Tag Archives: DIY

Simple Black Dress with a Statement Necklace

I love my UNA dress. It’s not new, but a black dress is always a great wardrobe staple–something to wear year after year. And UNA is a local Seattle designer. I love shopping local! I have a striped skirt and a purple skirt from this company too.

Una dress

Dress: UNA
Shoes: Thrifted
Necklace: DIY

What makes this outfit unique is the necklace I made.

shoe neckalce

It’s about 40 tiny doll shoes strung up onto a chain. I think of it as a modern take on chunky coral. I saw this idea online and really liked it. I didn’t want to buy a necklace so I made this. Well, I’ll admit that it was a time-consuming project! It took over an hour to hook all those tiny shoes onto jump rings and affix the rings onto the chain. If you see one ready-made, it’s probably worth the dough.

Summer dress

I wanted the necklace to standout so my all-black ensemble was a good backdrop for the candy-colored shoes.

summer blacks

Are you a DIYer or do you prefer to buy things other people have made?

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Ocean Colors and DIY Earrings

Here’s a Throwback Thursday post. I originally made these earrings in the spring and forgot to show them off! They’re made of simple, thin strands of ribbon that I poked onto a fishhook-style earring. The best part: I got the ribbon for free!

DIY earrings

Whenever I buy clothes with built-in hanger straps, I cut off the straps so they don’t peek out when I’m wearing my clothes. Some stores like H&M use ribbon in the color of the garment, which means I have matching earring for anything I buy there.

When I pair shades of blues together, I’m reminded of the ocean. And the ocean remind me of nice weather (since that’s the only time I go to the beach). Outfits like this make me happy, even when I’m looking serious. (I’m smiling on the inside.)

cool shades

Top: target
Flares: Urban Outfitters via consignment
Shoes: Old Navy
Arm party: Various shops

I realize I’m wearing flares, and the trend is for skinnies. I still find them elegant though. Sometimes I’ll sew wide legs into skinny ones but I think I’ll leave these as they are.

sweater and flares

Do you prefer wide of narrow legged pants?

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Stripes, Florals, and Orange Pants

I wear these orange pants a lot, but they’re surprisingly versatile, and I always seems to find new ways to style them.

orange pants

So for now, they’re staying in rotation.

stripes and floral

Top: Marshall’s
Pants: Dickies
Shoes: Kimchi
Scarf: Swapped

This time, I wore them with a striped top and floral scarf. Scarves, I find, are a subtle way of pattern mixing and incorporating extra color into an outfit. My scarf has orange in it so it’s still a coordinated look. And aren’t stripes practically a neutral?

floral scarf and striped top

And since I was going with the orange and navy theme (possibly my favorite color combo), I thought I’d throw on some blue velvet shoes! Sometimes faux leather is boring and I love incorporating other textures into my footwear, like satin, embroidery, embellishments, and now velvet!

velvet shoes

These pants were originally boot cut but I felt like they weren’t long enough for that style so I tapered the leg and turned them into skinnies. They aren’t real peg legs, but they’re definitely not boot cut anymore. It’s actually a simple alteration–and you can use an existing pair of slim cut pants as your guide!

I’ve joined Lena B Actually and Rachel the Hat for their Passion for Fashion linkup. Have a look at what everyone else is wearing!

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DIY Structured Skirt

I’m not sure what to call this upcycled skirt. It used to a an A-line shape but it hit too low on the leg (knee length) and was a bit frumpy so I pulled and gathered here and there and secured the new shape with a zig-zag in contrasting green.

DIY skirt

Top: Papaya
Scarf: Boutique in Vancouver
Skirt: Swapped
Necklaces: eBay
Cuff: Greenbelts
Tights: Target
Boots: Naturalizer via Goodwill

Now the skirt is shorter, more fitted, and gathered. It has an architectural flair that reminds me of designer pieces by Neodandi or Ivan Grundahl.

new skirt shape

If you try this, start with a piece much bigger than you want–because you’ll lose a lot of length and width when you gather the fabric. I also feel a skirt like this isn’t supposed to be perfect, so don’t go for symmetry. Make it fun!

skirt detail

I did this to another skirt a while ago. Speaking of which, I think I’ll wear that one tomorrow!

I’m joining Transatlantic Blonde and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. Check out all the other bloggers!

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DIY Glitter Heels

I recently took a pair of shoes from boho to disco. I really liked these cork-wrapped wedges but the cork had bubbled a bit, was scuffed, and wrinkled.

before

They looked older than they were.

aging

I decided to remove the cork and replace it with sparkles! I carefully peeled off the cork and cut the edges away.

removing cork

Then I taped up the part of the shoe that I didn’t want to be sparkly.

taping

I sprayed on a coat of sparkly fabric paint by I was a bit disappointed with the results.

fabric spray

So I went back to the craft store and bought a container of loose glitter. I painted white glue on the wedges, poured glitter over them, and shook the extra glitter off.

glitter

Success!

the results

This was an easy project and next time I sparkle up some heels I won’t even have to tape the rest of the shoe. The glitter sticks only to the glue. I bought the glitter for less than $5 and the time to complete this project was about an hour.

I almost forgot to mention that I added this post to Citizen Rosebud’s Shoe Shine group linkup. Have a look at everyone else’s dazzling footwear!

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DIY High-Low Skirt

Here’s my new “mullet” skirt–high hem in the front, low in the back.

mullet skirt

Jacket: Swapped
Top: Old Navy
Scarf: Gifted
Skirt: Crossroads Trading Co.
Tights: Roots Canada
Boots: Hunter via consignment
Purse: Crystalyn Kae

I’ve liked this style since I first saw it last spring, but I wasn’t keen on spending a lot of money on something trendy. So when my yellow maxi skirt shrunk unevenly, I took it as a sign to start chopping.

green and yellow

I cut away an inverted U of fabric from the front and left the edge unfinished. I think I’ll tire of the skirt before the jersey knit unravels.

the All-Trades

On this particular afternoon, Mr. Jean of all Trades and I accompanied my parents to an art show at the Seattle Center. It’s always fun having my own personal photographer (AKA Mom or Fashionable over 50) following me! She’s not only my personal paparazza, she’s a great personal shopper. I hesitated when I saw these boots on consignment until she reminded me that in Seattle, stylish rainboots are a must! I love the comfy wedge heel and grape shade.

I’ve linked up with Thrifters Anonymous at Color Blind and Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet. Have a look at what other thrifty and/or visible women are wearing.

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DIY Grommet Blazer Closures

Ooh! I have an easy-peasy DIY project for you! The first time I wore this jacket, I belted it; last time, I wore it open. The reason? It’s too small. But it was a thrifty find and I couldn’t turn it down.

too small

I was tired of not being able to button this baby up, so I went to the craft store and bought grommets. They’re meant for curtains, so I have 5 more sets for other too-small blazers that I might buy. I positioned the grommets over the button and button hole, cut out the hole, snapped in the grommets, and within ten minutes I had a jacket that fits!

new closures

The grommet kit came with a template so I could draw the perfect circle for the grommet. They’re plastic, metal-look grommets and snapped together without any tools.

grommets and ribbon

I bought olive-green, grosgrain ribbon to tie together the jacket, but I can easily swap it out with another color or texture: black, brown, yellow, silky cord, even chain!

up close grommets

I got compliments on this look when I wore it to work–and best of all, it’s not a hack job. It looks like it was made this way!

my outfit

Blazer: Goodwill
T-shirt: Target
Jeans: Jessica Simpson via swapped
Belt: The Vegan Collection
Boots: Novacas

I’ve got to call out my shoes. They’re part of a mini-spree I went on at The Chocolate Shoebox, a vegan shoe and chocolate shop in Seattle. The brick and mortar store is closing and times are tough so I thought I’d support a local, ethical, small business. The boots will cost me 5 points (according to the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge I’m taking part in), but I don’t mind one bit! I got the belt too, but belts aren’t on the list.

novacas

These are by Novacas, an all-vegan shoe company that focuses on recycled materials, quality construction, and fair labor. They’re made in Portugal, feel like real suede, are comfy as heck, and don’t make my feet sweaty.

taupe microfiber

I’ve wanted a pair of Novacas for a while now and I’m thrilled to have these ones. I also bought a pair of tall boots, a pair of shoes, four pair of socks, and two t-shirts. Add to that the cardigan I bought a few weeks ago and I’m down to 42 points to spend before I have to start donating to charity!

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Bathroom Makeover

When I bought my house last summer I got it because of the potential. You could call it move-in ready–but it wasn’t current and fresh. Case in point: the main bathroom. It was a good size but it was tired. I hated it so much that I don’t even have before pictures. This shot of the old vanity tells the story though:

old vanity

I had three contractors quote me for a bathroom reno. The prices ranged between $4,000 and $17,000 USD. No thanks! This room just needed freshening up. My dad transformed my kitchen and I knew he could improve the bathroom on a budget too.

The shower doors opened up the space and let light in from the window over the tub.

bath after

A round mirror and a new, taller vanity were inexpensive replacements. My mom surprised me with a neat soap dispenser cover at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

new hardware

Latté-colored walls freshened up the room, and silver spray paint turned the wood medicine cabinet into something funky. Brushed nickel hardware took the room from the 70’s to the 21st Century.

mirrors

The icing on the cake was a custom wall decal by Write At Home that lists a section of the subway stops on the Bloor line in Toronto–the very stops I traversed when I lived in Toronto.

wall decal

I made sure the Castle Frank subway station was included in the list. It’s what John Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, named his cottage. He named the humble structure after his son and–tongue firmly in cheek–called it a castle. The “castle” is long gone and a subway station is in the location now (in a neighborhood called Cabbagetown).

Castle Frank is also the name I gave my house. It’s a nod to my roots in Toronto, references my own humble abode, and honors my dog, Frank, who frankly, runs the place.

So there’s a history lesson and a walk down memory lane in my bathroom. Priceless.

bath collage

Speaking of prices, here’s the rundown of the costs:

  • Shower doors:  $150 (Home Depot)
  • Sink and vanity: $200 (Home Depot)
  • Faucets: $40 (Home Depot)
  • Towel racks: $20 (Ikea)
  • Round mirror: $40 (Ikea)
  • Extendable mirror: $15 (Ikea)
  • Wall decal: $50 (Write At Home)
  • Wall paint: $20 (Fred Meyer’s)
  • Spray Paint: $6 (Home Depot)

At just over $500, this is a far cry from what the contractors wanted. It goes to show that with a little creativity and sweat equity (or in my case, an awesome dad willing to dive into the project), you can breath new life into a room that once looked past its prime.

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Getting Over Sticker Shock

My dad taught me a neat trick and I am so impressed with it I just have to share.

Have you ever bought something with an annoying price tag that you can’t peel off? Maybe you peel off the top layer and the sticky backing stays behind? It happens to me a lot, and I’m left picking at the remnants or looking for nail polish remover to clean up the mess.

The remedy? A hair dryer!

dryer and sticker

My parents and I were at the Habitat for Humanity store a few weeks ago and they picked up some neat artwork. The sticker was smack dab on the front of one of the paintings. My dad pointed the dryer at the sticker and slowly peeled it back. It came off clean with not sticky residue left behind.

painting

He says it works on a variety of surfaces: wood, metal, plastic. If the material can handle a bit of heat, give it a try.

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Kitchen Style: Before and After

My parents visited me recently and while my mom and I were busy having fun and shopping, my awesome dad gave my house a makeover. My place is 50 years old–and was starting to show its age. I love mid-century design, but “worn out” and “old” was not part of the plan. The kitchen was renovated in the early 80s, but wasn’t looking fresh. Here’s what it looked like when I first moved in:

kitchen originally

Sink area before

stove area before

The first thing I did was replace the appliances. That was easy–except there was no dishwasher so I gave up 7 precious drawers so I could add one.

I lived with the oak cabinets for a few months, but soon realized that the color was too dark for a room with a low-ceiling. Besides, they didn’t have handles and the finish was wearing off.

I knew replacing the cabinets was a major undertaking–and not cheap! Lucky for me, my dad is a painter. Instead of paying for a major renovation, he painted the cabinets white, added brushed nickel knobs, painted the hinges to match the knobs, and together with my husband, replaced the white counter with a slab of wood block. One new sink and faucet later and look what I have:

new kitchen

The sink area

New deli block countertop

a new, round sink

view of the corner

stove and counter detail

white cupboards

nickel knobs

To make up for the lost drawer space, I bought a magnetic knife holder and a rod to hang utensils. Both were from Ikea and were really inexpensive. I moved the paper towers off the counter to open up space and tied in more black and nickel accents with the microwave, toaster, and electric kettle.

microwave and space to hang things

My dad even wallpapered the backsplash with textured paper made to look like stucco. It’s paintable too, so if I ever want to change the color theme, it’s a quick switch. And that little ceramic plate the bananas are resting on? My mom found that at a garage sale. It’s got a photo of coffee beans printed on it. It’s great for things like keeping fruit, cooking utensils or coffee mugs off the counter.

counter detail

Speaking of the counter, I love it! I treated it with a mineral oil mixture especially designed for wood countertops and cutting boards. Water beads off of it and messes wipe up nicely. That said, if I had a few kids and my kitchen took a beating, I might opt for a lower maintenance surface. While I can sand out stains and water marks, it does need occasional oiling and liquids should be wiped up in a timely manner. But with just two adults in the house it’s not exactly a water park in the kitchen so it’s perfect for us.

Cost rundown:

  • Primer and white paint: $40 (Home Depot)
  • Silver paint for hinges: $7 (Home Depot)
  • Wallpaper: $15 (Lowe’s)
  • Knobs: $45 (Home Depot)
  • Counter tops: $260 (Ikea)
  • Sink: $40 (Ikea)
  • Faucet: $70 (Lowe’s)

The appliances were all on sale at Sears and I used the Sears points I earned from that purchase to get the microwave. What could have been a messy, lengthy and expensive renovation turned into a weekend project that came in at under $500. Of course I had my dad’s free labor. Always a plus!

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