Project of the (Previous) Week

I missed my Monday deadline, sorry. But I did do a project last week! And it’s super cute. I did these Neon Shoes DIY:

The example/inspiration

I had a pair of brown, strappy heels that I thought would work. Here they are:

I decided to go with the pink and yellow, since I liked it. But then changed my mind. The heels/platform had a textured surface like a basket weave. I thought it would look like an easter basket. So I decided electric blue. I still left a pop of hot pink in there though.

Ooh la la!

The details: The texture made painting difficult. The electric blue polish was older and did not go on as smooth. The new yellow polish was awesome, even with the texture. Also, I had to do quite a few more coats to get all the little nooks and crannies, which made the surface much gunkier. However, it was a fun project, and I love the colors! But when I look up close and see all the flaws I’m not terribly happy with the results. I was going to just get rid of them because they are not very comfy anyway. But then I was getting ready for dinner at Zemam’s and feeling a little sassy. So I grabbed them out of the give-away pile and tried one on:

(disclaimer: It’s a crappy pic and my room is messy)

fyi taking a good pic of yourself in a mirror with an iPhone is really hard

They actually weren’t as uncomfortable when I’m sitting for long periods of time, so they are keepers for now :)

Project of the Week

I’ve been a bit brain-dead the past few weeks. It’s performance season in the land of music teachers.  I had my kindergarten performance at the end of March, and then the 3rd grade recorder concert last week. Both went extremely well, but they leave me very drained. I have one more to go at the beginning of May, which is actually only a few weeks away (eek!).

Regardless of my excuses, I did manage one simple project this week. So last year for my birthday, I co-hosted with Neal and we threw a Nerdy Geeky Birthday Party. It was awesome. We went costume hunting at the thrift store and came up with these outfits:

I know, right?

You can’t tell from this picture and my slouched posture but the blouse I’m wearing was actually pretty cute. I mean, who doesn’t love polka dots? The only thing was the length of the sleeves. They created too much poofiness. So after the party was over, I set it aside in my never-ending-pile-of-future-alterations. Finally, Friday I was in the midst of cleaning my dressing room/craft room. I remembered that I needed to do a project of the week and in a flurry of spontaneity I somehow pulled this blouse out and set to work.

I snipped those annoying sleeves:

See how long those suckers are?

Then I added mustard yellow bias tape around the edges. Bias tape has become my new bestie. If you have not discovered the wonders of it, you are missing out.


Looks like a totally different shirt, right? I’m still contemplating putting some bias around the collar too. I didn’t personally model this shirt for you because:

a) I’m still in my pj’s and am not motivated to get dressed. Good thing I have a job where I have to get dressed some days of the week, huh?

b) It’s a bit snug around my love handles. Drat my chunks of love. They will forever be my nemesis. I’m working on this though. I’m trying to made cardio my new bestie. And salads. Sorry, bias tape.

c) I swear I have the shortest torso in the world, but apparently not. It’s a bit short to wear with low slung  jeans. Easily fixed with the right tank underneath. I just need to figure out which color, which requires me getting out of my pj’s. Also, a high-waisted skirt would do the trick. Again, I’d have to get out of my slobovia clothes, as Phil calls them.

But still, it’s super cute and I’m happy with the results. The whole thing took probably about 15 minutes. An easy fix. Now, if only I could tackle more from my to-be-altered pile …



Project of the week

My goal is to do my blog post on Mondays. Let’s pretend it’s last Monday, ok? I definitely was NOT ignoring my goal and playing Skyrim and sipping tea all day while it’s rained/snowed outside.

So my project of the week is actually three different projects. Three very simple ones that were on my list. I also think that doing three in a week is building up my karma for a future week where I’m too busy or uninspired.

Simple project #1:

I saw these cute ballet flats on Free People and thought, “Easy DIY!”. Mine turned out close, but not exact. I need to tweek the ribbons a bit still, but they are still cute!

It was a simple as buying black and nude ribbon (the nude looks a little golden in this pic, but it’s really not) and gluing them on my black ballet flats. I also took the little black bows off the front of the shoes after this pic. I wore them to dinner that night at Zemam’s with Mike and Bri. We have made this delicious Ethiopian and BYOW restaurant a monthly event.

Simple Project #2:

Obviously, I have tons of burlap laying around from my purses. It’s so trendy right now to do all kinds of things with it. My favorites I’ve seen though are these planters, tulip root balls, and cute curtain-ring redo. Another idea I came across was an earring holder. So I decided to do that but when I finished it was too pretty to cover with earrings. Mostly because of the awesome frame (which I already had laying around, neglected). So I brought it into Phil’s simple, modernistic office (imo it’s BARE and needs color!!!), and he agreed it would look nice above the keyboard (the musical kind). He rarely agrees to let me put something in there. So there is hangs. I still want to make one for my earrings, though.

Simple Project #3:

A pretty, matching trash bag for my car. Ok, I know this may not be a simple project for everyone. But since I have a sewing room all set up with all kinds of fabric, thread, bias tape, etc it was simple for me. This fabric is one of my faves that I brought back from Hawaii last year. I followed instructions from this awesome book I found called One Yard Wonders.

Ok that wraps up last week. I’m still working on my big, secret project. I just don’t want to show it off until it all complete and installed. Hint: it has something to do with my garden :) Stay tuned for Monday’s post.

Circa 1992 to Circa 2010

Why, hello there, Grandma Dowling. Oh wait, that’s me. My grandma did wear a pair of glasses like those, though.

So this dress screamed ’90’s to me. It has shoulder pads, buttons all the way down, elastic waist, and a longer length. However, Phil saw it more like a 1950’s dress, so he made me dress up for this pic and did a little photoshoppage. I really do own those glasses. It’s hard to tell the design from above, so here’s a close up. This is what grabbed me:

Love the colors and the flowers!

I first removed the shoulder pads. Then I turned the neckline in a V. Next I removed the sleeves and gathered the shoulders into a cinch. Then I hemmed up the length. All in all, a very simply remake.

Phil wasn’t around to take a pic for me. My huge mirror tiles from Ikea came in handy.

I wore it to Rosa’s baby shower on Saturday and received tons of compliments. It was a lovely dress for a lovely shower.

<will insert pic with my girls from the shower here>

Muumuu to Woohoo!!

Aloha! This one is for my dad, who lives in Hawaii. This mu’umu’u (actual spelling) was an exciting find at goodwill. Why?

Because of this fun edging!

Plus it had snap buttons and pockets! I put it on for the picture and…it was really quite comfy. I said, “I can see why people wear these.” Phil looked at me like I was crazy. Geez, I was just sayin’.

So I cut it to blouse length and gave a new hem with a decorative stitch. I also had to take this sucker in a TON. So I added a vertical seam in the back that took out inches upon inches of fabric. Then I cinched the sleeves. The sleeves were the hardest to figure out what to do with because I loved the lace on the edges. But I think it worked.


So now I could rock this someplace other than just Hawaii. I wore it out to Zachary’s on Tuesday night. A gimonstrous pizza and 2 raspberry framboises (from tap!) later… the blouse was still accomplishing it’s purpose as a roomy muumuu. Even homer agrees!

Ditches to Stitches

I have to say this name is in the running. Thanks Rosa! So last week I took this article of clothing that was DEFINITELY a “ditches”…

circa 1991?

My mom denies ever having owned this, let alone made it, but I know the truth. I retrieved this bad boy years ago from her bin of scrap fabrics, to use as, well, scrap fabric. I mean, what else could it be used for? Phil actually shuddered when I walked out in it. And when  I asked for a picture, he vehemently protested the documentation of me in such a garment. Of course he had no idea the master plan buzzing around in my (scary) brain!

But with a few stitches (ok, and some snippity snips)….

circa 2010!

Now I know you boys out there (do any boys read this, other than Phil?) are scratching your head and trying to figure out how this is any better. Phil did. But, women, we know the truth. I mean, how cute are these little rompers that are out there floating around? And I didn’t have to spend a penny on mine.

Name Suggestions Needed!

This summer there was a different twist to my activities – sewing! I pulled my BEAUTIFUL machine (husquavarna viking) out from the closet and set up shop. I was pretty ADD at first with it, jumping from one project to the next, barely finishing each one. But finally I settled on these purses!

And now it’s time to open up shop.  We’ve purchased, and Phil has designed this label for me:

So here is where you come in – I need help with the sub name. I.e: jennycain threads.  But that’s too generic, too blah for me. I need something that pops! As of now, the things I will be selling include things I hand-make, mostly by sewing. Items soon to come will be a duvet cover, linen napkins, place mats, curtains, etc. I hunt for vintage or recycled materials (like old sweaters and coffee sacks!).

So please leave a suggestion! And if I like your idea and decide to use it, you’ll win one of my purses! If you’re a guy, well you can give it to your gf (bonus points) or I can make you a bow tie suited to your tastes.

Good luck!

Rejected Clothes Get a Makeover

Several months ago, I decided to monitor what clothes in my closet are being worn and which aren’t. Using this helpful strategy from lifehacker, I am aware of my closet rejects hanging around. (Haha, get it? Hanging around?) As I grab them out of my closet to wistfully part with them, I get a burst of creativity. Instead of giving them away, why don’t I see if I can modify them to give them a more updated look. This also goes along with my “shopping diet” plan.

disclaimer: despite all the articles I’ve read on getting good pics for your blog, it comes down to the simple fact that my camera just sucks. Hint, hint Honey!

First up:

Pink Lady!

This isn’t anything too terrible, I know. I think it’s a little long for today’s craze of minis. And just too much pink! I love the ruffles, but… snip snip! Here’s the after:

A new mini

I left the under-slip peeking out too. I thought that was a fun detail!

Next up:

Clowning around!

What is with that collar? Guh. I look like a clown. I don’t know why I ever bought this shirt, and I have not worn it once in an entire year that I have owned it. However, I do like the pattern of the fabric, so out came my seam ripper and…

Buh bye clown collor, hello ruffle straps. I also removed the sleeve as I just felt it was too much “print” and still too much ruffly-ness with them on. I’m totally wearing this right now.

Finally, a simple number that involved NO sewing!

I know, I know – totally cute dress, right? What could be wrong with it? Nothing, fashion wise. The reason I never wear it is because the length says “hello summer!” and the long sleeves say “hello winter!” I’m so confused. And yes, I’ve worn it with tights, I’ve worn it with jeans, I’ve worn it un-buttoned as an over shirt. But it just never did it for me, but it’s so dang cute I’ve kept it. So one simple adjustment – I cut the sleeves to mid bicep. I didn’t even need to hem the edges because I could just roll them a few times. (I apologize for how this next picture really doesn’t show what I did very well, but more shows me playing dress up…)

Hello officer!

Perfect little military dress, fit for summer now. I think I’m going to wear this to Laffs tonight!


So I found this shirt at the thrift store.

I look like a beige bat!

But I LOVED the gathered waist and the flow of it. I saw its potential. So I took it to the machine and made a very simple adjustment.

gathering the sleeves

Threw on my fave belt, a classy necklace, some skinny jeans and voila!

Totally looks like something I got at Forever 21, right?

I now have a new shirt for only $5!

Thriftynifty: Unique Thrift Store Finds

(disclaimer: this is a very girlie post!)

I had a lucky day at the thrift store today. So, I’m going to write a little feature on each item. Today’s is an “as is” item, but the others need a little reworking magic. So they’ll make their debut soon.

Everywhere you look, it’s boots, boots, boots! Well at least in the fashion world. I found these beauties today:

Sigh, aren’t they wonderful? Don’t see it yet? Fine, look here:

Totally rocking’ the boots.