Summer Project Inspiration

Well, hello there.

I’ve missed you.

Have you missed me? Don’t be coy ūüėČ

If you follow me on Facebook, you would know that I’ve been in a bit of a slump; crafter’s block, if you will.

It’s pretty frustrating to feel uninspired but I’ve somehow been able to keep myself busy with other things (ahem, life). I’ve never been more on top of laundry. Which, I know my family appreciates but it’s my least favorite chore.

In the next few weeks, I plan on shirking my household responsibilities completing several summer wardrobe projects in anticipation for a 5 day¬†trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico¬†with the hubs (no kids! Thanks to my¬†bestest¬†friend and¬†*other* soulmate, Hollie, for “volunteering” to keep them!), which, will take place mid-March. This is a work-related trip for him so there will be a few mandatory events that I need to keep in mind when deciding what to pack. Specifically, we will attend a formal Awards Banquet that I’ll need an outfit for and I’d love to DIY¬†it¬†(I’m thinking the sequin maxi below). I wore this to the banquet last year and I felt just a smidge too casual (I also just realized that I never showed you how I made the bodice. shame on me). The event is not really black-tie but it’s full of suits and evening gowns and, in case you haven’t met me, I’m not an evening gown kind of gal. So, I will definitely be going for separates.

I realize it’s still winter but, what better way to kick the gloomy weather blues than by immersing yourself in summer colors and daydreams of the beach?!? Sooo…today’s post is a list of DIY inspiration I’ve found out there in the blogosphere. Perhaps, these projects will motivate you as much as they have me.

Two Harbors Tote

Two Harbors Tote

 

La Vie En Rose Victoria's Secret Inspired Beach Cover-up

La Vie En Rose Victoria’s Secret Inspired Beach Cover-up

Prudent Baby Shirt Dress

Prudent Baby Shirt Dress

 

Cotton and Curls Tulip Wrap Skirt

Cotton and Curls Tulip Wrap Skirt

 

A Pair and a Spare Sequin Maxi Wrap Skirt

A Pair and a Spare Sequin Maxi Wrap Skirt

 

Sincerely Kinsey Urban Outfitters Inspired Lace Shorts

Sincerely Kinsey Urban Outfitters Inspired Lace Shorts

She is Red Glittered Sunnies

She is Red Glittered Sunnies

 

Manzanita Flip Flop Refahion

Manzanita Flip Flop Refahion

 

What I Wore Striped Summer Hat

What I Wore Striped Summer Hat

 

 

What do you think of these projects? I hope you’ve been inspired to start some summer projects of your own. If you do, please share them!

I’m off to walk the lake trail with the little one since we finally have some sunshine! I love Thursdays and I am so greatful¬†to have nice weather today.¬†Hey, that reminds me, I heard an interesting statistic the other day (not sure from where) that said that most women are happiest on Thursday. That was speculated to be a result of anicipation for the coming weekend but also attributed to the fact that most women have sex on Thursdays more than any other day of the week. I’m not really going anywhere with this except to say enjoy your day!

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DIY Leather Jewelry

I enjoy making jewelry. I love that I can have exactly what I want pretty much whenever I want it (impatient much?). As long as I can find the materials and the tools to manipulate them I’ll make it happen!

These are very simple and there are almost endless variations by changing materials, shapes, colors, finishes etc. I think that’s fantastic!

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Materials needed:

Scrap leather (or pleather if you choose)

closure (I used a lobster clasp)

metal chain

medium jump rings

leather punch (or, like me, a large embroidery needle, self healing mat and small hammer)

needle nose pliers and wire cutters (or jewelry pliers with the cutting thing)

earring hook things (don’t know what those things are called)

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I didn’t take step by step photos because this is pretty simple stuff.

Cut the leather in the shape(s) that you want. I did free-hand because I like the irregularities of handmade things but you could make a pattern by printing out some shapes from your computer.

Make small holes in the leather and insert jump rings where you need them.

For the necklace: just measure out the length you want and cut the chain into two pieces that put your leather piece where you want it. I did mine off center. Attach your clasp with jump rings.

For the earrings: I added a bit of chain and attached it along with the leather to the earring things.

See? Simple.

Just in case you are someone who doesn’t enjoy jewelry making like I do… visit my etsy shop where these items and more are available for purchase. During the month of December, for every $5 in purchases I am donating one item as a gift to women/girls that are victims of human trafficking. To learn more about the organization that handles the donations and the women that receive the gifts please email me!

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Sewing Machine Necklace (and a bonus Nowak Stir-fry)

I love to sew.

I also enjoy being able to make something that would otherwise never exist.

Enter, my 20 minute sewing machine necklace.

The inspiration for this came from a similar necklace I saw on Pinterest of a camera.

Buy it here on Etsy: MAKE PIE not war

It’s so adorable but I’m not a camera junkie (although I’m working on that so I can provide some better pictures for you guys). I googled for almost an hour trying to find a sewing machine that resembled it to no avail. When I finally admitted that what I wanted didn’t exist I decided to make one. Easy. Peasy. Right? ūüôā

Actually, yes!

Here is what I used

Lobster clasp and jump rings, chain, 20 gauge wire, wire cutters, needle nose pliers, white spray paint, and crude drawing plans

Figure out your shape and draw it on scratch paper. I went with a bit of an older looking machine. Then draw it out in the size you want the necklace to be. I made the starting point where the needle would be and then just fiddled with the wire and pliers until I got it close enough. Then I clipped the wire, twisted it to secure and then did some more fiddling until I had it right. After that, I took it outside and spray painted it. This is not necessary if you have silver or gold wire and like it that way. All I had was copper and I didn’t like the way it looked. I figure if I get tired of the white I can paint it any color I want as many times as I want.

Now on to the bonus: Yummy Stir-fry…Nowak style

This is sort of a¬†collaboration of my husband’s and mine. We received bok¬†choy, broccoli and red bell peppers from the co-op this week so we were inspired to do a stir-fry since we already had all of the other¬†ingredients on hand. We have made similar dishes before with a bit less luck (it always seems something is not quite right) though, we have never even bothered to seek out a recipe (not sure why??). What I’m telling you is that I don’t know if this is how a stir-fry is supposed to be made but this is how we made it and it was¬†yum. I think the key to this one turning out was the little bit of cornstarch added to thicken up the sauce a bit. Bear with me because this has a lot of ingredients. So, here you go.

**Important note: This serves EIGHT.¬†Enough for the four of us to eat a serving¬†and then the rest was mixed together in a foil casserole¬†dish, covered and put in the freezer. This is part of my current undertaking which I’m calling “operation-make-double-of-everything-and-put-half-in-the-freezer-in-order-to-avoid-fast-food-and-expensive-eating-out-during-Jonathan’s-football-season” (currently taking suggestions on a new name).

Supplies:

Wok

Steamer

Sauce Pan

Ingredients:

2 stalks (?) bok choy

3-4 broccoli crowns

1-2 carrots

1 large red bell pepper

1 medium onion (any)

3-5 cloves of garlic depending on size (smaller ones from the inside of the head are stronger so, 3 if they are small and 5 if they are large ones from the outside)

1 chunk of fresh ginger root (2-3 tbsp when minced)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cups of dry rice (I use jasmine but you can use any, really)

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp peanut oil

For the sauce:

1/2 cup mirin

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp Worcestershire (sp?)

1 Tbsp chile garlic sauce (this stuff)

1-2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 cup chicken stock

2-3 Tbsp corn starch

Spice Rub:

2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp chinese 5 spice

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp clove

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Garnish:

3 green onion stalks

1 Tbsp black sesame seeds

1 Tbsp white sesame seeds

Ok. Whew! That’s long!

First:

Cut the florets from the broccoli crowns and get them going in the steamer. Then make your rice. For Jasmine it’s one part rice two parts water. Cook the broccoli until its just before tender as it will cook a bit more later.

Next:

Prep your other veggies. I did matchstick-ish cuts on the carrots but you could also just grate them. The pepper got a medium dice. The green onions I sliced on the bias. The big onion sliced in little inch long bits and the garlic and ginger was minced.

Meanwhile, Bo prepared the chicken breast by trimming and cutting it into bite sized pieces then seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and then the spice rub. Place it in a bowl and set aside.

Heat up your wok. Mix together all of the wet sauce ingredients and then whisk the cornstarch in until most of the lumps are gone.

Add the oils to the wok and allow to heat just until it starts to smoke then add the chicken. Cook the chicken through then add the bok choy, carrots, onions and bell pepper. Cook until almost tender then add the ginger and garlic and cook for just another minute or two. Add the broccoli and the sauce and cook just until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Plate with rice on the bottom, spoon the stir-fry over and top with green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Eat with chopsticks!

Please reprimand me in the comment section if I left something out or it doesn’t make sense…the little one is tugging at me saying “hold you, mommy. hold you?” so, gotta go!

**UPDATE**

I forgot to mention that you can regrow bok¬†choy from the discarded end piece. Cut about 2 inches from the bottom and place it cut side up in a bowl of shallow water and¬†in a spot that has¬†some natural light. After a couple of days you can plant it in soil with the dirt coming up to just cover the original cut part with the new growth exposed. In a month or two¬†it should be ready to harvest. You can then replant it as you did the first time. It’s an endless cycle!! See my “grow it” page for a list of other veg you can do this with.

The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible

This book has been invaluable to me. As a beginner in sewing, techniques like darts, french seams and linings were¬†complicated aspects of commercially made clothing that I figured I would simply never be skilled enough to accomplish. Just as The Bible¬†is sort of a ‘How to do everything in Life’ for Christians, The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible is just as comprehensive for the novice seamstress.

Information about essential tools, a guide to body shapes and fashion silhouettes, a glossary of terms and a fabric guide are all included. With easy to follow instructions that include pictures and illustrations you will learn about how to create sleeves, tucks, pleats, collars, embellishment and much more. In many cases, it is explained how to complete a technique by hand and with a machine. Even useful resources beyond the book including websites and magazines. If you’re a beginner or even intermediate sewer there is plenty of helpful information in this book. I definitely recommend it.

Turn a Lined Skirt Into a Dress

 

My Grandma gave me this skirt she found at a thrift store.¬†It’s an Old Navy skirt that looks brand new¬†since there is¬†no fading¬†at all. It was a little too big and an unflattering length but it had a great coral lining and I¬†knew I could do something with it.¬†Here’s how I¬†turned it into a dress.

 

1. Turn the skirt inside-out and separate from the lining with the lining inside-out as well. Determine how wide you want your neckline, mark the middle point of the bottom edge of the lining (which will become the shoulders and neck) then measure out your neckline evenly centered. Pin and sew each edge up to neckline marks backing over beginning and ending stitches to secure.

2. Figure out how big you want your armhole to be and measure down from shoulder seam then cut the outer seam off creating an opening. I finished my armhole by just doing a zig zag stitch along the edge but you could fold over and hem if you like.

 

3. Measure a straight line down from your middle mark and cut in from top to open up the neckline (cut only on the front of the dress).

4. Zig zag stitch along the raw edges or hem.

 

5. & 6. I added a personalized tag by using a t-shirt transfer and  ironing directly onto the inside of the dress.

 

7. Measure and mark the desired hemline and cut.

8. Finish the edge as you have done the others and you’re done! (by the way, I lightly ironed my “collar” outward to achieve the look in the final picture)

 

 

Slacks to Skirt Refashion

Like I said yesterday, this is my favorite of the refashions so far and I wore it only for about three hours and got tons of compliments. It was fun to be at such a beautiful event where I know people wear their best and every time someone tells me “You look gorgeous! Love the dress!” I just snicker to myself knowing that¬†I made¬†this ūüôā …from hideous over-sized MC Hammer-like way-too-pleated $2 slacks from Goodwill!

This really could not be more simple. Grab some slacks from a second-hand¬†store (or your dad, grandpa, husband’s closet). Mine were actually women’s pants which is really not necessary. All that matters is that you like the material.

Turn them inside out and fold them in half. Making sure all of the fabric is straight and the legs are lined up. Pull the crotch out so it looks like the picture below. Using a ruler and tailor’s chalk mark a line straight down from just below the end of the zipper to wherever that straight line lands at the edge of the pant leg.

Now measure how long you want your skirt and add an inch then mark with your chalk and ruler.

These are your cut marks. Make sure the cut up near the crotch is as straight as possible.

Now, open it up and fold in half like you’re going to iron a crease. This will give you two open sides which will end up the middle front and middle back seams of the skirt. Pin down these sides and sew together.

IF the pants previously fit in the waist then all you have left to do is hem the bottom.

For me, my pants were not just too big in the waist but they were waaaay to big through the hips (did you see all that pleating?) and thighs.

I also wanted a curvy shape that tapered at the bottom but had plenty of room in the hips. So I just sewed from the top of the waistband down to the bottom in the shape I wanted.

I didn’t get any pictures of this step but I did a little drawing for your amusement (and clarification). Red is the sew line. As you can see, I had to sew the pockets closed, which I’m still not very happy about but, trying to keep them and get this thing to fit properly would have required more time than¬†I had available (I made¬†it at midnight a couple of days before the wedding).

There you have it, folks. In case you were wondering, yes, I made the bodice as well. It wasn’t a refashion but it was made from clearance fabric ūüôā . It’s a bit more complicated as it’s completely fitted with seam shapes I’ve never attempted before but, it turned out as I wanted. One day, I will share with you how I did it.

Also, the earrings, made those too ūüôā tutorial is coming soon.

And for those of you that are interested the bag is vintage (it was my mom’s) and the shoes are my newest obsession. Vera Wang (got em 60% off though!). I got a ton of complements on these too. Can you see why?

 

 

Thrifted Blouse to Simple Summer Bag

I’m loving this bag! Oddly, it seems to go well with a lot of things I own. I guess because I tend to go for neutrals but, it’s great because this adds a little lot of color and interest to anything I wear it with. My favorite thing about this bag is that you use the buttons of the shirt to open and close it. It’s not as fast as a zipper or a snap but it’s a cute and unique detail.

I’m proud to say that I snagged this blouse at my favorite thrift store for only $1.50. I wasn’t sure what I would do with it but I loved the colors and couldn’t pass it up at that price.

I didn’t do a lining or pockets because I wanted this to be extremely simple and I didn’t want to stiffen it by adding¬†an extra layer fabric.¬†I like the way it slouches due to the blousy fabric.

Here’s what you need to make one:

Large colorful blouse

Scissors & pins

Sewing matching and thread

  1. Cut off the shirt across the armpits and along the side seams.
  2. Fold in half, side seams meeting and right sides facing in. Pin and sew. I recommend a straight stitch about a 1/4 inch in and then go back and zig zag stitch along the edge to prevent fraying.
  3. Cut a strip of fabric from the back panel of the shirt about 20 inches long and 8 inches wide.
  4. Fold in half lengthwise with right sides facing. Pin and sew along long edge.
  5. Turn strap inside out and gather (pleat) the ends. Sew across pleats to hold in place.
  6. Unbutton and put the ends of the strap at each of the top corners lining up the stitches you just made on the ends of the straps with the point where you will sew up the sides. I twisted my strap for interest.
  7. Line up the corners and sides then pin in place making sure you keep your straps correctly lined up.
  8. Sew along the edges about 1/4 inch in from sides then zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

That’s it! Easy, huh?

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another thrift store find refashion. Tomorrow’s is BY FAR my favorite! I wore it to a wedding last weekend and got a thousand (give or take ūüėČ )complements!

Thrifted Dress Refashion

I love the way this turned out. I grabbed¬†it at a local thrift store for $5. ūüėÄ

 

 

The refashion was simple. I cut the neckline into a V and the back into a tapered square. Then cut it short and hemmed. VERY quick and easy!

If you like this one, stick around this week because I have several other refashions from items that I picked up on the same thrifty trip. One of them being that bright striped bag you see in the pictures.

Dress and bag: Thrifted Refashion Shoes and belt: Thrifted Earrings: Self-made Bracelet: F21

 

 

Southwest Style Day Two: Jewelery Jewelery Jewelery!

Howdy! Hey, I know it’s late and you’ve been waiting for this all day (ok, maybe not) but, here it is.

Day two of my Southwest Style fiesta is all about jewelery. DIY jewelery to be exact.

I don’t have step by step pictures for you as I’ve been feverishly working on this stuff for the past two days with interruptions, snafus, material hunting and blisters (aaand gluing my fingers together ūüė¶ ).

I’m going to give you a quick run-down of how these little beauties were made. And let me also disclaim that I realize this is not your traditional southwest jewelery. It’s my modern take after being inspired by searching the web.

Before you scroll down to read my secrets, try to guess what materials I used ūüôā you might be surprised.

1. Bronzy Feather Pendant

Materials used:

  • Chain, jump rings, lobster clasp and one of those long pieces of wire with the loop on the end for beads…I’m drawing a blank
  • homemade salt dough try this recipe¬†from the lovely katy¬†elliott
  • metallic brush markers in black and bronze
  • Pliers

I made the dough then shaped my feather then stuck in the bead thing. Once it was hardened (took about a week) I used the black marker to get into the nooks and crannys then several coats of the bronze. Attached a jump ring to the feather and one end of the chain, lobster clasp on other end and you’re done!

2. Suede Tassel Earrings

Materials used:

  • Two different colors of suede fringe (I got them at Wal-mart $1 for 8 ft)
  • Chain, two large jump rings and two small, earring thingamajig (man, I am on the ball tonight)
  • gorilla glue or some other fast drying glue that dries clear
  • wire cutters, pliers

I used two 8 inch lengths of turquoise suede and two 8 inch lengths of orange then cut four 4 inch lengths of chain. Line up one turquoise and one orange together then fold in half and knot onto one of the large jump rings. Attach two pieces of chain to a small jump ring and then attach that to the big one then attach to earring thing.

3, 4 and 5

All of these use the same materials:

  • Shoebox (yep!)
  • chain, jump rings, earring do-daddys, lobster clasps
  • Metallic Silver Paint pen
  • Scissors/utility knife and pliers

I cut up a shoe box to make it flat then drew my designs and cut them out. Painted¬†two coats (front and back) with the paint pen. I used my seam ripper to make holes for the jump rings. Easy peasy ūüôā

6. Painted Leather Earrings

Materials:

  • Leather ( I cut mine from an old purse)
  • acrylic paint
  • stencil (optional)
  • scissors
  • jump rings, chain…you know the drill

I cut the leather in the shape I wanted then painted. For the white part I used a stencil after the yellow was dry. Attach rings, chain etc.

7. Glittery Fox Pendant

Materials:

  • Same as 3, 4, and 5 except instead of the silver paint I used some gold nail polish and gold glitter

You may want to finish up with a spray sealant to keep your fox from ‘shedding’ (tee hee)

So, that’s it folks!

Have a great evening and don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for more Southwest Style fun. I have a really neat project that’s ready for the sharing!