My way to remember Lulu

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This past summer my family’s beloved pet of 14 years passed away. She had been sick for awhile and it was time to let her go. Lulu, a Shar pei mix, was a loyal and loving dog. I can remember going with my Mom to help pick her out from her litter. I held her on my lap on the way home and was so excited to have such a cute and cuddly addition to the family.

In no time she grew up and loved to leap in the air, fetch sticks, give kisses and dance. I always felt safe when Lulu was around. She had a loud bark and could look very fierce if she wanted to. I think her favourite thing was just to be around her family. We never had to worry about her wandering off, she always came when called, and you could always find her taking a snooze wherever our family was gathered.

My sister and I never tired of trying to get her to wear hats and outfits, which she hated but tolerated up to a point. Earlier posts that featured Lulu are a video we made of her, Homage to keyboard cat, and the one summer we buried her in the sand, What I’m obsessed with today… 2 dogs and a cat.

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Before Lulu passed away I got my Mom to get some modeling clay and make an impression of Lulu’s paw. I work for Peartree Impressions, a company that specializes in transforming delicate hand, foot, and pet impressions into stunning, one-of-a-kind keepsakes. They have a fantastic natural-clay kit to make the impressions in, but since I couldn’t get one to Lulu in time they were able to take a duplicate from the modeling clay. I had impressions made for me as well as my brother and sister. I choose to do mine in Aqua and have Lulu’s name written in script.

I wanted to figure out a way to display the impression with photos of Lulu and this was my solution. I got the frames and embroidery floss from Michaels and the twine from Target. My parents live beside a huge lake and Lulu loved the water so I incorporated the driftwood I collected there last summer. Hot glue helped to make sure everything stayed in place. I used a picture of her as a wrinkly puppy and another from her later years and I’m very pleased with the outcome!

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Peartree Impressions is running a great spring giveaway until April 10, 2014. You can enter for a chance to win two of their impressions kits. Share with a friend or keep them both for yourself. They also make great gifts! Click to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY. Check out more examples of what Peartree offers on their website, Facebook and twitter pages.

 

CONCLUSION

Now every time I sit at my desk I’m reminded of all the good memories and fun times I had with Lulu. I feel like I have a little piece of her with me and that makes me smile.

What I made today… Paintbrush case

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My sister Halie is taking Fine Arts in University. Apparently her brushes did not have a case suitable for carrying to home, class and back again. She asked me to make her one, so here it is! I just made up my own pattern and using bias tape for the edges made it pretty quick and easy. The denim came from an old pair of paint stained jeans I was going to throw away and I used a piece of clear plastic on the inside to help protect the brushes.

Using the longest brush I had as a guide for height I thought there would be plenty of room, but my sister just had to have a super looong one! She says she likes so I’m satisfied. She took these pics in her studio and the last one is her hand so you can get a sense of the size.

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CONCLUSION

Now that my sis has her paintbrushes all organised maybe I should make a case for mine!

an animal sweatshirt DIY for those cold days

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Well last I checked it’s still winter. Yes, really! I’m not kidding you! I’m shocked too. It feels like its got to be at least March, but no, February just started. This DIY is pretty simple and you can do some of it, like sewing on the sequins, while sitting in front of a toasty fire with some hot cocoa!

My sister Halie, who is also modeling the sweatshirts, and I were out shopping one day and admiring all the tops with animals on them. We’re both a fan of pretty much anything with a animal on it. This gave me the inspiration for a DIY we could do together, so off we went to H&M to buy some cheap sweatshirts. These oversized ones cost $19.95.

SUPPLIES:

Plain sweatshirt, felt, sequins, nylon thread, thread the same color as felt, scissors and needle, sewing machine (optional)

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First you need to pick an animal. Halie chose a fish and I picked a bear. Look up the silhouette of your animal of choice online and either use it as a reference to draw a pattern or increase the size and print it out. Just make sure it’s big enough but not bigger then your piece of felt.

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After cutting out your felt in the animal shape use the nylon thread to sew sequins all around the edge of the felt. Stitch about a 1 cm from the edge so you have enough room to sew the felt to the sweatshirt.

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Once your done sewing the sequins on, pin your animal to the sweatshirt. I put the sweatshirt on a dress form to make sure I had it positioned properly. If you don’t have a dress form you might want to (carefully!) try on the sweatshirt to ensure it’s not crooked and adjust if needed.

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The last step is to take the thread that matches the felt and use the sewing machine to stitch between the sequins and edge of the felt. You could also do this by hand. I’ve washed and dried my shirt in the machine and it came out perfectly fine! If your not into animals a large letter, varsity style, would also look snazzy on a sweatshirt! The sky’s the limit!

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CONCLUSION

RAWR!!!!!!

Cozy Kimono Cardigan tutorial

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Fall is my favourite season. It’s when magazines are the thickest, you can start to get excited about Christmas, and best of all you get to layer! Hot summer days can be great but by September I just want to be able to wear a sweater and jacket without sweating like crazy. I saw a kimono cardigan in a store and loved it. It looked so simple yet cozy and fashionable so I figured I would try DIY’ing it.

You will need *fabric *thread *sewing machine *bias tape (optional)

After dissecting the cardi at the store I realised it was made of 2 squares for the front and a rectangle for the back. Now the challenge was to figure out the correct measurements that would give enough drape without looking like I was wearing a sheet. After trial and error these are the measurements that looked the best on me. I’m 5’10” but my model Christa is a couple inches shorter and it works for both of us. Because the back piece is double the front pieces I only cut one 23”x23” square of paper and cut it on the fold for the back.

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The best fabrics to use are light to mid weight because you want your cardi to drape nicely. This plaid doesn’t have much stretch but I’ve also used a cotton jersey to make a kimono cardi and both turned out great. Keep in mind if your using a patterned fabric you might need more if you want to match up the pattern at the side seam and shoulders.

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Once you cut out your three pieces, with right sides of the fabric facing each other, pin the shoulder seams together. Where the front pieces meet is where you neck goes. I’ve found it works best if you pin both the right and left side of the front to the back piece and sew it in one continuous line. I used a serger to sew the shoulder seam but if you don’t have one you could use a french seam, pinking shears, or a zig zag stitch to finish the seam and keep the fabric from fraying.

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Using bias tape on the side seam and armholes is a easy way to finish the seam and add a nice feature. I made my own from micro suede.

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Before you sew the side seams you can try the cardi on and see how the drape is. If it’s too long or wide it would be easy at this stage to cut some off the bottom or sides.  Measure 7” down each side staring at the shoulder seam. This will be the armhole. Sew the bias tape around the armhole. You’ll need about 15” of tape per armhole since you want there to be some overlap when you sew the side seam. Now pin the side seams with the wrong sides together and sew the bias tape from the bottom hem to about 1/2” over the armhole bias tape. If your worried about the fabric slipping when sewing on the tape just do a basting stitch first. Then all you have to do is hem the bottom and up the center and your finished! After making the pattern this project took me about an hour to complete.

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Thanks to Christa for being such a great model!

 

Conclusion: 

I love quick and easy projects! You can be cozying up in Kimono cardi in no time.

What i made today… Leather edged infinity scarf

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 The inspiration for this infinity scarf came from one I saw in Le Chateau. It was all black and it looked pretty cool but I thought, I can do this for cheaper and use real leather not this fake looking stuff! Earlier I had seen a beautiful rose colored skull scarf in H&M for $12.95 that I was on the fence about. Now that I had a DIY project in mind this seemed like the perfect scarf to use. Sold!

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This is very simple and quick! First I sewed the two short ends of the scarf together to make it an infinity scarf. Since both ends are finished I placed one end on top of the other and stitched over the thread.  I re-purposed the leather from a long jacket that I never wore and cut it into 1 1/2 cm strips. The good thing about leather or suede is you don’t have to worry about finishing the edge. I just folded each strip in half, ironed it down, and sewed it all around both edges sandwiching the scarf edge between the folded leather strip. Test your leather first to see if you should use a pressing cloth overtop as the iron can sometimes make the leather shiny. Bias tape would also look great and it comes in every color! You can even make your own bias tape if you have some fabric that you like.

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conclusion

I’ve been wearing this a lot! I think the black edging adds more dimension. I like the colors and it’s perfect for chilly, but not too chilly, fall weather.

A Swapping we will go! Part 2

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So here is part 2 of my swapping adventure with The SWAP Team. I’m going to share all my sweet finds and give you my 5 tips for a successful swap. If you want to know more about The SWAP Team and the two Calgary Co-Chapter Directors Stacey and Vanessa, check out part 1.

Tip 1: What you wear to the swap is just as important as what you’ll take away. Your outfit should be something that you can easily try clothes over. While there were change rooms I found it was much quicker to just find a clear space and try stuff on. I wore flats, black leggings, a tank top dress, and a long sleeved button up shirt I could easily take on and off. (check out my pic in part 1) I also wore minimal make up. No one wants to find a foundation or lipstick smear across their “new” shirt.

All 3 of these tanks are quite long, I just have them folded. Perfect for layering!

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Tip 2: Don’t forget to check out the men’s section! My friend Jolene actually clued me into this. She wasn’t finding any plaid shirts in the women’s section so she went to the men’s and scored a nice red and blue number. While I wasn’t lucky enough to find another plaid shirt I did come across these two raglan sleeved tops and a sequined skier tee from Zara Man.

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Tip 3: Be prepared to dig! Even thought clothes are hung up and sorted mainly by style you’ll still have to look through all the racks thoroughly. Heck, we were sitting on the floor pulling t-shirts out of the bin. You never know what you might find at the bottom. I even went through some racks twice. A swap can be very hectic and things can change quickly. Taking time to look might be the difference between you finding that perfect dress or not.

I love the floweyness of this Asos top and a good pair of Nike gym shorts will come in handy.

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Tip 4: Try to imagine the possibilities. During your clothing swap search always keep in mind that with a few small tweaks an item can look like it was made for you. If it’s missing a button sewing a new one on is easy. Or you could even change all the buttons for a different look. If a pair of pants fit great but are too long hemming is a quick fix. Taking in a side seam or shortening a skirt is another way to tailor your finds. The Plaid skirt below fits great on the waist but is a tad snug on the hips so I’m going to let out the seam about a 1/2 inch for the perfect fit! If you have lots of those t-shirt DIY’s on your pintrest now would be a good time to find some oversized tees to experiment on.

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Tip 5: Be picky! After going through your closet and donating all the clothes you don’t want anymore it would seem foolish to haul home a bunch of stuff that really doesn’t work for you. Try everything on and bring a friend for a second opinion. Make sure to look for wear and tear, open seams, and stains. I always make sure to look under the armpit and down the front. Sometimes these things can be easily fixed but if you don’t have the know how or the time for repairs I’d pass. If you don’t like to dry clean or hand wash your clothes make sure to look at the labels. Just because they have been previously worn doesn’t mean they wont shrink!

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conclusion

I had to fit in one more tip and that’s Treat others like you’d want to be treated. Yes, you need to be speedy to snag that perfect sweater but that’s no reason to elbow and knock all the other sweaters off their hangers! We should all be their to have fun and share in our love of fashion. Happy swapping!

A Swapping we will go! part 1

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On Sunday September 22nd I got up bright and early to attend The SWAP Team’s Take Off Your Clothes event. Armed with a coffee, my best swapping outfit and some pals to get second opinions from I waited patiently for the doors to open, anxious to get my swap on. This is the first time I’ve attended a clothing swap but with my love of thrift stores and scoring a bargain I knew I would have a great time!

The SWAP Team, founded in 2007, is a non-profit run entirely by volunteers. They currently have chapters in Montreal, Boston, NYC, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, Northampton (MA) and Quebec City. The SWAP Team is all about promoting eco-friendly and socially conscious clothing consumption and all the clothing left over from the swap is donated to local charities! For every item in excellent condition brought in you get one ticket to exchange for a item of clothing or accessories found at the swap. The only cost is the price of the ticket $15. So the more you bring in the more you can walk away with! Luckily we were supplied with X-large bright green totes to haul our goodies in!

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Stacey Savage and Vanessa Erickson are the awesome Calgary Co-Chapter Directors and I was able to ask them a couple questions about how they got involved with SWAP, tips for swapping, and their fave spots in YYC.

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How did you first get involved with the Swap Team?

Stacey My first encounter with the SWAP was in October 2010. I was invited by my now Co-Director, Vanessa to come and volunteer on event day. I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew after my first day volunteering that I needed to get involved in a more substantial way. The next event, Spring 2011, I was on The SWAP Team as the volunteer coordinator. From then on out, Vanessa and I took over the event as Co-Directors, and this years event marks our 3rd SWAP as the official YYC Team.

Vanessa  I met the previous SWAP Team Calgary Director (and now VP of Operations), Necole Hines, at a girls night at a mutual friend’s house. We started talking and she explained that she was hosting the first ever Take Off Your Clothes event in Calgary, and I offered to volunteer. I spent the whole day in the sorting section literally amazed at the quality and the overwhelming quantity of clothes that were coming through the door, we had so much fun going through it all. After the first event, I became Necole’s Co-Director, and later brought on my best friend, Stacey Savage to replace Necole when she took a position as VP of Operations with The SWAP Team on a national scale

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What items are most coveted at the swap?

Stacey I find people typically go pretty crazy over the shoe section, the Jeans are a pretty hot item too. This year we had a phenomenal jeans section, there were so many great pairs that it’s easy to see why. Typically a good pair of jeans will set someone back over $100, so to be able to snag some for “free” can never be a bad thing!

Vanessa It really varies, but I would say the items that draw the most attention are vintage, unique or high-end items. We get a wide variety of people that attend, which means we get a tonne of variety in the items and the preferences of the people who attend. We find a lot of people going “Can I pull this off?” “What if I shorten the hem on this? “What if I belt it?” – people start to get creative and they step out of their comfort zones with the clothing, probably because it’s free!

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Are there any swapping no-no’s?

Stacey SWAP is a pretty freestyle event, we have everything from women changing in the middle of the room, to running around trying to show your best friend a great find that you know would look amazing on her. We don’t have a lot of “no-no”s per say, but we do like to encourage a friendly environment. We realize letting hundreds of people loose on free clothing can be risky, but we definitely promote a “be nice to your fellow SWAP’ers” mentality.

Vanessa The only thing I can really think of is putting something into the swap that you’re not prepared to get rid of. Because we can’t control the types of items that we get for each swap, we always try to warn our attendees, “if you aren’t willing to get nothing for it, don’t put it in the swap.” This way people can avoid feeling disappointed if they don’t find something of equal or higher value. We don’t guarantee that you will get your pieces back if you can’t swap-up. This being said, it’s rare when this type of situation comes up, because we really do get some great items for swapping!

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What is 1 tip you’d give to someone wanting to host their own home swap meet?

Stacey 1st tip is to be ruthless with your own closet, and encourage your friends to do the same. We ALL have those pieces in our closets that have been hanging there for years… we glance at them once and a while and invision the perfect outfit to go with it, but let’s face it… if you haven’t even put it on in the last 8 months, chances are you’re not going to. The best way to have a successful swap is to trust the process and get ready to purge your closet… trust me, it’s so refreshing!

Vanessa Invite your friends to bring friends, try to get as many people involved as possible. You will end up with more variety in terms of sizes, styles, etc so that you can make sure everyone walks away with something that they’re really excited about!

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What is your favourite color? 

Stacey My favourite color for fashion really changes with trends and seasons. This season I find myself being really attracted to a lot of army greens, and deep ox bloods and burgundy’s. I love fall fashion, so I’m really excited to fill up on chunky sweaters and scarves… I have a bit of a scarf addiction, I’ll admit.

Vanessa My favourite colour is green – it’s the colour of grass and emeralds (my favourite jewel!).

Where is one of your best loved places in Calgary?

Stacey We have so many local boutiques in this city where there are always amazing finds. I will say that I do love to be thrifty when I can, so Feisty Consignment on 17th avenue is a staple for me. They are ALWAYS restocking with amazing finds, barely worn items, great shoes, etc. It’s a must for anyone looking for great items at a reasonable price.

Vanessa One of my best loved spots in the city is the Blackfoot Farmers Market. Last year, my sister and I made it a date there almost every Sunday to grab a delicious lunch from Three Greek Gals, pick up fresh produce for the week and my guilty pleasure… taste testing all of the Simple Simons pies! She’s heading to New Zealand in a week, so sadly, I’ll need to find a new friend to go with, or fly solo :)

If your interested in my tips for successful swapping and what items I scored stay tuned for A Swapping We Will Go part 2!

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