Category Archives: DO IT YOURSELF

DIY: Braided Bracelets

Please excuse my lack of DIY posts as of late. I have some great projects lined up but I got set back a little bit because my sewing machine broke. Luckily, my grandma was more than willing to lend me hers, so I’ve been back at it. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to re-fashion a shirt that I have been meaning to do for some time. You can expect a post about it shortly (I just have to get around to getting some photos of it). But, in the meantime, I did whip together a very quick DIY that utilized the scrap materials from my re-fashion. That excites me (hip-hip-horray for recycling)!

Once again, I am thrilled to say that these cute little feminine bracelets are made of completely recycled materials. I grabbed a few of the scraps from the t-shirt I cut away at and a scrap of a floral fabric that I already had and then simply braided them together. The braid is then hand-stitched to an old stretchy hair tie.

MATERIALS 

For this project, you will need: three strips of scrap fabric, scissors, thread (in your desired colour), a needle, and a stretchy hair tie.

PROCESS

ONE: Tie the three pieces of scrap material together in a tight knot. TWO: Begin to braid the pieces tightly. Continue braiding until it is long enough to wrap around your wrist (with a little bit extra). When you have reached a desired length, sew the pieces together to secure. THREE: Begin sewing the braid to an old hair elastic. Ensure that the elastic is stretchy enough to fit comfortably around your wrist. Sew all the way around until the entire braid is attached. Voila!

They make great little bracelets that have a wonderful Spring vibe! They are so quick to make that I made a few of them at one time. I now have them on hand to add pizzaz to any casual outfit or to give as a sweet little gift. I also think they pair quite nicely with pearls (but I’m a bit biased because I love pearls with anything)! In terms of variation, you could sew your braid to a stretchy headband or even attempt a four-piece braid. Either way, they are simple, recycled, and very cute!

Thank you for stopping by and reading! I hope that you have a reason to find a smile today (you deserve it)!

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DIY: Bedazzle Your Cargos

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a young girl bought a new pair of cargo boots. It wasn’t that she really needed them, but she just couldn’t pass up the very affordable price of this particular pair. She wore cargo boots every single day because they were incredibly comfortable, incredibly durable, went well with jeans and leggings, and were easy to slip on and off. The new, very affordable pair were black but because she already owned a pair of black cargo boots, she decided that she would save them for a very special project that she had in mind.

Time passed. More time passed. And eventually the young girl realized that the (not so) new, very affordable black cargo boots were still sitting under her desk, untouched. So the young girl pulled out her supplies, got to work, re-fashioned the boots, and came out with a beautiful (and quite practical) pair of black cargo boots that had a touch of floral. The young girl loved her pair of new, very affordable, partially recycled, black with a touch of floral cargo boots and she lived happily ever after (okay, so it’s only been one day, but she’s been happy for that one day).

Okay, so the fairytale isn’t really that magical. But I must say that I was pretty excited when I finally got around to re-fashioning my inexpensive boots. This may, perhaps, be my favourite DIY project to date. In case you haven’t realized from some of the designs on my blog, I love floral. And in case you didn’t clue in, the “young girl” in the fairytale above is, in fact, me. I love cargo boots. So what results, you may ask? Well take a little gander at the picture above and then you will understand. Hence my excitement.

Want to know the best part about this project? It is so incredibly easy! The original idea came from A Beautiful Mess, and so I hereby take no credit for developing this DIY project (head over that way to check out the boots they created–it may give you a little more inspiration)! The project requires only a few materials that you will most likely find around your home (minus the boots…unless you want to re-fashion an old pair of yours–all the power to you!). They are also partially recycled through the use of thrifted or scrap fabric.

  • a pair of cargo boots
  • thrifted, recycled, or scrap fabric (it does not need to be floral–try stripes, polka dots, paisleys, etc.)
  • scissors
  • white glue
  • a paint brush
  • a cup or container
  • a small amount of water
  • scrap papers or newspaper
  • an exacto or japanese paper knife
ONE: Gather all of your materials. Remove the laces from your boots and mark the sections that you would like to cover. Cut your scraps of fabric large enough to generously cover these areas. In your cup or container, mix equal parts of white glue with water. Lay down scrap papers or newspapers to prevent any mess. TWO: Working in small sections at a time, glue the fabric to the boot. Use the pure glue for the first attachement of the fabric. This may require you to cut the more general shape of the area you are covering out of your fabric as you work. Ensure that you don’t cut too much though, as the excess can be removed later. Once the fabric is glued to the boot, allow it to dry completely. This may take most of the day or even through the night, but be patient. The better it is stuck on the more durable it will be. Repeat for the second boot. THREE: When the first glue layer is completely dried, cover the entire fabric area with the glue-water mixture. Allow it to dry solid. FOUR: Once that layer is dried, using the exacto-knife cut around the edges, trimming off the excess fabric so that it fits nicely into the desired area. This may take a bit of patience and effort. If the edges aren’t glued down completely, you may be able to indent the fabric and then use the scissors to cut the line. Either way, ensure that the fabric fits into the desired area. FIVE: Cover the entire fabric area, especially the fresh-cut edges with the glue-water mixture. Allow to dry and then repeat. Continuously add more glue-water layers until you are satisfied (I did 4-5 coats). Allow to dry over night. Re-lace your boots and take ’em for a spin!
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There you go! Sure, it takes a little bit of time with all the glue-applying-and-drying required, but all in all it is a very simple project! I hope you are inspired to take it on and bedazzle your old or new boots (minus the cheesy bling, of course). Thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m off to break these bad boys in with a lovely little walk around the block!
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RE-FASHION: Bow Backed Shirt

I don’t know about you, but by the time the end of April comes around I get really really sick of my wardrobe. Perhaps this feeling is due to the beautiful weather or just a craving for something as fresh and crisp as the Spring breeze. In years past, this feeling would result in a nice little Spring shopping spree on my part, but since I will not be buying any new clothing for the entire year I needed to find a different solution. That solution, my friends, is a dandy little re-fashion!

My personal style is very comfortable and plain. I wear a lot of neutrals and greys, jeans and leggings, and love to accessorize with scarves and special details. This shirt is the perfect fit for that! It is a very standard long-sleeve with a touch of something special in the back. For some reason, I have recently been obsessed with adding special details to the backs of shirts. I think it is so under-rated and special. It’s like a good mullet–all orderly in the front but a party in the back. Classy.

The inspiration and idea for this re-fashion came from Donatella from inspiration & realisation. She has a beautiful blog about her sewing and fashion adventures. She finds a lot of great inspirations from some of the biggest (and most expensive) designers and then re-creates their pieces in her own way. This shirt was inspired by a t-shirt design by Red Valentino. Sure, it may not have the designer label but it is oodles and oodles of dollars cheaper and can be completely recycled (depending on where you get your supplies). I’ll admit that I re-fashioned this shirt three-or-so months ago so I will do my best to reiterate the steps. If anything is unclear, feel free to reference Donatella’s post for further clarification or ask below.

As mentioned above, my version of this shirt was made of completely recycled materials. The grey long-sleeved shirt came straight from my closet and the black meshy back panel came from a thrifted shirt. You could also use fabric scraps from projects past. If you decide to head to the thrift store to find some workable pieces, look for large pieces of fabric that are suited to your needs. You may perhaps consider using different colours or types of materials.

  • a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt that fits you
  • meshy fabric (large enough to create both a large back panel and a bow)
  • scissors
  • tape measurer
  • pen
  • pins
  • thread (that matches your t-shirt colour)
  • sewing machine
Let me first note that this will require the use of a sewing machine. My mother’s sewing machine and I do not get along (at all) so I opted to have my Mama help me with the actual sewing part. If you are unexperienced with a sewing machine, just note that this may be a bit of a challenge. But do your best and persevere because I’m sure it will turn out great!
ONE: Gather your materials. TWO: Lay out your t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt so that the back is facing up. Using a tape measurer or ruler, find the centre of the back. From the centre point, measure 4-6 inches down from the top (depending on the size of your shirt) and place a mark. Cut a straight line up the back, ensuring to leave the 4-6 inches at the top un-touched. THREE: Using your pins, pin the edges under creating a symmetrical triangle. FOUR: Turn the shirt inside out and cut out a triangle of the black meshy fabric that is slightly larger than the triangle of the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Pin the black meshy fabric in place. FIVE: Turn your shirt the right way out again. Using your sewing machine, sew the black fabric into place on the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Once it is sewn on, cut out any additional scraps from the inside. Creating the Bow: I can’t really give you step-by-step instructions for creating the bow. I personally used the sleeve of my black meshy shirt. I randomly scrunched the centre, sewed, wrapped fabric here and there and somehow came out with this bow. I then safety pinned the bow onto the back of the shirt and tried on the shirt to ensure that it was placed in an appropriate position. When I was satisfied, I hand sewed the bow onto the back of the shirt and voila!
There you have it! As I said before, this shirt can be customized in a variety of ways. Perhaps you could make the back panel out of a floral fabric or a bright colour. It can be dressed up (with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots) or could be worn very casually (with some leggings and cargo boots). It really is a fun and practical piece to create and have!
Always remember that there are ways to update your style and be economically and environmentally friendly. Thanks for stopping by!
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Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… It may seem that I am on a bit of a muffin-craze of late but the truth is that I’m actually on a blog-about-your-muffins-craze instead. I actually bake muffins quite often. They’re easy, quick, and make fantastic snacks. But even better than that, muffins are the perfect comfort food. Things around my house have been pretty chaotic lately, but luckily, muffins make the day a little more enjoyable.

Apple and cinnamon is a classic combination. Although these flavours are usually associated with those breezy fall days, I think that they can be enjoyed year round. The incredible aroma in the house as they bake is bound to bring a smile to your face. This recipe is fantastic because not only does it involve apples and cinnamon, but also includes a little bit of pear and toffee bits. These scrumptious add-ins bring perfect bursts of flavour–sweet and fruity.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup of margarine or softened butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 pear, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Additional cinnamon-sugar (mix a little bit of sugar and a little bit of cinnamon)
PROCESS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the margarine (or butter), sugar, and egg until smooth. Add the sour cream, salt, apples, pear, and toffee bits, mixing well. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix only until moistened. Spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin pans and sprinkle each cup with additional cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes. When baked through, the tops will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre of each muffin will come out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe will make approximately 21 muffins.
There you go–easy enough, right? These muffins are so incredibly easy to make and so incredibly delicious to eat. They have soft chunks of apple and pear within them as well as a hint of sweetness with the melted toffee bits.  Thanks for stopping by A SMILE EACH DAY and I hope that you feel inspired to bring a smile to your own face by baking up a delicious batch of muffins!
And just one last thought…what’s your favourite kind of muffins? I am interested in experimenting around and trying different flavours and combinations. Any suggestions, friends?
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Notecards, Invites, and Letters, Oh My!

Hola Amigos! Have you ever been to one of those fun little “parties” at someone else’s home where a bunch of women get together, socialize, eat, and shop for tupperware, candles, candies, cosmetics, or kitchenware? As a child, I used to dream about the days when I would get to go with my mom to one of these suburban “house” parties. Well, guess what? Now I get to host one! And much to my pleasure, the title of host comes along with the opportunity to do all the fun party preparations (including making the invitations)! So I am going to share with you a dandy little post about

Making notecards, invitations, and other special occasion cards is one of my favourite things to do. In my opinion, homemade cards show love and care to the people they are specially made for. Quite honestly, homemade cards are a very enjoyable way to release some creative energy and to share the love! My crazy-one-man-assembly-line invitation making has inspired me to share with you some easy and practical ways to create your very own customized stationary.

I transformed my “customized stationary” into invitations for my party but this is a similar approach I take for making everyday notecards to have on hand. I like making a large batch at one time so I don’t have to pull out all of my supplies every time I need a card. I make them in basic colours so when I have a recipient in mind, I can just add a few extra decorations that are special for that person. One my favourite combinations are black and white patterned paper with a colour highlight. Black and white matches everything so it makes a great “base” paper for your customized stationary. However, depending on the time of year you can use holiday or season themed papers as your base paper.

If you’re adventurous enough, you can make your own card base. I prefer to buy pre-made blank cards because they come with envelopes and are more convenient. I then cut out a bunch of appropriately sized blocks of paper in various patterns. This allows very easy access to “grab and glue” to the base cards.

I like using unique scissors and shapes to create special features on the cards like this “curvy” edge. For my invitations I wanted uniformity, but when I make “everyday” stationary, I like to play around with placement and colour. Not one card looks the same as another. The perfectionist in me always notices some that I don’t like as much as others, but that is to be expected when playing around and trying different things.

When I’m all finished, I have a big stack of customized cards that are easily accessible for life’s little moments. They are great for sending encouraging little notes, adapting into birthday cards, or transforming into invitations. I did this by adding a few words on the front and the invite information on the inside. I even added a little stamp to fill the inside.

Creating your own customized stationary is one of the easiest things because it is completely up to you how they turn out. There are no expectations and so they always turn out wonderfully. Some things you may want to consider using is different patterned paper, recycled goods, unique scissors, punches, stamps, markers, ink pads, stickers, or add-on decals. Play around with paper shapes and colours. Experiment with making your own card bases and envelopes (for unique shapes) and using pre-made cards. Card-making can get pretty expensive but it doesn’t have to be. You can use old wrapping papers, scraps of paper, and recycled cards. It’s just a fun way to be a little bit creative and show a little bit of personalized love in a time and culture when mass-produced cards are chosen for convinience. Your customized stationary can be convenient too though.

Good luck on creating your very own stationary. Let me know how it goes!

If you are a little more daring, check out this challenge!

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