Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Read that Laundry Tag (and not lose your mind)

Am I the only one that looks at the care tag on a piece of clothing and thinks HUH?! I know as a fashion girl I should have all of those symbols memorized but I don't. Confessional time...usually I just wing it. Because of this I have ruined a few items of clothing in my life. You'd think I'd learn. I started thinking that I can't be the only one. I did a little research and found some great info. There is an American Cleaning Institute! Living in the DC area, which is home to many associations and institutes, I should have guessed that something like this exists. I found some handy info on their site.

I decided to guess what these symbols meant before looking at the chart. I have to say, I was correct on only three of them. This scarf should be hand washed, with only non-chlorine bleach. It should be dried flat. It should not be put in the dryer, ironed or dry cleaned.

If you know the basics, then you can decipher all of the codes.

I like this guide, so I don't have to memorize anything. I printed out this beauty to hang in our laundry room. For more info on laundry care, you can access the Laundry section of ACI's website. Check out the left navigation of their page for lots of additional links. I am sure this section on Holiday Stains will come in handy soon.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

DIY - Blah to Bad Ass Blazer

I've had this idea in my head for some time to add elbow patches to a thrift store blazer. Specifically, skull elbow patches. I spotted a few sweaters last winter with skulls at the elbows. I went searching for a blazer with skull elbow patches and couldn't find one. This DIY has taken so long because I couldn't find skull patches that I thought were perfect. Then I found these beauties. I'm not a fan of the cutesy skull. I want a realistic looking, bad ass skull. The patch was perfect and of course I ordered two. Then I set out to find the blazer. It had to be either black or gray, in a heavy fabric. I wanted wool but I would have accepted other options. The thrift store gods smiled down on me. I found it, a classic gray wool blazer, by a brand I love! I scored it at the Goodwill Store close to me. Here is the blazer, before.

The gold buttons just wouldn't work with the gray, silver black color scheme. I pictured a blazer looked sedate school girl from the front and girl who skips school from the back. I looked online and briefly considered skull buttons but I didn't want it to look like a costume. Only a crest button in silver would work for what I had in mind. I found several at my local sewing store but ending up splurging on the most expensive option. They were perfect. Since I'd only spent $5 on my blazer and $12 on my patches,  I could afford a little button splurge. Plus I found two coupons and ended up cutting my button cost down by about 40%! Yay for coupons!

I started by removing all of the buttons and finding thread that would work. I chose dark gray thread that I already own. You just need thread that is close to the color of the blazer. The patches were iron on. I also made sure I had thread for stitching on the patches. Elbow patches get wear and tear and must bend a bit. I thought the adhesive might not stay tight. After attaching all of the buttons, I ironed on the elbow patches. I decided after my first wear to stitch around the edges. The patches had already started to lift a bit after only one day. A few stitches helped me feel confident that they would wear well, long term.

It turned out even better than I had hoped it would. It's exactly what I pictured. Business in the front and Bad Ass in the back!

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Frugal Furniture Friday - Bench and Ottoman

Hi Frugal Friends! Although my fashion love never dies, I've really be focused on two things lately, my business (fueling my style fire) and decorating/furniture redos. They are both creative and have been great outlets for me. I'm working hard to get our bedroom redone. I started it a long time ago. After lots of distractions and procrastination, I'm finally getting it all together. I still have one big furniture redo (our bedside tables). Did I mention that distraction and procrastination is a big issue for me? I redid a storage bench and an ottoman, using very different methods.

the finished projects
I started with reupholstering a storage bench that was a hot mess.

Flaming hot mess, right? After years of abuse and our dogs using it as a step stool to jump up onto the bed, I had to reinforce it with tape. I tried to get our dogs to use doggy steps. Didn't work. Those are sitting in the garage. Our oldest buddy would only use this bench. So I couldn't get rid of it. I told my mom about my plan and she said, that I could have some batting and gold upholstery velvet that she had left over. SCORE! Fabric is expensive. I pulled it out into the garage and stripped it down.

You can see why it was sagging. The stuffing was deteriorating and pushing through the webbing. Once I stripped it down completely and removed the top (sorry no photos). I could start rebuilding. I grabbed some 2 inch thick foam at the fabric store. I bought remnant pieces to save a little money. I put one piece on top of the webbing you see (green webbing) and covered that with the cotton batting from my mom.

I used the pieces I removed from the bench as my pattern. Then I covered the top and stapled it down. I cut pieces of foam to place under the green webbing. I wanted this bench to be super reinforced. My original plan was to place it back at the foot of the bed and I knew it would get tons of wear.

I reinforced again with more webbing (I cut strips of the fabric). I used the same fabric to cover everything (sorry no picture).

I realized after cutting that I wouldn't have enough gold to do the entire bottom portion of the bench. I went to the fabric store and found a black white and gold print that worked well. Using that fabric on each end gave it a nice contrast and kept it from looking like patch work.

I finished the bottom edge with a roll of nail head trim, which I just noticed in the picture above, is crooked on one end. All in all, I'm really happy with the results. I definitely didn't follow upholstery practices but it looks good and that is what is most important to me. There were some supplies left over. I have enough of the white, black and gold fabric to make a pillow and enough batting to do my dining room chairs, plus some additional nail head trim. Similar benches go for $150 and up.
Total cost: $45! 

Because I didn't finish in one day, we needed an alternative "step" for the dogs. Our older guy, Blue, was distraught when he couldn't get up on the bed.

How could I say no to that sweet face?
I remembered this old, sad, green, ottoman in {msL's} office. It was a hand me down from a friend many many years ago, along with a matching sofa and chair. The chair and sofa went to Goodwill ages ago. My intention was to use it until the bench was done. Well, the dogs and {msL} liked the size and the height better than the storage bench. So when I finished the bench, it went to the corner of the room and I was faced with a dilemma. I wanted to make them happy but I hated the look of this sad green ottoman. What to do?

Because of the style of the ottoman, I knew it would be a massive upholstery project that I didn't want to tackle. I thought of options, I've seen painted fabric but since it's dark green, black would be the only option. Plus, painted fabric wouldn't be soft and if I ruined it, things might get bad in my house. Then I thought of making a slip cover. That could also take tons of time. That's time I didn't want to spend. I'm not sure how I thought of it but suddenly it came to me.

The ottoman has this weird pillow top. It's indented between the base and the top. Why couldn't I just create a slipcover and attach it with some elastic, like a huge hair tie?! I went searching on fabric sites and didn't find anything I loved or wanted to spend $12+ a yard on. I measured the ottoman with an allowance for the indention and realized that I'd need a rectangular and it hit me. Why not use a tablecloth!? It could be a good print and it would already be hemmed. Bonus! I searched and found a print that I liked and would work with our bedroom. I grabbed elastic from the fabric store and  measured the indented area.

I cut the elastic and sewed the ends together, reducing the length by a few inches to make the fit tight.

I laid the table cloth over the ottoman and centered it.

Then I added the elastic band and started tucking and adjusting the fabric. It was a little long on the ends and the corners but tucking and adjusting helped it to fit.

Hands down, the easiest slip cover EVER!! It took less than 10 minutes from start to finish! When it gets dirty, I can just pull it off and throw it in the wash. Slipcovers range in price from $18 (in really blah fabric) to $85 and up.
Total cost $24!!

It's even dog approved, as you can see by the indention. We'll be using the storage bench as our new hamper. I'm now hunting for a basket that is the right size to fit inside.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Lovin'

It's been a whirlwind summer and I've been neglecting RGR (as you know). We've traveled a ton, I've worked at my full time job, I've had tons of fun and I have been working hard on my business. It has been one of the best summers I've had in a long time but at times it's also been tiring and a little stressful. I'm going to attempt to catch you up over the next couple weeks. If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen photos of some of the adventures. One of my favorite events this summer was the wedding of my cousin Brittany. It was a day filled with love and family. Back in the spring I was struggling to find outfits to wear to the many weddings we had on the calendar. I managed to find a great dress at Lane Bryant. It was sold out online but I tracked it down in a local store. Definitely a great purchase. I also wore it to the Stella & Dot fashion show in Vegas.

Dress: Lela Rose for Lane Bryant (no longer available but I love this one.), Jewelry and Clutch: Stella & Dot, Sandals: Circus by Sam Edelman via Amazon

I love that {msL} and I managed to coordinate without trying.

My sweet Mom.

My Aunt, the beautiful Bride (my cousin Brittany), and I

The Happy Couple! Congrats Brittany and Jeremy!

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