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Singing the praises of Stitch Fix

November 27th, 2013

Oh wow. My first blog post in six months. Clearly I don’t have much (any) free time these days. As the kids get older I am hopeful to find more time for my crafty passions. Until then, I wanted to share with you a discovery that is absolutely worth taking the time to discuss.

Recently, I complimented my friend, Kate, on her sense of style. She’s one of those girls who always seems so put together. I am quite the opposite. I have no time to shop. None. I feel like I have a handful of outfits that I recycle each week; none of which I’m really crazy about. So when she told me that she had a personal stylist, and that I could too, I was all ears.

Enter the world of Stitch Fix. It’s free to sign up and create your style profile. This is how your stylist gets to know you; your sizes, likes, dislikes, lifestyle, favorite colors, patterns you’d prefer to stay away from, etc. You can even create a specific board on Pinterest and link it to your style profile. Then as you spend time on Pinterest, just pin things to your Stitch Fix board and your stylist will better know what to send to you. (Finally, all that pinning has a purpose!)

Here’s how it works:

A “fix” consists of five items shipped to your door. You can sign up for just a single fix – to see what all the fuss is about – or you can sign up for regularly scheduled fixes. You can customize each fix so your stylist knows what you need, and what you don’t. For example, I requested no accessories, short dresses or coats. I asked her to send jeans, tops and sweaters.

There is a $20 fee for each fix. If you decide not to keep any of the pieces, Stitch Fix keeps your $20. If you decide to keep any of the items, the $20 is applied to the purchase. If you decide to keep all five items, you get 25% off of everything.

And the best part is you can identify your budget, so your stylist knows not to send items out of your preferred price range. How great is that?? No more falling in love with something on the rack only to be in sticker shock when you look at the pricetag.

So, all that being said…I got my first fix last night!

Let me just say that my stylist NAILED it. She sent me two pairs of jeans that I absolutely LOVE and three really cute tops.

She also included style cards that show several ways to wear each piece and how to pull them together to make different outfits.

Y’all, I didn’t have to go shopping. I didn’t have to fight traffic or deal with parking or tote around one (or both) kids. The shopping experience came to me and all I had to do was open a box. Amazing. Needless to say, I am completely thrilled with the experience. I’ve signed up for monthly fixes and I’m really excited to see what she sends me next month!

If you’re like me and need the shopping experience to come to you, you’ve got to check out Stitch Fix.

Okay, disclaimer: If you use my referral link I’ll get a credit toward future fixes. So, click here to make us both very happy!

DIY: custom canvases for the nursery

March 12th, 2013

In a rare moment of motivation, I decided to make some artwork for the new nursery. I had seen projects similar to this all over Pinterest so I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a quick and easy endeavor. They have since been hung in the nursery, one over each crib. I’ll post some photos of the room real soon.

In the meantime, here’s how this little project came together.

I started out with two blank canvases (18″ x 24″), some acrylic craft paint and 2 inch vinyl adhesive letters.

I painted each canvas in a light coat of paint.

Starting at the edge, I affixed the letters to each canvas.

Then I gave each canvas another coat of paint in the corresponding color.

After allowing them a few days to dry, I slowly peeled off the letters…and here they are. Super easy and super cute!

DIY: facial treatments

February 18th, 2013

I’m really excited to have a guest blogger this week! Michelle Pino works at Skana spa in New York and has some really awesome DIY spa treatments that we all can make at home to feel a sense of luxury for a fraction of the cost. Who doesn’t love that?? Check it out!

DIY Facial Treatments: All Natural Ingredients For All Skin Types
By Michelle Pino

DIY, or do-it-yourself, has been very popular recently from plumbing to remodeling the kitchen. Cosmetic products have not been left behind in the trend. Facials, face and body scrubs, even shampoos and conditioners have gotten in on the DIY bandwagon. However, there is one important difference in DIY cosmetics.

Unlike plumbing or construction, DIY cosmetics do much more than just save money. The ingredients in homemade cosmetics are pure, and the user of the cosmetics can rest assured that they are safe to use.  Additionally, modern food and drug research points to the fact that certain fruits, vegetables and other natural products can benefit the skin from the outside as well as from within.

This is not to say it is OK to scrimp on the fruits and veggies we put inside our bodies. The benefits of applying vitamins and minerals topically are not the same as consuming them. Do both! Eat your fruits and veggies and wear them too. The key is in knowing which products are right for the skin you are in. Below are recipes for DIY facial cosmetics for dry or oily skin.

DIY Facial for Dry Skin
Avocados contain vitamin E and natural oils, making them great for  moisturizing. Combined with yogurt, this DIY face treatment will both soften and exfoliate, or help slough off dead skin cells that can dull the complexion.

Ingredients for Avocado-Yogurt Moisturizing Facial Mask:
1 ripe avocado
4 TBS plain yogurt

Method:
Peel and seed the avocado. Put into a blender and add the plain yogurt. Blend until smooth. Avoiding the eye area, apply the mask and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.



DIY Facial Mask for Oily Skin
An astringent is an agent that shrinks body tissue. Honey, a natural astringent along with green apple, another astringent,  makes a great facial mask for oily skin. However, you should only use a facial mask for oily skin once or twice monthly. Oily skin needs exfoliating too. Adding nutmeg will accomplish this.

Ingredients for Honey & Green Apple Facial Mask
-1 TBS honey
-1 tsp nutmeg
-2 TBS grated green apple

Method:
Peel, seed and grate the apple. Put the apple and the other ingredients in a blender. Blend the mixture well. Apply and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.


Michelle Pino wrote this article. Michelle currently works at Skana Spa at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, where she learns tips and tricks to share. Michelle enjoys writing, cooking, crafting and blogging of course!

e.Claire’s Super Delicious Juice Recipe

January 22nd, 2013

I work full-time, I have a nine month old who is everywhere at all times, and I’m six months pregnant with baby #2, due in the Spring. So yea, life is a nonstop, blurry race to the end of each day. While I don’t have much spare time these days to explore crafty projects, I have been keeping my DIY lovin’ spirit content by making all of my son’s food (more on that later) trying new recipes (gotta love a crock pot!) and by perfecting my juice recipe.

I got a juicer for my birthday last year and I quickly became addicted to trying new fruit and vegetable juices. I’ve tried countless recipes and I think I’ve perfected what I’m calling the best recipe of them all. Bold, I know. But I stand by my claim. This stuff is pure GOLD.

On the weekends, I hit the farmer’s market and stock up  so I can make a big batch that we live off of for a few days. While I wash everything thoroughly, I’m very mindful of the fact that it’s not meant to have a shelf life, so I try to drink it within 3-4 days. I juice complimentary items together and reserve the pulp to make carrot cake, baby food and pasta sauce.

Okay, so here’s the recipe and some additions/substitutions. Let me know what you think!

e.Claire’s Super Delicious Juice Recipe
Makes about a gallon

1 five lb. bag of carrots, peeled
1 small head of celery*
4 organic red apples, cored and sliced
4 organic green apples, cored and sliced
3-4 pears, cored and sliced
3 oranges or 6 tangerines, peeled
2 bags of organic spinach
2 cucumbers, chopped (lots of nutrients in the skin, so don’t peel these)
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 lemon, peeled
1 quart of blueberries
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

*Celery has a really strong flavor, which I don’t mind, but you might want to start with 1/2 half a head and go from there.

Seasonal additions:

In the winter, I’ll toss some sliced beets or beet greens into the mix, which I LOVE and are so amazingly good for you, but they totally, totally dominate the flavor so be conservative at first.

In the summer, I’ll add a few peaches to the recipe…but it could be argued that fresh summer peaches are meant to enjoy all by their delicious selves. So, I only juice them if I have an abundance on hand.

Just make sure to wash everything really well. I also core, seed and slice everything so as not to overwork my juicer. Shake or stir before pouring each glass as it will settle and separate in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

DIY: tiny felt wreaths

December 20th, 2012

The holidays always seem to sneak up on me, and this year was no exception. Since many of my friends are also new mothers, we excused each other from the traditional gift exchange, but I still wanted to try to give them something, even if it was something little. Felt wreath ornaments were a project I’d wanted to try for a while, so I figured I’d give it a shot, time permitting, and would forgive myself if they never made it to fruition.

I got a head start last month and searched a few thrift stores for wool sweaters. Any type of wool will felt (lambswool, angora, etc.) as long as it’s 100% wool. I lucked out and found a few sweaters pretty quickly, but I knew I needed more, so I asked my sister to join in on the search and she scored big time. Thanks Anna!

Felting is really quite easy, but it’s time consuming, so I allowed myself a few days to complete the process. The key to felting is a hot wash, lots of agitation, a cold rinse, and a hot dry cycle. Some people do it by hand, but I really needed to expedite the process, so I used my washer & dryer. When doing this, the most important thing is to protect the machine from all the lint that felting creates. So, I put each sweater in an old pillow case and secured the ends tightly with a rubber band. We have a front loading washer, so I added some old towels to the load to help with the agitation. Using the longest wash cycle and hot water, I let the machine do its job. After a cold rinse, I took the sweaters out of the pillowcases and tossed them in the dryer to dry on high heat. Then I repeated that process a few times. Super easy and it worked like a charm! My sweaters felted perfectly and shrunk to about 1/4 of their original size. After the last dry cycle, I laid them out flat to cool and to prevent any wrinkles from setting.

Felted and ready to go!

I grabbed my hearty sewing scissors and cut the sweaters into 1 1/2 inch strips and then cut the strips into 1 1/2 inch squares.

Sweater strips.

1 1/2 inch squares

Armed with a pile of wool squares and some thin wire that I grabbed from my jewelry supplies, I started threading the wire with the wool.

Here we go!

Threading the wool onto the wire.

Thirty-two pieces of wool will make a wreath about 4 inches in diameter. I thought that was a good size for ornaments, so I twisted the ends of the wire to secure them, snipped off the extra wire, tied some ribbon around the wreath and ta-da!

Finished wreath!

Up-close look at the felt.

Little cuties.

The perfect little ornaments! I’m really happy with how they turned out…and just in time for Christmas. Whew!

Wishing everyone a very festive holiday season! See you all in the New Year!

A gift of monthly date nights

November 7th, 2012

I love bragging about my creative friends and Niki Wing is at the very top of that list. Shortly after we met, I invited her to a party. Not only did she show up, but she taught us all how to make balloon animals and then led us in a balloon animal safari hunt in the backyard with a bb gun. Clearly, this girl exists on an entirely different level of fun.

She recently reached out to me to share a gift she had made for her brother’s wedding. I was completely floored by her ingenuity, creativity, and the sweet personalization of the gift. I was really happy when she said I could share it with all of you. I think this is the perfect gift for a wedding or anniversary.

Here are the details and some photos.

A year of monthly date nights – she made themed envelopes and cards for each month explaining what the date night consisted of and sewed pockets on the cards to slide tickets and gift cards inside. For example, for December’s gift, “buy some hot cocoa and drive around to look at Christmas lights”, she included  a Starbucks gift card. Another month’s theme is “go for a bike ride and have a picnic” and she included a map of a biking trail near their house. September will be their first anniversary and she told them to “recreate their first date” at the zoo and included zoo tickets.

Totally awesome, right?

Here are the supplies she used:
9 1/2″ x 4″ envelopes with tie closure decorated using scrapbook paper
Small brown cards and month name plates (could be found in the craft section at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby)
Small cards to fit inside using cardstock and a color printer
A paper pocket sewn onto each card to hold some of the essentials for each date night

Here are all of the monthly date night themes:

October: “Head out to a local farm and enjoy a hayride, corn maze and pumpkin picking!”  She included a print out of a local farm that has these events during the month of October and $20 for them to purchase a pumpkin.
November: “Dust off those bikes and head out for a trail ride!”  She included a map of a local bike trail that was just completed in their area.
December: “Pick up something warm to drink and drive around looking at Christmas lights!”  She included a Starbucks gift card so they can get something warm to drink on their date.
January: “It’s cold outside, so go warm up at a theater and enjoy a movie date night!”  She included two tickets to their local movie theater and a pass for 2 drinks and a popcorn.
February: “Spread the Love.  Volunteer for a day at the Nashville Humane Association in honor of Patton!”  Patton is the dog that they adopted last summer.  She included a picture of Patton.
March: “Go have a laugh!  Check out a local improv theater.  Improv Date Night!”  She included a card that lists local improv theaters and their websites so they could find a show that works with their schedule.  She also included $25 so they can buy tickets and concessions.
April: “The weather is warming up!  Head outside and have a mini-golf date!”  She included the name of a local mini-golf course and $20 for admission and concessions.
May: “Summer is almost here!  Spend the afternoon picking berries!”  She included a card that contains the names of local berry farms and information for the annual strawberry festival near their house.
June: “Pack the car with a picnic and blankets and head to the Drive-In Theater!  Enjoy a movie under the stars!”  She included a card that has two drive-in movie locations and $20 for tickets and concessions.  She also noted that both drive-in theaters are dog friendly – just in case they wanted to take the pup!
July: “Buy some Talenti Gelato and have an Ice Cream Sculpting Contest!”  The couple loves Talenti Gelato, so she included a gift card for $10 to their grocery store.
August: “Go have a Star Party or watch a movie at the Planetarium!”  She included information for the local planetarium and $20 to pay for admission and concessions.
September: “Happy Anniversary!  One year as a married couple!  Go the the Nashville Zoo for your first date all over again!”   She checked with the zoo and confirmed the tickets wouldn’t expire until the end of the month, so she purchased two tickets and slid them into the pocket.

How amazingly sweet and creative is this gift? It has inspired me to think outside the box and invest the time into making personal gifts for a few weddings that are coming up. Hope it inspired you too!
I’d love to share a creation you’re proud of! Email me at emily@eclairecreations.com.
Till next time,

DIY: I’m making necklaces, y’all!

September 6th, 2012

So sorry it’s taken me a while to post…there’s a very short (and very cute) man in the house who’s calling all the shots these days. While he’s napping and I have a few minutes to myself, I wanted to let everyone know that I’ve dabbled some more in jewelry making…and have discovered I love making long necklaces!

And as much as I hate to let some of them go, I really want to be able to say that someone in Seattle or Savannah or San Francisco is wearing one of my creations. So, I’ve listed a few of them for sale in my Etsy store! I hope you’ll check them out.

Here they are: http://www.etsy.com/shop/eClaireCreationsShop

Until next time, stay inspired!

~e.Claire

DIY: arm candy and a BIG announcement!

August 20th, 2012

I had some girlfriends over for dinner last week and when my friend, Kristen, arrived I noticed she was wearing the cutest little collection of bracelets. Some were braided and some were beaded…they were a perfect assortment. I pretty much spent the evening coveting her arm candy.

I hardly ever wear bracelets because I have the teeny tiniest of wrists. Before buying anything, I have to make sure I can make some adjustments to shorten the clasp, remove some beads, etc. It’s just too much work to justify the expense, so typically my wrists are naked. And a little sad.

After having fun making the karma bracelets recently, I decided to dig out my supplies and see if I could make any magic. I have a ton of beads and stones, twine and clasps…so why not try to turn them into something?

You know what happened? I fell in love! It’s like I tapped into a passion I didn’t even know I had. I got into such a rhythm that I was making several bracelets in one sitting. Here are a few photos:

I decided to do something that, looking back, seems WAY overdue….and I’m super excited to announce that I’ve opened up my very own Etsy shop! Yep, eClaireCreationsShop is open for business!!

I’m totally addicted to making these little bracelets, and I’m starting to explore other types of jewelry, too. I’ll also be adding some knitted hats & scarves, decoupage projects, wine cork crafts, etc. so I hope you’ll stop by often to see what new little gems are available!


DIY: personalized pacifier clip

July 23rd, 2012

So, I go back to work this week. Simply cannot believe it. Fastest three months of my life. Luckily, I get to take Sam with me. I’m fortunate to have a fabulous day care center in the building where I work. It’s a great program with really nice people and I know he’ll be in good hands. I also know I’ll probably spend more time there than in my office the first few weeks.

Over the weekend I prepared him for his first day of “school” and packed up diapers, clothing, pacifiers, etc. Everything had to be labeled, which brought me to a slight conundrum. How do you label a pacifier? We never bought cute little pacifiers with his name on them and even though there are endless options on Etsy, I knew I didn’t have time for anything to be shipped. So, I decided to just work with what I had on hand and get a little resourceful. I made personalized clips that attach the pacifier to his shirt using materials I happened to have around the house. This included random ribbon from my gift wrap supplies, a couple of  hair ties, and a Sharpie marker. I know…classy!

*Please note: I wasn’t even going to post this little project since it’s hardly my finest work, but I decided to since it shows that you really can create something out of nothing.

Here’s a quick rundown on how I made them.

 

I promise I won’t be one of those moms who sends my kid to school in anything that warrants getting picked on. But in this case, I was pretty desperate and it doesn’t seem like Sam minds all that much.

DIY – tiny karma bracelets

July 17th, 2012

I love seeing that friendship bracelets are making a comeback. When I was young Iwould sit in my room with my little box of cross stitch twine, braiding and weaving bracelets for myself and for my friends. And in college I made macramé necklaces with hemp and beads. (I also wore tie dye and listened to Phish…hippie phase? Absolutely.)

I recently spotted “karma bracelets” on Etsy and I love the concept. Chic friendship bracelets with some good karma woven in…right up my alley. It’s been more than a year since I dug out all my jewelry supplies, but my last experiment was a success, so I decided to dust off my jewelry kit and make some karma bracelets using the knots I learned when I was younger.

I found a few old necklaces that had the type of rings I was looking for, so I took them apart in the name of recycling. I found some dyed hemp twine at my local art store and thought it would work perfectly. Guess I’m still a hippie at heart.

Once I got into a rhythm I was able to make them pretty quickly. The end result? The cutest little things you’ve ever seen! Here’s how I did it.

I started with the hemp twine and some salvaged bits of old necklaces.

I cut four pieces of twine – two 30 inches long and two 20 inches long. I folded the 20 inch pieces in half, looped them thru the ring and pulled the ends thru the loop.  

 I folded the 30 inch piece in half and centered it under the two middle strands. I folded the right piece over the middle strands and under the left piece. Then I pulled the left piece under the right and middle strands and through the loop on the right side.

 

I then folded the left piece over the middle strands and under the right piece. Then I pulled the right piece under the left and middle strands and through the loop on the left side.

I repeated the steps – left, right, left, right . . .

Once I reached the right length, I flipped it over and started on the other side.

Then I tied a simple knot on each end.

Normally, the bracelets just tie to the wrist, but I thought I’d experiment with clasps so they could be mixed and matched easily.

And here they are! They turned out really well and were so super easy.

So, I think I’ll make a bunch and give them away as little gifts of friendship. Just doing my part to spread some good karma!