HomemadeBanana | Making things beautiful.
Style

I’m Moving to Seattle!

floral-kimono-gold-pleated-skirt-6floral-kimono-gold-pleated-skirt-7floral-kimono-gold-pleated-skirt-4 floral-kimono-gold-pleated-skirt-2  floral-kimono-gold-pleated-skirt-3floral-kimono-gold-pleated-skirt-1
Kimono: H&M (old) // Skirt: J.Crew // Camisole: Lush // Shoes: Zara (old, similar) // Clutch: DIYed //  Sunglasses: Prada via DITTO // Lipstick: NARS in Roman Holiday

As I was doing a bit of desktop tidying (the pixel-based kind, not the papers and pens kind) the other day, these pictures popped up like the proverbial $20 note forgotten in a jacket pocket. They were snapped at the beginning of summer when I was still in Iowa, then they sat, untouched, in the intervening months as I packed up the above kimono and gold pleated skirt and moved my wardrobe—and my life—down to Texas.

In less than two months my boxes and I will complete the second leg of our move up to Seattle, where we hope to find a cute little Craftsman house to rent in close proximity to an impossibly well-styled coffee shop and the Mothership (this, of course, being my nickname for the Nordstrom corporate headquarters where I will be working).

In the meantime, due to my severe aversion to packing and unpacking, I am attempting to live out of two pitifully overstuffed suitcases—supplemented by the occasional shopping trip. It helps that it’s still regularly on the wrong side of 90 degrees here in San Antonio, so I can stick to floaty dresses and off-the-shoulder tops that take up very little suitcase space without having to dig out any heavy knitwear.

Truth be told, though, I can’t wait to dig out my fall favorites. I think this pleated skirt will pair especially well with a little bit of faux fur and crisp PNW air, don’t you?

Accessories, DIY

DIY Pom-Pom Sandals

diy-pom-pom-sandals-1diy-pom-pom-sandals-3There’s a fashion-world equivalent to the self-dubbed-hipster quip, “I saw that band before they were famous,” and it goes a little something like this: I wanted these shoes before every single style blogger was wearing them on Instagram. I have to proof, too. Like an intrepid inventor who mails herself sealed envelopes filled with million dollar ideas, I pin the things I see and love and have to have. Thirty one weeks ago, I pinned these pom-pom-bedecked lace-up sandals and now, I finally have them.

In true Homemade Banana fashion, I opted to make my own iteration instead of clicking that buy now button because, well, they seemed so easy to recreate and saving almost $200 is nothing to sneeze at. The result is truly so, so similar that it makes it worth the little bit of elbow grease required to braid all that friendship bracelet trim. Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing that although they were inspired by a now-ubiquitous style, your shoes are truly one of a kind.

Keep reading for detailed instructions on how to whip up your own pair of statement sandals. And yes, I am aware that last weekend marked the end of the summer season, but since I’m currently living in Texas where summer won’t end for a few more months, just go with me on this one! It’s never a bad idea to start stockpiling for next summer, anyway.

diy-pom-pom-sandals-2For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a pair of inexpensive lace-up gladiator sandals (the ones I used are sold out, but I found several other great options here, here, here and here)
• 15 to 20 colors of embroidery thread
• pom-poms (I used these)
coral charms
• colorful stone beads like these
• E6000
gold head pins
• jump rings
• needlenose pliers
• needle and thread

diy-pom-pom-sandals-12
1. The first thing to do is whip up a few lengths of friendship bracelet from your stockpile of embroidery thread. The number and length you’ll need is entirely dependent on the sandals you’re working with, so use those as a guide. For each one of my sandals I needed one long piece and four shorter pieces of friendship bracelet, so 10 pieces total. This is definitely the most time consuming part, but it’s really fun to work on the bracelets while you’re watching, say, a Harry Potter marathon on TV.

If you’re having trouble recalling the ins and outs of friendship bracelet making from your summer camp days, check out this video for a quick tutorial. I used a five-color chevron pattern because it was the perfect width for the straps on my sandals. If you need a thinner bracelet, use fewer colors; if you need a thicker bracelet, use more.

2. Knot each length of bracelet both ends and trim off the excess thread. Fold the knots under so they don’t show and glue the ends down with E6000 glue. Then, apply a small line of glue down the length of the underside of the bracelet and place in on your sandal. Hold in place for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t move around too much when you let go. After you glue all of these on, wait for about 24 hours for the glue to fully cure before you touch the sandals.

3. In the meantime, you can get started on the other decorations. To create the all-important pom-pom charms, thread a head pin through a pom-pom and trim off the excess pin, leaving about 1/4″ on the end. Use your needlenose pliers to create a loop at the end of the pin, then attach a jump ring to that. Repeat until you have about 26 pom-pom charms. Then, repeat the process with any stone or coral charms you have. The more the better!

4. Once the glue has fully dried, go back in with a needle and thread and tack down the ends of the friendship bracelets. All it takes is four or five stitches—just enough to keep the ends from curling up.

5. Using the needlenose pliers, attach the charms you’ve made to the shoelaces, making sure to space them out evenly. Attach two or three charms to each shoelace end for a playful finish. And that’s it! All you have to do now is lace up those bad boys and take them out for a spin.

diy-pom-pom-sandals-4diy-pom-pom-sandals-8diy-pom-pom-sandals-7 Continue Reading

DIY

DIY Dog Bowls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewBeneful #CollectiveBias

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-5Clarabelle, light of my life, apple of my eye. My dog, my soul. Cla-ra-belle: the tip of her tongue taking a trip of three steps down the muzzle to tap, at three, at the snout. Cla. Ra. Belle. For those of you, my dear readers, who’ve now stopped reading and started wondering why I’ve decided to so cavalierly swap in the given name of my 12-pound papillon for that of a famously victimized 12-year-old girl, just stick with me!

What I am trying to say here is that I love my dog very much. Those of you who know me will not be shocked at my comparison above, just as you have not been shocked to see me rock Clarabelle like a baby and hear me speak out loud to her like she can understand my words (she can). She’s a good girl and to really play into that age-old stereotype, she’s my bff.

You know that opening scene in 101 Dalmatians in which Pongo watches dogs and their humans parade down the sidewalk, a showcase of man mirroring beast in all manner of appearance? Clarabelle and I are not too far off. While I’ve yet to dye my hair black and white to match hers, we do share many similarities. We both prefer filtered water to tap. We both prefer soft surfaces to hard (this proclivity manifests itself in her refusal to lay down on hardwood floors and in my preference for memory foam mattresses). We both like to be well groomed and we both like the finer things in life, food-wise.

Just as my go-to meal on a busy weekday night is salmon and broccoli with a bit of brown rice, Clarabelle only eats food that contains protein as the number one ingredient. That is, I only buy her food that contains protein as the number one ingredient. She’s happier (and so is my pooper-scooper, ifyaknowwhatImean) when she sticks to this diet, and I guess a lot of other dogs are, too. Purina just reformulated their Beneful Originals and Incredibites food based on customer feedbag to this effect. Now it contains meat as the number one ingredient, and they’ve cut out all added sugar. Two big wins in my book.

After making the move down to Texas, I was running low on Clarabelle’s normal food stash, so I ran out to Target (Beneful is available at most major grocery chains) to grab a small bag of the Incredibites. Oh yeah, she won’t eat large chunks of anything because she is a lady—so this is perfect. Then I started to reconsider Clarabelle’s plain-metal-dog-bowl eating situation. After all, I ate my most recent meal off of a delicate robin’s egg-blue place setting, so she really deserved an upgrade. A few paint pens and plain white ceramic bowls later, my butterfly-eared bestie was eating her five-star meal in splendor. Scroll down to check out the simple DIY dog bowl tutorial, and click here to receive a free sample of the new Purina Beneful dog food.

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-2diy-dog-bowl-beneful-6For this project, you’ll need the following:
• two plain white bowls
• paint pens (if you’re just drawing on the outside, you can use whichever all-purpose paint pen you can get your hands on; if you’re writing on the inside of the bowl, be sure to use a food-safe paint pen like this one)

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-3diy-dog-bowl-beneful-11. First order of  business: select your pattern. I decided to go with this playful evil eye print, but simple geometric patterns would also look great!

2. Using your paint pens, start drawing on your pattern, letting each color dry before moving on to the next.

3. Draw a surprise message inside the bowl for your pet. I went with “good girl” and “Perrier only” but you’re only limited by your imagination. If you used a food-safe paint pen, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure the paint is fully dried and sealed.

4. Let ’em chow down!

diy-dog-bowl-beneful-7beneful-instorediy-dog-bowl-beneful-8diy-dog-bowl-beneful-9Update: our pals at Purina sent over a couple of delicious toys for Clarabelle to play with. Thanks Purina! 

Style

Off-the-Shoulder in Austin

austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-1austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-5austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-6 austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-2austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-3austin-graffiti-wall-off-the-shoulder-dress-4Dress: Romwe // Sunglasses: Retro Super Future  // Scarf: Forever 21 (old, similar) // Bag: old, similar //  Shoes: Dolce Vita (old, similar)

To mark my temporary move to the great state of Texas, I’m finally getting around to posting these pictures from my last jaunt to Austin a couple of months ago. After making a requisite stop at The Salt Lick for lunch, I found my way to the Mexic – Arte Museum to check out a fantastic exhibit on Mexican printmaking and engraving. The museum also happened to be home to this colorful Día de Los Muertos-inspired stencil mural by artist Federico Archuleta,  so I stopped to take a few pictures (I mean, what self-respecting blogger could pass up such a ripe-for-the-shooting backdrop?).

Having then spent more than five minutes outside in the Texas heat, I was in need of a drink. The bar at The Driskill kindly obliged. Then it was off to Tyson’s Tacos to meet up with some old SF friends and a certain crispy duck taco (or two). Shoutout to Krista for pointing me in the direction of Room Service Vintage, where after dinner I discovered two pairs of vintage Ferragamo Varas that desperately needed a new home—for under $60!—and ended my evening practically skipping back to San Antonio.

DIY

DIY Discount: Miu Miu Lace-Up Ballet Flats

diy-discount-miu-miu-ribbon-ballet-flats-1diy-discount-miu-miu-ribbon-ballet-flats-4Let’s talk about Miu Miu. More specifically, let’s talk about those Miu Miu ballet flats with moto-inspired straps of black leather and interchangeable ribbons that tie around the ankle. You know, these masterpieces of must-have fashion. I can’t recall when I first laid eyes on these shoes; perhaps it was during a late-night e-stalking session of fashion week street style last spring. In any case, as it sometimes goes with outstanding pieces of design, once I saw these tough girl-meets-prima ballerina flats, I started thinking about how I could approximate them within my budget.

And thus my favorite DIY Discount project to date was born. I’m exceedingly happy with how these turned out, and I’m even happier with the fact that the whole thing cost about $35. Will these be inscribed with the name of the famed Italian fashion house inside? No. Will you love them very much anyway and get loads of compliments whenever you wear them? Most definitely. Keep scrolling for detailed instructions!

diy-discount-miu-miu-ribbon-ballet-flats-2diy-discount-miu-miu-ribbon-ballet-flats-70For this project, you’ll need the following:
• simple ballet flats
• black buckle straps
• grommets, grommet setter and anvil (I used a set like this one)
• mallet
• leather punch
• gingham ribbon
• needle and thread

diy-discount-miu-miu-ribbon-ballet-flats-91. Using the leather punch, punch holes on the ends of each leather strap. Make sure you have your hole punch set to the width that corresponds to your grommet size. A test piece of scrap leather is very helpful for calibration.

2. Figure out where you want the placement of your straps to be. They should be placed a little further forward on the foot than a typical Mary Jane strap, since you need to allow room for the ribbon. Take care to try on the shoe with the straps held in place to make sure you allow room for your foot. Once you’re happy with your alignment, hold the straps in place and use a pen to mark through the punched holes onto your shoe.

3. Using the leather punch, punch holes in the spots that you marked on the shoe.

4. Line up the straps with the holes in the shoe and click your grommets into place. You should have one grommet per side per strap, so four per shoe.

diy-discount-miu-miu-ribbon-ballet-flats-1005. Using your setter, anvil and mallet, set each grommet. Here’s a quick reference video if you’ve never done this before—don’t worry, it’s super easy!

6. Cut four lengths of ribbon about 36″ long each (you should have enough ribbon to cross over the foot, wrap around the ankle a few times and tie with a bow).

7. Fold one end of the ribbon over about 1/4″ inch and repeat, so you have a triple layer of ribbon at that end. Place it just behind the black straps and sew into place on the inside of the shoe. Make sure to disguise the stitches along the topline trim as best you can. Repeat with the other three ribbons.

8. Style with shredded jeans and a silky robe. Or with your favorite little black dress. Or with pretty much anything you own.

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Shopping, Style

What to Buy from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of trumpet fanfare and high heels tripping across tiled mall corridors. It’s officially July 22, and that means the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to the public. I’ve been counting down to this day for months for two reasons: 1. I’ve amassed a staggeringly long wish list of sale items and now I can finally click ‘purchase.’ 2. My team and I spent week after week writing, editing, polishing and re-polishing the Nordstrom website copy so everything would be perfect for the launch of the event.

Thankfully for me—and for you—the fact that I’ve spent the last few months getting up close and personal with the #NSale offerings means that I’ve been able to scout out the best items. Over the past week, I’ve seen many a “Best of” round-up, and while they’re great, they all tend to feature the same few items. I love a good leather jacket and some pink Illesteva sunglasses as much as the next girl, but there are so many hidden treasures buried in all the sale pieces. I’ve picked out my favorite shoes, bags, clothes, jewelry and beauty items and provided the links below in hopes that they won’t get overlooked. Happy shopping!


Click the image above or the links below to shop my picks!

Halogen shoes // Louise et Cie bag // BP. watch // Phase 3 fedora // Nordstrom pouch // B-Low the Belt belt // BaubleBar choker // STS Blue jeans // Nordstrom agate necklace // Ted Baker London bag // Dolce Vita boots // neuLASH serum // butter LONDON nail polish // Topshop sweater // Trouve pleated skirt // Helene Berman vest // Topshop boots // Equipment blouse // Nordstrom pajamas // bkr water bottle

 

DIY

DIY Discount: Dolce & Gabbana Fruit Earrings

dolce-and-gabbana-lemon-earrings-diy-25
dolce-and-gabbana-lemon-earrings-diy-16D&G photos via & via.

I have a major (orange) crush on the Dolce&Gabbana accessories department. The jewelry, handbags, headwear and phone accessories that come out of the Italian house season after season are stunning enough to make a girl willing to work another job just to afford one or two of them. Among my current favorite pieces from the D&G Italian Summer collection are the intricate earrings dripping with ripe fruit that seems to be plucked straight from the orchards of Sicily.

And it seems I’m not alone—Beyoncé herself donned a pair of D&G lemon earrings on her Hawaiian vacation last week. So I set out to satisfy my Queen Bey taste on a pre-American-Idol-Jennifer Hudson budget. It took me awhile to source the perfect lemon drop beads and enameled leaves, but once I had all the materials ordered, these pretty earrings were a breeze to assemble.

dolce-and-gabbana-lemon-earrings-diy-14For this project, you’ll need the following:
• rhinestones (I used these from Hobby Lobby, but you can use any rhinestone as long as it has a flat back and somewhere to attach a jump ring)
• flat earring posts (I used these 10mm ones)
• E6000
leaf beads
• fruit beads (I used lemon beads from this bracelet and these orange beads mixed with these orange beads)
daisy cabochons
• wire
• needlenose pliers
jump rings
eye pins 

dolce-and-gabbana-lemon-earrings-diy-8dolce-and-gabbana-lemon-earrings-diyTo make the lemon earrings:
1. Start by adding a bit of glue to the flat earring posts and gluing them to the backs of your rhinestones. Let dry completely while you assemble the rest of the earrings.

2. Add a bit of glue to the backs of the daisy cabochons, and attach them off-center to the bottoms of the rhinestones. Let dry.

3. Twist thin gold wire through 4 enameled leaf beads, creating a small loop before threading the wire back through the bead hole.

4. Add a gold jump ring to the top of each lemon bead. Thread two leaf beads onto each jump ring, making sure the leaves lay flat on either side of the lemons.

5. Attach the jump rings to the bottoms of the rhinestones. Et voila!

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To make the orange earrings: 
1. Start by adding a bit of glue to the flat earring posts and gluing them to the backs of your rhinestones. Let dry completely while you assemble the rest of the earrings.

2. Add one orange bead to the eye on the end of your eye pin. This will be the base for the earring.

3. Twist thin gold wire through about 7 or 8 more orange beads per earring, creating a small loop before threading the wire back through the bead hole. Now you’ll have a bunch of orange beads fitted with a thin wire loop.

4. Add jump rings to 5 or 6 leaf beads per earring.

5. Starting with the orange-tipped eye pin, layer on orange beads and leaf beads, alternating until you have a nice, full look.

6. Trim any excess, then connect the top of the eye pin to the loop at the bottom of your rhinestone teardrop.

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Shopping

Summer Sales

 

best-summer-sales-11. Tory Burch scarf 2. French Connection top 3. J.Crew bracelet 4. J.Crew Factory tank 5. J.Crew Factory tunic 6. Kate Spade bag 7. J.Crew Factory top 8. J.Crew Factory polka dot dress 9. Zara pajama top 10. J.Crew Factory jeans 11. J.Crew Factory stripe tee 12. Zara floral tunic 13. Journelle bra 14. Journelle underwear 15. J.Crew earrings 16. J.Crew Factory sandals 17. Tory Burch wallet 18. J.Crew Factory orange shirt 19. French Connection dress 20. BaubleBar necklace 21. J.Crew Factory shorts

Summer has officially begun, and that means the start of the summer sale season. In an effort to save more money for traveling and other fun activities, I’ve been trying to pare back on my shopping habit. That’s why I’ve rounded up the best sale picks of the moment for you all to shop. And if I happen to pick up one or two majorly marked down items for myself (on accident, of course) then so be it! Click the links above for my specific summertime picks, or check out the list below for a round-up of the best sales going on right now. Happy shopping!

J.Crew Factory – 50% off
Zara – semi-annual sale
French Connection – semi-annual sale
kate spade new york – extra 30% off sale
J.Crew – extra 40% off sale with code SHOPNOW
Journelle – semi-annual sale

 

Style

Baby Pink

pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-1pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-5pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-4pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-6pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-2pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-7pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-3pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-8Dress: French Connection // Shoes: Zara // Scarf: old, similar // Sunglasses: Prada via DITTO // Bag: Kate Spade (old, similar) // Bag Charm: Amazon // Lipstick: NARS in Roman Holiday

This dress will always have a special place in my heart. I first spotted it on sale on the French Connection website and knew immediately it had to be mine. I clicked submit order and waited impatiently for it in the mail. At the same time, my family and I were all waiting rather impatiently for the arrival of my sister’s baby. She and her husband decided not to find out the gender of the baby, so not only were we waiting for it to be born, we were also waiting to find out if it would be a a girl or boy.

I got the call at 2AM that my sister had gone into labor. The next morning I got this dress in the mail. That night I found out that I was an aunt to a sweet little baby girl named Olivia. As I was getting dressed the next day, it seemed there was only one way to celebrate the birth of my sweet niece: a super-feminine frilly pink dress. All day, anytime someone complimented my dress I would respond with, “Thanks! I’m wearing pink because my sister just had a baby girl!” What a happy, happy day.

Food

Pretty Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-2multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-6For the past month or so, I’ve been stalking the fresh herb aisle of the grocery store for the packs of edible flowers that appear the with the start of the growing season. After seeing a beautiful flower-topped pancake stack on Instagram from the Aussie restaurant The Kettle Black, I was determined to try my hand at this beautiful breakfast dish.

This is one of those meals that looks infinitely more impressive than it actually is. I’m all about sleeping in on the weekends, so I start with my favorite Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake mix plus a healthy scoop of ricotta so the pancakes get extra fluffy. I whip those up in no time, coffee in hand, and top them with layers of pretty and delicious accoutrements. A generous dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream perfectly balances the slightly peppery flowers, while a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pepitas add lovely crunch to the dish. Fresh, seasonal berries play wonderfully against the nutty whole grain pancakes for a dish that’s as lovely to eat as it is to look it.

multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-3multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-11
Ingredients:
• your favorite whole wheat pancake mix
• 1 cup ricotta
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, plus dash more for whipped cream
• fresh fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
• edible flowers—you can usually find these in the fresh herb aisle of gourmet grocery stores or at your local farmers’ market)
• sunflower seeds
• pepitas
• whipping cream
• syrup

Directions:
1. Mix pancake batter with eggs, milk, ricotta and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Cook in butter in a pan or skillet.
2. Dress with seeds, fruit and flowers; top with a generous dollop of vanilla whipped cream.
3. Serve with warmed maple syrup.

multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-5multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-17multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-14