DIY Etched Spice Jar with Shaker Top

I’ve always wanted a Dremel rotary tool, but when you live in small spaces (like apartments in San Francisco and Tokyo!), you don’t have much room for tools.  So it should be no surprise to you that I actually squealed aloud when I found out that Dremel was coming out with a new cordless, micro version. I felt a little lightheaded when I applied to receive one from Dremel to test it out and come up with a fun tutorial, and I did a little dance when we got the acceptance email to be part of their #MyBrilliantIdeaSweep campaign (more info at the end of the post).

Etched Spice Jar

There’s so much that I love about this tool!  It’s the size of a cordless drill, which means that I can just tuck it away in my closet. It’s rechargeable so no batteries needed.  And the charge life is impressive; I was able to complete this project without needing to recharge, and it probably took a good hour of constantly running the tool before I needed to plug it in.  I also love that the Micro 8050 is fully compatible with all Dremel rotary tool accessories, so they’re easy to find (any hardware store or big box home improvement store sells them).   This model also has a light on the end of the tool so you can see what you’re doing in small corners or places that aren’t well lit.

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DIY Candy Corn Trivets

Last year my Mom asked me if I could remember the order of the colors on the candy corn.  It’s kind of a hard question, actually- the yellow always trips me up because according to my RAINBOW logic (the best kind of color logic), the yellow should be in the middle.  I don’t spend much time thinking about candy corn- in my opinion it’s the Swedish Fish of Halloween candy.  (Some people get upset when I’m mean about Swedish Fish.  I’m sorry.  Let’s still be friends?)  Still, the candy itself is so reminiscent of the fall season and Halloween and I love incorporating the colors in decor this time of year.

These trivets are perfect for a Halloween party, for decorating a candy station or just for brightening up your dinner table.  I’m putting together a gift pack for my Halloween-loving girlfriend’s annual party: two trivets wrapped up with a jar of candy corn.  Easy and fun!

halloween craft ideas

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Weekly Love Letter for Friday, September 26th

Alyssa's Week

senso ji demon from

“Super-Tokyo week!  My sister-in-law is in town and we have been hitting the town.  In the past week, we’ve seen a baseball game, a sumo match, saw the show at the Robot Restaurant, visited DisneySea AND Disney World, and of course, went to my favorite temple.  The photo is one of the guardian demons from Senso-ji.”

*Do you follow Canal House?  I love their books, but the blog Canal House Cooks Lunch is really lovely.  The posts are simple and short, but they make me want to move to upstate New York and make farmer friends.


*Such a cute pumpkin stamp!  It seems to be meant for kids, but I think it would make a cute towel print, too!

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 9.26.14 “My ten year old niece left a voice mail on my phone last night.  “Tia, I need to ask you about the sats test.  It’s for homework.  Call me back, ok?  I love you.”  Hm.  A sats test?  What’s that?  Some new P.E. test?  How well can you sit?  Yeah… no.  The S.A.T.s.  I mean, when *I* took the test there were only two sections.  I’m not saying I’m losing my mind, but add that homework question to the fact that one of my coworkers told me today that he graduated from HIGH SCHOOL in *2010* and, well, I’m feeling a bit… experienced.  In my mental absence, have any cool SAT tidbits I can pass on to my niece?”

*Christopher Ryan has some super fun prints (you may remember the “Today Is The Greatest” print from my DIY Pom Pom Magnet post).  I’m a total fan of his in general, but he just released some adorable tote bags.  I think my fave is the “Get In Here” bag- yours?

* One of my close grad school friends (Hi, Erika!) was involved in the Miss America organization and I saw firsthand some of the great work they do and the help they truly provide to deserving ladies.  Still, I love that John Oliver raised questions about a beauty pageant being the largest scholarship provider to women.  I love EVEN MORE that the Society of Women Engineers is seeing a fundraising lift because of it.  (You can check out the John Oliver bit at that link too if you missed it.)

* Candied pumpkin seeds?  My recipe wheels are turning…

One year ago: Cinnamon Chewies.


DIY Origami Chopstick Rest (A DIY Video)

Chopstick etiquette.  If you ever go to Japan, be sure to read up on it before you come here.  It’s pretty easy to offend people, because chopsticks play a role in funeral rituals.  Besides the subtle things, like not planting your chopsticks directly into a bowl of rice between bites, there are some pretty obvious rules.  One rule is that you don’t let the part of your chopsticks that you eat from touch the table, especially after you’ve started eating.  You’ll get the table dirty and you’ll get your chopsticks dirty. 

DIY origami Chopstick Rest at

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Weekly Love Letter for September 19th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

dessert terrine

“This was a week with TWO very memorable meals.  The first was a restaurant specializing in terrines.  We had a course meal with 3 savory terrines, a few non-terrine dishes, and a gorgeous dessert terrine (pictured, with white peaches, raspberries, vanilla ice cream and mint).  They were absolutely delicious, of course, but what surprised me was how spectacularly gorgeous they were. The terrines, even the savory ones, looked like little miniature stained glass windows with colorful garnishes.  I already want to go back to try some of the terrines that we didn’t get.

The second amazing meal was an impromptu date night with my husband to a sushi restaurant.  We tried a new spot, expecting the standard (but incredibly high quality) Japanese sushi.  We were pleasantly surprised when the lovely waitress set down a few grilled dishes and a savory, custard-y dashi dish.  Then we moved on to the sushi, which was also less traditional.  The rice was more seasoned than normal and there were some really interesting sauces brushed onto some of the pieces.  It was exciting to see a sushi chef being more inventive and daring in a country where tradition is usually the focus in meals.”

*These pumpkin pie cupcakes look like a lot of work. But they’re sooo pretty and I bet they’re delicious.

*Pinning this tutorial for the rapidly approaching holidays.  Make sparkly hair combs from cocktail rings! 

*Drinking Trend Watch! Have you seen any of these? More cherry, please!

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 9.19.14 “Check out this corn on the cob from Lolo’s last night: doesn’t it look AMAZING?  Sarah and I headed over to the Mission after a blogging event downtown last night and it’s a good thing she’s one of the very best people because I’d estimate about half of that crema ended up all over my face.  Apart from the corn, my favorite dish at this Jalisco-inspired restaurant was their handmade corn tortilla vegetable quesadillas.  I tasted sweet zucchini and chard mixed into their Oaxaca cheese!  HEAVEN.”

* We had a speaker come in to my office this week who blew my mind with some work the science community is doing with biomimicry: solving a problem by looking to nature’s design first.  Learn more about it here.  This research has huge implications for how we evolve design in so many areas, but I was especially thrilled to learn about the impact on food.  Fishing by mimic-ing the hunting behavior of whales?  AMAZING.

* Have a little one who digs treasure?  Maybe YOU just wanna be a pirate for Halloween?  Here’s an easy DIY tutorial to crochet an eye-patch!

* FYI: my current favorite smudgy eyeliner pencil is this one by Cynthia Rowley.  Bonus polka dots on the packaging!

One year ago: Cocoa Pumpkin Spice Granola using coconut oil.


DIY Lap Desk with Storage

I’ve had some neck issues lately, and have started to see a chiropractor. It seems like constant looking down is causing the problems: looking at my phone, looking down while cooking, looking down while crafting, and (most importantly) looking down while on the computer. Working from home means that I’m terrible about sitting at a desk or a table while on the computer, but even when I do that I’m still looking down at a tiny laptop screen. I needed a solution, so I bought a stand that elevates my computer screen and a separate keyboard that attaches by USB port. But even then…I still love to sit on the couch or in bed and read blogs, write posts, browse Instagram, etc.

DIY Lap Desk

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Weekly Love Letter for September 12th, 2014

Alyssa's Week

alyssa's weekly love letter photo for september 12 2014

“Pumpkins and candy corn and tassels made of colored twine!  I’m working on our fall Etsy shop assortment and having way, way too much fun with it.  Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and I’m extra-excited for it this year.  If you haven’t signed up for our shop newsletter, do it now!  We’re sending our first one out soon with these new goodies and maybe a promo code or two…”

*These salted caramel apple cinnamon rolls just moved to the top of my “make as soon as the weather even remotely resembles fall” list.  Which is a real list. Actually a Pinterest board, but close enough.

*This is a pretty ridiculous end table makeover.  I love everything about it, from the hardware to the color to the table shape to the lining.

*The House that Lars Built published a post with the most creative dessert “sushi” I’ve ever seen, right down to whipped pistachio cream for wasabi and sculpted pink Starburst for ginger.

Carla's Week

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 9.12.14 “Have you ever taken a trip just to see a favorite artist?  I headed to Las Vegas this week with some former coworkers to see (wait for it) BRITNEY SPEARS.  The show was amazing, the trip was epic and I was so happy to say I’ve finally seen the show.  (P.S. Britney is a TINY, TINY person.  WAY tinier than any magazine will ever have you believe.)  This trip was just the most recent in a long line of music trips and I can’t wait for my next one!  Is there someone I need to see playing near you?”

* Incoming Vegas dinner recommendation: Cut at The Palazzo.  Ridiculous steaks, amazing starters and dynamite drinks (try the Show Me Love especially).

* Honesty alert: I’ve never seen Gilmore Girls.  But it seems my time has come+6.

This video of Adam Levine and Jimmy Fallon doing impressions is super fun.  (My favorite is Jimmy Fallon as Bob Dylan.)

One year ago: Arroz con leche, a Mexican version of rice pudding. Perfect if you’re feeling that fall nip in the air!


Love This Pic included our Pumpkin Face Mask in their Fall Inspired DIY Pumpkin Spice Beauty Recipes roundup.


Japanese Pork Cutlet Sandwich (Katsu Sando)

This such a simple sandwich, but it’s so satisfying and soul-warming.  Katsu sando just a piece of breaded and fried pork with pre-made tonkatsu sauce between two pieces of fluffy white bread (the bread is important, so don’t try to get fancy on me here; we’re talking about Wonderbread-style).  You can find a version in every Japanese convenient store, grocery store and bakery, not to mention in bento boxes sold from the windows of many tonkatsu restaurants.  I tend to buy katsu sando, rather than make them, because they’re so ubiquitous in Tokyo. But the other day I had a leftover boneless pork chop, so I thought I would throw this Japanese pork cutlet sandwich together for an easy lunch.  And it was so delicious that I HAD to share it with you guys.

japanese pork cutlet sandwich from

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Happy Birthday Banner with a Silhouette

A friend had a birthday recently, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate.  To decorate our apartment, I made a balloon garland and a happy birthday banner.  The ballon garland was so much fun! I blew up about 35 balloons to different sizes and tied them closely onto a piece of twine.  That yielded about 5 feet of garland, and I would have done twice as many if I’d had more balloons! (Terrible iPhone photo of the balloons at the end of the post.)

happy birthday banner from

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