tailor your pants already.

You know, those pants you bought because they were on sale even though they don’t fit quite right. God bless Old Navy for their cheap pants, but dang it’s frustrating when you aren’t shaped like one of their mannequins.

I bought this pair of pants from Old Navy back in the fall but probably only wore them 2 or 3 times. They fit in the bum and thighs, but the waist and ankles were big and wonky. You know how it is when your pants’ waist is too big, you bend to pick something up or to just sit down in a chair and all of a sudden your coin slot announces you’re open for business.

pants beforeHere they are before. You can’t see the waist, my shirts conveniently cover the awkward belt popping up over the waist band in the back. The calf portion of the pants drove me crazy because they would sneak their way up my leg and get stuck, bunching at my knees and leaving me ready for high waters. I think it’s something with the fabric, they’re more like treggings than jeggings (trousers vs. jeans) so they stretch quite a bit as you wear them.

To tailor the ankles

I put them on inside out, stood on a chair, and had a friend (read: someone patient and honest) pinch them on the outer seam until they felt more snug, but not too tight. She marked them with chalk at the ankle and around mid-calf, giving me a point to aim for as I tapered them. That’s the most important thing, tapering them just right.

inside leg2 copyinside leg2

You can see it took me a couple of tries to get the tapering right, starting at the ankle and sewing up towards the knee. If it’s too sharp of a taper, it will give your pants an angle where you want a straight line. After I got the new seam right, I sewed a wide zigzag stitch about 1/4 inch away from the new seam, starting at the knee and working back down. You’ll want to overlap the new zigzag with the old serged edge so they don’t fray, then trim close to the outer edge of the new zigzag to get rid of the bulk.

pants afterNow they’re nice and snug around the ankle!

bootiesAnd when they’re rolled you can’t even tell there is a new seam.

To tailor the waist

While they were inside out, I also had my friend pinch in the waist until they felt snug and comfortable. She marked it with chalk right in the middle and initially I took them in there, in the middle of the waist, but the tapering didn’t look right (so important!) — it made the seam in the back come to a point. No one wants a pointy coccyx.

So I measured how much they were pinched in and split the difference mid-way between the back and side belt loops. That is, I needed to take them in 2 inches, so I took in 1 inch over each pocket.

inside bumOriginally I tapered them just past the waist band, but (again) it made a point where there shouldn’t be one. So I tapered it all the way down to the diagonal seam just above the pockets.

seam2Thankfully, I think it’s only really noticeable on the waistband and not as much in the free space below.

seam1Not the best picture, I know, but here’s a closeup. You can see in the profile of the right side that it doesn’t stand out in a point because the new seam is tapered to the old, sturdy seam.

bum2Et voilà! No more coin slot! Also, I’m convinced that if these pants didn’t have a pattern they would look horrendous. Dots cover a multitude of sins.

bum1 One more for good measure. I don’t usually wear my shirts tucked in (too many high school mems feeling like a Walmart employee in my uniform), but I think I like it. Gah what’s wrong with me? What’s old is new again…

spring break 2013

Last week we went to VA to spend time with Brian’s family and so Brian could do some work up there. Our first morning we were greeted with not-so-springlike weather.

IMG_4968But it was pretty. 🙂

I spent all week “working” too. My MIL is a wizard when it comes to sewing and since I had some projects I wanted to do, I waited and took them all with me so I could ask the maestro when I needed help. We sat in her sewing room (yes! a whole room just for sewing with great big windows) and I made her watch Pretty Little Liars (thanks for getting me hooked Anna!) while we sewed our projects all week. 🙂

Project #1: Baby Onesies. So many of my friends are having babies! So I wanted to make a few onesies for presents. I got the idea from Allison who made some super cute onesies for her friends. The onesies I got were 0-3 months so they didn’t fit on my machine and I ended up hand-sewing the appliques on. I really like how they turned out. 🙂


IMG_5023I have a few more but they are specially for some friends and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Project #2: Burp Cloths. This is such a quick and easy way to jazz up plain old burp cloths. Another project Allison inspired me to make. 🙂

IMG_5019This is one of my favorite fabrics that I had, so I made a couple with it. I love the colors.

IMG_5021I’m so glad these few turned out well! I thought a black and white fabric with neon stitching would be fun and gender neutral. Gotta stay on trend!

IMG_5020Project #3: Tailoring my pants. I’ll save that for another post because this one is getting long. 😉 But I will say, it is kind of difficult to take a tasteful picture of your own bum.

make your own

Today was my day off from exercising and I’m kind of glad. I felt pretty crummy last night and this morning, so I don’t think I would’ve run very well today. After a nice lunch with my madre, I got lots done around here, including two different projects! I am on a roll with the projects lately.

Project 1: homemade deodorant.

I had all of the ingredients and had been meaning to make it for quite some time. Today was the day. I’ve read lots of variations of recipes and decided to go with this one at One Green Planet. It uses less corn starch and baking soda, both of which apparently have caused skin irritations for other people. I have quite sensitive skin, especially in the underarms, so this formula seemed like the best fit for me. My only variation was to add 5 drops of tea tree oil — enough for some bacteria fighting power but not enough to be overwhelming in smell.

I’ve been using coconut oil lately, anyway, as a deodorant/anti-chafing before I run, so it’s probably good that I don’t have to stick my fingers in the jar anymore.

Usually coconut oil is quit firm, but since it’s been so warm here, mine came out of the jar and mixed up quite easily, no need to melt it. It did get a little messy, but came together surprisingly quickly.

Briguy came in at this point and thought I was just doing the coconut-as-deodorant thing again. When I explained that I was actually making my own deodorant, he gave me the sideways/arched eyebrow/eye roll and called me a hippie under his breath. Check!

I thought it looked a lot like icing… but resisted the urge to lick it. I even added another small scoop of coconut oil to help it firm up.

I decided to store it in a small jar and apply it with my fingers. I’ve been using a crystal deodorant for a while now, which has worked just fine. But I can’t apply it unless I’ve just bathed because the crystal absorbs the smell from your armpits. Enter the need for another deodorant that I can apply in between showers.

I applied it as soon as I was done in the kitchen, still smells fresh! (I may or may not have made Bribri smell me…) I like the smell, but the texture was grainier than I was expecting. Just be gentle when applying it unless you want some exfoliation every time.

On to Project 2! Handmade father’s day cards:

This combined my love of taping and painting. It was really easy, but not the quickest process. I cut letters out of washi tape and applied them to some water color paper that I simply folded in half to create a card. I also applied a strip of tape just past the fold to give me a nice clean edge.

I pressed the letters down all over, making sure there were no loose edges, and painted over everything with the colors I had chosen. After the paper was dry, I peeled the letters off and voila!

My final touch was to add a wee foil heart in the corner.

They’re no Hoops & Yoyo cards, but I think they’ll do the trick. And here’s to dads who are off the grid so there’s no worry of them seeing it before Sunday! 😉

run and paint

🙂 I just had a happy moment because I remembered that we are going to YoPop tonight! Lots of froyo shops may be sweeping the nation, but nothing beats YoPop!

🙂 I managed to get all of my exercises done this morning before 9:30.

😦 It was raining so I had to run on the treadmill.

🙂 There are no hills on the treadmill.

😦 The GPS screwed me over and somehow I ended up with a terrible score.

Lesson learned: You can’t turn the GPS on/off after you’ve started your workout. So make up your mind before you get going.

And somehow, the heart rate monitor was messed up again. It was working fine while I was running. But apparently it didn’t record properly once I got inside. Despite the technical difficulties, I had a decent run and felt like I could have run longer than 15 minutes in yellow.

🙂 I got a lot of work done and by 4:00 I pulled out my paints. Today it was water colors.

🙂 Lola was posing for me today, so I painted her real quick.

🙂 This is what we call the duck bun:

🙂 And I had fun with some washi tape.

I have really enjoyed painting lately. If you can’t tell. 😉

the weekend, part 2

I got up early again on Sunday (I know! What was I thinking?) to run before the heat set in. I wanted to try running on an empty stomach. Since I knew it was a fairly short run, without too much intensity, I thought I’d give it a try.

My legs felt heavy and I had an unusually hard time getting my heart rate up at the beginning. I know your heart rate is lowest first thing in the morning and thought that may have had something to do with it. But I felt like I was working hard and hadn’t even made it into the blue zone! (Blue = 3 out of 10 effort.) I also wet the sensor, thinking maybe somehow it wasn’t registering properly. Even though I had a hard go at the beginning, eventually my legs woke up and I felt better.

In the graph above, you can see I even managed to keep my bpm steady(ish) while climbing the last hill up to my house. I had to really pay attention to do that…

I was so glad I got my run out of the way early because that left me the rest of the day to get on with my next project!

Taping a giant canvas! Seriously, though, I was so sick of it I nearly didn’t finish. I spent at least 6 hours just taping. (I followed the instructions here. And apparently we had similar thoughts on colors!)

At this point, after I had painted several coats, I found myself a little nervous to peel the tape…

And when I started to peel, my fears were confirmed.

Fortunately (for me) you can’t see the details in this and how the paint leaked under the tape. Lesson learned: when using a canvas with deep texture, invest in better tape (like frog tape). Also fortunately, acetone nail polish remover helped me clean up the bad spots and I tried not to be such a perfectionist about the rest. I left it to dry overnight so I could hang it today.

When I got up this morning and checked on my plants, I found this little guy blooming! I really need to move this zucchini to its own box…

After getting some work done and going to the travel clinic this morning, I got my lift on with this little bad girl.

This is still one of my favorite stretches:

A few minutes into the stretches, my workout buddy had given up…

After dinner, we got the canvas hung on the wall! Since we’ve been married, we haven’t ever gotten real bedroom furniture, that money was always allocated to furnishing other parts of the house. So, in lieu of buying a bed frame with a headboard, I painted one. 🙂

Pardon the white balance, the iPhone can only do so much. Even though it took forever, I’m glad I did it. One step closer to a grown-up bedroom! 🙂

And here’s a view with the rest of the room:

The bed skirt, curtains, and painting are much closer in color than they appear here. Blame the tungsten light. Now I want some big fluffy yellow throw pillows and a chaise lounge. And some legit night stands. And a gentleman’s chest. 🙂

the weekend, part 1

A lot went down this weekend. Here’s the first half.

Friday night we hung out with our neighb’s for El Jefe’s birthday. The boys played FIFA while Ginna did some magazine sorting (more enjoyable than it sounds) and I did some crafting.

I’ve been using a process I learned in 2nd grade art class and have gotten a few questions about it. So here’s another break down. I printed out some lyrics 10″x10″ (over two pages taped together) to be used on a 12″x12″ canvas. You can see how I scribbled with pencil on the back of the words, first. I then lined up the lyrics, centered them on the canvas and taped it into place. Then I traced the outline of the letters, pressing firmly with a ballpoint pen, transferring the words to the canvas. I don’t think I’ll ever trace this many words again… it just took forever.

Here’s how it looks without the paper, partially painted.

And after one coat of paint.

In between coats of paint, I added the final touch to my country paintings, some love. ❤

I was going to use gold paint, but there was come crazy warning on the packaging that said it included an ingredient known in California to cause cancer. So, instead, I used Martha Stewart’s foil transfer sheets and loved how it turned out.

Saturday morning I got up (fairly) early for my run.

Clearly the heart rate monitor wasn’t working properly… unless I have some magical ability to maintain a 152bpm while jogging.

It was a beautiful morning, warm but not muggy.

Ginna, Julie, and I went to the pool in the afternoon… along with all the drunkards in our apartment complex. 😉

After church on Saturday we celebrated El Jefe’s birthday again with lots more friends. Then we had some amazing cake at the after party!

in review

This last week was filled with friends, fun, and amazing weather!

On Friday we celebrated our friends’ baby’s first birthday. She is just the cutest thing EVER. Honestly, there’s no point in me having children if they’re not going to be this cute. This is one of my favorite pictures with her. She had a major freak out when we all (8 of us, 4 of whom were her family) softly sang happy birthday while looking at her. So she only let me cuddle her for a little bit like this. But it was presh.

I’m babysitting again for 2 weeks for the toddler. She’s hilarious as always. And her English is getting better.

When I went to get her out of bed the first morning, I noticed Henrietta (you may remember her as Yeyah) had spawned an offspring. Later that day we watched a few baby hippo videos on youtube. So naturally we watched a few baby sloth videos next. She laughed so hard at this one.





I also nearly-completed a few more paintings. All that’s left is adding some love.

The weather has been lovely. Hot and humid with rain and storms. My zucchini is threatening to take over the planter.

The return of warm weather also means walks to YoPop. Yum. I’m also really digging this nail polish. It makes me look “tan” and stays on for so long!

A few other highlights include running lots (almost 30 miles in the last 2 weeks… huge for me!) and using coconut oil for many things other than cooking. 🙂


paint your own print

I consider myself a crafty person and enjoy the occasional artsy job. Pinterest has driven me mad with desire to be creative but I rarely make the time to do anything. In fact, this little project has been in the works for several months now. I finally took the plunge yesterday and am so happy with it!

If you follow my pins or have perused my boards, I think you’ll agree that I love color and simplicity. So when my friend pinned a print by q.a. design, naturally I repinned it and began the process of trying to acquire one. But the only land mass that I wanted, she didn’t have. (Seriously. Mexico? British Columbia? Nicaragua? But no Canada?) So I decided to paint my own. …and it got me thinking that I may be able to paint my own versions of many of the prints on my pinboard here. (Obviously I will never try to reproduce the artwork of Katie Daisy. LOVE her. I actually teared up browsing her work.)

So here’s what I saw:

But I wanted Canada. So here’s what I gathered to make it:

  • printout map of Canada
  • painter’s tape
  • paint (3 colors)
  • brushes
  • blank canvas

These are the colors I chose. Martha Stewart gets me every time. I love her color selections.

Step one: paint stripes in one color. (At this point, I still hadn’t decided what colors I wanted, but eventually nixed the yellow because our walls are a pale yellowish color). I debated how to tape off the stripes for a minute, but this was the easiest for me. Peel off the little pieces before you paint (obviously).

This was after 3 thinly painted coats.

While the paint was still slightly tacky but without the chance of smudging, I slowly peeled the tape off. And seriously debated with myself whether I should just leave it like that. But decided to keep going, I could buy another canvas later if I still love the idea.

I let the stripes get nice and dry while I printed out a map of Canada to the exact size that I wanted. My canvas is 16″x20″ and hangs vertically, so I knew I wanted a map that was 12″ wide. Regular printer paper is 11.5″ so I just printed what would fit on one sheet then added to it by hand… You’ll see what I mean in a second.

I outlined the areas that I wanted to paint with a Sharpie, adding scraps of paper to the edges where Ontario, the northern islands of Nunavut, and Newfoundland had been cut off and finished those free-hand.

Then I flipped it over and sketched with a pencil over the Sharpie lines. I centered it on the canvas by folding the map into quarters and matching the center of the paper with the center of the canvas and keeping it level according to the stripes. I taped it down and traced over the Sharpie lines with a pen, transferring a perfect outline of Canada onto my canvas. You could probably use newspaper or carbon paper (if you have any of those) and get a similar result.

Next came the fun part, painting Canada. So. Many. Islands. This was after one coat. I think I ended up with at least 4 altogether.

Doesn’t it kind of look like a rhinoceros head? At this point, I caked on the paint in the mainland portion, trying to get rid of the ridges caused by painting over the stripes (sanding didn’t work…). [Side bar: I’m trying not to be such a perfectionist so I gave myself 15 minutes to do what I could and decided I wouldn’t care after that.] You can still see the ridges, but you can’t see the teal color through the grey. Break for lunch and then comes the final touch.

A heart over Vancouver. Because we left parts of our hearts there. 🙂 I’m letting it cure and trying to decide where to hang it. I also picked up four 5″x5″ canvases (they’re all on sale at Michael’s) and am mentally sketching those out now. I’ll let you know what I do with those. Now I’m off to run before the clouds get much darker!

updated walls/Pinterest Challenge

So I just thought I’d show you what I’ve done with the items I got at the flea market a few weeks ago. 🙂 I’ve been Pinspired!

Here are two of the windows over our couch. I’m hoping it makes our Ikea furniture look a little less Swedish.

And here are the Pepsi crate and blue mason jar on top of our bookcase. It’s to the left of the couch, it’s probably one of the first things you see when you walk in. I had that big white vase on top of our kitchen cabinets but needed something to add height above the shelves. I love our vaulted ceilings, but it makes decorating kind of tricky. To add even more height, I stuck a few sprigs of sakuras and pussy willow in the vase.

The only problem is they cast a pretty creepy shadow…

See… It almost looks like a monster.

And this is where the third window and gears ended up. It’s kind of like a combination of a collage wall and window-wall of the many that I’ve seen on Pinterest. The plate was a gift from a friend who visited Morocco. The black frame is from another picture which is now hanging in a new frame in the bathroom. I picked up the F (and two B’s) at a kitschy chic shop on Vancouver Island. The photograph is one of my favorites (but is over a year old!) in a frame that I re-finished this week. Here’s a close up:

The original frame was brownish with flowers on the inner border. I rubbed some lotion on it (for lack of Vaseline), spray painted it off-white, rubbed some more lotion on it, aiming for the nooks and crannies, and spray painted it Tiffany’s blue. Once it was all dried, I took an old towel and scrubbed reasonably hard. The paint didn’t stick well where the lotion was and rubbed right off. And it smelled nice. 🙂 The picture is one I just stuck to some scrapbook paper. Kind of reminds me of this pin from this site.

I also re-painted this frame:

It’s the same color as the one above, just in a different light. I didn’t do any weathering to it, just left it neat and clean. I took a postcard-sized painting that my friend brought me from Paris and stuck it to some lovely scrapbook paper. I like the contrast of the pinks and blues in the frame, backing paper, and painting.

There you go! I was wondering if I’d have this post done in time to take part in Young House Love’s Pinterest Challenge. Looks like I did!

I do love switching things up and keeping my home feeling fresh and fab. 😉

I pinned it AND made it.

Yesterday I mentioned that my house was stinky. That inspired me to make something I had pinned a while ago on pinterest. Enter: homemade air freshener! It was super cheap to make and is chemical-free!

Here is the line-up:

  • 1/2 C boiling water
  • 1/2 C cold water
  • 2 packets gelatin
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • essential oils (I chose orange.)
  • glass jar with lid that can hold 1 C
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 30 Rock, Season 2 Ep. 9, Ludachristmas playing in the background (also optional)

At first I wasn’t going to dye the gel, but I figured colored gel would look better than a ghostly white (read: I don’t want it to match my legs). So I dug out my colorant alimentaire. No? Oh that’s right, we don’t speak French here. Se habla español.

Then I remembered I forgot the salt. {Sad side note: This should’ve been measured in my beautiful ceramic measuring spoon from Anthropologie but sadly, the 1 tbsp was destroyed by the garburator. 😦 And the cherry on top of the sundae of death is that you can no longer buy them. 😦 :(}

After the water comes to a boil, add 2 packets of gelatin and 1 tablespoon of salt, stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add 1/2 C cold water. Because my pot is black, I poured my mixture into a Pyrex cup so I could see the colors I was making. This is 20 drops yellow + 1 drop red. I could watch the drips dance all night…

Here’s the color I ended up with.

I looked through my jar collection (I may have a problem…) and decided to use this one.

After dissolving the gelatin and salt and adding your colors, pour the liquid into your jar(s), then add your essential oils. I think I counted about 30 drops. I don’t know, at first they wouldn’t come out and then all of a sudden it was dripping faster than I could count and I got stressed. Anyway, I decided not to use the tea tree oil because as soon as I opened it, the smell reminded me of being sick. I’ll stick to using it for health remedies rather than an air freshener.

At this point, I realized I forgot the salt again. I noticed that the oils were floating to the top and thought maybe the salt was supposed to help disperse them…? Can you see the little oil beads floating?

So I dumped in the salt, closed the lid, and shook it until it all looked dissolved. As it began to set, it grew more and more opaque.

This morning, when we opened it, it smelled wonderful! (Don’t refrigerate it, btw. It will set up on its own.) Even Hungry Man said it smelled good enough to eat.

Isn’t it pretty (minus the bug)? I kind of like it in the sunlight. 🙂 And the total cost of the project was $1.75 for the packet of gelatin! I had everything else!

…now that the holidays are upon us (WalMart was playing Christmas music yesterday!!! And I was again informed that I’m not allowed to play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.) I’m getting all sorts of ideas for scents around the house and gifts. We’ll see though, we’ll see. One pin at a time.