March 31, 2014

diy skinny jeans

Fads are funny. I remember back in middle school when I got my first pair of super flare jeans. In that moment I knew I had reached a expert level of fashionability. Paired with my platform flip-flops, ridiculous neck choker, & sleeveless turtleneck (what was I thinking?), & I was the hippest thing since Mandy Moore. 
But super flares are a thing of the past, & now we've moved on to skinny jeans. & just as in middle school, I am all over this fashion fad.
The problem is I love skinny jeans too much. As a result, I've abandoned every non-skinny pair of jeans in my wardrobe. As I was about to throw them out I decided against it in the spirit of DIY.  

As it turns out, transforming a pair of boot-cut or flare jeans into skinny jeans is as easy as four seams! 
All you'll need for this tutorial are:

  • Flare or boot-cut jeans
  • Heavy duty thread
  • Pins
  • A sewing machine
First, put your pants on inside out. Button them & make sure they're sitting on your body where they would normally.
Pin along the sides of your legs. Start pinning at the point where your jeans start to flare (mine was at the knees). If you're having trouble, find a friend you trust (those pins are sharp!) to help you out. Don't pin too close to your legs as you'll need about a 1/2 inch slack so you can actually put these jeans on when you're done. If your jeans are a stretchy material, you can pin them closer to your body. 

Next, take your pants off CAREFULLY. I cannot stress this enough. I may or may not have gotten a pin in my leg during this step.
Keeping them inside out, take your pants to the sewing machine & sew along your pin line. Start at the bottom of your jeans & work your way up. 
Your pin line should taper into the natural hem line of the jeans. Take the seam all the way into the natural hem line, merging the two. 

After you've sewn both sides of each leg, turn your jeans right side out & try them on. Make sure they look right before moving on to the next step! If you see any puckering this means your sewn line may not be straight enough. Go over the sewn line again & make adjustments if needed. 
With your jeans turned inside out, trim off the excess fabric. 
& finally, jump for joy in your new skinnys!


P.S. Transform a t-shirt into a bag.

March 27, 2014

bow tie box

I love bow ties, but I'm not fashion-forward enough to pull them off. M'lady, on the other hand, looks amazing in them. She has quite a few bow ties in her collection, & so far they have been living their fashionably adorable lives in a cardboard box. Needless to say, this hasn't felt fitting for me. Such respectable fashion accessories deserve a proper home, so I set to work making a bow tie box, complete with velvet lining (okay, it's fleece. But close enough!).  

You'll need a few things to make your own fancy bow tie home:

  • Unfinished wooden box
  • Cardboard (a piece a little larger than the bottom of your box)
  • Fabric (a piece a little larger than your cardboard)
  • Wood stain in two different tints (I'm using espresso & natural)
  • Polyurethane spray lacquer 
  • Gold paint pen
  • Masking tape or painters tape
  • Hot glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Paper towels

My wooden box needed a bit of prep work with some sand paper before I started. It was more unfinished than I was expecting, plus the cat chewed on the corner of the lid a bit. Anyways, after your box has been smoothed of any imperfections, tape off the top according to your design. I'm using simple stripes, but any angular shape can be made this way (i.e. triangles, rectangles, lettering, a nice chevron pattern, etc. etc.). The taped areas will be the lighter wood stain & the areas without tape will be darker. 

Next, measure the inside of your box. That way you can plan ahead (unlike I did) & make the insert while your box is drying. 

Time to stain! Take your box outside & cover evenly with the darker wood stain. The longer you leave your wood stain on, the darker it will get. Don't forget the inside! Also, don't worry about getting stain on the hinges, that stuff wipes right off. The wood from my box was particularly "thirsty" so I ended up using a few coats of stain. 

Make sure to wash your paint brush once you're done staining. Dish soap will work just fine for this. 

Once your box is the preferred darkness, wipe off excess stain with a paper towel. 

When your box is good & dry, peel off the tape. Then apply an even layer of the lighter wood stain on the unfinished areas. Since the majority of the box is darker & you'll be using a lighter stain at this point, you don't have to worry about staying inside the lines!

After the entirety of your box is dry, apply gold details with your gold leaf pen. 

(Editor's note: I would have taken pictures of this part, but my box took waaaay longer than I thought it would to dry, & by the time I got to the gold details the sun had gone down, so I was basically painting under the dim glow of my porch light. I never said I was particularly good at time management.)

When the gold leaf is dry, spray an even layer of polyurethane over the entire box, inside & out

Here's how you make your insert: Cut your cardboard as shown above. You'll want the inner rectangle to be the size of the inside of your box with inch long tabs hanging off the side. 

Fold & tape your tabs together. Don't worry about making this part look pretty, we're covering it with fabric!

Wrap the cardboard with fabric like a present. Glue the fabric in place underneath with hot glue. Place the insert in your box, &…

Now to fill it with bow ties! 

M'lady has some super cute bow ties. I'm going to do a bow tie tutorial soon to show you how to make a bow tie of your own. They're so simple to make once you get the pattern down. Now tying them… that's the real tricky part. 



When I went outside to stain my box, I discovered a lovely surprise in my mailbox - a package from WhimseyBox! What a bunch of sweethearts! Also, I don't know what was going on when they packaged this up, but the cat would not leave it alone. Seriously, I think she may have been more excited than I was. Maybe she was a crafter in another life. 

Thanks, WhimseyBox Team! This made my day.

Related // Joining Whimsey Box & making your own Bow Tie!

March 26, 2014

mason jar change bank

Time for a quick DIY! I love sprucing up little elements around my home. I wanted to decorate the coin jar that's been sitting on my bedside table, & how better than to make this colorful slot-lid to top it! Maybe it'll encourage me to save more of my pennies. 

To make this project, you'll need some tools & materials:

  • Hammer
  • Masking tape
  • Washi tape
  • Jar lid & ring
  • Scissors
  • Large nail
  • Marker
  • Wire cutters & pliers

First, trace a slot on the top of your lid with a marker.

Using a hammer & the nail, you're going to puncture along your marker line. I taped my lid to the top of the ring to stabilize it & give it some room underneath for the nail to go through. Just hammer the nail in, then pull it out to make each hole. 

Hammer as many holes as you can along the line. 

You should be able to remove the metal piece in the middle of your lid as shown above. If it resists, use your pliers to yank it out (bending the metal back & forth worked for me to remove it).

Using the wire cutters, cut off any jagged bit of metal remaining. 

Then cover your lid with masking tape, making sure to cover the cut metal. This way you won't cut yourself on the lid later!

Then cover the lid with washi tape!

Now it's time to start pinching pennies!

Seriously though, I really need to start getting serious about this saving thing. All part of being a good adult, right?


Related // Fill up your savings bank by having a yard sale.

March 23, 2014

room refresher

Today's DIY is brought to you by Spring Cleaning - or rather, the urge to do some cleaning around here! Part of my Spring Cleaning involves a Spring Clearing of sorts. We've been running around organizing & gathering things for a giant yard sale we're hosting in a few weeks. I'm talking a "Hey everyone bring all your junk to our house & we'll sell it for you because the more stuff the better, right?" kind of sale. 

 So in the spirit of getting rid of the old to make ready for the new, here's a quick tutorial on how to make room spray, or as I like to call it, Room Refresher. Because even if you can't get around to all of your cleaning (or clearing) right at this moment, you might as well make your house smell clean. 

You'll need just a few things to make this Refresher:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda 
  • 20 drops essential oil 
  • Spray bottle 
  • A pot
Put water in your pot, then add the baking soda. Heat on your stovetop until the baking soda has dissolved completely (it may need a few stirs with a fork). Take your pot off the eye & let cool. 

This cooling time is an excellent opportunity to make your Room Refresher label! I made mine with washi tape & a gold pen (honestly, this gold has me smitten. It's like I'm summoning the spirit of Midas or something…). If you're making more than one scent of Refresher, make sure you label your bottles ahead of time so you don't get them confused!

Once your water is cool, pour it in your bottle & add the 20 drops of essential oil. I used peppermint & lemon. As the name suggests, this stuff is truly refreshing.

Shake up your bottle, & spray whenever you're feeling overwhelmed by clutter. 


Related // Spring cleaning on the brain? Check out 10 Things You Probably Forgot To Clean.

March 22, 2014

gold clay earrings

Gold jewelry, round two! I guess when I named this blog We Can Make Anything, I should have included a footnote saying "mostly out of Sculpey because Sculpey is the bomb." I made these earrings in a triangle shape, but any shape works!
You'll need a few things:

  • Gold leaf pen
  • Glue 
  • Polymer clay
  • Flat-faced earrings
  • X-acto knife
  • Oven
Roll out your polymer clay, about 1/8th inch thick. Place your earrings on top of the clay to get an idea of how large your shapes should be. 
Preheat your oven to 275ยบ.
With your x-acto blade, cut your shape out of the clay.

Move your clay pieces to a piece of aluminum foil & bake on a pan for five minutes.
When your shapes are cooled, paint with your gold pen!

Glue your shapes to the flat side of your earrings, & wa-la!
It was so easy, I made some circular ones as well. 

- m.e.

P.S. Keep your earrings organized in an Earring Booklet.

March 19, 2014

out & about // rainy day

It's been nothing but rainy. Thank you spring, but you're really putting a damper* on my productivity. 

(*This pun is brought to you by my onset cabin fever)

Watching // Season 4 of Archer is on Netflix. I have officially watched every episode in this seasons, & I will definitely watch them all again. & again. & again. 

Listening //  Call me a sap, but I can't stop listening to the new John Legend song. Normally I'm not one to be smitten by stereotypical love songs, but this one has me channeling my inner romanticist. 

Doing //  Movie date, dinner date, lazy date. Not a lot of productivity, but a lot of pleasant lolli-gagging with my gal.

Feeling //  Positive about the future. There are a lot of positive changes coming up in my life, but they will not come without some struggle & strife.

Loving //  Whimsey Box! I was invited to join this website earlier in the week, & let me tell you, these people know what's up. If you haven't yet stumbled upon this website, I encourage you to check it out. They share awesome tutorials, all of which are inspiring & helpful. But this site is doubly cool in that you can purchase the materials needed for the tutorials right on their website! How convenient is that? & they have a lot of craft supplies for sale that are difficult to find in your run-of-the-mill craft store. If you find yourself at Whimsey Box, look me up!*

*This is not a sponsored post - just an excited post!


March 18, 2014

infinity scarf

This is a project that I've been wanting to do for a long time. For one, it's super simple & quick. Two, it's an infinity scarf. Enough said. Seriously, who doesn't like infinity scarves? This is the kind of project that can be done on a machine, by hand, or even with a no-sew adhesive. Since I'm the instant-gratification type, I used my sewing machine. Plus I've been neglecting my machine too much, & it's nice to visit her every now & then (yes, it's a her, & yes, she is a magnificent Kenmore from the 1960s). 

To make your own infinity scarf, you'll only need:
  • 1/2 a yard of knit fabric (72" width)
  • Thread of a coordinating color, or a no-sew adhesive
  • A needle or a sewing machine

First, fold your fabric in half lengthwise, wrong-side out.

Sew a seam up the side, making a tube-shape out of your fabric. If you're using a stretchy fabric (like knit), you'll want to use a zig-zag stitch & keep the fabric taut as you sew. This will allow the seam to move with the fabric when it is stretched. 

If you're sewing by hand, allow for some slack when you tie off your stitch.

Turn your tube right-side out, & pin both raw edges of your tube together. Then sew across with a zig-zag stitch, keeping it taut as before. 

I love the soft blue of this fabric. I think it embraces the spring that is steadily upon us. 


Related // Don't like to sew? Check out this No-Sew Clutch.