27 January 2011

DIY: jumbow necklace

e a s y ][ 45 minutes
cost: $5-10
shop at: craft and fabric stores, places that sell accessories
read: the instructions once though before you get started
also consider reading the instructions from my statement bow cuff tutorial to review folding techniques
A fabulous standout piece. Just like the statement bow cuff, it's not an ordinary shoelace bow. All it takes is a simple 3 shapes and a chain.
- template pieces, cut out
click here to download the template

- ability to sew whip stitches
(google it if you don't know how)
- necklace chain with a clasp
- twenty inches of 3" grosgrain ribbon that looks the same on both sides
- sewing needle
- thread in a color that's similar to the ribbon
- scissors or xacto knife
- bottle of fraycheck or clear nail polish
- ruler
1. Lay out the ribbon on your workspace. Lay the 3 pattern pieces over the ribbon.

2. Cut out the 3 shapes with your scissors or, a ruler and xacto. I use a rotary cutter. This should take 6 cuts, total.

3. Lightly dab all 6 edges that you cut with fraycheck or clear nail polish. This will keep the edges from unravelling. Let dry.

4. Fold the top piece in half, hamburger style. Whip stitch it together down the open side.

5. Move the stitches to the center back. Set aside.

6. Now it's time to fold the ribbon, to create the bow shape. It's a little confusing, but don't worry, once you do it, you'll be able to do it again and again.

7. Take the bottom piece, and fold the top down so it touches the bottom edge. Then, fold the top half up again, onto itself. Flip over, and fold the bottom half onto itself. Place something on top of it so it stays still while you move to the next step.

8. Take the top piece that you just finished sewing, and fold it just like you did in step 6. It will look different since the bottom is a trapezoid and the top is a rectangle, but the folds are the same.

9. Thread your sewing needle again. Pick up the bottom piece, and poke a hole through the middle, bringing the thread through up to the top.

10. Poke another hole through the middle of the top piece. Make sure both pieces are facing forward. Tighten the thread to pinch the top and bottom pieces together. Cut and tie the thread. If it looks loose, that's ok, we haven't added the "knot" yet.

11. Grab the third and final piece. Wrap it around the center of the bow, covering where you strung them together. Whip stitch it closed, like you did with the big top piece in step 4. Spin the knot so the stitches are in back.

12. Open the chain and string it through the top of the knot. Done!

TIP: Practice by folding paper first if you like. It won't look like the ribbon version when you're done, but you'll understand how the folds work together.


- Clip extra necklaces or pins/rings on your chain to give it a draped look
- Slide/stitch extra smaller ribbons or decorations through the bottom of the knot
- Instead of a chain, you could use ribbon, beads, or string
- Experiment with different types/sizes of ribbon or materials
- Skip the bottom trapezoid piece for a plain bow-tie look, or keep bottom piece loose so you can wear it with or without
be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #12
♥ I worked really hard on this tutorial. It took a long time to prepare.
I wrote out these instructions and took the photos.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.

DIY: elephant sweater

d i f f i c u l t ][ 2-5 hours
cost: around $15
shop at: a fabric store & a craft store
(look for sales on solid sweatshirts at craft stores)
read: the instructions once though before you get started

I've never made one but it's totally possible to make funky sweatshirts.
My mom used to make stuff like this, I totally rocked them in elementary.
This is a bit of a tricky project, I'm not holding your hand as much for this one. Best of luck!


1 red sweatshirt in your (or who your making it for's) size
1 gray sweatshirt in your (or who your making it for's) size
1/4 yard black fleece
sewing machine/need & thread
big paper + pencil for tracing and planning
decent sewing skills, some past experience

1. cut off the right sleeve of the gray sweater, leaving a little extra fabric where it connects

2. cut off the right sleeve of the red sweater, leaving a little bit of the sleeve there

3. cut out elephant shape out of the top layer of extra gray sweater

4. cut pieces of black fleece for eye, edge of ear, and the tail

5. sew the black pieces onto the right spot on the gray elephant piece

6. lay the completed elephant shape on the remainder of the red sweater, making sure the elephant runs over the edge near the sleeve. pin down elephant.

7. without sewing through both sides of the sweatshirt, stitch down the elephant piece.

8. sew gray sleeve on red sweater. (this is the "trunk!") here's a tutorial with photos on how to sew sleeves on without cutting up the other part of the sweater.

TIP: Yours isn't going to look *exactly* like the photo, and that's ok! The idea is always there & it's a very unique clothing item, that's what counts. Other people that see you or your friend in the sweater aren't going to say "oh it doesn't look like the one online! ugh!" they're going to say "OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOUR TOP, THE SLEEVE IS THE TRUNK OMG COOL MAKE ME ONE PLEASE!!!!" :D

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: Use any color combination you like! It's your sweater. I bet you could figure out a bunch of animals to make. No limits!

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Sweatshirts With Style by Mary Mulari (1980s/1990s)
The one my mom has. ♥ If you get it…she made me the ice skating one, fyi. x)

I'd be so excited!

be sure to check out my other projects!

big thanks to whatthecraft.com, I've loved that site's tutorials for ages ♥

DIY #5
♥ I worked really hard on this tutoriral. It took a long time to prepare.
The photo of the elephant sweater is not mine.
I wrote out & drew these instructions and took the instruction photos.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.
original post date: 7/18/10

22 January 2011

why there's been acrylic paint under my nails for the whole month

These were my project during January,
to keep myself busy when I wasn't waiting tables.

Tumblr links below each, if you want to reblog.
Click here to visit my Etsy shop, to see what's left.






DIY: t-shirt tote

e a s y ][ 45 minutes
cost: $5 or less
shop at: your house, a fabric store
read: the instructions once though before you get started

I made a few of these after I read a tutorial in a craft book.
One is a beach novelty tee, and one is an old camp tie-dye shirt.
It's super quick, I thought you guys would like to try it. (:


- 1 t-shirt no one wants to wear anymore
(the size of the shirt will be the size of your bag)
- scissors
- sewing machine or needle & thread
- the ability to sew a straight line

1. Turn the shirt inside out.

2. Sew the bottom of the shirt shut. Go over the line of stitches a few times. Go back and forth on the sewing machine or do a zillion whip stitches if you're working by hand.

3. Turn the shirt rightside out.

4. Cut off the sleeves and neckline/collar, neatly.

5. Cut the sleeves into 2-3" strips, however you like.

6. Tie the strips around the top of the bag, where the shoulders used to be. You can leave this part off if you like, they're just handle accents.

7. Done! These make great totes for the beach, because if you get sand all over it, it's just an old shirt! Who cares x)

TIP: In step 2, you re-enforce the stitching because it's the bottom of the bag, and that's where the weight of its contents really puts pressure on the bag.

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: Play with how you cut the sleeves and neckline off to create different styles. You can have your friends sign it or doodle on it, make it your own!

be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #4
♥ I worked really hard on this tutorial. It took a long time to prepare.
I wrote out these instructions and took the photos.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.
original polyvore post date: 7/17/10

15 January 2011

DIY: instant circle scarf

e a s y ] [ 1-2 hours

cost: $10 or less per scarf
shop at: a fabric store (JoAnn Fabrics has a lot of locations)
read: the instructions once though before you get started

This 'so easy it's dumb' tutorial was inspired by a friend of mine.
This can be a lovely lightweight to midweight scarf.
No knitting needles or sewing skills required.


- transportation to a fabric store
- fabric store clerk
- washing machine and dryer

1. Arrive at the fabric store, and find the knit jersey. (t-shirt fabric, basically) It's on the bolts like the other fabrics.

2. You want the kind that is connected to itself, creating a tube.

3. If you can not find it, or are uncertain if it's in tube form, ask a clerk to help you. They usually know about fabric, and are super sweet and helpful.

4. Pick out the color you want, pick up the bolt, and carry it to the cutting counter.

5. Tell the clerk at the counter you'd like 1/2 a yard. This will give you a decently cozy scarf. You can always experiment with amounts if you make another.

6. Done! The clerk will give you a receipt with your fabric, and then you can go check out at the register area. Or, you can wander around for a bit. Fabric stores are filled with interesting things!

7. Once you're out of the store, toss on your new scarf and play with it, or do a parking lot initiation dance for it. x)

8. Once you're back home, it's a good idea to wash the scarf, to let the fabric shrink/adjust a bit. And to clean it up, haha.

9. Play with it! Stretch it, let the edges roll, wrap it around your neck a few times, you'll figure out how to style it really quickly!

TIP: (requires basic sewing skills) If you have fabric (that doesn't fray, or you can hem) you'd like to use for a scarf, but it's not in tube form, cut out a long rectangle, and connect the two short ends together with a single seam.

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: Cut a straight line underneath the sleeves of an old t-shirt. Bam. Circle Scarf. The size of the scarf will vary based on the size of the t-shirt.

Longer amounts of fabric (3/4 of a yard compared to 1/2) will create a more bulky scarf. Shorter amounts (i.e. 1/8 or 1/4 of a yard) will create a stringy, more necklace-like scarf.

A TIP FROM EMY: If you get a yard or longer, the scarf can double as a dress or top or skirt!

Be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #11
♥ This was an easy one to make, but preparation always takes effort.
I wrote out these instructions.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.

13 January 2011

DIY: le sac dress

kinda d i f f i c u l t ][ 2-3 hours
cost: $10-20 depending (compare to $38-$48 at american apparel)
shop at: fabric stores (Jo-ann Fabrics, or search Google for local shops)
read: the instructions once though before you get started

This super versatile dress is mad fun to play with.
I hope the pictures help, it's hard to explain sewing via words.
This dress is literally a rectangle. If you've ever sewn a drawstring backpack, it's very similar!


- sewing machine that can do a straight stitch OR be tough & sew by hand
- iron
- scissors
- ruler
- pins
- big safety pin
- 1-1.5 yards of knit jersey fabric (t-shirt material for the body, make sure it's not too heavy or see-through)
- 1/3 - 1/2 yard of cotton fabric (for the string; you can expand to other types later, in the meantime, cotton is great for beginners, less fuss, plus it comes in fun prints!)
- thread in a color that goes with/matches the knit jersey fabric
- basic understanding of sewing machine or someone who can help you

1. For the body, decide your length & width. I made mine with 21" x 31" pieces for a short, slim fit. You know your size, so go from there. To play it safe, always make it a little bigger. Cut your size rectangles out of the fabric. You can always tweak it later, or make a second dress in a new size.

2. Fold the sides of the rectangle inward, about the first 7 inches at 1/2 inch on both sides on both body pieces. Pin down. Stitch down.

3. Fold the top of the body piece inward 1.5 inches. Pin down. Stitch down all the way across, near the edge. This is the tube for the string to slide through. Repeat for other body piece.

4. Right sides together, pin the rectangles to each other. Stitch (or overlock, if you have a machine) the sides all the way down, but do NOT stitch up the arm holes or top tube.

5. The String: use iron to create tidy creases. See visual aid. It's just a bit of folding & stitching. Use pins to help it stay put.

6. Push the finished string through the two tubes. Attach a safety pin (or profesh pull tool) to the end to make it easier.

7. Done! Try it on & play with different arrangements you like. Prepare to get compliments. :]

SEWING TIP: when you start stitching, go back and forth over the first 3-5 stitches to reenforce the strength. Do the same thing at the end of a line of stitching before you cut it off the machine. Don't be afraid to pull out your stitches and try again if you run into problems.

FABRIC TIP: some knit jersey comes in a tube, so you can skip the sideseams! just cut slits/stitch the arm holes & top tubes for the string.

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: use any fairly lightweight fabric for the dress body; just be careful with obvious wrong & right sided fabrics. You wouldn't want the white on the outside & the flowers on the inside. // use ribbon or other strong string instead of making your own. keep in mind it will be tugging at your neck. make sure it's not itchy!

SIZE ISSUES: If your dress is too small or too short, you can wear it as a skirt or top! See links below for info.
Or if it's a total disaster...sew up the bottom and use it as a bag or...an umbrella case? haha. & try again. :]

How to Wear & Other Details:
AA Dress Page: http://store.americanapparel.net/rsa0300.html
AA's Youtube, with dress-arranging videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq-J_3a5pSw&feature=related

be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #2
♥ I worked really hard on this tutorial. It took a long time to prepare.
I was obviously inspired by American Apparel.
but I came up with the instructions & drew the sketches & took the photos myself.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.
original polyvore post date: 8/15/09

05 January 2011

01 January 2011

DIY: wall typography

[white letters / R.E.M. lyrics]

m e d i u m ][ 3-8 hours
cost: $8 or less, depending on what you already have
shop at: your house, an art store, office supply store
read: the instructions once though before you get started

I've seen a lot of photos where people have done this, very successfully!
It takes time but the effect makes it worthwhile.
This is how I did it.


- basic computer and math skills
- printer, filled with ink or toner, hooked up to your computer.
(color is cool, but black and white will work too!)
- regular ol' 8.5x11" office paper
- xacto knife (#11 is my choice size) and blades
(you can do it with scissors but it'll take longer)
- ruler (metal works best)
- safe, flat surface to trim on (cutting board or an old table)
- painters' tape (optional)
- pencil
- poster putty or scotch tape
(whatever is safe for your wall.
if you use tacks, get clear or something that goes with your theme)

0. Clear a large space of wall where you want this to go. Give yourself more room than you think you need.

1. First, decide what you want the message on your wall to say. A lot of people like choosing a line from a song, or a thoughtful quotation. You can pick whatever you want. Consider the length of what you choose; a short phrase will take less time than a long phrase. Often, just one word can be very effective.

2. Now, you plan. Type up the phrase you chose. Make sure you've spelled everything right. Don't trust spell check, double check it, have a friend read it, read it out loud. I'm not joking, you'll kick yourself later if something is wrong with it.

3. To paraphrase one of the most important parts of typography, "decide what you want each line to look like". You should break each line so it flows readably. See the difference between these two?





Eyes get upset if they have to jump too harshly, and it ruins the moment.

If you don't get it, don't worry about it too much, just do what feels right to you.

4. Below your typed phrase, make a list of how many of each letter or punctuation you'll need. For example:


a: 3
c: 1
d: 1
e: 6
f: 1
g: 2
h: 4
i: 6
l: 2
m: 2
n: 6
o: 2
r: 3
s: 2
t: 7
u: 1
w: 1
y: 3
periods: 1
[total letters + punctuation to cut out = 54]

To speed up the counting process, use the Edit > Find feature, available in most typing software.

Print out your nicely typed/spaced phrase page for later reference.

5. Now it's time to print. You can use the letter templates I've provided. (link is at the end of the instructions, includes sizing guide) Print out however many of each letter and punctuation you need.

Play with the scale settings before you hit print. Make sure you keep the scale percentage you choose consistent for each page you print. You want the letters to be the same size as each other.

6. Trimming time! Put on some music if you haven't already, it'll keep you calm and scare off boredom. Using your xacto and ruler, cut out each letter, just inside the black line. The letters will look good if they're white, with no outlines showing.

(Lay the paper flat, line up the ruler against the edge of the letter, hold the ruler with one hand and use the other hand to hold the xacto. Hold the exacto at around a 45 degree angle to max out the life of the blade.)

Curves are hard to freestyle but you'll get the hang of it. (Maybe you could use the edge of your protractor from math class? I caved and used scissors a few times) Cut the curves first, then the straight lines, of each letter.

If you're feeling daring, you can cut out multiples of the same letter at the same time. Tape together a stack of blank paper with one letter outline at the top of the stack. I prefer to take my time trimming each separately.

7. Organize your cut out letters as you go. You may want to have a folder or stack for each letter, or make a stack for each word. Be sure to recycle/toss all your scraps. (or save them for a future reverse-letter project!)

8. On your wall, use a ruler (or one of those construction leveling things if you're fancy, with the liquid/bubble? haha) to draw lines in painters' tape or (very light!) pencil. (Dark walls? Use chalk)

You can play with line spacing (leading) to change the feel of your text. I've always felt that close together looks trendy, and double spaced looks dainty, like a poem. Haha

9. With the cheat-sheet you printed earlier handy, use a little bit of painters' tape to roughly hang up each word. Don't perfect it yet, this step is to help you arrange and double check that you have all the words in order and all the letters you need. You should notice if there's a typo, because you only have so many letters this time. Shift everything around until you are happy.

9. Now for the final hanging. Take down the first letter, remove the painters' tape, then put putty (or whatever you hang with) at each key point of the letter, so it will stick to the wall nicely. (this goes quicker if you have a friend help!) Hang it back up on the line. Repeat for each letter, keeping an eye on spacing. Don't be afraid to step back and check your work now and again.

10. Peel up the painters' tape (or erase the pencil lines) and bam!
Your wall looks awesome.

[outlined Helvetica, basic punctuation and numbers included. download to your comp + print. file is in .pdf format]

GOT 2 HOURS TO KILL? Check out this documentary about Helvetica.
I've seen it four times now, courtesy of art school.

TECHNICAL TIP: Some letters can be flipped, but some cannot. For example, "E"s cannot be flipped. The spaces on either side of the middle line are not equal.

SNARKY GRAPHIC DESIGNER COMMENT: Please, PLEASE make sure to space your letters evenly when it comes time to hang. The space between each letter is just as important as the actual letter.

TIP: Making your own templates? Capital letters are easier to line up and arrange than lowercase or mixed letters. I recommend using simple and clear serif or sans serif typefaces, like Garamond or Gill Sans. Also, choose colors carefully. If you use a goofy, curly, cracked, whatever typeface, where each letter if a different color, it might end up looking like your grandma tried to make a website, then accidentally put it on the wall.

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: Instead of printing on plain white paper, you could get some cool textured paper, or colored paper. A lot paper types can go through the printer; experiment with a piece first, then do it for your whole phrase! Craft foam would be a durable choice, but keep in mind it'll be a bit more expensive, and you'll have to figure out a way to transfer the letter shape onto the foam before you can cut it out.

Consider making words you want to pop in a second color. This gives them meaning, whereas if every other letter is a second color, there is no meaning.

Letters like this would also look cool layered over a bulletin board or a collaged wall. Make it part of your already fabulous space!

CAUTION: Hang explicit phrases on your wall at your own risk. Consider your audience. I'm a fan of creating inviting spaces, not upsetting guests.

[feel free to use my photos! but please give credit, and don't edit w/o asking.]

be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #10
♥ I worked really hard on this tutorial. It took a long time to prepare.
I wrote out these instructions and took the photos.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.

DIY: statement bow cuff

e a s y ][ 30 minutes
cost: craft foam is usually 2 sheets/$1; velcro or snaps for $2-3; adhesives $?
shop at: craft stores (Michael's, Jo-ann Fabrics, AC Moore...)
read: the instructions once though before you get started

This one is great because it's cheap, quick, & fab!
Which means you can make it in oodles of colors!
It looks like a bow, but it's not a legit knotted bow.

- scissors
- a sheet of craft foam
- scotch tape
- a small amount duct tape
- strong glue (I used Beacon Adhesives FABRI-TAC)
- sew-on velcro or: snaps, needle & thread

1. Cut a small strip of foam, 3/4" of an inch (1.5cm) wide & 3 1/2 inches (7.5cm) long. Set aside. Also snip a small (smaller than the small foam strip) piece of duct tape. Set aside. You will need these later.

2. Cut a strip of craft foam 2-3 inches (5-7cm) wide, & make it long enough to fit around your wrist, with an inch (2.5cm) or so more for overlap. I made mine about 9 inches (23cm) long. (I have teensy wrists) You can always trim it later if it's too long.

2. Use a piece of scotch tape temporarily to make a tube out of the foam strip. You should be able to slide your hand in & out of the tube fairly easily.

3. Ok, this is the slightly confusing part. (You should have seen me trying to figure this one out, rofl.) Across from the scotch tape, use your right thumb & middle finger to pinch the top and bottom halves into each other. The crease should be near the middle.

4. Use your left hand to pinch the inner bulk steady. Hold it there.

5. Using your right hand again, fold the top & bottom back over themselves.
The inside of the cuff will look like this:

Can you see the bow forming?

6. Holding the cuff bow in place, wrap the small strip of foam from step 1 around the center. You're making another little tube, basically. This is the "knot" of the bow.

7. Tuck each end of the small strip into its little "shelf" behind the bow on the foam cuff. Keep pinching it all together!

8. Grab the small piece of duct tape & use it to hold together all the layers on the inside of the bow. (You could also use foam craft glue & hold it in place until the glue dries, or stitch it with a needle & thread. I find that the duct tape falls off after a few hours.)

9. Now to work on closure.
[Shorten length of cuff if needed for good fit]
To complete the cuff, glue the velcro strips in place. Let dry for an hour or so before ripping the velcro open & shut a lot.

10. Finished!
You can wear it plain as a graphic simple piece,
or deck it out with stickers and doodles for a younger look.

NOTES: This cuff will probably feel different than most of your jewelry. It is a big stiff bow, after all, haha. It's not a good piece to wear during gym class or in the pool. But to a party or out with friends? Sure! & if you lose it, it's not a big deal. Just make another!

VARIATIONS: Play with the length & width of the foam to create different bow shapes. I'm sure an "inside-out" version would be rad, too! Try using craft felt, big ribbon, laminated paper, or other materials! Find stuff around your house to experiment with if you can't get to a craft store right away.

craft foam sheets ["foamies"! lol] are usually displayed on a rack like this, near the felt:
glue: http://www.acmoore.com/p-28816-fabri-tac-permanent-adhesive-4-ounce.aspx#
velcro: http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat2853&PRODID=prd10496

be sure to check out my other projects!

DIY #1
♥ I worked really hard on this tutorial. It took a long time to prepare.
I was inspired by an item I saw on bleudame.com,
but I came up with the instructions & material ideas all on my own.
So if you see this anywhere else, it's not the original.
original polyvore post date: 8/7/09