Thursday, August 29, 2013

My DIY lacquered white tray

As far as tutorials go, this could be summed up as follows:
  • Pick up something off the street
  • Paint it white.

I like West Elm's white lacquered tray but not enough to pay $60.

Someone in the neighborhood was throwing out this lightly finished wood tray.

I gave it a once over with a Scotch pad then gave it one coat of white acrylic paint.

Then I used a can of white gloss spray paint I thrifted. The bad thing about second-hand cans of paint is you never know how much has been used. Sure enough I ran out before I got a true glossy finish.

But it's good enough for being almost totally free, organizes my magazines and brightens up a corner of my bedroom. The little bird and the vase were also thrifted.

Have you successfully painted a second-hand find?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Inspired by Dannijo

Of all the rhinestone-loving jewelry design out there today, my favorite has to be Dannijo's latest  rainbow bright collection.

For those of you who can't drop $900 on such fabulousness, I offer some budget options below.

And soon there will be, you guessed it, a super affordable DIY version if I can ever get around to it.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on some high-end glittery saturated loveliness.

Here are a few options that are not as fab but have a similar vibe for under $40.

Robert Rose 'Drama Queen' necklace and Tildon 'Kitch' statement necklace.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pinned it/Wore it - how to wear a white blazer

To get right to the point, the white blazer is a Pinterest trend worth trying. And summer has finally cooled down enough that you can stand to wear one.

From my searches across the interwebs and personal experience trying this trend, here are three tips for donning a white jacket without looking like you are wearing a lab coat:
  1. Unbutton the jacket
  2. Roll up the sleeves
  3. Don't accessorize with a stethoscope.

Although a white blazer is traditionally considered a dress-up item, it seemed most successful when paired with dress-down clothes. For example, you can't go wrong with a white jacket and a denim or chambray shirt.  White blazer with blue shirt from Could I Have That via Pose at left. Photo at right, source unknown.

Below, me trying it out myself.

Next most likely to succeed is a white blazer with a grey top and/or skinny black pants. White blazer, grey tee and cutoff shorts at Collage Vintage. White blazer with grey tee and black pants from Lovely Pepa. White blazer with grey tee and rhinestone necklace from Fashion Gone Rouge bottom right.


Below are two other popular ways to wear it, one with tattered jeans and the other with shorts of pretty much any color or style. A white blazer seems to naturally dress up an otherwise casual summer outfit. White blazer and jeans from Song of Style. Photo on right unknown.

Finding examples of white blazers with actual work appropriate clothes was harder to turn up, but Bee and Wendy provided some. First the white blazer to tone down a bright or patterned skirt. White blazer with yellow skirt at Atlantic-Pacific. White blazer with printed skirt at Wendy's Lookbook.

And a white blazer with a dress, short or long as seen below. White blazer with knit dress at Atlantic-Pacific. White blazer with black dress at Wendy's Lookbook.

I was contemplating the purchase of a white blazer when one turned up at my thrift spot. It's nice to sample a trend for almost nothing. For those not so fortunate, here's some places to buy a white blazer starting at as little as $18 and none over $100.
  • Cropped fitted blazer at Kmart.
  • Fitted blazer on sale at Kmart.
  • Cropped blazer on sale at JCP.
  • Long blazer on sale at JCP.
  • Tuxedo style blazer at Forever 21.
  • Fitted blazer at ASOS.
  • Minimalist blazer on sale at Mango.
  • Tailored fitted blazer at Mango.
  • Slim-fit striped blazer on sale at Mango.
  • Blazer with rolled up cuffs at Zara. (Note: I think both Bee and Wendy are wearing Zara. )
  • Long loose-fit blazer at Zara.
Have you tried the white blazer?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My DIY summer berry pavlova

I don't usually do food on Bromeliad, but this thing was so pretty it sort of qualifies as home decor.

This recipe comes from House Beautiful and is probably my first ever made-straight-from-a-magazine recipe, especially from a hoity toity one like HB.

I made a few modifications from Alex Hitz's recipe to bring it down to the level of mere mortals.

The meringue

6 egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups superfine sugar (Note: I used regular sugar. Just expect to whip forever.)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt

Whip the meringue until it's the consistency of marshmallow fluff.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Take three cookie sheets and line each with parchment paper. Using a cake pan, trace a 7-inch circle on each sheet. (The original recipe called for two 9-inch circles but I wanted mine to stack higher.)

Use a spatula to create three meringue patties. Keep the thickness as uniform as possible.

From Alex:  Lower the oven to 200 degrees, and bake the meringues for 1½ hours. Turn the oven off, but leave the meringues in the oven overnight. Do not open the oven door until the next morning.

From me: This totally worked.

The filling

The recipe next calls for making stewed fruit. To be honest, the whole thing was so sweet, I don't think you need to stew the fruit. Also, having extra fruit to cut the sweetness would be nice. So, I would say you need five or six cups of fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Slice most of the strawberries. Leave a few whole for the top of the pavlova.

The last step is making whipped cream. Alex's recipe calls for 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon good bourbon. I had no bourbon so can't comment on that but definitely double the whipped cream. You need the mortar to hold this thing together. Plus, when can you ever have too much whipped cream?

Tip: Put your bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes before making the whipped cream.

Assemble with a layer of meringue, a layer of whipped cream and a layer of fruit. Embellish with fresh mint.

There you go.  If any Aussies tell you this is not a real pavlova, you can inform them they did not invent the pavlova; kiwis did. This will quiet them for 30 seconds.

You can make the meringues up to three days ahead. Everything else should be assembled just before eating.

It's gluten free and an absolute sugar bomb.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thrifted and gifted

My latest and greatest thrift is this cobalt blue silk column skirt.

Two tips for you from this find. In the spirit of 'leave the gun, take the cannoli', when thrifting for skirts, be sure to check out the suit section. Leave the jacket, take the skirt.

This skirt came with an enormous, long, dated jacket. I left it. Love love love the skirt.

Second tip. This skirt hung in somebody's closet unharmed since the 1990s. I wore it one day and got pizza sauce on it, sent it to dry cleaners, who replaced the sauce with a white spot. A workaround for light colored spots - dab with a permanent fabric marker a shade lighter than your fabric. Heat set with an iron.

Two tips at one very low price.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My DIY rhinestone collar necklace

If you're not prepared to drop $70 on Kenneth Lane or $600 on Lizzie Fortunato, rejoice that crazy fringe/ spike necklaces are within your reach for $1. Yup. One. Dollar.

As you may have guessed from the price point, here is yet more jewelry you can make from Dollar Tree poly rope. (In addition to raffia charm bracelets and color block bangles.) Make fringe necklaces in any shape or size by dismantling poly rope into individual strands and tying to chain or more rope.

For another buck you can add rhinestone trim.

Go artsy and long.

Or short and conservative.

Using poly rope is a cheap way to prototype necklace shapes.

Get all the details at Dollar Store Crafts.