Monday, July 23, 2012

Cute Red 50's + Modern Kitchen

When we moved into the house, the kitchen was awful; dark cabinets, no dishwasher, olive green stove and vent hood, carpet on the floor, and white countertops with a harvest gold, orange, and avocado green flower design.  Can you say tacky?  And, who puts carpet in the kitchen?  Really, that's just gross!  It was one of the first things I pulled up.  I mean, at the time my boys were babies and babies make messes.  The bare sub floor with glue marks (which I just painted over) was much better until I could afford flooring.

Over the years, we've painted the walls and cabinets, we replaced the carpet with wood laminate flooring, we bought a dishwasher that you roll over to the sink to use, we got 2 new stoves and vent hood, (I placed the lid to my crockpot with the rubber edge down on my first glass top stove, when it cooled, it sucked up my stove and cracked the glass cooktop.) and I covered my counters with contact paper.  I became an expert contact paperer back in college when my roommate and I redecorated our dorm room with the stuff.  It looked so good that for years we lived with contact paper counters.  This year for my birthday, my hubby asked me if I would like new countertops.

We bought them from Ikea.  They are black with a stainless steel strip on the edge.  When removing the old ones, we realized that we couldn't re-use the sink, so I got a new sink, too.  It's an acrylic sink from Lowes with 4 holes!!!!  I was finally able to get a sprayer.  I decided I was tired of the food splattered colored cabinets on the bottom so I repainted my bottom cabinets gray.  Hubby and son installed the new counters.  They only set the smoke alarm off twice from trying to cut them to size.

I decided I wanted to update my plain white mixer.  I looked for red contact paper or sticky vinyl and none could be found in my small town.  But, while at Walmart, I found an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of red duct tape.  I bought that, used 4 different sizes of circle punches and now I have a cute red and white polka dotted mixer, made from duct tape!

So, a summary of the kitchen now after all the changes through the years:  White walls, except for the one wall which is red (this is a true bright primary red, in fact the paint color was called "Mickey's Pants."  White upper cabinets, gray lower cabinets, white stove, white microwave vent hood, white and black portable dishwasher, new white sink with new faucet, wood laminate floors, red & chrome 50's table, red and black Ikea chairs, red curtains with record albums and CD's creating a valance, red lockers from Ikea, and a polka dot mixer.

Now, I need to work up the nerve to paint the fridge.  I can't decide between gray to match the lower cabinets or red.  Please comment here to tell me what color you would paint it!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DIY Jewelry Organization

I love my jewelry and use it as art on my wall.  It helps me to remember what I have and makes getting dressed easier and quicker.  Here is how I organize and hold my Earrings, Necklaces, and Brooches.

Earring Holder
A few years ago, while visiting my sister, I noticed her earring holder.  She said she bought it from "a girl who make them."  A few months later, I was needing birthday gifts for some girlfriends so I tried to remember what I saw at my sister's house and re-created it.

window screening from the hardware store - it comes in big rolls but you only need a little
dowel rod
4 wooden dowel rod balls
hot glue

First, cut your dowel rod into 2 12 inch pieces, then take your dowel rods and balls and paint them whatever color you like.  I spray painted mine silver.  Then you need to cut your screening (use big scissors) to 12 inches by 18 inches.  On the 12 inch side, fold down about 1 inch and glue down with the hot glue.  Do the same thing on the bottom.  Then slide the dowel through and attach the wood balls to the end of the dowels

Back side, fold over, glue, stick dowel through pocket.
Flip it back over and glue ribbon on the front to hide the glue seams.  Tie a ribbon on both ends at the top to hang.  Earrings slide in and you can attach hoop earrings on the sides.

Necklace Holder
At first I was just putting cup hooks in the wall but this was making a bunch of holes and hubby wasn't very happy with me.  So, I would have several necklaces on one hook and it was hard to find the right one or they would get tangled.  So, I needed a better solution.

Cup hooks in the wall.
cup hooks

I went to the local home improvement store and bought a piece of cheap but interesting molding already primed.  I measured my wall and decided on my size.  I cut my molding into a 12 inch piece.  (I actually made 4 at one time.)  Then, I painted my molding silver.  Once that was dry, I used a ruler to make evenly spaced marks across the board.  I just used a groove in the molding to keep the spacing from top to bottom.  Then I took my drill and made a pilot hole at each mark.  Then I twisted my cup hooks in.  Last thing, I drilled pilot holes to mount the holder with screws and then screwed it into the wall.  Yeah, I have 2 holes in the wall but that sure is better than 11.
My middle cup hook is missing because I made 4 of these at a time and my bag of cup hooks only had 40 so it's back to the store I go.
Now, to store my fancy pins and brooches I use a cute little "what not" shelf with a glass door.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Mail!

A few months ago I discovered this blog from Pinterest about mailing items that weigh 13 ounces or less first class mail.  They can be any shape or size and do not require special packaging.  I was a little hesitant and then my boys told me that the Mythbusters mailed a coconut to prove that it could be done.  I couldn't wait to try it for myself.

While they were at boy scout summer camp, both boys got a special delivery in the mail; duct tape.  I mean what boy scout doesn't need duct tape?

Garrett's special penguin duct tape.

Marshall got paint splatter duct tape.
A little over a week ago, the boys and I sent gifts to all their younger cousins.  We bought beach balls for $0.97 at Walmart, spent a few hours decorating the balls and then sent them in the mail.  It cost about $2.15 in postage.

Garrett the artist, hard at work.

At the post office!
 As you can see, the younger cousins were excited to receive their personal beach balls in the mail.  I can't wait to try mailing something else soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Look Your Best, Part 4 & Final

Welcome to part 4 of "How to Look Your Best."  Click here for:  part 1, part 2, part 3

I gave my talk today to a group of ladies.  I think it went really well.  Now that you know the secrets to being a Chic Fabulous Fashionita, you need to know how to put it all together.

First, it might be helpful to know your style personality.  If I said that wearing ruffles would help with your body proportions but you're not a ruffle person, then don't wear ruffles.  Find something else that fits your style.  There are four basic style personalities; Casual/Natural - easy going and relaxed style, Classic/Elegant - timeless look that always looks in, Romantic - lace, ruffles, soft flowing fabrics, Dramatic/Trendsetter - show stopping, attention grabbing, statement making.  Look at this link that I made from polyvore.  Which dress do you feel more drawn towards?  Now, you may be a mixture of more than one style personality.  I like to switch between all of them depending on my mood or the occasion.  Others, may always stick to just one.

Another thing you can do is people watch.  When you see someone who looks nice, figure out why she looks nice.  If you see someone who doesn't look so nice, analyze what would work better.  Also, listen to compliments.  If someone says, "That's my favorite color."  They are not complimenting how you look.  If they say, "That color looks great on you," then wear that color more often.  If they say, "You look nice today," that's a good compliment.  If they say, "Cute shirt,' they are not complimenting you, they wish they had that shirt.  Your attitude and posture can go a long way.  Stand tall, shoulders back, head held high and you will just ooze with more style.

Don't be tied to the old rules.  Throw them out.  You don't have to wear hose with a dress.  In fact, don't.  Wear a longer skirt and use sunless tanning lotion.  Older women look beautiful with long hair.  White can look gorgeous in the winter.  And, you don't want your shoes, belt, and purse all to match.

When you are shopping, think about your Cost Per Wear or CPW.  If you buy a shirt on clearance for $15 but then only wear it twice, you paid $7.50 each time you wore it.  If you invest in nice trousers that cost you $50 but you wear them every week for an entire year, then they cost less than $1.00 each time you wore them.  Every item in your wardrobe should be able to mix and match with other items.  Try to find at least 3 ways to wear every item in your closet.  Here is an example with this cute teal blouse.

Funky teacher look with animal print skirt and boots.

Professional look with a suit.

With jeans for a casual night out with the hubby.

Cute cotton skirt for brunch with the girls or work.

Same outfit as above but with the blouse open like a jacket.

Cute casual look with walking shorts.

Pretty and dressy look with silk flowing skirt.

So, you say, sure it's easy to make multiple outfits with a solid colored shirt.  Try something harder.  Okay, here is a yellow floral print sundress, 3 ways.

Summertime fun.

Add a short sleeve sweater and wear to work in the Spring.

Add tights, boots, and a sweater to take you into fall.
It will help to organize your closet.  I have all my shirts on the top rack and all my bottoms (sorted into skirts, capri's, pants) on the bottom rack.  Dresses are on another rack on the other side of the closet.  Each section is then put in rainbow order:  pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown, tan.

My closet; pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown, tan.

Use jewelry as wall art.  If you can see it you are more likely to wear it!
Finally, you also want to make sure your hair and makeup go with your style.  Everyone should switch out their hairstyle every couple of years to get a fresh new start.  Talk to your hairdresser, ask for their help in a new look.  Be honest with them about how much time you will spend fixing your hair each day.  Make up helps enhance our natural beauty and also can be a sunscreen.  With practice, you can put on a full face of makeup in less than 5 minutes.  But, like with your clothes, pick one area to focus on.  If you want to play up your eyes, go with a neutral lip.  If you want to wear bright bold lipstick, keep your eyes neutral.

Hopefully, I have helped you learn some of the tools to be a Chic Fabulous, Fashionista using Color, Focus and Fit! 

How To Look Your Best, Part 3

Today is the 3rd part of this topic.  Go here to see day 1.  And here is day 2.

Today in learning how to become a Chic Fabulous Fashionista by using Color Focus and Fit, we move on to Fashionista and Fit.

Fit is oh so very important.  Your clothes should fit you.  They shouldn't be too tight or too loose.  Most clothing should touch your skin without pulling too much.  Many times we hide in big baggy clothes thinking that it hides our fat but what it really does is makes people think you are actually as big as the baggy clothes.

You should dress the body you have now.  Don't wait to lose weight.  In fact, dressing your body now will give you more confidence so that dropping the weight will be easier.  You don't have to spend a lot of money, either.  Shop thrift stores, etc. and splurge on accessories that look great now and will look good after you get your body to your goal size.

You want to create an hourglass, look for 2 C's on each side of your body at your waist.  Emphasize the narrowest parts (waist, empire waist, skinny part of leg, etc.)  And, please do not wear big squares.  I don't like to label people by body shape by calling them by a fruit or a letter or anything.  But, you know your body, emphasize the good parts and balance out the not so good parts by adding the illusion of more curves.

For example, if you have large hips and a small chest, balance things out by wearing a blouse with ruffles or some other detail to draw the eye up.  If you have a large chest, wear a V neck or a long scarf or necklace to break up the chest.

We all want to look long and lean and in proportion.  One hint, do not let your tops or jackets go down past your crotch.  This will help your legs look longer.

Pants and skirt lengths should end at skinny parts of your leg, usually right around your knee.  Be very wary of capri's that end at the fattest part of your calf, not very flattering.  Long pants should touch your foot and continue around your heel at the same length.  You can NOT wear the same pants with heels and flats.  Pick one pair of pants that you will always wear with heels and hem them longer than the pair you always wear with flats.

To help look long and lean, look for straight leg pants and pencil skirts.  These look great on most body types (as long as they are not too tight on large hips).  A line skirts that gently flow away from the waist down also look great on most body types.  Please, if nothing else, remove pleats from your life!  Pleats on pants give you a pooch at your belly!  They emphasize your belly and pleated pants should be banned forever!

If you clothes don't fit right off the rack, find a tailor.  It doesn't cost much to hem shirts and pants to a better length and they look soooo much better.  If you go to the fabric store they have this miracle product called iron on hem tape.  It's simple and easy for the non-sewer and it will last through the wash.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Look Your Best, Part 2

Saturday, I wrote part 1 of this blog which you can find here where you get the beginnings of how to become a Chic Fabulous Fashionista using Color, Focus, and Fit. 

The second part to being a Chic Fabulous Fashionista is using FABULOUS which stands for Focus.  Let people focus on you as a beautiful woman, not your clothes.  When someone looks at you let them think, "there's a well put together beautiful woman" not "wow, she has a crazy outfit on."  The biggest key is to have a focus and not make someone who looks at you not know where to look.   

No longer should clothing be all "matchy-matchy" but they should go together.  If you try to wear baby blue pants, baby blue blouse, baby blue shoes, and a baby blue belt, you may get dragged off to a nursing home. 

So, you've heard that mixing prints is the new in thing but how do you do it with out looking crazy?  Only have 1 strong pattern and the other pattern should work as a neutral.  For example, I have a pair of brown pin stripe trousers with an aqua pin stripe.  From a distance, these pants look solid brown.  So, I can wear a blouse with a strong pattern with aqua and brown colors and it will go with the pants.  Wear your patterns with confidence.  If you are small, do not wear an oversized print it will overwhelm you.  If you are large, do not wear a tiny print.

Pop!  That seems to be the key word in today's fashion world.  You want 1 thing that catches your eye.  Maybe you have a neutral outfit on with hot pink shoes. How fun is that?

Make sure that you dress appropriately for the occasion.  When in doubt, dress a little nicer.  In business, dress for the job you want instead of the job you have.  I recently went to a banquet and I was a tad bit more dressy than many of the people there.  I was wearing a cocktail dress and many of the people were just wearing what they wore to work.  However, I looked much better than the woman I saw who showed up to a banquet in a sloppy t-shirt and jeans. 

You also need to dress age appropriately.  I find that most women I know tend to dress older than their age.  Remember 40 is the new 30!  So, don't dress like you're 50.  However, if you're in your 20's don't dress like a teen.  One rule to keep in mind is to not repeat trends.  If you wore giant bell bottoms in the 70's, don't do it again.  Leave that for the teens!

Finally, accessories can be wonderful to create focus so use them!!!  But, don't "matchy-match".  Shoes, belts, and purses do not have to all match.  In fact they shouldn't all match.  Jewelry sets are old school, too.  Pick 1 piece of jewelry to pop, and let the others be more neutral.  Don't forget about scarves!

Here is your challenge.  Pick an accessory that you already own that you hardly ever wear.  Decide now that you are going to find a way to wear it in the next week.  Maybe it's an old broach that you are going to put on a chain as a necklace.  Maybe you are going to finally wear that scarf that you always forget you have.  If you are up to the challenge, please comment here on my blog about what you wore!  

Long scarf helps lengthen the body or break up the look of a larger chest.

Scarf tied up near the neck draws the eye up, good for evening out larger hips.

One of my favorite ways to wear a scarf, in the hair and lengthening the body.

Scarf tied around your waist can help create a waist line.

Scarf tied around the hips can help even out a larger chest.

Or use your scarf on your purse for a splash of color and fun.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

How to Look Your Best

Last summer, my mom and I were joking about someone who, how do I say this, was not looking her best.  I mean truthfully, I should've taken a picture and sent it to peopleofwalmart.  Mom told me I should teach a class about fashion and invite this person.  Well, that never happened but I guess Mom told someone else that I could teach a fashion class and lo and behold on Tuesday I'm doing just that.  For those of you who can't make it, I'll give some of the info here.

First, I decided to come up with something catchy to remember to organize my thoughts.  It is "You can be a Chic Fabulous Fashionita using Color, Focus, and Fit.

Chic also stands for Color.  When I was in high school, my mom borrowed a copy of "Color Me Beautiful" and it changed my life.  My sisters, Mom, and I were all figuring out each others seasonal coloring.  I remember we got down to 2 colors and we were looking all over the house for items that we could drape in front of me.  We finally found a pretty yellow dress of my sisters and an ugly green suitcase.  Yep, you guessed it I looked better in the ugly suitcase.  It was at that moment that I learned that I was an autumn and my life changed.  Do a quick search on the internet and you will find lots of sites that will help you discover your seasonal colors if you don't know them already.  And, as you age, your coloring changes so you might need to re-evaluate.

Throughout high school, if I didn't feel like going to school, I would put on a black shirt and go tell Mom I wasn't feeling well.  She would look at me, say, "you do look pale" and send me back to bed!  Then, I could have my "Ferris Bueller Day."  It works the other way, too.  I know one of my very best colors is a dark peacock blue.  I like to wear that on special dates and stuff to get more attention.
Please don't laugh, black really is NOT my color!
Teal is a much better color for me!
Now, once you know what your color season is, the next step is to pick about 3 colors to build your wardrobe around.  Too many color choices is overwhelming.  When you pick just a few, items will mix and match with ease.  It would be best to have one of those 3 colors a neutral.  The neutrals go with anything!!  They are black, brown, tan, khaki, navy, white, grey, denim.  My 3 colors are brown, teal, and green.  Since I've been doing this for years, now I have a few more colors (tan, orange green).

Now you know how to look CHIC, tune in next time to learn how to look Fabulous and like a Fashionista!