Archive for the ‘tutorials’ 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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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?

Sponsored: Holiday Prep and Shining Shoes

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Inspired by this month’s entertainment theme for the Fiesta Movement, how do you prep for the upcoming season’s parties and festivities?

 

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching. Besides decorations and gifts, how do you prepare for all of the parties, caroling, strolling and eating? Growing up, my dad made sure to teach me how to properly care for my shoes so they’d last the whole winter without getting destroyed by mud, snow and salt. I was in constant awe how he could make a pair of old shoes look brand-spanking new.

He taught me the importance of keeping my nice things nice.

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I know a lot of people out there have different opinions about buying and using leather. I don’t disagree with those feelings, I think leather is a great material that should never go to waste. It’s incredibly strong and durable. The real shame in my opinion is if someone just neglects to take proper care of his/her leather goods and destroys it beyond repair.

My dad literally has shoes older than me. You wouldn’t know it, though. Leather can last forever. It’s a matter of protecting, cleaning and polishing regularly.

For my suede babies, I just prevent with Nikwax and call it good. If I spray every couple months, it doesn’t seem to go bad.

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Now these babies. I was at a photoshoot a month ago and we were stomping around in some serious mud. They’re filthy and just about destroyed from all that mud and salt!

I use a leather cleaner (we got a bunch when we bought our house) to get most of the mud off. It works like a charm.

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So much better, but it’s still not quite there yet.

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I don’t know if other people use this method, but my dad taught me to put a sandwich bag around my finger and cloth on top for polishing shoes. It’s a great way to spread polish and keep it from getting on my hands.

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You can see a huge difference between the polished shoe (left) and the cleaned shoe (right). Now I can go trudge around town looking polished and put together (pun not intended). After polishing, I shine the shoes with a brush. DONE. All it takes is about 15-20 minutes.

Frankly, if you don’t get the results you’re looking for, take your shoes to a cobbler. I’ve had boots re-soled with a winter tread, zippers fixed and leather repaired. What can’t a cobbler do? Really. They’re not terribly expensive (certainly not more than buying a nice new pair) and they can save your favorite shoes from the dump.

This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own.

1 Yard Fabric, 7 Bloggers, My No-Sew Midi Skirt Tutorial

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Miriam found this gorgeous floral ikat print at Mood back in May. Immediately there were 7 of us hovering over the yardage to see if we could all snag a piece. Like sharks to chum.

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Each of us has made something with our yardage. Check out what these uber talented ladies have made with their yardage (in order of appearance of the photo above):

Merrick, Leanne (hers will come later this month),  Miriam, Jen, Andrea, Bethany (not pictured) All joined in.

The idea came that we should all see what we could do with one yard. The idea for a link party was born. And I failed at it miserably.

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I love this fabric so much, I want it all over my body at all times. What to make? A dress would showcase the fabric beautifully, but unfortunately the yardage is too short to just use for a simple shift (it shrunk a little in the pre-wash). I could do a raglan dress with the yardage, but I’m not stoked with the patterns I have. I tried to draft a raglan sleeve with my dress form, but the lack of shoulder/arm failed with the muslin test.

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Sewing confidence is waning at this point. Also, I’ve been trying to be a good little girl and prioritize business to-dos over blog to dos this week. It’s been hard to get anything done. Do you ever feel so busy that you just freeze up and can’t do a thing? I’m going through that at the moment.

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So in a moment of desperation, I made myself a skirt. Sort of. And I didn’t have to commit to sewing or cutting up my precious yardage just yet.

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Want to know a secret? I’ve actually done this very thing before. I needed a red skirt, but it was about 5 minutes before church so I grabbed red jersey, wrapped and walked out the door. This works surprisingly well.

Simply wrap and knot. Boom. Done. If you’re looking for a cheap way to make your own mini, midi or maxi skirt and you don’t know anything about sewing machines or knits. . . here you go.

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Outfit Details:

Is anyone in the same boat as me? Who else has had a crippling to do list lately?

Above are similar knit skirts (although the print I have is a mystery. I wish I could find it online) for under $35.

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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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