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DIY of the Week – Paper Snowflakes

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

It’s almost Christmas, it’s definitely December, but cold weather doesn’t even seem to be on the calendar. Those of us in Mumbai are caught in heat, with an extra special dose of heightened humidity (WHY??). So we’re going to be a bit rebellious and just make our own snow to help put us in the mood. Don’t worry, we’re not at the “stick our head inside our refrigerators” stage (yet). We’re talking about paper snowflakes, of course. Of course. So let’s get started.

 

What You Need:

1. Paper (white, if you’re going for the pure snow look, or whatever else from wrapping paper, handmade paper, to even newspaper, if you’re going for a different vibe)

2. Scissors (small craft scissors would be better for intricate design cuts)

 

What To Do:

Step 1

Take your paper and fold over a corner to help you mark out an exact square, then cut off the extra paper, if any.

Image Source - Martha Stewart

Image Source – Martha Stewart

 

Step 2

Take the folded square, and fold over again, creating a smaller triangle.

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

Step 3

Imagine the twice-folded paper being in thirds, and fold one third to the front across the middle third, and the other end across the back of the middle third as shown in the picture below.

Image Source - Old Farmer's Almanac

Image Source – Old Farmer’s Almanac

 

Step 4

Trim the extra edges across the top of the folds. You can cut it straight across, at an angle, or in a circular cut, each type giving you a different general shape for your snowflake.

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

Step 5

Now comes the part for your creativity. Snip out little cuts here and there, creating your own design. Just make sure not to cut entire across. (To make it easier, you can trace out a design onto the paper before you cut, especially if you’re doing it for the first few times).

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

Step 6

Open open the paper folds to reveal your snowflake design. You’ll probably need to keep the opened snowflake under a heavy book initially to press out the fold, but once that’s done, you’re good to go.

Image Source - FirstPalette.com

Image Source – FirstPalette.com

 

These are great for decorating on windows and walls, or you could even hang them on floss string with a bit of glue at the tip. And they’re great alternatives to bows on your Christmas gifts too!

 

Happy Decorating!

Got Some Spare Time?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

No matter how busy our schedules, you’d be surprised how much of time you can find in little hidden pockets if you really pay attention. A half hour here, and hour there, and you’ll find a few hours that were playing hide-n-seek with you every single day. How do you find them? Pretty simple! Just write down what you do all day in a breakdown of hours (or better yet, half hours). Let’s say you get up at 7 am every morning, and sleep around 11 pm each night, write down your office timings, your travel times, your getting ready in the morning and meal times, and figure out just how much spare time you have left in the rest of the day. You’ll probably average about 2-3 hours every day at the very least. If you’re lucky, it might even go up to 4 or 5 hours (though that’ll probably be rare). Our point being, if you take those hours, and focus even one of those hours every day, you could do so much with it. Like what, you may be wondering. Well, that’s where we come in.

Here are some great ideas as to what you can do with one hour every single day and an internet connection (and maybe some tools, depending on what you plan on doing).

 

1. Learn a language

The world is way bigger than you can imagine it to be, and each country, and sometimes each state, comes with either its own language, or even its own dialect. With options from apps to online websites, to even books and audio recordings, the methodology options are as varied as the options as to which language you can start with first.

Image Source - Irish Times

Image Source – Irish Times

 

2. Take a course

You’ll be surprised to learn how many global universities offer online courses, and the pure plethora of course options that exist. Whether you want to learn management, gardening, or music theory, it doesn’t matter where your interest lies, you will definitely find courses that suit what you’re looking for. While some websites offer courses that you have to pay, there are endless options for free courses, many from some of the top universities (even Harvard has an online university option with free courses that you can register for). Time to go on the hunt, no?

Image Source - The Dimension's Edge

Image Source – The Dimension’s Edge

 

3. Learn an instrument

Ok, we agree, this will require that you either buy, rent, or borrow the instrument in question, but still, if this is what you’ve always wanted to do, why not? Who said time is the only thing you can invest in your interests. You’ll find numerous options to learn whichever instrument you want (even singing), and all you have to do is put in the time and practice, practice, practice. Piano, guitar, violin, cello, ukulele, harp, water glasses, djembe, the options are absolutely endless!

Image Source - msretailer.com

Image Source – msretailer.com

 

4. Pick up crafting

It might be considered only a “hobby”, but if it brings you happiness and peace of mind, it’s totally a worthwhile way to spend your time. And there are so many options within crafting too. And if you do it often enough, it can even turn into a nice little side business (in some cases, people have gone on to leave their jobs to pursue their so-called “hobbies” full time, as they had turned into such a revenue generator). You never know. So whether you’re into painting, quilling, miniature creation, jewelry making, or even origami, go for it!

Image Source - Relentlessly Purple

Image Source – Relentlessly Purple

 

5. Take up a freelance job

Ok, so we admit, this is probably suited to those who have 4 or more hours free each day, otherwise you probably just want to Netflix and chill after a certain point. But seriously, there are so many part-time job options available online that don’t even require much time, and the extra pay ain’t all bad either. Whether you’re translating documents, proofreading student assignments, creating graphic designs, or tutoring online, the options are pretty endless.

Image Source - Freedom Lifestyle Today

Image Source – Freedom Lifestyle Today

 

All the best to learning something new!

DIY of the Week – Chore Chart

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Kids hate chores. It is a simple fact of the universe (and of childhood). Being tasked with dusting, or taking out the trash, or cooking, or any number of other chores around the house tend to be hated (and avoided) by all children. And contrary to popular childhood beliefs, adults aren’t too wild about it either. And with work, travel, and whatnot occupying their minds, it can get hard to remember to do even the most basic things until you realize that you’ve effectively run out of toothpaste (not based on true events) before you realize you have to go to the store.

We seem to be digressing. So, basically, the point we were trying to make is that chores are a bane, and remembering to do them, even more so. And so, we’re here to save the day with this week’s DIY. A chore chart so easy to make, even kids can make it. (No, seriously, you can literally delegate it out to the kids. Lol.)

 

What you need:

1. Exam board or clip board

2. Wooden clothes’ pins

3. Permanent marker

4.  Black paint

5. White paint

6. Paint brush

Image source - aileencooks.com

Image source – aileencooks.com

What to do:

Step 1

Make a list of all your daily and weekly chores around the house.

 

Step 2

Take a regular plain exam or clip board and paint it black (or any dark color). Let it dry completely.

Image source - A girl and a glue gun

Image source – A girl and a glue gun

Step 3

Now take the white paint and divide up the board into four sections by making a large cross (one vertical line running across the center of the board, and one horizontal one). On the top half write “Daily” as a heading, and on the bottom half, write “Weekly” as a heading. Both the left hand columns will get the sub-heading “To Do”, and both the right hand columns will get the sub-heading “Done”.

 

Step 4

As you wait for the white paint to dry, take your list of chores and write each one on a wooden clothes’ pin using a permanent marker.

Image source - The Happy Housewife

Image source – The Happy Housewife

 

Step 5

Clip all the daily chore pins on the top of left side of the board, and the weekly ones on the bottom.

 

Step 6

Hang up the board in a place where your family members/roommates will all see it.

Image source - Pinterest

Image source – Pinterest

 

And there you have it! Now all you have to do is move them to the right side as and when someone does them. That way, you never forget any of your chores!

 

PRO TIP:

You can use different colors of markers for each member of the household (or even make dots of different colors) so that each person’s chores are divided.

Image source - Value seekers club

Image source – Value seekers club

 

HAPPY CRAFTING!

DIY of the Week – CD Wall Art

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Technology has really (I mean really) changed over the last decade or two. Those born in the eighties can easily attest that they’ve seen music technology go through so many changes that it’s making our collective heads spin. From gramophones, to cassette players, boomboxes, CD players, walkmans and diskmans, to mp3 players and iPods, from mix tapes to compilation CDs, and now to online streaming apps. What a roller-coaster ride it has been!

Image source - Boredom Therapy

Image source – Boredom Therapy

One sad fallout of the quick changes has certainly been that our storage areas now have boxes full of old audio cassettes and CDs. So how about we show you how to turn those old CDs into some quick wall art!

 

What you need:

1. Old CDs

2. Black acrylic paint (or any dark color of your choice)

3. Paintbrush

4. Sharp metal object (flat screwdrivers are perfect for this)

5. Pencil

Image source - Boredom Therapy

Image source – Boredom Therapy

 

What to do:

Step 1

Paint the entirety of the bottom side of the CD with your black paint. (The bottom side has a wonderful shine that reflects well in light, and that is why we use this side). Ensure a nice and thick coat of paint. Feel free to do a second coat, as this will help later.

Image source - DIY Ideas Craft

Image source – DIY Ideas Craft

 

Step 2

Once the paint has completely dried, trace out designs of your choice on the paint. You can draw anything you like, including tribal designs, flowers, musical notes, or even write out a message or names of family members.

Image source - fabartdiy

Image source – fabartdiy

 

Step 3

Trace over your pencil design with the screwdriver, scratching off the layer of paint to reveal the shine of the CD underneath. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, otherwise you’ll damage the shine of the CD. You can play with the thickness of the scratches you make, to add dimension to your design.

Image source - fabartdiy

Image source – fabartdiy

 

Step 4

Stick them finished CDs on the wall directly using sticking strips or wall tac. You can even put them in frames and hung them up that way.

Image source - Pinterest

Image source – Pinterest

 

Et voila! Your very own customized art piece is ready to be shown off!

 

Happy crafting!

DIY of the Week – Keyboard Wrist Rest

Monday, February 25th, 2019

Ola! We’re back, and unfortunately with a little hint of carpal tunnel. The woes of working constantly with a laptop. But we’re not too worried, because this week’s DIY project is just what the doctor ordered! (Well, maybe not in so many words, but you get the point, right?)

Let’s get started so that we can do our next blog piece with a little bit more comfort.

 

What you need:

1. Cotton fabric of your choice

2. Needle and thread

3. Rice (approx 3 cups)

4. Dried lavender, basil, oregano (optional)

5. Scissors

 

What to do:

Step 1

Lay your cloth across the length of your laptop/keyboard and cut the cloth to that length, with approx 4 inches in width.

Image source - LiveLaughLovePost.com

Image source – LiveLaughLovePost.com

 

Step 2

Fold the cloth in half across the width, with the design side towards the inside of the fold, and stitch close one of the side edges and the full length of the cloth, creating a pocket.

Image source - Right Where I Left Off

Image source – Right Where I Left Off

 

Step 3

Turn the cloth inside out using the open edge of the pocket you have sown. Now fill it with rice. (If you are using the dried herbs, mix them into the rice before filling the pouch).

Image source - The Artisan Life

Image source – The Artisan Life

 

Step 4

Once the bag has the right amount of rice depending on firm or loose you want the wrist rest to be, sow the final open edge closed.

Image source - The Artisan Life

Image source – The Artisan Life

 

Step 5

Keep the finished pouch in the freezer for 24-48 hours to ensure that weavels or other bugs do not nest inside the pouch due to the rice. (Or you can add bay leaves to the rice)

 

And it’s all ready for use! And it makes a great gifting option for friends and family too.

 

PRO TIP:

You can make a matching wrist rest for your mouse too! The length of the cloth will be shorter, but the rest of the process is the same.

Image source - Updates from the Copper State

Image source – Updates from the Copper State

 

Happy crafting!

DIY of the Week – Mini Pallet Coasters

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

We love starting our week with a little creativity. Using our hands and putting our efforts towards making something to brighten up the spaces we live in, work in. Or even the thought of doing that for someone we care about (we love gifting our creations!).

This week, we make these cute coasters that not only ensure that you don’t leave glass or cup marks on your tables, but are super cute to look at too!

 

What you need:

1. One dozen (12) Popsicle sticks per coaster

2. Scissors

3. Glue gun

4. Ruler and pencil (optional, if you want to measure)

5. Tea or coffee liquid and bowl (optional, if you want to stain the wood)

 

Image source - Doodle & Stitch

Image source – Doodle & Stitch

 

What to do:

Step 1

Mark off all the rounded edges from the sticks so that all would be the same length once cut. You can use a ruler while marking to ensure that they are the same length.

Image source - wikiHow

Image source – wikiHow

 

Step 2

Cut off all the rounded edges.

Image source - Shared.com

Image source – Shared.com

 

Step 3 (Optional)

If you would like to make stained wood pallet coasters, instead of using expensive wood stains, you can make your own DIY staining liquid. All you need to do is make a strong tea or coffee concoction and pour that hot liquid into a bowl, and then dump the sticks in it to soak the color. Place a spoon or fork across the sticks so that they remain submerged in the liquid. 5-10 minutes of soaking is sufficient. Once soaked, remove and allow to dry completely. (They need to be completely dry for the next set of steps.)

Image source - wikiHow

Image source – wikiHow

 

Step 4

Lay down two sticks parallel to each other, and using the glue gun, stick one stick upright on each edge, making a square, as shown in the picture below.

Image source - Shared.com

Image source – Shared.com

 

Step 5

Follow with laying another stick across the center.

Image source - DIY Projects

Image source – DIY Projects

 

Step 6

Now lay two new sticks flat across the edges, right above the first two you had placed.

Image source - Instructables

Image source – Instructables

 

Step 7

Laying a piece flat across the center with the help of the glue gun, proceed to lay more pieces between the center and edge pieces, leaving a bit of space between each stick to mimic the look of a pallet.

Image source - Make Magazine

Image source – Make Magazine

 

PRO TIP:

You can further personalize these by painting individual sticks different or alternating colors, or even use washi tape (but do this at step 3).

Image source - Pinterest

Image source – Pinterest

 

Happy crafting!

DIY of the Week – Jar of Love Notes

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Tis the season of love, and as such, how can we not take part! This week’s DIY is all about putting thought and effort into making your significant other feel special and loved. And the best part about it? It’s especially perfect for those of who forgot that it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and need to put together a romantic gift on the fly! Why? Because you can keep jotting notes all throughout the day, and just decorate a mason jar once home and you’re done! So let’s get started

 

What You Need:

1. Mason Jar

2. Strips of paper (colored paper works best, but plain is fine too)

3. A few colored pens

4. Paint and paintbrush, or sharpies, to decorate the mason jar

5. Ribbon

 

What To Do:

Step 1

If you don’t have paper strips, cut regular size A4 paper into strips (If you have a paper slicer, this will be really quick work).

Image source - Ahem, it's Emme

Image source – Ahem, it’s Emme

 

Step 2

Jot down a different reason why you love your partner on each strip. Do as many of these as you possibly can. And no reason is too small or silly. Remember, this is about the two of you. Everything from they way their hair smells after a shampoo, to their bad off-tune singing, to how they watch your favourite sport with you (even though they hate it), counts!

Image source - Paper and Landscapes

Image source – Paper and Landscapes

 

Step 3

Fold the paper strips into little chits. And remember, try to make as many as you can! Even the smallest of reasons, and silliest of reasons, is a reason.

Image source - About What Blog

Image source – About What Blog

 

Step 4

Decorate the mason jar. You can paint it over with designs, or keep it plain with a label reading “Reasons Why I Love You”. Finish off with a ribbon along the neck, pop in all the chits of reasons, and close it off.

Image source - Etsy

Image source – Etsy

 

While this is simple to assemble, the thought you put into each of those notes is what will be the real gift, and a truly thoughtful one. Don’t be surprised if you get a few happy tears in response! (We’ll agree to blame it on onions).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

DIY of the Week – Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

With Christmas just around the corner, even we can’t help getting into the spirit. Along with being a time of celebration and family, it’s also a time for decorations, gifting, and of course, rum cake! And we all do love our rum cake, don’t we?

But we digress. This week’s DIY is right on time for Christmas. We’re making Christmas tree decorations from felt. They’re cute, they’re simple, and you can easily keep them hanging around the house all year long.

Image source - Crafthubs

Image source – Crafthubs

 

What you need:

1. Felt fabric in the colors of your choice

2. Scissors

3. Needle and thread (of contrasting color from the felt)

4. Cotton for stuffing

 

What to do:

Step 1

Take the sheet of felt, and cut out a Christmas tree shape. You can use any template you find online, or cut it free hand, but make sure to cut two identical pieces, as these will form the tree hanger.

Image source - Crafted

Image source – Crafted

 

Step 2

Thread the needle and make simple star-shaped embroidery. Basically, make a plus sign, and super-impose this with a cross sign, as shown in the figure below. Try it a few times on some scrap cloth, then proceed to make some scattered over the cut tree shapes.

Image source - The Spruce Crafts

Image source – The Spruce Crafts

 

Step 3

Once a sufficient number of star patterns are on the two pieces, stitch closed the edges together, leaving the bottom section open. Through this section, push in the stuffing little by little, till the tree looks slightly padded. Don’t over-stuff it, as it won’t end up looking as delicate as you’d like. Once done, finish off the stitch to close the opening.

Image source - Crafted

Image source – Crafted

 

Step 4

Make as many more of these as you’d like. You can go for different shapes, different types of embroidery, and even mix it up with layers of felt, for different designs.

Image source - Rickshaw Bazaar

Image source – Rickshaw Bazaar

Image source - FamilyHoliday.net

Image source – FamilyHoliday.net

 

Happy Tree Decorating!

DIY of the Week – Paint Your Own Diyas

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Diwali from all of us at NSPA!!

Image Source - Beauty Tips

Image Source – Beauty Tips

For this week’s DIY of the project, we’re going to be hand-painting our diyas to jazz and glam them up, right in time for tonight’s festivities. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

 

What you need:

Image Source - BaazKart

Image Source – BaazKart

1. Diyas (plain ones are fine, but get self design ones if you want to go the extra mile)

2. Paintbrushes (1 thick one for painting the base, 1 thin one for designing)

3. Paints (pearl color shades will really pop as they have a metallic shine to them)

4. Gem stickers (optional)

 

What to do:

Step 1

Once you’ve bought the diyas, put them in a clean bucket and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. This will help dislodge any dirt or loose clay, ensuring a smooth paint job.

Image Source - YouTube

Image Source – YouTube

 

Step 2

Lay them out over an old newspaper to dry. You’ll get quick results by putting them in direct sunlight, but if that’s not an option, put them under the fan at full speed. If you’re really short on time, you can always use a hairdryer.

 

Step 3

Pick a color for the base, and paint the entire bottom section of the diya, leaving it upside down to dry. Repeat for all diyas.

 

Step 4

Now paint the front portions of the diya. If there is no design, you can paint them in plain colors, with maybe a contrasting color for the rims, or even create your own designs, like in the picture below.

Image Source - YouTube

Image Source – YouTube

 

Step 5

This step is optional, but if you want to add some extra pizzazz to your diya, you can use colored gem stickers and stick them in a few spots coordinating with the design of the diya. This will give a bit of additional sparkle to your final design.

Image Source - Shop - Home Marrow

Image Source – Shop – Home Marrow

 

Happy Diwali everyone!!

DIY of the Week – Gift Bags

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

The ‘Holiday Season’ is here and upon us in all its glory. Yes, with Garba in full swing, and Ravan knocking at our doors (only to be vanquished, poor lad), it is officially the season of lights, sweets, and yes, of course, gifts. And with family members, and friends, and co-workers to hunt up little knick-knacks for, wouldn’t be nice if you could find a pretty, but cheap way to jazz up your delivery of said gift? Well, don’t worry, over the next few weeks, we’ll help you out with some cool gift wrapping and presenting ideas that will be straight from the heart.

This week, we’re looking to make these pretty and vibrant gift bags. And the best part? You can make these in various sizes and colors, and well in advance (you can even start now), and just stick in the gift once you buy it, instead of painstakingly wrapping each individual item last minute. So let’s begin!

 

Image Source - Gift Ideas

Image Source – Gift Ideas

 

What you need:

1. Wrapping paper (we suggest using actual the paper sheets, not only are they sturdier than the plastic wrap ones, they’re also more eco-friendly)

2. Scissors

3. Tape or glue

4. Hole puncher

5. Ribbon or Jute string

 

What to do:

Step 1

Lay the decided size of paper design side down. Now fold in one side towards the center, and the fold the other side with a little overlapping on the first fold. Tape to hold in place as in the photo.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 2

Now fold over the bottom section. This is the part we will convert into our bag’s base.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 3

Separating the edges of the folded over bottom edge from the center, fold in the sides as shown in the photo below.

Image Source - Pinterest

Image Source – Pinterest

 

Step 4

Now take the protruding sections one at a time, and fold the first down towards the center line, folding the other one up, slightly overlaying it to strengthen grip. Tape along the joint.

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

Image Source -Designertrapped.com

 

Step 5

Open out the bag, and now fold inwards lightly the side sections (you might have seen these folds in all paper bags). These will help your bag maintain shape.

Image Source - City Kitty

Image Source – City Kitty

 

Step 6

Take the hole puncher and punch two equidistant holes for your handles in each of the wider top sections of your bag. Cut two lengths of ribbon or string to make your handles. Knot the end of one ribbon or string, pull it outwards from one hole and back into the other of the same side, knotting from the inside. Repeat on the other side.

Image Source - The Penny Hoarder

Image Source – The Penny Hoarder

 

And there you go! Your handmade gift bag is all ready!

 

Pro Tip:

You can make super kitschy looking bags by being creative with your choice of paper. You can use handmade or textured paper, your very own handmade marbled paper (remember how we learned how to here), jazz up plain paper with paints, washi tape, or bows, and even use the comic section of newspapers (looks real good too). It’s all up to your imagination!

Image Source - yourstruly.com

Image Source – yourstruly.com

 

Happy gifting!