why I don’t friend my exes after the breakup. Not IRL, not in Facebook, not anything. When it’s done, it’s done”, she said, crossing her arms with a smug expression.

“Too many fish in the sea to miss one.” I said, quoting a Karmin song lyric from the future.

Here’s my latest DIY project. I thought that my DIY orange wallet was pretty sick and I decided to pimp my plain canvas shoes the same way. You can see that it’s decorated with converging and intersecting lines, which have, like, deep personal meanings about relationships with expiration dates.

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To my ex-friend: Hey A, thanks for the friendship, it was awesome while it lasted and you know it 🙂

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Regretsy: DIY acrylic painted graffiti wallet

1. Materials: One battered up, old TOUGH wallet (I think I bought this in 2009), some acrylic paint in Bright Orange (because I don’t have neither good taste or color coordination), brush. Yes, this wallet was once a nice, even shade of pale grey, but as you can see now it’s all gone to shit, blame the bonded leather for not lasting very long. It’s makeover time!

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2. Add some water in a bowl, add paint (1:1) and mix well. Get painting.

Tip: Don’t do it on your bed like I did. It’s ok because I’m a pro at doing DIY stuff without staining my $300 bedsheets, but most probably you’re not.

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3. Here’s the result after 2 coats of orange.  OMG my eyes! I must’ve been colorblind all along, it’s a miracle that I graduated from design school after all. You can see that some areas of the leather doesn’t really take on paint too well. It was so hard to paint the front flap evenly. Grr. Stupid bonded leather.

Note to self: Orange only looks good on Hermes bags, and next time buy a more expensive wallet so you will be hesitant to ruin it with orange paint.

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4. After 4 coats, I decided that the garish shade of orange was a total fail. Go to sink. Wash off all of the orange goo. Drink some wine to numb your feelings of regret. Go to bed. Turned out acrylic paint is not waterproof (Obvi!)

5. Semi-dry the wallet. Get some permanent marker refill ink (in black), paint the wallet black in desperation. Dry overnight… Start again with a black wallet.

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6. Mix some more paint. Make it thick. Start laying on the orange. I decided that a random pattern would work best, but do whatever you want. Do a fake LV grafitti wallet if you want, but I’m not gonna do that because I ain’t no basic bitch. Here’s the wallet, almost done.

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7. Wait until dry, put on a protective coat of clear spray paint. Voila, my new graffiti-inspired wallet. Just add chains for instant badass.

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8. Who needs Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada when you have this? (NOT)

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What do you think? Does it look any better now? Alay-chic or alay? Awesome or regretsy?

2013 succulent garden update and mini terrarium tutorial

Well, hello friends and a happy belated New Year. I am back with my 2-year succulent garden update. Wow, time does fly, and my little succulent garden is growing up and out like no one’s business! Look at all that growth! (Compare with the original 2011 and 2012 January posts!)

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I’ve added some new plants too, like this chubby little spiky succulent I rescued from the shelves of the local Carrefour.

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While on the subject of plants, I’m also going to post one of my recent DIY projects: Mini terrariums! I got the idea from the numerous tutorials on the internet. They’re so tumblr-pinterest-etsy-hipster chic! Feel free to follow, they’re so easy to make!

1. Choose your containers. Wash and clean. It should have a lid!

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2. Gather supplies: Aquarium charcoal, pebbles, small pebbles, coarse gravel. I got them from the aquarium shop. Also get some potting mix.

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3. I got moss from the garden. It’s rainy season, so it’s easy to find moss everywhere. Grab the moss with a butter knife leaving a layer of dirt underneath…

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4. Ready to rumble. Don’t forget gloves!

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5. First put a layer of gravel, then a thin layer of crushed charcoal at the bottom of the jars!

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6. Don’t forget your ornaments. My choices include: Mushrooms, maneki neko, army figurines, and a souvenir wooden penis from Bali that nobody wants. (They say it’s too small)

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7. Put your layer of potting mix on top of the charcoal. Carefully arrange the moss on top then press firmly onto the potting mix. Put your ornament in. Screw the lid on! Here’s a few of my creations…

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And now time for a group photo… aren’t they adorable? The right one with the blue lid is a little dingy, previously it was a container for Oma’s water plants. Oh well, next time choose cleaner jars!

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One week update: The moss jars are still in great condition. Yay! That’s it, enjoy my tutorial or lack thereof, and feel free to try yourself. Makes nice desk decorations.

DIY Taylor Swift “trouble” circle shirt

Dear Taylor Swift,

First of all, happy holidays! I’d like to say that I approve of your wardrobe choice in your latest video I knew you were trouble. That shirt simply rocks! When I saw it I knew I gotta get my hands on one. However, I am a cheapskate and I am unwilling to pay $132 to get the same exact shirt! So I had to resort to my own devices and DIY ingenuity.

During the pre-Christmas holidays I bought/prepared/stolen these items:
– White shirt ($2, thrift shop)
– Big permanent marker ($2)
– Plate (thanks Oma)
– Cardboard (stolen)

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1. Put cardboard inside shirt, flatten the shirt, make a circle outline with the dinner plate

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2. Well? Start doing the black dot. Fill the circle from outside in with thr permanent marker. Be careful with the edges just in case the line bleeds, then you’re gonna be in Trouble! Trouble! Trouble!

(Not shown) I soaked the shirt in salt water afterwards to set the dye in, so that the black color will last longer. Then wash the shirt as normal. The black should not run off/bleed into the water, because it’s permanent waterproof ink. If the black comes off then you’re in Trouble!!!

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3. Wear your knockoff Trouble! Shirt with pride, knowing that you spent less than $4 on it instead of paying for the real thing.

That’s it! Enjoy my Christmas edition DIY. Have a great holiday, stay safe and well-fed!

Sincerely, your #1 fan

Amel

DIY DSLR camera bag under $3

Ah, the last day of Christmas holiday. What better time to blog about my craft projects. This one was from a few months ago. Welp. So here’s the situation… You’ve just spent a substantial amount of your hard-earned money to buy some pricey camera gear, only to find out that you’re gonna need a camera bag to take your new camera around. Duh. Unfortunately, you’ve just spent all your hard-earned money on the camera gear, and as we know it, good camera bags are expensive!

While I’d love me some Billingham , Zkin, Ona or Domke bags (I only buy the fu*king best, not those mainstream black padded bags that look like err, camera bags), those are far above my budget, so therefore I had to resort to something temporary but sturdy enough to carry my gear around, maybe something that can also function as an insert to put inside my cavernous Timbuk2 messenger bag. (Like, a padded bag inside a bag, duh). Anyway, desperate situations calls for desperate measures….

Without further ado, here’s my Camera Bag under Rp.30000 project!

You will need:
2x 10-pack kitchen sponge or scourers. – Rp. 10.000
(This will be our padding. As an added bonus, it’s rainbow colored!) 
Small fleece-cloth hobo bag  – Rp. 5000 from some factory outlet.
Craft glue – I found some leftover UHU.
Velcro – I stole from my grandma
Jeans sewing thread – Any thick cotton thread will do.

I actually wanted something like this Roxy bag for the outer shell, alas, I’m too cheap:

Arrange the scourer pads like so. You can cut the pads to size so that it fits inside the bag proper. Make 2 layers of this.

Glue the 2 layers together with craft glue. For the 2 pads that are parallel to each other, I put an extra pad in between the 2 layers to strengthen the joint.

Now sew them together like so… don’t have to be really neat, the aim is to make a strong structure.

A few hours later, it looks like this with all the seams in place.

Oh. Some leftover scourers! I made little “dividers” with velcro tabs to make compartments inside the bag.

Welp, it’s time to put the bad boy inside the bag. Voila! You’ve got a secure padded bag for your camera. The tabbed “dividers” go vertically between the side walls to make room for spare lenses, etc.

From the outside it looks like this 🙂

This bag fits my 600D + 50mm f1.8 (or the kit lens) and my Lumix LX3 (or a charger/spare battery) just right. It also fits right inside my Timbuk2 messenger bag. After I made this bag, I made another one that’s bigger, so that I can carry more expensive L-grade lens without looking suspicious. Yeah right. Will take photo when not lazy.

Alright, I hope this tutorial thing is useful! Please keep in mind that this is not a designated camera bag, and I take no responsibility for the damage of your pricy gear. Okay! See you next tutorial!

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Update: My latest bag/bag insert. Bought this at Gramedia for Rp. 70.000 ($8), ripstop Cordura, removable straps. What a steal!
Fits (from left to right) 600D with Tamron 28-75, 50mm f1.8, lens back cover(s), lens hood, my choice of sheep doll (Alfie the merino).

DIY bleached black shirts!

Candidates: 4 black shirts I got for 10k at Pasar Senen. Yep, 1 US Dollars *insert LOL now*
Equipment: 2 bottles of bleach ($0.5), rubber gloves, spray bottle, some bucketsss.

Let’s just call them shirt 1, 2, 3, and 4 from top left row. Now I’m gonna follow the tutorials here and here and make 4 different types of bleached shirts. Oh yeah make sure the shirts are 100% cotton and somewhat thin, cos if it’s thick you’re gonna need even more bleach to er, bleach it! Experiment, experiment.

This is shirt 1, 2 and 3 folded and ready to be immersed in bleach… On the leftmost one I used the center swirly fold using a dowel, for the second one I simply folded the shirt into a long strip and rolled it tight, and the third one that looks like a Bak Chang? That’s the flower fold technique.

Dunk them in a solution of 1 part bleach, 2 part water… and wait for the color to seep out gradually. It was kinda cool to watch, but i didn’t take a lot of pics cos I’m afraid that I’ll accidentally ruin my already battered Lumix LX3 with the bleach liquid!

Now after a good 5-10 mins most of the shirts are done, just put them in water with some detergent to stop the bleaching process 🙂

The flower-folded shirt turned out kinda screwy (not bleached enough, maybe it’s not 100% cotton?) so I re-folded it  like a twisty bun spiral, and re-bleached it.

Anyway, for shirt #4 I’m gonna do some stencils, design courtesy of Angie’s accessories label Le Squeal:


That’s how I did it… First I put a cardboard inside the shirt so that the bleach won’t bleed through to the back layer, then just spray the bleach solution on top of the stencil, until the color gradually turned into shades of brown. Flip over. Do the same for the back of the shirt. Make it random!

ALL DONE! I soaked and rinsed the shirts in detergent water, then hanged them to dry while I’m off to band practice… lalala….

Fast forwards 12 hours later: Here’s shirt 1 to 3, and shirt #4! Do try this at home, it’s easy and awesome!

Today’s DIY is brought to you by Pasar Mayestik and eBay

Oooooh! Look! Pretty rose ear plugs! I want! Wait… I’m so not paying Rp. 175.000 for that, especially when it’s probably made in Indonesia! LOL!

00g plain silicone plugs in white, $3.50 from eBay. Free shipping.

Rose shaped buttons from Mayestik, Rp. 1500 a pop.

A few minutes later after a grueling battle with a hand saw and some sandpaper.

Stick it on with some Aica Aibon glue…

Wear with DIY pride! LOL!

My small collection of 00g plugs. Not planning to stretch further, I’m good at this size.