Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY Suitcase to Craft/Sewing Box

I've been holding on to this post for a long time.
I got this cream-colored suitcase before French lessons over a month ago and absolutely love it! I couldn't wait to rush into the coffee shop to show my friend. It's perfect.
I had been searching for a piece to make over into a sewing box for months. You see, my husband is super organized and clean. It makes him so happy when I try to keep things more organized, so I do my best. My sewing items tend to be randomly scattered out the house and something had to be created to hold them all together!
This project is part of a larger mission to organize our "les amusantes" room... which is what we consider to be our room centered around the arts and inspiration. It's where my "library" is as well as crafting supplies, John's instruments and my beloved chaise. I have one new development in that room that I *can't wait* to share with you! It is awesome. 
This little organizational box was really easy as well as extremely adorable. Why organize if you can't make it cute?
That's my theory anyway.

This piece of luggage is relatively small. It would have been a carry on. There are two gorgeous pieces of material that fold over the top of each section and lock in place. It only cost me $14 at a second hand shop and pieces like this are a dime/dozen. There were a few different suitcases at the shop & they get more all the time. Mine was in really good shape, the interior is gorgeous and it even still had the original keys to lock it with. Not that I need to lock it. Yet. Some day when we have little people I'll have to lock them out or they'll get my favorite sewing scissors!

All you'll need is...
a) an old suitcase/luggage/box
b) organizing trays
c) velcro
d) paint (optional)

(1) Arrange it. I wanted a little organizing tray and a thread holder for my sewing box. I got the thread holder for $4 at walmart and already had the organizing tray. The tray was zebra striped, which I love, but didn't match the feel of the case. I just coated it with spray paint and a regular acrylic. No big deal. Figure out how you want your trays to set in the box.
(2) Velcro it. Next, just take industrial velcro with adhesive backing. I put two strips on each tray, attaching them first to the trays, then taking the plastic backing off of the velcro and sticking the trays to the bottom of the case. I use velcro so that if I ever want to have this transform back into a suitcase, it's easy. Plus, then I can switch around the trays at will!
That's it! SO easy, right? I like using the middle section for storing scissors and fabric/pattern pens. I use the back zippered section to hold the extra pieces for my sewing machine. The top section I use to hold my current sewing project. It easily stashes all of the little pattern pieces and then closes off from the rest of the case. Voila!
You could technically use this to store anything- not just crafts or sewing materials. I have a few vintage suitcases and love all of them. One is kind of a set, which is extremely exciting. And extremely red. 
Don't forget that we're nearing the end of March. There are just a couple of more days to get in on the March giveaway before the April contest begins. All of my contest entries are simple, all you need to do to be automatically entered is LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.
That's it for me today. I hope you have a fabulous day and as always, thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

J.Crew Pants to Shorts Refashion (no sew option!)

I apologize for the lack of blog yesterday! I lost my camera cord & had pictures for EVERY blog that I needed stuck in my memory card. I found it :)
Today's blog is exceptionally easy and can be done by anyone. I bought these super fun, super bright J.Crew chinos a few summers ago and really loved them. My husband was pretty fond of them, too. I take great care of my clothing and most of it never even sees a dryer. I have a drying rack instead and nearly all of my clothes are hung that way to dry. 
One day, however, my super sweet boy was trying to help and placed these pants on top of my drying rack which was already full of clothes. They hadn't quite dried yet and the pants ended up (oddly enough) on top of the hoodie from MONDAY'S REFASHION. As most of you have figured out by now, the hoodie transferred it's super dark blue ink to the pants, ruining them. 
It was a sad loss.
And then, last summer, I was perusing the pages of the latest J.Crew catalog and saw the most adorable shorts, in the same color as my pants. They were advertising the shorts with a rolled cuff. Light bulb.
It takes a long time for a lot of my light bulbs to come to fruition however and I just got around to these last week. I wanted to show it on 'la vie', because so many of us have pairs of old, ripped or ruined pants lying around that can easily be turned into cute shorts. You're going to get best results with thin fabric that is still stiff, such as khaki or twill. 
The steps are super simple. If you can't sew or don't have access to a machine, there is an option for you! This project took about 10 minutes.
(1) Cut them. You don't want to leave too much fabric on, because it will be harder to roll, but you do want to leave some room for cuffing. Think of where you want them to fall on your thigh and then add about 1- 1.5 inches per roll, plus seam allowance.
(2) Hem them. Pin the edge and run it through your sewing machine. OR!! Roll over the edge, pin it down and then hot glue it down, removing the pins as you go. Make sure to press the glue in really well and to do it in small sections so that you don't get a glue bump. Alternatively, you may be able to just use fray check on the ends. (ps- that super adorable pin cushion? HERE.)
(3) Roll it. Cuff your shorts to the desired length!
I have a few other pairs that are going to meet with my scissors in time for summer. I really love these, though, because the color is so fantastic. I know we should pair color with color, but I enjoy the pink/white/grey combo & have plenty more cardis and tanks in that scheme to last me til Fall!
I'm excited to announce that the supplies to make all natural perfume have FINALLY arrived! I'm already working on some concoctions & am planning on giving away perfume for April... so you'd better head over to the LA VIE FACEBOOK page & like it to get in on all the fabulous monthly giveaways :) You can expect a perfume post later this week.
Well, that's it for me today! I hope you enjoy the Spring weather. I wish you all the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hoodie Sweatshirt Refashion (no sew!)

I mentioned in my last GF Friday post that today's project was inspired by my frugality. I saw a dark blue sweatshirt in the store a few weeks ago that I *really* wanted, but it was $45, and I can't justify spending that much on sweatshirts. 
I had this American Apparel hoodie at home that I had drooled over for*ever* but had a hard time tracking down. My local AM/AP was out of stock every time I visited. I eventually got it in Columbus, Ohio while getting my first tattoo with my BFF. 
I really did love that hoodie, but as time wore on I found that it didn't fit me as well as it had or at least in the same way. The neckline kind of shrunk up in a strange way and it always felt a bit like it was strangling me. 
It was time for a refashion.
I spent a zillion dollars on that hoodie and it couldn't go to waste in my closet!
This refashion is insanely easy, and depending on whether or not you want to add  any words/logos/etc. you can be done with it in 3 minutes.
(1) Cut it. I removed the hoodie (and saved it, I have some ideas!) by cutting along the neckline. Don't get too crazy. I'm a HUGE fan of boat necks and ruined many-a-shirt by cutting too much off. If you just follow (1/2 inch from) along the seam of the hoodie, you'll cut enough off. Trust me. You can always take off more!  Sweatshirt material really doesn't fray, so I just left the edge alone. I made mine a little bit more jagged, but if you pull tightly as you cut, you'll get a smoother line.

(2) Trim it. Mine was extremely long. I'm still deciding, but I may cut the bottom of the sweatshirt off, just where the banded section is. You can always cut some of your bottom off if you want to make it shorter/cropped. Cropped sweatshirts are pretty big this season.
(3) Paint it. I used one of the ZILLION freezer paper tutorials going around to add a little heart to the front of the sweatshirt. I may do some damage to the back as well. Basically, it's like my contact paper stencil tutorials from the past, you just trace your design on to the freezer paper, xacto knife it out, iron it on to the material, paint with fabric paint (I used three coats), remove the paper while the paint is still wet and follow the paint instructions for drying/curing. 
Such a great way to update any old sweatshirts you have around the house. You can instantly make them look more fun! I'm considering testing this on some of John's old, over-sized hoodies. I'll be sure to post the results!
As you can see, I took these pictures on my bicycle. John and I took our first ride of the season yesterday and it was... a disaster! His bike lived in the car port all winter. Needless to say, it was covered in rust as well as bird poo. Plus the chain had come off and the tires were flat. After some work his bike was ready to go! We drove it over to the air station to fill up our tires and decided to give mine a little boost as well. Yeah. It definitely drained all of the air out of my tire. Plus some how a bolt came loose and fell from my bike along the way? I had to walk my bike back to our house. Sad. And, finally, a few hours later, we heard a really strange and loud sound coming from the other room. The air cap had dislodged itself and the tire entirely deflated. It was a sad, sad bike ride. 
Don't forget that there are still a few more days to get in on this month's contest. All you have to do to be automatically entered in my contests is LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE. Easy, right? I think it's easier to follow on facebook than blogger, but you're more than welcome to follow on blogger as well. This month I'm giving away either a custom apron OR an all natural basket with my favorite natural 'la vie' products. Your choice :) Remember that I'll contact you through my personal FB page, so be sure to look out for "auna" messages in early April! Depending on your privacy settings, you may find that messages from non-friends are in a different folder :) That's it for today! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

GF Friday: Crumbly Yumbly Strawberry Tart (or pie!)

Yes. This is in fact a day late. 
Hopefully this weekend will provide some time to catch up and get ready for next week, though! I'm still trying to finish up the prizes from last month's giveaway, and it's almost time to pull a winner for this month! Wow. Time sure does fly by :)
I'm going to make this short and sweet so that I can whip out my sewing machine and get stitching! I still have one more clutch & coin purse to make plus a scarf and tons of hair oil. However, I can't make the hair oil yet, I'm *still* waiting on supplies to arrive in the mail.
Here we go: I've been craving pie like WILD lately, but being gluten free has made it very difficult to actually eat some. Also, strawberries were on sale $1/lb a few weeks ago, so my freezer was FULL of strawberries.
That combination of facts could only mean one thing: it was time to make a gluten free pie. This recipe is actually for more of a tart, but if you want a pie (crust goes all the way up the sides + over the filling), just double the recipe.

1 c. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour
1/3 c. frozen butter, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. spice mix (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom... whatever you have)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tbs. filling juice (optional)
1-2 tbs. warm water
(1) Mix it. Mix all dry ingredients together. Next grate the butter and add. I've read on several baking blogs (and in several cookbooks) that grating frozen butter is a great idea, and it is. Especially with gluten free cooking. Simply leave sticks of butter in the freezer just for baking and pull them out as needed. Use any cheese grater to grate the cheese. Mix it into the dry ingredients to begin forming a dough. Add in the extract + filling juice (this is any excess juice that is formed while making the filling). Lastly add warm water, a little bit at a time until you get a  dough consistency. If you aren't using excess juice from the filling, you may just need more water.

(2) Spread it. Press the dough into the bottom of your pie pan. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the dough and set aside for later. Use your fingers or a spoon to get an even layer all around the (well greased) pan.

(3) Pre-bake it. Pre-bake your crust in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

1/3 c. sugar in the raw (or white sugar if you aren't down with natural)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lbs of strawberries fresh for frozen (if fresh, reserve 5 large + mash them)
1/2 tbs. cornstarch (if using frozen)

(1) Prep it. Thaw your frozen strawberries. If using fresh, clean them and cut the tops off. Slice the strawberries into 1/4 inch slices. 
(2) Spice it. Add in your spices + extract. Stir in mashed fresh strawberries OR add cornstarch to your frozens.

(3) Check it. Make sure your filling is the right consistency. Frozen tends to be really runny, do you need to drain some excess fluid? I had to take out about 1-2 tablespoons of extra juice. Fresh can be a little too dry, you may need to mash a few extra strawberries.
(4) Fill it. Pour your filling on top of your PRE-BAKED tarte or pie crust. 

1/2 c. GF oats
2 tbs dough (should have been reserved from the crust)
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. strawberry filling juice

(1) Mix it. Put all the ingredients in a small bow & combine together. 
(2) Top it. Crumble evenly on top of the tart.
(3) Bake it. Put the whole thing in the oven for 20 minutes at 425. Check the progress, lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes.

It was actually pretty stinking good. I hate to say this, but we ate the entire pie in one sitting. I don't know how it happened. Really. One minute there was a tart, the next minute... just an empty bowl, a couple of dessert plates and two strawberry stained faces...
I have a great week lined up. I have two projects which I am especially excited about. However, I'm not sure if I'll feature one, both or neither next week. It kind of depends on how things play out. I have a few easy, sewing-free ways to upcycle some old clothes as well. I was particularly inspired for one of the pieces by an adorable sweatshirt at VS. I had planned to buy it, but in the end realized that I could make it for free. So be sure to check back Monday through Friday of next week! I can't believe it, but it will be the last week of March! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!