Archive for the ‘diy’ Category

DIY: Gold and Leather Bolo Necklace

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I’m hating the silence over here. We’ve been busy packing up Black Friday orders, driving 700 miles, nursing some serious head colds and doing laundry. Anxious to get some creative time under my belt this week, I made a couple necklaces with Penelope. She rummaged through my jewelry stuff and strung any kind of pendant and bead onto a leather string. I played around with some leather and metal and came up with this. I love how my new necklace turned out. It’s reminiscent of a bolo tie because of the length and windsor knot-like shape of the leather piece.

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I found this laser cut scale leather in a scrap bin at Michael Levine back in May when I went to LA. It’s such a small piece. It’s so nice to be able to use small scraps for things like this, I feel like there’s no waste that way!

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Make one with me!

Leather Gold-Dipped Bolo Necklace Tutorial

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Supplies

  • gold chain 11-18 inches
  • 20 guage gold wire
  • 4 jump rings
  • closure
  • leather strip, 8 x .5 inches
  • scissors
  • jewelry pliers
  • liquid gold or gold foil
  • junk brush

If you’re going the vegan route, go for felt instead of faux leather. Felt will wear and look better over time than faux leather.

Click below to read the rest of the instructions!

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Sponsored: Easy Thanksgiving Decor

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This post is sponsored by Way Basics - your source for eco-friendly, light-weight and strong organizational systems. Each of their products is designed for the world’s easiest assembly. 

We don’t have any holiday decor. Holiday decor isn’t something that can be purchased all at once like a couch, or bed linens. I feel like these things are collected over time. So this year I’m working on making and buying festive decor that will easily store and last for years to come. I’m hoping that my efforts this year will make a dent and make next year’s decorating for the holidays just a little bit easier.

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Just before Halloween, I found a few of these paper mache pumpkins while at Michael’s. They’re not there any more, but I’ve since found them online here and here.

I love that they offer a blank slate. I had them out as-is, but recently decided to give them more of a Thanksgiving/Fall theme the other night.

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Is it strange that I’m still making fall/Thanksgiving decor even though most people have already decorated their homes to the gills for Christmas? Sometimes I feel behind the times, but I remind myself, “NOOOOO!! I’m going to enjoy Thanksgiving FIRST.”

I simply grabbed a #2 liner brush, white ink and went to town on my little pumpkins. While “thanks giving” may lend itself most towards the holiday, it’s a great mantra to have in the house all autumn long. I think these little babies will be a permanent part of my fall decor.

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On another note, this is the first wall shelf that I’ve mounted in our new house (besides the utilitarian ones in my studios). I love having parts in my home strictly for decor that can be “untouchable”!

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I loved how easy Way Basics’s wall shelves were to mount. I actually mounted this during a late night, it was 3 in the morning and it was still easy to install in my sleep deprived state. Total win.

I was compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

DIY: Ikea Hack Photography Studio Lighting

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Dear professional photographer friends, don’t hate me. I hope we can still be friends even with my ghetto lighting ways.

Sometimes I have to burn the midnight oil in order to get any blog posts up. We’ve been a busy family this fall! It’s nice to finally have a way to take decently lit photos without having to wait until the perfect time of day to shoot. Usually that perfect time of day lands during lunch time or mid-morning when I’m still in pajamas, sans makeup or shower.

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There are a few things that I do to allow for more photography time. I have the 35mm prime lens which allows for a 1.8 aperature. It’s slightly wider than the 50mm so it allows me to park my tripod only 8 feet away from me for a comfortable head-to-toe shot, without too much distortion. But a 1.8 aperature can only get me so far.

Let’s talk artificial lighting.

I took the above photo at midnight. I boosted up the ISO and lowered the aperature, but the light is still too harsh. That’s where lights come into play. Professional lighting systems can be expensive, so I made a hack to see if a pro lighting system was something that I should invest in. I’ve been asked by a few people what my solution is, so I figure I’d share it for all to see.

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I’m using two Ikea LERSTA lamps. They’re cheap, portable and effective. I think I’d get a third lamp or a fourth if I were doing more night-time style shots, but the two lamps are great for small objects and for fill-light when the sun’s not doing what it’s supposed to.

Here’s how to do it:

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Step 1

As you’re assembling the lamp, wrap the inner part of the lamp with tin foil. Make sure the foil is sort of crumpled so it will bounce more light around.

Step 2

Buy a daylight fluorescent bulb. They’re on sale at my local Home Depot. We’ve changed nearly all of our indoor lights with these. And they are awesome.

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Step 3

Get a large bowl and cut out a circle from some white (like white, white) fabric. I’m using a white quilting cotton.

Step 4

Measure the circumference of your lamp’s opening, cut a length of thin elastic just shy of the circumference.

Step 5

With your sewing machine on zig zag stitch, stretch the elastic as you sew it onto the outer edge of the circle of fabric. It won’t be pretty, but it’ll look sort of like a shower cap.

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Fit that over your lamp and done!

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Now you can illuminate basically anything.

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I used the two lamps and my room’s overhead light to light up the above outfit. Not bad for a 10:30 pm photoshoot, right? And since you’re using daylight bulbs to illuminate the room, there’s no need to adjust white balance. BOOYAH. Mic drop.

Was this DIY helpful? What will you light up?

Before & After: Leather Photo Stool

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This was the easiest thing I did all week. If you have a similar stool, you might find the same to be true.

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I bought this stool from a neighbor for $10. Chris has wanted a stool for playing the guitar, but we haven’t wanted to invest anything yet. When a neighbor posted that she was getting rid of it, I quickly snatched it up.

Chris was disgusted at the initial appearance of the stool. It had been well loved, the cushion was severely cracked and it had a layer of dust on top. All of the working parts moved smoothly, so it was just a matter of a simple face-lift. I’ve recovered a few stools in my day (1, 2), so I knew I could get it done in about 10 minutes. 15 minutes if you count stopping and taking pictures along the way.

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I already had the foam, leather and staples on-hand, so it was just a matter of finding 10 minutes to dedicate to finishing it off. I cut a rough circle of memory foam. I wasn’t perfect about it because I knew I was going to smash the heck out of it anyway.

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Leather has some stretchy properties, so I only measured an extra 3 inches around the sides for the leather and cut.

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Not doing anything to the existing padding, I piled on the new padding and leather and started to staple it down.

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It’s crucial to staple along opposite ends, first. Dividing the circle into quarters, then dividing again, and again, working all the way around switching off between stapling down horizontals and verticals.

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I ended up stapling all the way around using very little spacing between staples to keep the leather from pleating around the edges.

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Chris was impressed with the final piece, excited to practice his chords on it. But I’ve been using it in my studio for extra seating and animated gifs. It’s such a useful little piece in our home.

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Don’t you just love it when you find something with such great potential and it ends up being an easy fix?

How to Get Rid of Muffin Top Tights Tutorial

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This post is brought to you by Baby Lock. Baby Lock is dedicated to the love of sewing by creating a full line of sewing machines all with ease-of-use, high quality and a touch of elegance.

Connect with Baby Lock on Facebook and TotallyStitchin.net.

I’m not talking about losing weight. Weight is never the issue. Tights and hose are no respecter of persons when it comes to the blessed muffin top. Since I have 1-2 pairs of tights that don’t give me muffin top, I’m bound to think that I’m not the only one with this issue.

Also, it’s not really about the bulge of skin peeking out from the opening of tights (okay it’s partly that), it’s about how terribly uncomfortable tights are when they have such a tight waist. I’m not so prideful that I purchase tights within my dimensions. I always size up. It’s just a gamble whether or not those particular tights were made with a suffocating waistband.

It’s not  reliable to stick with a certain brand, either.

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I would show you a real before and after, but no one needs to see me in my tights. You get the idea with the illustration above.

But I solved the problem this weekend. It’s crazy easy. I’ll show you how to lose that muffin top without diet, exercise! Is it witchery, you ask? Perhaps. Let’s get started.

No-More-Muffin-Top Tights Refashion Tutorial

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Supplies

  • seam ripper
  • scissors
  • pins
  • measuring tape
  • regular sewing machine
  • elastic
  • tights

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Cut that nasty, too-tight-for-real-humans waistband off your tights. Snip! Snip!

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Measure you’re waist and cut a length of elastic (I used a wide picot elastic, but any comfortable, stretchy elastic will do). Sew the ends together.

Do you see how enormous my true waistband looks compared to the tights waistband? It’s bananapants.

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Pin the elastic on top of the tights in quarters. Split the seam allowance along the back seam of your tights. Now you’ll always have a front and back to your tights, too!

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Stretch the tights as you sew and sew a generous zig-zag stitch all the way around.

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Guaranteed, it won’t be the prettiest of fixes. At least mine weren’t. We’re going for speed and function here since I never expect anyone to see me wearing  just my tights!

I can’t begin to describe how much more comfortable I felt on Sunday. And I had nice smooth lines under my wiggle skirt. Big win!

 

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