Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DIY: Our Boring Bathroom

I've shown you many pictures of Casa Ronchetti, but you've never seen the bathroom. Brace yourself for the excitement!

See those burned out light bulbs? They break if you try to change them.

It's also REALLY hard to photograph, thanks to being only 5 feet wide and having an awesome half-wall that exists solely to hold the medicine cabinet.

It doesn't need a complete overhaul, but Hubsey and I are using the upcoming holiday weekend to give the W.C. a little makeover. We were just going to change out the hideous light fixture above the sink, but then we got to thinking about the whole space. The mirror is waaaaay too big, the vanity feels freakishly low to us (we're not THAT tall), and there are a bunch of weird towel-hanging nubbins sprinkled around the room that we never use.

I found some great ideas on Pinterest, so now we just have to narrow them down:

Oh man, I NEED to work in some rulers.

Um, yeah. Not exactly "of a theme" is it? We'll have to work on that.

Have you ever done any updating in your bathroom? Any tips for replacing a vanity? Or a giant mirror, that would probably be hard to clean up if we drop it? Anything we should avoid?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the Cheap: Fall Colors

Fall is everywhere already. Not so much outside, where it's going to be in the 90s again this week, but at the grocery store, Dunkin Donuts, Pinterest... and now it's in my brain.

Vintage paper doily garland, $6 for 6 feet, small library card catalogue, $72, orange plush pumpkin (that I might use as a pincushion), $25, and orange quartz earrings, $28.

I. Can. Not. Wait. Are you over summer, too? Ready for cardigans and cocoa?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Anatomy of a Halloween Costume

It's the last few days of August, so I feel like this is an appropriate time to start talking about Halloween (only two more months!). I was going through my clothes before my business trip, and I made the relatively shocking discovery that it wouldn't be hard for me to dress up as this person:

Bellatrix Lestrange, of Harry Potter notoriety. If you think she looks insane, it's because she is. She's also SPOILER! in love with Voldemort, which I guess is another way of saying her cheese isn't totally on the cracker.

Now, you might be wondering why the heck I think this will be easy, since I don't exactly trot around in wizard garb. Let's break it down:

Sadly (or awesomely?), I already have four of the five key pieces. Hair of a crazy person? I can certainly make it look that way. Wand? Leftover from when I was Hermione last year. Skirt? Not quite as long, but certainly in the right neighborhood. Clunky black shoes? Yes, complete with buckles.

All I need is to create some sort of corsetry for my waistline. And if I want to get really crazy, I can modify one of my 600 black shirts to have the attractive shoulder laces seen in the first picture. But we'll see.

Of course, I'll share the corset instructions with you once I figure out what I'm doing. Ten bucks says I use Liquid Stitch.

Have you started thinking about Halloween yet? Will you make your own costume? Have you ever dressed up as a book character?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shop Update: Fall Flair

You guys, I'm WIPED OUT from my business trip. It wasn't a bad visit, but it was jam-packed. I'm used to working alone for half the day, so all of that face time wore me down.

Anyhoodle, before I left, I worked on some new goodies for the shop. I meant to post them yesterday but this computer was still in Chicago (and maybe I forgot to transfer the pictures).

The earrings are already in the shop, and I plan to have the others here (plus more!) listed this weekend. Expect a new necklace design inspired by this one, an antiqued silver version of these babies, and some more Swarovski rhinestones. Whew! I was a jewelry-makin' fool.

Anything new in your shop lately?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Housekeeping: September Sponsors!

Since I'm on a business trip for The Day Job, this seems like a good time to take care of some bloggy business, too.

Final Clothes-Out is now accepting September sponsors! If you're looking to promote your small business or blog, I urge you to consider this little corner o' cyberspace. Readership has grown dramatically over the last several months, and continues to get bigger everyday.

The sponsorship setup has also changed a little, and I'm excited to announce two new features: the sponsored post and the quarterly group giveaway (a prize pack for one lucky person featuring items from multiple sponsors).

The numbers: As of today, FCO has 306 followers via Blogger and 300 through Google Reader.

Sponsorship Option #1 -- $7 per month (limited number)

  • Premium placement in left sidebar
  • Premium placement in monthly Sponsor Spotlight post, including links to your shop, blog, and one of your choosing (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Optional participation in group giveaway

Sponsorship Option #2 -- $5 per month (unlimited number)

  • Placement below large ads in left sidebar
  • Placement in monthly Sponsor Spotlight post, including links to your shop and blog
  • Optional participation in group giveaway

Sponsorship Option #3, Sponsored Post -- $7 per post (limited number)

  • Designed to promote an online shop, this post will feature 3-4 product photos of your choosing
  • Will be promoted on Twitter, Pinterest, and Etsy

Advertising on blogs is still one of my favorite ways to promote, and since my internet home has done some serious growing, I want to help others do the same thing. If you're interested in signing up or have any questions, shoot me an email:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DIY: Easy Wall Art

After I fixed up that pesky bookshelf, I had some wood left.

There wasn't really enough to build anything, so I took one of the pieces and turned it into this:

The full (and very easy) tutorial is up at Goat Notes today. Pop over and check it out!

Have you branched out in your crafting lately? Anybody else making things out of leftover wood?

Monday, August 22, 2011

On the Cheap: Polyvore can be helpful.

I have another business trip coming up this week, one where I can't wear jeans everyday (noooo!). To distract myself from the squeeze of panty hose in my immediate future, I spent some time on Polyvore last night:

It ain't easy being green.

The whole look is $270, which might not scream BARGAIN, but for six pieces it's not too shabby. And if you consider that the blazer is 130 of those dollars, the average gets way better. Too bad I didn't find it sooner, because it would've been nice to have this week.

I also revisited how I dressed in college:


Not terribly different from how I look now, but I do miss having a pair of Chucks. Le sigh.

How do you distract yourself when something unpleasant is afoot? Go cook something? Read a book? Watch a Mad Men marathon with your husband?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This is why I don't write a food blog.

Don't these look tasty?

I made them! Well, not those in the picture. In fact, mine turned out nothing like that, but I gave it the ol' college try.

The recipe was found on Pinterest, and I saw that fellow blogger Kristen had the same recipe pinned to her delicious food board as well. We had a handful of the same dishes tagged, so I thought, "Hey! Let's each make something and then write about it!"

I'll tell you now: famous last words.

I decided to make the Mozzarella Sticks for Dummies pictured above.  Just an egg roll wrapper around some string cheese, either deep fried or baked. (Get the full recipe and instructions here.) But then I decided that since I generally like a higher bread-to-cheese ratio, I'd better get something a little heartier than egg roll wrappers.

Cue the foreboding music.

I followed the same instructions: roll up the cheese, pinch the edges shut, bake. And then I took them out of the oven 14 minutes later, ready to scarf them down with some leftover marinara sauce.

They were disgusting. Like, so gross that I couldn't even swallow the bite in my mouth. I spit it back into my hand like a child and threw it away. Imagine mozzarella cheese with butter and you'll know the taste.

Obviously, I have learned to follow the recipe. (You would think I already knew that thanks to all of my Food Network watching, but alas.) I haven't popped over to see how Kristen's food turned out, but I can only imagine it's better than mine.

Have you had any recent culinary goofs? Tried a delicious new recipe? Anybody ever NOT followed the recipe and had good results?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Miscellaneous: Are you an artist?

I was lounging around reading this morning, not wanting to get ready for work, and I came across an interesting quote from Karl Lagerfeld: "You make collections for people to wear. Fashion is for people to wear... I am not an artist. I am a dressmaker."

Now, I'm no scholar of fashion, so I don't know if Uncle Karl has always been so practical, but I was a little surprised to read that. It actually woke me right up, and I started thinking about how I feel when it comes to my jewelry venture.

Am I an artist? The short answer is, no.

The long answer is that I've always looked at Little White Chapel as a business. Yes, part of the reason I got started was because I wanted another creative outlet, but it was mainly about the money. I was broke and working a dead-end job, so I decided to take my future into my own hands.

The word "artist" actually makes me uncomfortable. To me, an artist makes something new, and I'm not exactly reinventing the wheel with this stuff (as you can see). I have literally never wondered if I'm fully expressing myself. Or thought about my artist's statement. I love my jewelry, I think it's beautiful, and I would wear every single item I sell--but the only thing I ask myself is, "What can I do next to make more money?"

I was going to say that I call myself a jewelry-maker, but even that doesn't cover the full scope of what I do. I'm a business owner. Yes, I have fun making pretty things, but I also have to keep up with SEO, branding, marketing, advertising, and bookkeeping (which I'm amazingly terrible at). Little White Chapel is eclipsing my day job as my main source of income, so I actually feel like I would be doing myself a disservice so say that I'm an artist. It wouldn't be enough.

What about you? Artist? Hobbyist? Fellow business-owner? Why do you feel that way? And do you hope for things to change in the future?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pinterest #4

If you follow any of my boards on Pinterest, you can definitely tell I was in a yellow mood last week:

That's just the tip of the Pinterest iceberg, plus I re-vamped that yellow dress on Friday using only Liquid Stitch and a sharp pair of scissors. (Which makes me feel all smug whenever I walk past the sewing machine. Ha! I won this time.)

Anyhoodle, did you have any trends on your boards this week? A new favorite pin, perhaps?

P.S. Don't forget there's still plenty of time to enter the giveaway, courtesy of the fabulous Julia from Goat Notes!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tutorial: No-Sew Dress

The other day I mentioned having a new project that I needed to hurry up and finish.

It looks like a blouse hanging there, but it's actually a dress. I'm not in the habit of putting unflattering pictures of myself on the interwebs, but I'll do it now because you need to see what I was dealing with:

Why yes, I AM going to the Dynasty convention! How did you know!? Let me just get my white pumps and I'll meet you outside.

Thankfully, it doesn't look like that anymore:

Much better!

As promised, here are the full instructions for getting from Point A to Point B--and you don't need your sewing maching. At all.

First, I measured the new sleeve length and chopped off the rest. Huge improvement already, right?

I didn't hem the sleeves because the cowl neckline isn't hemmed, and I felt like two edges so close together should have the same finish. If you do need to hem (is that even the right sewing term for a sleeve?), measure an extra half-inch and fold it under with some Liquid Stitch.

Next, I tackled the too-long skirt. Using a tape measure and a basic No. 2 pencil, I marked where to cut.

My advice for this part: go slow. I don't know what kind of fabric this is, but it was temperamental and did NOT like it when I tried to zip along with the scissors. If you want a nice, clean edge (without having to re-do it), then take your time.

After it was the correct length, I busted out the Liquid Stitch to close the slit on the left side. You may not need to do this, but the bottom of my slip poked out when it was open.

Again, if you need to hem the bottom, leave a little wiggle room for Liquid Stitch to make a reappearance. Like all of the other edges, I left mine unfinished for now.

Finally, try it on and feel proud that you managed to fix it without your evil sewing machine squashing all of your fun.

Welcome to 2011, yellow dress. It's nice to have you.

Have you been doing any clothing revamps this summer? Anybody know why my sewing machine would go WHRRRRRR and then make a thread blob? Who else has joined the Liquid Stitch club? Feel free to link your projects in the comments; I've love to see what you've been up to.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post: Garage Sales and a Giveaway!

Today we have another guest post from the thrifty Julia of Goat Notes. The woman is a money-saving machine, and she's here to share some secrets for hosting a bangin' end-of-summer garage sale. Oh, and she's generously giving away a packet of startup supplies to two lucky readers. Read on for more details:

Hello Final Clothes Out readers! My name is Julia and I write a quaint blog called Goat Notes. I am so happy to be here with you today to share some of my tips on how to host a successful end of summer garage sale. I am an avid second-hand shopper and frequent garage sales often. I am currently in the midst of organizing a MAJOR garage sale myself, and I have learned a thing or two in the process, which I am excited to share with you.

Dates & Times Matter:  In my experience it is best to host your garage sale starting on a Friday to a Saturday, and begin your sale early in the morning around 8 or 9 am. Expect early-birds to arrive at least a half an hour before your sale “begins.” Consider the date for your sale carefully. Typically hosting a sale around the time major employers administer pay checks will ensure more buyers for you.

Spread the Word: Advertise your sale in as many free locations as you can find. Craigslist is always a good option, as well as your local newspaper. Use your newspaper’s online garage sale feature if they have one. In your ad include the date, time and location of your sale. Help set you sale apart from others by listing anything special you might be selling. I am more apt to attend a sale if it says “baby and toddler clothing,” since that is what I am often looking for.

The Importance of Signs: Help lead your garage sale hunters to the goods with clearly marked, bright and well-placed signs. Bright neon green signs always grab my attention. Use clear/large arrows to direct traffic towards your sale. Post your signs in clear visible areas and in locations that receive a lot of traffic. If you are selling anything special like maternity clothing, baby clothing, large appliances, etc say so on your signs. Also, check with your town and neighborhood regarding any restrictions around sign placement. Some cities require sellers to register their yard sales in order to place signs. Check with your local chamber of commerce or city government for restrictions in your area.

Pricing: My suggestion, price everything. It’s exhausting for you, and frustrating for the buyers, to have to constantly ask you much something costs. Price even the items you would normally throw into a “free box” as $0.25. This tactic makes people feel like they are getting deal and that the item they are buying has value. Successful methods of pricing I have used or run into include:

·         Color-Code Pricing: Place colored dot stickers every item that correspond to a poster board key. Green dots are $2, Red dots are $5, yellow dots are $1, etc.
·         Price by Table: Using a series of card tables ( tarps or blankets) place large printed signs with prices on each table and arrange merchandise on the corresponding tables.
·         Price Tags: The old stand-by, make price tags for every item and price each item individually. This will take you longer, but leave little room for buyers to second-guess the price.

What’s in a Name?: What you call your sale can be just as important as what you sell. The end of summer is a great time to host a “College Fund Sale” or “Christmas in August Sale.” Other eye-catching names include: Barn Sale, Antique & Treasure Sale, Moving Sale, Estate Sale, Baby & Maternity Sale.

Remember, having a garage sale is hard work but can be totally worth it. Plus, with a garage sale you help keep useable goods in the hands of those who can use them and keep those items out of our landfills. It’s good karma all the way around. To read more on how to organize a sale check out these websites and blogs (I have found them exceptionally helpful as I have planned my sale):


And because Julia is the best, she's also offering a GIVEAWAY.

Win this stuff!

Use the comments to tell us one of your garage sale tips or tricks (buying or selling) for a chance to win a garage sale starter pack that includes a package of neon posteroard, two black Sharpie markers, and pack of price tags. A perfect combo to get your garage sale off to a good start! You can leave a comment on both Final Clothes Out and Goat Notes for a double chance to win! The contest is open will remain open until 11:59 p.m. August 17th. Two winners will be chosen by a random number generator and announced next Thursday, August 18th.

Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed. The lucky winner from Final Clothes-Out is... Amanda! Congrats! I'll be in touch!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

DIY: Good Day, Sunshine

I bought my next sewing project about three weeks ago when I went to visit my sister in Indy. The plan was to fix it up immediately, but you know, Netflix started streaming Mad Men and life just got away from me.

So now it's August and I need to hurry up and make this presentable, otherwise I won't be wearing it until next year:

She doesn't look like much on the hanger. I blame the sleeves. Terrible, elastic-banded sleeves that are getting chopped off first thing.

I'm planning a tutorial for this one, just to show my fellow not-so-great sewers that a lot of magic can happen without that EVIL uncooperative sewing machine cramping your style. For real, if I can do it, anybody can.

What are you working on lately? Anybody else been a clothes-fixin' fool this summer? Are you also stoked that Mad Men is on Netflix? (And am I the only one who doesn't think Don Draper is that hot? Surely I'm not alone.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On the Cheap (Hopefully): Boots

It's official: the brown boots from last week are going back to Nordstrom. I tried on some work appropriate outfits with them and they just didn't mesh. I felt like Courtney Love. And as much as I love a good costume, I don't want to wear one everyday.

As fun as they were, if they don't go with the clothing I already have, then I need to say goodbye.
So it's back to the drawing board. Per Jennifer's suggestion in the comments yesterday, I checked out Victoria's Secret:

YES. This is exactly what I want but can never find. They're $158, but maybe they'll have a sale soon. If not, I may just buy them anyway.

I'm also toying with the idea of getting a pair with heels. These walk the line between work and play very nicely. $148.

These are a little Errol Flynn with that flap, but I kind of like how streamlined they are anyway. I also like the price: $109.

Where are your boots from? Any places I should skip? (I never have luck at Payless or Zappos, sadly.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Web Gem: Fall Outfits

We had wonderful weather this weekend. Slightly cooler than it has been, not oppresively humid--an all around good time for arboretum-ing and floating around in a pool.

In fact, it's gotten me thinking about some potential items for fall:

Of course, when I put these together on Polyvore I wasn't paying ANY attention to the prices of things, so now that I've gone and fallen in love with a pair of boots that *would* work for the office (the other ones are going back, sadly), I realize they're $750.

My bad.

Is anybody else getting geared up for fall? Having trouble finding versatile, yet still very awesome boots? Did you have a little break from the heat?