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August 9, 2017

the dress | chapter four (a.k.a. decision-making time)

DIY Wedding Dress, Chapter 4
In all honesty, I have not been a diligent bride-to-be. I've been procrastinating with the work I need to do on my handmade wedding dress. I'm at this crucial stage where all the steps remaining are definitive and seemingly irreversible, and it's daunting. The due date is coming up fast, so in spite of my insecurities and fears, I need to bite the bullet. The last thing I want is to be sewing buttons the day before my wedding. Hence the quote on my letter board. 

Here's what I have left to do. I need to:
  • Put in a zipper (definitively determining waist size!!)
  • Cut the skirt to the proper length and hem
  • Add detailing and buttons

DIY wedding dress to-do list
Even though I'm terrified of making these final moves on my dress, it's simultaneously exciting. I temporarily pinned the zipper in place (which, after I did, made me realize my zipper is way too long), and put the dress on. Oh baby, this thing is awesome. It's like a real dress! And I'm still in love with the pockets. It feels pretty damn good to be this far along. 
Details on my handmade wedding dress
As far as tackling my to-do list, I'm feeling more positively about some things versus others. The zipper I feel pretty good about, I just need to pull the trigger and stitch it in. 

The details are what I'm most excited for. I'm absolutely swooning over the sheer top I picked for this gown, but after hemming it, I'm realizing I need some sort of trim around the neckline and the arm holes. Nothing crazy, just something to hide the hemline. I also need a small, rounded button for the neck hole, plus an additional button for the top of the zipper. A shopping list is forming in my head...
Details on my handmade wedding dress
Details on my handmade wedding dress
Regarding the length of the gown, I'm totally stumped. How do you determine how long to make a dress when you haven't even decided what shoes you'll be wearing?? I'm getting married in the middle of the winter, which means some of the time I'll be wearing flats (for the sake of my fiancé who is shorter than me and feels a little self-conscious about it), but other times I'll probably be wearing boots in the snow! I still have some research to do, but any input would be seriously appreciated. Do I buy the shoes now? Do I make the length reversible in case something changes? Help!

Aside from finishing the gown, I still need to gather accessories, like shoes, earrings, and some sort of wrap (because, winter wedding =  brr). I also need to figure out what in the world I'm doing with my hair, and whether or not I can pull off lipstick. Stay tuned!

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. See the previous chapter in this DIY wedding dress series where I share the wonder of pockets. 

July 29, 2017

life | links

Instagram @wecanmakeanything | Twitter @wcmanything

HAPPY THOUGHTS

Well, hello there! How is everyone's summer going? Around here, the time has been full but rewarding, with as many moments being spent outside as possible. Heather has reignited her love of the open water (as seen here). The lakes make her nostalgic for her high school rowing days, so we're the kind of people who kayak now. It makes my arms and back ache but my head and heart happy. My bike is getting lots of fresh air, too, as we're discovering all sorts of trails and paths that we hadn't visited before. I'm trying to say "yes" more. I'm trying to spend my time effectively, productively, and wisely. I'm also drinking a lot of Lacroix, which is making me feel exceptionally basic but hydrated.

HAPPY LINKS

I usually put this kind of post out on Friday, but let's be honest, it's crazy that I'm writing anything AT ALL because I've kind of let We Can Make Anything fall to the wayside as my life changes and evolves. But this site is my first love, my cozy spot, my home, so I'm not letting go of her entirely. Have a sweet weekend, I'm off to buy a snake plant.

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. I keep track of the watering and lighting needs for all my plants by using this handy printable.

July 16, 2017

diy minimal fashion | how i cloned a tank top

DIY minimal fashion - how to clone your wardrobe
How to sew a minimal tank top
Happy summer!

I've been scratching a recent itch to work on more sewing projects. I'm worried it has to do with how I'm procrastinating on my wedding dress, but I'm trying not to think about that (since I definitely am procrastinating on that project). This tank top is the most recent addition to my wardrobe. It's simple, minimal, comfy - much like its predecessor. I used an existing shirt to create this new one, which is by far the easiest way I've found to sew one's own clothing (also there is no room for judgement when you see how worn this shirt is - it's incredibly comfy). A while ago I shared how I made my own t-shirt, and this method is essentially the same. 
Materials needed for this project

To make this top, I used:

  • Knit, stretchy fabric
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine and notions
  • Marking pencil
  • Existing tank top to replicate 
How to clone your wardrobe
Step 1. | To begin, I laid my knit material down with the stretch of the fabric moving from right to left, just as my original garment moves. I laid the shirt on the fabric, then traced about 1/2 inch around the garment. I only traced one half of the garment, then folded the fabric in half along the middle. Next I cut along the outline while the fabric was still folded, cutting through both layers of fabric.
How to clone your wardrobe
Step 2. | With my first piece cut, I traced its shape onto the fabric, and cut out an identical piece. To differentiate between the pieces, I cut one with a deeper neckline for the front, and one with narrower straps for the back. 
Make a minimal tank
Step 3. | I pinned the pieces together, right-sides in. I then sewed along the sides and at the top where the straps meet, using a zig-zag stitch. It's important to use a zig-zag stitch when sewing stretchy materials. This way the seam moves with the stretching of the fabric. 
How to sew a muscle tee
Step 4. | With the seams in place, all I had left to do was hem any raw edges. I did this with a zig-zag stitch as well. 
Summer is here and I'm going sleeveless by cloning my favorite muscle tee
Details from this DIY minimal fashion project
This fabric is so incredibly comfortable, and the length and fit of this top is just right. I'm all about DIY minimal fashion, and am so ready to sew up a whole batch of these tanks. 
How to sew a muscle tee
Sew your own tank top
Side note: I'm getting older, and caring a lot less. Like, I don't care that people tell me I need more diversity in my wardrobe, and I don't care that black and denim are the only colors I ever want to wear. So I'm resigning to just doing what I want, and wearing what I want. It feels good, and I'm ending up with a lot less clothes in my closet that I don't actually like. 

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. If you're into basic wardrobe pieces, learn how to make this everyday bag.

April 23, 2017

plant notes printable

Keep track of your greens with this printable plant notes sheet
Plant Notes Printable
Maybe the next post I write won't be about plants... okay maybe it will. I'm dealing with a plant crush right now. I boosted my indoor botanical gang recently (and wrote about it for Curbly), and now I have so many that I'm having difficulty keeping track of them all. Some houseplants need water once a week, some every other day. I really don't want to kill any of them, so I'm keeping a plant journal. I've made this plant notes sheet available to print - just click here to download.
Watering, sunlight, etc. - keep track of how to care for your plants with this printable
I love having all these plants in our home. They're so bright and happy, and make the place seem cozier. I don't have a super green thumb, but I'm SO DETERMINED not to kill any of these houseplants!

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. Are you a list-maker? I've got another printable for you then!

March 19, 2017

diy hanging planter | round two

DIY Hanging Planter
DIY Hanging Planter
I will be the first to say that I love winter. I love the snow, I love the cold. I thrive in it. I embrace it wholeheartedly. HOWEVER. It's now March and still freezing outside, and I'll admit - I'm getting a bit antsy for spring. Just a bit. Which might be the reason behind my current desire to absolutely fill our apartment with plants. I want them all, in my home, pronto. While I may not be great at interior design, even I know that plants liven a space up in a snap.

I'm still working on getting all the spider plants off the ground and away from the cat (see part one of my plant-hanging adventures for the reason why). There's at least one more that I need to move, plus the first plant (Grant) is sprouting off-shoots already. Thinking of putting a sign on the door that just says "Spider House." Here's a different way I made a DIY hanging planter. 
What you need to make this simple DIY hanging planter
What I used to hang my plant this time around was: 
  • A plastic planter (this time I bought a self-watering one because I'm a genius)
  • Clothesline rope (found at my local hardware store)
  • A drill 
  • A drill bit that's slightly larger in diameter than the rope
Drill holes in a plastic planter to hang plants
Around the top lip of the plastic planter, I drilled four holes. If the planter were a clock, I drilled at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock (basically all equidistant from each other). In order to create a clean, smooth hole, I never switched my drill in reverse. I drilled through the plastic, and kept the drill rotation the same as I pulled the drill bit back up and out of the plastic. This cleans up the drill hole as you remove the bit.
Using rope and a drill, I was able to turn this regular planter into a hanging one!
I cut two equal pieces of clothesline rope. Each piece was twice as long as I needed space to hang from hook to planter, plus the length it would take to go around the planter. Next, I fed one of the ropes through the back of one hole, down around the bottom of the planter, and through the front of the hole on the opposite side.
DIY Hanging Planter
I repeated the same process for the second rope, but on my way around the bottom I criss-crossed the ropes, going over-and-under the first rope with the second.
How to make a very simple hanging planter
Finally I gathered the ends of both ropes together, tied a knot about 2.5 feet up, and then tied a second knot about 5 inches above that. 
DIY Hanging Planter
I had to use a hot mess of Command hooks to hold this sucker up. Normally I'd just use a hook screw, but since this is a rental, I didn't want to damage the shelving that was here when we moved in.
DIY Hanging Planter
As you can see this little guy is still a baby. I'm hoping it'll grow into the space I've given it. 
DIY Hanging Planter
xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. Learn how to make the painted terra cotta pots seen in my kitchen window.

February 19, 2017

the dress | chapter three (a.k.a. it's got pockets)

How to add pockets to a wedding dress
How I'm making my wedding dress
Alright gang. I'm making some pretty heavy headway on my handmade wedding dress. To recap, I picked a pattern to roughly follow, then made a test dress from muslin fabric to make sure I liked the shape. Now I've started to work on the bodice, and the skirt is basically done. Today I worked on what has to be my favorite aspect of this beauty: pockets. Having pockets in this thing is an absolute must. My fiancé and I are getting married in the middle of the winter, and while this year we are experiencing what must be a record-breaking heat spell, I want to be prepared for the harsher temperatures that the midwest can produce. So, in short, I need pockets. A place to hide hand-warmers and tissues and stuff. And, success! I love love love that this worked out and that I have a place to put my hands when I'm feeling awkward during photo-times. 

While I'm making my dress entirely myself, I imagine adding pockets to an existing dress wouldn't be that difficult. Before putting pockets in an already completed dress, you would need to break and remove the seam from the sides of the skirt - both the liner and the outer fabric. 
DIY pockets for a dress
Here is what the shape of my pockets looked like before I stitched them into my dress. They are each made of two pieces of liner and two pieces of outer fabric, stitched together with the top edge left open. I also left about 1/2 inch of room at the ends of the stitch to fold the top down when hemming. When lining the pieces up, it went: liner, outer fabric (right side up), outer fabric (right side down), liner. The outer fabric is the part that is touched when you put your hand in the pocket. 
How to: Add pockets to a dress, without a pattern!
My brain hurt while I was trying to figure this part out, and my one piece of advice when putting pockets in a dress is to pin everything in place, turn the dress right-side out and check that you did you pin-work correctly. With the dress inside out, place one pocket between the outer fabric layers. 
Who wouldn't want to put pockets in a skirt?
There will be two "sandwiches" to be pinned in place. Starting from the top, the first "sandwich" will be: the front liner, the front outer fabric, and the top piece of the pocket (both liner and outer fabric). The second "sandwich" will go in reverse: the bottom piece of the pocket (both liner and outer fabric), the back outer fabric piece, and the back liner piece. Pin these two "sandwiches" together, flip the whole thing right-side out and check to see it was done properly. Flip it back inside-out, and stitch the two "sandwiches" separately, along the pins. 
Who needs a purse when you can put pockets in a dress!
Now it's just a matter of stitching the sides of the dress together. Sew along the lines as shown above, stitching the dress together but skipping the pocket. I took these seams about 1/4 inch into the pocket as well, just to ensure none of the inside of the dress could poke out.
The Dress gets pockets
Pockets, you guys! This feels like a major accomplishment in my dress-making journey, and while I'm far from done, it's nice to get little details out of the way. I know the teeny specifics are what will draw out the time it takes to finish this project. But seriously, how functional is this beast? Side thought - why don't all wedding dresses just come with pockets? Where are you supposed to put all your stuff?
DIY This: Putting pockets in a wedding dress
More updates to come - I have pieced together much of the bodice, but am reluctantly avoiding putting in the zipper because that is like my greatest sewing fear. But, the boning was successfully put in, and it's starting to look like a real article of clothing. Stay tuned!

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. See chapter two, and chapter one in this DIY wedding dress series. 

January 25, 2017

simple diy hanging planter

Simple DIY Hanging Planter
Spider plants up high - how to hang a plant
Everyone, meet Grant the Plant. He's the latest addition to our ever-growing collection of green. He came to our home by way of one of Heather's work buddies, and he's a spider plant. When Heather brought him home last week, I did a little internet research to determine what kind of care he needed. Fun fact: Spider plants are a hallucinogenic to cats if ingested! Also a fun fact: our cat Donut loves eating plants. With that in mind, Grant needed to be air-borne.
Simple DIY Hanging Planter: What Materials You'll Need
I made this hanging plant by using:

  • A lightweight plastic planter
  • Clothesline rope
  • A ceiling hook
Create a hanging planter using clothesline cord and a plastic planter
First, I tied the rope around the largest part of the pot, nice and snug. I double-knotted all the knots for this hanging project.
How to hang a plant
Next, I cut the rope coming from the first knot about four feet from the knot (the length needed for the plant to hang from the ceiling, plus a little extra for braiding and knot-tying). I cut two other lengths of rope, also four feet, and knotted them to the original circle.
DIY Hanging Plant: Use braided clothesline to quickly get your sprouts off the ground
I then gathered the three ropes together, and knotted them together. Then I braided the three ropes together.
Simple DIY Hanging Planter
At the end of the braid, I looped one of the ropes, then knotted them all together. Done and ready to hang!
Hanging a Plant, Simple-Style
Meet Grant the Plant
The good thing about Grant is he doesn't need too much light, so hopefully this spot near the window will keep him happy. Plus it will keep the cat from tripping, so that's a bonus. 

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. See this trick on how to quickly decorate your planters using rubber bands.

January 22, 2017

women's march | don't stop marching


When I went to bed Friday night I was hesitant, nervous, cautious. Today I feel on fire. 

I was nervous about going to Women's March to the Capitol here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My fiancé  has the flu and sciatica, so I knew I'd be going alone. I was worried about what was going to happen at the march. Would people be angry? Would anyone show up? I'm horrible at directions - would I even be able to find the meeting spot? Saturday morning I laced up my boots and walked to the train. The moment I stepped onto the platform I felt better. Two dozen other women with signs, husbands, boyfriends, and babies in tow were waiting with me. When we boarded the train car, everyone was buzzing. Each stop the train made multiplied the number of passengers - all protesters, all full of energy. I gave up my seat and by the time we reached our destination our train was so full we had to pass by the last four stops without being able to let anybody on. That was the moment that I felt it. The power that happens when women gather. And I wasn't nervous anymore. I was smiling. Everyone was peaceful, but ready to fight. We un-sardined ourself from the train and marched to the parking lot that was designated as the meet-up location. There were so many people (estimated 100,000 after it was all said and done). Babies in strollers, children with signs they clearly made themselves. Female firefighters in yellow suspenders. Older women, younger women. We gathered, marched, chanted, and it was all peaceful. It was beautiful, and empowering.

And it was sad too. The frustration could be felt across the crowds. Over chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go," you could hear muffled conversations of anger over the current state of our government. 
Young women chatting about disbelief. Older women complaining about having come so far just to be thrown decades back. Everyone looked fed up, and fired up. 

It was raining while we marched. I was freezing (and maybe now a little sick as a result). There were almost 70,000 more people there than estimated. Reading news reports when I got home, it seemed we weren't the only ones who were over-packed. But spirits were high, in spite of delays and the rain. It was all worth it.

And today I feel fire, because while yesterday was the most magnificent display of female empowerment I have ever witnessed, I know it's just the beginning. False reports from the White House about turnout numbers has me fired up. Cutting of arts programs has me fired up. The fact that there were protesters across the globe has me fired up. What happens tomorrow and the next day and the next day has me fired up.

I don't know what the future has in store, but I can tell you what my plan is. I'm going to stay vigilant. I'm going to vote in the mid-terms. I'm going to keep speaking out against what I think is wrong and what I feel is an abuse of power. I'm going to do everything in my capability to keep the momentum of yesterday's march going. I'm going to stay fired up. 

- m.e.

January 14, 2017

diy cat bed + curbly

So many things have been happening in my life lately. I've been working at Curbly for about a month now, and so far it's been a whirlwind experience. Even though my head is swimming at the end of each workday, being able to create content full time is a dream. Aside from work, I've been filling my spare moments with purging my life of stuff I don't need, drinking excessive hot cocoa, and working on my wedding dress (an update is coming soon, detailing the disaster that is boning) (that's what she said). It's too cold to do much of anything here in Minnesota, so aside from forcing myself to walk to work every day, I'm pretty much homebody-ing it up.

I wanted to share with you guys a little project I did for Curbly the other day. So back by popular demand my mother's request for more pictures of the cat, here's Donut showcasing this quick and easy DIY cat bed. See the full tutorial on Curbly.com!

xoxo,
-m.e.

P.S. In the spirit of New Years, you should check out this free template for a DIY weekly planner.
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