Saturday, February 14, 2015

happy valentine's day

happy valentine's day!  

before i run off to do some more baking, let me share with you this year's work valentine's treats.  
i was especially excited to make something this year because i was so busy the past few months with a nasty deadline that i didn't have time for my normal christmas baking/craft craziness.

i wanted to pass out individually packaged treats this year, and remembered the white chocolate bark with berries and toasted rice from 2012.  the colors work perfectly for valentine's, and i could incorporate a cheesy pun as well.  i did run out of white chocolate though (meaning i ruined a huge batch), and had to make a batch with milk chocolate.

the heart strawberries on my tags were cut with my silhouette.  i had a great time assembling everything. it was the best part.

this is a special batch i made for bffbf.  i got these candy molds from ikea a while back, and decided it would be a good time to test it them out.    i filled the middles with toasted rice and freeze dried berries as well.  i didn't bother tempering the chocolate, so the bottoms look lumpy, but that's ok.  they still TASTE good. 

oh, if you've found yourself in need of a last minute valentine's card, you can print out the one i designed a couple years ago (wow, was it so long ago?) for free.

Monday, January 12, 2015

it's 2015 already?

i thought i'd pop in and say happy new year before it's too late!
my holidays were busy and festive, and bffbf and i rang in the new year at disneyland.  it was my first visit there ever, and i was surprised to find just how much i LOVE the place.   i will most definitely need to pay it another visit, and soon!

here is a glimpse at the nye countdown and fireworks display.  it was such a fun night.

i also wanted to share the only handmade gift i made for christmas this past year.  my mom requested that i make her a hand towel that she can tie to her oven handle.  she had been using the same one for probably at least a decade, and it was time for a replacement.  

i made her new (more modern looking) hand towel with some white terry cloth, marimekko fabric, and lime grosgrain ribbon that i had in my craft cabinet.   the construction was very simple.  you can't tell from the image, but i made each side a double layer of terry cloth for extra absorbancy.

unfortunately, i didn't take many pictures so i'm not writing a full tutorial on this one, but it would be pretty easy to replicate just from the ones i'm posting.    

here is the final product--oddly, this may possibly be the very first gift i've ever given my mother that she actually liked!

how were your holidays?

Monday, November 10, 2014

heart blouse

until i made bffbf's costume (aang the airbender) a few weeks ago, it had been over three months since i had sewn anything.  i spent most of the summer baking, cooking, and working out, and just didn't set aside time to pull out my sewing machine.  inspired by the success of his costume, i decided i wanted to sew some more.  i had recently purchased some apparel fabric and using an old shirt as a guide, made a pattern for a basic blouse.  

here's the front view.   it's a little hard to tell but the front is scooped.  the back (below) has a v-neck with a strap across it. 

and here it is on.   i would love to say that i was able to whip this up in a couple of hours, but it actually took me many hours from pattern making to finish.  i'm really out of practice!   but it still felt great to sew again.

Friday, October 31, 2014

i'm ready.

happy halloween!

thank you ohhappyday for my costume this year.  oh and amazon.  that's where all the (free packing) paper is from.

i'm ready.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

stitchfix four - august 2014- goodbye, forever.

somehow it is october, and i am sorely behind on my blogging. i've been QUITE busy with life, but even though i didn't post a review right when i received my last stitchfix, i did manage to take pictures of the contents in box #4 (see my stitchfix 1 review for more information about this service).

after the last two disappointing boxes, i decided to request a different stylist.  my profile was already pretty detailed and specific, but i tried to make it even MORE so, hoping it would improve the contents of my next box.   for this fix, i requested dresses and tops that would be suitable for a photo shoot, with a focus on jewel tones.

in this fix i received:

under skies- jorja mini dot striped fit & flare dress- $58
susan monaco- edina scoop neck tank dress -$184
41 hawthorn- brydon twisted seams striped tank -$48
fun2fun- sonoma striped sleeveless top- $38
renee c- edmondo stud detailed split-back blouse- $48

i felt pretty lukewarm about the dress when i pulled it out of the box.  the pattern and colors weren't very interesting, and once i put it on, it was obvious that it was far too large on the top.  

the cut of this dress had promise.  i like fit and flare dresses, and with the exception of it being a tad more snug around my torso than i would have liked, i thought it was pretty cute.   

until... i looked at the price, which was $184, way WAY above my listed price range in my profile.  there wasn't even a chance that i'd shell out that kind of money for a jersey knit dress.   it wasn't that special, and i have no idea why the stylist even put this in my box.    

 moving on to the tops, the 41hawthorne tank was really soft and comfy and was kind of cute.  but, i thought it was on the large side, not particularly flattering, and not worth $48.    i also wouldn't want to wear something  this casual in a photo shoot.  this is more like something i'd wear for grocery shopping or maybe some casual outdoor outing?  

 the fun2fun top has an elongated round back which gave it some flare.  the material was also sort of sheer and scratchy, but the fit was decent.  i also wasn't particularly fond of the shade of orange used.  normally orange is my absolute favorite color, but something about this one (perhaps paired with the navy) was off-putting for me.   

when i first saw the split-back blouse, i was annoyed that it had mini gold studs all around the collar and down the back.  once it was on though, i decided they weren't that bad, and i kind of liked the idea of them. 

unfortunately, the cut of the front wasn't great.  at all.  it made me look bigger than i really am, and i felt really meh about it.   

the back however, was kind of cool, and i was sort of into it for a few minutes (i know. a few minutes is a long time.)

until i noticed some manufacturing flaws.  see how the studs are crooked at the collar? the fabric must have caught when the studs are were being... studded on. 

the studs on the front were an even more noticeable mess.  this was CLEARLY a return.  i briefly debated asking for a replacement, but after thinking about it, i really wasn't into the top, especially since it made me look so wide.  

once again, i was pretty disappointed with my box.  even though some of the items were okay, i still think the stylist missed the mark despite my detailed profile.  because i still had some stitchfix credit, i decided that instead of losing the $20 styling fee by not getting anything, i would just go ahead and keep the fun2fun orange/navy striped top.  i really didn't like it much (still don't), but i decided it was time to give up on stitchfix altogether--- and just use up my remaining referral credits.  i wound up paying something like $3 for the tank.  i figure it's worth at least $8, so i sort of won with that one.

so there you have it.  my 4th and final stitchfix review.  i have a couple friends that have had pretty decent success with this styling service, but apparently it just wasn't in the cards for me.  i really, really, really, wanted to love it, given my hatred for shopping, but... i don't. i just can't.   

out of frustration, i immediately signed up for keaton row, another styling service with a very different model.  honestly, i probably won't write a review on my experience, but currently it is free, and i have had a pretty positive experience so far, in case you want to give it a try.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

stitchfix three - july 2014- another fail

i'm not going to lie.  after my last stitchfix, i greeted the latest box with more fear than excitement (if you're unfamiliar with stitchfix*, check out my post about my first one here.)i was almost afraid to look at the pile when i opened it. but look-- so colorful and prettily tied with a sash from one of the items.   

in this fix, i received a pair of earrings, two blouses and two dresses.   unfortunately, i forgot to take a second look at the prices, and i'm not entirely sure i remember them correctly:

pixley- fantasia rhinestone deco earrings-$32 (or $36?)
ark n co- silvie floral beaded detail dress- $68? $78?
creative commune- rye floral print short sleeve blouse ~ $64?
skies are blue- moraga cut out detail blouse ~$48?
papermoon- waters diamond print maxi dress- $78

but before i get into it, i first want to apologize for not offering a fashion show with this post.  i wanted to. i really did. i set up the tripod, i set the timer, but the camera and i were just not getting along. it was just one of those days, i hope you understand.  

i had mix feelings about these earrings. i think i could almost like them-- and they actually looked reasonable on, from a distance, with my hair partially covering them.  so basically, i guess i don't like them at all.  they were just too large and gaudy for my taste.  

i tried on the ark n co dress first.  i liked the warm pink color, but was pretty certain the cut would be unflattering on me... and i hated the beading detail on top.  like a lot.  i actually specifically noted in my profile that beading was a no-no.  as i suspected, it was a little too large, and not that great of a fit overall.   it reminded me of the dress i disliked so much from my last box.

the creative commune blouse was flat out too large.  i was pretty much swimming in it, not to mention that i didn't like the print, and the colors were so intense... reminded me of an andy warhol print actually.  i didn't even have to think twice about this one.  

initially i thought this skies are blue blouse had potential.  however, i found the material scratchy and uncomfortable, even though it fit well.  i also couldn't get past the cut outs in the front.   i'm not opposed to cut outs, but these were just too large and too many and it just didn't look right on.  

at this point, i was worried.  the last item i tried on was the maxi dress. the color was fine, i liked the print ok.  i have actually wanted a maxi dress for a while, but i don't own any.  the material is soft and stretchy, and i was also pleased to find that the length was perfect.  i had anticipated it to be at least 5-10" too long, but it seems this one was cut for petites.  

but i wasn't sure.  something felt off, and i couldn't put my finger on it.
i went back and forth between yes and no about a 53 times. i texted pictures to my girlfriends.  i asked bffbf no repeatedly what he thought. something felt off about the dress, and ultimately i decided that the dress is too frumpy, and the $78 price tag certainly did not help.  i do have referral credit, which would soften the blow, but in the end i decided i'd rather lose another $20 than shell out additional cash to cover the rest on a dress i don't love, and quite frankly only looks okay on me... and ages me significantly.  which leads to the question, why does stitchfix keep sending me FRUMPY CLOTHES?  there is nothing in my profile that says, "please dress me like a my great-aunt mildred".  i'm bewildered, really.

so another fail, another $20 referral credit gone, and i am really disappointed. i am actually pretty ready to give up stitchfix* completely, but i do have some referral credit left, so i might as well give it another go, right?  

maybe the next box will be a hit, but honestly, i am not holding my breath. 

*leads to a referral link if you'd like to help support my fashion roulette habit.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

easy beach wrap tutorial

... and somehow it's summer again.       
in anticipation for some warm beach days this summer, i made a simple wrap around beach cover up.   
simply modish has a really nice video tutorial here.

this was an easy, hand-sewn project that i mostly did sitting on the couch watching hgtv. i've posted only a few pictures of some of the steps below; i recommend watching the video first for the full tutorial as her directions are nice and straightforward.    

to make this yourself, you want to purchase enough fabric, roughly 1.5 times the circumference of your hips.    
i bought a yard of pink jersey knit fabric (because the width of 54") from joann's for this purpose, which was regularly priced at $13 a yard, but i saved some bucks by using a coupon.   

if you don't have a lot of experience with knits, be aware that it shrinks.  54" would have been perfectly fine for me if it hadn't shrunk several inches, but i was too cheap to purchase more fabric-- as it would have been, at that point, cheaper to buy one of these online somewhere.   even with the shrinkage, it fits fine, however, it doesn't drape as much as i would like.  

it is also normally recommended that you wash your fabric before you use it.  for this project, i would actually recommend that you not, as knits tend to curl at the edges and it will just make the cutting process annoying.  since you're not sewing anything complicated, i would just skip that step and wash your beach wrap after you've made it.           

first cut out the arm holes. i used a salad plate to cut out the arm holes using my rotary cutter.   you could also use a tank top you have as a guide.  you should be cutting one arm hole on each side (on the longer edge).  

from the bottom (opposite side from the armholes), cut the strips to make the straps. i eyeballed the width of the strips, and they were probably only .5 inch thick each at most (width of 54").  i found that three strips braided all together was more than enough to make two straps. 

take one of the edges where the armhole was cut, and tuck it through part of the braid.  pull the edge out far enough so you can fold it over the knot.  

hand sew around the knot to secure the strap.  repeat with the other end of the strap, and then do the same on the other armhole.  and you're done.           

it should look something like this.     

i haven't made it to the beach yet, but i've been wearing it around the house a lot... because, it's just so comfy.


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