Friday, December 30, 2011

DIY Tote Update/Personalize it!

Good afternoon, friends!
Just a very quick note from me today. I'm overwhelmed here! There's so much to be done before John gets home and I haven't even started... oops!
I want to give you a few little tips and tricks for totes. Have you ever gotten a free tote? I get them all the time. I get them at events or from retailers and they're so useful, but I dislike the logos. The one I worked with today came from Victoria's Secret. I like VS, but I don't want to carry around a tote with their logo plastered across it. I decided that it was time to cover it up! And if you have a tote that you want to cover up, or maybe just a plain tote you want to spice up... take a look!
There are three methods for covering:
Just the ribbon
A) Fabric. I didn't picture this, but the easiest way is to take a patch of fabric and got glue it right over the logo. You can leave it at that, or you can embellish it. If you want to embellish it, keep reading.


B) Ribbon. This is what I did. I took 2 strips of ribbon (because I didn't have one that was wide enough) and hot glued it right over their logo. Ideally, I would have put a third in the middle of the two to create some pretty lines. It would have been red underneath and then a pink ribbon running down the middle above. For the record, the ribbon that I used is the exact same shade of red as the sequence, but for some reason it didn't photograph that way. 


Gathered flower
C) Bling. Crystals, silk flowers, whatever! You can do this alone if it's a smaller logo, or you can count this as embellishment for the ribbon/fabric.


Now let's talk about embellishment.
I would have loved to do sequence all the way across the ribbon in a contrasting shade, but I didn't have any on hand. So, I did a few options with what was available.
Gathered flower + la vie
If you didn't catch yesterday's blog about THE DIY RUFFLE SHIRT, I mentioned that I was really into using gathered fabric lately. So, the first thing I did was gather a piece of fuchsia taffeta to use with the tote. I did it two ways, one was stretched across the center of the ribbon (to hide the seam) and the second was rolled into a flower. The former, you can see it pictured as the blog photo at the top. For the latter, I added a third piece of ribbon (I wish it was bright pink!) and wrote "la vie en rose" on it with a sharpie. 
I also threw on some silk flowers. I didn't love it with the ribbon, but a cluster of them on a simple canvas tote would be pretty.
You could also cover the ribbon or fabric with a stamp. Just press the stamp into some acrylic paint, or for more intricate details/better control, brush it on with a paint brush.
There is so much more that could be done here, but this is just a general idea.
The magnets inside of the tote
The other thing I want to show you is much more exciting! This is just a silly little tip, but it's fun. I discovered that if you hot glue magnets on the inside of your tote, you can not only have the option of closing it, but you can also alter the shape of your tote to fit your mood or the amount of items inside of it.
Corners folded in
All you did is push the corners in and then magnet the bag shut and it goes from being square to angled at the top! I like the look. I think it's cute. I'm actually adding magnets to all of the totes I own now, which just takes a minute and is super cheap. I paid $1.99 for 8 at Michael's.  
The last thing I'll show you is a little headband I made today. It's just like the ones I made in THIS OLD HAIR TUTORIAL. I used some of the extra gathered fabric and rolled it into a rose shape. I hot glued it on to a piece of bring pink fabric and attached it to the band. I'm making a ton of different pieces for the girls that took my shifts last week. They were so sweet to pick them up last minute so that I could attend my grandfather's funeral and viewing. I'm going to make lots of little things for them and then let them choose what they like. Kim, if you're reading- that's YOU! 
I hope you have a great day! This is the last time I'll blog before 2012. I hope the rest of the year brings nothing but good news and wonderful blessings. Thanks so much for reading in 2011, I can't wait to see what is in store for 2012! Pin It

Thursday, December 29, 2011

DIY Ruffle Shirt (no sew option)

Do you ever have one of those days when your brain is completely full? That's me today. Thankfully, I had the morning to myself, so there was plenty of time to sit in silence and process while I created this little shirt. It was lovely to express creativity this morning while thinking about my Grandpa. His funeral was yesterday and it was absolutely incredible. I've never seen such a time of honor and remembrance. It was emotionally draining, though, and I'm taking some time this morning to recharge and recenter. 
Fabric strips + Odette
That being said, this is the product of my processing. I really like this little tank. A long time ago, I saw a similar shirt at a store and wanted it, but it was too expensive. My best friend is hilarious, she will absolutely *not* buy something if she can make it (and she can generally do a better job, anyway!) and I'm starting to catch that bug. Especially since I blog 5 days per week and need material ;) 
This shirt was extremely easy. I used scrap fabric from our wedding (6 4inch wide strips of material, 18 inches long) and an old tank top that I got on clearance from Old Navy. You could do this on the collar of any shirt, though. The fabric I used was just a cotton, which frays really easily. I actually liked the fraying edges but if you don't,you can switch to jersey or hem the fabric if you're super ambitious. If you really want to go the easy route, use extremely thick (3-4 inches), wireless ribbon. Ps- don't forget about my dear friend, Fray Check.
(1) Gathering
(1) First, you'll need to put a seam down the middle of your fabric/ribbon strips. I used a sewing machine with a simple, single and wide stitch. You can do this by hand as well, and it's very easy. If you hate sewing, this is the only part of the whole shirt that requires it. After you have your seam, you're going to tug on one thread at the end to gather the fabric. As you gather, move the bunches of fabric down toward the other end. Otherwise, your thread will get too tight and snap. Keep gathering and pushing the fabric down to the other side until you end up with the correct length that you need for your shirt. 
First layer (ends should touch)
(2) Next, lay out your gathered strips of fabric on to your shirt. Decide exactly how you want it to look/adjust the gathering to look even. Attach the fabric to the shirt. You can either use a hot glue gun (with glue made for fabric projects) or you can tack it on depending on whether or not you'd like to sew. I did mine one layer at a time and I suggest that for you as well. You can decide how much ruffling you want. I did 3 layers, but each step looked good. Adding a fourth wouldn't have been awful either. 
(3) Trim any thread that is sticking out, make sure the shirt looks good and wear it! 
Second layer
I forgot to mention a few hints. First, regarding the thread, I always use a contrasting color for my blogs so that you can see where the stitching is. Obviously you'll want to use a color that matches your fabric or ribbon. Secondly, I like to tie the ends of my thread once I have gathered the fabric so that it stays put. You should have one piece of thread on each side (and end). Tie them together before attaching them to the shirt.




I'm liking how this turned out. It seems like a very festive shirt for new years. I paired it with a black pencil skirt and my DIY BLACK HEELS. The pencil skirt is ok. I actually own multiple black pencil skirts and the one I *wanted* to wear is at my parents house. We took it down with us this week and left it there. I saw it as we were leaving and wanted to add it to our luggage, but the consensus was that there was no room left and I wouldn't need it before we came back anyway. Murphy's Law always prevails, as I needed it less than 24 hours later!
I'm going to include several pictures of the 
shirt. I can see that I forgot to snip a few threads in it, so excuse the little gray strands here and there. That's why you should always check it before wearing it AND use matching thread! ;)
I have *so* much to do today. Thursdays are always my busy day, and I'm already late! 
Third layer/finished
I'm not sure what I'll be posting tomorrow. There are several things from Christmas that I want to blog for you to DIY, but I need a few supplies for all of them. So, it's a mystery! When I'm out today I'll see what I can find and the first thing to show up will be the winner! 
PS- I've had several people ask me about the polish on my nails in real life, so if you happen to be wondering, it's from OPI and it's called "Midnight in Moscow". It's a deep plum with red flecks. I like it better than "Lincoln Park After Dark" which has always been a super popular OPI shade and I also own. 
I had intended to include a full length pictures of me wearing the shirt, but I don't like any of them. Sooo... hopefully you have an excellent imagination and can see in your brilliant mind exactly what one would look like while standing up in this shirt. I really like it tucked in (I put it on with a pair of high waisted black pants) but it would be great untucked as well. And it's awesome under a blazer. And I can wear it to work. Yesssss.
I'm even more late now, so that's all for today. Have a wonderfully blessed day and as always, thanks for reading! 
Ps- I'm really into gathering fabric lately, so you can expect several more DIY projects based on it! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'la vie' feature: TerraCantata

I've mentioned that this week is going to be a bit different for 'la vie'. On top of traveling and the holidays, my grandfather and John's aunt passed away this week. My creative juices just aren't in full swing again yet, so we're making do... which is exactly what 'la vie' is all about... doing the best you can with what you've got. So, today we're going to feature an incredible company.
TERRACANTATA is the Etsy shop of my Aunt Patty. She and her husband, Cyrus, run a cruelty-free farm. For all of you vegetarians out there who don't eat meat because of the way animals are treated, please be aware that there are *many* farms that are dedicated to being cruelty-free. Research some local farms in your area! They produce fantastic food at their farm and go to great lengths to ensure extremely humane environments for their animals. In addition to raising animals, they also sell some great products. I'll highlight just a few today.
The girlies
First up are the wooden spoons, hand carved by my uncle. They are incredible. I've gotten a few throughout the years (a sugar spoon, coffee scoop and... my fav... the ladle!) and they are wonderful. They have such substance, they last forever, they're gorgeous and best of all- they don't release chemicals into your food. I get really nervous about a lot of the tools I use in my kitchen. I want to be sure that as they interact with high heat, they aren't leaking their plastic and silicone yuck. 
Taken from her Etsy shop
She also sells turkey feathers! You can see the picture of my little cousins playing in her feathers. She brought a few tubs with her on Christmas of all sizes and colors and the girls put them in their hair, made jewelry out of them and in general, just had a great time. The feathers are gorgeous. There are some that even look zebra striped! She sells them in several different quantities and they'd be great for all sorts of DIY projects. 
The last thing I have to show you are the pelts. She has tons of sheep at her farm, though she told me that she's currently paring down and allowing her land to heal before they begin investing in breeding stock. Do you know what that means? LAMBIES! John and I are soooo excited! I absolutely *love* little lambs. They are so, so sweet. She told me that we can come to her farm and take pictures of them wearing santa hats and bunny ears. Lambie of the month calendar. Back to the original thought, though, these pelts are gorgeous. She had them in various colors, but the one I pictured and the black are my favorites. I don't know if she'll have any more of these in stock soon, but they're worth the wait. 
I hope you have a wonderful day. Check back tomorrow for more DIY goodness. As always, thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a very "la vie" Christmas

I hope you had an incredible Christmas. 
I come from an extremely creative family (I could write volumes about what my mom has done) and I wanted to take a day to highlight some of the fun parts of our Christmas together. Throughout the week, I'll do individual blog posts about things that were inspiring and expand on them (just wait til you see my aunt's business!).
The first picture is a creation of my mother, peppermint mousse in cups made from candy canes. How awesome would these be with hot chocolate?? I have a serious obsession with peppermint. Especially peppermint mixed with chocolate. 
2- Grandma's pillow
(2) The second picture is of a pillow I made for my grandma. The fabric comes from a chaise that she and my grandpa (before he passed this year) handed down to me. It has been in our family for hundreds of years (literally! It's from the 1700's) and is my most prized possession. My dad recently had it reupholstered for us and it's now in our library/amusante room. I'm going to do a blog about it asap, but haven't been able to finish the room yet. I asked the staff to save the fabric for me when they reupholstered it and this is all that was left, so it's a very strangely shaped pillow. I have a tiny little scrap left that I'll incorporate into a pillow for myself as well to sit on the chaise. My grandma was really excited about it.
3- Kimberly's greatness
(3) Number three is a picture of a present my cousin, Kimberly, gave to me. This woman is a brilliant wrapping genius. Every present she does it out of control GORGEOUS and generally pretty tailored to the person receiving it. I have never gotten anything less than perfectly wrapped from her. When I was about ... I don't know 13? She and my brother (and his friend) were so ashamed of my wrapping that they took my presents and re-wrapped them for me. They were pretty right on. One day I aspire to be as incredible at the art of beautiful packaging as she is. I wish I had saved pictures throughout the years so you could see her array of greatness. I haven't even mentioned her homemade cards yet. Or her handwriting, which would be an extremely popular font. She's an interior designer by the way. And you should see her shoe collection. Le sigh. 
4- Ivan
(4) This is my grandma's dog, Ivan. My cousin, Wren, sewed this little costume for him... it was so stinking hilarious. I honestly laughed so hard when he came popping into the room, jingling all the way. I should mention that Wren is only 13. Not too bad, right? Ivan wasn't too excited to wear the costume, but it was a great deal of fun for the rest of us. And to be honest, my family has had a tough year and we really needed the laugh.
5- Johnny Baby


(5) My favorite present of all time came from God in the form of my sweet, sweet husband. John let's me cut his hair twice per month because it grows so stinking fast. It would cost us an arm and a leg to have it done professionally. Generally, he wears his hair longer and it's easy to cut because the shagginess hides my imperfections. Christmas morning, he let me (or rather, I did it and he didn't get mad?) cut it pretty short. Shorter than he has worn it in a long time. I was pretty excited because it turned out well! Maybe there needs to be a hair cutting tutorial soon? For men anyway, I'd never try to cut a woman's hair!
6- Penelope
(6) My niece, Penelope, is three this year. It was so much fun to see how alive Christmas made her. She has a tiny sister, Lilah, who isn't very old at all but already I'm thinking of when she'll be just as into the Christmas magic as her big sister. Seen here, Pen is all hopped up on pure Christmas spirit in her little footie pj's and holding her Nutcracker Barbie. Let me tell you what, this kid has told me a zillion times how much she loves the Nutcracker... and I couldn't be any more pleased every time. I totally get her. 
That's my last picture for today. I'm so sorry for the roughness of these two weeks. As I wrote last week, my other Grandfather passed away. It has been a very tough holiday season for us, having already lost one patriarch and then losing the other just before Christmas. However, in this second passing- there is still so much joy. I knew he was an influential and inspirational man, but there have been many wonderful stories shared that are so encouraging. He made his mark on this earth, and it will definitely have eternal returns. His funeral is tomorrow and I can only imagine how many people will want to come out to say "see you soon" to such an incredible man.
I hope you have a wonderful last week of 2011. We are very much looking forward to 2012. As we finish this year out, you can expect several more blogs focusing in on specifically inspiring pieces from this Christmas. I have an exciting painting technique to share as well as a few other super fun DIY ideas. Have a joy-filled day, and as always, thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

'Joyeux Noel'

Just a very quick note to say ''many wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you and yours from 'la vie'."
I hope today finds you warm and surrounded by those who love you and who you love best. And I pray that you can see through the presents and relax from all the hustle to remember that Christmas is entirely about sacrificial love. 
I met a woman on Christmas Eve who was shopping for some pajamas. She said she lost her mother this year to a 13 year battle with cancer. The tradition was for her mother to buy her a pair of Christmas pajamas each year (as my mother does) and she wanted to carry it on. We had a wonderful conversation, hugged and parted as friends. Enjoy and savor every moment with your family and friends today. They are the biggest blessing you'll get on Earth. No new toy or gadget can ever replace the joy or depth of relationships. I know you know this, but Charlie Brown was right, it is so easy to forget in the midst of the Christmas rush and busyness (*ahem* commercialization...).
Many blessings to you and yours. Thank you so much for being part of something I love so much. Merry, Merry Christmas. -auna
"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

To Walk in Your Steps- A(nother) Grandfather Remembered

Today, my second grandfather passed away this year. 
My whole life I've heard, "now wait, *how* are you related to Pastor Burke?" ... well. I'm not. Not by blood and not even legally. It's a complicated situation that I totally understand, but can't really explain to other people. It stems from my dad's lack of family, which is again complicated. And while my dad's story is woven into my own, it still isn't my story to share. Suffice to say, the Burke family took my dad in and I was raised calling their boys "uncle" and calling them "grandpa and grandma". It's a strange but strong relation. 
Death is really interesting. It's the sort of thing that we know exists and that we talk about all the time, but it always seems shocking when it happens? I think it's because something inside of us, in the deepest part of our hearts and beings cries 'unfair!'. We were never made to die, we were made for life. Even so, we actually weren't expecting him to pass, though. He had just been cleared of his battle from cancer and his doctor told him to go and relax on the beach in Florida. That was just about a month ago. He ended up back in the hospital in Florida and then Sunday we got the call that he'd be leaving the hospital and sent home for hospice treatment. I can't tell you how blown away I was. My dad (and their boys) all left the next day to make the trip from Michigan. Thankfully, they all made it in time and my dad said that while he was weak, he was still himself. I could hear him on the phone with my dad the day he left for Florida... you wouldn't have even known he was just given that grim diagnosis. He was asking my dad how church was that morning. 
My parent's wedding
So him.
He was the pastor for a church that he planted in Fenton, Michigan for 33 years. He then retired and handed the church over to a man with a similar story to his own. That man has honored my grandfather in such a touching and real way. This summer they had a "Founder's Day" at The Freedom Center to honor my grandfather's ministry and 85th birthday. It was incredible. They went all out, decorating the church and hanging hundreds of photographs from the ceiling. My grandfather preached a message like I haven't heard since I was a little girl. Everyone was so respectful and grateful. Everyone was so kind.
I was talking to my brother on the phone about it today. It's so rare to leave this earth the way he did. In a culture that reveres youth and beauty while casting aside the elderly, he was sought out for his wisdom. He was incredibly respected. He was still a mentor, still admired, still so relevant. Of course he was relevant! But these days we can get so caught up in being "modern" that we forget the sage advice that comes from those who have gone before us. We tend to find them outdated. We say they couldn't understand. No one ever said that about him. He was talking to my husband and I this summer about a project he was considering. Some younger people had approached him about making a video giving truths about living through the Great Depression, explaining what it was like and encouraging those of us finding our way through the Great Recession. Everyone who knew him understood just how important his opinion and experience was.
Preaching my wedding
I am so going to miss that. He was such an incredible guide to my life. He would call me up and give me "a word" to help me find my way when life had tough decisions. He was just so full of truth. And what I love the most is that he boiled everything down. He didn't try to be profound or lengthy, he was clear and concise. Once, when I was spilling out my latest fear/worry to him, he sat casually listening and eating a peach. When he got done, he put the pit in my hand. He asked me if I knew what that was... I figured the answer wasn't "a peach pit?" so I just kept my mouth shut. He told me "that's life. Only God can create life. No scientist, no man, no one can create life out of nothing. God is more powerful than anything in this universe. He created your life, and he holds it in the palm of his hand." ... it totally spoke to me. I still have that peach pit 10 years later. I wouldn't part with it for anything. He was always that way. "Walk with God, Aundrea... it's the easiest thing in the world". He said that to me all the time, and he really lived it. He had such a real relationship with God. They were truly friends. They still are... I can't imagine how heaven rejoiced when he joined them there.
Again at our wedding
Thankfully, I wrote down most of the advice he gave me in a little book throughout the years. And I've so often shared his advice with others as well. I'll always carry it in my book, but also in my heart. I want so badly to be like him. I want to finish my time on earth strong. Not even physically... but mentally and spiritually. Loved and respected by all, loving and respectful to all. He was wise, but he was also so discerning. He used to ask the most pointed questions that just cut you right to the heart. They exposed all of the things you were trying to avoid or hide from yourself. But I'm so grateful that he was willing to ask them, because I would have made some awful choices otherwise. 
He also asked questions that cracked you up! He was such a funny guy. He never lost his sense of humor and he never stopped making jokes. I love that about him. While it's so important to remember his wisdom and to want to emulate that, I have to also speak to his personality. If I don't acknowledge that he's a firecracker, I do him a great injustice. 
Our last trip to Harrisville
Lastly, I have to tell his love story. He was married to my grandma for 66 years. It's a rather entertaining story, too. He saw her when she was on a date with another fella. He didn't know anything about either of them. The story goes something like this... she exited to go outside through a revolving door, but her date never followed her. Instead, my grandpa appeared a few moments later announcing the other poor fellows departure. No one knows *what* he said or *how* he said it to make the other guy leave, but they never heard from him again! They had a wonderful marriage. It was an example for all of us. We saw my grandparents last month before they left for Florida and he was asking John and I how things were going. He told us, "when you're young there's nothing to live on but love. But we discovered that you really can live on love for a long time." He then went on to reminisce about his 66 years with my grandma, Thelma, or "Clara Bell" as he calls her. I want that for John and I, too. 

Grandpa meeting Odette
Thanks for reading the ramblings of a torn heart. One of the hardest parts of death is a fear that the loved one will be forgotten. While I know that no one who knew him could forget him, he was so large in this life that I want everyone possible to hear his story. This isn't even a fraction of it, though. But what I don't write, I'll live. I want to walk in his steps. 
"To die will be an awfully big adventure.", said Peter Pan when Hook had nearly gotten him. For my grandpa, I'm sure he's having the adventure of his life right now... and some day, I'll join him again. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls + What I've been up to today

So unmotivated today. But I need to finish wrapping Christmas presents (and get a few more...), bake cupcakes for the neighbors (chocolate with peppermint butter cream, John wouldn't approve), clean and finish up some things for our Christmas Party Part 2 today. I haven't been feeling very Christmasy this season, so we're hoping that another night of treats, gluten-free sugar cookies, Christmas movies and carols will help fix that.
Today I've been doing lots of little things and I thought I'd show you. I made 2 shirts, one turned out HORRIDLY and the other is nice. I'll show you the nice one soon-ish, it's a wrap shirt inspired by a vintage photo. The other... yeah. Not sure what to do with that one. I'm trying to finish up the blog I've been working on since August, too.
Hair bow & earrings (phase one)
At work we're doing accents of red, so I made another pair of the DIY Glitter Earrings in red and then made another hair bow from this old tutorial as well.
I promised John a surprise today, so I made him these peanut butter balls. I've made these for him before, he's a huge fan of reeses, but I don't like processed junk. I've only been able to make them once recently, though, because we had to sell all of our bake ware when we got Odette. We *finally* got a set of bird-safe stainless steel this month and I've been SO glad to have a double boiler. YAY for melted goodness! Today, I decided to shake up the peanut butter balls a bit and make them crunchy this time around. 
Here's what you'll need...
Melted chocolate
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. rice krispies (I used gluten-free)
1/4 c. powdered/granulated sugar mix (1/2 c.  if you're using natural peanut butter)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Melted chocolate


Optional mix ins: 
2 tbs peanut butter chips (reeses)
Cinnamon


Double boiler (or a bowl that fits into a pot for your stove) and wax paper.


It tastes better than it looks
(1) Melt the chocolate. If you've never worked with chocolate before- be warned. It burns SO easily. My mom has been making chocolates since... well, good grief. I'm not even sure. I know that on my first day of school each year she sent me with crayon shaped chocolates. So- she's been working with chocolate for at least 21 years! I grew up around it and I'm very familiar with when it's in danger. Just keep your temperature low and keep stirring, you'll be fine. 
(2) While melting, make your filling! Mix all ingredients EXCEPT for the rice krispies. Try a bite and see if it's sweet enough. Add in your rice krispies.
Done!
(3) If you want them to look pretty and not be just edible, then put them in your fridge or freezer for a little bit. This will help you roll a nicely shaped ball and coat it in chocolate. I skipped this step for the sake of speed. Tablespoon sized will give you between 10 and 14. Another tip? Lots of chocolate. I didn't use much because that's all we had left. You'll have an easier time coating them if you have tons of chocolate
(4) Dip the balls in chocolate. Set on wax paper to cool/solidify.
(5) Enjoy!


Chox/mint mallow
I'm showing them off on my new Christmas plates (they represent the 12 days of Christmas. Those are the swans!) I got a few weeks ago. I liked them so much that I got a second set. They're very small, but adorable for serving dessert. You'll probably see them showcasing treats quite a bit in the holidays to come.
Apron 1
Also, I'm including two pictures of my latest apron! A friend at church gave it apron to me. It belonged to her grandma and it's so classically vintage. I love it! It was so kind of her to give me a family memento like that, but she promised that she would never wear it. It's a lovely addition to my collection (we're up to 16 now, my sister in law contributed another last week!). Thank you, Sheryll! In it I'm wearing the super easy hair bow (link in the first paragraph of this blog) and also the DIY shoe update I did this week (click here).
Apron 2
Ps- I don't know about you, but I *hate* wasting chocolate. After I've dipped everything, I go through and scrape the excess with marshmallows. Then I add toppings to them, like nuts, crushed peppermint (I keep a jar on hand!), chocolate chips, cinnamon... anything. They taste great and there's no waste! 
And now I have to finish getting ready for Christmas Party Part Two! There are cookies to bake and presents to wrap and music to download! Best wishes for a warm and wonderful day for you. As always, thanks for reading. Pin It








Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY Feather Pen (For Kids!)

When I was a kid, I had a friend named Hanna (hah-na). She used to make presents for our group of friends each year, generally an ornament. They were always beautiful, she was born creative. One year, though, Hanna made feather pens instead. I remember being SO excited about them! Mine was completely white and then had little crystals glued down the side. I thought it was so fab. I loved it so much, that I always wanted to save it for special occasions. One the the greatest life lessons I ever got was the day I *finally* decided to use it (years later) and it was completely dried out. That was the day I realized that if we hoard things, we may never get to use them. 
Feathers attached
Anyway, I loved it so much that I thought I'd share it with YOU! If you still have a tween to get Christmas presents for, a set of these may be a nice addition. You could go more posh with it (luxe ribbons, prettier feathers...) and make it adult appropriate as well. I used the leftover supplies from two blogs (DIY Princess Hat  and also the DIY Feather Tree), because that's what we do at 'la vie', make the best with what we've got! I did two versions as well. One with the feathers straightened and in Christmas colors (Santa pen! for writing letters to Santa) and the other with curved out feathers and glitzy ribbon.
Supplies are easy
Glue gun (or really strong glue)
Feathers (4 per pen)
A regular bic pen
Ribbon


Curving feathers
(1) Attach your feathers. Put a line of glue on the stem of the feather and place toward the top of the pen. You can see in the first picture that I started my feathers really low on the pen and then covered them up with the ribbon. I kind of regret that now because that huge pop of plumage is really pretty. If you want your feathers to curve out, place them curve out. If you want them straight, cut them down so that they lay flat (like the white feathers).
(2) Twisting the ribbon
(2) Add your ribbon.  Starting at the bottom, put a dot of glue and place your ribbon, then twirl over it and start twisting up toward the top of the pen. When you get as high as you'd like, cut your ribbon and glue it down. Cover the edge with a) a glue line covered in glitter, b) rhinestones or c) a little silk flower.
(3) Add embellishment. This is optional, but you could put a line of glue twisting up the seam of the ribbon and then cover it in glitter. You could add rhinestones, you could add a little charm... you can do anything! Make it fun.
 I wish I had more time to do extra fun things with the feather pens today, but this week is so jam packed! I got home from work last night around 1 in the morning and was up again at 5:30, so there isn't tons of time for creativity :( That's a sad, sad conclusion. I'm busting tail to finish a project I've been working on since August. I really want it to be done before Christmas. I still have lots of presents to finish too, though. I'm really hoping you people are as behind as I am. Don't want to be alone in my horrific procrastination! 
In other news, many congratulations go out to our friends, Katie and Jesse (Jesse is in Sargent Avenue with John) who announced yesterday that they're having a little girl! They currently have one little guy named Ezra, he's one year old and soooo easy and sweet. I can't wait to meet the little girl they're bringing into the world! We love you guys! 
I have no idea what we'll be featuring tomorrow, but I *do* know that I have the day off. Maybe I can finish that super secret Christmas project?? Wishing you all the best this Christmas week, hoping you get everything done and find the time to enjoy the season as it quickly is coming to a close. As always, thanks for reading! Pin It