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Pararse a oler las rosas

flores

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Ayer estuve muy ocupada. Encima de mi trabajo normal, tuve que llevar a mi hijo mayor a una cita y hacer unos mandados. Admito que cuando mi día es interrumpido por un montón de correteos por aquí y por allá, me pongo un poco molesta. Es que necesito mi dosis diaria de tiempo, para estar solita y en silencio, para pensar y recargar las energías.

Así que cuando fui a comprar unas cosas que necesitaba en Lowe’s, no pude resistir la tentación de ir al Centro de Jardinería para literalmente “pararme a oler las rosas” como decimos en inglés.

flowers-2-latinaish

little-purple-flowers-latinaish

rose-latinaish

Mientras que olía (y fotografiaba) las flores, me preguntaba si hay un dicho similar en español que signifique “Tómese el tiempo para apreciar las pequeñas cosas lindas de su día.” Le pregunté a Carlos y a algunas de mis amigas, pero nadie sabía de un buen dicho con el mismo significado. ¿Sabes uno?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Yesterday I was really busy. On top of my regular work, I had to bring my older son to an appointment and run some errands. I admit that when my day is interrupted by a bunch of running around here and there, I get a little annoyed; it’s because I need my daily dose of quiet time alone to think and recharge that I feel that way.

So when I went to Lowe’s to buy a few things I needed, I couldn’t resist going to the Garden Center and literally “stopping to smell the roses” as we say in English.

While I smelled (and photographed) the flowers, I wondered if there’s a similar saying in Spanish that means “take time to appreciate the beautiful little things in your day.” I asked Carlos and some friends but no one knew a good saying in Spanish with the same meaning. Do you know one?

Hotel-style Bathroom Makeover

hotel-style-bathroom

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

One of the things I look forward to the most when traveling, is staying in a hotel room. I love hotels! Everything is (usually) so new and perfect, and knowing that I don’t have to clean up anything is instantly relaxing. Not that I party like a rockstar in my room and trash it, I actually keep things very tidy, but it’s nice to look around and not be reminded of all the repairs that should be made, bills that need to be paid, or chores that must be done. I wanted to carry this same sense of luxury and relaxation into my bedroom, but that would be a much bigger project than I’m ready to tackle right now, and overall, I’m happy with the way my bedroom looks. Instead, we took this challenge into our master bathroom where it was seriously needed.

I hated our bathroom. I hated the dated faucet, the flat wall mirror, and that we had to keep the counter cluttered with all our random personal items because there was nowhere else to put them. I hated the boring beige color of the walls, I hated the broken cabinets which were falling apart and had been glued back together on at least one occasion, and I hated the shower curtain which Carlos chose. (One day he complained that I never let him make any of the decorating decisions and the hideous shower curtain was the result of that argument – I have loathed it ever since.)

bathroom-before-collage-latinaish

So, it was decided – the master bathroom needed to be updated and I wanted to do it “hotel-style” but on a budget – always on a budget! Here are the instructions for what we did in case you want to do something similar. The project will take less than the weekend and you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s really worth doing!

Hotel-style Bathroom Makeover

1. Using “FrogTape”, tape off anything you don’t want to get paint on. (i.e. floor and ceiling trim, around windows, around door frames, etc.) Remove the switch plates on light switches, too.

2. Remove the wall mirror – sounds easy, but this was a new experience for us. First, the mirror should be taped, (we used the “FrogTape” since it was handy.) We did a criss-cross pattern and then to be extra cautious, we taped it completely over with vertical pieces as well. The reason for doing this is in case the mirror cracks, this helps prevent it from shattering into a million pieces. You should also be wearing eye protection. Once you have removed any screws and brackets, you may find that the mirror is attached to the wall by some sort of adhesive. Use a length of wire and run it behind the mirror. Use a sawing motion to loosen the mirror up for removal. You should have at least two people for this procedure, as one person should be holding the mirror so it doesn’t abruptly fall when it becomes loose.

mirror-removal-tip

3. Patch any holes in the wall with caulk and then sand down any unevenness when the caulk is dry.

4. Paint the walls the color of your choice. For this project I used Valspar Silver Leaf 4006-1A in semi-gloss, (and I love it!)

5. We replaced the flat wall mirror with a medicine cabinet, which maybe isn’t in keeping with the “hotel-style” theme, but it was necessary to eliminate counter-top clutter. (Instructions are included with it.)

6. Following the instructions that come with it, install a metal hotel-style towel rack/shelf, (which we later stocked with some new white towels.)

7. Remove the old cabinet doors on your under the sink cabinet by unscrewing them from the hinges. Measure the doors and purchase 1/2 inch thick lumber cut to your specifications. (Lowe’s will do it for you free!) You can also buy new hinges (or use the old ones, if you want), new knobs, desired paint color (we used some black we already had on hand), paint supplies, and self-adhering felt pads.

8. Use sandpaper to rough up the surface of your cabinets so that the paint will better adhere. Paint the cabinet and the new doors. It may take a couple coats depending on what your cabinets are made of, the color it was before painting, and the color you are painting it.

9. Pre-drill holes for the knobs, then attach the knobs. Carefully measure and mark the doors and the cabinet for the hinges. Pre-drill holes for the hinges being careful not to go all the way through. Also, be very sure that the screws for your hinges are not so long that they’ll go through the other side. Attach the doors to the hinges and then the hinges to the cabinet. (If you prefer, you can first attach the hinges to the cabinet and then attach the doors – whichever is more comfortable for you.) Place a self-adhering felt pad on the inside of each door in the upper corner where it comes into contact with the cabinet – this will soften the noise of them closing and prevent the doors from getting banged up. Your cabinet should look brand new, and for a fraction of the cost and work involved in replacing the whole thing!

hotel-bathroom-4

10. Update the sink by replacing dated faucet handles. Don’t forget to turn the water off first and follow the instructions that come with them. (We bought this chrome faucet and are very happy with it.)

11. Replace switch plates and electrical outlet covers. We just bought new plastic ones in a basic white color and they look nice and clean, but if you want to splurge, there are plenty of fancier ones to choose from.

12. Add accessories sparingly! Now that your bathroom is clean and uncluttered, don’t junk it back up with too much stuff. We put up a simple white wall clock, (Carlos likes to keep track of the time while getting ready for work), and I stuck a small plant in a hurricane glass. I decided not to hang up any wall art for now because I like how it feels without it.

That’s it! Now run yourself a bath, turn on Shakira’s new album, and tell everyone to leave you alone while you pretend you’re on vacation in a hotel bathroom for an hour or two!

before-after-bathroom

finished-bathroom-makeover-1

hotel-bathroom-2

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Do-it-Yourself Laptop Work Tray

D.I.Y. Fox Laptop Work Tray featuring Pantone 2014 color of the year

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

In this house, almost no one leaves their laptop at the desk. We may decide we want to be in the same room with the family, or that we want to sit somewhere more comfortable, or that when Carlos is watching “Chavito del 8″ on TV, it’s really freaking distracting and we need to move elsewhere, (and by “we” I mean “me.”)

The problem is that when you move your laptop around constantly, accidents can happen, and you’re much better off keeping it on a work tray which makes it easier to transport. Carlos gave me the idea to use a scrap of wood we had and just buy handles for it, but I realized it was the perfect project to show off the new 2014 Pantone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. And to go with the trendy color, I chose something else trendy to decorate the tray – a fox! Foxes have been super popular in everything from fashion to home décor to music this past year, and I think that trend will continue, (although, if anyone is taking nominations for 2014 animal of the year, I nominate chuchos aguacateros.)

Do-it-Yourself Laptop Work Tray

You need:

A piece of wood, about 10 inches wide, 22 inches long, and 3/4-inch thick
Paint: Pantone 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid (sample size is sufficient for this project)
Paint: Black (you can use any craft paint you may already have on hand)
paint brushes (1 medium household, 1 smaller craft brush)
screw driver, drill (I used my Rockwell 3RILL)
2 cabinet pulls with screws (I used Gatehouse 3-inch Matte Black Bar Cabinet Pulls)
FrogTape (painter’s tape)
printer, printer ink and card stock
a pack of 1-inch felt pads
scissors or X-Acto knife
pencil
measuring tape
newspapers

Directions:

1. Spread out newspaper to protect your surface from the paint. Paint the top and edges of the piece of wood using the Pantone 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid. When completely dry, flip over and paint the other side.

painted-board-color-of-the-year-pantone

2. While the paint dries, you’re going to print your stencil. Decide which design you’d like on your tray. If you like the fox, you can download the stencil I created from free clipart by clicking the image below and downloading. Print in landscape format on card stock. It’s important to use card stock and not regular copy paper since you’ll be using this as a stencil and it needs to be sturdy.

fox-stencil-download

3. Cut the shape of the fox out from the middle of the card stock then use the frog tape to tape the stencil to the middle of the board.

fox-stencil

4. “Pounce” (dab) the black paint onto the wood with a craft paint brush or foam brush especially for stenciling, being careful at the edges of the stencil. (No peeking!) Allow to dry completely before removing the tape and stencil.

5. Use the measuring tape to measure the wood and center the handles where you’d like them on each end of the tray on the top side. Use a pencil to outline where you’ll drill the holes.

drill-holes-fox-tray

6. Drill the holes and then attach the handles with the screws that came with them.

7. On the back side of the tray will be the four screw heads – these will scratch up surfaces so on each one, place a self-adhering felt pad.

8. Your tray is finished!

DIY fox laptop work tray - Latinaish.com

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Do-it-Yourself Love Song Pillow for Día de San Valentín

love-song-lyric-pillow-1

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Text on pillows and other home décor is hot right now, but as someone who loves language and typography, it will always be in style at my house.

Here’s how you can make your own custom pillow featuring the lyrics of “your song” to gift to your valentine on Valentine’s Day. (I gave Carlos this pillow featuring lyrics from Ricardo Arjona’s “Te Encontraré” which is our song.)

Do-it-Yourself Love Song Pillow

You need:

4 x 5 ft. Blue Hawk canvas drop cloth, cut into two squares slightly larger than 19 x 19 in. each
(For cutting the drop cloth: pencil, ruler, scissors)
allen + roth 19 x 19 in. white square decorative pillow
1 clear, plastic, rectangular storage container with lid
LED lights with batteries
a large sewing needle (not available at Lowe’s)
size 10 crochet thread in desired color (not available at Lowe’s)
permanent marker
clear package tape
printer with ink and paper

Directions:

Before you begin: If you’re not fond of the scent of the drop cloth, you can launder it just as you do with your clothes in the washer and dryer with whichever detergent you have on hand.

1. Cut two squares of the drop cloth to slightly larger than 19 x 19 inches.

2. Choose a few lines of lyrics from your love song, and then print them in a large font of your choosing on a regular piece of white 8.5 x 11 inch printer paper. (You may find that this works best in “landscape” rather than “portrait.”)

3.. Build your lightbox: Put the lid of the storage container on the floor or table surface with the LED lights on top of it. Turn the LED lights on and place the storage container on top so that the LED lights are sealed inside and the storage container is upside down.

lightbox

4. On the bottom of the closed storage container, tape down the paper with your printed song lyrics, then position one square of the drop cloth fabric over the paper. You should be able to see the lyrics through the fabric. Make sure the lyrics are aligned as you like and then tape down the fabric. (You may be tempted to skip the taping part but if you want a neat result, I recommend doing it so nothing gets shifted while you work.)

5. Use a permanent marker to trace the letters through the fabric.

trace-letters

traced-letters-closeup

6. Remove the fabric from the “lightbox.” Optional: Lightly iron the fabric with a hot iron. This will help “set” the ink and help prevent it from bleeding later should it get wet or need washing.

7. Now, you have several options for sewing your pillow. The traditional way with a hidden seam would require a sewing machine to sew the two squares together, closing three sides, (with the traced letters flipped to the wrong side as you use the sewing machine.) You would then reach inside and turn the pillow case inside-out so now the text looks correct, stuff the pillow inside and sew the fourth side closed by hand using small stitches and a thread that matches the fabric color.

In my case, I can’t use a sewing machine to save my life and I wasn’t even going to attempt to hide my stitches. I decided to use my poor sewing skills to my benefit and make the stitches a visible part of the design. The crochet thread I chose was burgundy so it stood out nicely against the cream color of the drop cloth. The stitch I used is called a “blanket stitch” – Instructions can be found HERE, but here are step-by-step photos to help you.

blanket-stitch-howto

7. Once all four sides are stitched closed, your pillow is finished and ready for giving to your cariño!

love-song-text-pillow-2

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Organízate!

get-organized

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Carlos wouldn’t describe me as an organized person but it seems to me I’m always organizing something, and this past month I tackled an area of our casita we were both unhappy with – the laundry room.

laundry-room-before

First let me explain, our house is small – So small in fact that we don’t have a basement, garage, attic or extra bedroom, (also known as the places most people stash all kinds of random, little-used and seasonal things.) Because of this lack of storage space, the laundry room has become our “catch all” area – specifically, the shelf hidden behind the blue curtain.

The level of disorganization behind that curtain was so horrible that I was too ashamed to even take a photo of it. Something had to be done.

We took down the curtain (which is on an adjustable rod), and then sorted everything into categories. Some of the things we kept, some we donated and some went into the trash.

Next we removed the wire shelving so we could give the scratched up wall a much needed coat of paint after first repairing emergency “access doors” that had been haphazardly cut into the drywall to fix leaks years ago.

Taping off the trim with painter’s tape made the job easier. I let my younger son choose the paint color and he chose “Green Supreme” by Valspar.

Once the paint had dried, we had a decision to make. We could install cabinets which is more difficult and much more expensive, or we could put the wire shelving back and organize our things into baskets. I chose the basket route which I think was the right choice since a lot of important pipes are inside that wall and putting up cabinets would make it difficult to access them in an emergency.

I also decided not to get rid of the curtain entirely as I had originally planned – reinstalling it under the shelf meant I could hide the unsightly washer hoses, (and this also helps prevent the loss of runaway calcetines that somehow get flung back there.)

laundry-room-after

We’re much happier with the way it looks and being organized is a great way to start the new year.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

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¡Viva la Nieve!

worx-snowthrower-assembly1

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. A WORX 13-Amp 18-in Electric Snow Blower was provided for review purposes. No other compensation was or will be received. All opinions are my own.

The day after we had already shoveled out of our first snow of the season, the new snow blower arrived at our door, (Carlos didn’t find that as amusing as I did.) Nevertheless, he got to work assembling the snow blower right away to prepare for the storm forecast for the next day.

worx-snowthrower-directions-spanish

The assembly instructions that come with it are in both English and Spanish. In our experience, Spanish instructions often aren’t as good as the English, but these seemed to be equally accurate and included the same illustrations for each. That being said, despite Spanish being his first language, Carlos used the English version as he almost always does to assemble things. My theory as to why he does this? He learned vocabulary for tools, hardware and the verbs associated with those words in English through various labor jobs he’s had over the years in the United States, not in Spanish while growing up in El Salvador. Interesting, isn’t it? Are there any situations in which you prefer to use your second language rather than your native language?

It took no more than 30 minutes for Carlos to put the snow blower together and then we waited for the flakes to fall. We didn’t have to wait long as several inches of heavy, wet snow piled up the next day.

The snow blower instructions encourage you to set it outside for a few minutes so it can adjust to the temperature, so once the snow stopped, we did that and later brought it out to our driveway where we plugged the extension cord into it. (We purchased a blue-colored outdoor extension cord especially designed for cold weather at Lowe’s.)

Carlos used it first before showing me how. I liked how easy it was to start. You push the button and squeeze the handles to start it. To stop it, you just let the handles go, (which is an excellent safety feature in case you slip on the icy pavement.)

worx-snowthrower-handle

I found the snow thrower to be really lightweight and easy to handle. We were impressed with how far it threw the snow and how simple it was to turn the little crank and change the direction in which it throws the snow. As far as noise level – it wasn’t whisper quiet, but it wasn’t louder than expected either. You can see and hear it in action for yourself in the video below.

As for the actual job it did of clearing the snow – we were satisfied given the fact that our driveway is over a decade old and has never been properly sealed or re-paved. In other words, the texture of our driveway is really rough, so it’s difficult to get it perfectly clean regardless of what we use.

worx-snowthrower-clear-path-1

We used a snow shovel in one section to compare and the shovel didn’t do any better than the snow blower, at least with this particular type and amount of snow.

shovel-snow

A week later it snowed again, another few inches of the same type of snow, and the snow blower worked again without any problems whatsoever. While we didn’t feel the snow blower sped up the process of removing the snow, and may actually have taken a little longer than a shovel due to setting it up, the benefit of not waking up the next morning with back pain made it worth it. Using the snow blower also means we have energy left after we clear our own driveway and so we’re better able to help our elderly neighbors. (Which is not a totally unselfish act. Sometimes they give us cookies to thank us. I find cookies motivating.)

Interested in learning more? Check out information and reviews of this snow blower at Lowes.com, or on the the WORX website. You can follow WORX tools on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Giving Tuesday & Visiting Perritos

chico_givingtuesday1

Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday, (celebrated December 3rd this year) is a national day of giving, a movement that was created last year to encourage people to take part in charitable activities and to support non-profits. I wanted to do my part to spread the word and hopefully inspire others by sharing my family’s Giving Tuesday story.

You see that cute pup who looks ready to tackle the Christmas tree in the photo above? For those who don’t know, that’s Chico. We adopted Chico from our local Humane Society last year. For Giving Tuesday, we decided we wanted to donate supplies to them so they can continue to do what they do – find homes for deserving cats and dogs.

supplies_givingtuesday2

Since I’m a Lowe’s blog ambassador and receive gift cards to complete my monthly projects, I decided to make use of one of the gift cards that had leftover money on it by buying most of the supplies at Lowe’s. If you want to donate to your local Humane Society, call or visit their website to find out what they need and accept. Our Humane Society listed specific cleaning and pet supplies. Besides these items from Lowe’s, (plus some cute Christmas stockings I couldn’t resist) we bought a couple bags of kitty litter and cat food, too.

boysbox_givingtues

My boys carried the supplies to the car and we went as a family to the Humane Society to drop them off, (well, drop them off and visit the animals for a little while.)

cutedog_givingtuesday

There were over a dozen dogs awaiting homes and it was hard to walk away from them. We stayed and talked to each one for a couple minutes. I don’t know if they understood me, but I told each one they would be adopted soon and to hang in there. I got a little choked up doing this. Also, you’re not supposed to stick your fingers through the bars, but after letting each dog sniff my closed fist and reading its body language, I did pet most of them. Some of them were so hungry for love that they’d lean against the bars trying to get closer to me.

After visiting with the dogs, we visited with the cats. Our Humane Society allows some of the cats free roam of a closed room full of toys and everything they could possibly need. Carlos kept complaining that he didn’t want to go to the cat room because he doesn’t like cats but after a few minutes, I caught him like this.

carlos_cat_givingtues

Hmmm, does that look like someone who doesn’t like cats to you?

Leaving was bittersweet but it was literally closing time and we had to go. I think we all felt happy that we were able to give a little something but sad that we weren’t able to do more, so this is my attempt at doing more by spreading the word.

If you didn’t know about Giving Tuesday, or hadn’t planned to participate, I hope you’ll consider it. You can support any organization or cause you feel passionate about, but if you’re an animal lover and have room in your home, I hope you’ll consider adoption. There are plenty of sweet dogs and cats waiting for you to make them part of your family.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. This post was in no way encouraged by The Humane Society, Lowe’s, or any of the product brands shown.

Do-it-Yourself Lotería Ornaments

TracyLopez_Latinaish_LoteriaOrnaments1

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Each year we decorate the tree and each year I’m not content with the ornaments I have to choose from or the ones available at the store. None of the ornaments are quite what I’m looking for which means I end up looking for unconventional ways to remedy the situation. One year I even ended up hanging capiruchos on the tree!

This year I decided I’ll make my own ornaments. Because the holiday season is so hectic, I wanted something that wouldn’t take too long, and because the budget is tight this time of year, I didn’t want it to be too expensive either. Here is the craft that resulted!

These Loteria ornaments took me about two hours from start to finish and cost about $15 if, like me, you have many of these items on hand already. I’m so happy with the way they came out. I can’t wait to decorate the tree. Here’s how you can make your own custom ornaments for yourself or as a gift. Will you make Loteria ornaments or something else? Other ideas: family photos, photos of your native country (if you live elsewhere) or, the covers of favorite books – the possibilities are endless!

Custom Handmade Ornaments

What you need:

Jigsaw, table saw or handsaw
Safety glasses
3/8 x 3 x 24″ pine craft board (two)
#216 – ½ x ½ in. zinc screw eyes, 10 pack (three)
Medium grit sandpaper
Ruler, yard stick, or measuring tape
Pencil
Scissors
Elmer’s Glue-All, general purpose adhesive
Small craft paint brush
White mason line (string)
A heavy book
Digital images you wish to make into ornaments (and a printer)
Card stock for your printer (not available at Lowe’s)

Directions:

1. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw a line on each of your boards every two inches.

2. Wearing safety glasses, use a jigsaw, table saw or handsaw to cut the board on each line so that you end up with 24 two inch blocks of wood. (I used the Rockwell BladeRunner sent to me by Rockwell. It cut through the wood like butter and was really comfortable to use right on the dinner table where I do most of my crafting. I think I see more projects involving wood cutting in my future!)

rockwell_bladerunner

3. Lightly sand the rough edges on each piece if necessary. Set aside. (Optional: You can paint the blocks of wood any color you like and allow to dry. I chose to leave mine natural.)

4. Print whichever images you wish to use on your ornaments on card stock. (Card stock is sturdier than regular copy/printer paper and will hold up to glue better.) Make sure that your images are small enough to fit on the face of the wood block. I kept mine around 1 ½ x 2 inches. I found Microsoft Word useful for this. I scanned the images into my computer and then opened them in Microsoft Word which has a built-in ruler across the top of the document.

5. Cut out the images with scissors.

6. Using a small paintbrush, brush glue on the back of each image, (working on one image/ornament at a time.) Position the image in the center of the block of wood and push down to adhere. Place a heavy book or other flat heavy object on top of the ornament for a minute to help the image to dry flat and adhere well. (Optional: If using specialty decoupage craft glue which advertises that it can be used for “sealing” as well as adhering, feel free to paint over top of the image to give it a finished glossy look and allow the ornament to air dry without any heavy object placed on top. Painting over top the image is not advised if using Elmer’s Glue-All.)

7. Once dry, twist a screw eye into the top side of each ornament. If your fingers become tired, needle-nose pliers will help you screw them into the wood. Tip: Sometimes a careful little tap with a hammer will help get the screw eyes securely into the wood before you attempt to turn/screw them in.

8. Cut the string, (I used white mason line because I like the simplicity of it, but you can use any color or type of string you like), into pieces about 4 inches long. (You will need 24 of them.)

9. Put each piece of string through the screw eye on each ornament and tie in a knot.

10. Your ornaments are ready to hang on your tree! Feliz Navidad!

TracyLopez_Latinaish_LoteriaOrnaments2

TracyLopez_Latinaish_LoteriaOrnaments3

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Bohemian Shakira-style Brass Washer Bracelet

bracelet_latinaish_604

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

I don’t know why, but whenever I see an armful of pretty bohemian-style bracelets I think of Colombian singer, Shakira, and she’s the inspiration for this bracelet made of simple yet surprisingly elegant-looking materials. Cotton string and brass washers are re-imagined into a piece of jewelry that will be sure to attract attention and compliments. With the holidays soon upon us, this is an idea you may want to add to your list of crafts to try. It’s affordable and quick to make, plus your favorite amiga, hermana, sobrina or prima will be sure to love it.

Bohemian Shakira-style Brass Washer Bracelet

What you need:

10 to 20 flat brass washers (small #8S, Blue Hawk/HILLMAN)
string (Blue Hawk twisted cotton twine)
scissors
sticky tape

Directions:

1. Cut 4 pieces of twine to 4 feet long.
2. Tie the pieces together at the top leaving about 4 inches above the knot. (See photo below.)
3. Tape the knot to a surface to secure in place.
4. Tie string #1 around strings #2 and #3 in this way: String #1 goes OVER strings #2 and #3 then comes back UNDER strings #2 and #3, then over itself.) Pull gently so the loop moves up and tightens at the top. (See photo below.)
5. Tie string #4 around strings #2 and #3 in the same way as described in step 4. (Note that strings #2 and #3 always remain together in the middle.) Repeat step 4 and step 5 about five to six times.
6. Slide a washer onto string #1 or #4 (alternate) before tying around strings #2 and #3. Repeat step 4 and 5 before adding another washer. Keep repeating steps 4, 5, and 6 until bracelet is long enough to tie around your wrist.
7. Tie the bracelet off the same way you tied the strings together at the top in step 2.
8. Cut off any undesired excess string.
9. Bracelet is worn tied around the wrist, (I double knot it to keep it from falling off.)

The supplies

The supplies

The method.

The method.

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How to Make a Día de los Muertos Nicho

fridakahlo_nicho_1

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

October is my favorite time of year, not just because it’s autumn, (which is my favorite season), but because this is the time of year when all kinds of creative Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) crafts and products start to pop up all over the place in preparation for the November holiday.

For Día de los Muertos, many people in Latin America create an ofrenda, or altar, to honor their deceased loved ones, so I knew I wanted to create something along those lines.

While walking around Lowe’s to brainstorm ideas, I walked past the wood moulding and noticed how the crown corners looked like little houses when turned the wrong way and this reminded me of the nichos I used to make. Nichos are a beautiful Latin American folk art which incorporate mixed media in the style of a shadow box and often serve as a religious altar. Because I already keep photos of our deceased loved ones on a permanent altar of sorts, I decided to make a nicho to honor the iconic Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.

latinaish_fridakahlo_nicho1

nicho_detail1

nicho_detail2

If you want to make a Día de los Muertos nicho, follow the directions below to get started now!

Día de los Muertos Nicho

You need:

1 large crown corner (wood moulding)
wood glue
3/8 x 4 x 24 inch pine craft board
3/4 in. x 1 in. brass hinges
2 cabinet knobs
craft paints and brushes
hand saw
small hammer
1/16 drill bit
3/16 drill bit
drill
miniature screwdrivers
measuring tape
pencil
safety glasses
sandpaper
decorations of your choosing
small photo of deceased person you’re honoring
battery operated candles

Directions:

1. Remove stickers from the wood. Lightly sand to remove stickiness if needed.

2. Carefully knock out triangular corner supports inside the corner crown.

nicho_howto1

3. Sand the corner crown to remove glue and rough edges.

4. Cut the craft board so you have two 7 1/2 inch pieces. The third piece set aside for another project.

nicho_howto2

5. One 7 1/2 inch piece will be the bottom of the nicho. The other 7 1/2 inch piece should be cut into two equal pieces measuring 3 3/4 inch – These will be the doors of the nicho. Sand these pieces.

6. Measure and pre-drill holes on doors and sides of nicho for the tiny screws that came with the hinges. (I pre-drilled these with a 1/16 bit and used my Rockwell 3RILL, which is my new favorite tool. Full disclosure: Rockwell gave the drill to me to use on my Lowe’s projects.)

Also drill holes to attach the cabinet knobs – I used a 3/16 drill bit for those.

rockwell_3rill

7. Paint pieces desired colors. Allow to dry. (Sand lightly for a slightly weathered look.)

8. Screw the knobs on the doors through the 3/16 holes you drilled. (Depending on the knobs you bought, you may prefer to find shorter bolts than the ones that came with the knob due to the width of the wood.)

nicho_howto3

9. Use a mini-screwdriver to attach the hinges to doors and then doors to nicho where you have pre-drilled holes.

10. Use wood glue to attach the bottom piece to the bottom of the nicho. Allow to dry.

11. Place photo, battery operated candles (real candles absolutely not advised!) and other decorations inside. Display on a shelf or attach a picture hanger to the back for wall display.

fridakahlo_nicho_1

Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, following them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.

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