Posts in CREATE
The GoodwillSA Project: August

Collar necklaces are all the rage right now. They're gracing the pages of almost all the September issues of fashion magazines. Even Anthropologie has them which means they've definitely hit the mainstream. They're the perfect statement necklace. Here are some of my faves - they've inspired this post.

collar necklace wish list
collar necklace wish list

And the good news is, I've found a way to create your very own collar necklace without the hefty price tag - Just in time for back-to-school! Collars are a great accessory to layer under your every day t-shirt or sweater to dress up your outfit. The great thing about these collars is that they're super easy to make and an affordable fashion item that can be easily made within minutes. Even your girly tweens will have fun with this one!

1) Start with a trip to your Goodwill and collect several men's woven shirts with collars. They're priced at $3.99 each. I like men's shirts because the collars are usually a bit more sturdy. You want the collars to be stiff so it can hold up all the accessories that you'll be putting on them. I looked for both colors and shapes that I liked.

shirts
shirts

2) You'll need to shop for some embellishments - studs, beads, diamonds from other necklaces or bought from the store. I bought rhinestones and beads at my local Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's. I also purchased spikes and studs from Tandy Leather Factory (because I couldn't wait for shipping), but I'd totally recommend getting them at Studs and Spikes. You'll also need fabric glue and a good pair of scissors.

3) Use a sharp pair of scissors and cut off the collars of each shirt.

cutoffcollar
cutoffcollar
collars
collars

4) For the first collar, I glued some fuschia rhinestone embellishments on to the collar using fabric glue. And for the second collar, I glued some beads on the collar using fabric glue. A pop of color around the collar is a great way to spice up a neutral and casual outfit.

fuschia collar necklace
fuschia collar necklace
beaded collar
beaded collar

5) Next, I embellished the black collar with some round brass studs that have a bendable backing on them. All you have to do is poke the studs through and bend the backing down so it's completely flat (see below). You can continue to poke the studs through to create a unique design on your collar. I chose to line them up in a straight horizontal line, parallel to the seam of the collar. This is probably my favorite collar, it's just one of those pieces that can make any outfit look strong and edgy for a cool city chic look.

brass stud collar
brass stud collar

6) For the denim, I decided to use some silver pyramid studs to give it more of an edge. These silver studs have the same bendable backings on them. They're super easy to use. Just poke the studs through the fabric and bend the backings flat. Design the collar however you want. I wanted to emphasize the tip of this collar so all I did was stud the end of the collar. This is a great collar to edge up a simple shirt.

stud how to
stud how to
denim silver stud collar
denim silver stud collar

7) My next collar is a dainty Peter Pan collar that has a rounded edge instead of a  pointed one. Peter Pan collars have a romantic vintage charm to them - a perfect accessory to make any outfit more girly and feminine. I decided to use beads from a bracelet that I had laying around, in a single row around the edge of the collar. Easy peasy.

peter pan collar
peter pan collar

Something as simple as a collar can take a typical and every day outfit and transform it into a well thought out and stylized look. Weather you choose a plain collar or an embellished beaded one, collars can really spice up a plain old shirt or dress. So I challenge you guys this season to sit down and design your own collars. It's really easy peasy. There's no limit on creativity. You can keep them simple or go crazy on them. The old wardrobe that you've had for years can completely be transformed with the addition of some amazing collars.

diy collars
diy collars

What do you guys think? Is this a project that you'd enjoy? Are the collars trendy enough for you to try out as a statement piece to an ordinary outfit?

trends to try: pastel hair
chalk_it_up
chalk_it_up

Have y'all seen all of the summertime photo shoots of models donning pastel hair? The photos almost always include sunspots, and the pictures look so soft and ethereal that they make me want to have pastel hair too. Because that's how you get a life that looks all flowy and cotton-candy-dreamy, right?

The good news is that if you've been wanting to try this trend as much as I have, I've found a great, inexpensive, very temporary way to give it a try - hair chalking. It’s a great way to temporarily add color to your locks.

junipastel
junipastel

Above, you can see the chalk can create a very similar look to dye without the commitment. But… there is a catch, it can be messy (think chalk dust). There are several things you need to know about chalking your hair. Below are some tips + tricks along with some advice for before and after…

Before

1. Use only “soft chalk" pastels. I used THESE. They’re $3 per piece at Blick, which I think is a great deal when compared to salon treatments. I know what you're thinking... but no, regular chalk doesn’t work the same. It’s harder to transfer and getting it to stick to your hair can be virtually impossible. Soft chalk pastels can be found at any major art store. Just don’t get “soft chalk” pastels confused for oil pastels - that would be sticky and gross, and removing oil pastels from hair would be a nightmare. If you’re confused, ask a sales person.

sennelierchalkpastels
sennelierchalkpastels

2. If you are blonde, or have blonde highlights, do not wet your hair for chalking as it will stain your hair. If you're okay with the staining for several washes, then by all means, go for it! But if you want the color just for the day, do not add water at all. If your hair is darker than blonde and you don't have blonde highlights to work with, you'll need to wet your hair before chalking. It will help the colors show up on darker hair. Mist a little water on the strand with a spray bottle, then chalk it up! It won't stain darker hair the same way it will on lighter hair.

3. Always wear a robe or towel cape and lay something down on the floor to catch the chalk dust that falls off. If it gets everywhere, don't freak out. It's just chalk dust and cleans up very easily. Twist the hair as you chalk. The texture from twisting makes the chalk release more pigment. Always brush the excess powder out after chalking each section.

chalking
chalking

4. Experiment. Try doing 2 colors on one strand!

Be warned: It will get on your clothes during the day, so I wouldn't recommend wearing white. Doing updos with chalked hair is ideal because you won't get as much on your outfit.

After

  • Before you shower, brush your hair with a soft, natural hair brush to get out as much of the pigment as you possibly can. Most of the pigment should come off with this brushing.
  •  Shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
  • A conditioning treatment is a MUST after you wash out your chalk. Replenish the moisture!
  • Don't chalk your hair too often. Chalk is very drying.
pasteljuni
pasteljuni
Nurturing Yourself Through Creative Expression
creativity
creativity

I used to be very creative. I played multiple instruments, sang, danced, wrote short stories. And then, almost suddenly (although I have a nagging feeling it wasn't quite as sudden as I now remember), I wasn't anymore. And I didn't really notice it, nor did it really bother me until a few years ago when Juniper was born.

My wake-up call was a weird one. I was in the grips of some gross postpartum depression where I'd stay up all night weeping as I nursed my beautiful brand new baby girl every two hours (which was hard on this new mama as it took her a whole hour to get enough of the boob juice to fill her hungry belly, which meant brief one-hour spurts of rest) only to shuffle downstairs and do the same weeping-nursing-rest routine all day. Never mustering up enough energy or will to shower, get dressed or venture outdoors. I constantly thought about how my life was over - no more freedom to do what I wanted. And I constantly thought about all the things that I still wanted to do that I'd (seemingly) never get to do now that I have a child. And how I wasted my childless years of freedom not doing much of anything... accomplishing nothing... it was a sad sight.

So, I was nestled there in my butter yellow leather couch watching marathon reruns of America's Next Top Model and Project Runway (the birth of my present-day Project Runwayaddiction passion) while Juniper fed and napped in my arms until Tim came home, when it happened...

The light bulb went off and I was all, WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING JUST SITTING HERE?

I was watching Models of the Runway, the Project Runway spinoff that featured the behind-the-scenes of the models and their relationships with each other as well as with the designers of Project Runway, and one of the models asked another model how she could leave her little girl at home, for an extended period of time, in order to model for Project Runway. And this is what she said to defend herself,

"What kind of mother would I be if I told my daughter to chase after her dreams, if I didn't do so myself?"

And I was all, WORD UP, SISTAH!

And somehow my life wasn't over anymore. I realized that girlfriend needed to get up off of that damn sofa and start living in order to set the example of the type of woman I wanted little Juniper to grow up to be!

Now, don't get me wrong. The transformation wasn't that easy. I eventually would need the help of a healthy diet, regular exercise and a nice dose of happy pills... but her words really did shake me into realizing that motherhood isn't the ball-and-chain that I was imprisoning myself to. That maintaining a healthy independent spirit, doing things to nurture myself, chasing my own dreams, and motherhood is not mutually exclusive, but deeply connected.

My immediate reaction was to book a trip to Athens, Greece where I'd vacation with five-month-old little Juniper - just me and her - for a week. I needed to prove to myself that I could do anything I wanted to. And traipsing half-way around the world to a country where I was illiterate was obviously the most rational way to go about doing this. [sarcasm]

And when I got home, I didn't just nestle myself back down into that yellow couch, I unpacked my bags, washed our clothes, repacked my bags and drove five hours to Chicago, where Juniper and I spent another week of girly vacation time together. I guess I needed to build a firm foundation of acting boldly.

But it worked. And over a span of two years I learned how to not so much balance being a mother and being true to myself (because I've found it can never really be in balance) but rather how to just, in the words of Tim Gunn, "make it work" ... And it had a lot to do with getting back my creativity.

I kinda think that creativity is the greatest gift to mankind.

It's often thought that only special people are creative. That creativity is a rare talent. That people are either born creative or not. But, if we are made in the image of our Creator, then we too are innately creative beings, right? That means everyone has huge creative capacities as a natural result of being human. The challenge is how to develop them.

Nowadays, especially if you're a mom, creating for the sake of creating just seems so self-indulgent. But if you think of your creative spirit as a gift, when we do not accept that gift, we've essentially looked a gift horse in the mouth. And the universe gets really pissed off when we do that - when we don't use our creative gifts.

Creativity, is the expression of our originality, and it helps us to stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared. It can also help us get to a place of self-reflection, where we can evaluate who we are and where we want to go. When I make creating a priority, everything in my life just works better. My marriage. My mothering. My ability to be kind to myself...

Nothing inspires me more than my group of friends who are all trying to make it work by embracing the creative. I think it's so important to find and be a part of a community of like-minded women, who share your beliefs about creativity and are all working on their own dreams, supporting & encouraging each other.

Which is how The Zoetica Project was born. A dear friend and I have, over the course of a year or so, worked really hard in putting together a nine-month-long creative workshop (symbolic of the nine-month gestational period of creating human life) for mothers to nurture their creative spirits and connect with other beautiful and like-minded women. It will culminate in a Mother's Day art show of all the women's art created over the course of the workshop.

I am so excited about this new project, I just had to share it with you. (Thank you for indulging me.)

I'd love to hear about your creative stories... bring it! How creative are you? Do you allow yourself to express your creative energy?

(And if you're in San Antonio and want to learn more about The Zoetica Project, just click the link.)

The GoodwillSA Project: July

I began my obsession with the mustache a few years ago when Tim was in medical school. He and his classmates decided to hold a month-long mustache contest as a fund raiser for one of their charity events. It turned out to be a huge hit. So much so that it became an annual thing and they even held an Oscar-esque awards ceremony for it, complete with a bald, yet mustachioed man as the trophy. And I just love that mustaches have become all the rage these days. They're at parties. They're used as photo props. They're on bags. They're on t-shirts. They're everywhere.

Perhaps one of the cutest places I've seen them are on mugs. So when I came across these stackable espresso cups at my local Goodwill the other day, I was thrilled! I made my very own set of  mustache mugs.

flutie*mcd mustache mugs
flutie*mcd mustache mugs

And now so can you...It’s a very doable project. Inexpensive. Eco-friendly. And family-friendly too. The best part? These mugs are dishwasher safe.

1) Start with a trip to Goodwill, and collect 5-6 plain mugs. They don't have to be stackable or even white. The mugs I found were 99 cents each. Remove labels, wash and dry them.

stackable mugs
stackable mugs

2) Then gather your supplies. Scissors, pencil, tape, graphite transfer paper, Black (oil-based) Sharpie Paint Pen in Medium Point ($4 at Michaels) and a print out of this handy-dandy mustache template I created just for you!

diy mustache mug supplies
diy mustache mug supplies

3) Cut out a mustache and a piece of transfer paper. Tape the mustache and the transfer paper (dark side down) to the mug. Trace the initial. Any pen or pencil will work and you’ll want to experiment with different pressures to see what’s best. You’ll just need a light outline.

diy mustache mugs traced template
diy mustache mugs traced template

4) Take your Sharpie paint pen and trace over the lines of the mustache. Get the edges nice and thick then fill in.

diy mustache mug trace and fill
diy mustache mug trace and fill

5) Once the lettering is done, let the mugs sit for 24 hours. Then bake them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. It’s fine to bake them with graphite residue. The graphite will wipe right off even after they’re done baking.

diy mustache mugs (front)
diy mustache mugs (front)

6) And that’s it! Once they’re baked, they’re done. Pull them from the oven, wipe them up and they are ready to go. (We went ahead and made mustaches on both sides of the mugs.)

diy mustache mugs (back)
diy mustache mugs (back)

I'm so excited about the new mugs (and Juniper is too!). I think I might go back to Goodwill to get more mugs to make some more - they'd make perfect teacher gifts, house-warming gifts, hostess gifts... fun for any kind of event, really.

diy mustache mug model
diy mustache mug model

What do you think? Is this a project your kids would enjoy? Are the mugs cool enough that you would buy one in the store if you saw it for sale?

Disclosure: I was remunerated  for this post by The Goodwill of San Antonio.
The GoodwillSA Project: May

I am really enjoying shopping for and writing these posts for The Goodwill of San Antonio. I've always been pro-Goodwill. Mostly as a donator and occasional (and by occasional, I mean when I have a DIY project in mind) shopper. But I'm having so much luck in finding really cute, trendy and unique pieces that I'm converting myself into a loyalist. I can't wait for you to see what I found this month! As many of you know, I'm currently visiting the (my) motherland (South Korea) with my daughter, Juniper. So what that means is that I had to do a whole lot of Goodwill shopping just before I hopped on a jet plane a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty stressed about getting things packed and ready to go before I left. There was so much stuff to do, I was getting ready for a brief trip to Miami and I was worried that shopping for this month's two posts would be a horrible burden in the midst of a harried & hurried time of packing for two trips.

But it wasn't.

I walked into the Goodwill located on Loop 410 and Blanco and almost immediately found what I didn't know I was looking for. I found this beautiful navy blue mini-dress with classic lines, accented with pockets, and a really trendy neckline... I just had to grab it. Though not a major label, it was located in the Julia's Attic Boutique section of the store (probably because it was so stinking cute), which means that instead of paying the standard $5.99 for a dress, I paid $6.99.

Pretty cute, right? I still had a large portion of my budget to spend so I walked around some more and found another navy blue piece that would look great in my closet. This time I had to think out of the box a little. This "dress" is actually a XXL shirt (so instead of the standard Goodwill $5.99 for a dress, I paid just $3.99 for this shirt, that will be worn as a dress). I just love it for its cut and its print.

With the purchase of these two dresses, I'm at about $11 of my $25 budget, which means I have about $14 more to spend. At this point I am so thrilled to have found two amazing dresses that I headed to the accessories counter to scout out some accents to wear with these dresses. I didn't have to do much searching. Immediately, there were three pieces that screamed out at me.

[caption id="attachment_1476" align="aligncenter" width="419" caption="This retro wood block necklace was $9.99"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1477" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="This mod clear bead necklace was $12.99"][/caption]

I really liked both of the above necklaces. So much so that because getting both would put me over the $25 project budget, I splurged & spent my own money to get them. Another indulgence I splurged on? This awesomely unique parrot necklace that I wore to Miami.

[caption id="attachment_1478" align="aligncenter" width="426" caption="This unique parrot necklace was $14.99"][/caption]

So for just $11, I was able to find two incredibly adorable navy blue mini dresses - one classic, the other trendy. Every closet should have some navy blue. It's definitely not "the new black" but it has the same benefits; and it's a clean and classic, all-American color that every one should own.

What I love most about buying at Goodwill is that I feel like I'm doing my part in reducing the waste of the consumerist (is that a word?) culture that burdens our Mother Earth nowadays. I realize it's one extremely small drop in the bucket, but it's a drop that wouldn't be there otherwise.

Also? Did you know that 90% of all your purchases go right back into the community? Goodwill is so much more than recycling, it's also about education and helping people through the power of work.

 

 

Disclosure: I was remunerated  by The Goodwill of San Antonio with a $25 gift certificate in order to shop for this post.