27 October 2011

DIY Tutorial : Stained-Glass/Kaleidoscope Cut-outs

In making some of these for fall, I was reminded that I meant to write up this tutorial to share back when we made them for Valentines Day this year! Oops! Better late than never though!  
I've grown up making these with the family and it's such a simple project that can be adapted for any holiday, season or event. So pull out your crayons and iron and lets get melting!

wax paper | your old and broken crayons | a pairing knife or veggie peeler | old towel |
 iron | scissors | cookie cutters
optional: hole punch and ribbon

Step one: Make crayon shavings using your pairing knife or veggie peeler

Step two: Lay a sheet of wax paper on your ironing board. Make small groupings of your crayon shavings-- the more sparse your shavings, the more of a see-through effect you'll achieve in the end. Lay a second sheet of wax paper on top of the shavings. Now lay the old towel on top of everything.

Step three: Press your iron on top of the towel, paper and crayon shavings. Don't leave it on long though! Press. Lift. Check the melting process. Repeat until shavings are melted. Carefully turn the two sheets of wax paper over and repeat ironing process to melt other side.

Step four: lay your cookie cutter on top of the melted crayon and trace the shape onto the wax paper. 

Step five: Now for the tricky part. VERY carefully cut the shape out. The crayon may threaten to fall out of the wax paper but try to keep it in!

Step six: When your shape is cut out, lay it on top of the old towel. Very gently and lightly run the tip of the iron along the edges of the cut out to seal them. 

 Step seven: This is an optional step-- If you want to hang your cutouts in the window to achieve the full stained-glass effect, punch a hole in the cut-out and hang with ribbon.

26 October 2011

if I were a painter...

Norah Jones songs always run through my head but this time of year... two lines in particular:

I can't paint for the life of me. I can't even sketch. But if I were a painter... here are a few {or rather several;)} of the images I've taken recently which I would paint. I'm just so thankful Jesus gave me a camera to capture them. It supplements my missing painting skills. 
{all images belong to me, please ask before copying or reusing! thanks much!}

see more here

25 October 2011

DIY Tutorial: Handcrafted Letter Cards

I ran into a quandary a few weeks ago... I needed some stationary! I had cards but... well, frankly, unless I'm being super short and sweet, cards just don't give enough room! I was thinking about hand stamping/designing some stationary of my own {which I probably still will do} when I ran across this photo on pinterest. Instantly I had the idea to make little cards which had more than one page to them!

Thus, this simple tutorial was born:) Since I was in a hurry, I just brushed a few strokes of paint to the card stock but if you have more time, there are so many ways you could decorate them!
{Add a few more pages and you'll have a simple jot book for yourself or as a gift!}

one sheet of 8 x 11 card stock | one sheet of computer paper | pens, markers, stickers...anything you wish to use to decorate outer cover | sewing machine or stapler | scissors

Step one: Cut 7 1/2" x 5 3/8" rectangles out of your card stock and computer paper

Step two: decorate one side of your card stock

Step three: If you wish, draw or stitch lines onto your computer paper

Step four:  Lay your two computer paper rectangles on the back {or inside} of your card stock rectangle. Mark a line down the middle and then either stitch down the line or staple. {If you use your sewing machine, be sure to back stitch a few times to make it more secure}

Step five: fold in half and compose a letter to someone!

Use THIS TEMPLATE to make an envelope to match:)

07 October 2011

l'armoire part 3

And if you haven't read parts 1 & 2 yet, click *here* or *here*

 I've spoken to so many girls who ask me, "how in the world do you find good stuff at thrift stores?! I never do!!". 
The trick? Patience.
 I know, I know. And of all people I probably lack patience the most. But it's worth it.

Ultimately: don't expect to go thrifting and find a gold mine! Sometimes you do but most times you don't! It's always hit or miss:) And it's totally okay to only walk out of there with one or two finds!

Keep your eyes open for the unexpected and don't be afraid to branch out a little from your usual style. And don't necessarily put something back you love just because there is something you don't like about it-- if you know you could change that part. At the same time,  don't fill your closet with things that need a little altering but you'll never get to! I learned that the hard way! Only take it home if you have a purpose and plan to refashion it soon.
That also reminds me to point out- don't be afraid to pass something up if you don't *really* love it. Cause otherwise you'll just end up with a closet full of things that you *kinda* like but rarely wear. It's okay to be choosy! {Also learned this the hard way!}

Another thing. For the longest time I would get so frustrated because nothing ever fit! I'd find cute skirts but they'd rarely be my size. Shirts were always too short or stretched out or too big. Then I started to learn little tricks to make things work when I didn't feel like altering the piece of clothing.

For skirts: If it already has a few pleats or some fullness, typically you can get away with safety pinning the waist in the back as long as you wear a wide belt or long cardigan over top.
For shirts: Tuck. Belt. and tuck some more! And if you layer pieces it really helps with this. 
For dresses: Too short?  Tuck it in to jeans or a skirt and make it a top. Or add just the right skirt underneath to extend the hem temporarily. 
For shoes: sadly there's no help here. they either fit or they don't.

Obviously each item of clothing is different and these tricks won't work on everything but it can't hurt to try. Definitely avoid bulkiness with all your pinning, tucking and belting! That's never classy! You want the pieces to look natural- not like you've had to wrap it around you 15 times! I'm not always successful here either so keep trying!!

Btw-- if you were wondering-- sizes in my closet range anywhere from a 14 girls to a 12 womens...

I hope these posts were helpful {if you're wading through piles of clothes you don't wear!!} and encouraging {you can have a great wardrobe and not spend much!}! Remember this is a process... and one that takes continual refining to fit your style and the way you do things. Things rarely happen overnight and they certainly didn't with me:)
Feel free to send more questions my way!


06 October 2011

Recipe: New Orleans Style Beignets

I had beignets {french doughnuts} for the first time ever at Le Dolce Vita Patisserie back in August. Oh were they scrumptious. It's a very good thing that I live 45 minutes from the pastry shop!! But even then, I still wanted to have them for a treat every once in a while so I was thrilled when I ran across this recipe from Our Best Bites.  I thought they would be pretty complicated to make and I'd never deep fried anything before. But they ended up being quite simple and you can go from first ingredients to melt in your mouth goodness in just an hour!

You ask, "why didn't you give me a heads up that you'd be making them and invite me over?" Well I had to see if the recipe would turn out first! {aka. that I wouldn't make 'em flop like I did cream puffs a few years back. pastries aren't usually my friends.} So until my official beignet party (*wink**wink*) here's the recipe so you can make some of these guys for yourself. Oh and since they are really only good fresh and the recipe makes quite a good amount, you should make sure you have others around to help you eat them {that's where my big family comes in handy!}.  Enjoy!

Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. table salt
3 1/2-4 c. all-purpose flour
1 scant tablespoon dry active yeast
1/2 c. warm (about 105 degrees) water
1 egg
Peanut oil for frying
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 c. sugar, vegetable oil, and salt.  Heat over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan.  Remove from heat.
While the milk is heating, combine the yeast and 1 Tbsp. of sugar with 1/2 c. water.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until it’s very bubbly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the heated milk and 2 c. flour.  Mix, scraping the bowl occasionally, until smooth (about 2-3 minutes).  Add the egg and mix until well-combined.  Add the yeast mixture.  Add enough flour to make a soft dough that slightly sticks to your finger.
At this point, you can either place the dough in a bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and cover with a piece of sprayed plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough up to 1 day or you can roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.  Either way, when you roll it out, roll it into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick.  Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into about 3″x4″ rectangles.  Slightly separate the dough pieces and cover with a clean cloth.  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
When the dough has about 15 minutes left to go, heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil in a large skillet or saucepan to 325 degrees (just use a candy thermometer).  When the oil is heated, fry the dough pieces for about 90 seconds-2 minutes per side or until they are golden.  Carefully remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Place some powdered sugar in a fine-mesh strainer and sprinkle the powdered sugar generously over the beignets.  Serve immediately.  Makes about 24-30 beignets.

Our Best Bites has way prettier pictures-- mine were taken at night and I was more intent on not burning them and eating them than taking pictures!

l'armoire part 2

I have been asked numerous times where I shop, where I find my clothes/accessories and what my favorite store is. Since I have all of my clothes in my closet right now {remember, I've yet to pull the spring/summer stuff out} it made it pretty simple to figure up some percentages.

Out of my clothes and shoes 
{not including pj's, excersize & dirty-project clothes, underthings, socks, tights)

71% are from thriftstores, consignment shops or garage sales
21.7% I have purchased brand-new {but usually for dirt cheap prices}
7.2% have been gifted to me

Out of my scarves, jewelry, hair flowers & misc. accessories

8.9% are from thriftstores, antique/vintage shops consignment shops or garage sales
22.3% I have purchased brand-new {and usually for dirt cheap prices}
55.2% have been gifted to me
13.4% are made by me

And if you really wanted to know- I do buy all of my underclothes, socks & tights brand new cause it's just *gross* otherwise!

There were times growing up when a huge percentage of my clothes were hand me downs {which I love!} but it's very rare that I receive them now. 
I don't worry too much about brand names or such cause to me it's more about each item of clothing {what it's like, how much I like it} and the price I have to pay for it.... yet at the same time, if I do own something with a swanky or posh name attached to it-- I totally appreciate that and don't take it for granted;)
Oh and I might add that an inexpensive price tag {or expensive for that matter} isn't everything. I do take into account quality.  {for example: Charlotte Russe has cute stuff and with a sale you can come away paying little but their quality is awful and everything is cheaply made}

Check back for part 3 about thrifting and fitting tips!


05 October 2011

mixin' the patterns

Lovin' the gorgeous weather today!! Hope you're getting some of it wherever you are!!

Here are some of the mixed-pattern outfits I've come up with over the last couple of months. Though most of these outfits were all photographed at once-- it's only because I forgot or was too lazy to photograph them when I *actually* wore them!

 I do hope they hold inspiration for you if you've been wanting to mix up your patterned pieces a bit!! {p.s. I'm ashamed of all the wrinkled clothes! sheesh! I should have held a huge ironing session right before snapping all the pics!!}

cardigan: thrifted/Old Navy | shirt: thrifted/Gap | skirt: thrifted/Gap | necklace: A&E

blouse: Walmart | pink skirt: thrifted/Candie's | polka-dot skirt: thrifted/The Limited | belt: Kohls | shoes: yardsale/Payless
 cardigan: thrifted/ | blouse: thrifted/Arizona | skirt: thrifted/vintage | necklace: yardsale | belt: gift | shoes: thrifted/Target
cardigan: thrifted/Delias | tanktop: Children's Place | skirt: thrifted/Candie's
dress: thrifted/Target | blouse: yardsale: NY&Co. | skirt: thrifted/The Limited | belt: gift | sandals: Meijer | bracelet made by me

blouse: Walmart | dress: yardsale/Old Navy | owl necklace: yardsale | beaded necklace: gift
graphic tee: Ellyn's/Meijer | tanktop: Children's Place | skirt: thrifted/Gap
 shirt: thrifted/Gap | floral skirt: thrifted/NY&Co. | polka-dot skirt: thrifted/The Limited | necklace: yardsale | shoes: thrifted/Target
dress: yardsale/Collective Clothing | skirt: thrifted/Express | cami: thrifted
 shirt: thrifted/ | belt: Steve & Barry's | skirt: thrifted/The Limited | bracelet: gift | shoes: thrifted/Nine West

shirt: Target | cami: Meijer | belt: gift | skirt: vintage refashion | cardigan: thrifted/Gap | sandals: Meijer

 cardigan: Old Navy | cami: thrifted | skirt: thrifted/The Limited | shoes: thrifted/Target

{thanks to Ellyn for snapping the photos for me:)}