From the bathroom floor to the dance floor

Right now is an insane time in my life–my little sister is getting married, which means as the resident MOH I’m up to my ears in wedding details. So I need a break and when I need a break I turn to my glue gun and box of ribbons, beads and FUN!

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I have had this bag for a while now. It’s actually a toiletry bag that came with a bunch of lotions from the Body Shop. But I think it’s too pretty to hold my toothbrush and make-up remover, but not pretty enough to hold my make-up and cash on a night out. It needed a little DIY.

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I bought these beads from the Dollar Store and decided that a mix of light gold, dark gold and mauve would be the perfect accent to the gold flecks in the bag. I mixed the three colours together in a Ziploc bag.  Then I grabbed some Elmer’s Precision glue and got to work adding beads to the top of the purse. I put the glue down in small sections and then poured the beads on top, using my finger to lie them down flat and spread them out. The great thing about the Precision glue is it has a fine nozzle so I was able to go back after the beads dried and glue more beads into the tiny crevices that needed more sparkle.

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After letting the beads dry, I realized the bag was still missing something. Luckily I had leftover gold-coloured string from another project. I grabbed my precision glue and put the string around the edges of the beadwork. It added the perfect framework to the beads and made the bag look complete.

Then I just needed a fun pendant to put on the zipper. I always save extra buttons and found this great little pearl that came with a sweater I bought three years ago. I think the pearl gives a little splash of class to the dazzle of beads.

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And here’s the finished product! I even have the perfect outfit to showcase my new purse. The only problem is that my life as a recent grad on the job hunt means I have nowhere to go in my new outfit. For now my bedroom will have to do.

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Details on my DIY Purse

Beads: $1.25 from the Dollar Store
String: $1.00 from the Dollar Store
Bag: Already Owned
Pearl pendant: Already owned
Elmer’s Glue: $1.00 from the Dollar Store
Total Cost: $3.25
Duration: 2 hours
Soundtrack: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke

A modern day jewelry box

Growing up I always wanted a beautiful jewelry box that I could keep all my treasures in–which at that time would’ve been my Spice Girls necklace and whatever ring I had recently gotten out of the 25 cent candy machine. 

Eventually I got a beautiful pine one that had three drawers to put my jewels in and a mirror on top so I could ogle myself in my fake gems.

Like all things from my childhood, I outgrew my jewelry box. It just didn’t work in my grown-up life.

The problem with jewelry boxes is they don’t show all the jewels you have. And so you forget what you have and never wear it. Luckily, I have found some easy ways to display my jewelry, that is not only functional but adds some sparkly décor to my bedroom.

About a year ago I bought one of those pretty earring racks from Urban Outfitters, you know the ones that look like a bird cage. But then in the process of moving from Kingston to Mississauga and then to London, I lost it. Though I suspect someone stole it…you know who you are and the jewelry Gods will spite you forever.

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I refused to spend $30 on another one so I improvised. I took a bronze-coloured piece of string from the Dollar Store and used two pins to string it across my wall. It’s simple, but it works. Plus now my earrings are the first thing I see when I wake-up. There’s nothing better than chandelier earrings at 8 a.m.

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For my necklaces I used a yellow fabric covered bulletin board. I think my mom bought it years ago for my bedroom. But I don’t use it any more, so I threw some push pins across the top of it and let my necklaces hang. I only hang one or two necklaces on a pin so my necklaces don’t get all tangled up. Plus, the top of my dresser looked a little boring, so instead of putting my Hugh Dancy poster above it, I put all my necklaces. Though some days I miss drooling over Hugh and his dashingness.

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My bracelets stumped me. I just kept them in a box for the longest time. Then my Farmstand Apple candle from the Bath and Body Shop was all burned out and I realized I had found a great bracelet jar. I cleaned out all the wax from the candle using this lovely guide from Aunt Peaches http://www.auntpeaches.com/2012/09/how-to-remove-candle-wax-from-glass.html

It was so easy to do and looks so cute that when my French Garden candle runs out, I will use it to hold my sunglasses.

My modern jewelry boxes perfectly reflect my life now–a poor student who has to be crafty. Now I need to pass on my old jewelry box to another little girl, but she can’t have my Spice Girls necklace.

You can hang with me

As a lover of all things pretty, I have a long list of clothes and accessories I want. But as a student with limited funds, I spend my money on edible goodies, not fashionable ones. So I decided to start DIY-ing accessories. Lately everyone has collar necklaces, but I cringe at the price of them–really $20 for that! So I decided to just make my own.

What You Need:

Fabric: I used a leather skirt from a Shania Twain costume–you know circa “Man I Feel Like a Woman.” I got the skirt for $5 at Value Village.
Ribbon: $1 from the Dollar Store
Collar Template
Decorations: I used pearl halves from the dollar store.
Hot Glue
Scissors
Time: 20 minutes
Cost: $7
Playlist: Robyn “Hang With Me” over and over again. I would apologize to my neighbours for making them listen to this so many times, but they should thank me for adding this song to their lives. This song lets you dance and decorate at the same time.

1. You start by tracing a collar from one of your shirts so you have a template.

2. Then you use the template to trace the collar onto the leather. Make sure you flip it over when you trace the other side of the collar. If you don’t, you are like me and end up with two of the same sides of the collar…oops!

3. Cut the collar out and glue the tips together.

4. Now is the fun part, you decorate. You can use beads or pearls or paint in whatever design you please. I liked the contrast of tough leather with delicate pearls. I just eye-balled how far apart to place the pearls, there was no measuring the distance between pearls here. I like things that are imperfect. I used hot glue to stick the pearls on, then used tweezers to pick off the fly away strings that come with using hot glue.

5. I glued black ribbon onto the back of the collar and put a few stitches in to make sure it’s sturdy.

Voila, my own unique collar necklace. Don’t you love it?

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The dumb fashion girl fights back

I try not to ever write from a place of emotion. As a journalist I know that makes pieces biased. But I have gotten to the point where it’s a daily occurrence that I come home from school, curl up in my bed and cry. It’s hard to write unemotionally when you’re emotional all the time.

I am teary as I write this because I think I made a mistake coming to grad school. I don’t regret pursuing journalism as a career path, but I do regret choosing to get to that career through journalism school. I want to be a fashion journalist. But everyday I hear one of my professors act like fashion isn’t a real type of journalism.

Yesterday my prof said reading fashion magazines turns your brain to mush, it’s like eating candy. Last semester a prof told us she didn’t want to hear story pitches on fashion because those aren’t real stories.

I sit there in all my fashion loving glory and feel stupid. Then I get angry because following up these statements is praise for sports. Writing about sports is legitimate journalism it seems. The world respects athletes who punch each other on the ice, yet there is no respect for designers who send intricate designs down the runway.

This, to me, is incredibly sexist. We see sports as a legitimate passion because it is an area dominated by male athletes and a passion held predominantly by males. But fashion isn’t legitimate because it’s an area of interest for females, who clearly only care for frivolous matters like clothing and hair.

My professor didn’t say that the people in my class who watch TSN nightly or read the Sports section daily are turning their brains too mush. Just people like me who have subscriptions to Flare, InStyle and Fashion magazine.

I didn’t realize we still lived in the 18th century, but apparently we do, where women’s interests are meant for the private space of the home and men’s interests dominate the workplace and the public sphere.

To me sports and fashion are no different– they are both areas of special interest. But in my program internships at sports magazines or  sports shows are acceptable. Fashion internships are not.

Quite frankly the reason I cry everyday isn’t because I’m not getting to report on what I want in my program. I cry because I feel dumb. I feel dumb for enjoying discussing what celebrities are wearing, for indulging nightly in the latest shows from Fashion Week and from wanting to pursue fashion journalism as a career. I feel my program is deeming me the class idiot because I don’t want to report on politics or crime or even sports, which to them are legitimate areas of journalism.

I went into this program because I wanted to learn about writing a wide variety of stories. And I love getting to do that. I just didn’t expect that in the process I would learn my interests are an inferior type of journalism.

But I am not going to quit. I want to, but I won’t because I am going to show them I am not dumb. I am going to show them fashion isn’t a frivolous passion. And most importantly I am going to do what I can so that no other aspiring fashion journalist has to curl up in bed and cry because their program makes them feel inferior.

A Sort of Reformed Shopper

Every year I look forward to going back to school. Not because I particularly love school or enjoy getting up early. But because it means back to school shopping.

This year my mom said she would buy me a few items since I am a poor student. So I decided I would be very picky with what I got this year—I had to make my choices count since these are likely the only new clothes I will get for a while.

Many magazines recommend making a list of clothes you want or need before you go out shopping, that way you only buy those items. I always cringe at this idea—why would I want to take the spontaneity out of shopping. That’s where the enjoyment comes from, the not knowing what great items you will find.

Then I became a Grad student with no money and realized why making a list is a good idea.

So before hitting the stores I made my list. I started by flipping through old issues of InStyle. I knew there was a reason I had been saving three years worth of subscriptions. I now had a plethora of style inspiration.

I cut out pictures of clothes and outfits I liked and pinned them to my bedroom wall. I now have clothing ideas every day when I get dressed. This also gave me a list of the clothes I wanted to buy; a pleated skirt, a tweed jacket and a blouse.

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Then I hit the stores.

Having the list made shopping so efficient. If I walked into a store and they had none of the items I wanted I walked out.

But going into H&M nearly killed me. There are so many delectable clothes there and I wanted them all. I saw the most adorable 1960s inspired dress with black polka dots. I needed it and snuck it into the change room to try on.  I was the girl in the change room feeling ashamed not because I was shoplifting, but because I was veering from my sacred list.

The funny thing is in the end I didn’t buy the dress. I looked at myself in the mirror and said “You don’t need this, take it off and walk away. Well first put clothes on, but then walk away.”

The list really worked, I only got what was on it. I now feel good about my purchases and know I really will wear them. Plus I have my style board for daily inspiration of what to wear with the clothes I now own.

Alright I should confess I did buy one thing not on the list–a pair of hunter green jeans. Come on, who could resist 50 % off. And they are green, which matches my eyes. So really I couldn’t not buy them.

Maybe I am not as reformed as I hoped, but I think I did pretty damn good for my first attempt.

Ode to My BDGs

In April tragedy struck me.

It was an average day on a routine trip to the grocery store. I loaded my groceries and got into the car with my sister. Then it happened–the horrifying sound of ripping as I sat down. I looked and there was a large tear in the upper thigh of my beloved BDG jeans.

As I held back the tears, my sister cried with laughter. She didn’t realize the enormity of the situation. My favourite jeans, the jeans I wore when I felt a fat and wanted to be comfy but still have a perky butt, had just become unwearable.

I had bought the jeans on a whim. I didn’t need them, but they were cute and on sale–which in girl world means you must buy them. So I did. Then my dear friend Jess who worked at the store said “The salesperson told you to buy them skin tight right? Because they get really lose when you wash them.”

I told her I hadn’t bought them skin tight. She gave me that look, you know the one where someone doesn’t want to tell you that you just made a mistake because they love you and don’t want to make you cry. Yeah she gave me that look.

I thought about exchanging them but I’m glad I didn’t. The jeans did sag once I washed them, making them the comfiest jeans ever.

But after two years of loving them they had died.

Then my genius friend Meg suggested we make DIY jean shorts together. We never had time to actually make them together but she inspired me to turn my favourite jeans into my favourite shorts.

I’m sure most people measure their jeans and are very precise when cutting them. That’s not how I roll. I got home from grad school for a three week vacation. I was leaving early the next morning to head to Kingston for a music festival and what better attire for a festival then denim shorts. So in a hurry I just started cutting.

My mom said I was going to look a little bit skanky since I had to cut the jeans really short because the rip was so high in the thigh. But in the end I looked more classy slutty than actually slutty. I then threw them in the wash to make the ends fray.

The best part was I found some old ribbon from a childhood hippie costume. I sewed it onto the back pockets to give my shorts more character. Though I got a little caught up in my Martha Stewart sewing prowess and sewed the one pocket shut. Oops. But really who needs more than one back pocket anyways.

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Martha’s job is probably safe from me but I did make a cute pair of shorts at no cost. Plus a flowy top, feather earrings and my beloved ampersand necklace paired with the shorts made the perfect festival outfit.

Stay tuned to find out how I made use of the leftover legs from my jeans…and no I did not make legwarmers, at least not yet.