Tag Archives: style

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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DIY: Elbow Patch Cardigan

I am very pleased and excited to finally be able to share this DIY fashion project with you. I have had this project completed for months but I just couldn’t find the time to get out and take some darling photos of it. Luckily, yesterday graced me with some beautiful sunshine, a beautiful model, and a little bit of free time. I am pleased to share with you this very easy and cute DIY Elbow Patch project.

Ever since elbow patches hit the stores on cardigans, sweaters, shirts, and blazers I was instantly in love. But I could never find the perfect sweater in the stores that matched my budget. For the past four months (since the dawn of the new year) I haven’t been buying any clothing so I decided that I needed to improvise. The original idea came from A Beautiful Mess where they made adorable little heart elbow patches. I opted to stay away from the hearts and instead just adapted their process to create standard elbow patches. The cardigan was one that I already had but found that I wasn’t wearing it very often. However, I can honestly say that since I have given it a little makeover, I have worn it a lot more!

I think that my favourite thing about this re-fashioned sweater is that it is completely recycled. For the patches, I used fabric that was thrifted and the cardigan itself was one that was straight from my closet. For this reason, your re-fashioned sweater will be uniquely original! The actual process takes only half an hour to do. Would you like to give it a try?

  •  an old or thrifted cardigan or sweater
  • a scrap of thrifted fabric
  • a pen
  • a piece of thin cardboard
  • pins
  • a needle
  • scissors
  • thread that matches your fabric scrap

The process of creating these DIY Elbow Patches is really quite simple. It does require a little bit of hand sewing and a little bit of patience. Before I begin writing out the process, I would just like to apologize for the lack of pictures demonstrating the process. Since I completed this project so long ago, I accidentally deleted the “process” photos. However, I am confident in the fact that this project is easy enough to do without the photos. If you really don’t understand something, just ask or reference the original post from A Beautiful Mess.

ONE: Put on your cardigan and mark where your elbows are when they are bent. Place an X directly on the sweater. The patches will cover this area once they are sewed on.

TWO: Using your piece of cardboard, draw an elbow patch in your desired shape. I used a basic oval shape but this can be customized in any way. Cut out the shape and lay it on one sleeve of your cardigan or sweater to ensure that it is an appropriate size. When you are happy with the size and shape of your patch template, trace it twice on to your fabric scraps. Cut out the fabric patches.

Note: It does make a difference which type of fabric you use to make your patches. The fabric I used had a bit of stretch and did not fray when it was cut. This is important because I did not need to take into account a hem and instead could just sew the exact shape onto my cardigan. If you really want to use a fabric that frays, take into account that you will need to hem the edges and therefore it will take a little extra fabric, care, and time when sewing the patches on.

THREE: Place the patches onto your cardigan so that they cover the X’s you marked earlier. Ensure that both patches are placed evenly. Once they are in place, pin them into position. Carefully try on your cardigan to make sure that the patches are placed in the right position for your arms.

FOUR: Thread your needle and begin to sew one of the patches on the cardigan by sewing around the edge of the patch. Repeat for the second patch, ensuring that it is still in an appropriate position.

FIVE: Wear your new elbow-patched cardigan!

Well, there you have it, dear friends. Thank you for reading through. I would love to see some of your DIY Elbow Patch creations if you dare to take it on. It really is a great way to add your own custom touch to some of your clothing, especially if you are getting tired of your boring wardrobe (this always happens to me!).

I would just like to say a very special “thank you” to my lovely sister for modelling for me. Isn’t she a beauty?!

For the record, the whole “no-clothes-buying-challenge” is going great! I am excited to share even more posts very soon with some of the creations that have resulted from it. Stay posted for even more DIY posts coming your way. Many crafting, sewing, knitting, and baking blessings on these beautiful sunny days!

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Sustainable Living: Thrifting Fabrics

I am pleased to present to you A SMILE EACH DAY‘s very first Sustainable Living post!

When the ball dropped this past New Year’s Eve, millions of people around the world made their annual New Year’s resolution. I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions (after all, who says we have to wait for a New Year to make changes in our lives?), but this year I decided to take on the challenge of making a change. Although the typical “exercise more” and “eat less” resolutions could be beneficial for me (let’s just say I’d rather be knitting than attempting to balance on a giant yoga ball), I wanted to attempt something that would not only challenge me but also test my creative energies.

As a result, I committed myself to at least one year of not buying any new clothing. I am a self-professed shopaholic, so this challenge seemed daunting at the turn of the new year. But there are a few reasons for my decision to do this.

I believe in justice. I have been reading a book (you can expect both a review and recommendation of it when I finish) about what it means to truly extend love to other people in this world. The author notes that justice doesn’t just mean “punishment for wrongs” but also means “healing and restoration”. I am privileged and lucky to live in a free country where the value of my labour is appreciated, but not everyone in the world has that privilege. Many children, women, and men are treated improperly and violently as they create the many “things” that we, North Americans, consume. I believe that if I have the privilege to live in a country where I have the freedom to choose what I consume, I am responsible to understand the effects of that consumption. This can be hard to do, but it is a worth-while process. I want to show love to the people who are often forced to make the clothing that I purchase for such a “cheap” price.

Another reason why I chose to take on this challenge is for environmental reasons. I am not a perfect environmentalist, but I think that being conscious about the impact our choices have on the natural environment is important. Our earth is a shared space–it’s selfish to have a “consume consume consume” mentality. The earth is our temporary home and we need to preserve it for future generations.

Finally, I took on this challenge for creative purposes. I have always been a craft-enthusiast and hands-on kind of person, but this challenge has forced me to take that to new levels. I have learned how to knit (after all, I need to feed my scarf addiction somehow), dabbled in sewing, and even took on some re-fashioning! My challenge even inspired me to start this blog and share my creative endeavours in the cyber-world.

So, that leads me here. In taking on my challenge, I set a few parameters before I began. First of all, I set myself a small budget for emergencies. This can be used to buy things that are absolutely needed, such as a work uniform. Secondly, I am allowing myself to buy new undergarments and shoes. This doesn’t mean that I will be buying a ton of these things, but for sanitary reasons, I don’t want someone’s old shoes or undies. Finally, I am allowing myself to thrift shop. Although this is buying clothes, it is also recycling. Not to mention, most thrift shops are operated to support charitable organizations. So after the longest intro ever (sorry about that!), let’s get to what this post is actually all about…

 Thrifting fabrics is something that I have just recently been exposed to. Although it is a somewhat new concept for me, I have fully jumped on the bandwagon. It is inspiring, thrilling, and (as this post’s title suggests) sustainable! So I have written this post to encourage a little fabric thrifting on your part. That is, if you are willing to open yourself up to it.

Thrifting fabrics is exactly what it implies–finding pieces of fabric from a thrift store and using that material to make your projects. This includes any material you may find within the walls of a thrift store, such as clothing, table cloths, towels, bags, blankets, bed sheets, curtains, or even just old scraps of material that someone has donated.

  1. THE THREE R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle): The process of thrifting fabrics is fufilling all three of the well known R’s. You are reducing your consumption of new materials, reusing someone else’s waste, and recycling what was old and making it new! These three practices are environmentally friendly and all three of them are preventing those items from finding their place in a landfill.
  2. TREASURED GOLD: In my opinion, thrifting fabrics is like being on a treasure hunt. You know there are treasures out there but you just have to find them! Entering a thrift store is exhilerating because it is up to you to locate the best find. Scrounging the clothes racks for the best patterns and materials is exciting. When you find that perfect fabric your mood is instantly elevated to a point that can only be surpassed after you realize the piece is only a couple bucks (which leads me to my next point).
  3. COST EFFICIENT: Let’s face it, fabric can get pretty pricey. But when you thrift an old shirt or a lace tablecloth, you are getting a major bang for your buck. Most thrift stores just want to keep their items circulating. They price things appropriately to keep the goods selling.
  4. CREATIVE CHALLENGE: Thrifting fabric can sometimes put you in stressful creative circumstances. You have to understand how certain items can be used to maximize what they have to offer. This is a positive challenge though. It helps to get your creative juices flowing and keeps you sharp on your problem solving skills!
  5. GIVE BACK: Most thrift stores are operated by non-profit organizations or at least strive to give most of their profits to a worthy cause. As opposed to putting your money in the hands of big-time corporations, wouldn’t you rather that your money helped someone or something in need? As far as I’m concerned, thrifting fabrics kills two birds with one stone–it serves your creative itch AND does a little good.

There really isn’t a lot of skill that goes along with thrifting fabrics, but I thought I would share a few of the tips and tricks that I have learned through my experiences…

Know What You’re Looking For. Either make a list or mentally remember what projects you want to tackle. This will allow you to have a direction to your hunting. It is easy to go into a thrift store and waste hours scrounging every rack. But if you have a direction, you are less likely to waste your time and energy. Consider what types of fabrics you are looking for how they will be used. In the end, this will save you both time and money.

Bigger Really Is Better. The bigger the piece of fabric is, the better the deal. Look through the table cloth section and the plus-size section. These pieces are great for re-fashioning and for larger projects that require more material.

Be Picky. If something isn’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t get it. Some questions to consider are “How can I use this?”, “Is there anything I don’t like about this piece of fabric?”, “How will the material hold up if I cut through it/will it fray?”. If the fabric isn’t exactly what you want, don’t buy it.

Set a Limit. I usually set a financial limit of four dollars on any one single item. Sometimes you find an awesome item but it is priced at $9.00 or more. This is NOT worth it so move on. Also, set a limit on the number of items you can buy. It is pointless to buy lots and lots of items if you don’t have a purpose for them in mind. Don’t over-do it.

Always Wash Your Finds. It is a myth that thrift stores are “festering with bed bugs and diseases”, but still take precautions and wash your items before you use them. Sometimes, your item may have a stain on it and washing it helps to get that out. It’s just easier to work with items that you know are fresh and clean.

The More You Go, The Better You Get. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find any great pieces right away. Keep going back and challenging yourself. On any given trip you will not be able to find all of the items on your list. But keep going and learn what processes of hunting work for you.

Understand Your Thrift Store. Do some research about the thrift stores you are choosing. See what organizations they support and choose whether that is something you want to put your money towards. Sometimes, smaller thrift stores give more of their proceeds to a non-profit. Be choosy about what you support.

Try your hand at one of these DIY’s or UPCYCLE’s featured on my blog using thrifted fabrics.

    

There you have it. I hope that after reading this, you feel more confident about thrifting fabrics and the possibilities that it can bring to your crafting and re-fashioning endeavours. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Crafting doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead, it can be cost-efficient, thrilling, unique, and sustainable! There are ways to have creative hobbies and still be conscious of and sensitive to environmental concerns. And that is one of the most important things as inhabitants on this planet. After all…

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” (Native American Proverb)

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope that you are willing to adopt sustainability in your hobbies. Many blessings on your future projects!

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