Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


Tartan plaid tunic

After enjoying a couple days off for Thanksgiving, I am back into the swing of things and put together this cute tunic top out of a really, really nice 100% wool suiting I had left over from a plaid pleated mini skirt my mom made me when I was in high school!  I was inspired by the funky swingy plaid top Lily wore on a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother.  See?

This is the best photo I could find online.  It seems like it's a beige or white knit on the back and the red plaid on the front, but that's weird.  Mine is red wool on both sides.  When she stands up you can see it's mid-thigh length and she wears it with black leggings.  Super cute!  It was super easy to make, no zipper or anything, just the fabric and a bias binding.  See mine:

and without the belt (sort of shapeless):

I used the top part of a Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity pattern, 2497.  I have made this dress in View C, also, and it's super cute and I get compliments on it.  I knew I wanted the scoop neck tank look, so I just used the bodice front and back and extended it to the length I wanted.

I love the Cynthia Rowley patterns for Simplicity!  They have some really cute ones.


Redoing my decor art

A while ago, I needed art in my bedroom and spray painted some canvases with stencils and masking tape.  I was never crazy about them, and when I made my padded headboard they were hung too low, and long story short, they've been stuck behind our dresser for the past month or so.  Anyway today I pulled them out and re-did them in a better color scheme.  See the before:

So today, I pulled out more of my pistachio spray paint and did a light coat all over the canvases.  I ran out before they were 100% covered, so there is sort of background texture rather than plain pale green, like I started with before.  I like the idea of those multi-canvas art things with 2-4 canvases with the same image spread across them, so I painted a big ivory flower across both, asymmetrically, and stenciled a cute design from my favorite stencil book all over in yellow and shades of grey.


I love argyle pillow

I bought this argyle sweater at the Goodwill Outlet because I love argyle, but it totally didn't fit and was sort of faded.  I turned it into a pillow!  It was fun and easy, and I used the ribbing at the bottom as a fold-over sham style closure in the back.  See?
I have been seeing a lot of colorful throw pillows recently and loving them!


Another J.Crew-inspired embellished tee

Today I made another tee based on one of J.Crew's fun tissue knits this winter.  See the original:

Obviously the colors are different, but I took this $2 top from Old Navy, mixed some paint colors and fabric medium together, painted leaves and flowers, and added silk ruffles.

It was really fun to paint the leaves and flowers on!  Not something I usually do.


J.Crew bib necklace

J.Crew, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, and plenty of others have these big bib necklaces in this season.  I'm not sure how I feel about them, but an easy way to test the waters is by making a similar one.  I bought this top for $3.50 on clearance at Marshall's because the ribbon straps were tearing off.
So, I cut the seams that attached the rosettes to the cheap poly stretch blend shirt.  I cut off three rosettes on either side, leaving the three large flowers centered.  I used some thin black satin ribbon and sewed it on.
Check out my inspirations:
Banana Republic:
and Nordstrom:
Mine doesn't have the sparkle of the beaded and be-gemmed ones for $250, but it gives the look and feels about the same to wear.  It's awfully nice that jewelry has ribbon and other easy-to-copy looks this season!
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Plaid wool skirt makeover

Today I cut up a very dated vintage-ey skirt I got at the Goodwill Outlet and turned it into a fresh, supercute look, using the high quality wool for a modern purpose.
This summer we saw a lot of elastic-waist gathered skirts and dresses with contrast tank or sleeved tops.  They are very cheaply made, I'm thinking of the ones in BP in Nordstrom, just cotton or rayon print with a zipper, some with linings and some without.  I didn't have any this summer but I saw this cute skirt from sohomode doing a fall/winter version and it made me realize I still have time to do something myself:

So, I cut apart this bias-cut skirt from many years ago and put the pieces on the grain.  I sewed them back together and voila!  See how it went:

I used a wide black elastic for the waistband and didn't even need a zipper; it stretches enough to go over my hips without one.  I paired it with a black tank, but it could go with a lot of things.  What a cheap, easy, fun project!
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Strip and tie quilt-making!

Today my friend and I put together a quilt top from fabrics she brought back from a trip to Senegal.  She had hand-died pink, beautiful bold blue print, and yellow poly brocade that was a skirt.  We used these and white cotton to make simple squares and rectangles, with a white vertical stripe in between.  We found a great tan and white ric rac print in the "nursery" section of JoAnn for a border, and are using plain white for the back.  Alyssa is going to print out photos from the trip and iron them on to the white rectangles (5x7, which should frame 4x6 photos nicely.  She plans to tie the corners on the quilt with tan embroidery floss.  This is Alyssa's first quilt, so I felt very helpful in showing her how to do things and giving helpful advice!  All that's left to do is tie the corners and bind the edges.  It's a lap-robe size so it's fairly manageable.

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Chic couch pillows

Today I stenciled some silk dupioni couch pillows I had but was bored with.  I just unzipped the cases, put protective magazine pages between the fabric layers, used spray adhesive to adhere the stencils, and daubed the paint on.  I mixed the $0.59 craft paint with fabric medium from JoAnn to use it on the silk.  I was excited to use my awesome bird and branch stencils, both from my neat new stencil book, Stencil Me In.  Check it out here:

The other side of the paler brown pillow has two branch stencils instead of two birdie stencils.  I feel like I have seen this type of pillow here and there and I like the simple outline design of one color on a background.  I want to make a white dupioni pillow cover and stencil the same designs on brown onto it.  

Check out some of my inspirations:

Urban Outfitters:
And this great Etsy shop/screenprinting business, Branch Handmade:
Yay stenciling!

Spray paint improves my funky cool lamp

I picked up this lamp at the Goodwill Outlet today for $5.  Everything there is sold by pound but lamps are either by pound or $5 each, regardless of size.  This thing is super heavy, so I paid the unit price. 

The shade isn't quite right, I know, but it's the best I could do right away.  It's an odd shape and size to get a shade for... I will keep looking.  Anyway, this thing was not nearly so attractive when I got it, and I can tell it's from an era where brown oak paneling and harvest gold carpets were in:

Maybe that's not the original harp?  It's so small for the huuuuuuge base.  It looks so bottom-heavy with a smallish shade and harp.  Anyway, I just threw some spray paint on it--black gloss, $0.99 at Lowe's.  I thought about doing it a color, and maybe sometime I will!  It reminds me of some of the cool big lamps I've been seeing, here are just a few from Crate and Barrel:



Festive, easy grapevine wreath

I have seen several great wreaths for the holiday season that aren't strictly Christmas wreaths, and decided to make my own!  Good Bones Great Pieces had a piece showing quite a few trendy ones, including this version they made themselves:

And mufn inc had a nice one just posted today:

 I made this nice and very easy fall/holiday wreath with a $4 grapevine wreath from JoAnn, some Dollar Tree decorative leaf sprigs, and some Dollar Tree Halloween/Thanksgiving ribbon.  Since the leaves are on wire, I just wrapped it into the grapevine and didn't need any glue or anything.  So, the total cost was... $8, and I have some ribbon left over.  =)

I wish I had the great lighting the other photographers did...just pretend ;)
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Fun on Polyvore

Some of my fave bloggers have been sharing Polyvore, a great online outfit-maker that lets you combine any of tons of clothes and put together imaginary outfits and wardrobes.  Some of the items to choose from are $900 coats, of course, so I like to use it for sewing inspiration!  See what I'm loving this week for fall cute outfits:
Plaid, grey, riding boots, shiny artistic drapey jewelry.  Angry Chicken was right, this is a fantastic time-waster!!!!
I think I need to make an everyday plaid mini.  Or something else plaid.  It is so festive and adds some real character to any outfit!...
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Retro look satin party dress

I made this cute party dress today copied from this great dress from Boden:

I didn't have a pattern even close to this look, so I modified this Simplicity pattern by changing the top gathers to side bust darts:
I was a little worried about the fit in the bust, but I think it worked out:

To emulate the Boden dress with beads or something on the yoke, I added some white "Sew-on fashion jewels" that I got for about .97 at JoAnn.  I should probably look for some more in something similar to fill it in more... I now notice the Boden version has quite a lot of decoration and is very cute that way! Unfortunately mine is made of cheap poly satin instead of heavy silk, but it will be fun for this season and is festive, too!
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J.Crew-inspired novelty tee

I had fun making this tee based on J.Crew's novelty knits for a fraction of the price.  I love the pale colors and girly but edgy ruffles of their tees.  Here are just a very few of them:

Some of them are really nice, silks and things, but I had a lot of fun designing my own!  I took this $5 tee shirt from Old Navy and some silk scraps from my mom's box of small silk pieces.  I thought about using lace or ric rac also, but ended up just doing some zig zagging and using the strips:

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Amy Karol from Angry Chicken in person!

Amy Karol, blogger extraordinaire from Angry Chicken and author of Bend the Rules Sewing and Bend the Rules with Fabric, had a fun little book signing and chat party at Bolt on Alberta this evening.

It was so fun and exciting to see the other Portland creative folks turn out and listen to Amy share some wisdom and projects from her newest book, which I am totally loving.  Bend the Rules with Fabric has some great ideas for fabric and decor art, lots of super quick and easy projects that look great and are even cooler because you can make them yourself!  Seriously, I have all kinds of ideas for artsy-craftsy-anthropologie-type stuff that will be really cool to make.  I love Amy's blog and her projects and tutorials, so it was so great to meet her!

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