Friday, September 30, 2011

September Winner!

So, who was the lucky winner of the September Sponsor Giveaway?

Congratulations, Kala! I'll be emailing you shortly with more information.

A big thank you to my lovely sponsors for participating, and for those who entered the contest but didn't win, I'm planning another one of these before Christmas. Be sure to check back so you don't miss it!

Interested in becoming a sponsor? I'd love to have you on board. All the info you need can be found right here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pinterest #7

Normally I'd be doing this tomorrow, but that's when I'm announcing the winner of the September Sponsor Giveaway (which you can still enter until midnight tonight). So a little change of plans, and we have this week's Pinterest picks on Thursday instead of Friday.

This living room is perfect. PERFECT:

A delightful Mary Poppins costume:

Charming animal rings (for which I CANNOT find a source link, so if anybody happens to know...)

Frosty recipe!

Window screens (or wall decor? maybe a room divider?) made from lace:

And, just because, a puppy:

What's your favorite pin (or multiple pins) from this week? Feel free to link up in the comments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Magic Gourd

Say hello to my gourd! I've had it for a year.

A full 12 months of tiny pumpkin! And yes, it's real. I bought it at Trader Joe's for 69 cents (or maybe it was a dollar, I don't remember) and it's still around. To be fair, it's finally getting a little soft if you squeeze it, but there's not any discoloration, mold, or other weird growths happening. It looks exactly as it did the day I bought it.

I think it's awesome, but Hubsey is grossed out and doesn't want me to get another one. I might buy one anyway, but to humor him I've also been looking at alternative decorations:

Adorable candy corn embroidery, $18, set of three felt pumpkins (that will never go bad), $22.25, a charming felt flower wreath, $40, and fun fabric bunting, $25.

Are your fall decorations out yet? Do you do much seasonal decorating?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Now Accepting October Sponsors!

Guess what? (Chicken butt.) There are advertising slots open for October sponsors! If you have an online shop or a blog that you want to promote, Final Clothes-Out is a great place to get started. I write about fasion, bargain-hunting, and DIY projects, and I'd love for you to be part of the fun!

With nearly 650 followers between Blogger, Google Reader, and email subscriptions, FCO is a great jumping-off point for a small shop or blog. There are three sponsorsip options to choose from, and rates begin at a very affordable $5.

Full details can be found on my sponsorship page, and you can always email me with any questions:

Hope to have you on board!

What I Wore: Business Time

One thing I've found difficult about working in a creative field (the jewelry, not The Day Job) is dressing myself. Most days it doesn't really matter how I look because I'm at my house or the post office, but every once in a great while, I need to seem like a business owner. And that's where it gets tricky: I have to look professional, but not stuffy. Creative, but not weird. And I definitely need to look like I designed the jewelry I'm trying to sell.

I met with a boutique owner recently, and this is how I ended up putting myself together:

cardigan: H&M
shirt: Target
jeans: F21
boots: Target
necklace and bracelet: I made them

The skinny jeans and boots are trendy, but the sweater and striped shirt kept things on the classic side to go with the product. Ideally I'll have a blazer for these business-y situations in the future, but I'm having a heck of a time finding one that fits my manly shoulders AND twiggy child arms. So we'll see. It might be cardigans by default.

Anybody else have trouble dressing for creative business? Or any business? Do you have a go-to outfit?

Don't forget, there's still plenty of time to enter the September Sponsor Giveaway!

Friday, September 23, 2011

September Sponsor Giveaway!

What's better than winning a prize? Winning four prizes! I'm excited to announce the September Sponsor Giveaway, in which one lucky reader will win these three fabulous pieces of jewelry and adorable favor sampler:

PRIZE #1: Vintage-inspired locket with flower cameo from Pulp Sushi.

PRIZE #2: Colorful cocktail ring from A Bird in the Hand Art.

PRIZE #3: Sample set of eco-friendly mini herb favors (basil, parsley, lavender, and chives) from Favor Creative.

PRIZE #4: Petite pearl earrings from my shop Little White Chapel.

Mandatory entry:
1. Leave a comment telling me you want to win. Yep, it's that easy.

Optional entries (leave a comment for each):
1. Visit the shops and either tell me a favorite item, or add a shop to your favorites.
2. Follow this blog.
3. Follow me on Pinterest.
4. Follow me on Twitter.
5. Mention this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog.

One lucky person will win all four items. Open to worldwide entries. The contest will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, September 29th. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and announced on Friday the 30th.

Good luck!

**This giveaway is now closed.**

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DIY: Mason Jar Candle Holder

During our spring cleaning earlier this year, we found a random mason jar in our linen closet. I had no idea where it came from, but Hubsey seems to think his old roommate got it as a wedding favor. I'd like to think that some friendly neighbor is sneaking into our house and leaving presents, and maybe they'll leave money next time, but I doubt it.

Anywho, I thought I'd do something with it. This from Pinterest, specifically.

You'll need:
a mason jar (or other glass receptacle)
interesting paper of your choosing
Mod Podge
a paintbrush

Cut up (or in the case of my ancient piano music, gently tear) the paper. Put a layer of Mod Podge on the glass, arrange a piece of paper how you want it, and put another coat of Mod on top. Repeat until the glass is covered. For mine, I layered several pieces of paper to make it more like a collage.

Let it dry for a few hours. Grab a votive candle and realize that perhaps you didn't place your paper very well:

Whoops. The sheet music was thicker than I realized. And those bare spots at the top that looked pretty cool in natural light looked REALLY stupid with a candle.

Good thing I bought a back-up jar at GoodWill when I was there getting candelabras. Let's try this again:

Kind of creepy for Halloween, no?

There we go! As Borat would say, great success.

Have you tried out any of your pins lately? How'd it go?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In My Shoes.

I get a lot of questions from people about what an average day looks like for me. They know I have a part-time office job, and that I sell jewelry the other half of the time... but what does that really mean? Do I make a pair of earrings and then take a bubble bath? (No, because I don't like baths. Showers all the way.)

The passenger seat on any given day.

Honestly, everyday is different. It depends on a lot of variables, like how many orders I have to make, or if I'm gearing up for an art show. So I decided to document everything I did yesterday, just to give you a look at a day in the life of me:

5:55 am -- Get startled awake by my iPhone alarm. Decide that since my phone is already in my hand, I'd better look at Pinterest.

6:02 am -- Put down Pinterest (with great difficulty) and start getting ready. After my shower I have to wake up Hubsey, who falls back asleep after his alarm goes off.

7:18 am -- Leave for the train station. Hubsey gets dropped off and I continue my trek to The Day Job.

Bonus points: Can you name the two characters?

8:00 am to 12:00 pm -- Sit in my cube at The Day Job. Highlights include answering a large volume of emails and reading Young House Love. I also wrote yesterday's blog post.

12:38 pm -- Eat lunch (Taco Bell) while trying to watch an episode of Paranormal Challenge. Lose interest halfway through and look at a wedding registry instead.

1:15 pm -- Get ready for an afternoon of running errands. This is the part of my day that always changes. Today I have to mail a couple of orders, hit up JoAnn for a few supplies (including something for my Halloween costume), drop off some stuff at GoodWill, put gas in the car, and maybe purchase those wedding gifts if I have time.

3:56 pm -- Return victorious! I got everything except the item for my Halloween costume AND I found these babies waiting for me at GoodWill (yes, I usually wander in after I make a donation):

$1.99 each.

I couldn't decide what color to paint them--yellow or oil-rubbed bronze--so I bought cans of both because spray paint was on sale. Score! The plan is to paint one each color and put them in different rooms.

4:26 pm -- Arrive at the chiropractor four minutes early. This is the one event I keep the same every week, because when I change it up I ALWAYS forget. And then I'm that annoying person who has to call the office all the time.

4:51 pm -- Do a hodge-podge of stuff, including the dishes and fixing a DIY project from Pinterest that turned out weird the first time. But now it's cute! Tutorial coming tomorrow.

6:28 pm --  Hubsey's train is delayed, so I get a little business planning done in the parking lot while I wait.

7:10 pm -- Dinner! Breaded cod, baked potatoes, and green beans.

We have Glee on in the background while we eat, and I know it's only the first episode, but I don't have high hopes for this year. It just feels so... rehashed. Le sigh.

8:00 pm -- Make jewelry while watching the premiere of New Girl, which was FAB. Partially because watching that character was like watching myself, and I could not. stop. laughing. Sample dialogue:

Cute guy: I like your glasses.
New girl: They help me see!

8:57 pm -- Yoga, while watching some Kathy Griffin standup. Are you noticing a pattern yet?

9:31 pm -- Celebratory ice cream for getting some exercise, scooped by Hubsey. Work on this blog post for an indeterminate amount of time before falling asleep on the couch.

Whew! That sounds like a lot, which is funny because it doesn't really feel like that much when I'm doing it. What's also funny is thinking ahead to what I'll be doing this afternoon/evening and it looks nothing like this.

What does an average day look like for you? Is there such a thing?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On the Cheap: Etsy Finds

Even when I'm not really "shopping," I feel like I'm always on the prowl. Keeping an eye out, you might say. Maybe it's because I like to get my Christmas shopping done early (read: before Thanksgiving), and I always want to be paying attention in case something cool pops up:

Gorgeous 11x14 peacock print (also available in other sizes), $20, stacking initial rings that would, incidentally, make an awesome Christmas gift, $85, and a blue lapis necklace with freshwater pearls, $45.

I want all of them, but I also want to have money to spend when I go to Washington DC next month, so I'll have to settle for leaving Hubsey notes on his pillow until he gets the hint.

What's striking your fancy lately?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Miscellaneous: My Sister the Bargain Huntress

My sister is too cute, you guys. We live in different cities, which means, sadly, we don't get to shop together very often, so instead she emails me pictures of her latest finds. This one is so good I had to share it with you, too:

A vintage "secretary dress" from the 70s. It's a great color scheme for fall, and even looks kind of Christmas-y with the leaves and berries. But its versatility isn't why I'm impressed. I about fell out of my chair because she said it needs NO alterations. What?! A vintage dress that you can just wear without starting a feud with your sewing machine? Or even using Liquid Stitch?

Well done.

It was $28, which is a very fair price for a vintage dress in excellent condition. In fact, I expected it to be more. Maybe Indianapolis is where I need to get all of my vintage from now on...

Have you scored any sweet deals lately? Or found any cool new stores? My sister stumbled upon this place during her lunch break, and maybe she needs to sprinkle some of that lucky dust over this way.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pinterest #6

So, I had this other post planned out, and I was all proud of myself for working ahead and getting the pictures done, but then I forgot to email them to myself and now they're stuck on my computer at home.

My bad.

Luckily, there's Pinterest. Here are my favorites from the last week or so, starting with the most glorious kitchen you will ever see:

A stunning wedding dress from the 40s:

Old tea tins turned into handy fridge containers:

Hello, red purse!

A great way to use up scraps of paper:

This sofa looks like it's from Z Gallerie. The location by us CLOSED, which is a great tragedy:

And this is the story of my life:

Any big weekend plans? Hubsey and I are going to a fall festival with my folks tomorrow and catching up with some college friends on Sunday. Somewhere in there we'd like to celebrate our 5 year anniversary (of dating, not our wedding--yes, we're saps), but it doesn't look like we'll have time. We did have bar nachos for dinner last night, so I guess that could count?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Sponsor Spotlight

Even cooler than finally ending my quest for boots? My September sponsors! The ladies are here to tell you a little more about themselves and what they have to offer. Be sure to check out their shops and blogs--there's a ton of great stuff to see.

A Bird in the Hand Art - I'm Jenny and I have been crafting for most of my life. I love learning new techniques. I usually let the inspiration guide the technique rather than vice-versa. I have a background in biology, specifically animal behavior, and I have been inspired by the beauty of various bird species.  Now I spend my days covered in fabric and paint and loving every minute of it :)  Visit my shop for some one-of-a-kind accessories and home decor pieces.

Marilyn P Sushi - is a self-taught jewelry designer and mastermind behind Pulp Sushi. She is what happens when you cross a Retro Secretary with the Bride of Frankenstein. Creating jewelry pieces to help you express just a pinch of your playful, flirty, quirky side. You can find some of my  jewelry along with items from other great artist at  For your readers I would like to offer a 15% discount on their purchase at when they use the code FCOBLOG during checkout.

Shabby Apple
- Great dresses that make getting dressed simple. No worrying about flashing accidential skin or finding a coordinating cardi--Shabby dresses are designed to be a one-piece outfit. Easy! Plus, a portion of their sales benefit women in Asia and Africa. Cute clothes for a good cause? Yes, please.

GoatNotes - I'm Julia and my blog was started in October 2010 as a way to chronicle my adventures in motherhood as well as share updates about my Etsy shop, Emory & Olly. Over the past year my goals remain relatively the same with both ventures, however GoatNotes blog has shifted to focus more on intentional living, self sufficiency, celebrating all things handmade and has become a space of inspiration for myself and others.

Favor Creative
 - My name is Vicki and I own a handcrafted eco-friendly herb favors and event stationery shop dedicated to all things creative for life's special occasions. I am passionate about using all-natural and eco-friendly choices for event favors as well as my everyday life. My Herbs in a Box Favor was created using 100% biodegradable materials and packed and shipped with a conscious effort to reduce its impact on our earth.

Nic's Button Buds - Nicole creates stunning bouquets, boutonnieres, shoe clips, and brooches out of buttons. Each piece is carefully made by hand and is truly something to treasure for years to come. She also enjoys quilting, and has a selection of fun fabric postcards in her shop.

A huge thank you to all of my sponsors for being a part of Final Clothes-Out!

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor for your own shop or blog, visit my sponsorship page to get more information. We'd love to have you on board!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ma, Look What I Got: Victory!



I looked in so many stores. I debated paying $150. And then I stopped at Target on the way home from work to buy toilet paper, and I thought I'd take a spin through the shoe department. Just in case.

They were almost sold out, but there happened to be one pair of 7 1/2 left. And they were only $35. Now, I've been the victim of Good Deal Fever before--in which you are blinded by an excellent price tag and end up buying something mediocre--so I took them home and mulled them over. (I realize most people would've left them at the store, but they were the LAST PAIR. I couldn't take any chances.)

Obviously, I've decided they're keepers.

What's been the fashion thorn in your side this year? Anybody else have trouble finding boots? Have you stumbled upon a great item when you least expected it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On the Cheap: Cardi Parti

I can't believe I've gone this long without talking about cardigans! I know summer is just barely winding down, but it's 10 degrees cooler today, and will be 10 degrees cooler than THAT tomorrow, so it's practically sweater weather.

For your viewing pleasure:

This outfit is exactly how I dressed in college. Part of me wishes I could go back to that wardrobe, but a larger part of me is increasingly convinced that I need to give up shopping at Forever 21. After I buy this sweater, of course. $17.80.

Hubsey reads my blog, so at some point today I know he's going to be all, "Don't you already have a long tan sweater?" And I'll say, "Yeah, but it's not argyle! Duh." $69.50.

Sadly, this one might not work on me because of my plague victim skin tone, but a girl can dream. $44.99.

Have you been eyeballing cardigans yet? I bought two short-sleeved ones over the summer, that's how much I can't say no. And yet I'm totally fine with that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

DIY: No-Sew Kindle Sleeve

Most of the time, I like my Kindle. She's lightweight, holds many more books than my arms ever could, and is a nice space-saver for those of us who live in small houses. On the other hand, it's still annoying to think about charging a book. Mainly because I don't always remember to do it.

But I've been on a hot streak lately, and since my Kindle-baby has been getting so much use, it was time to make her a new sleeve.  A no-sew sleeve, of course!

Nothing I make is ever complicated, but this is as easy as it gets. Cutting and gluing are the only steps.

First, I bought some felt that was embossed with a crocodile motif. (Apparently this is a new trend I've been missing: awesomely-printed felts.) Each piece was 99 cents.

I decided the red would go on the inside, so cut a centimeter from three of the edges to make a smaller "pocket" for the Kindle. Then I lined everything up, just to make sure I'd have enough room for the Liquid Stitch.

Felt is a "thirsty" fabric, so even when you think you have enough Liquid Stitch (or glue of your choice), you'll probably need to slather some more on there. I glued the red pocket together first, pressing down as I went.

I did the same thing for the brown exterior. And I'm not kidding when I say you'll need A LOT of adhesive. If you don't put enough down, it'll soak right in before the sides can stick together, and then you'll have weird gappy holes everywhere.

Ooze? It will dry clear.

So once your gallon of LS is ready to roll, press down hard on the outside seam. For an extra-firm attachment, put the sleeve under a heavy book. Leave it there for a few hours.

And that's it! Say hello to your new Kindle holder:

What do you store your Kindle in? Ever made one of these yourself? What'd you use?