Sunday, 21 December 2014

LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS


Don't get frightened by the headline there - last minute is still far away. According to some at least.

After being rather late when it comes to Christmas myself (in my book at least), this weekend I've made lots of preparations,  glittered things up here and there, prepared food and gifts, bought flowers (I always by a bunch of flowers whenever the season changes) and all that. I love giving presents and prefer never to give anything that is not of any use (unless it is really really funny or really really kitsch). But there are always those who it can be hard to find nice gifts for. Apart from giving away a dinner, tickets to see a play or movie, a day together like going bowing or so or a gift card, here are a few tips and tricks for nice gifts when you are in a hurry or don't know what to give:

Anything in a jar. You may recall that I love jars. And most people have a need for them anyway. Putting something rather mundane nicely wrapped in a mason jar makes it more of a gift, even though it's a pair of classic wool socks. But you can of course stuff your jars with lots of goodies like...

...homemade gingerbread.  Or sweets - home made candy or raw candy. Or go for store bought if you are not the baking type. Or mix!


Or store bought goodies. Mix healthy and less healthy. Or salty and sweet!

Or, give away a recipe to make. Cookies for example, where the receiver ads just the fat (and eggs, if needed). Remember to add the how-to (and ingredient list) along with the gift. (Recipes with candy or dried fruit in it looks nice when jarred up. )

Fill a bowl - new, flea market find, your choice - with fresh fruit and some extra tinsel to go along.
deliver as it is or wrapped in cellophane. Or, wrap it in -

...a tote bag deluxe (with clean seams on the inside). Mke on out of nice fabric to use as wrapping and fill it with just anything, like tea or coffee. Or chocolate. You can seldom go wrong with chocolate. In my humble opinion at lest. Or sew a kitchen towel (as simple as it gets) and do the same.

Or, place those wool socks or movie theatre tickets in a nice box that can be used for storage afterwards. Two-in-one!

Or then - give a book! Because you know, books are great.

THORNES AND FLOWER BUDS


My sister brought me a belated birthday present;  a set of mini cactuses. I placed them all on a tray together with a mini hyacinth I got earlier this fall.

Then I almost forgot about it until I noticed the hyacinth in pretty blue bloom. We're leaving for the countryside to spend the holidays and I almost feel sad for the little hyacinth to bloom alone. (You see, I am the kind of person who can sometimes feel sorry even for a sad forgotten glove put up on a bench in the park, all alone. Not to mention small forgotten toys, alone and sad.) But it goes so well with the cactuses I left it there anyway.

Friday, 19 December 2014

JOHNNY CASH MEETS LIBERACE, OR, THE BLING-UP OF A SHIRT


This season- a part from checks- it's all about blinging up old items over here. (Or, if you so will, plain new ones). No such thing as too much sparkle during the festive holidays!

Some weeks ago it was about putting some extra bling on a pair of heels, this time we'll spice up a shirt.

This shirt was originally made for a thing on stage, but since those moments would be very few and short in nature, I made it with the intention of being able to use it myself afterwards.

So you will need a shirt - I used a mens' slim fit shirt as I wanted it to be long - rhinestones of your choice, appliqué glue, some supporting fabric to iron underneath and a brush to apply the first layer of glue. Or, needle and thread if you come across those rhinestones that can be sewn on. (And if you're patient enough to do so). I used acrylic stones, they are lighter in weight; this shirt will need a lot of them. Your shirt will take 24 to 48 hours to make depending on weather you add your bling to just the front or also the back; the glue needs to dry properly before wearing.

First, cut the supporting fabric in the shape of the area you want to embellish (use a piece of  paper to get the shape right by trying it out on your shirt first and then transferring it to the support fabric), or a bit larger than that, and iron it in place. This shirt had double fabric at the back yoke so it did not require extra support.

Then, working first on one side, put glue on the area to be embellished. As you can see I placed a magazine under the area I am working on so the glue won't go trough to the opposite side.

I sparkled my shirt up in a western fashion but any pattern will look good; lines or dots or, yes,  lines forming...checks. Then you might want to draw them out first so they end up even and don't look like something your kid made you for father's /mother's day and that you were forced to wear. (Because, that's how it would end up for me at least.) I drew along the edge of the support fabric, which I had cut into exactly the shape of the area I wanted embellished.

I use Jewel-it glue for almost anything of this kind, it dries slowly to be fully transparent and elastic and the items can be washed.  So use that or any similar. But it will leave ugly stains if you drop it where it's not supposed to be, so be careful. The glue is best spread out with a brush - rinse the brush and put it in warm water immediately afterwards if you ever want to use it again (like, for the other side after a while).

Let the glue sink in for about ten minutes and then apply some more to the section you will start with.
I apply my stones with a pair of tweezers. Carefully lift the shirt a little bit every now and then so it does not stick to the surface underneath. Then on to the other side!

Let the shirt dry for an hour or two laying down until the glue is no longer white and then hang it to dry over night before wearing - or before doing the back (after which you of course will have to let it dry over night again).

The front of the shirt and the back the day(s) after. I did not put embellishment all the way over the shoulders because the shirt would then have turned very hard and bulky when worn.

I used 700 of the bigger sized stones (200 on each side in the front, 300 in the back, bought them at 2,50€/100pcs bag) and some 400 of the smaller ones (about ten euros). Whatever you chose to make, remember you will most likely need more pieces than you'd think of at first (unless this is everyday business for you), that goes for all embellishments.


And here's me wearing my western Cash goes Liberace-shirt!


This time with a pair of velvet capri leggings and red details, the next time perhaps with a pencil skirt.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

TURQUOISE, CHECKS AND HEART-SHOES


I went to Christmas party which was an excellent opportunity to pop on my Heartbraker shoes. And as the theme of this fall-and winter- has been plaid I did not break it this time either! (In real life I actually have been wearing other clothing than checked_plaid only, even though it may seem hard to believe; they just did not make it here.) I put my bangs aside for the night with a couple of pins that my mother used to wear as a kid, they still keep hair in place very well.

The skirt is vintage and the top is self made from last summer. The shoes are by Frollein von Sofa and come in many colours and materials.