Thursday, April 3, 2014

Knotted Back Sweater Refashion

I have a sickness. An illness. An obsession.
Ballet clothes.
In fact, I build my ballet wardrobe the way most women build their work wardrobes. Whether DIY'd or purchased, I love adding to my stash of practice attire.
So even though I had recently purchased a new sweater for ballet (so cute, with thumb holes!), when the idea of changing this one up to use in class came, it had to be done immediately.
However- it isn't just for class! Paired with a high waisted pencil skirt, or over a bikini, this is fantastic option.
It started as a sweater purchased second hand from an online ad. I didn't get to try it on before buying and afterwards it fit awfully.
It was a high-low sweater and just ... way too high and way too low!
Here it is pre-refashion. If you don't have a hi-lo (high-low?), that's fine. It will work with a regular sweater too. OR you could cut your sweater into the proper shape, just be sure to turn the edges in and hem them. Remember that it will be tighter where the knot is than it was before.
Lay your sweater on the ground and cut a slit up the backside. You can choose how deep you'd like it to go by trying it on first and marking the spot on your back. In hindsight, I should have made my cut much deeper.
Next you should hem. You can choose to turn your edges in for a cleaner look or leave them raw like I did. I don't think you can see the stitch, but it's merely a tight straight stitch starting at the bottom of one edge, going up, around and down to the other edge. Remember to backstitch at the start and finish!
Lastly, knot! I chose to leave a little keyhole shape, so I tied the knot toward the bottom and haven't any hanging bow. You can knot it at the top instead and have more edges. The deeper the cut, the longer the ends will be.  So easy, right?
Voila! The perfect hip-exposing sweater for class... also great with high waisted pencil skirts and as a beach cover up :) Excuse the messy bun...  as you can see from the header pic, we were literally on our way to the studio when taking these pictures!
All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

DIY Customized Celtic Knot Headband

It has become somewhat of a habit for me to make the hairpieces that accompany our costumes in ballet.
This year our costume came with an especially unappealing scrunchie.
Yes- you read that right.... a scrunchie.
I thought those died out with the 90's?
I have a serious dislike for scrunchies that dates back to middle school when I was given a scrutinizing look for having one on my wrist and asked, "umm... why is your scrunchie brown when your outfit is pink?"
That was the last time I used one.
SO I was super relieved when the word was given to make something else! Originally we were going to do lace crowns, but one of the girls suggested something based on one of the headpieces worn by an olympic ice skater.  The piece was way too complicated for me, but the idea could be used. I subbed in a celtic knot because our song has Irish roots and here we are! They were super easy to make, can be color customized and cost about $1.00- $1.50 each.
First I picked up some ribbon from Hobby Lobby. The spool was $1.99 for 15 feet, but you can get it on sale. I followed the instructions to make a celtic knot from THIS SITE (thanks to INSPIRATION & REALISATION for sharing the link!). It was easy to understand, but I recommend using a pin to hold the end of the ribbon rope in place. I used 3.5 feet of length for these knots.
Next, I bought some elastic from the sewing section (also from Hobby Lobby- $1.29 for 3 yards) and cut lengths that measured the circumference of my head. I painted them with standard gold acrylic paint and then topped with some gold fabric glitter spray.
After they dried, I knotted the ends (pull very tightly!) and cut off the extra hanging pieces.  So easy right? And you can customize the color with any color paint you'd like! The ribbon also came in other colors.
I realize it's a little late, but these would be fun for Saint Patrick's day. They're still festive without the standard green or shamrock.
Happy belated Saint Patrick's day! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Life Hacks: Part 2

I did a LIFE HACKS post a while back and promised to make it a regular thing. Then forgot.
Today, we're bringing it back!
The idea is that these little tricks are too small for blog posts, but still things I wanted to share, so here are 4 more! Enjoy!
Light up your night. Install touch lights on the underside of bookshelves. John wakes up a couple of hours earlier than I do, but we still like to go to bed at the same time. Since I then stay up later reading, we stuck small LED lights (HERE) on the underside of the bookshelf next to my side of the bed. I really love having a bookshelf next to my bed, PS. The shelf that is level with the bed has an alarm clock, lip balm, collection of hair ties, glass of water and other necessities. The rest of the shelves are storage.
The light is so useful for reading at night after John has gone to sleep. I also use it to find my eye mask, water or anything else during the night. The picture is taken in the middle of the night so you can see how bright it is. Multiple are installed, but I only have one lit up for the picture.
Stamp pad revival. I hadn't used this black stamp pad in over 4 years. It was totally dried out, as you can see from the photo on the left. One spritz of water from a spray bottle and 30 seconds later, it was totally useable! If you spritz it and then let it soak in for a few minutes and then test it, you'll be able to see if it needs a second splash of water.  You don't want to overdo it.
Save on greeting cards. Cards are expensive. Instead of buying a million birthday/thank you/shower cards at $5 each, I buy packs of inexpensive standard cards. The kind that are sold at Michael's in the dollar section. Next, I use alphabet stickers to personalize them. This particular card is for a baby shower (the baby to be is named Piper). Where it now says "Piper", it originally said "thanks". The alphabet stickers were $1 for 160 letters at Target. It's much cheaper to buy a 10 pack of cards and personalize them with stickers, and it's also more fun!
Stabilize hunger. I have blood sugar issues and constantly need snacks between breakfast and lunch to stave off the shakes. I've found that adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to my coffee keeps me going! John has been trying it (with a tablespoon) since he works 6 hours between breakfast and lunch and is constantly ravenous. It works really well for him, too! If you struggle to make it to lunch, give this a shot. I have a lot more energy and feel satisfied for much longer. I'd recommend a nice cold pressed, organic coconut oil, but this is what we had on hand.
Spring is just around the corner, and I can't wait to get back to creating and refashioning clothes for the warmer weather. I hope you're excited for the new season! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

More InstaProject Ideas!

I'm running out of prints to even make all of these projects!
If you missed my other two instaproject posts, they were DOLLHOUSE FRAMES + also embellished MAGNETS. I have one more big idea, but haven't purchased all of the supplies for it yet. The rest of them are compiled into this massive posts!
Ready for more uses? Scroll on.

Stickers: The stickers are $10 for 252 from Printstagram.
Cell Phone: I created this very simply by lining up the stickers and then covering them with a layer of packing tape. I cut the tape down to size first, and then trimmed the edges with an exacto knife. Cheaper than paying to have a cell phone cover made from instapics- and I can change them out at will.
Stickers on Envelopes: Sealing the back of your Save the Dates or wedding invitations with a photo of the two of you would be super fun!

Present tags/Labels: How exciting would it be to use these to label presents at Christmas time? I always say that kids LOVE seeing their little faces. You could also use them to label items for children who are too small to read and that would make it easier for small children to play "Santa".

Stickers to mark personal effects: This is super dorm-ish, but if you own multiples of a product, you could always label which one belongs to each person using these stickers.
On bottles of nail polish: I love JULEP polish for being less toxic than other brands. I thought it would be fun to customize bottles as a present. You could use stickers that remind you of the colors (such as the ballet slippers and flowers on the above bottles), or you could use stickers that represent the season, lastly- what about pictures of you + the recipient/your adventures together? This color reminds me of the time we (insert nonsensical activity here). It would make great bridesmaids gifts!
On your resume/folder: I always deliver my resume in a folder with my name on the tab. I think adding a (much more professional picture) to the tab is a fantastic idea. The interviewer/HP rep can remember exactly who you were and it adds another layer to set you above other candidates. You could also add a sticker directly to your resume as well.

Large prints (squares): These are available in packs of 24 for $12.
Mostly, I like Squares for framing. I had considered sending them as postcards, but they don't meet the requirements. They're too small at 4"x4".
Children's Puzzle: Trace a puzzle shape on back of the print (depending on the age of the child) and cut it out for a fun little puzzle! You could laminate it first, or double it up on card stock (use 3m adhesive to attach the two for a seamless bond) before cutting out the puzzle to make it more durable.

Minis: Mini squares are slightly larger than 2 inches square and are 48 for $15.
Bookmarks: You can either laminate them or use contact paper. I used contact paper since we haven't got a laminator.
Grab some contact paper and draw a straight line down the center of it. Peel off the backing and place your photos right against the line, one on top of the other. Fold the other half of the contact paper over the photos. Seal well. Trim the edges.
Garland: This is similar to the greeting card holder from Christmas, only I used mini clothespins (Hobby Lobby- they don't go on sale so bring a coupon) and painted just the top part light pink, and will probably go back and paint the bottom part white. For more instructions, see the greeting card post HERE. Switch the pictures out as often as you want!
Hopefully I can finish the big one soon! Have a great day, it's paczki day for us and we *will* be enjoying some high fat polish donuts. All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Challah Breakfast Soufflé

This is based on the recipe that I use for baked french toast, which has significantly less sugar than the majority that I see elsewhere.
However, over the weekend when I made this substituting in Challah bread for my usual sourdough, it puffed up SO much that it resembled more of a soufflé and so, the change began!
You can make this in a regular pan, but you can also make it in ramekins and serve it in real soufflé style. I like the ramekins because it's so much easier to serve them in the bowl they were baked in, and they look so lovely!
Either way is delicious, however, and I really appreciate that this recipe is so reduced in sugar. I've seen some that have as much as 2 cups!
 I started with day old challah bread. I prefer to use day old breads when making recipes like this because they just seem to have a better texture.  The bonus is that they're always on sale!
Slice up your challah into 1 inch slices and then divide in half. At this point, layer them in either a pyrex style pan OR into large ramekins.
I have made this with greased and ungreased pans and found no difference. It seems to be a messy cleanup no matter what, but when I do grease, I use coconut oil.
Afterwards, mix up  your wet ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until well combined.
8 eggs
3/4 c. milk of choice (we use almond)
1 tbs. raw organic sugar (or honey, agave... sweetener of choice)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
 Pour the wet ingredients into the bread, either dividing up evenly amongst ramekins or the pan. Make sure to coat it all. There will be tons of excess in the bottom! Cover and place in fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.
 I like to use berries, and we always wash them for an hour in a mixture of water and vinegar (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) for an hour.  After they've soaked, rinse well and dry. You won't notice the vinegar!
Remove from fridge.
Flip the pieces so that the ones which have been soaking all night are now on top. Slice 1-2 tbs of butter (we use Kerrygold) and place pats on top throughout. Heat oven to 350.
 Bake pans for 50 minutes, or until golden brown. If you're using ramekins, check at 40 minutes to ensure they don't overcook. The challah will be puffed incredibly high and become a solid loaf again.
Cut into servings and top with powdered sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup and berries.
It's such an easy recipe and so delicious- perfect for a lazy Saturday brunch. Enjoy. All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

DIY Embellished Insta Magnets

(First instaproject HERE)
This next project features the Mini Squares from Social Print Studio. They are $15 for 48 2 3/8 by 2 3/8 photos.
My friend recently posted about how she had some magnets made from instagram pictures of her adorable baby. I thought they were super fun, but since I had *just* ordered my own insta prints, another order seemed unnecessary.
PLUS- I could easily make the magnets using the mini prints! Stickygram charges $14.99 for a set of nine. That would mean that making your own is a much more cost effective plan (sorry, Christine!) if you would like more than nine OR you have an extra use for more of the Mini Squares (I do!).
These make super fun gifts (I did some for my parents, brother, in laws + friends) and can be embellished further or left as is.

I started with this sticky-back magnetic craft roll from Hobby Lobby ($9.99, bring a coupon- it doesn't go on sale!). I paid $5.99 for it and made 20 magnets with PLENTY of extra for another day (at least another 20-30 more).
I rolled it out and let it lay flat for a bit.
Next, peel back the protective cover to expose the sticky side and start putting your prints in place. You want to leave a very, very small space in between the pictures. Really, just enough for a scissor slice. I should have done a better job, it would have made the next step so much easier! Once they're all applied, really press them into the magnetic sheet so that they adhere well and the corners don't turn up later. You could even put a piece of wax paper over them (so they don't get dirty or mangled) and set some heavy (really heavy) books on top.
Cut out your pictures. I started by cutting into rows and then cutting each individual picture out from the row. Trim away excess magnet. Again- when applying the photos, if you leave *just* enough space to cut between the pictures you will be able to eliminate a lot of work. This part took be about 10 minutes, but could have taken 2.
Ta da! Here they are as is, without any embellishment. I love them!
You can also spice them up with some stickers! I used some extra stickers from my VALENTINE'S PROJECT from Hobby Lobby (sticko brand, $1.99) to monogram with and then some little gold alpha stickers from Target ($1 for 210) to make words with.
A little John + Auna here :) I used a gold sharpie to add the +. 
And here, a little monogram + word action.
 We can also play with glitter. I would have preferred to use just a standard bottle of Elmer's glue for this, but couldn't find it! I had to paint modpodge on, and that wasn't as easy. For this magnet, I just lined the framing in glue, coated in glitter, allowed it to dry and shook the excess off.
I always glitter over top a piece of paper so that I can funnel the excess back into the container, but I've also seen special plates (from Martha Stewart) for that as well.
 And for my niece, I added a little pink glitter heart. If you have nice handwriting, you could also add words or other drawings/accentuation of things with glitter.
My heart was perfect the first time, but the glitter frame required 2 coats.
Aside from stickers and glitter- you can find a million other embellishments at any craft store! Stick on gems, little shapes and notes, all kinds of textures... anything! I recommend Hobby Lobby's paper crafting section for more inspiration.

If you missed my last post about dollhouse/mini frames, you can get that HERE. Stay tuned for more instaprojects coming your way! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!