Sometimes things go well. Sometimes they do not.

When you try a DIY or something from a blog or Pinterest you hope, you cross your fingers, you throw caution to the wind and think … it TOTALLY seems like it would work. Why wouldn’t it?  And then it doesn’t. You throw out $25 worth of ingredients or materials and every bit of your hope, confidence and faith in making a pair of wedding worthy chandelier earrings out of bowtie macaroni, goes right down the drain. And garburator.

Do not be alarmed.  It’s not you.  It’s them.  O.K., sometimes it’s you.   It’s happened to me too though.  In fact there’s an entire website dedicated just to Pinterest fails.  Sometimes if you click on it you’ll even see people who have tried my DIYS and failed.

The thing with blogs is, all it takes is a good photo and even the most horrendous craft can look kind of appealing.

But not every single DIY on the Internet is a big, fat, fail waiting to happen.  This month I gave two a shot and BOTH of them turned out perfectly including the monogrammed mug at the top of this post.

Today’s post is dedicated to two blog DIYS that actually worked.




A few years ago there were a lot of Pins about how you can draw on any mug with a Sharpie, bake it in the oven and VOILA, your design is permanently stuck on the mug.  Or dish, or bowl or baby or whatever it is you want to draw your design on permanently.

I had a hunch this one wasn’t going to work so I did a bit of research and discovered it would only work with OIL based Sharpies.  Not the regular sort of Sharpies you can pick up at the corner store. I searched everywhere and couldn’t find these supposedly easy to find oil based Sharpie Paint pens anywhere normal like Walmart, Target or Staples, so I gave up.

If you’re in The United States you can find these paint pens easily on Amazon, and they’re cheap.

If you’re in Canada you can find these paint pens easily on Amazon, where they aren’t quite as cheap.

I don’t now if I didn’t check Amazon at the time or I just decided if I couldn’t find them at a store where I could also buy some ground beef and a tricycle then I wasn’t going to buy them.

Then one day I was in an art supply store I go to a lot when I noticed half an aisle dedicated to every colour of Sharpie in the world.  They had both regular Sharpies and the elusive oil based Sharpie.  So I picked up a few in black, white and gold, stuck them in a drawer and promptly forgot about them.  (I have a very jam packed brain filled with all manner of things including but not limited to why men, and only men, leave their shopping carts in the centre of the grocery store aisle while they browse)

A few weeks ago I was rummaging through my basement and came across a stash of mugs from the Dollar Store I had bought way back when I thought I’d try this technique when the Pin first became popular.  I brought them upstairs, washed them and started my research again.

Seems a lot of people have tried a bunch of different ways to make this technique work, with not a lot of success.  Except one woman.  Jen.

Jen did a post on writing on mugs with a Sharpie one year ago repeating all the problems I was having or could foresee.  And then she figured it out.

You can read her full tutorial here.  Now that I know this works I’ll be expanding my Sharpie/Mug repertoire.


Click here to see exactly how Jen made this technique work.  It’s easy.  It all has to do with timing and oven temperature.




Then there’s Amanda from Our Humble Abode.  I came across her post on making a knife block for a drawer.  She said she didn’t know what took her so long to do it.  It’s an easy DIY.  HEY!  I didn’t know what was taking me so long to do it!  I needed a knife block in my drawer!

So the second I came across her post I started making a knife block. And it worked.  You can read her full tutorial here.

The big mistake I made was assuming this wasn’t going to work.  I do this sort of thing all the time.  Don’t put enough time or energy into something just assuming it won’t work and then holy crap, it works, and I wish I’d used better materials or took more time with the project.

I had a block of maple I could have used but I didn’t want to use it in case this didn’t work out.  And now that I’ve done it (using an old spruce 2X4) it’ll be another decade before I muster up the bother to make another, better one.

And by then something better than knives will maybe be invented.  Or a 3-D meat printer that prints out already cut meat.


So yeah, the Internet is a big, fat liar.

Just not always.  These two DIYS from other blogs I tried both worked, were easy and actually practical.  That’s the holy trinity of the blog world.

And if I get the angle and lighting just right I’m sure I’d be able to turn either one of these projects into a pair of Pinterest worthy chandelier earrings.  All it takes is one good photo.


Instagram though? Now that’s a fun place. Follow me on Instagram please.


  1. Toby Earp says:

    You are better off with the spruce, Esteemed DIY Lady Blogger Karen.

    Although maple is a relatively soft hardwood, it will still dull your blades faster than a true softwood, of which spruce is a fine example. So your actual choice of materials is yet another instance in which your posse of guardian angels was on the job.

    You may regret the snaggly cuts you had to photograph for the story, but that’s all !

  2. kathleen says:

    Did you use a stencil for your “k”? I love the typewriter font.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathleen! I actually just hand drew the “K’. I used google images and searched “k” and just found a font I liked and drew it on the cup. If you make a mistake it’s easy to just wipe it off with nail polish remover. :) ~ karen!

  3. Julie says:

    Men have NO cart etiquette in any way, shape or form. I drive the cart when shopping anywhere with my husband. Costco is the worst. He will randomly walk away from the cart, middle of the aisle, mind boggled by the bulk buying possibilities. It’s awful.

  4. Paula says:

    Sharpie’s arrived today…to be continued on Friday…

  5. kelli says:


    The size, the shape…and especially that initial.

    Can’t imagine why. :)

  6. I will not be trying this DIY – but I appreciate that you took the time to see if they would work!

    However, HAVE to know – where did you get that silver circle ring??? LOVE IT!!!

  7. Jan in Waterdown says:

    While I do think that your knife drawer is a thing of beauty, mine has waaay too many knives to use that method. Cue commercial for Lee Valley’s knife guards which are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They protect one’s searching fingers and the blades from damage and allow for a plethora of stuff in said drawer. I’m so glad I got to use the word plethora.
    As to men leaving their shopping carts mid-aisle, the worst offenders cartwise are not gender specific but Costco specific. Gawd, they’re all idiots, well mostly, especially the entitled weekend shoppers! Don’t get me started. Oooops, too late. The best one yet, actually happened in the parking lot, when a guy with a loaded cart couldn’t find his car and went down the wrong row so he “parked” his cart in a spot, found his car then drove over to his cart. I was laughing so hard, tears squirt from my eyes!

  8. SunGold says:

    Did you use the Bling Wipes that are “an absolute must!” for the mug? on they’re $62.05, but on $12 with free shipping over $35…so, let me get this right. For buy 3 for $36 ($50.48cad), and get free shipping.

    I ask again, did you use the Bling Wipes?????

    • Karen says:

      No, lol. She doesn’t actually say to use the Bling Wipes for cleaning the mug. The Bling Wipes are part of her post which is making a little present for a newly engaged woman. She stuffs the mug with a little packet of coffee, a ribbon and a packet of “Bling Wipes” which are for cleaning diamonds. In this case the new engagement ring. ~ karen!

  9. mayr says:

    There’s that gorgeous ring again!
    Me want.

  10. Debbe Van Ness says:

    Ok, so men aren’t the only gender to leave grocery carts in the middle of the aisles at the store. I have a very VERY bad habit of doing that. I don’t do it because I’m rude. I just get so distracted by all of the pretty packaging and all. I even walk away and leave my purse sitting in the cart.

    Second, would the oil-based Sharpies work for your homemade salad dressing markers? Probably can’t put the bottle in the oven, though. Just wondering.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbe – I do use the black oil basked Sharpie for my salad dressing markers! But they’ll still wipe off if you let too much oil drip down the side and wipe at them. So you still have to be a bit careful but they’re the best things I’ve tried by far to date. I think you actually could put the glass bottles in the oven as long as you put them in and THEN turn the oven on so they raise up to temperature gradually. Also I wouldn’t want to bake them at a very high temperature. Low and slow for a longer period of time. If I remember I’ll do an experiment and let you know. ~ karen!

  11. Ev Wilcox says:

    There is a line of grocery stores in Northeast Ohio called “Marc’s”. The everything in these stores is cheaper than elsewhere, mostly. They are primarily grocery stores, with junk. Their aisles are just a bit narrower than most grocery stores, and thoughtless shoppers, MOSTLY WOMEN, are a real pain you know where! As I am also a woman, this is not a gender bashing statement, just a fact! Some days, one just would like to stand in an aisle and just scream, but no, one resists. Just sayin’ that aisle hogs come in both genders. Also, I have some of the oil based markers, and will be trying out the coffee mug thing! Thanks Karen!

  12. Patricia Reed-Pederson says:

    I received a very nice magnetic wall mount knife holder for Christmas (which I asked for). Love, love, love it. Wanted to thank you for two posts. I ordered the treadmill and use it daily. I also got the knife sharpener and that device has saved knives I would have otherwise thrown out. Hey, the mug is adorable!. Thanks bunches!

  13. Audrey says:

    If only I had an empty draw in my kitchen. I love my gadgets – ravioli cutter, handy little tool that cuts the centres out of cupcakes, ice cream scoops in a variety of sizes (can’t have too many of those, three knife sharpeners and two steels — just to name a few.

  14. Jane S says:

    Your knife drawer made me angry. I’m just so jealous that you have an entire empty drawer to use for knives.

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