Extreme changes, and big improvements about diet and health

2.27.2013

This post has taken me a while to write, and I'm a little nervous about posting it, but... here goes. Some big changes have been happening in our household to do with food. I've talked about my diet before, in response to some questions about me brief mentions about some raw vegan foods I've made. But things have changed a lot since that post, and I guess I feel the need to update my blog to reflect the changes in my life. Diet is a very personal issue, but I want to give context to any future posts about food.

Maybe I'm making too big of a deal out of this. Basically, for more than 10 years I was vegetarian, though I ate fish occasionally. For the last 3 years, I've been mostly raw vegan--mostly raw foods, no dairy, no meat, the very occasional raw fish. Although in the past year I'd started eating eggs again since I wasn't satisfied with the raw foods I had time to make. But over that 10-year period, I never missed meat or craved dairy or anything.

Over Christmas, I started eating (grassfed only) meat again, something I never thought I would do. I also started eating a lot of grassfed butter. This change is completely shocking to me, but I'm really excited about it. If you had asked me a few months ago if I would ever eat meat again, I'd have said, "I don't see why. No need to. No desire to. Not even when I get pregnant. I'm fine!"

So, what changed?

Our kitchen island. (Wait, are those meat books??!!) Image source: The Oregonian

From raw vegan to quasi-Paleo high fat diet


This big change is all thanks to my husband. He was always very supportive of my raw veganism, and happily ate whatever I made for us, but never did the diet as much as me. Last fall he started reading some new health blogs and listening to some great podcasts, and learned some very different views about health--different than what we'd learned in health class, online, in FDA resources, in vegan advocate books like The China Study, and even somewhat in holistic food books like The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Basically, he told me he was leaning how our bodies are healthiest when we eat lots of healthy fats and saturated fats, and no processed fats. So, you can lose weight by eating a lot of good fat like coconut oil and grassfed butter (very different properties than regular butter). Weigh loss and muscle gain was my husband's goal, so he told me he wanted to start drinking coffee with about 400 calories of grassfed butter and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil blended every morning. This sounded INSANE to me. I was anti-coffee and dairy, and couldn't see how eating more fat would do anything but make you fat.

This coffee recipe--"Bulletproof Coffee"--comes from the diet of same name. The Bulletproof Diet is "Paleo-friendly but not Paleo-derived," so has a lot of similar concepts to the Paleo Diet that Loren Cordain developed in the late '90's and early 2000's, but has a focus on low-toxin foods that don't contribute to hormonal and gut bacteria issues that can contribute to weight gain. The Bulletproof Diet is also a "high-fat, moderate-protein diet" whereas traditional Paleo is generally lower-fat, high-protein.

Our Bullletproof Coffees

But for me first hearing this, I thought it sounded insane. High-fat? More than 50% of your daily calories from healthy fats?? Whaaaa...?!?!

So I did some research myself and read about the founder of the Bulletproof Diet, who had also been raw vegan for a time and tried out basically everything he could to lose weight and be healthy. He had been eating low fat diets and worked out 6 days a week and still weighed 300 lbs until he developed his Bulletproof Diet and lost 100 pounds, gained muscle, increased his mental clarity. All of this confused me a ton--me, the 10+-year vegetarian who yes, had some health issues, but for the most part was okay and looked pretty good most of the time and kept going every day without much fat or animal protein.

I needed more fat!


So, after doing my research about the Bulletproof Diet and other researchers and doctors who prescribe similar ways of eating, I started out by adding more fat into my diet. I wasn't ready to eat meat, but I tried starting my morning with some coconut oil and almond butter instead of a green smoothie and eggs. To my surprise, I felt great! and didn't gain any weight. I felt full longer--go figure, right? ;) I also didn't have sweet cravings and drastically decreased my (always natural, but still) sugar intake. After continuing to learn about this, I started to feel like the principles of this diet had the potential to be the healthier than what I was doing, and it began to make a lot of sense.

Kerrygold unsalted butter. We eat a lot of these! Source: Kerrygold
The crazy thing for me was this new appreciation for healthy fats (the building blocks of cells, after all)... I really, really love it now. Not only was I full longer, my digestion improved immensely, and I realized I'd really been depriving myself for years of watching fat intake and eating a pretty low-fat diet. I noticed my cravings in the middle of the day when I hadn't had enough lunch were for FAT, not sugar or protein/nuts, like I once felt. It's like my body saying, I need fuel! Fuel to burn! Like gas, but the kind my body wants!! I'm so excited about my new diet that's full of good butter. ;) Now, a legitimate snack for me is almond butter and coconut oil in a dish, haha, although if I eat good meals (veggies, fat, and maybe some meat) I don't need snacks, for the first time in my life. Wow. (I may have needed more protein, too, but I'm not sure I was super deficient in that before. Our bodies are good at creating proteins (fingernails, hair, etc....) but we can't generate fat on our own. When we eat good fat, it's clean fuel. When we eat crazy, modified fats and hydrogenated oils, our bodies don't know what to do with it and we store it. But pure fat is what tells our systems we are not in a place of famine, and we can use energy at a normal rate. Mmmm....)

Eating Meat Again...!?


It's weird, but... I realized that this diet actually had a surprising amount in common with what I had been doing: whole foods, nothing processed, low-toxin, no grains or gluten, nothing overly cooked, lots of nutrient-dense foods, lots of veggies. The difference was the fat and the (grassfed only) meat.

I felt like it might be time to try not only the butter and coffee (which is super delicious, by the way--all you taste is coffee and creaminess!!), but even some grassfed meat and see how I felt. I felt no adverse effects from the butter (very low in milk proteins which I'm sensitive to, mostly just has the good saturated fat). Next, meat! I was excited but nervous to eat meat again, but luckily my in-laws have been buying cow and pig shares from a local farm, so we knew we had access to quality meat to try, and buy some ourselves if we liked it.

So, when I was ready, on Christmas morning I had some bacon. Totally shocked my husband, watching me eat it. Then at Christmas dinner with the in-laws, I ate a pork chop. I never even liked pork chops that much, but it was the best meat I've ever had. Later that week, we cooked up some ground beef in burgers and shepherd's pie. Jumping in with both feet!! I was exhilarated and felt full in a way I haven't since... since I can remember, I guess!

After this I felt like making the choice to start eating meat again, but maintaining my dedication to quality and nutrient density--something I felt really good about, even though it was a radical departure from what I had done before. Since Christmas we bought our own share of local grassfed beef and have been trying lots of new fun recipes, And experimenting with preparation methods. I borrowed some books from friends and family and we got a couple ourselves, and it's so interesting and amazing to learn about the parts of the cow, the ways grassfed is different than conventional, etc. It's like a new hobby!

Gaining muscle, losing fat by eating fat and meat


After reading and listening to podcasts, I understand why my body has undergone the changes it has. But it sounds weird if you come at it from a conventional perspective. Since changing our diets, my husband has lost 25 pounds (and counting) without changing his exercise level, and is gaining muscle and looking awesome. (In fact, he's even been blogging about our grassfed meat/butter lifestyle and other nutrition enthusiasm! Grassfed Geek blog...)

Weight loss wasn't my goal, but I have gained muscle and kept about the same weight, also not changing exercise. My clothes all fit exactly the same, but I have ab definition and my arms look super toned. And I feel great about my body. For the first time in years, like literally, like since I was a kid, I've felt totally comfortable in my skin and not self-conscious or like I should look better or different. I feel like this is how my body is supposed to be in its natural state! How amazing!!

The End! (So far!)


So, I'm really excited about this new-to-me way of eating, and have been enjoying the Paleo and grain-free, high-fat diet resources online. (Great "What is Paleo?" summary on one of my fave sites here.) I'm still super new to this, but I know a lot of bloggers share their Paleo diets and recipes and I'm sure there are tons still to discover! (& Kathleen wrote about her Paleo cleanse, Rubies and Radishes has a great summary of the foods she's found work for her, Jessica Quirk of What I Wore wrote about her transformation, etc...) But for now, here are a few blogs I've found, if you want to check them out.

Favorite all-around source: Balanced Bites (and their awesome podcast!)

Paleo recipe blogs:


Paleo research and article blogs:


I'm also loving a lot of the books out there. We've learned so much about quality meat and cooking meat from these:

And I can't wait to read these:


I guess the basic takeaway from all of this for me is, what we thought we knew about diet and health comes from years of biased influences, but we know that we as a culture have strayed from a healthy, simple diet. Look around and we see all kinds of health problems and weird variations and processed foods. So I'm really excited to have found a way that I can eat that makes me feel and look good--it seems so simple now. I'm loving this new attitude and diet and can't wait to keep learning more!!

(All of that was FYI! Sorry if it's too much, and feel free to ignore if you disagree. Again, diet is personal, but I wanted to put this out in the open and feel able to post new fave recipes, etc. in the future without being confusing. Now it's off my chest!)


P.S. Why I was vegan, and what stayed the same

I should say that I became vegetarian not because I felt compassion for animals, although I do, but because meat grossed me out and it seemed like a good thing to do. Then I became raw vegan because I was inspired by some new friends that had done it, and the raw vegan book and blogs I was reading made it seem like the healthiest way to eat. Health was my goal.

I realized during my raw veganism that the most important things to exclude from my diet were processed foods, grains, and dairy. I had had a lot of health problems before adopting the raw vegan diet, and they mostly went away--and I lost 25 pounds without trying. However, by the end of it, as I said, I wasn't feeling super satisfied with the food choices I had and I didn't often have time to make some of the complicated recipes I did enjoy. So a lot of the time I would end up eating way too much dried fruit (probably not technically raw anyway) and nuts--like, for a meal. Or I'd cut up some fruit and eat it with peanut butter (also not raw, but a whole food) and maybe salt and raw sugar. I ate WAY too much fruit sugar and I knew it, but I didn't know what else to eat and I was hungry. (We even tried a week of juice fasting/juice cleanse, to see what it was like--verdict: terrible. Way too much sugar, numbed my sense of when to eat, and the lack of fiber meant nothing got processed. I was constipated the entire week, literally; sorry about the TMI... but my husband had the opposite problem, which was also uncomfortable. Never doing that again!!)

So, I'm very happy with what we've found now, and so exciting to keep learning more!

The end... for now. ;)

How to Wear DIY: DIY jean shorts for winter

2.25.2013

What a fun weekend! We kept a low profile and hung around at home most of the weekend, and saw family on Sunday, but it was so exciting to see our home in the Homes and Gardens section of the Portland paper The Oregonian. We were the front page story! (You can read more about it here!)

Also this weekend I tried out a new look for this super awkward time of year... it's still cold and grey, but we're tired of warm fall/winter colors, but it's not quite time to pull out the bright pastels. So thanks to the latest issues of Lucky and InStyle I read recently--they're taunting us with short skirts and springy colors...--I figured, how about a hybrid outfit? I can rock the cutoffs with tights, right?!

Worth a try, anyway. I pulled out some simple DIY cutoffs I made a couple summers ago (tutorial here, a few steps beyond just cutting off a pair of jeans!) and added tights and booties. I have literally never worn tights and shorts before. Pretty crazy! ;) But I tried the more practical version of Lauren Conrad's cover look--long necklace, lacy/textured neutral top... it pretty much worked, I think!
DIY cutoffs for winter-004
Blazer: Target. Top and vintage bag: Goodwill. Necklace and boots: F21 (similar necklace).
Shorts: DIY makeover!

Do you rock shorts with tights in winter?! I think it helps beat the late-winter wardrobe blues! Any other tips??

Check out our house tour!!

2.23.2013

Today is an exciting day! Our full house tour is featured in today's cover story of The Oregonian's Homes and Gardens section in an article I guest wrote for them!

You can read the whole thing here and check out the complete gallery of images. They sent a photographer out and we spent more than 2 1/2 hours taking pics of the house. Of course not everything made it in, but you can see a bunch of DIYs I've shared in action around the house. The title of the piece is "DIY, low-cost decorating puts a personal stamp on a Beaverton townhouse"--yep, that sounds about right!
Source: The Oregonian

I'm so excited to be among the Portland homeowners who've been in the Homes and Gardens section, which I've been reading for years. And hey, I'm a professional newspaper writer now! ;) And, it's time to call the house "done," at least mostly. Every day I think of something new I want to do to it, but usually minor. I knew I'd be working on this story for months before I decided the house was ready, but it'll never be totally done, right? ;) I love how it looks in the story, and every day when I feel so grateful to live here and love our home! (And thanks again to Adi Edlen of Garden of Edlen for helping with the styling the day of!)

Update: The Oregonian has now added a second gallery for our tour, of close-ups and DIY projects!

Great appliqué technique, and fresh new pillows for spring

2.20.2013

Fun project I finished over the weekend--I just love this anchor appliqué I found so much, I had to use it again after I did that anchor appliqué tee tutorial! I'm having fun with preppy, classic colors for spring. (As you may have seen in a sneak peek on my Instagram!)

I had some navy fine wale corduroy that I got at JoAnn but had nowhere to use it... I loooove the fun navy color but couldn't find the right place in the house, although it's pretty good for home dec since it's so densely woven it looks like cotton velveteen. So, I figured, time to switch out the pink velveteen pillows we've had on the bed and go for navy and white. Love doing that with bedding!

I sewed the anchor appliqués, cut out of a nice white twill with a stripey ribbed texture, onto the front pieces of my pillows before I sewed the zippers on and sewed them together. I used a technique very similar to what I did on the tee, but I used lightweight iron-on interfacing to reinforce the letters (and to make the white less see-through). Rather than use spray adhesive to attach them to the corduroy, I used some Fabric Fusion Peel & Stick Tape, which I've never used before for anything, actually! You can see in the pic below, I tore off short pieces and used them to anchor the straight lines of the appliqué down. Kollabora sent me this tape stuff for a project for my book, and I'm glad I got to try it out now! Super easy, just unroll and tear or cut, then pull off the wax paper backing. And... adhere. (I did this rather than mess with a bunch of pins to hold the appliqué down as I zigzagged it on the pillow front.)

Once I sewed the appliqués down, I trimmed the interfacing away. This was not as easy as I'd hoped... next time, I'll cut it to the exact size, or iron it on before cutting out the anchors! Aside from that, these went together great; the heavy corduroy was perfect for soft but sturdy pillow covers. Ta-da!!
DIY anchor pillows-021
DIY anchor pillows-024

Pretty fast, and very easy! Now, to freshen up the rest of the room...

I have some preppy grey and white striped bedding from west elm, but that might be a little much! And just bought more gold mirrors to put up somewhere in the bedroom, too. I love decorating bedrooms, but I guess I'm a more than a little indecisive. ;)

How to Wear DIY: The painted wedge and remade scarf

2.19.2013

Phew, that was an awesome, long weekend! Tried to keep it easy but also go a bunch of projects, photos, and some sewing done for my book--yay. Oh, and we made a very big purchase: after several months of sore backs and stiff joints every morning and feeling like we're about 200 years old, we have accepted the fact that the cheap mattress we bought three years ago is terrible and we need a new one. I had Monday off, and we made our second visit to a local mattress company we checked out last week, and bought a brand new set. Memory foam/gel/latex/something fancy and eco-friendly. Cannot wait till it gets here.

Also over the long weekend, did some easy errands and got out a little. I wore my new spray painted wedges, as well as the repaired infinity scarf I also just posted about--wow, yes, you just saw these. ;)

Looking at these pics now, I actually don't remember why I decided to rock those floral patterned tights... not my usual look. I think I wanted to add some texture and pattern to the solid colorblock look and the funny blue and yellow color combo. I'm not quite edgy enough to pull off the super simplistic, minimalism, modern thing, but I wanted to pair those two! Plus, it's still kinda cold out...

So here they are--DIY updated wedges and DIY infinity scarf-from-an-old-former-infinity scarf...
Sweater: Old Navy via Goodwill. Skirt: Goodwill. Tights: uh... Marshalls? Jacket: Ross
Earrings: Target. Scarf: DIY infinity scarf, from a mystery scarf. Shoes: DIY painted!

Anyone else been all about the spray-painted shoes? ;)

How to sew on sweaters in action--scarf and sweater

2.15.2013

While I really love to learn new things, there are some techniques (sewing, salad dressing-making, whatever it is) that I go back to again and again. Favorite standbys that I really rely on. Knowing how to take in a sweater is one of these.

Sweaters, very heavy knits that aren't usually made with standard thread and basic sewing machines, are definitely different to sew on than is a woven garment or even a tee. But over the weekend I took in a chunky cotton sweater and I put back together a thick wooly infinity scarf, using a regular machine and thread!

So, in the past I've done tutorials on how to sew on sweaters--the basic how to take in a sweater, which also applies to thick tees, and an update for chunkier sweaters. So I won't go over all the steps for you now, but it is cool to see the transformation!!

I got this cotton cable fisherman-ey sweater from the Forever 21 online clearance, so I hadn't tried it on and it was final sale. When it arrived and I tried it on, it was massive in the body but slim in the arms. (I think I'm missing something here. This must be some sort of new, ironic style. I know baggy stuff is in, but this was not flattering! Sorry, Forever 21, I guess I'm too traditional for you...?)

So here you can see, the super-unflattering big boxy bubbly before, then the sweater right after I took in the side seam and trimmed the excess since there was so much, and then the difference in size when it was done!

And here it is.

The scarf. Also a sweater project from this weekend, I found this half-off at Goodwill and loved the herringbone pattern and nice wool. It was a little shorter than your average scarf, and had no fringe, so I figured it'd make a good infinity scarf like I've done in my French seam infinity scarf conversion tutorial.

But when I got it home, I saw it had serged edges and a shadow from a seam... I think it was sold as an infinity scarf, and someone took it apart! So I put it back together. 

So look, it's easy to sew on a knitted garment! If you have any in your closet that need fixing, go nuts!

Valentines, and How to Wear DIY: Perfect hot pink!

2.13.2013

It's almost Valentine's Day! I guess I'm more excited about the build-up to Valentine's Day than the holiday itself; I'm not "a Valentine's Day person," as some people say... but, I love the wave of creativity that comes over so many of us in the face of a creatively interesting holiday like one involving pink, red, and hearts. So I've really enjoyed seeing some cute Valentine's-ey DIYs lately!

Just pinned this collection of ideas from Apartment Therapy.



That said, um, I don't have any plans to DO any holiday projects, really... (except for this super easy trick we did at a girls' night Valentine's Day party we had this weekend!), and I don't have any big plans for celebrating. Probably just go out to dinner or make a special dinner at home with the husband, which will be nice!, but nothing super holiday crazy.

I do like to dress festively, but I don't have much red or hot pink. But when going out to dinner over the weekend, to get into the February mood, I pulled out my brightest, Valentine's-ey-est, cheeriest, most festive piece of clothing: the vintage skirt I made over into a cute a-line. Perfect for the Valentine's season!

Shirt: Marshall's. Sweater: Gap/Goodwill. Shoes: JC Penney.
Skirt: DIY, from a vintage one!

HOT pink!! Super cool fabric, too, it's a wool knit. I felt very bold in the pink/black/white combo!

What are you doing to celebrate this cute and potentially craft-inspiring holiday? Any great easy projects or festive outfits? ;)

Super quick update to last year's fave shoes

2.11.2013

I loved a pair of Target wedges last year (or are they two years old? I guess a year and a half...) and they're super comfortable and easy to wear. You saw them with full-legged pants, a flippy skirt dress, and then with the peplum top I made out of that dress. So I really enjoyed them last year, but wanted something new this year. I've seen a lot of similar shapes in bootie form this year, some really cheap ones from Forever 21 online, and here and there... some in tan, brown, or black. I like the sleek (rather than chunky) wedge for a little dressier look, and the toe is a nice shape.


But, rather than buy something new... I figured, I wore my similar pumps enough last year! Why not make them into something new?! (I've been reading a very recent book about the garment industry and "fast fashion" culture we've gotten used to. Sometimes cheap stuff is not awesome. Really making me want to buy and own less cheap clothing!--more than I already did. I love when DIYing makes it easier to make your own than to buy!)

So I took my old faves, stuffed them with newspaper, and gave them a good coat of matte spray paint. The $1 kind Home Depot makes in black and white, matte and shiny. WOW, how easy was that?!

I don't love black, and I suppose ideally would have had a medium tan color, but they don't make spray paint in fake leather tan color. ;) But the matte black is nice, different than a showy, shiny black pump. They already made an appearance in a How to Wear DIY outfit I'll be sharing as soon as I get the rest of the pics edited...


Ta-da! I know it's so simple it's almost obvious... but, take it from me, you CAN spray paint your shoes (within reason--I've tried and failed before with patent!) and you CAN update last year's style without spending money or filling the landfill with more Forever 21 crap than absolutely necessary. ;)

More easy home dec spray paint projects!

2.08.2013

I'm happy to admit I get a little overenthusiastic about spray paint every so often... been doing a lot of home dec spray painting since we bought the house, and have a couple more big ones to share with you today!

You remember my colorblock tray project? That was super fun. The whole tape-and-spray-paint process is so easy and fast and pretty. I got the idea for these gold-dipped candle holders from a friend... I bought 8 of these plain candle holders at Dollar Tree just knowing they needed to be made over. My friend suggested painting the bottoms!! And, why not gold (like practically everything else in my living/dining rooms, oops...)??

Wrapped these in Parade Magazine pages and taped them off with painter's tape. Spray-painted Krylon shiny gold, rolled over after they dried, gave another coat... done!! Gold dipped candle holders, yay!!

I spread them on the dining room table since I didn't know what to do with all of them... love that they're different heights. Still playing with where they go.

Okay, so then my other most recent amazing and successful spray paint project is this totally "duh!" DIY necklace hook system. I spray-painted some jewelry stands recently also, and they're great for small things, but for my big necklaces I wanted a stable hanging place where I could see them easily. As you'll also see in that post, I've been thinking about the myriad of DIY jewelry stand examples out there (thanks, Pinterest/overwhelmingness...) and I'm really happy with this one as opposed to a chicken wire frame or some other solution--although there are some very cool ones!

This one was SO simple, can't believe I didn't think of it for so long. I bought a TIE HOOKS at Bed Bath and Beyond and spray-primered, then spray-painted them white! Duh, right?! Tie hanger hooks, the perfect size for chunky and bigger necklaces!

I'm stoked. I hung it prominently in our closet under a mirror, so convenient. (Why didn't I think of this until now, yikes!!) Our closet has a weird wall thing where some vent goes through the second floor, super annoying since the floor space would be nice!!, but perfect for hanging these. (The rest of the closet has the perfect shelving that we built--I'm overdue to post pics, but you can read about it here.) We're getting pretty close to an incredible, functional, attractive closet! (Lifelong dream!! ;) )

So, uh, yeah, spray paint is amazing. I also invested in some painter's mask things, since in the winter, spray-painting in the garage is super stinky and terrible for me, I'm sure. Come on, spring!

So are you inspired?! Doing any spray painting this weekend??!?

More house-painting... the bonus room is done!

2.06.2013

This one came out of nowhere; the basement bonus room was not high on my list of priorities for rooms to finish in the house. But I'm so happy with how it turned out, with just a few updates that fell into our laps!

One of the major selling points of our house was the bonus room on the ground floor/basement, first place you see coming in from the garage. It's perfect for the husband's game room/TV room--that's right, there is NO TV on the main floor or top floor! The only TV we have is the monstrosity in the basement, and it almost looks okay sitting on the shiny white Ikea entertainment unit I totally scored on Craigslist.

But the space is kind of a cave, and we didn't want it to be too boring or dark or full of junk. It's not ever going to be super glam, but it could be cozy, and fun.

So here's the before (after prep work for painting, sorry...):

And the after!...

I'd been collecting pieces to make it more interesting and fun, and really like the entertainment unit and couch, also Ikea via Craigslist. We found the rug at West Elm a few weeks ago for an amazing deal, since it was a floor model and an extra percent off for this-and-that. But the breakthrough came when my friend suggested we paint the upper half of the wall. It has a small, un-useful ledge on the middle half of the wall since the bottom part is the concrete foundation. Why not play with it, right?, and make it an interesting color?

It was pretty much the easiest painting job ever, since it's a small, rectangular wall... just had to tape it and remove two switch plates. Took like an hour or something for each coat. ;) And we already had the lovely grey paint, from the same card as the very, very light grey of the rest of the walls, from the stripes I painted in the upstairs guest bathroom. Anyway, here it is!

More Ikea-via-Craiglist: the chair ($40) and the Malm dresser--free, and pretty boring and not great for the space, but, it stores cords and husband's junk drawer, which I recently had way too much fun organizing with Dollar Tree organizers.

Ta-da!!

All done, and a fun space for me to be in and walk through every day, and a great place for my husband to play video games (and play with his K'Nex and Koosh basketball hoop, as you can see... his mom cleaned out her garage when we bought the house ;)). The ATAT wall decal is another brand new addition; husband was extremely excited to order it on Amazon, and it looks pretty good on the new grey wall!

We also just hung up the guitars--they also fit nicely on that little half-wall space. I love those guitar hanger hook things, but he's been hesitant to hang his guitars since he thinks they aren't nice enough to display. I think, hey, it gets them off the floor and reminds us of your musical abilities every time I look at them! Win-win! We have a couple more that I want to hang someday, for some other, even less-used guitars.

Another extremely exciting update is this super cool motion sensor, timed, dimmer light switch. The room was in desperate need of a two-way switch for in the mornings when it's dark in the stairwell behind you, on your way to the garage, but dark in the room so you had to leave the stair light on, then cross the room after opening the garage door and garage light, all while carrying purse, coat, lunch bag, and travel mug... aaack!! So we installed this fancy motion sensor one that turns off after a minute or whatever time you set it to. And it's on a dimmer so it doesn't have to blind you first thing in the morning. Amazing improvement!

DIY anchor appliqué on stripes tutorial

2.04.2013

Had this one in the to-do pile for a long time now… excited to share this fun embellishment with you! I had planned to do a heart appliqué sweater with this great hot pink knit leftover fabric I had from a vintage skirt… I imagined doing one of those J.Crew heart sweater looks, big, asymmetrical heart appliqué on a nice crewneck sweater. And out of hot pink? Perfect, and a cute Valentine’s Day craft. But I wanted to do something a little different when it really came down to it. I thought about doing a big bow shape out of the fabric, laid flat, but I already did a DIY bow appliqué tee once, and… nah. My mom suggested an anchor. Great idea, Mom!

DIY Anchor applique tee tutorial-026

There are lots of inspirations for anchor sweaters, turns out! Here are some to get you warmed up ;)…




Even a couple tees and sweatshirts like mine!
Delia's

Anchor Tee Tutorial


Okay, so here goes the anchor tee or sweater tutorial… this one’s pretty simple, and no fancy interfacing required. (You can use double-sided fusible web interfacing if you’re doing this on a thicker sweater or sweatshirt, you might want to use it on the appliqué piece.) You will need:
  • Tee, sweatshirt, or sweater
  • Any fabric you want to appliqué—I used a knit wool scrap
  • Anchor pattern! Or any pattern you want. I found this anchor template and printed it out, scale up big to fit an 8.5”x11” page. You could do any size!
  • Spray adhesive
  • Optional: Fusible interfacing to put on the inside of your tee, if it’s very stretchy, or on the underside of your appliqué fabric if it’s very thin. I didn't use it this time!
DIY Anchor applique tee tutorial-005

1. Print and cut out your anchor pattern and spray some spray adhesive to the back of it. Stick the sticky side to the back/underside of your appliqué fabric, keeping your fabric on the grain--that is, don't put the pattern down any which-way, and let the center line be straight along the grain/weave of the fabric. This will keep it from pulling and getting distorted as you stick and sew.
DIY Anchor applique tee tutorial-003
2. Watching the center line of your tee (see the pins that mark mine?), press your sticky appliqué down. This was easy on the stripes, since they act as guides to keep it straight!
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 3. At your machine, zigzag alllllllll the way around the anchor. This part takes a while. Don't pull on your tee  or sweater at all during this process--since it's a knit, it'll get puckery with all that non-stretchy sewing on it! Watch out! (This is where the interfacing helps if it's a super stretchy garment.)DIY Anchor applique tee tutorial-009 DIY Anchor applique tee tutorial-012  
Done!
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Super easy! That was only 3 steps! This was by far the most successful and easy project of my weekend! ;) Now, for some springy weather so I can wear it out... ;)
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