Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ruffle Your Feathers 2: DIY Ruffle Wall

This is my very most favorite sort of project. The kind that comes to me in the morning and is finished by the afternoon. Extra credit? I didn't have to shell out a single penny. 
Sunday morning I was listening to John lead a practice and reading in a chair when it hit me. We have been wanting to fill the dead space behind our bed since we moved in, but haven't found anything we liked. I was thinking about this old sham we had sitting in our closet which matches our bedspread when all of the sudden I saw it cut up and ruffled on the wall. Love at first imagining. 
Let's just chat for a second before we get into the tutorial... as I said, I did this the same day I thought of it since I already had everything necessary. However, I think I want to improve on it. How much more awesome would it be with two white layers added (around the middle section- creating an every-other layer)? I wanted the ruffling to be tighter than it is, but I didn't have enough fabric. I'm going to add it. 
Maybe even today. 
Definitely this week.
There is so much potential for adding ruffles to the wall. Wouldn't it be awesome stretched behind a couch?? Or ... stay with me... ruffling an entire DOOR! Maybe to a fantastic closet or a little girl's room. Ah. I love it.
I'm already imagining several other places I want to do this, and best of all- I can! It's so inexpensive (all you need is a sham or an extra sheet) and so easy. Plus, since I used a staple gun, if you don't like it you can just pull it down. 
Are you sold?
Ready to make your own?

You'll need....
1 sham or a sheet
Staple gun
Sewing machine or needle/thread
Buttons (optional)
** No staple gun? You could always use pretty tacks to stick the fabric to the wall. 

The sham- before I sliced t up
(1) Cut it out. I used a sham and just cut the three sides off. If you're using a sheet then you'll have to cut strips in the length (plus room for gathering) and depth you want. You can either hem the sheets or just leave the edge raw- or use Fray Check. Using a sham was awesome because everything was already hemmed for me. 

(2) Gather it. Gather your fabric to create ruffles. If you've never done this before, refer to YESTERDAY'S POST at the bottom. Or just listen in... You'll just use a sewing machine or hand sew a straight, loose stitch across the TOP of the fabric (not the middle, like yesterday's clutch). Next, take one piece of thread from ONE side and start to pull. As the fabric begins to gather, move it down toward the other side of the material. When your material is the proper length/is gathered to your contentment, stop! 

(3) Attach it. Using a staple gun, attach your first (bottom) layer to the wall. You'll want a partner for this so that you can ensure you hang it level. Add each layer on top being sure to cover up the top of the layer beneath it. You can make your layers as tight or loose as you'd like. I wish mine were tighter, but as I said, I didn't have enough blue fabric. I really am going to add in two more layers in white!  

(4) Secure it (optional). I wanted to staple the bottom layers down at the sides to create clean lines all along the sides. SO, I did. Then I used a hot glue gun to attach buttons over the staples across the top layer and sides so that they couldn't be seen.

I really hope you love this. Sometimes I get *so* excited about a project and then it doesn't go over very well with our audience. Other times I throw something together last minute and it's a HUGE success. I'm hoping that you'll catch my vision with this project and see how you can use it yourself. Even if it isn't something that's feasible in your places & spaces, I hope you can appreciate the fun of using ruffles as wall decor. Sure it's a bit different, but isn't different fun? I'm sure I'll do several updates with all of the other walls or doors that ended up getting ruffled! 
If you didn't see the clutch from yesterday, you really should. I'm going to do another one in a black & white pattern this week. Very excited. I'm deciding between two different ruffle projects for tomorrow, so stay tuned. I really like theme weeks. I should do more. 
PS- if you live in Michigan, have you SEEN the weather today? It's AMAZING! I can hardly believe it's January, and I'm ecstatic about that. I hope you're having a wonderful day and that life gets a little sweeter for you each day this week. As always, thanks for reading!
** Update one: I added in the white alternating layers. Unfortunately, I'm out of thread, so they haven't been gathered yet. This is just a temporary stage to show you the look of 5 close layers. I like it. I'll update again when it's done.

TERMS OF USE (Modified from ISLY)

This project is free for personal use is not to be distributed/republished without my consent. If this inspires a project for your own blog, that is awesome! But please remember to link back to my original post. Please do not copy this text, use the images or steal this idea for any publications. Thanks for promoting the freedom to INSPIRE!

Self Photo Challenge- The Paper Mama

Linking up with The Paper Mama for her Self Photo Challenge!

One of my favorite bloggers, Chelsey, from The Paper Mama (see link above) challenged her readers who have blogs to do an entire post about themselves and include photos. Especially self portraits. She said it's good for our readers to see us, and that we need to let them. 
I often post pictures of myself here, since someone has to be wearing the scarf or sweater or whatever has been recently created and it clearly isn't going to be John! However, I only have one self portrait posted, and it's in our "who we are" section. Hm. She said we could use an old picture, which I did. I chose this one because a) it's 7 am and I don't want to take another one *right now* and b) I like it. I took it on a very important and empowering day. It makes me laugh to think how hopeful I look in the middle of such sad circumstances... and in the end I was right to have hope. All ended well. 
I'm also including my latest self portrait at the bottom of the post. It's me in my ballet studio, which I love and want to do a full post about eventually. I didn't make it the actual submission because seeing our face was part of the challenge, and my face is entirely covered by my camera. But ballet is one of my dreams and my most favorite things, so it seemed appropriate to include this picture. 
So, here we are! She also gave us a little template to answer about ourselves... so read on, baby! Read and learn!

Obsessing over…
Too much?? Right now I'm really inspired by the illustrations in the Madeline series. I've been reading them like crazy and recently picked up "Mad about Madeline", which has the entire collection! The imagery is incredible.
Working on…
A few restorations in addition to my normal DIY fare. I have a gorgeous chair that I got for $4.50 as well as a vintage mirror. Both are in less than ideal condition, but have massive potential for beauty. One of my favorite things in life is taking something old, discarded and generally thought of as worthless and transforming it into something so valuable and beautiful. It speaks to me.
Thinking about…
My sweet, sweet husband. He occupies the vast majority of my thoughts. Also thinking about my post for today. I absolutely LOVE it and I can't wait to share it with you. 
Great things this year! I think this is going to be a very shaping year for us. We've both left our jobs to pursue something entirely new, our dreams. 
Listening to…
Only the sound of cars moving back & forth on the highway. It's very quiet, dark and still here at seven am in January. Even little Odette hasn't begun to fill our home with little chirps yet. 
Nothing- which is saying quite a bit. Generally there is always something to be snacked on! Breakfast is next, which will be cinnamon chex (gluten free, of course).
Wishing I could see my friends overseas. I haven't seen them in such a long time and sometimes my heart literally aches. Relationships are the most important part of living.

Thanks so much for reading, and thank you so much for being part of our lives. We LOVE 'la vie' and I hope you do, too. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ruffle Your Feathers 1: DIY Clutch + Coin Purse!

Today is the kick off of RUFFLE YOUR FEATHERS week! This week we'll be focusing on projects revolving around ruffles... and I couldn't be more excited. I absolutely love ruffles; they're fun, easy and girly. This first project is from last week and didn't technically comply, so I added a little matching mini/coin purse to it that did! 
coin purse- ruffled side
The inspiration for this project came from a) my hatred for patterns and b) some fabric my mom gave me. First of all... I hate patterns. I hate them. I avoid them at all costs. They terrify me. I have like 15 incredible patterns (mostly gifts from my mom that I asked for) and I have only used probably one or two. I have no idea why, but patterns really intimidate me. My mom gave me a clutch pattern recently that was super cute, but when I opened it up to investigate the pattern, I immediately closed it and put it away. I was really bummed because I *did* want to make a clutch. My mom gave me a huge ream of this gorgeous tartan/plaid pattern recently and I absolutely love it. There's enough for a coat, 4 purses and a scarf at least, and I plan on making all of it! I decided to put aside the pattern (for now) and just make my own. I often make my own patterns (see the ANTHRO SHIRT and PATTERN-FREE DRESS) and knew that I could make a super easy clutch without the help of that brown, transparent, tissue-esque paper. And I did.
You won't need much... just...
a) A nice sturdy fabric 
b) A complementary lining fabric
c) A sewing machine/hand sewing/glue gun
d) Embellishments

That's it!
Ready for the steps? Here we go! Let's start with the clutch and then we'll do the ruffled coin purse. PS- if you love the coin purse, you can add ruffles to the clutch as well.

(1) Map out your size. I used a large book (note, it's a vintage vogue pattern book. Appropriate? Yes.). I wanted mine to be very large, but maybe you want it to be smaller. The larger it is, the more floppy it becomes. You want to leave room for seam allowance + the fold over edge. Your clutch will double over when it folds to close, so you want it to be rectangular.

tracing out the lining to cut
(2) Cut it out. You'll want 4 identical pieces TOTAL. 2 in the sturdy outside fabric and 2 in the lining fabric.

(3) Sew the first section. Whenever I say "sew" you can substitute in "hot glue" or "hand sew" if a machine is either not in your procession or not in your preference. Start by pinning each lining to an outside piece. Remember to put your patterned/nice sides facing inward, since we always sew things inside out and then right them afterwards. Remember to leave 1-2 inches open so that you can flip the fabric right side out.
Flipped and ready for step 5
(4) Flip the fabric. I always start in the opposite corner of the open corner and pull through that way. Sew both sets of lining + main fabric and then flip each right side out before continuing to step 5. Remember that after you flip your fabric right side out, you'll have to stitch/glue the open corner up.

(5) Sew together. Now you're going to take your two pieces and sew them together, completing (mostly) the clutch. You want to put the outside fabric pieces together and pin, as shown in pictures 4 &5. Remember to sew only the 2 long sides and one short side together. The last side remains open... otherwise you can't use the clutch!

Completed, with the book
(6) Flip right side out. Here, you're basically done. You just need to decide how you want to close your clutch. You can a) add Velcro to the inside, b) add a button or c) add a zipper. I don't recommend the zipper... too much work ;). What I did was put a "false" button on the outside for looks and then an actual button on the inside. Technically you don't need anything. You can just throw your stuff in the clutch, fold the top down and go. 
view of the functioning button, securing the clutch shut

(7) Embellish. You can add a ruffle, like the coin purse. You can add buttons, like I did, or even  a ROSETTE or FABRIC FLOWER. Whatever you want to make it customized to you.

Easy, right? And if that was easy, just wait til you see how easy the coin purse is! I don't know that it's technically a coin purse, maybe mini-wallet is a better name... but I couldn't think of what to call it. It's tiny, it's cute and it matches the clutch. For the record, I did two different sides on this project because I couldn't decide which I liked better. The ruffled side and buttoned side were equally cute. You can choose for yourself, or use a different embellishment all together! For this, you'll need basically the same things.

a) Sturdy fabric
b) Matching lining fabric
c) Sewing machine/thread & needle/hot glue gun
d) Embellishments
e) Closure method (snaps, buttons, Velcro, zipper...)

(1) Map out your size. Just as you did with the clutch, decide how big you want it to be. I cut out a 10.5 x 7.5 inch piece and the finished project is 5"x 4.5".
(2) Cut it out. Cut out ONE piece each of main fabric and lining fabric.

(3) Pin it. Pin the two pieces together, leaving an opening.

(4) Sew it. Sew it together, leaving the opening for you to flip the fabric. 
(5) Flip it. Flip the fabric right side out.

(6) Sew it, take two. fold it in half, hamburger style, with the outside facing in. Run one stitch up each of the short ends, leave the long end open.

(7) Flip it, take two. Flip it right side out- you're done!
(8) Secure it. Add a closure piece to the inside (Velcro, zipper, button, snaps).

(9) Embellish it. I glued a ruffle down the middle of one side and a button on the top of the other side.

Fabric, ready to be gathered
If you've gotten this far and you're thinking, "Great! So excited about a ruffle themed week, but I have no idea how to do a ruffle..." then you're in luck. There are a few different kinds of ruffles we'll use this week, but the ruffle from today was super easy. Just take a rectangular piece of fabric and either hand stitch or machine stitch a straight, loose seam down the middle. Grab ONE piece of thread from either side and pull. As you pull, move the gathered fabric down toward the other end. Keep it up until your fabric is as ruffled as you want it to be. You can also use a ribbon for this. I like to tie my thread off at the ends, it cinches the fabric in for a cute shape.

This blog has taken me MUCH longer to write than the entire process of creating both clutch + coin purse combined. It's really that easy! I hope you have fun with it and you're ready for an entire week of ruffled goodness. I'm SUPER excited about tomorrow's post, it solved a decor dilemma we've had since we moved in here 1.5 years ago! I wish you a wonderfully warm Monday, and as always, thanks for reading! Pin It

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inspiration + 'la vie' this Week

I hope you're having a brilliant Sunday. I was supposed to post this yesterday... but I forgot! I've been wanting to show you a few pieces I'm working on right now as well as some serious inspiration. Plus, at the end I'll tell you about our theme week!
First up is the gorgeous chair, which is the featured picture. Isn't it incredible? I got it for $4.50, which is such a steal. I've been looking for something like it for a very, very long time and it finally turned up! I don't want to say too much about it since I'll devote another post to it in the future, but I had to show you. The color is perfect for our living room and I desperately want the chair to stay there, but unfortunately it isn't in good enough shape. It *has* be to reupholstered. Depending on what fabric I find, it will end up either in our front room or the library. 
The second restoration project is a mirror found at the antique store that Meghan from Split The Lark and I visited for our guest blogging spot. It's definitely in need of some serious love, but I can't wait to show you the finished project. I have HUGE plans for this mirror!
Now on to some inspiration.

How many of you read "Madeline" as a child? I absolutely love her. She's at school in France (appeals to my French side), everything is done in two straight lines and even numbers (a nod to my OCD side), she's spunky and a trouble-maker (calls to my wild side... which doesn't much exist...) and of course, the illustrations are gorgeous. That's the part which has been inspiring me so much lately. I absolutely love the drawings and the style. My SIL gave me two canvases as part of my Christmas present this year and I believe they're both going to be transformed into Madeline-inspired paintings for our bathroom. We're working on a project (for this week, actually) to transform our bathroom and I think these paintings would be the perfect addition! I haven't decided if they should be Madeline replicas (which would be better suited in the library) or just inspired stylistically. 
Lastly, I want to share what's coming this week!! You may remember that in the fall we did an entire Pumpkin Fest- a week all about how to use PUMPKIN! From beauty treatments to lattes, it was a fun time. I'd like to do another theme this week, and this one will be even better. Why, you ask? Because it will be MUCH more girly. The theme? Ruffles. We're calling it "Ruffle Your Feathers" week and each day will bring you something new and ruffly. I'm adding a little ruffled coin purse into tomorrow's clutch just to make it fit ;) Generally when I do a preview, I tell you what each day will be, but I'm so excited about this week that I want each day to be a surprise. 
All I can tell you is that you *really* should check in every day next week. Especially tomorrow.
And Tuesday.
Today is snowy and cold where we are, but we're quite snug in our little home. I hope you're feeling the same way as well. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and as always... thanks for reading. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Husband the Photog + GF Friday

I've been toying with the idea of posting my favorite little clutch today, but since it's GF Friday, I'd better wait til Monday. I will tell you, though, that I took it to meet with my friend for French lessons + she reallllyyy liked it. I'm making one for her and probably for my BFF already. So you can rest assured that you're going to want to make one as well!
Since there will be no clutch today, I thought I'd highlight my boy because the GF post will be so short. I don't often share too much about our life in my posts because I like to keep them short. I want you to be able to see the tutorial and not get lost in words. John is so wonderful, though, that it's perfectly acceptable, as well as necessary, to highlight him now and then ;)
Lately he has been running around our home and snapping random shots. He's an artist, of course, but of the musical sort so this isn't normal behavior for him. As long as I've known him, he has *never* owned a camera. I even offered to give him one of my mine and he didn't want it. It was shocking. I love taking pictures. I call it "documenting life". I couldn't imagine someone NOT wanting a camera! After all, I talked my parents into getting me my first SLR camera for my 18th birthday. Cameras are essential to life! I'm starting to feel justified, however, because now I can see that he has been bitten by the bug. He suddenly sees how lovely the world is through the lens of a camera and I'm happy to show you a few pictures he has taken. Mostly, I'll highlight things which are "la vie" related or important to us. I should mention that he has decided that "flash" is never to be used, so you may see a lot of blurring, don't worry... that's his artistic interpretation ;)
(a) Clock
(a) This is my little London Train clock, and one of my very most favorite things in our home. I was absolutely desperate for it. The clock faces out on both sides, so you can always tell what time it is (when the batteries aren't dead... oops) no matter which room you're in. 

(b) THE Board
(b) This board keeps our entire home functioning. I put a list with all of our bills + their due dates and whether or not they've been paid up there each month. I also have invitations to events, letters, reminders, business cards... if it's important it goes up there! In addition, it houses the latest sweet card that my husband has given me.

(c) Odette

(c) Odette is our little parrotlet. If you've read our "who we are" section, then you've already seen her in action. She was my birthday present last year, though now she really belongs to both of us. She's very sweet when she wants to be, but most of the time she is quite the handful. For something so small (just a few inches tall), she sure does cause a lot of trouble!

(d) My planner. John told me that this is what he imagines whenever he thinks about me blogging, which I thought was sweet. He took a picture of my open planner (where I had left it) with the pen, you can see part of my notes about a new GF all purpose flour and in the background there are various books about sewing and half finished projects. 

That's the last Johnny baby picture for today. I hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into our home and life together. Now I'll show you something GF and yummy. The other day I made popcorn balls and they turned out really well! They were super delicious and I'm thinking I may make some more for the weekend. John didn't get any in the first round...

1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. agave or corn syrup
1/4 stick of butter
1 c. chocolate chips
1 bag of popped popcorn
2 c. marshmallows

Heat the brown sugar, syrup + butter on the stove on high til it's all melted together and bubbling. Meanwhile, combine the popcorn, marshmallows + chocolate chips in a large (glass/metal/ceramic) bowl until well mixed. Pour the mixture into the bowl of popcorn and stir everything together. The heat of the mixture should melt the marshmallows and chocolate chips. Keep stirring til it's evenly coated and distributed. Allow to cool. Use plastic gloves or baggies over your hands to mold the popcorn into balls, store in an airtight container. 

That's all from me for today! Tomorrow I plan on posting an entirely inspirational blog about all of the things floating through my mind. I have two restoration pieces I'm working on right now as well as TONS of textile projects. I'd love to give you a peek at them. I hope you had a great week and your weekend becomes the icing on the cake. As always, thanks for reading. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wear that Scarf!

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to sew a little clutch for today's post. I'm so happy to announce that the clutch is done and it's adorable. Unfortunately, I'm blogging on location today and forgot my camera cord! Booooo!!!! I can't tell you how bummed I am. I really wanted to share the clutch since it was exceptionally easy to make. It probably took me 20-30 minutes from start to finish. 
However, there still must be a blog! so I decided to go through the "emergency blog fund" to see what we have, and here is a nice little one for today. If you're a scarf enthusiast, or aspire to be... read on!
I first came to admire scarves several years ago. They were super huge in Germany & so I bought like 10 zillion. I love wearing them, but wasn't aware of many ways to use them outside of what my homeland friends did (which I included). These days I've found several more ways to wear them to try and bring them back into rotation. I haven't been wearing them as much because the last few winters I have been SO into cowl necks. PS- I have a GREAT BLOG ABOUT COWL NECKS that you can make yourself without a single stitch of knitting. As much as I love the cowl neck, though, sometimes it isn't as convenient as the standard scarf. And sometimes it isn't as cute! So, I busted out one of my scarves and decided to show you a few ways that I like to wear it. Hopefully a few (or at least one!) are new to you. *** REMEMBER TO CLICK ON THE PICTURES FOR A LARGER VIEW***

(1) AS IS: Sometimes it's fun to just let your scarf hang on the sides. No tying, looping or draping required!

(2) KNOTTED: Maybe you want to let it hang on the sides, but it bothers you that the scarf is longer than your hem. In that case, knot one (or both!) sides. I'll show a few variations here. Move around the knotting for a different look.
One side knotted

Both sides- even knot high

Both sides- asymmetrical knot

(3) LARGE LOOP: Take the fringe and tie the ends together in 3 place (each side and the middle). Then you can either (a) leave it looped and fringy in the front, (b) flip the fringe to the back or (c) double loop it for an eternity scarf. **if your scarf isn't fringed, then just tie the ends together in knots. It actually looks really fun!

(b)- Fringe flipped to the back

(c) Double looped to an eternity scarf

(4) THE EURO HANKY: This one I'll photograph for you in process. You'll take one end and tuck it under on your shoulder and then to the same thing with the other end, giving you a little hanky. If you have a really long scarf, wrap the second end once around your neck before securing. PS- I'm not sure why I look SO ticked off in this series?? Many apologies. Also, the photos refused to go in the center... and I'm done fighting with them!

First end secured
Securing the second end


(5) LOOPED KNOT: This is one of my favorites and I'll show you the front and back version. First you'll cross the ends and bring them around to the back of your neck. Knot the ends. Done!

Crossing ends
Bring the ends to the back

Knot the ends


For the second version, just bring the knot around to the front....
Knot in back...

I hope you learned a fun new way to wear your scarf! The last one is probably my favorite. It's about time for French lessons & then ballet, so I need to turn my computer off. I'm thinking I'll snap a few shots of my studio (with the owner's permission, of course) to show you since it's just so stinking gorgeous. You may or may not get a second blog post tonight depending on how tired I am. You're definitely getting six this week, though, because I *really* wanted to post the clutch. If you haven't heard already, the URL for this blog has changed to Make sure to mark that down! I know many users have been googling my name to get here and that won't work anymore :/ You can FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK or follow the actual blog through blogger or twitter/by email to stay connected. Inspiration abounds! Have a brilliant day and as always, thanks for reading! Pin It