Sunday, November 3, 2013

furniture update: shabby chic wardrobe

For the past few years, I've gotten into the habit of collecting old furniture with the intention of fixing it up [hey I do that with clothes too!…. I think I may have a problem]. I found this old wardrobe at this crazy antique store about half an hour from my parents' house - the fact that I restrained myself enough to only bring this home is probably a good sign, ha. But that is another post for another day!

I was too excited to get started to take before pictures [another bad habit I have for purposes of blogging things], but just imagine it in an oak finish - it wasn't too bad in its original condition, but since there were some chips in the veneer, I went ahead and painted it. And then proceeded to sand about a third of the paint off. Maybe it looks sort of authentic?

I also wanted an excuse to try out Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - it's pretty magical. Despite the slightly higher price tag, I would definitely recommend it and am already using it on one of my next furniture redos :D

The original hardware cleaned up pretty nicely, too! Unfortunately, one of the pulls broke when I was reassembling it, but luckily my awesome grandpa was able to weld it back together :)

I was originally picturing this in the living room of my apartment as board game/blanket/miscellaneous storage, but seeing as I currently have no wardrobe or chest of drawers in my bedroom, that's where it ended up. Works for me!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

wardrobe redux: combining two silk blouses > colorblock blouse

I found these two identical vintage silk blouses [excepting the color of course!] hanging next to each other on one of my Goodwill forays back in the winter. I thought they'd be fun to combine into some sort of cute colorblocked top, so I took them home and have been trying to decide what to do with them ever since. Fall is rapidly approaching, though, so I gotta figure it out soon if I want to wear it this year!

[skies are blue colorblock sleeveless blouse] [alice & trixie rory top | hey, even the colors are right for this one!]

Most of the time when I do a refashion, I know what I want to do with the piece of clothing more or less within 10 seconds of laying eyes on it, but I think since these are so simple, it opens them up to many more options. Any suggestions? :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

make your own boot trees

My boot collection is made up of some pretty well-loved boots - so well-loved, they're usually falling over in the corner of my closet and making it super easy for dust and spiderwebs to accumulate during the warmer months when they're on vacation :) Speaking of vacation, after finding some old pool noodles in the barn while getting pool stuff reorganized, I realized they would be the perfect solution to this dilemma if they were cleaned up and covered up!

what you will need -
  • pool noodles - These were 48" long. You'll have to determine the length you want the inserts to be to figure out how many you'll need - I ended up using three. 16" was a good length for my taller boots, which worked out nicely because you can get three pieces out of one noodle without any scraps!
  • fabric to make the covers - For one cover, you'll need a piece with a width equal to the circumference + 3/4" [3/8" SA] and a height equal to the length of the cut piece of noodle + 4 1/2" for SA and drawstring channel, so for my 16" inserts, I used a 8 1/4" wide [7 1/2" circumference + 3/4"] by 20 1/2" piece of fabric.
  • ribbon - can be whatever width you prefer; I used 1/8" because that's the first thing I found in my stash that matched :)
  • measuring tape, scissors/x-acto knife, sharpie, pins, sewing machine

First things first, you'll have to cut down your noodle pieces to the desired length. I stuck them down into my boots and marked the top on the noodle, then measured it to get a general idea of the length. Tall boots were all around 16", the cowboy boots were 13", and the grey slouchy boots in dire need of some polish were 10". Once the length is determined, use your measuring tape to mark the length several places around the noodle.

Wrap your measuring tape around the noodle, connecting all the dots, then use your sharpie to draw a guide line connecting them all.

Cut along the line with your x-acto knife.

Now that we've got all the noodles cut out, we can start on our covers. Cut out a piece big enough for your noodle based on your measurements. I cheated a little bit because I used old sheets, so my channel for the ribbon was already sewn for me :D If you aren't that lazy [lucky?!], you'll need to sew one on one of the short sides. Press fabric over 1/8", then fold down another 1/2" and press again. Pin in place and sew along the fold.

After you've sewn the channel, fold the fabric in half with the right sides facing each other and the long edges are together. Pin and sew around the edge all the way up to where the drawstring channel starts. You'll need to fold the raw edges of the channel in about 1/4", press, and then sew along the bottom to secure them.

Cut the remaining raw edges with pinking shears to finish them.

Next, cut 14" of ribbon and thread it through the channel using a safety pin to speed things along.

Pull the ribbon taut to close the top and tie to secure.

One finished tree!

So much better! I don't think I've ever seen those grey boots standing up that tall when they aren't on my feet. Lookin' sharp there :)

And the nice thing about the drawstring top is that when they get gross and stinky, as they inevitably will, you can just take them off the noodle and throw them in the wash!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

mango salsa

A twist on summertime salsa… add some mangos! This recipe is courtesy of my sister [thanks Caro!]. I made this the other night to go with some spicy coconut chicken; it’s sweet but it has a little kick to it too. Also tastes really good with fish!

ingredients -
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped [to taste]
  • salt & pepper to taste
Chop up all your veggies, then combine all ingredients and admire all the pretty colors before digging in!

I like eating it on chips, and it’s also strangely good mixed with plain yogurt! Got a little bit of sweet and spicy going on at the same time, but the heat is significantly cut by the dairy. It makes a great after work snack :D


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

wardrobe redux: red & white striped sailor dress

Here's my next Goodwill rescue! I was hoping to have it fixed up by July 4th, but that didn't quite happen. I'm not tooo sad about that since it rained most of the day, so it wasn't exactly sundress weather anyway. This would make a good beach dress :)

One great thing about living where I do, there is quite a bit of vintage clothing to be had at Goodwill for super cheap. Not all of it's good [hello scary 80s dresses!], but usually you can find one or two decent pieces per visit. This one had a tiiiiiny waistline [notice the two buttons at the bottom in the first picture - ain't no way they're buttoning] but a voluminous pleated skirt so I figured it was a good candidate to be redone.

Time to add some darts!

Since the skirt was big enough, I was able to cut enough fabric to make the waistband big enough to fit comfortably, hooray! Here it is pinned to the bodice.

Bodice pinned to the re-cut skirt...

Hemming the skirt....

And finally, since I like extra work/apparently don't want this project to end, resewing the buttons with red thread for a little extra pizzazz :)

In action! Bonus points for matching heels :D

The only thing I'm not super happy with is the skirt. The front piece is a little wonky and one side seam is about 2" further towards the back than it needs to be due to the little snap opening in the front [not crazy about that either... I should have come up with another solution]. I thought I accounted for that when I measured it out, but I guess I was wrong, haha. The stripes make it a lot more noticeable too. Not much to be done about that though, unless I want to turn it into a pencil skirt, or totally scrap it as a dress and turn it into a top [another peplum top could be cute?!]. Maybe if it still bothers me after I wear it a while/when I have more motivation I'll play with it some more, we shall see. Live and learn!

Monday, June 10, 2013

epic granny square blanket

Back in November, I [overenthusiastically] decided to put my newfound crochet skillz to work after I saw this blanket on the Purl Bee. It worked up pretty quickly to begin with, but the more rounds I went, the more tedious/time-consuming it got. I finally finished it over Spring Break… four months is typically not the type of time frame I enjoy working with, haha. I like stuff that you can do in a day or less!

So, after completely re-watching the entirety of Sex and the City, all three seasons of Arrested Development [still haven’t seen the new one yet!], and a few movies scattered throughout, I ended up with a pretty epically ginormous granny square. My sister very kindly agreed to hold it up/act as a scale figure [she’s around 5’6”] in the photo below :)

I used a size G crochet hook, 5 skeins of mint, and a little over 7 skeins of ivory yarn from Hobby Lobby; the yarn came in 377-yd skeins. That is a looooot of yarn. I think I’ll probably stick to smaller projects from now on, but I do have to say it’s hugely satisfying to look at something this substantial and realize that I did that, even though it was kind of a pain in the butt towards the end when it took close to an hour to do one round. Also, I think I’ve got double crochet down pretty well now, haha. Hooray for perseverance!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

wardrobe redux: peplum blouse

Making more progress on my pile of thrifted stuff to fix up… this is probably my most involved Goodwill makeover to date, and I’m so excited about how it turned out!

The original: love the color, love the pleats, but they just kinda dissolve into a weird unflattering ruffly mess at the bottom. Seems like it could be a good idea if executed better, so here’s what I came up with…

First, I removed the sleeves. I’m going to add a waistband, so that will come out of one of the sleeves; the other sleeve will be turned into bias tape to finish the sleeve edges and inside seams [I took in the sides a bit and added some bust darts so it would fit better].

Sewing the bias tape around the sleeve edges, hooray! Also, I would like to add that making your own bias tape is not nearly as scary as one would think :D Here’s the tutorial I used, although I didn’t have a fancy bias tape maker - a pin works pretty well to help guide the folds if you pin it to your ironing board and run the tape under it like so…

After that, I cut off the bottom just above where the pleats stopped to get a clean edge, then picked out the ones that made it onto the bottom. I cut off the buttons/buttonhole edges then sewed the cut edges back together to get a clean front, then used a basting stitch to gather it up. I attached the gathered edge to one edge of the waistband I cut from one of the sleeves, then sewed them together, then I sewed the other edge of the waistband to the bottom edge of the bodice.

Et voila! A little bit of an improvement :) Now I gotta figure out what to wear with it!