my life homemade


1/16/18

DIY Hacks to Copy the Customized Fashion Trend

Off-the-rack fashion is so last year! This season, it’s all about bringing some crafty charm to otherwise basic garments. Queen of DIY fashion Miley Cyrus helped us usher in The Reign of the Glue Gun when she appeared on “The Voice” this season in head-to-toe denim customized with rhinestones that read “TEAM MILEY.” But Cyrus isn’t the only one on the bespoke bandwagon. More and more brands are offering custom upgrades, from Fossil handbags to Nike’s line of personalized sneakers.


The crafty, custom fashion trend is so hot that it’s even inspired some brand-new businesses. Trend: Bar, a “custom fashion studio” founded by two sisters, was created to provide DIY-focused fashion lovers with tons of bright, bespoke accessories for the trend-setter who’s tired of the basics. This party-based business sells fabric stickers, charms, patches, pins and appliques that let you punch up your blank sweatshirts and plain accessories with custom finishing touches.

Want a customized closet of your own? The good news is, you don’t have to drop big bucks on couture fashion to emulate this in-vogue style trend. Here’s how to do it: Start by stocking up on wholesale blank T-shirts — or jackets, dress shirts or pants, if that’s your thing — and then bust out the craft supplies. Any plain garment is easy to transform into a wearable work of art with a little bit of creativity. It doesn’t matter how you adorn, you can bet you’ll come away with a one-of-a-kind piece.

·       Rhinestone Cowboys… And Cowgirls — A little bit of glitz and glam goes a long way, just take it from Cyrus. You can use simple iron-in rhinestone letterings to get the Team Miley look or glam up your clothing with here-and-there stones for a little bit of stylish sparkle. We also love the prepped-out look of a simple dress shirt decorated with a rhinestone monogram at the breast pocket. Rhinestones come in a ton of unique styles, from stick-on garment stones to sew- and iron-on versions for more permanent applications.


·       Pin it to Win it — The enamel pin trend is super-hot. These tiny little accessories come in every single shape and size you can imagine — just check out all the options on Etsy to see what we mean — and nowadays, a denim jacket looks downright naked without one. You can create your very own customized enamel pins relatively easily, so long as you have some creative vision and sketching skills! Stick these babies anywhere you want to add some bold personality and color, just make sure they reflect your personal sense of style.

·       Punk-Perfect Patches — Pins and patches go together like peanut butter and jelly. Proof: last year, crafters hosted the first ever Pin and Patch show in New York City, and department stores started selling their own versions of the pre-pinned, pre-patched denim jackets made famous by punks in the 1980s. The patched denim trend fuses three of the decade’s super-trends: streetwear, bespoke style and all things ‘80s. While the denim jacket is the most classic place to pop your patches, you can take this trend to the next level when you patch up pants, button-up shirts and bags.


·       Studs for Days — Another super-simple way you can add some one-of-a-kind charm to your off-the-rack garments is to pepper in some punky studs. This star-studded trend is seriously coming back. Case in point: Ashley Tisdale was recently spotted rocking a studded, leather jacket, and Kendall Jenner made waves with her ‘80s-inspired black studded belt. Studs are a favorite in the DIY community because they’re relatively easy to add to almost any fabric, but look particularly rad on leather.

·       Pom-Poms, Trims and Tassels — From oversized tassel slides and loafers to mini tassel trim on cut-off shorts, there’s almost no piece of clothing that doesn’t look positively posh when peppered with poms. You can use small, rainbow pom-poms to create eye-catching adornments along denim pockets or go big with oversized poms patterned across an entire garment. The same goes for the tassel, which we think of as the pom-pom’s fringed cousin. Both of these embellishments are ideal for the bespoke boho-lover.

·       Monograms and Letters — Fashion icon Olivia Palermo made some serious waves when she stepped out in a boyfriend-style denim shirt monogrammed with her initials, and Madewell recently unveiled its own monogrammed denim jacket that got fashionistas seriously riled up (it was even sported by Emma Roberts, Mandy Moore and Diane Kruger). It’s easy to make your own monogrammed garments with iron-on lettering or a sewing machine if you’re comfortable with needle and thread.

·       Ample Appliques — Think of appliques like the grown-up version of patches and pins. These ornamental pieces are either sewn or stuck onto your clothing, but unlike patches, they’re typically much more detailed and made with more textures and colors. There are dozens of awesome and statement-making no-sew appliques on the market by brands like Trend:Bar, but you can take your DIY fashion to the next level when you make your own with fabric, interfacing and an iron.

·       Bewitching Stitching — If you’re not savvy with a needle and thread, now’s the time to take a course at the craft store. Adorning basic apparel with chic stitching is a great way to turn a piece from basic to bespoke, and the opportunities are seriously endless. You can use your stitching skills to create hand-sewn monograms, lettering and shapes on literally any kind of garment, from canvastote bags to jeans. We love the look of GRLFRND’s hand-sewn, custom jeans featuring personalized wording at each hem.

·       Metallic Trims and Stripes — Creating your own custom apparel doesn’t have to make you feel like you’re returning to preschool (but if it does, that’s cool too). Trend:Bar and other custom accessories brands have created more sophisticated embellishments for the modern trend-setter who prefers clean simplicity. Example: you can use metallic sticker patches in fun stripes, trims and shapes to create a bold look that doesn’t look quite as homemade.

1/9/18

Best Disney-Bound Looks of 2017

Welcome to our modern times, where every day is an opportunity to be someone new. Fashion-meets-cosplay is all the rage, and crafty style-lovers are taking it to a whole new level with the hottest in fan fashion: Disneybounding. If you’re new to the Disneybounding world, here’s the rundown. This trend — dubbed “closet cosplay” — is when Disney fans put together everyday outfits inspired by Disney characters. Trend-setters like Caitlin McHugh (who also happens to be the super-lucky fiancée of John Stamos) are jumping on the Disneybounding bandwagon in droves.

The best part about this trend is that it can be achieved relatively easy with blank t shirts, some fun accessories and a little bit of creativity. Here are a few of our favorite Disneybounding looks from 2017 to help you nail this fairytale fashion trend. We’ve pulled some awesome ideas from the best Disneybounding blogs to help you envision some great, new ways to show love for your favorite movies and TV shows.


Belle: The Fairest Disney-Bound Princess


This year brought us the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” so it’s no surprise that Disney fanatics got pretty crafty when emulating their best Belle-inspired looks. In the latest version, Emma Watson wears a more modern take on the classic yellow gown that Belle wore in the animated 1991 film, inspiring Disneybounders to take a trendier approach. 

Want to step out as Belle at your next formal affair? Obviously, you’re going to need a sunny yellow dress for the occasion! We love versions with ruffles, and an oversized tulle skirt wouldn’t hurt, either. Belle can be dressed down with a solid yellow cotton dress and flats, too. Just make sure you add some classic rose accents to honor The Enchanted Rose.


Moana: The Beachy Disney-Bound Queen

It didn’t take long after Moana hit the big screen for Disney cosplayers to come up with one-of-a-kind looks inspired by the Polynesian princess. Last year’s Disney blockbuster told the story of the determined, free-spirited Moana and her attempt to overturn an age-old curse that plagued her island. The heroine’s adventurous spirit lends itself well to all kinds of delightful Disneybounding styles.

To hit Moana on the head — metaphorically, of course — you’re going to need a peach or red top and all kinds of crochet. As you can see from the outfit above, it’s pretty simple to give Moana a more sophisticated look with sand-colored sandals and some beachy, boho embellishments. We’re particularly crazy about the turquoise necklace, which represents the magical pounamu stone from the film.



The Little Mermaid: Sparkly Style

For some reason, serious Disneybounders tend to gravitate towards looks inspired by “The Little Mermaid.” Maybe it’s because mermaids are the new unicorns, or maybe it’s because almost everyone loves a little sparkle. Either way, we’re not complaining. Ariel is known for her jewel-toned under-the-sea look, and it’s simple to tie together with seaworthy accents, like the adorable seashell necklace shown below.

A solid colored lavender T-shirt can be jazzed up with Ariel-worthy appliques and accents for a one-of-a-kind way to channel your inner mythical being. Ariel’s signature accessory has to be the twisted fork! Add this subtle nod to your Ariel cosplay for a super-sweet way to pay tribute to your favorite character! If you’re really serious about getting into character, you can’t go wrong with a swimmable mermaid tail.



The Queen of Hearts: Mysterious Disneybounding

There are few Disney villains Disneybounded quite often as the Queen of Hearts. It doesn’t matter if you love the look from the original 1951 animated version of “Alice in Wonderland” or are more into the more recent Tim Burton version, the Queen brings a whole lot if opportunity for transforming this look into a cool, day-to-day outfit. Whether you add a gold crown is up to you, but we highly recommend it!

The Queen of Hearts was known for her black and white cape with a red and yellow striped skirt, which is relatively easy to achieve with clothes from your favorite retailer. The devil’s in the details, though! To totally nail the Queen of Hearts, you’re going to need some accessories inspired by a deck of cards. We’re crazy about this blogger’s take featuring a Queen of Hearts clutch and heart-topped flats.



Pocahontas: Bohemian Style

The best part about Disneybounding Pocahontas — the original Native American princess — is that she lends herself to a wide range of boho-inspired styles. In the classic 1995 animated film, Pocahontas wore her iconic neutral-colored, one-shoulder dress with plenty of fringe. The barefooted, animal-loving protagonist was all about rich colors of taupe, beige and (her signature) turquoise.

To achieve the perfect Disneybounding look to honor this posh princess, you’ll definitely want to start with some fringed suede. Whether you include this in a dress, top or a boho bag is up to you! We love the idea of channeling the Native spirit with some fringy moccasins, too. And don’t forget some turquoise-colored beads.


Elsa: Icy Style for the Glam Queen

The original ice princess from the 2013 mega-hit “Frozen” may have had a knack for warming things up, but her ensembles are all about cool charm! Elsa’s signature outfit was the floor-length ice-blue gown with snowflake appliques, which she wore with a trendy side braid. Of course, Disneybounders are crazy about this recognizable look, but they’ve found ways to include components inspired by Arendelle, with faux fur and cozy components.

If you’ve already got a closet full of blue tops and dresses, you’re well on your way to a memorable Elsa Disneybound. All you need is a few sparkly accessories — we’re crazy about this blogger’s iced-out rhinestone flats and hair bow — and some aquamarine or tanzanite gems! As always, the more detail the better. Add some Elsa-inspired eyeshadow and nail polish for a totally tied-together look.

1/2/18

Best Ways to Combat Digital Addiction

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ~ JORDAN

Americans spend more than 12 hours a day consuming media, with over nine hours of that time dedicated to screens. Don’t get us wrong, we know it’s hard, but there may be some serious benefits to stepping away from the screen. Case in point: a new study from San Diego State University showed that teens who spent several hours per day on their phones were more likely to be depressed or exhibit suicidal behaviors. That’s a tough pill to swallow considering that most Americans now report that their phones are something they “can’t live without.”

And the results are equally as daunting for grown-ups. Scientists believe that constant consumption of media prevents the body’s nervous system from properly shutting down, which causes us to feel drained and limits our ability to make meaningful human connections. Stepping away from the smartphone, tablet and TV can mean more health and happiness in your day-to-day life, but how do you do that when technology is such an ingrained and vital part of our culture? Here are a few simple places to start.



1. Set Limits on Screen Time — Reports show that more hours of screen time per day causes a suppression of melatonin, which can disrupt your sleep, and encourages the release of dopamine, which can make it hard for you to focus on off-screen stimuli. But, like everything in life, moderation is key. When you limit your screen time to one or two hours per day (not including the inevitable hours you’ll likely spend staring at a screen for work), your body gets the chance to decompress, which means more happiness.
 
2. Cut Out Unnecessary Tech — Screens are everywhere: in our hands, in our cars, on our wrists. But is it all actually necessary? One simple way to combat digital addiction is to ditch the tech in certain environments. For example, consider replacing your Fitbit with a wellness band or a sleep bracelet that works with the Earth’s natural frequencies to help you sleep better, focus more and feel less stressed. You can also cut out screens in the bedroom by opting for an old-fashioned alarm clock. Novel, we know.
 
3. Retreat without TechWith digital addiction on the rise, you’ve probably seen a variety of digital detox programs pop onto the scene. The San Francisco start-up (or a “slow-down,” as it likes to be called) Digital Detox hosts tech-free personal wellness retreats where attendees must relinquish their phones and gadgets for off-the-grid experiences. Adults can take advantage of tech-free weekends at Mendocino’s Camp Grounded — a summer camp for adults — where computers, cell phones, clocks and schedules are off-limits.
 
4. Leave Your Phone at Home — One of the things that can make it so hard to go almost anywhere without your smartphone is that feeling of vulnerability. What if you get into a scenario where you need your phone? That could mean anything from an emergency situation to touching base at work. Having access to a phone is a safety net, and one that’s indispensable in emergencies. But here’s the thing: when you leave your phone at home, you’re forced head-on into your surroundings, and you feel more aware and in-sync with the world. Start small by leaving your phone in the car while at work, running errands or socializing.
 
5. Don’t Eat in Front of a Screen — Before the rise of the TV dinner in the 1950s, eating dinner anywhere besides the dining room table was seriously taboo. Now, though, eating alone almost always means the companionship of a screen. But this is a bad habit for those who struggle with digital addiction; it actually might lead to obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. This is because watching TV while you eat blocks the feeling of satisfaction, since your brain is focused on other things. It also presents some social challenges, and we don’t need to explain why sitting down for dinner with your family away from the screen is good for your health, relationships and daily routine.
 
6. Create Tech-Free Zones — We’ve already covered the fact that smartphone use can disrupt melatonin production, which leads to poor sleep quality, but there are a few other reasons to create a tech-free bedroom. The National Sleep Foundation warns that the exposure to digital light before bedtime can promote wakefulness and disturb the body’s need to “wind down” before sleep. The bedroom should be an obvious no-tech zone, but you can also carry the same principal throughout other areas of the home where it’s important to unplug and relax, like the study or office.
 
7. Stay Active — Think of the times in your day when you’re not looking at your screen. Maybe it’s while you walk your dog, take a class at the gym or weed in the garden. Take advantage of these screen-free experiences to totally decompress from tech. It might be tempting to turn on a podcast or a YouTube video in the background, but try to let these moments be entirely tech-free. When your mind is focused on something else, it’s easier to forget that you’re not relying on a digital crutch.
 
8. See a Therapist — We know it sounds a little bit extreme, but if you feel like you’ve crossed the line from casual techy to digitally addicted, it may be time to seek professional treatment. The medical and mental health communities are finally starting to take digital addiction seriously, and there’s even a push to include internet addiction and internet gaming disorder as diagnosed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).


And, naturally, more and more mental health professionals are beginning to offer digital addiction treatments to help those who believe that an addition to technology and the internet has become debilitating. If you’ve already tried making small behavioral changes and have had minimal success, it may be time to seek professional treatment.

12/22/17

6 Creative Ways to Teach Importance of Gratitude to Kids

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ~ JORDAN

In a world where so much is at our fingertips, it can be difficult to slow down and focus on the importance of gratitude. There are some very creative ways to help kids understand what it means.
Slow down and take some time to teach them gratitude this season and all year long.



1. DIY T-Shirt Gifts
I can always see the concept of thankfulness clicking for my kids when we intentionally do something for others. Anything that a child makes is unique and happily received. After all, it is the thought behind the gift that counts.


However, I try to find DIY projects that are either useful or crazy cute. These DIY t-shirts are both!
T-shirt crafts are an affordable and easy way to make gifts for those in need. Let your child choose a design for both girls and boys. They will use glue to draw a design on the shirt like a flower, smiley face, snowman or holiday star.

Then the fun really begins. Let them paint the shirt in their favorite colors.   
For this project, you only need kids t shirts, glue, paint brushes and acrylic paint. No sewing or difficult stencil cutting is required.

Once the paint is dry, donate your child’s artwork to a local shelter, crisis center or church. An at-need child will treasure the gift! 


2. Gratitude Stones
The gratitude stone project is simple enough for a toddler but effective enough for older children and teenagers. Get the whole family involved in making these sweet little stones.


Using tissue paper, cut out a heart. Use modge podge to apply the heart to a stone. You can purchase stones at a craft store,or go on a nature walk to start your collection. You are looking for smoother, rounded stones, and a size a child can grip with ease. In addition to the heart, you can write inspirational quotes, Bible verses or questions about gratitude.

There are many ways the stones can be used to start conversations about gratitude at home. Write different questions on each stone like, “I am most thankful for” and “Today, I remembered to be grateful for.” Each person will answer the questions on the stone that they draw out of a bag.

In our community, we hide painted rocks to encourage others. Some are just pictures, and others have inspirational quotes. Hide your rocks around the house every day. Whenever your child finds one, bring up a conversation about gratitude.

3. A Gratitude Journal
Fill journals with words, images and objects. Purchase a special notebook for each person in your family.


Encourage your children to look for items they can place in their gratitude journal. Work on it together in the evenings or designate a time on the weekends. Find gratitude prompting questions online that you can ask to get those wheels turning.

If you have a printer, you can let them search for things to print out. The kids can also look through magazines for items to cut out and glue onto the pages of their journals.

4. A Gratitude Tree
There are many different ways to make a gratitude tree. When my children were smaller, we used construction paper to make our tree. We glued it onto a poster board and added leaves to it every so often.


This is an easy way to keep the concept of gratitude in your little one’s heart every day. They love to add leaves to the tree!

Go on a nature walk and find a branch that has several smaller limbs poking out from it. It should look like a miniature tree. Place it inside of a larger jar, vase or coke bottle.

Cut out leaves from construction paper, and hole-punch them. Keep them stacked on the counter so you can add them to the tree anytime. Write what you are thankful for and then tie it to your small tree. Don’t forget to discuss “why” you are grateful.


5. The Gratitude Game
The gratitude game is the perfect way for fun to meet with serious conversation. This game will help your child remember the things they are thankful for, while also spending quality time with their family.


This game is a version of Pick-Up Sticks. You can use colored pencils or paint some chopsticks. Color code each stick for different categories of thankfulness. Blue may be for a person, red for a place and purple for something random.

Each person takes a turn dropping their sticks. They must try to pick up the stick that lands on top of the others. They cannot move the other sticks. Whatever color they pick up, they will share what they are thankful for.

There’s no disturbing or moving the other sticks or you lose your turn! Whoever collects the most sticks by the end of the game wins.

6. Serving Others
There is no better way to put things in perspective than hands-on service to those in need. Everyone has a special way that they can reach out and help others. Musically gifted children may want to perform at a nursing home. If you have an artist on your hands, let them make cards and pictures for local shut-ins.


Volunteer at a local shelter, rescue mission or community help center. You may be working to feed those in need or to fill bags with toys for children at Christmas time. These opportunities are sometimes seasonal. All year round, you can bake cookies or make a meal for your neighbors or families who are having difficulties.

We like to choose a nonprofit charity or organization to help support from year-to-year. Let your child be the spokesperson for your fundraising campaign. They can make something to sell or give away with donations that are designated for a benevolent cause.


Discussion
The most important aspect of instructing your child about gratitude is talking about the concept. Let them ask questions and explain in detail the importance of having a thankful heart. 
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