Saturday, July 22, 2017

DinoRAWR Terrarium

I've wanted a terrarium for a long time. Today, I finally took the time (<5 minutes) to make one.

I used fish tank rocks leftover from my husband's aquarium and bought the succulents at Michael's when they were 50% off. The dinosaur is from a previous years birthday cake. The glass container was something my mother had and was in the process of getting rid of, but I rescued it just in time.


  • assorted rocks (small, medium, large)
  • small rocks of a solid color
  • faux moss
  • faux succulents
  • specialty items (coral, shells, plastic dinosaur or other animal)
  • glass container

Note: Save money by purchasing small rocks meant for fish tanks instead of the expensive stuff you see at Michael's.


1. Layer the smaller rocks and moss.

2. Trim the stems on your succulents and press them gently into the top most rock layer.

3. Top with the larger rocks and specialty items.

Note: The wooden tray above was a find from Michael's. It was in the summer clearance for 75% off; plus, I had a coupon for 25% off total purchase, including sales items. Original price was $25, but I took it home for less than $5! Woo!

Faux Beetle Display

Like most of the crafty population, I browse Pinterest a lot. Since we moved, I've been collecting ideas for decorating our dining room / game room. It's interesting that, what initially triggers an idea is sometimes not even related. I found a picture of a dining room with botanical sketches on the walls; just a small cluster, but that was the one element I liked and wanted to replicate. I like nature elements in my decorating (rock collections, mineral displays, agate coasters).

Thrifted Botanical Art

So, I decided to go to the thrift store and find some botanical artwork to frame. Turns out, the pictures I liked were from a really, really old book about "Common Garden Pests" for $1. I also found a shadowbox frame for $7, but it was 30% off all household items that day. So, only $5! Woo!

Framed Botanical/Bug Prints: $1 art + $6/6 Ikea frames = $7 Total!

Faux Beetle Display: $5 frame + $5 plastic bugs = $10 Total!

Faux Beetle Display Tutorial:

1. Decide where your bugs are going and identify them as best you can.

2. Print out the names, cut them out, and paste to black paper using a glue stick. Cut them out again leaving a black border.
3. Use the back of your frame to measure out a white sheet of poster paper to use as a background.
4. Put the frame back together, minus the glass, and use it as a guide as to where items should be placed. This is important because you may place items too close to the edge otherwise.
5. Place items, and make sure you know exactly where you want things to go.

6. Use the glue stick to attach the labels and a glue gun to attach your bugs. Note: a very small amount of glue can be used to position limbs if they aren't laying right.

7. Replace the glass and hang your new artwork!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Kimono for Vacation

I made another kimono just in time for my beach vacation next month! These make perfect cover-ups. I am going to use the leftover fabric to make a removable strap. I used the same tutorial that I used for my other kimono.

I'm glad I linked that tutorial on my blog because there are so many different tutorials out there now; I couldn't find it anymore by just googling, and it is the best!

Silky Black Camisole with Lace

Here is an alteration of the original Silky Black Camisole. Lace border was added and the back is flat without the V plunge (Image 1).

Image 1
This was simple to do. The lace can be added to an existing camisole without needing to deconstruct it at all. It is sewn to the front edge. The only semi-difficult part is getting the turns lined up with the pattern of the camisole.

Image 2
The flat back is a small alteration of the pattern. You don't even have to make a new pattern piece. Just draw a straight line from the tip of your existing pattern to the fold of the fabric (Image 2).
Adding the lace took a little longer for me to do than was necessary because I harvested my lace from a failed bra project, and it took a long time to deconstruct. Once you have your lace, however, it is pretty straight forward.

Step 1: Make the same width by lining up your ruler with the top most part of your lace and cutting off anything below the ruler (Image 3).

Image 3

Step 2: Cut lace to the same length of the edges you want to add it to (Image 4).

Image 4

Step 3: Sew lace edges together by laying pieces on top of each other and sewing at a bisecting angle through the tip of the point (Image 5).

Image 5

Step 4: Sew lace to the front of your camisole using a straight or zig-zag stich (your preference; I used a straight stitch), and trim as necessary. Use a zig-zag stitch to attach the lace to your straps.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Faux Fur Vest Tutorial

Love this look! It's spring time now, but I made a faux fur vest in December before the moving fiasco and didn't get a chance to post about it.

Links: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

I bought my faux fur from Joann's for 40% off. It is $30-$40/yard normally; so, I highly recommend bringing a coupon! Even with the coupon, this project wasn't exactly cheap (I paid ~$20 for my fur; plus, ~$10 for the lining and thread), but neither is buying a pre-made vest from the store. It is also a slow process. If you want good results, you will need to hand baste every seam before sewing with a machine. This is because fur is slippery and can move around easily while you're trying to sew (it's very difficult to pin down), and you can push the fur out of the way of the stitches so that your seams are fluffy and not matted down.

For this project, you will need:

  • Basic Bodice Block!
  • Basic Dart Manipulation Instructions!
  • 1-1.5 yards of faux fur
  • 1-1.5 yards lining fabric (I used black silk)
  • The Basics: thread, needle, marking chalk, ruler, scissors, etc.
  • A razor blade (Note: never cut fur with scissors; you will make a huge mess!)

Drafting Your Pattern: (Note: You will only be using the back part of your Basic Bodice Block)
  1. Remove the darts from your "Basic Bodice Block: Back" by following the instructions in my Dart Manipulation post under "Combine Two Darts into One". Remove both the shoulder and waist dart.
  2. Drop the bottom of the arm hole by 2 inches, and redraw arm hole curve.
  3. Add length to the bottom. (I added 8 inches, but this is totally up to you.)
  4. Trace around your pattern, flip on the fold, and trace again to get rid of the fold line. You now have your "Vest: Back, no seam allowance, Cut 1" pattern piece.
  5. To get the front pattern piece, use the same pattern piece you just used to make the back (the one with the fold line). Find your bust line on the fold line side and connect that point to the beginning edge of your neckline. This will give your vest a V opening in front. If you want more curvature, go ahead and add some. This is your vest design!
  6. Next, find your waist line on the fold line side of your pattern. Find the halfway mark between your waist line and the bottom of the pattern and cut a curve from this point to the bottom edge of the opposite side of your pattern. (See image below.)
  7. You should now have your "Vest: Front, no seam allowance, Cut 2, flipping in between" pattern piece.

Steps 5 and 6

Making Your Vest:

  1. Keep in mind the direction of your fur. You want it to flow in the same direction on all your pieces.
  2. With this in mind, lay our your pattern pieces on the back of the fur and trace. *Don't forget to flip your "Vest: Front" so you end up with a left and right side!
  3. Add 1/2" seam allowance to all pieces.
  4. Using a razor blade, cut out the pattern pieces.
  5. Trace your pattern onto your lining fabric, add seam allowance, and cut these pieces out. Scissors are fine. :)
  6. Hand baste your two front fur pieces to your back piece at the shoulders. Right sides together.
  7. Sew over your basting stitch.
  8. Sew your lining pieces together at the shoulders as well; you don't need to baste first unless you want to.
  9. Hand Baste the lining to the fur (right sides together) at the arm openings, around the front edges of the front pieces, and neckline. (Don't sew anything below the arm openings or the back half of your front pieces yet. These will be sewn together at the side seams in a bit.)
  10. Use your sewing machine to go over all your basting stitches.
  11. Invert!
  12. Baste your side seams and sew over them. These should be the only visible seams on the inside of your vest.
  13. Fold under your lining at the bottom of your vest and baste/stitch this into place.
  14. Done!


We Moved!

Moving is pretty hellish, and this move was worse than any of our previous moves. Perhaps because we owned the house? We rented two houses previously, but it didn't seem as bad to move out. We just have so much stuff!!! And big stuff. Adult person stuff. Although, we sold our bed and our guest room bed before moving. That meant we had to buy new once we got to the new house... and assemble it. We disassembled and assembled a lot of things. My fingers were raw.

Moving Tips:

  1. Rent a dumpster.
  2. Throw all your junk you don't need/haven't used in years into the dumpster (or, if it's nice, into a box to donate).
  3. Pack less used items and decor first.
  4. Label, label, label. Don't let your husband pack stuff and not label it. It's a bad idea. Trust me.
  5. Be ruthless in your trashing/donating.
  6. Really nice things can be sold online, but don't price outrageously and just put the item back into storage because no one would pay the outrageous price you want.
  7. Take time off from work.
  8. Hire movers. It's better. Just bite the bullet and do it!
  9. Get all your boxes ready to go and furniture broken down before your movers come.
It costs us $350 for 4 hours with movers. We only had them move the "large" items, and that was a huge mistake!

They were super efficient and moved everything we asked them to in about an hour and a half. Had we had the other stuff ready to go, we could have saved ourselves hours of work, muscle pains, and the money to rent a UHaul (after realizing how screwed we were).

In summary, be prepared ahead of time and don't be a hoarder. If you can't stand the thought of donating/selling an item to a stranger, consider giving it to a friend or relative.