Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pants to Pencil Skirt Refashion

This is one of the coolest refashions I've ever done. I was inspired by the shorts-to-skirt refashion I posted yesterday. In my ramblings I mentioned that it could be done with other fabrics that weren't so loose... and then I thought of all the dress pants I have at home that would be really great pencil skirts! I love when one idea turns into another, even greater idea. I gave it a go and it was really easy. I worked exactly how I thought it would in my head. The steps are pretty simple, even beginners can do it! In the end you'll have an adorable pencil skirt. Pencil skirts are wonderful because throughout the decades they've maintained their status as a stylish wardrobe staple. The hem has changed over the years, but that is easily controlled by leaving lots of seam allowance when you create the hem. That way you can change it as the style shifts!
(1) Seam rip it. Flip the pants inside out and begin removing the seam, starting at the crotch and working your way down one leg and then the other. Resist the urge to actually RIP the seam. I made a huge tear in my pants. 
(2) Cut it. Trim down the length of the pant so that you have less fabric to work with. Don't forget to save the legs for something else! Remember to leave plenty of room for seam allowance. Also, you'll need to make it look like a skirt, that means cutting down the crotch and booty. I tried to show before and after pictures. Basically, you're cutting of the excess and blending it into the other lines of the pant. The pants are show inside out and folded sideways, so the same down the middle is actually the side of the pants, not the front or back.
(3) Pin it. Pin the legs together down the front and back seam. You'll notice that toward the bottom on the back seam, I created a vent so there would be room to move. I just made a little V by folding the fabric back on top of itself on each side.
(4) Hem it. Hem down each of the sides and then try it on. See how long you want it to be and cut/pin accordingly. I needed mine about 4 inches shorter. I folded the edge over twice to make it really nice and then hemmed it. 

(5) Adjust it. Try it on one last time and make sure you love everything. I ended up tapering the sides of mine a little bit more because it was too loose. Done!

It was a relatively quick project. Less than one hour from start to finish! I honestly thought it would take a lot longer. I love it. I paired it for the pictures with my diy RUFFLED SHIRT. I love how they go together and it's especially cool that the entire outfit is refashioned. Hopefully John can snap some new pictures of me wearing it soon. These were taken in my full length mirror! I wish there was some fantastic interview in the near future so this outfit could make a debut in real life.

Today is the end of my fantastic giveaway, and that means that when the winners are announced (Thursday) a new giveaway will start! I'm trying to think of what to give away this month, but I would LOVE some input. The rules are pretty simple, all you have to do is LIKE THE FACEBOOK PAGE in order to be automatically entered each month. The facebook page is new and coincides with the new look of 'la vie'. I would love to get everyone connecting over there since comments can be unreliable on blogger. The facebook page is a great way to see what else has been done on la vie as well as ask questions, make suggestions and keep current with the blog of the day. Plus, who doesn't like a chance to win something each month??
That's it for me today! I hope your Tuesday is fantastic! My goal for today is to finish writing the rest of the week entirely. We'll see if that actually happens ;) If you don't get a post from me tomorrow, you can safely assume that I didn't 
accomplish my goal! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! Pin It

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!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Refashion: Shorts to Skirt

This should be my last ballet skirt for a long, long time now that I've located my actual skirt. However, the loss did inspire me to create three new ones! Necessity is the mother of invention. BUT- this technique works for any short to skirt (or even pant to skirt) operation you may need. It doesn't have to be for ballet :)
I got these shorts as a birthday present in a pajama set. I actually really love them, but they had to be sacrificed on the altar of bum-coverage. I will not go to class without a skirt! 
It was a really, really simple fix. It would be fun to wear this with leggings, too. 
This project would be best from a fabric that moves + has an elastic waist, but denim and other options work as well. I may do this again with a pair of old pants and make a pencil skirt... so stay tuned. 
Ready for the (three easy) steps?
(1) Cut it. You can either cut the seam or you can use a seam ripper to undo the seam down the middle of the crotch.
(2) Shape it. I then just cut that whole crotch-y section off and evened the edge out. Don't forget to leave a little bit extra for the hem.
(3) Hem it. Pin the edge over and hem the skirt! If you're making a skirt out of pants, you'll have to hem everything. If you're making it from shorts, you'll only need to hem the new section.
The more I think about making a pencil skirt from pants, the more plausible it sounds. I have an old pair of dress pants that would be perfect! I'm really excited about it. I may start on it tonight. Now that I've announced it, I kind of have to!
Speaking of announcements, do you want the line up for the week?
Tuesday: Pencil skirt from pants (if it works!)
Wednesday: Furry slippers (guest blogger- mom!)
Thursday: T-shirt scarf (made from the BEACH COVER UP leftovers)
Friday: GF, baby! I have a few recipes I'd like to feature. 

Today is an INSANE week- so I tried to do everything in advance this weekend. Failed miserably. The only project I actually finished isn't even listed here! It's a two part refashion that I'm pretty excited about. If something doesn't go as planned, I'll feature it this week. If not- next week! Also, don't forget that today is *the last day* to get in on my MASSIVE GIVEAWAY. If you want the reader's digest version- just LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE to be automatically entered to win one of ten prizes. If you want more details or additional chances to win, then click the massive giveaway link above.
I hope you have a fantastic day and week! As always, thanks for reading! Pin It

Friday, February 24, 2012

GF Friday: Broccoli (Mac &) Cheese + DIY Kitchen 4

Welcome to another edition of GF Friday! For those of you who *are* able to consume wheat and what not, you can simply substitute regular shell pasta noodles.
So keep reading ;)
Although, we get a lot of whacky gluten in our western diet, so every now and then it isn't a bad idea to go GF and limit your intake. Just a thought.
My inspiration for this recipe came from the soup, which incidentally, I dislike. However, there's a warming quality to it which seems super appealing. When I think of it, I think of being warm and snuggled. And on a particularly cold day, when being warm and snuggled sounded divine... I created this!
The ingredients are simple (extra large single serving)...

1.5 c. (uncooked) GF Rice Shells (meijer/walmart/target all sell rice pasta shells)
1 c. broccoli
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese*
2 tbs sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced/pressed
1 tsp GF soup base- chicken flavored**
salt + pepper to taste
Onion powder (optional)

* Feel free to mix it up with the cheese. I tried 1/2 Smoked Applewood Gouda + half Aged Cheddar... amazing. Remember, fresh blocks of cheese that you grate yourself will be 90x better!
** Non-gf can substitute a bouillon cube. Any GF bouillon substitute will work. 
Cook pasta according to the directions. Meanwhile, combine cheese, sour cream & garlic. Set aside. Overcook your broccoli until it is SUPER tender/mushy. Once the pasta is done, drain, return to pan & add all remaining ingredients to the pasta pan and stir. The cheese & broccoli will melt together with everything else. Add salt & pepper to taste.
I am definitely craving some right now. I have a full day today, otherwise I'd be home making it! 
Next, let's continue our DIY kitchen series about customizing apartment kitchens. One of the greatest changes I made for our cookie-cutter kitchen was adding a rug. It took us a long time to find one we liked, but the difference is incredible. Plus, it's much nicer to walk on the area rug than the cold tiles in the early, frigid Michigan mornings!
If you're worried about staining, don't. Ours is black & white (which is surprisingly forgiving) and has no stains. We've had the rug down for a year and I cook AT LEAST once per day, usually twice. I've spilled things on it plenty of times, but they always come right out! Test it out and see how much warmer and more inviting your kitchen becomes.
Just a little baby post for today! I'm already gearing up and excited for another week of 'la vie'. I hope you have a brilliant weekend- look for a bonus post tomorrow or Sunday about my sweet new ink & our Valentine's Day celebration of goodness.
As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY Kitchen Part 3: Lighting + Stool

Today is a super exciting day for me! I mentioned last week that I wasn't able to get my traditional Valentine's Day tattoo because the block where the shop is located lost power. I was so bummed! John and I have the same artist and we really love him. I absolutely love what he drew up for my latest ink and TONIGHT I get it!!! Yay! We're going right after ballet class (which, by the way, I *finally* found my ballet skirt, after making THREE replacements). Maybe I'll share my latest body art tomorrow. I don't think I've ever posted any pictures of them before. 
Before I jet off, though, I want to show you a couple more DIY projects from our kitchen. If you live in an apartment, like we do, you know that there are limitations with what you're allowed to do. It can be frustrating at times- especially when it comes to painting. However, I want to show you a few ways that John and I have made our kitchen more customized, despite small spaces + regulations. YESTERDAY I posted the cabinet makeover- completely reversible, cheap and easy. Today I'll show you some inspirations from Ikea.
While browsing the Swedish giant about six months ago, John fell in love with some LED lighting they displayed underneath the kitchen cabinets. It had to be installed, though, and for Ikea it was extremely expensive.
We recreated the same look for $9, and again, it's completely reversible. 
I bought 6 LED touch lights from AMAZON.COM and used 3M command (more about this at a later date!) strips to attach them to the undersides of our cabinets. The 3M removes completely with no residue. They aren't beautiful, but unless you bend down, you can't see them underneath our cabinets. 

I love the way they look, they have a very gentle, pretty glow and are great for using at night. John especially loves them because he hates our florescent lighting and avoids using it whenever possible. They definitely aren't bright enough for cooking, but they're wonderful for a light night snack, or just to use to add a little luminosity to your abode. 
The second inspiration also came from Ikea. They were selling these step stools in various colors, but we chose the unfinished version for $12.99 (now $14.99). This was a big deal for us, we needed a  step stool for our kitchen, and it needed to be easily accessible as I use it all the time. I also wanted it to match, though, and not be in the way.
I ended up painting it yellow (two coats, acrylic paint) and it looks so bright and wonderful! These stools are easy to paint, and if you're talented you can always give it a base color and then stencil on a fun design. I may go back and add in white stripes, now that I'm thinking about it. Actually... let's do it now!
(1) Base it. Paint your stool in the base color- in my case that would be yellow.
(2) Tape it. Tape off your design with painters or masking tape, or use a stencil. I striped mine with varying widths of white. I did that by starting with widths of 3 pieces of tape and then 2 and then 1 (on the top).
(3). Paint it. Paint again and again til your color is achieved. If you want it to be easier, paint the stool with your LIGHTER color first and then layer it with the darker shade. I didn't know I'd be adding stripes when I made this :)
(4) Dry it. Once the color is achieved, allow the stool to completely dry and then remove the tape. Voila!
We also needed to make it accessible without being in the way. In the end, I put it in front of the oven. I also put a peace lily (from my Grandfather's funeral) on top of it to add aesthetic value and make it more useful. The plant needed something to sit on! The oven had been a real eyesore when you walk into our apartment, but now it's really quirky and somewhat reminds me of my favorite German homes. 
SO there you go! Two quick, little customizations for your home... whether you're an apartment dweller or not! Yesterday was so gorgeous, I thought for sure Spring was here. However, Michigan dashed my hopes with a fresh crop of snow this morning. I can't complain, though, the weather has been AMAZING so far! Before I rush off, I want to remind you to LIKE OUR FACEBOOK page and be automatically entered to win one of 10 prizes. Odds are pretty good and there are only 5 more days to enter, so you should rush over and get in on it! Have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY: $6 Cabinet Makeover

Between YESTERDAY'S POST about using decals + today, I've decided to add another tab: Apartment Living. Living in an apartment has serious challenges (and benefits- I dislike shoveling...), generally related to spacial issues + decor. 
Each complex has it's own set of rules, but generally wherever you go you will find limitations to how many holes you can put in the wall, what kind of painting you can do and of course... the kitchen. The kitchen has been especially tough for me. I desperately want a beautiful custom kitchen, but there isn't much that can be done in an apartment.
But there may be more than you think!
Over the next three days, I'll show you a few things that I've done to customize our kitchen... despite rules and regulations.
First up: cabinets.
The first apartment that John and I checked out was a disaster. However terrified I was, I was willing to get on board... if only the manager would agree to let me paint the cabinets. They were *horrible*. Very dated, very ugly. They looked sooo dingy and I just knew that a coat of bright paint would fix them and make the entire kitchen much more inviting. Of course, she said no... and we moved on.
Our next visit ended up being the home we chose and it was much, much better. Even so, the kitchen was plain and needed some love. I'd like to show you how I made over our kitchen cabinets in less than an hour and for under $6.
I bought this contact paper at T.J. Maxx for $5.99. Contact paper is cheap and you can get it anywhere (target by the roll, wal-mart by the yard). The best part about using it is that if you dislike the end results, it peels right off. Of course, that little fact is what makes it brilliant for apartment living as well. When we move out, I can just peel these bad boys right off the cabinets. No residue. No evidence. No issues.
The steps are simple...
(1). Measure it. Measure your cabinets and decide how you want to cover them. I wanted to do ours with a white border, so I left between 1.5 and 3 inches around depending on how large the surface area was.
(2) Cut it. Cut out your pieces... the best part is that contact paper has a grid on the back side! It's perfect for my lazy ways.
(3) Apply it. You may want help with this. I was really glad that John was home. I climbed on to our step stool and held the top while he pulled the bottom taut. We just eyeballed ours for accuracy, measuring them against their neighbors. Feel free to be more precise ;)

Done! Wasn't that simple? I love the way it looks, too. It brightens our whole kitchen and leaves it feeling less "stock" and more "us". We chose to only do the top of the cabinets, not the bottom row too. I was worried that it may be too much yellow. I think that was the right call.
I've got some exciting news coming, so stay posted. Also, if you haven't yet... head over to our FACEBOOK PAGE and "like" it to be automatically entered to win one of 10 prizes! This is the last week, so spread the word!
It is GORGEOUS today! I think I'll con John into taking a walk later on. I hope you have a beautiful afternoon, and as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Decals: Beyond The Walls

I have about 15 projects that I'm only half way done with, putting me way behind schedule! I promise to get ahead on them asap! Until then, I thought I'd show you a little obsession of mine: wall decals. I know these are really popular right now, and I can totally see why! In the complex, John & I live in, there is a $500 fee to paint. 
That is a TON of money.
We chose to pay a (much) reduced fee and paint only one wall, and we've found that using various other methods of wall coverings has helped distract from the over-all whiteness. One of those methods has been wall decals.
Though it's true that we used them on our walls, today's post is about encouraging you to think outside the wall, if you will, and imagine other ways to use them. To get your mind moving, I'll show you a few ways we've used ours.
(1) Kitchen appliances. When I first put a decal on my kitchenaid, I thought John was going to pass out. He bought this for me when we had only been dating a few months and he's very protective of it. I can imagine why, at the time it was special edition, which translates to "especially expensive". However, it didn't damage the mixer one bit! Try putting decals on your kitchen appliances- including your fridge and oven! I wish I had posted this on pinterest, someone else had the idea to put them on her kitchenaid later and it has made HUGE rounds.
(2) Sewing machine. I also adorned my sewing machine with crowns from the same series. I bought a couple packs of these crowns in various colors, you'll see them littered throughout our home. I alternate between the pink and the blue, depending on which room of the house my machine is in ;)
(3) Theme it- a. I alluded to it above, but I like to get multiple packs of decals and use them to carry a theme throughout our home. You can see that we've taken the same crowns and put them EVERYWHERE in different shapes and sizes. There is another crown above the numbers on our front door (and beneath the knocker) but for obvious reasons I didn't display it. There's a crown above the shelf that holds my alarm clock next to the bed and another one above the towel rack in our guest bathroom. Having the crowns all along the house helps tie it together without using the same color scheme in each room.
(4) Theme it- b. I did the same thing using different bird decals (as opposed to using the *same* crown in different colors). I also used the birds as if they were actually sitting on the surfaces vs. flying on the wall.
 (5) Theme it- c. Lastly, I used extra pieces from a large wall display to put throughout our home. I applied it to corners of walls and on table tops to once again distribute the theme in our home. This is a really great idea if you do have a full sized wall decal. 
I hope you're inspired to really think of ways you can use decals, outside of as center pieces for your walls. Think of bookshelves, coffee tables, night stands... everything!
I wanted to show you a picture of the sweetest dog, too. John & I found him running back & forth across a busy street in town. We got out and picked him up... I honestly was worried for half a second that he may be a biter, but he was such a sweetheart! He crawled right into our car and ran back and forth between the back & front seats like he owned the joint! Soooo cute! I hated turning him in at the police station (no collar) and desperately wanted him for myself. Ah well... c'est la vie! 
We'll be back tomorrow, and don't forget to LIKE OUR FACEBOOK page to be automatically entered to win one of ten prizes! Have a great evening, and as always, thanks for reading! Pin It