Tag Archives: do it yourself

“Mission: Parachute Pants” is Complete!

I trust you all had a wonderful long weekend. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s already Thursday and the long weekend is long gone“, right? I suppose you’re right. Although the long weekend officially ended three days ago, I’m still recuperating. I was camping so I needed a little extra time to catch up on my sleep and to clean up a little bit (I’ll admit it, I didn’t shower for four days).

Anyways, I am very exited to finally be able to share some photos of this project with you! As you may or may not know, I recently learned how to sew. No, I should re-phrase that. I recently started to sew (I am not experienced enough to say “learned”). I finally found a great fabric store close by so I decided that I wanted to take on my very first sewing project. After rifling through stacks and stacks of pattern books, I (for some bizarre and completely naive reason) chose my very first project: a pair of Aladdin-inspired pants!

If you are an old pro at sewing and are reading this, you are probably thinking to yourself “What in the heavens is this crazy nineteen year-old amateur sewer thinking by choosing to make a pair of pants as her first project!?”. I don’t judge you for asking that question. I considered this multiple times myself throughout the process (just add in a few “stupid”s and “freaking”s for a more accurate portrayal). I hit some discouraging moments and misunderstandings in the pattern, but as you can see, I kept going, asked lots of questions, pushed through, and finally finished!

I started the pants about a month back but hit a road block when the pattern called for “fusible interfacing”. As expected, I had no idea what that was. As a result, I packed up my gear and ignored the project for a little while. When I resumed, I quickly got stopped once again when my mom’s sewing machine broke. Luckily, my wonderful grandma lent me hers so I could get back at it. This morning I woke up, ate some breakfast, and said to myself “Today is the day that I am going to finish my pants!“. And what do you know…I did!

When I finished, I eagerly grabbed my camera and grabbed my sister and we did a little photo shoot. It may or may not have taken place in my neighbour’s backyard. (Linda, if you’re reading this, we are sorry for using your backyard. But you should take it as a compliment–we love your gardens!). We had some good laughs in the process.

Just as one last thought, I want to quickly bring up my purpose for attempting to make handmade clothing. If you have been following my blog for a while now, you are probably familiar with my “no-buying-new-clothes-for-a-whole-year” challenge. I am not buying any new clothing for a variety of reasons (you can read more about that here). As a result, I have been on a major thrifting and refashioning mission. I understand that making your own clothing is not the most environmentally friendly or ethical approach to clothing (unless you extensively research where your fabric is coming from and how it is produced), but I did find the process of making my own pair of pants very enlightening. I now understand the amount of effort and time that goes into producing a piece of clothing. By personally turning a flat piece of fabric into something wearable, I have saved someone else from doing that for me–someone who would most likely be a young child, forced to work under harsh working conditions. I have a whole new appreciation for the material-to-clothing production process. So in a way, making my own clothing from scratch can be sustainable. In the future, I am definitely interested in seeking out ethically produced fabrics and materials to make that much more of an effort to be sustainable.

I guess I’ll leave it at that. What was your first sewing project? If you have never tried sewing but are interested, what would your first sewing project be? I just want to encourage you to give it a try if you never have but are interested. It is definitely intimidating but it is also rewarding! Join in on the conversation below–I would love to hear about some of your sewing adventures. Thanks for reading!

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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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Tested and Tried: Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Holy cow. That is all I can say. I just died and went to heaven after eating one of these babies.

I’ve never really been a “cake” person. But I have recently discovered why. What I have been considering “cake” are those dried out Costco-bakery cakes or ready-in-a-flash-powder-in-a-box-just-add-eggs cake mixes. But now that I have been exposed to home-baked-from-scratch cakes, I am proud and excited to say that I am a cake person.

I’ve been on a major craze for making “from-scratch” baked goods. Sure, it’s convenient to grab a box of cake mix and whip up some cupcakes in a flash. But the reality (which I have come to discover) is that home-baked cupcakes are fantastic. A week or two ago, I quickly posted about my experience making Triple-Salted Caramel Cupcakes. I could have sworn that those would forever be my new favourite kind of cupcake. But today, I took on a new recipe and I think those caramel ones are beat out of the park.

These, my friends, are no dry Costco or box-mix cupcakes. These are incredibly delicious, moist, chocolatey, sweet, and fan-cakin’-tastic Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting.

A while back, I came across a fantastic blog called Sprinkle Bakes. If you read my post, you may remember that I used the Triple Salted Caramel Cupcake recipe from this blog. As soon as I made those, I started following the blog because Heather’s creations are truly unique looking and delicious sounding. Just the other day, she posted this recipe and the unique and almost un-heard of (at least in my neck of the woods) combination was captivating. I decided that these were the next cupcakes on my “to-try” list. My sister and I spontaneously planned a movie night tonight with some of our girlfriends, so I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to test it out!

The cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes made with one of my brother’s favourite things–Coke! You heat the Coca-Cola in a saucepan, add the cocoa, butter, and sugars until all of the ingredients melt into a chocolatey syrup. Then, a small amount of flour and other dry ingredients are added, along with one egg. It really doesn’t take very long to make them. They are then topped with a fantastically delicious peanut-butter buttercream frosting. Honestly, what is better than peanut butter and chocolate? Heather suggests topping the cupcakes with chopped peanuts and chocolate sprinkles but I had neither in my cupboards so I improvised with some chopped cashews, chopped chocolate, and a sprinkling of salt.

I give full credit to Heather from Sprinkle Bakes on these ones. If you are interested in trying the recipe, you can access it by CLICKING HERE. Even if you aren’t interested in making them, head over that way to check out some of the awesome photographs and adorable story that goes along with them.

I’m off to enter another treat-coma. Thanks for stopping by and reading. What are your thoughts? Coca-Cola, chocolate, and peanut butter–good or gross? You might want to bite your tongue until you try these ones…

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