Father’s Day DIY Gift – A Messy And Fun Present


For Father’s Day, we try to steer away from retail gifts. I might get George a cheap Father’s Day t-shirt or something for breakfast, but that is it. We are all about messy Father’s Day DIY gifts or personalized presents at the Moraga-Prior household.

That was also the way we gifted for Father’s Day when I was growing up, and I want to keep the tradition. In lieu of this, I had the kids create small paintings for dad. It was an easy outside project that kept them entertained for a while.

To do this, I bought 12×12 canvas and paint supplies. I prepped a table in the backyard and let the kids loose. Victor and Max are only 4 and 2, so their art skills are lacking, but they made up for it with a big dose of enthusiasm.

I don’t like to influence too much their “creative process”, but I would recommend, if you want to do the same Father’s Day DIY gift, to have some guidelines:

  • Kids can’t erase what they paint in a canvas, so it is better to have some idea of what they want to do and maybe sketch it first. This will work only for older kids. For clueless –but cute- children like Max, there is no way you can have a plan.
  • The clue to have a decent painting is to stop kids from working on them before it is too late. Once the painting looks good, take the canvas away (gently), otherwise they will keep on adding colors until everything is a brown jumble.
  • You can interfere a little bit, but only a little. With benign encouragement the painting can go for meh to wow.

With this in mind, the kids had a blast and created some beautiful art. The mess stayed outside in the yard or on their bodies – you can see Max’s photos below – and the kids had a wonderful time. Nobody died in the course of this project. In case you were wondering. Here are some photos in case you want to see.


Also, a post about Father’s Day t-shirts, gifts for men that like meat and science, and, a wonderful restaurant in LA République, in case you are wondering where to do brunch.

jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift22 jescafe.com-father's-day-gift2jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift19 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift18 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift48jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift50jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift49jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift11 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift12 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift20jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift40 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift42 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift8jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift41 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift39 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift37jescafe.com-father's-day-giftjestcafe.com-fathersday-gift17 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift33jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift35 jescafe.com-father's-day-gift6 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift26jescafe.com-father's-day-gift5jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift54 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift52jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift51jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift58 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift53 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift55jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift29jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift45 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift47 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift43 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift44jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift38 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift23jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift27 jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift28jestcafe.com-fathersday-gift25

Let Us Connect:

Before & After Campaign Dresser And A Trick To Help You Drill

jestcafe.com-howtodrill112I had to drill 128 wholes to finish this dresser in the photo above. 128 wholes that needed to be perfectly straight. Not an easy task.

Here is how the dresser looked like before:
jestcafe.com-beforeHere is how it looks now:
jestcafe.com-how-to-drill10Much better, don’t you think?

I wanted to go for a campaign dresser look. I added flat corners and pulls. Sprayed them gold and attached them to the dresser.

jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--4When I started drilling, I failed miserably. I couldn’t do a straight hole! If you don’t master a straight hole, the brackets end up crooked, so I needed to figure this out. Interesting how DIY bloggers mention drilling like it is the easiest thing to do when it is NOT. But it is not the hardest neither, once you learned this one trick that George mentioned:


To do this,

  1. First, look at the drill from above and make sure it is not tilted to the right or left. It needs to look like this:


2. Now, look from the side and make sure the same is true. Your drill needs to be perfectly straight. Not tilted to the bottom or up, so, don’t do this:jestcafe.com-howtodrill6Do this:
jestcafe.com-how-to-drill9 3. After making sure Step 1 and Step 2 are in place, apply force when drilling and you are done.

jestcafe.com-howtodrill8 jestcafe.com-howtodrill7jestcafe.com-howtodrill5jestcafe.com-howtodrill2

So there, now you know all the secrets to have a wonderful DIY life.


Also, a post on how to paint your walls, three beautiful flower arrangements, and a lavender wreath DIY.


Let Us Connect:

How To Install Wallpaper


Installing wallpaper for the first time is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult, time consuming and frustrating so you are better off leaving it for professionals.

My issue is that I don’t have the budget to leave it for professionals so I tried to do it myself, but I soon realized this project was way above my skills set so I brought my handy husband to the rescue like a damsel in distress.

There were two reasons why this project was more difficult for us than it should be for you:

  • The wallpaper I chose had a pattern that had to match exactly. No room for error.
  • My house was built in 1941 and has not been updated so the walls are crooked and uneven.

So, how did we do it and what did we learn? Let’s go step by step.


– Wallpaper – we used Underwater World from Hygge & West

– Wallpaper paste- we used a basic one that was very thick, so we had to add water to thin it

– Drop cloth

– Measuring tape

– Scissors

– Sponge

– Utility knife

– Bucket for water

– Tray to mix the paste

– Pencil

– Level

– Paint roller

– Smoothing tool


1) Prepare your walls

Most instructions on how to install wallpaper wants you do add wallpaper primer. Well, we didn’t. The wallpaper primer helps you stick the wallpaper to difficult surfaces like glossy paint…our walls are not glossy so my husband thought it was not necessary. We installed the paper 6 weeks ago and so far so good.

What did we do to prep the walls? We washed them and covered the holes. Also, please, sandpaper small imperfections! We didn’t do a good job at sanding small bumps and we almost ripped the paper when trying to smooth it out!!!

2) Cut the wallpaper

Measure the height of your wall and cut your first piece of wallpaper 4 inches longer than your wall’s height. If you care about which part of the wallpaper motif is on top of your wall and which one is in the bottom, you need to consider that when making these cuts. We didn’t care about this, so our starting point was the beginning of the  roll.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper8Arrange your wallpaper on the floor and line up patterns correctly. Cut the rest of your wallpaper so the pattern matches exactly.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper9 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper16jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper13jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper153) Mark your wall

Our wallpaper was 27 inches wide, so we marked our wall 26 inches from the edge (1″ less than the width of the wallpaper), to give us room for error (in case your walls are crooked).
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper4jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper7George did a line from the top to the bottom of the wall that was perfectly vertical, with the widest part being 26 inches. Again, our walls are uneven, so the line was not 26 inches from the side of the wall on all places. Use your level to create a vertical line.jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper3jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper424) Apply wallpaper paste

We soon realize our paste was too thick, see for yourself:jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper17 So we added water to thin it and then applied it to the back of the wallpaper. Place your drop cloth under the wallpaper to keep the paste from sticking to the floor.jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper185) Hang the wallpaper

Line up your first strip to the vertical line you created in step 3. You should have extra wallpaper on top, bottom, and side.

You have around 10 minutes to adjust your wallpaper after you hang it. It is important to keep that time frame in mind when you are trying to align the different strips.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper436) Smooth your wallpaper

After you hang the wallpaper, you will see it has wrinkles and bubbles. You need to smooth those out with a smoothing tool – we used one that was 6″ wide. Do this gently! from the center to the outside.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper207) Trim the edges

Use your utility knife to trim the edges and make sure the blade is VERY sharp, or you will tear the paper when trimming it.jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper28jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper44jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper278) Remove excess paste

Use your sponge and bucket with water to remove excess paste. If you don’t remove the extra paste, your wallpaper might get stained.

9) Hang next strip

When hanging the rest of the strips, you will see that it is difficult to have the patterns match exactly. Make sure that the pattern matches at eye level first; this helps align lower and higher levels later. Butt the edges together, don’t overlap them!  And remember the wallpaper will dry out in around 10 minutes, so you have that time to align patterns. Clean the seam with a wet sponge to remove excess paste.

10) Repeat and don’t stress out

Because installing wallpaper is hard and stressful, take your time to do this project and try to relax. A project like this will take you all day to complete if it is your first time so don’t hurry.

How to trim around windows 

When you reach a window hang the next length of paper so that it overlaps the recess. Make horizontal cuts in the paper to release it and, using your utility knife, trim the paper so it fits around the window sill. Trim the edges.

jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper41 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper31 On applying too much paste

For beginners like us, it was hard to figure out how much paste to apply on the wallpaper. Now we know that you don’t need a lot. Lightly damp is enough paste. If you apply too much this will happen to you:

Lots of paste can ruin your wallpaper because it can stain it and because it requires using your smoothing tool a LOT to get rid of the bubbles formed by the extra paste – if you have uneven walls this process could rip your paper, so be careful.

Final result

As hard as it was to do this project, it was totally worth saving the money by doing it ourselves. The wallpaper looks great and the job looks professionally done. Can you spot the seams in final photos below?
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper45 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper38 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper34 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper33 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper39

I hope these instructions are helpful! and good luck installing your own wallpaper! It will be hard but rewarding, just like creating this post.


Also, a post about how to paint your walls, cool wallpapers for a nursery, and, light fixtures for your living room.

Let Us Connect:

ORC – Week 5 – Building And Fixing Furniture

jestcafe.com-orc-wk512One Room Challenge – Week 5 –

For previous weeks, click here: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4

The most important news this week is that I have done my very first GIF. It is a total fail: I couldn’t keep the camera in one place (Max decided that moving the tripod with the camera on it was his Sunday’s priority), the photos are badly frame (vertical & horizontal lines are not straight), and the color of the pictures don’t match (taken at very different times of the day), but, as much as a bad GIF this one is, it took me forever to learn how to do it and it is my first one, so… ENJOY:


I am already nauseous watching that GIF! Too busy. Let’s look at that last photo instead:

jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5-9As you can see, we built bookshelves this weekend (and by we, I mean George). I was planning to buy a bookcase, but after looking at the space, and listening to Domicile 37‘s advice, I decided to build floating bookshelves instead. This decision opened up the space and helped fitting more books, because I custom built them to fit the space (again, by “I custom built it,” I mean “George custom built it” – love you, George).

I left an open area in the middle of the bookshelves so I could fit a painting I bought in Costa Rica from a painter that lives in Playa Carrillo, right in front of the sea. This man changed a busy life in the US for a quiet and modest life in Costa Rica. A beautiful way of growing old.jestcafe.com---orc-wk5-10The painting is not the obvious choice for this space. It is very colorful and noisy, but it fits just right for my taste. It brings a nice edginess to the bookshelves and it opens them up. It draws your eye and unclutters the shelves with that open space.

Deciding to use this painting was a difficult decision. I loved it, but I was afraid that a lot of readers wouldn’t. It is not the easy choice! A white, neutral, funny quote poster is the easy decision for here, but I have to be true to myself, and appeal to readers that like my aesthetics, so, why cheat? I went with the crazy red/blue girl painting instead.

For the big reveal, I will need to do a better job at styling these bookshelves, which means organizing 500 children’s books in a nice manner – an impossible task – I will probably put some books away for the shoot, but then they will come back to this original, messy position.
jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--2About the dresser:jestcafe.com--orc-wk5-4 I decided to style it like a campaign dresser. First, I bought these corners at Home Depot:jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--4 I didn’t want gold hardware, so I sprayed them with Rust Oleum – Antique Brass before installing them. Now I need to do a post on drilling! There are many details on how to drill appropriately. It is not as easy as pressing a button. Tutorial about it coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Here is how the corners look now (there is a general view of the dresser in another photo below):jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--6I am going to have to repaint some of the details with a small brush  because paint came off when installing them.
jestcafe.com - orc wk5 -7These are the bail pulls I ordered. I am hoping they will get here on time for me to spray and install them before next week. it will suck if they don’t. I don’t love the finish of the pulls, but it doesn’t matter because I will spray them before installing.

And now, about that gallery wall. If you follow this blog, you know what my method of doing gallery walls is not conventional. If you don’t know what I am talking about, here is a post about the topic.

As a reminder, here is how this wall looked before I started the challenge:jestcafe.com---orc-week-20And, here is how it looks right now:
jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--5(In this photo you can see how the dresser is coming out – I have a lot more drilling to do but I like how it looks)

I want this wall filled with art that I have collected throughout the years (I spoke a little bit about this plan on last week’s post), but I realized I don’t have enough to complete the wall, so, yesterday, I went to IKEA and bought a lot of frames of different sizes, then I made paper dummies of all the art I have and started playing this puzzle call “make a gallery wall that looks decent, if possible.” The photo above is what I ended up with. It is not perfect, there are some frames that I want to move around, but, overall, it looks pretty good! Next week it will look even better, when all that art is hanged where it belongs. I am planning to use of my own photos in some of these frames (cheapest solution), so today I went to Kinkos to get everything printed, and it should be done tomorrow…The clock is ticking. Wish me luck!

Here is my Instagram account, in case you want to follow what I do this upcoming week. Also, I want to thank Linda from Calling It Home for hosting this fun challenge.


Let Us Connect:

ORC – Jest Cafe – Wk3 – Painting Furniture

jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-1-This week, for the One Room Challenge, I had to make decisions about color for the bunk beds and storage units to organize the kids’ toys.

1) Storage units – As I mentioned in this post, I decided to buy Ikea furniture. If you buy furniture with pine finish, it is very easy to paint, unlike other IKEA finishes.  I bought two TROFAST storage units and tried deciding on a color later. I wanted a dark green, and I was deciding between Lawn Green or  Emerald Isle from Benjamin Moore. In the middle of this process, I saw this post from Justina Blakeney. Can you believe the coincidence? THE day I was trying to make this decision she posted that. Well, people, I believe in signs from life, and this was obviously one so I had to go with Emerald Isle. No regrets!jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-7 jestcafe.com--wk3-17 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-6 Here is the Emerald Isle color.jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-5 You definitely need two coats when painting IKEA pine furniture, and remember not to paint inside holes because you will need to assemble this furniture later and will need those holes to be their original size!jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-4 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-2jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-16This is how it looks now: after painting and assembling…I really like the green, even though this photo doesn’t make it justice… Also, the unit is great for storing toys because they give easy access to children.

2) Bunk Bed: I went back and forth about which color to use for the bunk bed. I thought about grey, yellow, but, ultimately, settled on white. I used decorator’s white – Benjamin Moore. Same color I used for the wall and ceiling. The furniture is glossy and the wall is flat.

I decided to use white to brighten up the room and give it some cohesiveness. Also, having a colorful bunk bed would have been too busy, as I already have an emerald storage unit and a yellow door. jestcafe.com--ORC-wk3jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-3 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-13 The kids love the bunk bed. Well, maybe love is an understatement, because they have decided to play and eat up there every single second of the day, which means an adult has to be near at all times because Max is only two and not able to make wise decisions regarding child safety.jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-9 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-14jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-11jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-12 I got this light fixture from IKEA. It has copper, just like the details of the wallpaper and I really like it. I think it looks good with the rest of the room, don’t you think? Copper is IN!

This coming week, I will be looking for art. I want to do a gallery wall on the blue wall. Other things I need to do are:
jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-10And, organize this mess:jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-15

Here is what went on in Week 1 and Week 2 of this challenge at my place.

Here is my Instagram account in case you want to follow other details of the #oneroomchallenge. Also, any advice on how to decorate this room is welcome!

Thanks for stopping by.



Let Us Connect: