DIY tutorial: hand-painted clothing

Believe it or not, I’ve been doing this since high school and I learned this one from my cousins – we used to decorate cheap t-shirts for ourselves when our bank accounts were non-existent. Now, this skill comes in handy for making custom clothing for your friends, especially for wedding-related events!

For my friend Katie’s bachelorette, we decided on going with a denim theme for one of the nights out, and while all of us bridesmaids purchased varying degrees of obnoxious cropped denim vests, we wanted the bride to have a quality piece of denim to wear (and hopefully re-wear on the wedding day). Obviously I volunteered to handle it!

So here’s what you’ll need: 

  • A print-out of your design or text (design on your computer and print to size on 8.5×11 or 11×17 paper – whatever fits your clothing item)
  • White eyeliner pencil – I like the traditional cheap $0.99 pencils from Wet and Wild or one of those drugstore brands, not the creamy kohl types that work great on eyes but not as great on paper
  • A very dull regular pencil – trust me, do not sharpen
  • Tape
  • Fabric paint – you can find at any craft store, I’ve used a lot of Tulip brand
  • Paint brushes – varying small sizes, and I prefer ones that are stiffer with a tapered edge. Might as well get an assorted pack and figure out your personal favorite!
  • Patience. 

Step 1: Design your artwork and print in black ink. I ended up going with “Bride” for the main text and then her future married name and wedding date in smaller text for the bottom of the jacket. You’ll need multiple print-outs for multiple areas on the clothing, so I had to do 2.

Step 2: Once your design is printed on a piece of paper, flip that paper over and use your white eyeliner pencil to scribble all over the back of the paper where your design is. I usually put the paper on a window so I can see exactly where the design is and then heavily scribble with the eyeliner behind all of the black.

Step 3: Flip the paper back over so your design is facing you, and tape the paper down to your piece of clothing exactly where you want it. Try not to press on the design or lean on it so you don’t transfer the white eyeliner onto the clothing… yet. Tape at all the corners so it’s secure.

Step 4: Take your dull regular pencil and start tracing over the entire design with it, carefully outlining the text as best you can. Press as hard as possible without going through the paper, especially at the edges of the design. I’ve tried to use thicker papers for my print-out so that the pencil is less likely to break through, and it’s helped. Your goal is to transfer the white eyeliner onto the clothing just where your design is. So be precise and press hard at the edges!

Step 5: Once you’ve traced over the entire design, remove the paper. You should find that underneath, you now have a faint white outline of your design on the clothing. It should look like this:

Apparently I pressed really hard on that “r”.

Step 6: Start painting! Now you just need to work slowly and have patience. I like the tapered edge brushes that are stiffer since they let you work with more precision. Sometimes if your white eyeliner didn’t transfer perfectly, you’re going to have to just look back at your design paper and improvise. I usually do at least 2-3 coats of paint to make the letters pop. I don’t wait long between the first and second coats typically but anything 3+ I’d let it dry for a bit between. Once you have a few coats on it’ll be bright white and look like this:


Step 7: I never used to do this when I was younger but since this project was a gift, I wanted to make sure it lasted. I followed the instructions on the back of the fabric paint bottle and when the paint was dry, I used an iron to set the paint (putting a piece of clothing between the paint and the iron so I wouldn’t mess anything up). This will make sure your paint doesn’t flake off.

And you’re done! Personally, I’d rather receive or wear a hand-painted piece of clothing over something done with vinyl from a Cricut machine. Something just seems more special about it to me. So give it a try someday, your friends will thank you!

The bride wore it all weekend!

Summer showers bring fall…


We were invited to 8 weddings between August of 2018 and February of 2019. All in a row. And I’m a bridesmaid in 4 of them! Meaning a lot of fun, planning, and doing some crafty favors for people I love.

Sometimes a crafty favor means making a donut tower for a bridal shower, other times it means doing hand-calligraphy addressing for all of your sister’s wedding invitations. Quick tip for everyone: I don’t know how to say no. So just corner me, and your wish will be granted.

My beautiful friend Dana got married last month, and we decided to throw her a little bridal shower brunch in the city since she wasn’t having a traditional shower and didn’t have a wedding party. Dana loves a lot of things, but she’s particularly enthralled by cats, colors, and candy (or any sweets). So somehow that became the theme! I designed some fun menus for the brunch, my friend Lana grabbed some bright blooms and balloons, and then we met up to snag some confetti-ed donuts as our makeshift cake (above).

cat menus and calligraphed placecards by yours truly
bud vases re-purposed from my wedding 😉


Then my sister’s wedding is rapidly approaching this November, so we just threw her a shower this past weekend down by my parents in Pennsylvania. We went Tuscan theme: lemons and olives. It all came out beautifully!

Next up: my friend Katie’s wedding in October in Lexington, KY. Getting so excited for this! I designed her invitation suite with an amazing sketch she found of her venue.

Then a French bistro shower for my maid of honor, Sarah, and an English tea party shower for my college best friend, Amanda, both in November. Looking forward to all of these showers, not to mention bachelorette parties!

Stay tuned!


Something old to something new.

After finishing redoing the stairway area in the last post and having the walls repainted (again, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, but lightened by 25%), I had to hang something above the refinished antique buffet cabinet we had.

Cory’s grandmother (Nana) had divided up her family’s heirloom china and given a quarter of the set to each grandchild, and our portion had been sitting in a drawer in that buffet and I knew it couldn’t stay there! It’s beautiful, with gold monogramming in the center and gold accents at the rim. I had always loved when people hung china, so I was determined to do the same.

I looked into the adhesive hangers that stick onto the backs of the pieces but honestly I couldn’t put my trust in those that they’d remain sticky through all of the humid Jersey shore summers. So I ended up opting for the wire spring/grippy hangers. While they’re slightly visible where the “claws” are, I think the peace of mind outweighs that fact. I did not want to end up with a broken piece of irreplaceable china. Plus, now these can be easily taken off the hangers if we actually want to use them.

After a little eyeballing and a LOT of measuring, I ended with this result, and I’m extremely happy with it!


I didn’t use every single piece we had, but I think I stopped at a good size for the wall. We surprised Nana with it when she came over for my birthday party and she hasn’t stopped talking about it since. I think that was my favorite part 🙂

Stairway overhaul.

When we moved into our house last year, we were aware that it had undergone 2 additions since it’s original construction in the 1950s, which made for some strange flow/layout areas. One of the sections of the house we really couldn’t figure out was the area around the stairway, which is located behind the open concept living room, but set too far back to really be included in the living area. One of the reasons it seemed so out of place was the fact that the stairway had a half wall instead of a railing, making it seem more like a “room” rather than just a transitional area. Plus it made it feel like a basement, which I hated. Here’s what it looked like when the former owner still lived there:

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So we decided the half wall had to go. We called in a local contractor to knock down the wall and replace it with a traditional wood railing to open up the space. We opted to paint it all white, since with the older floors in the home we might end up someday changing out all the hardwood and didn’t want to have to re-match the railing to a new color.

I also knew I wanted to add a runner to the stairs. The hardwood was definitely a little slippery and with the dog running up and down this would also help cut down his nails scratching them. I measured one entire stair – tread depth, riser height, and then around the lip – and multiplied by the number of stairs, and then ordered a runner from Overstock that was longer than my total length (which ended up being about 18 feet so I purchased a 20′ runner).

When the construction was done and the stairs were painted, we went to Home Depot and grabbed an electric staple gun (no, a normal one will NOT work and I didn’t feel like dealing with renting a pneumatic one). I measured and marked off the width of the runner with painters tape in a straight line down the stairs to make sure I wasn’t going at an angle.

I also cut up a non-slip rug pad to put a strip on each stair under the runner. Because I bought an indoor/outdoor rug for the runner, it wasn’t gripping the stairs enough and the pad solved that problem easily!

I love the finished area:


The dog loves the runner, too! Although, while I was using the staple gun he was so scared of the noise that he jumped into the upstairs bathroom tub and hid there until I was done. Oh well, he’s happy with the end result!

Home gym turned cozy den.

When we first looked at our house before buying, there were a lot of questionable decor elements that really threw us off. Luckily we could see past the minimalist furniture and workout equipment to the potential beyond!

One room that we loved when we saw the house was the “den”, which the previous owner had used as a home gym. It housed several treadmills, weights, mats, etc. topped off by some Asian-inspired lanterns and curtains. And, as I lamented in one of my first posts, it was a shade of pea green accented by deep red doors in the back of the house.

The den was one of the most drastic changes to the house, and also one of the first to be completed. The painting we hired a team to do before moving in took care of a lot of it! Getting rid of the green and opting for a greige (and going from red doors to white) was a breath of fresh air. We chose Benjamin Moore’s ever-popular Revere Pewter for the walls. Almost all of the decor and furniture in the den was brought from our San Francisco apartment, which is why this room came together so quickly. Thanks, World Market! Check out some before and after shots:

Swapping bulky fitness machines for small furniture really helped open it up.

Not to mention the beautiful beams on the ceiling can really shine now that the ceiling is fresh white instead of green!

And the den gave me my favorite corner of the house so far: the bar area 🙂

The bar cabinet was a Homegoods find that was so worth it. I just felt bad for the poor guy who had to drag it out of the store for me…that thing must be pushing 300lbs. The glass racks were from Pottery Barn and were on our wedding registry. They were an MVP gift since we probably got a solid 30 or so wine glasses off our registry as well, so the storage was very welcome!

You can check out all the den photos below. DSCN2077DSCN2078DSCN2079DSCN2080DSCN2081DSCN2082

Main bathroom makeover!

I’ve been seriously procrastinating with posting the main bathroom transformation. I mentioned it a few posts back, mainly just explaining how I hated the sea of beige tile so much and needed it to go.

Well, it’s gone! Not a speck of tan tile remains intact. And I stuck to my original “mood board” for the new materials.

To refresh, here’s the before:


Here’s the construction progression:


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And the after shots! (Updated 3/24 with non-cell-phone photos)


It was really just a complete cosmetic makeover but none of the major utilities needed to change. We ripped out the old single vanity and replace with a beautiful mahogany and marble double vanity and swung it around to sit on the other wall, but the plumbing stayed the same. We ripped out every piece of beige/tan/brown tile and replaced with a long white subway tile for the walls and a marble and black basketweave tile for the floors. We added a vintage-style bullnose tile for the edges of the wall subway tile, and added inset shelves in the shower with the marble basketweave inside, bordered by the bullnose. We also decided to stop the tile about 2 feet above the tub rather than continue to the ceiling; it’s really not big enough of a bathroom to go for a full tile wall in my opinion. All chrome fixtures are new, and I went with the same vintage-feeling curved style for all the faucets and handles.

We painted the walls an unknown color. It was supposed to be Sherwin Williams “Solitude”, which is a muted blue with purple undertones. But I also got a sample of SW “Vesper Violet” (a step more purple) at Home Depot, and I’m 99% sure the paint counter person reversed the labels on the samples. We liked the less purple option, so I took both samples to an actual Sherwin Williams and asked him to mix a gallon of the less purple (he just matched it based on the sample we liked more). It still came out more purple than anticipated but I sort of like it? It looks bluer in natural light and more purple-y with the bathroom lights on (like in the photos above).


I think once we decorate in there and get some decor on the walls it will all fit together. I bought some silver frames for above the tub wall, so I’ll get those up soon.

Anyway, definitely happy we have all the fresh white tones in there now! The marble basketweave and the vintage chrome fixtures are definitely my favorite features. We’ll see how long the wall color lasts 🙂

Don’t toss that bouquet!

If you’re anything like me, you’re A. a hoarder and B. always looking for a chic way of preserving memories. I knew even before the wedding that I wanted to preserve my bouquet, so I started doing some research early. There were plenty of places that would do it for you in a variety of beautiful ways, but that often came at a premium price. And, honestly, I always think I can handle doing things myself (kinda like that time I decided to do ALL of my own wedding calligraphy – came out great, but man was that a doozy of a project).

I also knew I wanted to display my wedding invitation and I figured there had to be a more creative way than just a simple frame. So, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and put the bouquet and invitation together in their own little piece of artwork.

I started just before the honeymoon by learning that silica gel preserves flowers much better than hanging them to dry. I went to Michael’s and grabbed the silica along with a very affordable (read: cheap) shadowbox. Before we left for Riviera Maya, I carefully dismantled my bouquet and separated out each flower. I laid them all in a medium-sized shallow tupperware-type storage bin and dumped the silica on top. I probably could have used more but they only had one box at Michael’s, unfortunately. I tried to cover the flowers and silica as closely as I could with a plastic bag to make more of an airtight seal, and then I popped the lid on. Then I left it for the next week while we were on our trip. When I got back I was happy to discover my neatly-dried flowers, which seemed to have less yellowing, brighter color, and less breakage than the hang-dried alternative.

To assemble the shadowbox display, I took the back off and arranged all the flowers on top until I got a good visual mix. I also incorporated the champagne ribbon from my bouquet as well, winding it through the florals. I glued everything down at certain points just to make sure it didn’t shift. Then I topped it with out invitation right in the center.

I think it turned out exactly the way I wanted! And after posting on Instagram, a bunch of friends reached out to see if I could do this for them or for their friends after their weddings – which I’m always happy to do! I’ll just need a whole lot more silica gel 🙂 Did I mention it’s reusable though? Another perk!

Here’s the end result, which now hangs at the bottom of our stairs:



In the midst of the whirlwind that was planning the wedding, I never actually blogged about the wedding. But we finally got our edited album back from our fabulous photographers (M2 Photography) and it captured the day perfectly.

They always say not everything will go according to plan, expect some disasters, yada yada. But honestly I can’t say that anything was a sizable mishap. The biggest catastrophe was that the bakers couldn’t use the cake stand that I purchased because it wouldn’t support the cake. Do you know how many people would have said “nice cake stand!” at the end of the night at our wedding? Zero. Zero people would have noticed that I searched endlessly for the perfect cake stand. So when my maid of honor came to the bridal suite needing to break the news to me, I laughed and said, “screw it!” and took a sip of champagne (as one does when their cake stand plans don’t work out).

Our last-weekend-in-September wedding ended up being quite chilly, topping out at 62 degrees. But I’d take 62 over 82 any day! It was truly a beautiful day up until about 4:30, right before the ceremony. It turned a little gloomy and VERY windy. Again, we rolled with the punches. My veil and the wind had a glorious love affair and created, hands down, the most memorable moment of the day and night when a giant gust took my veil and wrapped it around Cory as my aunt was doing the second reading. Everyone was laughing so hard that no one tried to help for a few seconds and he was helplessly trapped in cocoon of tulle and lace.


Overall, it was true what they all say: best day ever. Seeing all of your friends and family condensed into one space was truly amazing. Especially considering they joined us from about a dozen different states. Would I change anything? Probably not. Not even my flimsy cake stand.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the day:

Total tile teardown.

Alright, it’s been a REALLY long time. That’s my fault. We officially made it past the wedding and came out unscathed! Everything was beautiful. Photos to come once I get all the professional pictures back!

But now the focus is back on the house. We’re finishing up the final details on the downstairs bathroom, where we made some minor changes. We flipped the toilet to a different wall to open up space (such a good decision) and ripped out the previous owner’s beat up vanity to put in a shiny new one. We also painted (obviously, because what surface of this house haven’t we painted). All that’s left is some decor touches and I’ll be ready to share some photos!

We’re very thankful that we finished the big stuff in the downstairs bathroom because on a whim we decided to tackle the upstairs, meaning we’ve been having to shower downstairs every day. Not so bad, though! The driving force behind taking on the upstairs bath was the vanity situation. It was only a single, which many of you know is the make or break item in a successful marriage.

Kidding, but seriously, we both hate sharing a single vanity after having a double in 3 out of the 4 places we’ve lived together. So, if the vanity was going to go, why wouldn’t we put in the flooring that we liked? And if we put in the flooring that we liked, we’d have to put in matching wall/shower tile. And so on and so forth until all of a sudden we were gutting the entire bathroom.

For reference, here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

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I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not so bad!”, right? It’s just not my cup of tea. That’s a LOT of tile. It’s a LOT of beige/tan/brown. It’s just… a large pile of oatmeal in my eyes.

So here’s the plan that’s underway:

  • Put in a double vanity across the wall that’s perpendicular to the current vanity
  • Rip out every single piece of tile (woo!)
  • Put in new clean subway tile that only goes a couple feet above the bathtub, and floor-to-ceiling in the shower
  • New marble flooring that continues into the shower
  • Shower shelf built into shower wall
  • Paint!

And here’s my makeshift mood board. It’s basically all the materials we ordered (or similar) that will be going in this week.


The subway tile will be double that length, so long thin tiles. Likely with a nice light gray grout to make them pop a little bit.


Anyway, so excited to see this come along! Right now the bathroom tub/shower area is gutted and being re-drywalled. I’ll post progress photos next time. Can’t wait until we have a bathroom with a little color and contrast instead of tan on tan on tan. On beige.

– L

Color me excited!

The open concept space is now officially painted! We found an awesome company to work with and they were very accommodating with working with us from afar. They got done the majority of the work in just a day, which I can’t even fathom (but I’m definitely not mad at it). From the pictures, I can tell it made a HUGE change to the space. The red doors alone being gone is so refreshing. I’ll take some good photos once we get back and throw some before and afters on here.

As for the upstairs rooms and smaller spaces, we’re planning on tackling those on our own. I’m sure we’ll paint the master bedroom as soon as we get back into town, and then gradually get to the other two. The master bedroom is one of the smallest masters we’ve had in the course of our various rental homes, so I definitely want to keep it light and open. I’m between a few different off-white options below. The photo on the right is from featuring a room I’m using as inspiration for the master.

Top left: BM Swiss Coffee, bottom left: BM White Dove, right: SW Anew Gray at 25%

I know what you’re thinking: all of these colors so far have been pretty neutral. You’re right, it’s true. I feel a little boring because of it but these clean, airy neutrals just make me so happy! To shake things up a bit, I’m definitely going to add a couple of fun bold rooms to the house.

The first will be the guest bedroom. In one of my plunges down the Pinterest paint rabbit hole, I noticed an amazing peacock color in a guest bedroom, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. So now I’m leaning toward this fantastic deep teal for the guest room:


Benjamin Moore North Sea Green

I’m picturing that with some nice white (of course) bedding and some pinks, oranges, and classic blues as accent colors. I never put color in my decor and I need to stop being so shy about it. We’ll see how it turns out!

My last venture into color will be in our downstairs office. I don’t know why, but this office space might be my favorite room in the house. It’s the cutest little nook in the very front of the house with giant windows, just begging for a good strong color on the walls. The below photo is NOT our office, but is actually a similar-looking setup. For this room, I’m eyeing Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik:

It’s a classic deep blue that’s muted enough to blend with blue/green of the open concept living/dining room, but has enough color to stand on its own. It’ll look great with the old nautical-looking wood and iron desk we already have to go in the office.

So those are my very colorful thoughts! I’m pretty confident in the guest room and office selections, I might even go straight for the gallon of paint without even sampling (CALM DOWN LET’S NOT GET CRAZY, I know).

Can’t wait to share how it comes out!

– L