Monday, December 31, 2012

For Christmas, I crocheted a winter item for all the females in my family. I couldn't think of what to make my mom since I've made her almost everything you can think of- so as I was online shopping (which is 9 times out of 10 what I'm doing on the internet) I came across this very pretty cowl scarf from Anthropologie: Tawny Knit Collar, hand knit (in India) from wool. I love the look of it, the chunky, soft appeal of wearing it around your neck in the wintertime. But $78? Even on sale for $40, that is an outrageous price for a simple item which was made abroad.

So I decided to try to make this on my own, crocheted not knitted.  I used one skein of chunky yarn, a crochet hook, yarn needle to stitch in the ends, and one snap: totaling the project at $3.20. Sure beats $78!

I studied the photos as best as I could and came up with a very simple pattern of half double crochets and a simple chain stitch around the outside to create a braided border. This was the first time I put a snap on a crochet project and I hope it stands up to the test of time - I found the largest snap I could (which isn't all too big) and put it towards the top 1/3rd of the cowl so the bottom 2/3rd could be folded over the shoulders (unlike the Anthropologie cowl). It's a bit bigger, but I like how it can be worn under a coat to create a protection layer from the cold. Also, the fold over top part can be unfolded and it covers your mouth, nose and cheeks - great for the windy winter chill. If anyone is interested in the pattern, I could post the pattern, please let me know!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Gift Wrapping

This year, I decided to spend some time on my holiday gift wrapping, putting some extra decorations into them! I love using non-holiday colors, especially pastels. Here are the supplies I used for wrapping the gifts:

And here are a few simple instructions for wrapping your gifts:

I used free printable doily patterns, a deer wax stamper, wax, free printable gift tags, and silver glitter pine cones to spruce up the presents! Explore your options with different color combinations, decorative paper, stampers, and ornaments! I tried to find my own pine cones, but living in a city, that was nearly impossible. Try finding and making your own ornaments to make these gifts one of a kind!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wedding Favors - Handmade Drawstring Bags with Wildflower Seeds

For our fall time wedding, Steve and I decided to give something that wasn't a one time use/eat/throw away present for our wedding guests. We thought flower seeds were the perfect way that our guests could be reminded of our wedding each year with the blooming of wildflowers.

Not only was it fun to give these little gifts, but we saved a lot of money making the presents ourselves.

Here are the materials and costs for our wedding gifts, makes about 100:

  1. Natural Muslin, 2 yards (in case of mistakes, extra is better): $3.98/yard = $7.96
  2. Baker's Twine, 40 yards total (I picked two colors, 20 yards each) = $5.99
  3. Plastic Bags for seeds, 100 total (I couldn't buy less than 500 on = $4.29
  4. 2 lbs of Wildflower Fall seed mix from Flower Art & Soul (1.5lbs would do, but you have to buy in full pound amounts, so I bought 2 lbs): $48/lb = $72 (since I have a half of pound left over!)
  5. 130 Kraft paper tags (bought from a seller no longer listed on Etsy) = $10.50
  6. Paper, tea for dying the paper = pennies, negligible cost
Total cost to make: $100.74, about $1.00 per guest
(of course, you can always make this project cheaper.. find less than 500 plastic baggies [I felt strange buying so many little bags from the internet...], buy your muslin or baker's twine on sale [or with a coupon - I never go into ACMoore without a 50% off coupon for myself and Steve!], or find cheaper wildflower seeds).

I measured, cut, ironed and sewed about 105 muslin drawstring bags, half with yellow twine and half with red twine (since those were our wedding colors). I used about 12" of twine for each bag. Steve filled each plastic bag with about 1 generous tablespoon of the seeds and the insert.

For the insert, Steve downloaded a typewriter font and I printed on both sides of the paper for our wedding label, and instructions/contents on the back side. I printed 10 tags per page, so I only had to print 11 pages of text (one for mistakes!). I created a tea bath with a big pyrex dish, five tea bags and boiling water. I let the paper soak in the tea for ~15 minutes then hung them up to dry. Instead of having stark white paper contrasted with the natural muslin bags, I thought tea dying the paper would add an extra touch!

My mom was kind enough to calligraphy all the guests names onto the tags, and I went back through and labeled the table numbers after I finalized my lists.

It was a time consuming project, but so much fun to have something to do at the end of the day, and I even got Steve to participate which was definitely the best part! I am looking forward to seeing how the flowers bloom for our families and friends next fall :)

A finished gift bag for my nephew, with a handmade napkin my mom made!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Holiday Colors and Inspirations

Now that it's finally December (there was such a long time between the end of Thanksgiving and the start of December), I feel like it is now acceptable to post holiday items/ideas/colors/food.

Here are the three most recent photos I have taken, and they all coordinate so well together!

Winter Wedding Invitation Suite from a family friend!

68 degrees on December 4th - Lunch time walk (and searching for pine cones)

Speculoos Button Cookies

I think aqua and red/coral will forever be my favorite color combination. I even decorate my cookies with these colors, I didn't even plan that! The cookies are from the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine  Speculoos Buttons. Thankfully I read the entire recipe before starting to realize the batch makes ~90 cookies, but you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months! They are mini cookies (mine are about the size of a quarter, but I think I'll make bigger ones next time. Nothing feels worse than admitting you just ate 9 cookies). I have the other half of the dough in my freezer waiting to be gifted. My test batch turned out really well, minus my old baking sheet which did burn the bottoms of about 30 cookies. Is there a way to restore an old baking sheet?

Monday, November 26, 2012


It's always nice to find several pieces from the same designer- you can see over time how each piece relates to one another and how these items will forever be timeless!

Over the past year and a half, I have found three different Givenchy pieces (which is always exciting!).

First, I found a Menswear silk scarf which is super unique, with caged red raging bulls:
Find on my Etsy store here
Second, I came across Givenchy earrings form the 1980s (and they are pierced!):
Find on my Etsy store here
And just recently, I found this 80's Navy Leather Clutch:
Find on my Etsy store here

Can't you see an outfit using all these pieces together? It's sometimes hard selling so many pretty pieces when I'd love to keep them for myself! But I know there is someone out there looking for the perfect designer piece to spice up their wardrobe :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Outfit - Amber, Taupe and Black

I love when items in my shop correspond so nicely with each other! Here's a few items I have featured on my Etsy store - they would make such a lovely Thanksgiving Day outfit!

Taupe Speckled Wool Skirt - $15
Ivory Straw Clutch by Walborg $19
Sterling Silver Ring with Amber Gem Heart - $20

Liberty of London Silk Paisley Print Scarf - $26

All you need to complete this outfit is a pair of tights, a black 3/4th sleeve shirt, and some cute pumps! I am in love with this outfit :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Preview of wedding crafts

It saddens me to know I haven't been able to update in so long (but so happy I got married and traveled to Hawaii in the meantime!). As I slowly get my life back to a normal pace, I will be updating with some of the crafts I made for the wedding. Although my mom made a lot more, I will have a few posts to share :)

Here's a few preview photos of things to come: (photos by my photographers, small edits done by myself, all owned by me, please do not take/pin/post/etc)

flowers designed by me

gift bags made by me, calligraphy by mom
centerpieces designed by me, napkins made by mom

my sweetheart

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finally time for scarf weather!

Five days ago, scarf weather began. The windows to my house have been opened and I can wear a blazer to work, sit in the sun at lunch, wear a scarf, and never be too warm. Hello, autumn! On Monday, I finally was able to wear a scarf my mother-in-law to be bought me on her trip to Paris in June (she gave it to me on a day it was 102 degrees and humid). She bought it from a small boutique called "Aspasie et Mathieu"  I just started recognizing the color pink as a color I could wear, and I'm happy I did (I'm currently wearing a pink plaid shirt and brought a pink tote to work... maybe too much pink?)
This is the scarf with the label from the store... I can't see an address and not look it up on Google Street View! Here's the store from a Google image taken in June 2008. I imagine I am that woman who is looking in the window, admiring the beautiful Parisian fashion. 

I just posted this AMAZING vintage YSL scarf in my etsy store - I'm constantly amazed by vintage silk and how it never ages - You definitely pay for what you get with designer silk scarves. Not to mention, the style hardly ever goes out of fashion. Look at those amazing bright colors!

I saw this in the Fashion 2013 issue of Harper's Bazaar, and suddenly I felt a bit more on trend :) Except this scarf is a bit more affordable... Chanel for $430, Louis Vuitton for $450 and Celine for $570! Eeeek!
"the foulard is taking top billing this fall, adding a quick pop of color to any ensemble"

I've had some fellow friends and colleagues look down upon my scarf wearing (to which I always think, "who cares?!"), like I'm a grandma... But I don't see your grandma rocking Yves Saint Laurent!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Being a Bachelorette

This past weekend was my bachelorette party - this was the first time I have worn a white dress (actually it was ivory with gold, but close enough!) and I LOVED it - I felt so pretty and classy, and it made me walk more confidently around the city. Plus, I got a lot of compliments (or was it the gaudy "bride" sash/ring/pins/necklaces I was wearing?) and I noticed a lot more beautiful things while walking around the city.
I decided to post some photos, not so much of the bachlorettes, but some pretty photos that re-inspired me (I already bought some new yarn colors at the craft store and planned some new crafts for after the wedding!)

Anthropologie in Center City Philadelphia

My sister and I at Hotel Palomar, Philadelphia. Cheers!

The amazing view from our hotel room - not over looking the famous Philadelphia skyscrapers, but some of the overlooked art deco architecture in the city

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grunge Autumn - Fashion Post #2

Following with my last post, here's another outfit I absolutely love, and follows the grunge style basics.

Floral Tank Dress: Handmade, thrifted- $3.90

Black Cardigan: Given to by mom- free

Suede Tan Vintage Purse: thrifted- $4

Tan Crochet Circle Scarf: made by me, yarn as a gift- free

Studded Tan Boots: from Urban Outfitters sale - $24.00

(Same tan socks and necklace from last post)
Socks: Marshall's - $3.99

Necklace: Urban Outfitters sale - $24.99

TOTAL: $60.88
(the necklace was the most expensive item!, so without this necklace, the outfit totals $35.89!)

I love these studded boots. I bought them after they went on sale at Urban Outfitters in 2010. Surprisingly, they are still holding up after two winters, and the weathering on the front of the shoe looks great.
 I made this scarf from yarn my brother bought me from Purl Soho in Manhattan this past May. I've been wanting to make a super soft circle scarf that would match most my clothing. This alpaca yarn is SO soft and was quick to make up, I made up this pattern and it turned out great.

The cardigan was given to me by my mom. Seriously, don't under estimate your loved one's closets. My mom bought this from Marshall's several years ago, and it didn't fit her. Marshall's has great designer brands for cheap prices (especially on clearance). Sometimes, you have to go more than once or twice if you're looking for something in particular, but sometimes that's the fun of it :)

And, this dress! I actually posted about it in June, find that post here. It's a handmade dress in a floral print that I luckily found at a thrift store! It's big, so it needs to be belted when worn, but it's worth it! Nicely, the dress is midi length and conservative tank sleeves, great for work!
Floral prints are a grunge staple - scavenge your local thrift stores, you will definitely find something!

Lastly, this suede purse - oh it's so soft and has cute gold tabs on the side. It's a nice hobo that fits across one shoulder, and it is big enough for me to bring to work. Plus, it was only $4 at a thrift store for quality suede.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grunge Autumn - Fashion Post #1

With the changing of the seasons, I like to change my fashion style with it. Each summer, I've been committed to "metal summer [inset year here]" and I've been sad to see each metal summer go (metal meaning I wear high waisted black cut off jeans/shorts, bra bandeaus with cut off metal band t-shirts, heavy jewelry, occasional studded items, solid colored tees, and flats).

So for the fall, I've decided to dress 90s grunge with a modern update. Also, I need the grunge look to be suitable for work, since I'm there five days a week. What's the point of changing your style if you can't be a working woman, too?!

For the next few weeks, I wanted to reach out to my fashion side and show you some stylings and how much they cost to add some new "grunge" items to your wardrobe. Don't be afraid to get creative, too. I already asked my mom to find my sisters early 90s jean jacket, but she couldn't find it anywhere! Now thinking about it, my sister would wear everything 8 sizes too big, so it probably would have been down to my knees. I'll just have to go on the hunt at thrift stores.

Here's an outfit I wore yesterday. While it may not be work appropriate for your work place, my work is a little more relaxed (or I just dress like this and no one has ever said anything). But you can always alter the look to suit your purposes.

While Steve was trying on a suit for the wedding,  I captured this photo!

Here's a better photo of the outfit, modified a bit:

Tunic: vintage silk paisley earth tone tunic, purchased from Ania's shop alacloth on etsy - from her sale section for $12 - really a great deal for such lovely silk!

Belt: handed down from my mom - free

Black leggings: on sale at urban outfitters: $6.99

Black chain collar necklace: on sale at Urban Outfitters - $24.99

Marbled tan socks: Marshall's - $3.99

Black "Revenge" boots: Macy's on sale - $35

TOTAL: $82.97
Seems like a hefty total, but for staple pieces like the black boots, it's completely worth the extra cash.

Now about this belt from my mom... I have a very faint memory of her wearing this belt, but when I found it in her closet a few years ago, she insisted I take it because it reminded her of the 80s too much. This belt does NOT look 80s to me at all. It looks super bohemian-chic and definitely my favorite waist-cincher. Sifting through your mom, grandma, aunt, etc closets will not only find you treasures, but your family members probably don't want those items anymore and would be happy you're finding a new use for them.

If you find a belt like this, do not put it in your carry on luggage. I brought it on a flight a year ago and security had to pull Steve and I aside because they told us it was serious and it looks like we had a few knives. I certainly did not bring it on the returning flight and had my sister mail it back to me.

And don't you just love the detail of that tunic? The colors are great for fall! Pairing the bohemian tunic and belt with black leggings, a heavy black necklace and tall black boots bring the outfit back down from flowers/happiness to a level of grunge and authority.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIY Peter Pan Collar Necklace

I really like the new trend of these necklaces - collar chain necklaces!

I bought this necklace recently because I really liked the interlinking loops and the necklace has a nice weight to it. I bought it from Urban Outfitters on sale for $24.99. While I didn't mind paying that much for something I knew I couldn't make myself, other simple collar chain necklaces shouldn't be priced this much unless they are made from precious metal. I've seen tons of simple peter pan collar necklaces online - Etsy sellers, Forever 21 (which would probably break in two uses), Free People ($498 for a chain, non-precious metal!).

If you have some necklace chains laying around, you can easily make this peter pan collar necklace! If you don't have a long chain, go to your local thrift store- I'm sure you can find a simple chain for less than $2. The necklace I'm making is close to a choker size, so take that into consideration when making if you want it to sit lower on your chest.

For the necklace, you will need:
-A chain of your choice, at least 33" long, with a clasp and loop
-Three small O rings (I used extra rings from other necklaces I wasn't using)
-Ruler/Fabric measuring tape
-Needle nose pliers

Here's the template for the necklace. It might help to draw this template on paper with exact measurements, then place your chain over the drawing to get exact sizes!

1. Measure a 17" long piece of chain and use the needle nose pliers to unhook the extra chain from the 17" piece.
2. Using the remaining leftover chain, measure two 8" pieces and use the needle nose pliers to break free these pieces from the rest of the chain. Set the extra chain piece to the side, as you don't need it anymore.
3. Using the long, main piece of chain, measure the exact middle between ends. If you are using the 17" chain size, the exact middle would be 8.5" in from the end.
4. After finding the middle, attach one of the O rings in this middle. Before closing the loop, tread in both of the 8" pieces. Then using the needle nose pliers, close the O ring.
5. Lastly, measure 2" from the end towards the middle (or 6.5" from the middle O ring towards the ends), and add another O ring at this spot. Add the other end of one of the 8" chains to this loop. Close the loop with the needle nose pliers.
6. Repeat step 5 with the other 8" chain on the other size, using the third O ring.

I made two of these necklaces. This one is in a thicker, interlocking gold loop chain:

The other one I made is in a simple, gold chain that had some black tarnish on it (which I thought looked cute).

I love the way these necklaces look with both collared shirts and shirts without collars! You can button your shirt all the way up if it has a collar and wear the necklace over your shirt. Most of all, have fun making the necklace - it makes great gifts, too :)