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DIY

Father’s Day DIY: Leather Key Chain

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Looking for a last-minute gift you can whip up in an afternoon? This hand-painted leather key chain is the perfect way to say thanks to the dads in your life.

For this project, you’ll need the following:
• leather strip
• gold rivet, setter and anvil
• awl or rotary punch
mallet
• key ring
• gold acrylic paint
• scissors or x-acto knife

1. You can start by buying a pre-cut leather strip or do what I did and cut one down from a piece of scrap leather lying around. I used my favorite pair of very sharp scissors to cut a strip that was by 5/8″ by 9 1/2″, but you can make it wider or longer depending on the look you want.

2. Next, fold the leather strip in half, leaving one side about 3/4″ longer, and fold that side over the other.

3. Using a rotary punch or awl, punch a hole for the rivet through all three pieces of overlapping leather, making sure to center the hole.

4. Add the key ring to the folded-over part of leather.

5. Set the rivet using your anvil, setter and mallet (here’s a good how-to video if you’ve never used rivets before—it’s super easy!) and your keychain is assembled.

6. All that’s left to do is paint the bottom half of your key chain. I taped off the top so that I would have a clean line, but you can freehand it if you’re looking for a more unfinished look. Let the paint dry and wrap it up for the perfect Father’s Day gift!

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Accessories, DIY

DIY Fringe Clutch

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As part of my 9-to-5 job, I spend hours every day pouring over some of Nordstrom’s finest clothing and accessories, so it’s only natural that I would become intimately familiar with the offerings of the handbag department. While my list of dream bags gets longer every day, I’ve lately been hankering to add this fringed Rebecca Minkoff clutch to my arsenal.

Since I’ve been a bit fringe-crazy as of late, I decided to try and make my own version of this clutch and challenged myself to do it as cheaply as possible. I’m proud to report that the finished product looks pretty darn close to the original and cost only $30 total.

For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a pair of sharp scissors (I’m obsessed with my Ginghers)
• a plain black zip clutch
• two thin pieces of 12″ x 12″ black leather
gold tassel caps
• super glue
• needle and thread

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1. Start by making six leather tassels. First, cut the leather into 4″ x 8″ strips. Then, measure and mark every 1/4″ along the length of the strip. Using very sharp scissors or a rotary cutter, carefully cut the fringe, leaving a half an inch at the top of the strip (so you don’t cut all the way through).

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2. Once you have all your fringe cut, draw a small line of super glue along the uncut edge and slowly roll the fringe up as tightly as you can. Hold the end down for a few seconds until the glue takes hold (be careful not to super glue your thumb to the tassel in the process—I learned this one the hard way).

3. Check to make sure your tassel fits snugly inside your end cap, then smear a little glue inside the cap and insert the leather. Repeat this process until you have six tassels.

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4. Measure the bottom of your clutch and evenly mark where each tassel will go. Then, sew on each tassel by threading the needle through the inside of the clutch, looping the thread through the tassel end cap and then finishing the stitch back inside the clutch so the thread is hidden.

5. Finally, if you have any long scraps of leather, cut a small cord to loop through the zipper for a finishing touch.

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Lifestyle

Nutcracker Tradition

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Dress: Forever 21 // Jacket: Forever 21 // Earrings: Jeweliq // Shoes: Target // Bracelets: BaubleBar + Julie Vos // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until I’ve gone to The Nutcracker. Ever since my grandmother took me to see The Sacramento Ballet’s production of the Christmas classic almost 20 years ago, I’ve had a minor obsession with it. I named my dog Clarabelle after the main character Clara, and my house is currently filled with the Nutcrackers I’ve collected over the years. I make sure to see it at least once a year, and I made Max promise that if we moved to Iowa, he would take me to see The Nutcracker at the Joffrey in Chicago.

While I missed seeing my beloved San Francisco Ballet’s art deco-inspired and historic production (not to mention Maria Kochetkova‘s Grand Pas de Deux), I am always happy to experience a new interpretation. Besides absolutely adoring the dancing itself, I love the ritual of going to the ballet. I love getting dressed up, eating a delicious dinner followed by a glass of Champaign at intermission, and perusing the gift shop to pick out a new Nutcracker to add to my collection.

Usually, I have my Nutcracker dress picked out weeks in advance, but this year I was at a loss. I waited until the last minute to decide what to wear, and ultimately forgot to pack anything suitable for my trip to Chicago. I had a bit of Christmas shopping to finish up in the city, so while I was out, I stopped by Forever 21 and picked up this cranberry pleated maxi dress along with this faux-fur-and-leather jacket. Since the temperature was in the 20s, I was desperate to find something warm to wear without looking like I was completely bundled up. Luckily, this combo fit the bill perfectly, and I spent a lovely night all dressed up with my beau and my favorite ballet characters.

Clothing, Shopping

Utility Jacket: Check

plaid-utility-jacket-4plaid-utility-jacket-1 plaid-utility-jacket-9 plaid-utility-jacket-8 plaid-utility-jacket-7 plaid-utility-jacket-6 plaid-utility-jacket-3 plaid-utility-jacket-2Jacket: Leshop // Shirt: Target // Pants: J.Crew (similar) // Shoes: Zara (old, similar) // Bag: Neiman Marcus Last Call // Sunglasses: Prada // Watch: Michael Kors // Bracelets: BaubleBar & Old Navy // Lipstick: Sephora Cream Lip Stain

There aren’t many places to shop around here—a fact that I’ve often bemoaned over the past few months—but recently, I stumbled upon a local gem. Smack dab in the heart of Iowa City, White Rabbit Gallery offers a curated selection of new and vintage items with Midwestern charm.

I popped in recently after hearing about a certain promising vintage section, and left with a woven throw blanket, two jackets (including the one I’m wearing here) and a particularly charming rainbow umbrella. I also have my eye on an assortment of colorful beanies and cold weather accessories, so needless to say, I’ll be back!