Wednesday, June 29, 2011

how to: soften leather

On one of my many Value Village thrifting trips, I found this caramel leather bag for $9. 
I really liked it but the leather strap was really hard and stiff. I brought it home anyway and searched for home remedies on how to soften leather. Since the remedies actually worked, I wanted to share them with you guys!

Materials you will need:
rubbing alcohol
petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
a cotton pad

To soften the leather, I rubbed the strap with rubbing alcohol using the cotton pad. Afterwards, I applied a layer of Vaseline and left it on overnight (petroleum jelly is supposed to soften and protect the leather). The next day, the strap was still very greasy (I applied a lot of Vaseline) so I used another cotton pad to wipe off the excess. When I was sure that the strap wouldn't leave an oily layer on my clothes, I took my bag out for a test run. The strap was still thick and durable, but the leather had definitely softened to make it more flexible. Success!

My bag is happy now and we're ready to frolic and prance together in the sun! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DIY: strawberry costume

A certain bride-to-be who shall not be named (Voldemort!) is scared of strawberries because she hates the seeds. So what better way to surprise her at her bridal shower than dressing up as a GIANT STRAWBERRY!!! (Yes, I am evil). This costume literally takes 5 minutes to make. So without further ado...

materials you will need:
a piece of green felt
a red shirt/top/coat
black fleece material
double-sided tape
fabric scissors

With the green felt, cut a jaggedy piece for the top of the strawberry. It doesn't have to be perfect - just try to shape it so that it fits nicely around the collar of your shirt. 
Cut teardrop-shaped seeds out of the black felt material.
Using double-sided tape, stick the green collar and each black seed onto your red shirt. If you're never going to use the shirt again, you can sew everything on which is much more secure. (My tape wasn't that strong so I was shedding seeds all over the place). 

...and there you have it! 
You'll look like a fool thanks to this tutorial, but if your friends are cool, they'll still love you. haha.

To go along with the whole red theme, I put on some strawberry-esque accessories...

To make up for appearing at her party as her worst fear, I made a card for the bride featuring a strawberry shedding her scary seeds.

I present to you, the Seductive Seedless Strawberry...

As I am writing this right now, my mom just handed me a bowl of real strawberries to eat. I kid you not. Anyway, before I go overboard with this whole strawberry thing I shall end off here. But if you're super desperate for a last-minute costume, at least now you've got a half decent idea. 

-laura :)

family walk

My parents like to take walks around our neighborhood every night. I joke that my dad is the UNofficial Blockwatch guy in our area because he somehow knows random facts like which houses are shady and used to have marijuana grow-ops. But one fine night, they decided to venture out to the Richmond Dyke so Lawrence and I tagged along for a good ol' wholesome family walk. My brother brought his nice camera so we took some pictures along the way...


This is my favourite picture out of the ones that I took. These honeysuckle flowers (uh okay... I don't think they're actually called honeysuckles) remind me of elementary school because someone told me and my friends that you can take each of the tiny purple petals and suck on the bottom ends of them because they taste like honey. They actually did!!! Does ANYONE else remember doing this, or am I just crazy?
The stalks on this plant looked like celery. 
I was tempted to eat it because I was so convinced that it was.
This was a freakishly cool foreign monster plant that I just liked...
... and THIS shot of two Chinese fishermen looks more like China than Canada.
Now here are some more scenic views that my brother took:
In that last picture, the bird in the bottom right corner is actually a giant hawk that suddenly came out of nowhere and flew towards the fiery mountainous region that looks like MORDOR (Yes! Lord of the Rings reference!) haha.

None of these pictures are photoshopped or altered
 because that's just how beautiful nature is.

Monday, June 27, 2011

DIY: flower lights

I love having strands of Christmas lights in my room all year round. They give my room a warm golden glow that takes the attention away from the chaotic mess on my floor. But I also wanted to add a little floral flair to my lights, so I came up with this simple 3step mini-project below...

*Notes and tips:
1) The strand of lights I bought is actually a little bit daintier and more delicate-looking than the standard Christmas lights. I got mine from Michael's. 2) Flipping the flower inside out is optional. I like it inside out because it makes the flowers look more like little buds. 3) If you're worried about the flowers falling off, you can add a little bit of double-sided tape to the light strands so that the flowers will stick onto them.

I just had a red garland lying around so I used what I had, but I think you could make some really gorgeous light garlands if you used flowers of different sizes, textures, or colours (flowers made out of tulle or chiffon would be amazing!). If you do decide to try this, take a picture and send it to me. I'd LOVE to see what you come up with! 

-laura :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

when i want a change, i cut my hair

Here's a little fact about me and my two younger brothers - we have a strange tendency to cut our own hair. We do occasionally get haircuts from people who actually know what they're doing, but we have been known to spontaneously bring out the scissors and do the deed ourselves. I'm not talking about a little trim on the bangs either... I'm talking about drastic hair changes.  

This was the last picture my brother took of my long hair before I used a pair of sewing scissors and cut it off. I actually didn't really want layers this time - I wanted a more messy, choppy look. I probably should have used real haircutting scissors or thought out exactly how much I wanted to cut off but before I could get into all those details, my impatient Edward Scissorhands were already in action and there was enough hair on the floor to make a pet chihuahua (a very creepy-looking black one).

It took less than 5 minutes to cut and now it will probably take more than 5 months to grow out again. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet but it was time for a change and there's no looking back! =)

Friday, June 24, 2011

thrift-store hopping

I don't go bar-hopping. But I am quite obsessed with my PG version of fun which is to go thrift-store hopping.  I love finding something old/rejected and claiming it as new-found treasure. For me, it beats mall-shopping ANY DAY.

Today I had an awesome time going to three different thrift stores with my little brother Lawrence. I love spontaneous sibling adventures (as in, "let's take the car and drive somewhere...") and this one was definitely random. The first place we went to was the S.P.C.A. Thrift Mart, which basically looks like an abandoned warehouse filled with everything you can imagine from old relics like an antique typewriter, an obsolete PS1, and a trumpet from the 1920's, to an assorted collection of functional furniture, a See by ChloĆ© blouse, and a fairly new XBOX360 + Wii.

I mean... look at all this stuff!!!
I love this vintage cupboard with porcelain floral doorknobs...
and the mounds of old 90's VHS tapes that basically sum up my entire childhood...
I was tempted to get that Lion King poster on the wall but I refrained.
After that, we went to Value Village, which I feel is more of a "mainstream thrift store". I say that because it's a lot more well-known and more people go to it. They've got a lot of pretty things like this dainty teacup (below) but they've also got some pretty CREEPY things as well (scroll down below to witness the atrocities)...
(left): those udders are just asking to be pulled.   
 (right): kids will never learn to save money with that kind of piggy bank.
(below):  I have no words...
(left): Creepiest thing alive. (right): It's a penguin with the abs of an ape.
In the end, I'd say Lawrence and I had quite a successful thrifting trip. We didn't end up buying any of those scary figurines from Value Village, but we did find a few treasures at the S.P.C.A. Thrift Mart...
Lawrence got a super comfortable and stylish metal office chair + old-school Apple stickers and I got a leather bag, a huge crochet blanket, and a lace doily. The guy at the store was so nice - he gave everything to us for $15. =) 
Thrift stores aren't for everyone. But if you're willing to give them a chance, you might find some pretty awesome (or creepy) things!!! 

Happy thrifting =P

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

create your dreams

I was at Walmart one day and I found these awesome mini-canvases, each with its own mini easel! Instantly I had a million ideas of what I could do with them so I immediately bought three packs, went home, and started my new little project. I thought it would look nice to have all six easels lined up in a row so I decided to paint a word... and what better simple slogan to paint than the word,

 If you notice, I took photographs of the easels on lace doilies and 
scrapbook paper and that's how I created the buttons on the 
<------------------ left side of this blog.

When I was finally finished painting all the canvases, I went photo-crazy 
and took pictures of the little squares all around my house =)

Find inspiration from all the little things around you,
and remember, when you're inspired, you can always...

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