Check out some DIY-er New Year's Eve inspiration!

12.31.2012

New Year's Eve!! Exciting! The last of the big holidays for a while, and would be a shame for it to pass without sharing some pretty party decor and attire inspiration. Earlier this month I got to participate in a collaboration of some local bloggers/party planners/photographer etc. on an NYE photo shoot, which is up on Pizzazzerie.com and features a bunch of pretty DIY and decor ideas for your New Year's Eve festivities. There are even free printables and some great DIYs for the glam accessories and recipes here!

The color scheme was pink and gold, so I got to wear my fabulous made-over sequin dress and some bright accessories! So, consider this a How to Wear DIY--the post on the dress, which I made from a big sequin top, is here.

Here are some pretty pics from the shoot...

The gold sequin dress was a good backdrop for some of the food close-ups, too! See the whole thing on Pizzazzerie.

Hope you have a great night tonight, whatever your party is like! Oh, and hey, because I'm curious... what are you wearing?!

Holiday favorites

12.28.2012

Phew, what a week, and what a crazy month it's been! After all kinds of busy-ness this month, feeling like I'm on holiday break this week has been amazing.

If you've been following along with my favorite festivities on Instagram, you've seen some of the highlights of my holidays so far. Good food, family activities, and enjoying our pretty tree and presents, among other things!

But I really took some time off for Christmas, and am just now getting back into a regular pattern. On Christmas Eve, we spent the whole day with my husband's family, snacking, playing games, watching home videos from the early '90's (OMG, was my husband a cutie when he was little...), and doing our annual Christmas Eve "performances." And, in keeping with my in-laws' Scandinavian tradition, we opened presents! With all the kids and relatives nearby, there are lots and lots of presents.


Christmas morning we opened presents at our house. I love that we're able to start brand new traditions at our new home now that we're settled down and have a nice space of our own. =) My big present from the husband this year was this nice dehydrator! Not too glamorous, but I'm all about practical!! ;)

Next, we headed to my parents' house for Christmas morning and afternoon there. I feel so grateful that we have two sets of loving parents nearby and we get to see them often and on the holidays.

Oh, and I wore my antlers. They light up.

Faves from my parents house--lovely books from my mom and THE PERFECT gold polka dot pajamas from Target! I'm in love!!! And a Nordstrom Rack gift card from my dad. Feeling so lucky!

Really enjoying the gold polka dot cozies--I think they were a special edition or something since they're not online, although these pink ones are also pretty fabulous!--and my stylish new books. Great home dec inspiration and lessons, Good Bones, Great Pieces: The Seven Essential Pieces That Will Carry You Through a Lifetime and Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, which my mom read and loved and bought for me and two of her female friends this Christmas. Fun little read for stylish tips!

This weekend has more fun in store--I'm coordinating a big alumni event for my high school, so that's been keeping me pretty busy and I can't wait till it's over... ;), and we have two family birthday events to go to on Sunday! Hope to get a chance to share with you some DIYs I've been doing over the holiday week including some Christmas gifts that are no longer secret... and we'll catch up about what's next for 2013!!

How was your holiday?? Has it felt like a vacation, or is it too busy and crazy?!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause...

12.24.2012

Happy Christmas Eve, and hope you all have a wonderful holiday. We're splitting time between my parents and my husband's parents today and tomorrow, and are very grateful to have so many loving family and friends around this time of year. Sharing love and cheer and spreading the holiday warmth is my favorite part about this season! Time to forget about the stresses of finding the perfect gifts (I've been to waaaay too many stores this month...) and just enjoy some time off with people we love!!

I wanted to share something that always makes me feel very sentimental and full of holiday spirit, I guess, this time of year. I'm sure most of you know about the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause..." letter, but my husband didn't recognize it when I mentioned it earlier this season, so I figured I should spread it around just in case. ;) Do you know what I'm talking about??

I don't know why, but reading the editor's response to little Virginia almost makes me cry! So funny, since it's not particularly sad, but I guess I'm just touched by the candid but still spiritual/fanciful/emotional response, from so many years ago. I found a full version online and shared below--alongside a favorite photo from a Christmas card I received from a friend in college.

Here's the famous letter and editor's response, printed in The Sun and shared from Newseum...

Source: Marcel Schurman Collection card, 2004
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. 

 "DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? 

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON. "115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET." 

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. 

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. 

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. 

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

--Newseum

Happy holidays!

Party time! The end of the world, and How to Wear DIY

12.21.2012

Well, I wouldn't say it's the end of the world, but it has been a crazy week. Last week, we got to go to a birthday party on 12/12/12--cool date, right?!--for blogger friend Jenni, with an "End of the World" theme. It had the perfect mix of fancy vintage-inspired hotel, dinosaurs, glitter, and REM lyrics. ;) And I got a chance to wear my sequin top-turned-dress from last year. ;) (Super fun How to Wear DIY coming up...!)

So, I made this dress out of a big sequin top, but I wanted to give it another look besides the all-sequin bodice/skirt I've been seeing lots of sequin top OR bottom dresses this year, like these pretties...


Source: lilyboutique.com via Suzannah on Pinterest
Source: rstyle.me via Suzannah on Pinterest


So I figured, why not just layer a skirt over my sequin dress?! Here it is in action!

Purse: Ross. Necklace, skirt: Forever 21. Shoes: Steve Madden via Ross.
Dress (worn as top): DIY, refashioned!

Pretty cool place too, eh? The Original Dinerant, in downtown PDX. Sorry, no pics of the glitter dinosaurs here, but there was a hashtag for the night! #121212jenniBday on Instagram, if you wanna see!

Whaddya think?? Have you ever tried a dress as a top?

The Christmas party dress, and How to Wear DIY

12.19.2012

I'm  not a "little black dress" person. I don't even think I own any anymore, really. Oh, no, one--but I never wear it. I don't wear much black at all, except my new faux leather jacket (worn here and here) and my off-black jeans, but I like black best when it's paired with something unexpected, like brown or tan or ivory! For parties, the last thing I want to wear is an LBD. I like to stand out!

And it's Christmastime, so the perfect dress for a holiday party for me is not a basic LBD with great jewelry; nope, it's a shockingly red dress that just made, inspired by these festive cute frocks!
Source: ModCloth via Suzannah on Pinterest
Source: ModCloth via Suzannah on Pinterest
Source: ASOS via Suzannah on Pinterest

And then there's the lovely red and hot pink Kate Spade dress Taylor Swift wore... super simple style but great bold fabric and colors!

I guess I'm just going for the super simple, classic look this season, in BRIGHT red!

I found some red cotton in a diamond pattern weave at Goodwill not long ago for $2.99 or something for like 3 yards. Love when that happens. It was extra wide, too. I'll wear red any time of year, but it's perfect right now!! So I pulled out the classic lines of the bodice from Simplicity 1873, that Cynthia Rowley dress and jacket, and--what else--pleated the skirt with big directional knife pleats. The fabric is a little on the heavy side, so it actually stood out by itself pretty well. Only one panel in the skirt!, but it's short, so keeps it full-looking.

I wore it to my coworker's "fancytime" Christmas party--that's literally what the invitation said--so it was perfect with some gold bauble-ey jewelry and super party-ey shoes!!

Ta-da! So festive. I'd love to add a hot pink something-or-other for another festive look, channeling Taylor Swift. I'm sure there are LOTS of ways to change it up--just like a little black dress, this one is versatile!

You may recognize the diamond-ey fabric from my cute mantel banner decor, which I did after cutting this out, and of course the (reversible) Christmas stockings I made and did a tutorial for!

A pretty intense DIY starburst mirror...

12.18.2012

I told you we were busy the other weekend doing holiday and home dec projects around the house... here's another! In addition to the simple white mirror makeover I did last weekend, for the stairway down to the garage, but around the same time I found that one crying to be revamped, I found this sun mirror at Goodwill for a similar $8 price. [I had bought another sunburst-ish mirror at HomeGoods a couple weeks before but was still thinking about it; it was a little too modern... so at one point I had THREE mirrors I wanted to DIY into sunburst mirrors, so obviously I had to choose!] My latest round mirror, shown below in the before/after, was the best for doing this sunburst mirror DIY that I had on my list of projects that would be nice.

So, I took this 90's-ey sun mirror and added some skewers, primer, and spray paint, and turned it into a magnificent sunburst-ey decor piece! ;) Here's the before and after...

I hot-glued the skewers on the back, shortening them to different lengths with the longest and shortest in the centers. I actually used two different sizes of skewers, since the biggest-around were nice but would have gotten in the way for some of the shorter pieces, overlapping in the center back. So, I put the skinnier ones in on the shorter bursts, in between the bigger ones.

Spray primered the whole thing (looove that stuff), and spray-painted gold!

And there it hangs proudly.

I wanted to put it above our bed but my husband is a little afraid of it. Nervous about it falling and "stabbing" us. ;) So the entry hall area above our new sofa table is pretty good. It's kinda huge, though. Ah, well.

Instead, above our bed (we really did need something there! It was empty wall space above the headboard!), I hung another sunburst mirror, one that had been above the guest bed... and I put yet another, smaller, more coppery sunburst mirror above the guest bed. Yes, if you were counting, that's THREE sunburst mirrors in my little house, plus a couple of other gold-framed,  round, and oval mirrors. Which begs the question... is there such a thing as too many sunburst mirrors?? ;) I love them!

As requested! The super easy (reversible) Christmas stocking tutorial!

12.17.2012

Get ready for a super easy tutorial for a Christmas stocking to hang--it's even reversible!

Yay, finally got this posted! A couple weeks ago I mentioned I was thinking of making us some Christmas stockings since I can't find the right ones, and we ought to have something hanging on the fireplace! Aside from hanging actual socks... so I made these up, and my friend pointed out that she was hoping to make reversible stockings as gifts/gift bags this year--and I said hey, I have the perfect tutorial coming up! Because these could totally be reversible, if you used fabrics you liked for both the inside and outside.

For mine, I pulled out some great red woven cotton, diamond-ey pattern woven into it and pretty heavy weight, that I got at Goodwill for super cheap a while back. I love the variety of fabric you can find at thrift shops. =) I wanted to coordinate with our bright pink and red theme, so used some hot pink lightweight crinkle-ey poly for the lining (mine's not meant to be reversible, it'll just peek out at the top). I used an old stocking (made in 2009 from a thrifted wool plaid skirt!) as a pattern.

So, for this tutorial, you'll need:

  • Outside fabric
  • Inside fabric
  • Old stocking to use as a pattern
  • Little bit of ribbon or trim for the hanging loop
Super simple! You also could do a monogram of a contrast fabric applique, or iron-on or whatever, on one side, or use a trim band at the top, or... the possibilities are endless. ;)


Easy Christmas Stocking Tutorial


1. Cut 2 outside stockings. Using your old stocking as a pattern, cut around it adding a 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance, whichever you prefer. Make sure to follow the grain of the fabric--mine was plaid so it's easy to see, but try to find the straight grain of the stocking you're copying and make it parallel to the selvage or edge of your new fabric. Most stockings angle a little rather than pointing straight down until the heel.


2. Cut out two inside stocking pieces, using the piece you just cut as a pattern and cutting around it exactly.

3. Sew the short seams together on both pieces--that's the top of the stocking edge. Press your seam allowances to one side.

4. Now you should have two very long, awkwardly shaped double stocking things. Sew them together, right sides together with both linings and both outside fabrics together. Sew around the entire shape except for a small opening--I did a 2" opening at the bottom of the foot of the lining. If you're making a reversible stocking that you'll want to use both sides of, you might want to leave your opening along the straighter edge of the back/outside of the ankle.
**Optional: Not shown since I forgot to do it, but if you want your hook loop to blend perfectly into the seam, make a loop of ribbon or trim and pin it into your awkward shape, facing toward the right sides of the stocking. Put it right at the short seam before you sew.**

5. Clip along your seam allowance at the curves--on both the lining and outer fabric sides, outer and inner curves.

6. Turn your stocking right side out! Flip from the small opening you left in the seam, in the lining/inner fabric.

7. Do your best to press your seams flat or to one side.

8. Top stitch your lining opening closed. Again, mine is in the toe of my lining layer, but yours could be along the side if you want to reverse your stocking and show off the smooth seams along the curvy foot part.

9. Flip your lining back around your arm, tucking it into the stocking. See? Miraculous, it's one piece with no edges showing!

10. Press the top edge seam down, keeping the opening of the stocking smooth and flat.

If you're like me, and forgot to tuck the loop into the seam before making my long, enclosed shape, you can make a loop of ribbon and do a tight zigzag stitch to attach it to the outside corner of the stocking where it hangs.

Ta-da! I also made a hot pink one from some wool I had left over from a vintage skirt makeover. Same pink lining, same style... they're a pair. =) I love them hanging on our fireplace (still need to get some stocking hooks), right under our (same red fabric) holiday triangle bunting and festive lights.


Try it out!!

Gift guide: for the sewing enthusiast!

12.14.2012

People often ask me about what gifts to get for a friend or relative who loves to sew... I wonder if there's a universal answer! I usually suggest a few ideas, and of course it depends what kind of sewing the recipient does, and what she/he has already. I guess sewists are as diverse as anyone, almost--although there are some things a lot of us have in common.

Thought I'd share a few recommendations for gifts for the crafty, creative sewing hobbyist in your life! Honestly for me this year, I included a lot of design and style books on my Christmas list, so those top faves are on here. But there are also some fun, pretty, inspiring goodies that could make any sewing fan happy, and I've included things that a newer sewist might enjoy. Some of my fave sewing tools--gotta have that magnetic pin cushion. ;)

Great gifts for sewers:


  1. This super amazing clear pegboard kit from Amazon
  2. Super sharp, pointy thread snips!
  3. Powerful and wonderful magnetic pin cushion/pin caddy--not super common so she probably doesn't have one already, but sooo helpful!
  4. Books by bloggers =): Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home
  5. Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy
  6. Another book by the very impressive blogger Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge at Home
  7. By talented mom and daughter blogger team, Good Bones, Great Pieces: The Seven Essential Pieces That Will Carry You Through a Lifetime
  8. Power scissors. Love these spring-loaded Fiskars
  9. This is my iron, and I love it!
  10. You guessed it, a book by a blogger--new this year and great for vintage-lovers and sewers, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques
  11. For the new sewer or crafter who wants to get into sewing, a big gift would be a simple machine like this one. My friend has it and I've used hers once, and I approve!
And, last thing: it's not on the list since I just thought of it, but if your sewing-loving friend doesn't already have The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, get it!! Super super cool book (by my editor and agent, actually, but I was a fan even before I started working with them), shows you how to use a few simple patterns to modify them for lots of different styles. *Love.*
There you have it. Holiday gifts of all kinds for the stylish, creative, ambitious or new sewing fan in your life!

Or, sewers out there, what do you like to get as gifts that support your hobby??

Easy DIY Christmas bunting flags

12.12.2012

As noted yesterday... there are a lot of crafty and festive things getting done around my house this week! One of my fave projects from the weekend was my festive fireplace banner... whipped this up with some scraps of red fabric (from a dress I will be sharing soon!! It's super cute!) and some white linen and ribbon--was desperate for some more color and holiday cheer in the living room!

Inspired by some pretty pins I've been collecting for holiday decor, I figured I needed something more on the fireplace mantel. I have some fresh spruce boughs I plan to do something with, but haven't yet. For now, fabric is easiest. So, I made this!


I used the same methods as I did back last summer for our wedding flag bunting, yards and yards of it! You can see my triangle bunting tutorial here and my tutorial for perfect lettering on the flags as well. Although this time, I just freehanded the letters!

There's still more to do to make the house look ready for Christmas, but these are a great start! Oh, and since I took these pics, I made us some coordinating stockings--tutorial (as requested!) coming soon here!

Notes from a crafty weekend

12.11.2012

Whew, boy, did we have a busy and crafty weekend last weekend. The holidays can get that way, I guess--we had lots of family things to do and are thinking about Christmas, so it was a doozy.  BUT, I have lots of cool things to share with you soon...

After my Christmas inspiration post last week, there has been serious reader request-age for a Christmas stocking tutorial! So, it's in the works. In addition, we made THE most amazing fireplace/mantel decor! I love it, can't wait to share it soon. Husband helped. He was very sweet.

Other successes include the result of lots of spray painting and spray priming--check these out. Lucky, lucky me, I had access to this chandelier for free--I saw potential! See the before/and after, where it's living happily in our living room. **Note: Wow, it is hard to take pictures of ceiling lights. Who wants to see a pic of my ceiling? Once the room is better-looking, I'll share wider-range pics. ;)

Also improved by some spray primer and white spray paint... this round mirror I got at Ross on super clearance because it was dirty, eew, and had some missing colored mirror trim pieces. I cleaned it up and gave it a new home in the stairwell going down to the basement/garage/bonus room. That stairwell area was super boring. I like seeing myself and my feet as I head down the stairs!

We also got some more ornaments on the tree, although our collection is still pretty small. I guess you accumulate those kinds of things over time. Right now pretty much all we have are colored bulbs! And candy canes, and those red glitter spindly things I just got... Dollar Tree. =) Wish I had time to do some DIY ornaments, but not this year. ;)

Lots more to share when I can!

Any awesome holiday successes at your house these days? I always love to see original holiday DIY ideas.

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