DIY Leather Bracelet

D I Y  L E A T H E R  B R A C E L E T

Cute leather bracelets have been everywhere lately and while I love the selections, most options are not in my price range. On Friday, I got together with craft guru and real life girlfriend Liz from craftervention to re-create some of the cute cuffs I’ve been spotting. For under $20, Liz and I made a bunch of leather bracelets in an afternoon. The creation of my favorite bracelet (inspired by this one from Barneys NY) is documented below.

Materials:

  • Leather strips (1 yard of each color), found at any fabric store.
  • Braided leather (1 yard)
  • Sew-on snaps
  • Super glue
  • A needle/thread

I began by cutting three pieces of braided leather at equal lengths. I gathered the strips at the ends and sewed them together, seeing that the thread went through every piece at least once. The ends looked messy when I finished, but it didn’t matter because I cut a little piece of leather, wrapped it around each end and concealed the stitched up braids using super glue.

Lastly, I sewed snaps onto each end of the bracelet for an easy closure.
I may be a little obsessed with my new Tod’s-esque leather bracelet!
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DIY, fashion | 9 Comments

Thrifting Silver Trays

T H R I F T I N G  S I L V E R  T R A Y S

I always liked the idea of having beautiful silver serving trays in my home, but I never thought they were something I’d actually be able to afford in my 20′s. I was elated to learn that many thrift stores have hoards of silver or silver plated items that are typically overlooked because of how tarnished and dirty they tend to get. On a recent trip to a local Goodwill, I found some serious gems, all for under $10. I polished them up with silver polish I bought at Duane Reade, and they now serve a variety of different purposes around my apartment.

When I first got these, they were so tarnished that I could barely see the designs on them. Right now they are in need of a polishing (the only down side is that they get dirty pretty quickly), so I will demonstrate some before and after photos below.

Before:

After:

The intricate details on this one make it my favorite. In an effort to stay organized, I keep this tray on my dresser (so as not to carelessly cover the dresser with miscellaneous items). Instead, I alternate favorite/visually pleasing accessories and pieces of jewelry on the tray, along with frequently used items (such as cell phones).

I use this one in my bathroom to organize toiletries and beauty objects that serve a daily purpose

***Note that these particular items are just silver plated; genuine sterling silver items always come with markings (S/S and Sterling are a couple of examples of how they might be marked). Either way, they are all lovely and unique!

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home, quick fix | 8 Comments

Fabric Printing

F A B R I C  P A I N T I N G

My mom loves wearing light scarves around her neck, so when I saw this yellow one (perfect for spring) I immediately snatched it up with Mother’s Day in mind. However, being that it is very unFeFe-like to buy a gift without decorating or repurposing it, I immediately started scheming about how to “better” the scarf.

Luckily for me, I have a lot of talented friends who are brimming with new ideas to try. A couple of days before I bought this scarf, one such friend held a fabric painting craftervention in Washington Square Park, which of course inspired this project. Later that week, she and I got together again and she kindly guided me through the fabric printing process — AND let me use all of her materials:

  1. A rubber square for making the stamp
  2. Carving tools
  3. Black screen printing ink and an ink roller–both by Speedball

Nothing says “spring” like flowers (I know, how literal), so I opted to cover the scarf with this design, sketched directly onto a rubber pad that would soon become a stamp.

This is the tool I used to carve around the flower with precision:

With the stamp ready, I simply poured a bit of the ink onto a paper plate, rolled it evenly onto the stamp (tested it to be sure it came out how I wanted it to look,) and began the process.

I wanted the flowers to be close to one another, but did not care about making sure the spacing was perfect (because it is a circle scarf).

Once completed, the ink can be washed, but must be sealed with heat, so I went over it with an iron after it had dried.

Now my mom has a one of a kind spring scarf!

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Channeling the 1970′s

C H A N N E L I N G  T H E  1 9 7 0 ‘ S

The West Village is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan. The brownstones are covered in vines and filled with character; the streets are quiet and the shops are quaint. Sometimes I close my eyes, re-open them, and pretend I am in another country. On this particular day, I tried that trick and woke up in another decade instead — the 1970′s, to be exact. The “trick” doesn’t always work how I intend for it to.
Urban Outfitters headband, Zara sweater, ASOS cape, Marc by Marc Jacobs jeans, Matiko boots, Foley + Corinna purse

One pair of boots that magically turns into a second, totally different-looking pair of boots is ALWAYS fine by me!

Can you dig it?

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fashion, nyc | 11 Comments

DIY Feather Skirt

D I Y  F E A T H E R  S K I R T

Hello, hello. Today we are going to learn about how easy (and fun!) it is to make a feather-hem skirt. This one from Lanvin is simply divine but (as Lanvin tends to be except when doing collaborations with H&M) is also unaffordable.

To make the FeFe for H&M version, you will need:

  1. 1 black skirt (I used an old bandage skirt I bought at H&M last year for $15)
  2. 3 yards of feather trim
  3. Sewing pins
  4. A needle and black thread

Start by pinning the feather trim in place. Working with a bandage skirt was ideal because I was able to follow the lines without having to do any measuring of my own.

For the first two lines of feather trim, I used a basic running stitch. The last yard of feather trim is the only place where any thread might be visible on the garment, so I learned how to do a slip stitch using an online guide.

The whole process is very simple and straightforward. I am not much of a sewer, so if I can do it, I am sure you can, too! Here is a shot of the final outcome:

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DIY, fashion, trends | 8 Comments

A Lesson in Leather Dying

L E A T H E R  D Y I N G

Bueno(a)s dias/tardes/noches! It’s that time of the week again…Quick fix Friday, for lack of a better name. I hadn’t intended for both of my DIY projects this week to be footwear-related, but it just so happened that way. I say the more shoe-centric projects, the better!

Last year, I bought a pair of grey Frye boots that I liked, but never fully loved because I was unsure of the color. For some reason, the grey pair was $100 cheaper than the black, which tends to happen often with less popular colors. If only I had known about Tarrago leather dye back then. For a mere $6 I completely transformed my grey Frye boots into a much more desirable pair of black (I’m a New Yorker, introducing color to my wardrobe is a challenge!) ones. Watch and see how easy it is:

Before

(wet spots are from washing off bits of dirt/wear with water and a toothbrush)

Simply lay down a protective layer, and start painting away. The box of dye even comes with a mini brush.

You may want to paint on two coats, though going from grey to black didn’t really require me to do so.

After

**Supposedly, the dye is also effective if you wish to turn a dark object into a lighter color; I’m already scheming to test out that claim on a recent thrift store purchase.

***Calling all men, this is a great project for you, too!

Have a fab weekend, all

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Eggs Focaccia

E G G S  F O C A C C I A

Dear readers who only come back to my blog for the recipes (I have a few in mind):

Never fear, Tuesday is here. Those of you who have visited me at my apartment have probably also been dragged to Gina La Fornarina to eat their amazing (and addictive) focaccia. I am probably one of the few vegetarians out there who is utterly revolted by mushrooms, so it came as a shock to me when I realized that the ingredient in their focaccia that keeps me coming back for more is actually crack white truffle oil. In an attempt to save $20, I tried making their eggs focaccia at home, and let me tell you…it…was…FANTASTIC.

The bread I bought for this dish was actually NOT focaccia, I feel I should be up front about that fact. In a rare moment of weakness, Zabar’s was out of focaccia bread. However, the substitute I used was perfect. If you also choose to substitute the focaccia, I recommend replacing it with something thin, so you’ll be able to taste all the flavors in the eggs.

In addition to bread and truffle oil, I used:

  1. Eggs
  2. Fontina cheese (it is delicious and melts easily)
  3. Skim milk

Pour 2 tablespoons of truffle oil into a skillet and let it heat for a few minutes (on medium-low). While the truffle oil heats, crack six eggs in a bowl and pour in a dash of skim milk. Mix the eggs and milk together and pour into the skillet, leaving the mixture to sit on low heat.

In the mean time, slice the bread in half:

Grate the fontina cheese and stir it into the eggs once they are mostly cooked.

When the eggs are done cooking, divide them evenly across one half of the bread. Place the top on and cut into triangular pieces.

The truffle oil is a bit pricey but you will have plenty leftover for future use. This is a super low maintenance recipe and is a guaranteed brunch crowd-pleaser.  I do want to warn you all that truffle oil is dangerously delicious and I find myself eyeing the bottle and wondering if it would taste good with whatever random food is in my fridge at any given time. However, if you have good self-control, this dish is for you.

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food | 14 Comments

No-carb Lasagna

N O – C A R B  L A S A G N A

My colleagues thought I was nuts when a few weeks ago, I left work saying I was going to Bread TriBeCa to try their no-carb lasagna (it’s not my fault they call the place Bread!). Lucky for me, it was just as yummy as it sounded. To make the lasagna “no-carb”, the fab folks at Bread substituted the noodles with thin slices of zucchini, and packed it with dairy free pesto, pignoli cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce. As I ate, I studied the plate carefully, so I could re-create it for you lovely people.

My version was a bit different, only because I couldn’t find pignoli cheese and had to go for ricotta instead. I also bought fresh sun-dried tomatoes that I intended to throw in the food processor to make a sauce, but decided against it last minute (I had sampled them whole and they were just so delicious). On a whim, I threw some roasted red pepper sauce into my shopping cart, so I used that as well.

The trickiest part is cutting the zucchini in thin slices. I messed up quite a few times, so was happy that I had instinctively purchased two zucchinis (I also cooked for two people).

Once you’ve sliced the zucchini, all you have to do is layer the other ingredients like so:

A look at the completed dish:

I can never get enough veggies, so I also cooked some asparagus tips in the oven (at 350 for 25 minutes with a dash of olive oil).

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Fishtail Braid Tutorial

F I S H T A I L  B R A I D  T U T O R I A L

I love braided hairstyles. They’re quick and easy, yet classic and chic. I’ve had a couple of reader requests to do a post on fishtail braids and because I thought it best to do it after blow-drying my curly locks (which I rarely do these days), it’s taken a while to put up. Anyhow, if you’re like me and have always admired fishtail braids from afar (wondering how the heck to do one yourself…) then this tutorial is for you!

To start, I usually put my hair half up, or french braid the front so that the short pieces stay in place. This time I wanted a more unkempt look, so I put a little braid in the front and twisted a piece on the other side to the back, keeping them in place with bobby pins.

If you are attempting this look with sleek, slippery hair, I suggest putting a hair elastic at the top of your ponytail to start (you can remove it once you’re done braiding). Divide your ponytail into two equal pieces.

Take a small portion of hair from the outside of one of the two sections and cross it over, joining it to the other section.

Repeat this process, alternating sides each time.  At first, you may not be able to see the braid taking shape, but stick with it and in a few minutes, you will have a fishtail braid.

If you chose to put an elastic at the top of your ponytail, remove it at this time.

I like to pull at the braid to give it a messier vibe, before finishing it off with some glossing spray. However, it is totally up to you to decide about whether you’d like to keep the braid neat, for a more polished look.

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DIY, trends | 14 Comments

DIY Wall Stripes

D I Y  W A L L  S T R I P E S

My apartment is a pre-war co-op, so I am always concerned about preserving its classic feel when decorating. The walls are all white which gives the place a clean, crisp feel, but when it came to the bedroom, I wanted to spruce things up, and opted to paint vertical stripes that emulate wallpaper on a single wall. The project took a full day but was inexpensive and well worth it. If you want to give it a try (I highly recommend it), you will need:

  • paint (I only used one coat)
  • a roller and paint tray
  • an old sheet or something to protect the floor
  • painters tape
  • A yard stick
  • a pencil
  • a tall boyfriend stepladder

The most time consuming/important part is the measuring. I decided I wanted to paint stripes that were eight inches wide, so I measured along where the ceiling meets the wall and marked every eight inches with a pencil. Then, I used the yard stick to carefully draw the vertical lines. The painters tape will need to run perfectly straight along the penciled-in lines. Remember that you will only be painting every other stripe, so you will need to alternate the tape inside and outside the designated lines like so:

The rest is easy! Next, you will paint the inside of every other line. I only used one coat so the wall was completely dry within a few hours.

Don’t worry about getting messy, the lines will be perfect as long as you’ve measured the tape with care.

(I must apologize for the poor quality of these photos. I documented this project long before this blog was even a twinkle in my eye — but it was too cool to pass up showing you all.)

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DIY, home | 9 Comments