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DIY Bust Bud Vase

Sometimes DIY projects flop, and sometimes they turn out even better you thought they would. Now, I’m definitely no sculptor, so please don’t judge these against the work of real artists. That being said, I’m pretty darn happy with how these a-little-bit-naughty-a-little-bit-nice busts turned out. I got the idea for these saucy tchotchkes after spying a vintage bust vase on the perfectly styled dresser of Sara over at Emily Henderson’s obsession-worthy blog. I was hoping to click my way right to a purchase, but after Sara noted it was a vintage piece, I thought I’d do the next-best thing: make one myself.

Admittedly, mine’s not as…shall we say, polished…but I’m sort of into the imperfect charm of my handmade version. And yes, it took a few tries to get the shape right (it turns out it’s not so easy to sculpt perky-but-non-vulgar boobies on the first try), but overall this project was super easy. All you have to do is sculpt a couple of busts while you’re finishing an episode of American Crime Story, pop them in the oven while you watch another episode (even though you should be going to bed), paint a few red dots then slap on a coat of clear varnish and you’ve got yourself a miniature vase. Or matchstick holder. Or place to corral bobby pins on your bedside table. The possibilities are endless—as long as they involve things small in scale. What can I say? I love miniatures!

For this project, you’ll need the following:
• one 8 oz. block of white Sculpey oven-back clay, 2 oz. blocks of yellow and hot pink Sculpey oven-back clay
• red acrylic paint
• Sculpey Gloss Glaze
• X-acto knife

1. To make the perfect shade of soft pink, start with a big block of white clay (for reference, I used about 4 oz. of white clay for the large bust, and about 2 oz. for the small bust. Then, shave off about a pea-sized chunk of yellow and pink clay. Make a long snake out of the white, pink and yellow clay, then roll them all together. Keep rolling and twisting and kneading until all three colors are totally combined. At this point, if you want to tweak the color at all, you can add more pink or yellow clay and mix it in.

2. Once you’re happy with the color, roll the clay into a rounded rectangle that’s just a little bit taller than the finished height you’re looking for.

3. Using the X-acto knife, shave off some of the bottom so that you have a nice, flat surface so your vase won’t wobble at all when you’re done.

4. Now’s the time to put your sculpting cap on. Using your fingers and whatever tools you have laying around (I dragooned a bobby pin and a kitchen knife into service) to form an approximation of the female form. Once you’re happy with the shape, use the X-acto knife and a small spoon to scoop out an inch or two of the innards, depending on how big your bust is.

5. Pop that sucker in the oven and bake according to the instructions on the clay package.

6. After the bust cools, use a small paintbrush to dot the nips and belly button with bright red paint. A little goes a long way here.

7. Once the red paint dries completely, go over the whole bust with a coat of the gloss glaze and you’re good to go!



DIY Tassel Napkins

diy-tassel-napkins-5There are some things demanded by the well-appointed life that just always seem to be overpriced: custom framing, area rugs and table linens—specifically cloth napkins. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for beautiful napkins at vintage stores and on sale racks.

I picked up these ivory napkins with geometric woven texture and gold stitching for about three bucks apiece at Anthropologie a few months ago, and while they’re beautiful as is, I decided to spruce them up with a bit of color. So I turned to my go-to embellishment du jour: the tassel. They’re easy to make in a range of rich colors, and they add a touch of playful texture to these fairly simple napkins.

diy-tassel-napkins-1diy-tassel-napkins-2For this project, you’ll need the following:
• cloth napkins of your choice (I picked these up on sale at Anthro, but these are very similar)
• embroidery thread
• needle and thread
• small piece of cardboard

diy-tassel-napkins-91. Start by making 16 tassels for each napkin. You can make them all the same color, or you can do what I did and make four each of different shades of one color for a subtle ombré effect.

2. To make the tassels, start with a piece of cardboard cut to the desired length of your finished tassels (mine are about an inch long), then wrap the embroidery thread around the cardboard 18 times.

3. Cut a 6″ piece of embroidery thread and slip it through the top loops of the wrapped thread. Tie it tightly twice then take the long ends and pull them down on either side of the tassel. Slide the tassel off of the piece of cardboard.

4. Cut another small piece of embroidery thread, about 12″, and tie around the tassel about a half of an inch down from the top. This will create the ‘head’ of the tassel.

5. Using scissors, cut the loops at the end of the tassel and trim the ends so they’re even.

6. Once you’ve made all of  your tassels, start sewing them one by one around the edges of your napkin, spacing them evenly along each side. Sew on four of your darkest color, four of your second darkest color, four of your second lightest color and finally, four of your lightest color to create the subtle ombré effect.


Accessories, DIY

DIY Floral Headband

easter-flower-headband-diy-5When I was a wee lass, I looked forward to Easter every year for the joyous celebrations and the candy-filled baskets, yes, but what I also treasured a certain wardrobe-expanding tradition: the purchase of an Easter outfit including a pastel dress, white gloves and a hat to match. I lovingly referred to this corresponding accessory as my Easter bonnet and I absolutely could not wait to don it come Sunday morning.

As I grew older, the Easter baskets remained but the tradition of the Easter bonnet faded away. This year I decided to bring that tradition back with a little twist. Instead of a big straw hat with the flower-embellished front flipped up as ’90s style dictated, I decided to go with a more modern, albeit ’70s-inspired floral headband. Sans spray paint dry time, this DIY floral headband took about five minutes to put together, but it adds a whole bunch of gilt glamour to any Easter Sunday look, whether you plan on heading to a sunrise service or a deviled egg-filled brunch.

easter-flower-headband-diy-3For this project, you’ll need the following:
• metallic gold spray paint
• gold headband
• wire-stem flowers
• needlenose pliers

1. Use foil-finish gold spray paint to cover each flower with at least two coats so the flowers have a metallic sheen.

2. Once the flowers are completely dry, after about an hour, hold the first flower just above the center of the headband and wrap the wire stem tightly around the headband. Working from the right, do the same with the next two flowers, making sure they’re nice and snug up against each other. Repeat on the left side.

3. Use the pliers to secure any ends that are poking out and pick out your finest Easter dress to pair your headband with.

easter-flower-headband-diy-6easter-flower-headband-diy-7Linking up with Sydney Fashion Hunter.


Accessories, DIY, Style

DIY Gucci-Inspired Bow Tie

DIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieI, along with every living fashion follower, have fallen head-over-heels in love with the maximalist magic that is Alessandro Michele‘s Gucci. I’ve already written about my current preoccupation with all things bug related (of which there were many in the Gucci Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 shows), including a particularly stunning jeweled ladybug tie and ant-infested suit—both of which I want on my body now. But since I’m not currently possessed of the funds required to make that dream a reality, I decided to try my hand at a more easily approximated accessory. The Gucci bow tie is no mere ribbon wrapped casually around the neck. It’s beaded and bee embroidered and styled with a flower brooch on top for good measure. It also takes only about a half an hour to replicate with pretty good success, if I do say so myself.

DIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieDIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieFor this project, you’ll need the following:
• 1 1/2″ red grosgrain ribbon
• iron-on bee patches
• needle and thread
• black bugle beads
• black artificial flower
pin back
• hot glue

1. To make the bow tie, cut a length of red ribbon long enough to tie around the collar of a shirt and hang to the bust. Add about an inch to the length to account for the seams.

2. Fold about half of an inch over on each end and press with a hot iron until you have a good crease.

3. Using a needle and thread, sew a line of bugle beads along the ends to secure the hems.

4. Place a bee patch just above the end of the ribbon, cover with a thin cloth and press down firmly for 20-30 seconds. Flip the ribbon over, cover with the cloth and repeat for 20-30 seconds. Do the same thing on the other end.

5. To make the flower brooch, first cut the wire stems off of the back of the flower.

6. Apply hot glue to the pin back and press to the back of the flower. Let cool.

DIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieDIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieDIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieDIY Gucci-Inspired Bow TieDIY Gucci-Inspired Bow Tie

DIY, Style

DIY Pompom Sweatshirt for the Super Bowl

diy-pom-pom-sweatshirt-4I love watching sports, but I’m not a big fan of team-branded t-shirts (exception: Spurs merch). This presents a problem when I wish to dress up for special sporting occasions like the Super Bowl. But recently I was struck by an idea while perusing an Etsy shop chock-full of colorful pompoms: why not festoon a basic gray sweatshirt with cheerleader-inspired trim in the team colors of my choosing?! I can rep the Panthers on game day with this sweatshirt and some leather-trimmed leggings and come spring I can finally embrace the athleisure trend and style this top with a flared black skirt and some slip-on sneakers. The fact that this project took less than an hour to make is just the extra point to my DIY touchdown. diy-pom-pom-sweatshirt-2diy-pom-pom-sweatshirt-1For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a short-sleeve sweatshirt (I got mine on sale from J.Crew and it’s now sold out, but this and this are other good options)
• one yard each of large black pompom trim, large white pompom trim and small blue pompom trim (or colors of your choice)
• need and thread
• pins

1. Start by pinning your first round of pompom trim into place. I began with the bottom black trim and lined it up with the cuff seams so I could easily stick to a straight line. With a needle and thread, tack the trim to the sleeve, then knot and trim the ends when done.

2. Repeat with the blue and white pompom trim, making sure to measure and pin carefully to maintain a straight line around the sleeve. All done!