Hi everyone 🌴 I want to start by saying I know so many of us were impacted negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic and for that I truly sympathize. I don’t want anyone to take this post as me being tone-deaf to what is unfolding in our world right now; I am simply sharing what I have done to keep myself busy during these socially-distanced times. This has been the most intense few months that no one expected or could have ever prepared for.
As I mentioned in my first blog post I, as many of us, was on furlough from my job for the past few months (I have since been lucky enough to have gone back to work, and I know that isn’t the case for many of you out there 😒, I am extremely grateful.) During that time I did an insane amount of the most random projects, home improvement hacks, crafts, pinterest successes and of course a few pinterest fails and everything in between! Almost everything I did was with materials I had lying around my house. I tried to share most of what I did on social media to spread some positivity and the outpouring of feedback I received was pretty amazing! I decided to develop a master list below of MY top 15 favorite creative things I did. Here we go!
1. Created a Three Piece Chalk Paint and Wallpaper Furniture Set
This was the most involved project which spanned the entirety of my time on furlough. I have exhausted the details on this one already so I won’t go into any more explanation here, but if you want to learn more check out my post Chalk Paint and Wallpaper Furniture Makeover.
2. Revamped Nike Slides…Twice
This is the ultimate project you never knew you needed….. If you happened to hold on to these bad boys from high school like I did, now is a perfect time to give them an upgrade! (Funny thing is, slides have come full circle and are now back in style! My mom always encourages me to hold on to things for this very reason, and she’s right time and time again.)
I first hot glue gunned jewels along the sides and a craft feather boa across the top. After a few weeks of strutting around my house in them I decided to upgrade them again. I ripped apart a very old fur scarf ( it was actually from when I dressed up as Paris Hilton in 8th grade for a class show..? Very strange thinking back now…) and hot glue gunned the fur around the sandals. Who needs Ugg slippers when you have these!? …. They are absurd I know but I love em.
3. Made Custom Lawn Flamingo Wall Sconces
This was so darn fun. I originally saw something kind of like this on pinterest linked here. With the help of my dad we put our own spin on these guys to make the cutest matching pair of lamps. This project was so cool because I actually used my dads heavy shop equipment and learned how to operate a ton of carpentry tools!!
We sawed the flamingos in half, deconstructed those fake Christmas window candles for the light source, made custom plaques for them to be mounted on, and used the wallpaper from my previous craft to stick on the back!! They fit in my living room so perfectly, and I particularly love how they are not identical but instead each have their own distinctive poses 🦩 The perfect amount of tacky yet chic.
4. Made a Lawn Flamingo Planter
Well naturally I couldn’t stop at just one lawn flamingo craft… And yes I did have multiple lawn flamingos lying around my house… I use them as decor in my larger plants.. again, it’s the perfect amount of tacky and chic trust me.
For this project we made cuts across the top, put a two part epoxy in the base of the flamingo where the legs are inserted (so I could water the plant without it leaking)(fun fact I’m actually pro at two part epoxy’s along with sanding/grinding from my career as an audiologist), cut down the legs so it would be more stable, drilled holes for the legs into a wooden block, painted the block to resemble grass, and finally I planted a live spider plant inside!
5. Spruced Up my Hair and Makeup Room
The rooms in my house all have their own theme: my hair and makeup room is the mermaid themed. My dad made this table to custom fit on the Ikea makeup/ hair accessory draws on the left. (Side note- these draws are an absolutely amazingly affordable set to add to your “getting ready room.” I have seen people even buy a pair and put them next to each other with a board across the top.)
This table was looking pretty rough from years of glam and needed an upgrade. I painted the table with teal outdoor paint- 3 coats of paint followed by 3 coats of protective polyurethane for maximum protection. I also painted my mirror, mermaid lamp, and the basket I keep my larger hair products in and with teal and gold accents to match. I hot glue gunned shells onto the basket as well. It was a cheap and easy upgrade!!
6. Shelf Turned Modge-Podged Hawaiian Spice Rack
My kitchen has VERY limited space. I don’t have room for a rotating spice rack on my counter top so I had them all in a basket in my pantry. Recently I’ve been cooking a lot more and trying new recipes from scratch and locating my spices in the basket was a hassle, hence this idea was born.
I took an old shelf I used to keep my acrylic paints in, gave it a white basecoat, modged podged hawaiian fabric on to the sides, (this fabric was purchased in a Walmart in Hawaii when I was on a trip there in 5th grade, referenced in my Sweeten Up Your Life With Pineapple post, and is another thing my mom saved over the years. She also made me a face mask out of this same fabric!), then hand-painted a blue and white backdrop with Plumeria flowers to match the fabric on the two front panels. It hangs above my trash taking up no more space than before and I love the nostalgia it adds!
7. TOWEL ANIMALS!! (And Towel Animal Display Table).
You may think, wow this is literally the most random thing ever… but bear with me here. The tropical mantra is more than just a way I like to decorate my home, it’s a lifestyle. Every time I have traveled to somewhere with palm tree laden beaches I truly feel like my truest and best self (almost like I was born in the wrong place). Whenever I’m stressed in the real world I think back to these relaxing trips. Something I freakin love about tropical vacations is entering into your room for the first time and seeing the iconic folded towel animals. SO while feeling stressed during quarantine I felt like this would be a cool way to bring a vacation amenity into my own home!
My dad and I also made a custom table for the animals to sit on (which I painted in the same teal color from before) to match my brightly colored and obviously palm tree themed bathroom. I learned how to fold these guys by via youtube…. god you can find freakin anything on there. I plan on switching them out on a monthly basis.
8. Threw a “Hula Moon Lounge” Date Night-In
My boyfriend and I don’t live together but were able to spend a ton of time together during the past few months. I wanted to plan something a little extra special while “stuck” at home so decided to invent my own restaurant and bar in the confines of my casa. “The Hula Moon Lounge” is a painting in my house I used as inspiration for my “at home tiki restaurant and bar.” I planned out an appetizer, main course, and drink menu and printed it out on an online invitation generator, Greetings Island (check them out here). And why not dress up little fancy- I figured there probably wouldn’t be an excuse to do so in a long time! At the end of “dinner” we moved over to the bar for drinks. Use what you have at home and go for it! Cheap date night and no one has to drive home, kind of a win win here!
9. Threw Another “Hula Moon Lounge” Date Night-In: Cinco De Mayo
I love Mexican food and drink- if it was acceptable I would literally eat nachos and margaritas for every meal. Naturally I found a way to still enjoy all my favorite things about Cinco De Mayo- I was a pro at the “at home restaurant” idea the second time around too. This time I used scrapbook materials to make the menus myself. They included loaded plantain nachos, frozen coconut margaritas, and pineapple margaritas. (Fun fact: the banners hanging are actually NOT Cinco themed they instead read “all I want for Christmas is tacos.” They were hanging everywhere in a restaurant I went to in London over Thanksgiving break and my mom asked a waiter if she could take some home. She snuck em out, hid them in her suitcase, then gave them to me for Christmas! She’s awesome like that.)
I wondered if these banners had a name so I googled: these banners are called “Papel picado flags” and are typically tissue paper banners with cut out designs of animated skeleton figures.. you learn something new everyday!
Side note- my friend Rosie also threw a virtual Cinco-De-Derby Party that was freakin awesome- she had a zoom party with “friend-group” trivia which involved our “horses” racing around a track. (The last picture is my sister (and co-founder of M.R.S.) and I dressed up for the virtual bash. Follow her page here.)
10. Painted a Badass Jean Jacket
I have an oversized jean jacket that I wanted to spice up a bit. I had the idea of painting myself... as a skeleton… tending bar on a deserted island… kind of a play on words of the feeling of being stuck “behind bars” at home in quarantine. (This is also where I feel my true skeleton self would belong in the afterlife am I right…!?)
This would be an easy project for anyone with an old jean jacket lying around! Paint a few layers of a plain basecoat and you can paint right on it like a canvas!!
11. Wrote Letters… and Got Featured in the WSJ
I’m a social person, no hiding that, and I wanted to reach out to my friends and family and let them know I was thinking of them during this time. I sent out over two dozen letters in the hopes that I could brighten up their day. I wrote about my first memory of meeting them, inside jokes we shared, and memorable times among other things- recounting all this was such a fun process. The response I received in return was honestly insane. A few people even wrote detailed letters back, and in turn brightened MY day in a way I had never even imagined it would.
A friend who was writing letters to her students during this time referred a WSJ columnist to me about the letters I had written and next thing I knew my story was published. Since then I have had an organization reach out to me and I will be presenting at a virtual seminar on “letter writing.” It was really freakin cool to see something I honestly thought of as such a small thing have such a huge impact. You can read the Wall Street Journal article is here.
12. Threw a Mother’s Day “Vacation”
For the past 5 years my mom, sister, and I have gone on a tropical mothers day trip. Obviously that wasn’t happening this year so my sister and I decided to plan a little mini vaca at home. We made up an itinerary for the day’s activities (again I used Greetings Island) including morning tea, scrapbooking with photos taken from previous trips, dance lessons, dinner, and drinks from coconuts I drilled holes into 🥥 (extra ~sugar and spice~). We even had outfit changes! We spruced totally decked-out my garage for the occasion- any little change of scenery helps transport you! And it doesn’t hurt that I have AMPLE tropical decorations on hand…..we even brought a mini fridge and blender out there.. It was such a blast 🍹
13. Made Tiki Castaway Cocktails
Another play on words with the whole “stuck at home” idea. Gotta make light of things sometimes right….? These tiki drinks were so darn cute and super easy to make. I concocted a sparkling coconut beverage to fill them up with- I plan on doing a full post explaining how to create these drinks soon!!
14. Painted a Tropical Scene at the Top of my Spiral Staircase
Again, another project you didn’t know you needed…… I first did a white outdoor paint base coat then layered with acrylic accents, and finally topped with 4 coats of polyurethane. It gives such a pop to an previously bland spot in my home!! The upstairs of my house has all “teal tropical accents,” like the ocean for more of a coastal feel, while my downstairs consists of more greens for more of the island feel. It’s a whole thing I have going.
When I started this project my boyfriend was like ” you know you’re starting to go crazy when you start painting the floors…” I mean who hasn’t gone a little crazy during all this… haha)
15. SPRAY PAINTING!!
I spray painted a ton of old planters, plant stands, my outdoor furniture on my deck, indoor wicker furniture, a lawn flamingo stand, among many other things. Spray paint is such an easy way to bring old and tired things back to life, not to mention its easy and I find it fun and rewarding because the results are instant and usually you only need one coat!! Lowes has TONS of outdoor spray paints.
And there you have it, the master list of my top 15 creative things I did in ‘quarantine’! If you would like further instruction on anything mentioned above reach out to me and I’d be happy to do more of a full detailed post! 🌴🤙🏻
Till next time fellow tropics 🌺