Back to School?

Holy cow, is it really that time?  Sure is!  Most schools will be starting in just a few weeks, about halfway through August, and we sure are close to that!  In celebration, here are some fun projects to prepare for the big return.

source: Dollar Store Crafts

Rhonda of Dollar Store Crafts developed this adorable pencil cuff!  Great for teachers and kids alike, it’s a way to show off one of our favorite classic writing utensils.  Think of all the things you can do with pencils, wow!

source: Factory Direct Craft

This adorable burlap pencil case is printed with a little foam and some paint to create a block print.  Super cute and of course functional!  Thanks, Factory Direct Craft!

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Finally, our own speech bubble chalk boards take nothing more than foamcore, a knife, and some chalkboard paint.  Make any shape you want!  Fun first day photos, anyone?

What are some of your great projects for back to school?

Sparkle and shine!

Recently a purchased a FABULOUS pair of gold glitter shoes for a friend’s wedding (who doesn’t love a bride who asks you to wear GLITTER shoes?), and I am just SO in love with them!  Check out the finds I’ve made by continuing the search!

source: endless.com

These are similar to the Steve Maddens I bought, but the glitter here is darker and multi-colored!  The sparkle really makes this classic style exciting!

source: endless.com

Who doesn’t love the Dorothy-style magic of a pair of red glitter shoes?  I think the strap makes it that much more fun!

source: target.com

If you’re a little more budget-conscious, don’t worry!  Our friends at Target have a great collection of shimmering shoes to sate our appetites for sparkle.

source: target.com

No need for heels?  Try these super simple ballet flats – comfort and style all in one!

Which are your favorites?

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They’re here!

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The wedding shoes have arrived!  These are the Seychelles Women’s Aquamarine Pump (a decidedly unimaginative name for such a charming pair of shoes!), and I have to say, they are fantastic.  Super comfy, just the right height, and just really impressively crafted.  I’m going to be hard pressed to not wear them before the wedding!

In love with some shoes?  Share it!

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Totally in Love!

With Nick, of course, but I recently found a new clothing store that I’m totally enamored of… Ruche!  They held a Polyvore contest last week, and here’s what I came up with:

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Based on their “Unending Love” collection, I used Polyvore to put together a fun collection of my favorites!  The new "remember darling" dress is one of my absolute FAVORITES! I wanted to highlight the delicate, romantic feel of it with warm, sweet accessories and colors, and make it suitable for any occasion, professional or personal. The focus is on warm peach and gold to accent the warm white of the dress’ lace, but with a cool surprise in the shoe color. With your hair up, the earrings would really sparkle, but no necklace to interrupt the cute buttons and high neckline. All the focus here is onwards and upwards!

What’s your recent favorite shopping find?

A bit of organization…

My recent finds in accessories left me with a delightful problem: I needed better storage for my scarves and belts.  Before, they spent time hanging on the builder wire shelf organizers that were installed when the house was built.  They’re not a bad system, but they leave a lot to be desired for storing small items, and my accessories sort of hung there limp and neglected, and I couldn’t see anything or access anything easily.  I had a few requirements for my new solution: pockets needed to be clear or see through, so I could identify what was there, and they should be vertical storage, both fairly easy to come by.  I came across two separate solutions…

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A traditional wall-mounted belt hanger was useful for not only some of my belts, but for my bathrobes and some of Nick’s belts, too.  My second solution was the over-the-door shoe hanger!  This version was made with a great open mesh that would let me see what was inside the pocket!  And with 24 compartments, there’s plenty of space for lots of accessories!  I haven’t even filled it up yet!

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The shoe organizer does hang on the ‘front’ of the closet door, but we rarely close it, and our master bedroom is fairly private, so I’m not too worried about the decorative implications for the moment.  I’m definitely feeling more creative and have a lot of new inspiration when getting dressed in the morning!  Bring on the accessories!

What are your favorite organization solutions for accessories?

Diet shopping spree!

At the end of the semester I’m usually a little broke, but I REALLY needed a little shopping therapy!  So I headed to my favorite shopping-lite location, my neighborhood ARC!  Here’s some of the fantastic finds I made there!

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Top left: random scarf, top and skirt from Forever 21, random belt; total: $17.  Top right: H&M dress, yellow viscose scarf; total: $9.  Bottom left: assorted belts and scarves; total: $8.  Bottom right: totally adorable vintage apron for just $3!

I was super excited to find some pieces from my favorite stores, and I can’t wait to wear them!

What do you do when there isn’t much extra money around and you need a SHOPPING fix?  Tell!

Friday Fi.. more like three!

Even though this is not Twitter (although you can check mine out @charmedseed, of course!), I wanted to share a few of the blogs I’ve been following lately!

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Metal and Mud: Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!  I ran into this blog while participating in Thing-A-Day this year, and this artist is constantly working and creating.  Not only that, but she has a collection of amazing jewelry and art at Etsy, too!  The perpetual calendar project in the photo is simply AMAZING!

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Craftastrophe: Is exactly what it sounds like.  Occasionally NSFW, silly and even occasionally appalled at some of the nuttier craft ideas out there, this blog is sure to bring a laugh or two to your day!  I pity the fool who doesn’t read this blog!

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crafting an education: Here’s where I’m a total tool and toot my own horn.  This is my more education-leaning blog, but with a crafting aftertaste.  I discuss some of my teaching and learning here, but I also identify fun teaching-related crafts, organization, and décor!  I love making this connection between my two passions.

Go for it, share your favorite (or your own!) blogs!

The Big Question

No, not the proposal!  The question that as a seamstress and costumer I inevitably get…  “Why aren’t you making your own wedding dress?”

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‘Cause I’ve pretty much made them before, right?

My sister in particular asked this question after we purchased my Claire Pettibone dress.  It was indeed a question  I had given serious thought to, and even asked of other seamstressy brides.  I even know brides who have done it!  I even made my sister’s wedding gown!  But at the end of the day, it wasn’t what I wanted for me.

I’m not really superstitious, so the old adage of making your wedding dress makes your marriage a lot of work wasn’t phasing me.  And it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time; with nearly 18 months before the wedding when we started planning, I would have had plenty of time.

In all honesty, it came down to wanting to be a little spoiled.  First, I didn’t want to have to do the work, I really did want that little bit of getting treated like a princess. Second – and this has a little more to do with the financial planning aspect – because I’m an experienced seamstress, I wanted something beautiful that I could be proud of.  I accepted the financial burden with this reasoning because I know as a commissioner how much work goes into really high quality sewing work.  I knew from the beginning that I was going to have to shell out the cash, but I knew it would be worth it.  I’m lucky that that’s an option for me!

Lord_of_Rimini_Beatrice_d'EsteAnd it was all true!  The experience of being surrounded with my girls while trying on the amazing dresses at Little White Dress – with the designer present! – was a completely magical experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  And I know that the beautiful dress that Claire Pettibone is creating JUST FOR ME is going to be a truly amazing work of art that I will treasure forever.

I am in awe of the brides who charge themselves with sewing their wedding gowns!  And I count myself among the ranks of brides who have made a carefully calculated decision about her dress… that’s pretty much all brides!  This is one of the most personal garments a person can ever wear, and all your reasons, as long as they’re true to you, are completely valid.

Besides… I think there will always be plenty of fancy dresses for sewing in my future!

What were your reasons for or against making your wedding gown?