Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chalkboard in the Kitchen+ Biggby (C)update.

Who here loves chalkboard paint?! Me too. It's really overdone though and is high-ranking on my "do not use" list. Pinterest is awesome and I would *never* dispute that, but it is also responsible for giving trends a much quicker life cycle. As in, it beats them until they are beyond dead and should have been in the ground and buried a long, long time ago.
What other things does my list include?
Nutella. This is a real shame because of my time in Germany. It hurts to hate on Nutella, but come on. It's time to let it go, people.
Chevron. I had a talk with Steph about this the other day. An entire company was built on that pattern and functioned successfully for decades, only for Pinterest to come along and destroy it in a few months.
Burlap. Enough said.
The word "clever". I used to really like that word. Now it annoys me. 
"How clever is this?!"
"She is so clever!"
"What a clever idea"
"Ah... [insert tip here}] ... very clever."
You get the idea. Chalkboard paint is also on the list because it has been used for *everything*, so I won't pretend that this is groundbreaking, but here are a couple of projects I updated with chalkboard paint this week. It really *is* useful for getting organized! Especially in the kitchen. My friend, Meghan, from SPLIT THE LARK gave me some awesome jars with chalkboard labels on them before moving to Alaska. They're super cute. And when you change the contents (flour, noodles, seeds) to something else, it's easily re-labeled. Also good for dating things like flour, sugar, etc. so that they don't exceed their shelf life. You can easily make those using this method.
Personally, I felt the need to chalkboard label my two misto cans. I love these because you can fill them with any sort of oil and use it in place of the aerosol versions (highly unnatural...) sold in the store. They're great to cook with, too, so that you don't overload food with oil. However, I often get mixed up with which one has olive oil (cooking) and which one has canola or sunflower oil (baking). Let me tell you, as awesome as olive oil is on bread... it isn't so yummy on cupcakes. It's always really disappointing when I spray cookie sheets or cake pans with olive oil on accident. You'd think the color differences would help, but I just always forget.
(1) Clean it. Wipe down and clean the oil containers, I used rubbing alcohol + cotton balls to get them totally grease-free. You want the paint to adhere easily. 
(2) Tape it. tape off the area that you want painted to give yourself nice, clean lines.
(3) Paint it. It took probably 5-6 coats to get good coverage. Let's just get it out there- your first coat *will* be pathetic. Don't despair. Just keep building on each coat and allowing them to dry for an hour in between. I didn't have chalk, so that's definitely a font written over the chalkboard area, but you get the idea :)
Next up is my beloved Biggby (C)update. I love Biggby. It's our favorite coffee haunt and we go there every week to use our coupons. Biggby date night is sacred to us. John especially loves Biggby and starts thinking about what flavor he will order as soon as he wakes up that day. If not the night before! We got these BPA reusable cups from Biggby for our iced lattes. I figured that they would be a little better than using the disposable plastic cups every week. I have a serious hatred of plastic. We have some ceramic ones for our hot drinks, too. I'm slightly paranoid. 
I chalked them up, too, so that we can label them with our names OR the flavor of the coffee. Often we share coffee, but sometimes we can't. I have serious issues with dairy and have to order soy (which I'm also allergic to, but the reaction isn't as bad). And, John can drink caffeine any time of day without issue. I will absolutely not be sleeping if that stuff gets in my veins after 10 am. So. Here we are. 
I followed the same steps as above. Once you tape off your area (I wish I had made mine much, much larger for the record. Take that into consideration), you may want to lightly rub a piece of sandpaper on the edge to get just a smallest bit of grip for your paint to stick to. Really, don't go crazy or you'll end up putting a hole in the cup. Just the lightest touch, please! Again, this took about 5-6 coats to get great coverage but it was worth the wait. Also, you may notice that I tried mixing glitter into the chalk paint to see what would happen. Big mistake. Don't do that :)
Here's the front and back finished. I can't wait to use these bad boys!
Are you ready for the official end of summer? I'm pretty sad, personally. I absolutely *love* fall, but I don't love winter. At all. We're mortal enemies. I hope your weekend is fabulous and fun and gives one last BIG hurrah for Summer :) All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Glittered Glasses Refashion

I love these.
Have you heard of craftgawker? It's like Pinterest, only moderated. Everything has be to submitted and then put through a process before being accepted and featured. Anyway, I like it, and while browsing craftgawker I saw THESE incredible shell bead sunglasses.
So cute.
Anyway, I loved the look but I didn't have shell beads on hand so I couldn't make them. So I made my own version with glitter (of course) instead. The tutorial is different between the two, so don't use her method for glitter or mine for shell beads :)
I used an older pair of mega-huge shades and got to work. Ready? Here we go.
(1) Clean it. It's easier to work with clean shades, so take a bottle of rubbing alcohol + cotton balls and go to work. After you're done, (carefully) pop the lenses out and set them aside. 
(2) Tape it. I wanted really clean lines and also to protect the rest of the glasses from the finishing treatment, so I taped off the sections I wasn't going to glitter. If you want to glitter the whole frame, skip this step.
(3) Glitter it. I used a mix of mod podge + glitter that you can paint on with a brush, but I really dislike that method. I don't think you get even (or even full) coverage that way. It stinks. My method is to take your glue (crafters, mod podge, etc.) and brush it on with a paint brush. Then just dump the glitter all over it. Make it nice and saturated. After a minute or so, shake the glasses gently to remove the excess. Allow to dry for a few hours.
(4) Protect it. You don't want all of that awesome glitter coming off, right? Right. So whenever I glitter something, I always follow up with 2-3 coats of Krylon Clear Glaze spray paint. You can see that I put the sides of the glasses into a plastic bag to protect them from getting sprayed. Allow the spray to dry for 24 hours! If you don't you'll get smudges. I was impatient and ended up smudging the right side a bit. 
(5) Rock it. After 24 hours, pop the lenses back in and wear those bad boys! I wish I didn't have to wear prescription glasses, otherwise I'd be in these all the time! Maybe I'll glitter my prescription ones, too :) We'll see!

Monday, August 27, 2012

T-shirt Hack

So, last week I pinned the most adorable shirt on Pinterest. It was clearly ballet themed, flowing and perfect. However, the pin didn't lead back to a place to purchase it and that meant I'd need to make my own.
So I did.
It turned out a lot better than I expected and I'll give you the step-by-step to make this (two different ways). I also decided to research the shirt until I found a place to purchase it- and I did! You can get it HERE if you live in Australia (and the proceeds go to the Australian Ballet, so that's pretty awesome).
You can use this tutorial to create any sort of shirt, obviously. Whenever I use a freezer paper transfer, I follow THIS tutorial, so if you've never done it before, then go there and read the full how-to. If you need a refresher course, see below. You can also use THIS TUTORIAL that I found yesterday and looks amazing. It also uses freezer paper but doesn't require any x-acto knifing and seems much, much easier. My only concern is that it wouldn't survive the wash. So stay tuned and I'll test it :)
To follow the original tutorial, you'll need scissors, freezer paper, an x-acto knife and fabric paint + paint brush. I used the new boyfriend tee from PINK, which you can get 2/$28. I really like the shape + fabric. I'd like to get a few more!
(1) Trace it. Since I needed the words to be in a straight line and well spaced, I traced printer paper on to my freezer paper and then cut it out. If you're going to follow the second tutorial, this is perfect since the freezer paper will be going through an ink jet printer.
(2) Cut it. I printed my design off from the computer (I used Calibri Bold as the font) and made it on using regular old PowerPoint for Mac. Whatever, don't judge the method. It worked. Then I placed my freezer paper on top of the printer paper (waxy side down), paper clipped it in place and cut out the letters with an x-acto knife.
(3) Iron it. I ironed everything in place, adding back in the little inside pieces of the letters after the main part of the design was down (seriously, read the original tutorial if you've never done this before!). I lined up the edges, too, so that the lettering would be correctly in place.
(4) Paint it. Use fabric paint and a brush to fill it in. You'll need to heat set your fabric paint according to the manufacturer directions. Also, place a bit of waxed paper or some other GLOSSY surface so that the paint doesn't bleed through. The original tutorial calls for cardboard, but my paint stuck to that it was a *pain* to get the shirt off. We sacrificed some major shirt fibers in the end. You may need a few coats, also. I think I needed three. After the paint dries, just peel the paper off.
I love it. I wore it that very same day to go see my family.
This is right near the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner. Ps- I got asked if I was going to prom at our rehearsal dinner. I was like ... 25. And also, it was October. There is no prom in October. And unless they're chaperoning, there shouldn't be 25 year old adults, either.
We went to go see my brother's band play. He used to always have a band in college, but he got out of the habit as he got older. They are officially back together and ready to have some fun! It was awesome to see him singing on stage again, I was one proud little sister. The only bummer was the big red light they had shining on him, it made it impossible to get a good picture. Bah. Anyway, the guys are better than they ever were and it's exciting to see them doing their thing. 
Also, my 4th charge came into the world this weekend! Wow! It is so exciting. I don't say much about all of that because they are minors, but congratulations go out to his family. He is absolutely beautiful and I am so excited to be part of this growing family!
I have so much for this week and it's already done and finished. For the record, it is hard to sit on projects once they're finished! I just want to post them all. I hope Monday is treating you well! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NO SEW Leg warmers (round two!)

**Use the rest of that sweater to make no-sew sweater boots! Just as easy- click here**
Glue gun lovers, this one is for you!!
I saw a pair of really cozy looking, buttoned-down legwarmers circulating for sale on Pinterest and fell in love. Fortunately (for my bank account), there was some sort of error and they didn't pin to my wall :(
I've POSTED about making legwarmers before, but I decided to give it another go as I was inspired by that adorable pair. I added some ribbon to mine for a little extra cuteness factor, though I wish I had used a wider ribbon. This was all I had on hand, though.
Instead of sewing them, I decided to glue it up this time around so those of you without the desire to stitch can still participate. Of course, you're welcome to sew them if you prefer.
(1) Start it. Cut the sleeves off of an old sweater with a thick ribbed knit, so that it doesn't unravel. I cut these off of John's sweater *months* ago when I did the first post about legwarmers and they still haven't unraveled so I'd say it's safe. The end of the sleeve will be at the top of your knee and the underarm end will go down by your feet.
(2) Cut it. Put them on and see if they're too long. If they are, mark down the right length and cut the excess off. Slit each one down the middle from top to bottom. If you *don't* want your legwarmers to be tapered and instead want them to be straight legged then fold them in half with the two cut ends together and cut the taper off from the TOP to BOTTOM so that they are now straight. 
(3) Ribbon it. Cut ribbon 2 inches longer than the legwarmer and in sections (so the glue doesn't dry), glue the ribbon on using fabric glue sticks in your gun (1/2 inch in from the edge). Tuck the ends over the other side and glue down at each end. 
(4) Connect it. Next, glue the ends back together. Put your glue down on the inside of the ribbon between the ribbon's edge and the edge of your legwarmer slit. Section by section, glue down the other edge. 
(5) Button it. Place your buttons out into the exact way you'd like them and then one at a time, pick them up and glue them on. I like to apply the glue to the edges of the button so that it doesn't show through in the button holes. Be sure that the legwarmers match each other- you don't want one to have buttons going down much further than the other!
(6) Wear it! I liked leaving my ends tapered. I think it looks interesting and different than regular legwarmers when worn with flats. It creates a flare shape. You can also wear them with boots, as pictured below. Forget expensive boot socks!
The end! You probably won't hear from me for the rest of the week. I promised myself that with the extra work load, I'd go down to only blogging 3 days/week for the summer. Ha. I think I did 4 days/week a couple of times, but that's the closest I've come so far! I'm going to give it a whirl this week just to see if I can do it or if I need to join some sort of blogging-addition therapy class. We'll see. Have a great day! All the best and as always, thanks for reading!
**Use the rest of that sweater to make no-sew sweater boots! Just as easy- click here**

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Garage Sale Refashion! (part one)

If you have ever, ever had any fear of buying something totally hideous at a garage sale, please allow this post to put your mind at ease.
This is quite possibly the ugliest dress ever made. Ok really, that probably isn't true. I can think of far, far worse fashion that came out of the 80's, but this is still pretty rough.
I was part of a garage sale to raise money for cancer research a few weekends ago and one of my co-workers brought this fantastic dress in as a contribution. It belonged to her mom in the 80's. Just so we're clear, in the 80's I was just starting school, so thankfully I missed most of the tragic fashion choices from that decade. It's really interesting- the music and movies were fantastic, but the clothing, hair + makeup totally stunk. The 90's weren't much better. Thankfully, things have improved.
Anyway- back to the dress. Bethany openly acknowledged the awfulness of this dress, so it's OK to mock it. In fact, she said she would shake the hand of the brave soul who bought it. Highly doubt she expected it to be me.
But I just kept going back to the stinking dress... here's the deal, when you're at a garage sale and wondering what you should buy for a refashion, consider these things...
a) condition: what condition is the clothing in? Will it need repairs? Are there stains?
b) fabric: is the material something that can be easily refashioned or is it hard to work with?
c) print: if there is a print, does it fit with the trends of today?
d) ability: do I have the skill to make this fit me? (if you're trying to alter it down a size, etc.)

I could answer favorably for all questions related to this dress. To be honest- in one long piece, the print was horrible. But once it was chunked out, it became cute. I've seen this pattern a lot this summer. The sweet floral prints have made a come back in skirts, so making a skirt from this just made sense. Want to see part one? Here we go.
(1) Measure it. I put the dress on and then marked with a pin the proper length. You could also put a skirt in the proper length over top and measure that way. Place the skirt + the dress hem to hem on the bottom edge. You want to leave the bottom hem intact so that you have less work to do, so cut off at the top, not the bottom.  Remember to leave an allowance for your elastic- so you'll want twice the width of the elastic + 1/2 inch (ex: 1 inch of elastic = 2.5 inches of extra at the top)
(2) Cut it. Cut the extra right off and set it aside for something else. Ps- you should probably iron your piece if it looks like mine before doing anything else. I ironed mine last. I always try to skip ironing, it never works.
(3) Pin it. Flip the skirt inside out and fold over the top edge based on the width of your elastic + 1/4 inch so that your elastic is easier to thread + pin. There should be another 1/4 inch left over on the other side of your pin. Iron the fold to make a nice crease. OPTIONAL: If you want a nice, professional casing, fold the top over 1/4 inch, pin and iron. Next, fold it over the appropriate width for your elastic, pin + iron again. Your raw edge should be tucked inside of your casing for the elastic.
(4) Stitch it. Stitch along your pin line with a straight stitch in a thread color which matches your fabric. Leave 1 inch open on the seam (both sides) to thread your elastic. 
(5) Thread it. Attach a safety pin to one side of your elastic and push it through your skirt. Next, I like to pin both sides of the elastic together while I push the material around and make the bunching even across the top. Lastly, overlap your elastic by 1/4 inch and pin together, then stitch the two ends together using a straight stitch. Don't forget to back stitch so that the bond is tight.
A note on elastic: Measure the area where you want the skirt to hit and then take away one inch to determine the length of your elastic. For example, if your waist is 25 inches around, you'd measure a piece of elastic that was 24 inches. 
(6) Finish it. Fold down the opening of your elastic casing and sew it shut using a straight stitch. Get the bunching exactly how you want it and then sew a straight seam on top of the side seams to keep the elastic in place. I usually only go 1 inch past the elastic. That's optional, if you don't mind the bunching moving around, you can skip it.
Done! I wish I had done this earlier in the season so that it could be worn all summer long. I really love it. If you're wondering why there are *so* many finished product pictures- I'm submitting this project for craft sites and want plenty of options :) I hope you're ready to bravely take on ugly dresses now. The job is easy and the pay off is totally worth it. 
All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!