Make a planter out of used tin can


  • $0 left-over tin can (Christmas gift – caramel popcorn!)
  • $0 painter’s blue tape
  • $0 left over spray paint
  • $4.2 4 QT. potting soil + fertilizer

HA.  I knew there was a project waiting to be made out of the tin of popcorn that I received as a Christmas present.  Of course,  the popcorn was the present, NOT the tin can.

Step 1: Measure the same distance from one edge of the can, make marks, and use painter’s tape to circle around the tin.  The plan was to let the original green of the tin to show through.  I taped 3 rows of the tape to reach the desired width.

Step 2:  Spray paint the pearl-white paint all around.  I suspended the can to make sure none of the sides/edges touch anything while drying.

Step 3:  Use very-fine wool spool I had to sand off the surface to make sure smooth surface.

Step 4:  Pull off the tapes.

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Decoupaging our own Christmas tree topper star

This year marked our 1st year spending Christmas on our own, without plans to be with our families across the country.  We decided to get to a tree.  Surprisingly, tree toppers are hard to buy around here.  Well, maybe that and we procrastinated our tree shopping until a week prior to the holiday.

Therefore, we’re making our own tree top!


  • $7.50 for cardboard star
  • $3 for red tissue paper
  • $0.99 for 2 glitter pens
  • $0 mod podge – already owned
  • $0 exacto knife

cardboard star, tissue paper, glitter pen

Step 1:
use exacto knife to cut one hole where the top of tree will go into.  See the circle in picture.

Step 2:
take a whole sheet of tissue paper, fold it multiple times to roughly the size of 2 star sides.  Cut tissue paper to a little bigger than a side triangle.

Step 3:
brush on the thin all-purpose glue (mod-podge), then affix the cut triangle papers onto all sides of star.

if you’re an accomplished decoupage-r, this will be very easy for you.  My 1st project didn’t work out as well.  Hopefully, 2nd time will be the charm for me. 🙂

Step 4: 
slowly apply all paper pieces onto the star.  Go around the whole star for 2 layers.  After both layers dried, apply mod podge all over the star to create a shiny exterior.

Step 5: 
apply drops of glitter pen (which is basically glue in a tube with glitter)

The glitter drops will take a while to dry.  Be patient.  Don’t move the star around too much.

decoupaged star with glitter drops

Step 6: 
Position the star on top of the tree and enjoy!

decoupaged red star

DIY shower curtain fix for small stall

Our Boston apartment is small but we love it anyway.  However, bathroom is one place that we try to spend as little time in as possible.  Not only it’s so small that it doesn’t fit a tub, the shower is a stand-alone stall so tiny that we can’t even find any pre-made shower curtains that fits.  Everything’s too wide and too long.

Having shower curtain too wide for it is not that big of a deal.  Its being too long means the bottom of the curtain is stuck inside the shower stall floor and stays wet for extended period of time.


  • $15 for shower (stall-size) curtain from Bed Bath and Beyond.
  • $0 for rocks
  • $0 for thread & needle.

Step 1:  Measure the extra length to be cut off

Step 2:  Cut off the Extra length & sew

My plan is not only to cut off the extra length, but also to add some weight at the bottom to keep the curtain inside of the stall to prevent water spill.

Step 3:  load rocks

You can see that sewing isn’t my strength, but it gets the job done.  Every few inches, I’d put the rock inside and sew around the rock.

Step 4:  hang the curtain back.  Ta da!

corkboard jewelry display / organizer

Smaller apartment means new set of challenge on how I can store & organize my jewelry.  Continuing with my previous theme of “needing to see everything to remember wearing everything”, I decided to make something else for my new bedroom.


  • $o for old cork board
  • $0 for old acrylic paint, paint brush
  • $0 for old fabric head band that I no longer use
  • $0 for little screw hooks I already used for old hanging jewelry boxes.

diy, jewelry organizer

Step 1:  mix colors & paint the boarder of the board.  I wanted a deep grey to mimic other metallic frames in the room.

Step 2:  cut head band to pieces & take out the screw hooks.

Step 3:  position the fabric strips with thumb nails.  Insert the screw hooks. 

A word of advice – take an inventory of what you have and how you’d want to organize them first before you start putting things on the board.  Otherwise, you might find yourself pulling and re-inserting.


Step 4:  hang your beautiful necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.

new home in Boston

Lots have happened in Mango’s life in the last 5 months.

  • moved across country – yay!  new apartment to play interior decoration!
  • experienced one of the biggest snow season in Boston
  • dealt with the possibility of losing a close family member forever – luckily, it was just a dress rehearsal.

now I have lots of catch up with on this blog for all the fun new projects I am trying here.

To start things off – here is the new apartment!  It’s basically one large room that is our living+ dining room + kitchen.  The bedroom is pretty small so we don’t usually hang out in there.

On one end, you have beautiful windows that provides an awesome view.

Main living space

Check out the tall, flat / 2D looking building outside the window – it’s John Hancock Tower!  It’s the tallest building in Boston.

View from the living room

The other end of our main living space.

Main living space + kitchen

The chaos we started out with.

The apartment has a VERY tall ceiling.  So tall that we get to stand a 10 ft. long surf board straight up.

It’s so tall that I wonder how we are going to get our thin comforter (which we have cleverly stored on top of the closets) down.  Neither one of us can reach it on a regular chair, and the building ladder is nowhere to be found.

The fun part – hanging stuff on the wall.  We picked an older brownstone building for the lovey and different look we’re used to see in California.  Well, we should’ve realized that it also means brick walls under the dry wall & paint.  Very different kind of hanging techniques needed.

Man hard at work with drill... and realizing we have bricks behind the dry wall.  arrrrrgh.

After finding correct drill bits for the brick walls… off we go.

Finished Living room

First visit to SF Flower Mart


  • $18 for 3 large batches of flowers.

I visited LA Flower Market long time ago and have been meaning to stop by the one in SF for quite a while now.  First impression of SF Flower mart was that:  “hmm… it doesn’t seem very big”.  Well, it’s not as big as the one in LA but still have lots of pretty flowers at good prices for my little adventure.

Here is some pictures for my splurge of $18… and many more of the pink flower buds that will open up well in the next few days.  Happy Monday to me. 🙂

harmonizing bedroom dressers and night stands

Part of the fun/charm of moving in with a partner for the first time is the combing of your worldly possessions that, often, don’t match.  Between the 2 of us, we managed to have 2 night stands and 2 dressers.  Every one of them had its own style & color.  I’ve wanted to do something about it for a long while now.

Finally, I decided to pickup 2 shades of blue paint in the same family so they will look cohesive, without being overly matchy.


  • $24 for paint
  • $3 for sand paper
  • $0 for old dressers and night stands


  • small night stands took about 1.5-2 hours EACH!  sanding really took a while.
  • dressers took about 2-4 hours each with all the sanding, prepping, and painting.

-room before-

-night stands: before-

-night stands: after-

-Night stand #1 & #2 + Dresser #1 & #2-