Night Stand Sketch

Night Stand Sketch


I’ve been working on a little inspiration board for Laelia’s big girl room for a few weeks now; I should just polish it so I can post it! This morning I was playing around with my nightstand sketch, and I came up with the above combination. I love the way the bold floral plays off the geometric of the quilt. I started the actual work on her nightstands this last Saturday. I’ve had the intention of putting wallpaper in there, but I can’t justify the price of this stuff. And then I remembered I can paint. Oh yeah… I CAN PAINT! >.> So, we’ll see how it goes. But the base is looking pretty nice!DSC_0404


Well, this photo highlights areas uncovered by paint… I now have to go put a millionth white coat inside that shelf! Yeesh!

P.S. This <$30 lamp is from target; I changed the color to be more of a true blue, which is probably how I will end up spray painting (Tyler really wants me to leave it, but I feel the current shade is just a little too off to not warrant an easy coat of spray paint).


IKEA Mini Kitchen Makeover (hack)

IKEA Mini Kitchen Makeover (hack)


Once upon a time, I wanted to make a play kitchen for Laelia from an old night stand or entertainment center. After at least 9 months of keeping my eye out at thrift stores, flea markets and curbside, I decided to just buy the IKEA play kitchen, with the intent of hacking it. Not really a hack, more of makeover, I would say. Here’s what it looked like before


To help me figure out what I wanted to do with it, I did what I always do; mock it up in illustrator.

To help me figure out what I wanted to do with it, I did what I always do; mock it up in illustrator.

We made this a surprise Christmas present. I would like to forewarn anyone who has the idea of making this sort of present a “surprise”. It was really, really intense trying to get it all done close enough to Christmas day without the pieces lying around begging to be questioned, but in time for a reveal on Christmas morning. Oh yeah, and during the rain. I don’t know, we don’t have a garage or a work/storage space for projects like this, so it would probably be easier to do with a garage. Anyway, we did get it done, and only a few tears were shed. And we did get to sleep by 3 am!IKEA_DUKTIG_top_view

I basically made her my dream kitchen; gray cabinets w/ white uppers, brass hardware, marble countertop… The bright pops of color and prints help to make the otherwise very sophisticated look more whimsical! Below is a breakdown of materials.


Items Needed:

IKEA DUKTIG mini kitchen + top section for mini kitchen
IKEA LANSA Handle 9 5/8″
IKEA VINNA Handle 6″
4 decorative knobs (I got these from World Market for $2.99, but the anthro ones look of a higher quality, and I had to spray paint mine gold)
1 small decorative hook
1 Tension rod
1 Can White Primer
2 Cans Gray Primer
Assorted Fabrics for window skirt (tutorial here, adjust measurements accordingly).
Rustoleum’s Bright Coat Metallic Gold Spray Paint (This is my favorite gold spray  paint; it definitely leaves it looking shiny and metallic, whereas many others have a dull finish)
2 Cans Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Granite Spray Paint
Pop Color Spray paint
Marble Faux-Finish Tutorial & Supplies

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3 year Blogiversary! 5 most popular posts!

3 year Blogiversary! 5 most popular posts!

Wow! 3 years already. Kinda crazy! (I’m gonna say this about Laelia in a little over a month!)  For fun, I thought I’d share my most popular posts! I bet you wouldn’t be able to guess that three of them are related to Laelia’s first birthday…~.^


#5: Monster Party Board

This little party board hasn’t had any features, and I wasn’t expecting it to be such a hit, but I’ve seen it with over 1,000 repins a few times on pinterest! monsterboard

#4: Laelia’s first Birthday

Laelia’s first birthday was featured on Kara’s Party Ideas and Apartment Therapy Family.


#3 Tissue Tassel Garland Tutorial

This tassel garland tutorial was featured on Green Wedding Shoes.

#2 China Hutch Makover

My china hutch makeover was featured on Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, and Centsational Girl. I’m really itching to sell this and rearrange my living room. I think it would look great in a candy shop or an ice cream parlor! What do you think?hutchbefore&after

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Lessons from 30 straight days of blogging

Lessons from 30 straight days of blogging

As you may or may not know, I finished 30 straight days of blogging two days ago with my post about tips on hanging curtains. I gave myself a little break yesterday, and it was nice; I have a couple of freelance projects I needed to tend to (and continue to need to tend to), and I really fleshed out my ideas for both bedrooms in the apartment. Ideas that I’m sure I’ll share here before you know it! But right now, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on what I think I got out of my 30 days of blogging.

In January, Tyler and I did the Whole30, which is 30 days straight of whole eating–no processed foods (including grains and legumes), no sugar, no alcohol. Those 30 days went by pretty quick, but it was long enough to make good habits and learn a lot about ourselves. Inspired by our Whole30, we decided to apply the 30 day challenge to life’s other endeavors; Tyler loosely settled on 30 days of making a video game app, and I settled on 30 days of blogging. I feel blogging really important to me, and I was letting it go by the wayside because I started to feel that pull of “it isn’t perfect, so I won’t do it”. But, as my friend recently reminded me of Voltaire’s famous quote:


Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good“. via Inspired to Share. Image: Sharyn Cairins / Styling Glen Proebstel

Even if it may sound like an oxymoron, perfectionism is definitely a negative quality. Mostly, for me and my husband (a fellow sufferer), it gets in the way of actually doing things. When I finally started this blog (my second) in 2010, it was after years of talking about doing it. When I finally started to blog on a more regular basis it was almost a year after that, and only when I finally found a layout that would work well enough, and when I think I had finally had enough of talking, but not doing. Because I’m working on new design and layout for my blog, I think I subconsciously decided it wasn’t pretty enough anymore to continue blogging regularly. I tried to be “sporadic” with my posts until my blog design was done, but life and work and projects got in the way of finishing that design; moreover, I think by not blogging, it was out of sight, out of mind. In my case, I was letting the perfect get in the way of good, and I wasn’t progressing because of it.

So I decided to suck it up, and do a 30 day blogging challenge to get me back in the grove, get me over the hump of perfectionism, which can also be a hinderance in the form of “waiting for the perfect light for a photo” and “not sharing anything until it’s completely finished, and perfect”. But what’s rather lame about that is this: I personally LOVE when I see the real in between processes of work, especially the way that rooms or art or ideas in general come together. It shows off the real progress that has been made! So, when I decided to just share a daily about rearranging Laelia’s room into a big girl room, despite the fact that it’s certainly not done (or “perfect”), and in a couple of cases I took photos at night(!) (which is something I certainly would never have done if I wasn’t obligated to post daily), I learned to be more comfortable sharing my work in-progress.

Another thing I learned was how to make shorter, less involved blog posts. From embracing wordless Wednesdays to separating posts into two or three smaller ones, I definitely began to feel okay with making a post without having to elaborate and elaborate on something. For example, when it came to making the post about my curtains, at first I was thinking about making it all one post; the before and after, the tutorial on how to do the triple pinch pleat, and tips on how and where to hang them, AND why I love IKEA hardware so much… but when I was composing the post, I realized they were actually separate posts, and I don’t need to force them to be one, singular post simply because they are related. Making huge blog posts takes a lot of time up front, it hinders my blogging rate, and what’s worse, it becomes less readable. My sister pointed something out; when it comes to articles, if they are not bullet pointed or in a slide show form, she’s less likely to read them. I’d like my blog to be more snippets and morsels, then a novel. And I have a tendency to write too much!

I also learned that I have a lot more to blog about than I would have previously considered! I mean, I always knew I had a lot to say, but now I’m a lot more comfortable sharing the small things, not just the big things. So overall, I’m really pleased and very satisfied with my experience, and happy to be blogging regularly again–This blog will still be getting a redesign, I’ll still be writing big posts, but I’ll be sharing more tidbits and vignettes! I think it will write a more complete picture of my life and my style, and it will become more of the blog I always wanted it to be, but I didn’t have the courage to make. The courage to let go and just do it!

Tips on Hanging Curtains

Tips on Hanging Curtains

Untitled-1 I’ve been so happy with the new look of the curtains I’ve had in my living room for almost five years now that I feel I must share with you all what I’ve learned, and I have outlined some tips and why I love IKEA’s new hardware so much below. I know, I know, a blog about curtains is understandably boring to many people, and this post is not for them. There are some people out there that get really excited about window treatments! But, mostly this post will be most helpful for people who want their curtains to look pretty, but can’t quite figure out where they are going wrong. I know this, because I was one of those people.

I believe my first “window treatment”, if you could call it that, was done by swagging some fabric over a couple of curtain pull backs placed on either side of my window, which was covered by white plastic beaded curtains. It was definitely the late 90s. (OH, how I wish I had some photos for you… maybe I’ll dig some up one day). In college I was a little better, I used all IKEA supplies by this point (so cheap), and I definitely believed in putting your curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible (always a good rule, as explained later), but I still felt they looked frumpy–they never hung quite right. I also never hemmed them. When we moved in to our current place, for whatever reason, I decided to place them too close to the window. You can see in the below photo that I had already started moving our curtains over to curtain hooks. Without the hooks, it’s too hard to open the curtains, and they were too bulky to move out of the way of the window and let the light in!before_windows Then I raised them when we painted, and I put all the curtains on curtain hooks, but they still looked frumpy; Also you could see the backs of the curtains too often. living_space And now:DSC_0788

What I used:

HUGAD curtain rod (83″-152″) $5.99 (1) = $5.99
HUGAD curtain rod (47″-83″) $5.99 (2) = $11.98
VÄSENTLIG Finials $4.99 (3) = $14.97
SYRLIG Curtain ring with clip and hook $3.99 (3)= $11.97
BETYDLIG Wall/Ceiling Bracket $1.49 (6) = $8.94
RIKTIG Curtain Hook $2.99 (2) = $5.98

TOTAL: $59.83

*If your curtains do not already have gathering tape attached as ours did, you will also need to buy the RIKTIG gathering tape for $2.99 and sew it on to your curtains.*

Why I  love IKEA’s new-ish curtain hardware:

  • They are thicker. Their previous rods were 3/4″ thick! These are about  1 1/8″ in diameter. It also means larger curtain rings. These things have made a huge difference in the overall “grandness” effect, and they look much more substantial than they used to.
  • The brackets are easier to put up. With most curtain hardware, you have one tiny hole to try to screw into, and usually it’s hard to screw it in because part of the bracket is blocking your screwdriver. The actual curtain rod holder can be disconnected from the bracket, leaving you with what is essentially just an L bracket, and it is so. much. easier. to screw it in! Also, instead of having two holes for screws, they give you one large slot, so you can screw one screw in, and adjust as necessary for the next screw. Also, if you decide you need to double rod your windows, you don’t need new brackets; just flip them over! So smart.
  • The brackets come with a cover to hide the screws. This is probably my favorite aspect of these new brackets. I love not being able to see the screws! It is just a much more finished look.
  • You seriously can’t beat the price. All of my curtain hardware in my living room cost me less than $60!

Some general guidelines when it comes to hanging curtains:

  • No matter what you do, hang the rod as close to the ceiling as possible. This helps your room to look bigger, and draws the eye up. These are very good things. When everything is about eye level in a room, things start to feel suffocating.  If you’ve got crown moulding, great! Hang it right below.  If you need further persuasion to move your rods, check out these (On a side note, I’m loving that drapery return idea. Next on the list! I can finally cover the ridiculous track up the wall!)
  • The next most important thing is to hang the rod so it extends over both sides of the window. The fabric needs to have a place to go when you want to open the curtains and let the light in. If the fabric has no where to go, it will partially block the window, and therefore you will be blocking light. There is a really great formula in this blog post about how far out to hang the rod.
  • Curtains should graze the floor. A bonus to only using IKEA stuff here is that IKEA sells super long curtains for great prices. I’ve never found ready made curtains that long anywhere else.
  • Use curtain hooks (properly). At some point on my journey, I started using curtain hooks with clips but I didn’t clip them on the right spot (as demonstrated in the middle photo). Moreover, I didn’t even know about proper curtain hooks. Think about it… how often do you see curtains from the back?! Even on blogs, and how-tos, they don’t talk about curtain hooks like this very often. I’m sure my mom knows about them, but this knowledge never got passed onto myself.  This was a game-changer for me! I figured out how to use them! Check out my tutorial about how to make triple pleated curtains using IKEA’s curtain hooks here.

P.S. This is the 30th post of my 30 day blogging challenge! I did it! My second 30 day challenge of the year is done! I’ll blog about what I’ve learned! :D


Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

Popular Tutorials

  • Pinwheel Tutorial

  • Tissue Tassel Garland

  • Triple Pinch Pleat Curtains

  • Ikea Mini Kitchen Makeover


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You are free to pin to pinterest, or post my photos on your blog, but please give proper credit to my full name Jesyka D’Itri Marés (I know, I know, it's not the easiest name!), and you link back either the home page of this website, or the permalink of the original post (although, I'm sure your followers will thank you for the permalink!). I would LOVE to know if you enjoy my work enough to share it, so please don’t be shy and drop me an email!