Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Bro Style

It's gotten better in recent years, but when I was in college I tended to dress like a dude. We're talking jeans and a t-shirt everyday, things with skulls on them, hoodies, Chuck Taylors--so not just a dude, an emo dude. I even dyed my hair dark for a while. It was an attractive time.

Thankfully I've come to my senses, but every once in a while... I have a relapse. I was goofing around on Polyvore yesterday, trying to put together some cute outfits inspired by my trip, and I ended up hating all of them except this one:

Boyfriend Chic


It's the beach equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt! With almost-sneakers! And a boy hat!

But seriously, I love this. I would go buy all of it right now (and I could, because everything is pretty affordable). I like how the coral-y red of the shirt is carried through the bangles, and also winks at you from the trim on the boat shoes. The textures from the hat and beaded bracelet add a little more interest to an otherwise basic outfit, which helps this feel more appropriate for somebody my age.

It's definitely inspired by menswear, but in my defense, College Paige would've picked a shirt with a skull on it, so at least I'm not doing that again... Personal growth, people. Right here.

What summery fashions are you digging lately? Anybody else drawn to more masculine styles?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm Baa-aaaack!


This is my excited face! I'm considerably less stoked right now, though, because after a week of sunshine and little babies in California, I'm back to work. In the picture I'm at Disneyland, and if I recall, we were about to go find a roller coaster.

Aside from getting my Mickey on, here's what else I was up to. The family rented a beach house for the week (cheaper than a hotel!) and the water was about 100 yards from our front door:


The Hubster and I spent a day at the Getty Museum, which was almost entirely built out of travertine limestone (and also houses some pretty nice artwork):


This next one isn't an activity so much as an observation. California has a lot of awesome plants that would probably die if I tried to grow them in Illinois, like this green popcorn-lookin' thing, also at the Getty:


And of course, there was the food. Lots of delicious sea creatures, like the cioppino I had the last night we were in town:


There was also a little bit of sunburn (my ankles and left shoulder, figure that one out), but overall it was nice to get away and partially unplug. I didn't blog, I didn't Tweet, and I barely got on Pinterest! I kept up with customer correspondence, and that was about it.

But now I have a to do list with 600 things on it, which is usually how it goes after a week off the grid. Time to make a pile of orders, catch up on my blogs, and do all of that pesky laundry that's still in the suitcase.

How was your week? Did you do anything fun while I was gone? Anybody else do some traveling for the holiday?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Change of Plans

Okay, one last post before I head to California.

Remember our hideously mismatched bedroom, and how I was going to make it less ugly? Those plans have been delayed. Indefinitely.


I figured I shouldn't waste any time decorating a space we won't be living in for much longer!

WE'RE BUYING A HOUSE!

I don't mean to scream in your face like that, but MY GOD we've wanted to move out of the condo for almost two years! The housing market was not kind to this type of dwelling, and we only got our exit strategy figured out a couple of months ago. I was afraid to say anything because I didn't want to jinx it, but now that we've found a house and made it through the inspection (which was yesterday), I feel like I can spill the beans.

We're movin' out, yo!

The family we're buying from hasn't found their new house yet, so the closing date is a little iffy, but you guys, IT'S HAPPENING.

I thought we'd have a more difficult (read: slower) time finding a place, because it's not like our budget is huge for where we live, but we totally lucked out finding a deal in a good neighborhood. We went to look at it Saturday morning, found out there were a bunch of other showings scheduled for that weekend, and decided to make an offer the same day. They accepted our number and cancelled the rest of the appointments. Boom! House'd!

Obviously, I'll keep you posted. What have you guys been up to this week? Anybody else hoping to move this summer? Any fellow house-hunters?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Time Out

Posting will be a little spotty this week because I'm hittin' the road!

Photo: taken by me.

The Hubs and I are heading to LA for a week to see family, including our little nephew who's suddenly a year old. I feel like we were just out there seeing him as an infant, and now he's walking and trying to eat grass! (Other things he tries to eat: toilet paper and sticks.)

So there might not be a lot going on right here, but you can find me a couple of other places this week. Today I'm over at The Blue Eyed Owl sharing a DIY storage tutorial, and tomorrow I'll be at Kanelstrand with a different, fashion-related tutorial. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, have a delightful week and I'll pop back in soon.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Pinterest #23

Happy Friday! Let's get right to bid-ness, this week's Pinterest picks.

I get all squishy about nurseries in general, but this little vignette is especially delightful. And now I think a yellow chevron dresser needs to be in my house.


Here are 14 recipes for delicious cheese dips. You're welcome.


This peachy-pink t-shirt dress looks comfortable, and I think it would be really versatile. The turquoise necklace is nice with it, too.


Along with that yellow chevron dresser, I'd also like some fancy front doors like these. There are several layers of trim, the glass is etched, there are leaves on the chandelier... The more I look at them the more I notice.


And finally, this swanky bedroom for an 11-year-old used to be a laundry room! Plus, that's a magenta armoire.


So what fun stuff did you find on Pinterest (or otherwise) this week? What are you up to this weekend?  Anybody starting it early and giving yourself the day off? Hubsey is working from home today and Monday because of the NATO summit in Chicago, so I'm hoping we can squeeze in some outdoor time while it's so nice. See you guys on Monday!

Follow me on Pinterest here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shield Your Eyes! Aaaah!

A few weeks ago I showed you a mood board for our master bedroom, the place where furniture goes to die. It's the only room we haven't really decorated, because it isn't seen by other people as much and the other spaces got first dibs. But now its number is up and I've started working on a few things! Before I get too much done, I want to show you what we're rocking now so you can get a full sense of the issues.

Be warned, it's... not great.

First we have the bed, accented by a picture that's way too small. It could also use a headboard and some bedding that's sized for a queen mattress, instead of a full/queen situation that doesn't cover the sides.


Across from the bed is my library. The books used to be in the office/guest room, but after the biz expanded and required more stuff, they got shoved in here for lack of a better spot. Also pictured: the exercise ball, a Swiffer, and our old mirror. Keepin' it real.


This is Hubsey's nightstand, which was in my childhood bedroom. Where is his old one? Why, he didn't have one until I moved in! He would just pile stuff on the floor. Also, that lamp isn't even plugged in; it's just another unwanted office item that got the shaft.


And this is my nightstand. I got it at a flea market and Hubsey thought I was insane buying a red one, but I really like the contrast with all of the neutrals in here. I'll bring more of that in. Oh, and there's no lamp on it. That also needs to change.


And finally, on the same wall as the bookshelves, we have the dresser. It's another mismatched relic from my childhood. It needs to be refinished, or painted, or sold on Craigslist to somebody who has a thing for '90s oak.


So. Now you know my ugly little secret. Slowly but surely, like a snail making its way up the driveway, I'm gettin' it done. Do you have a room that hasn't been touched? Or some mismatched furniture you inherited and.... aren't sure what to do with? What's your least favorite room in your house?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Affordable Kate Middleton Style

Work it, girlfriend.

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Kate Middleton, also known as my imaginary BFF, attended some kind of England Is Hosting The Olympics: Concert Event the other day. My first reaction was how lovely this dress is, and how I would like to have one too, please. (My second reaction was "Why don't I ever get invited to the fancy concerts?" but I guess when you're a princess you get to do that sort of thing.)

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Isn't the back of this gorgeous? Totally demure and palace-approved (because I'm sure there are People who have a heavy hand in what she wears to stuff like this), but it still has a saucy little wink to it. It's refreshing on her. My only complaint about this is the clutch. It's a little matchy-matchy for me, but hey, maybe she's trying to bring that back.

Overall, I want to wear this. Since most of us are unlikely to need a formal gown soon, as lovely as this one is, I thought I'd make some outfits inspired by the look that are a little more wearable for us. All of the items below are under $100.

I'm partial to this first one, mainly because the bag doesn't match the clothing:


Casual Kate


This one is also nice. You don't see these shades of blue and green together very often, but they're pretty:

Date Night Kate


Have any celebrities been inspiring you with their fashion? Any other Kate BFFs in the house? How do you feel about matching accessories and/or jewelry to clothing? (It just makes me twitchy!)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't Rain On My Parade!

Well, as you might have guessed from the title, we had some rain the day of my show this weekend. I walked outside to load the car and saw this:


It rained while we drove, then stopped for about an hour (during which we set up--whew!), and then joined us again for most of the morning. I was afraid the day would be a bust, because even though it's a "rain or shine" show, that doesn't mean any customers will show up.

Thankfully, they did! There were some troopers who wandered around in panchos during the worst of it, but most people came later. I ended up having a pretty good sales day after all. It was a relief for the obvious reasons, but I also reworked my whole setup this time and it would've been a bummer if nobody saw it:



There's a lot more color, new items, and I divided the shops into two tables instead of trying to make them share like I did last year. Oh Nostalgia, the everyday wear line, takes up most of the space, and the smaller table is wedding samples from Little White Chapel. The dress form acts as a visual divider, too:


Most of the new products were on the Oh Nostalgia side and included these tiny flower earrings...


...and some colorful statement necklaces.


And for Little White Chapel I brought out some bestsellers, like sparkly hairpins and estate style rhinestone earrings.



Having the shops separated like this was one of those Duh moments I should've had a while ago. This time there was a clear distinction between two product lines in one tent, and if a bride stopped by, it was obvious which jewelry was directed at her and which for the group of 15 year olds wandering in next. (Last year I grouped things by item type with the styles mixed together. It was pretty, but this makes WAY more sense.)

Anyhoodle, that was my weekend. How was yours? Did the moms in the house have a nice day yesterday? Have you had any business-related epiphanies lately? Or survived a rainy morning next to a tent that almost blew away? (True story, they didn't stake it down.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pinterest #22

I apologize for the sparse posting here this week! I have my first outdoor show of the year tomorrow, and getting ready for these is always more of an undertaking. I'm actually still making more inventory today because I always get paranoid about not having enough. But for now, let's pause the work and take a peek at some Pinterest finds before I get knee deep in earring parts.

If you haven't figured out your Mother's Day gift situation yet (it's Sunday!), here are 20 DIY ideas to get you inspired. Most of them are pretty quick to make, too:


These are some beautifully styled bookshelves. They also used to be a blonde oak color, so I'd say this was one successful makeover:


Banana cream pie! I can't really bake anything unless it comes out of a box, so I think Hubsey needs to dust off his oven mitts and get to work on this one:


Our condo is all one level but if we move into a house with stairs, I'm totally doing this:


And finally, this is a cute little clutch from Ted Baker. Or I guess I should say, "I thought it was small until I clicked through the pin to the actual website." It's big! It would hold my Kindle! That makes me like it more, because teeny tiny bags are just so impractical:


Now if you'll pardon me, I need to get back to my wire cutters. What are you up to this weekend? Anybody else doing a show? Any fun Mother's Day plans? Did you find anything especially awesome on Pinterest this week?

Follow me on Pinterest here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Office Art: Mission Complete

So, guess who finally finished the artwork for her office over the weekend?


It started when I was wandering around Paper Source looking for a birthday card, and came across this clearance desk calendar instead:

See that price? $4.63. Holla!

The timing was good because I was having a hard time finding something that worked with the other stuff I already had on the wall. I knew there would be enough in the pack to mix-and-match, so it was pretty foolproof. I picked four that coordinated...


... and then trimmed them down, and used rubber cement to glue them onto some mini canvasses I already had. (Rubber cement is my new favorite thing, NO bubbling of the paper at all. As far as glue goes, I think I might like it better than Mod Podge.)


It took less than 10 minutes to put them together, and I only waited another 10 minutes before I hung them up. I didn't bother putting hooks on the back of the canvasses, the wood frames were just fine.



I love them. Here's a funny secret about the arrangement, though: the green and gray print with the trees? It's taped up there. When I was putting the nails into the wall, I hit a stud and could NOT get the nail to go in correctly.  So I said screw it and got out some tape.

Have you made anything out of old calendars? Or discovered the joys of rubber cement? What'd you do this weekend? (I worked on a bunch of orders, got some inventory made for my next show, and enjoyed some delicious Mexican food with friends.) Happy Monday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Things I'm Afraid To Tell You

I ran into a fabulous collection of blog posts yesterday, headed by Ez at Creature Comforts. There's been a lot of keepin' it real in blogland recently (my post here, Marilyn's from yesterday, Amy's request to just own it, etc.), but this latest string of writing has taken it to a new level.

It's easy to only see the positives when reading blogs. People show their best work, direct you to the prettiest pictures, find the most inspirational quotes--and it tends to make people forget that bloggers are real people with problems too. There's no need to wonder why your life isn't as perfect as what's on the screen, because the truth is, nobody has their shit together all the time.

Including me, so if you'll allow me to just rip off the band-aid...

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1. I don't make a lot of money.  At all. One of the things that had to happen before I quit my day job in November was to make as much money selling jewelry as I did going to work. And sure enough, it happened consistently for several months in a row, so I pulled the plug on my cubicle prison. But here's the thing: despite the fact that I'm meeting or exceeding that requirement every month, I no longer have the "extra" day job money coming in. No matter how you slice it, I took a BIG pay cut when I decided to quit. And plus, some of the money I make has to go back into the business and not my pocket, so my take-home is actually even lower.

Granted I'm a lot happier now overall, so it was a good trade off, but sometimes I feel weird lame knowing I don't make anything close to what some of my peers do. Which leads me to...

2. I don't feel like a real adult. I suppose I should, because I went to college, I'm married, we own a condo, and I used to work a "real" office job, but I still feel like there's something separating me from other young professionals. Maybe it's because people don't always seem to understand what exactly I do, or maybe it's the money, or maybe it's because I have a lot of interests and don't necessarily want to choose one career for my entire life, I don't know. But I feel really awkward around other adults sometimes, and it's a bummer.

It actually feels good to get all of this out. Like a big virtual therapy session.


Let's keep it real from now on. I've really enjoyed all of the honesty making the rounds lately, it's been refreshing, and I want it to stick around. It's nice to be distracted by pretty things when we're having a bad day, but life isn't all sparkles and unicorns, and we shouldn't pretend it is.

Have you read any of the Things I'm Afraid To Tell You posts? (They're worth checking out.) How do you feel about the mini rebellion going on? Will you be writing one of these posts yourself?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY: Tea Wood Stain

One of the many drawbacks to living in our condo is the lack of outdoor space. We don't have a balcony, there's no roof access, and most of our "yard" is the parking lot. When I spray paint something, I drag it down three floors and use a cardboard shield in the parking lot. And forget power tools. Those don't really mix with carpet.

Wood stain is another thing I never use, either, mainly because of the drying time and fumes. But I found something to make for a family member, and dammit, I wanted the wood to show.


So I used tea! And a few rusty nails, but it was mostly the tea. (Inspired by this pin.)

You'll need:
--an unfinished wood item
--two bags of black tea, like earl gray
--a few old/rusty nails
--steel wool and vinegar if you want an antiqued looking stain (optional)
--cup of hot water
--paint brush
--varnish

See how pale this thing was when I bought it? No bueno.


First, put the tea bags, nails, and optional steel wool and vinegar into the hot water. Remember not to drink the concoction while it sits there.


Leave it to steep for a while. Heck, go do something else, like clean off your workbench or eat some Doritos. If you're going for a specific color, check the progress every few minutes, especially if you tossed the steel wool in there. Mine was just tea and a few nails because I wanted to keep it a warm tone. I let it sit for about 15 minutes.


Don't be fooled if it starts to look really dark in the cup. Tea is sneaky. Just dab a few drops onto your wood to see the actual shade.

When the color is how you want it to be, bust out the brush and paint the tea onto the wood. If you added the steel wool, you can also use that as your brush, but I'd recommend putting on gloves first. The stain will absorb pretty quickly and you probably won't need to wipe off any excess. (I didn't.) You can apply more than one coat.


Let it dry and then apply a coat of varnish.  A good option is Safecoat Acrylacq, for those of you who use stain more frequently, but I used a little bottle of craft sealant from JoAnn.

After the varnish is dry, you're done!



So there you go! An alternative to traditional stain that won't give you a fume headache.

Have you ever dyed anything using food? (Aside from Easter eggs.) Did anybody try the steel wool method for an aged look? I might do that one next time. What project did you work on this week?

Linking up: My Repurposed Life