Wednesday, July 18, 2012

J. Crew Inspired Knotted Crescent Necklace DIY Video Tutorial

I like a good DIY challenge.  So when Jen asked if the J. Crew OGJM Hyacinth Necklace was DIY-able, I gave it a shot.
J. Crew Inspiration ($150) ----> DIY Creation ($6 in materials)

Don't be scared off by crochet, there are no hard maneuvers in this tutorial.  The crescent is created with a series of repeated stitches.
Diagram of Crocheted Crescent
Want a more dramatic / thicker necklace?  Just increase the # of loops added.

Then I went a little crazy and made more colors.  Next up, yellow :)

Jen had also asked if this could be made by hand.  Technically, yes, but it looked horrendous when I tried.  Kelly found this tutorial if you'd like to try it by hand.

Yay or nay on these colorful necklaces?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Handkerchief Peplum Dress DIY + Mini Tutorial

Have you seen Jean in her white dress?  If you have, you can guess why I all of a sudden wanted one too :)  Shopping for a white sheath can be a bit of a nightmare because I need a dress with the following qualities: must not be see-through, must fit proportions well, must hide tummy, and must be a "deal" of some sort.  That's a tall order, and one unlikely to be filled without a good deal of shopping around, so I went to the fabric store instead.  While searching for a white ponte knit (and getting disappointed by the $13/yd price tag), I found a heavy white knit instead (on crazy sale for $2.50/yd).  It's a little thicker than ponte and a little less stretchy.  Both qualities help in the "hide tummy" camp :)

I started with the white sheath and felt like it needed a little extra something when I finished.  I decided to add a removable handkerchief peplum.
Dress with and without peplum - I prefer the "with" (at least for now)

DIY White Sheath Dress w/ Removable Handkerchief Peplum
Amrita Singh Sag Harbor Necklace, Lapis 
Gucci d'Orsay Pumps, Camel
Michael Kors Watch
Hermes & J. Crew Bracelets
Melie Bianco Ariana Bag (giveaway win via Kileen of Cute and Little)

Handkerchief Peplum Tutorial
So how do you make a handkerchief peplum?  Remember my pencil skirt + removable peplum tutorial here?  Follow the same instructions to determine the radius for your waist cut-out.
Cut out that arc and then hem your edges.  Voila, handkerchief peplum!

(Note: Since this fabric was a plain white solid, I folded it into quarters and cut out the waist.  This results in a large square with a circle in the middle.  Simply cut from one edge of your square up to the circle, hem the cut edges, and add closure to get your removable peplum.)

What kind of peplum do you prefer - round, handkerchief, other?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Easy Ruffled Collar Top DIY Tutorial

I saw this scarf print fabric on sale at my local fabric store and scooped it up to make a fun, summery top.  You can make one too by sewing 2 rectangles together - easy, right?

Full tutorial after the jump.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Postpartum Fitness: Newbie Running

Today's post is atypical in 2 ways.  1 - It has nothing to do with DIY or shopping.  2 - This is a word-driven post rather than a picture-driven one.  Bear with me and I'll get you back to regularly scheduled programming on Sunday :)

The Postpartum Body
After my first pregnancy, the pounds and fat melted away rather easily.  At about 6 months postpartum, I was actually 10lbs under my pre pregnancy weight from breast milk production (burning ~500 calories a day).  Of course, once that stopped, my weight went back to normal at what I guess is it's state of equilibrium.

Fast forward to today.  I'm 9 months postpartum from my 2nd pregnancy and though my weight is at equilibrium state, my body, sadly, is not.  Frustrated, I did the one thing I've never really stuck with  before - I ran.

Getting Started
You must be thinking, "Big whoop, tons of people run. Why is it such a big deal that you started?"  Well, my friends, I am that special combination of a person who not only is crazy slow, but also hates running.  Yes, the gasp-y, out-of-breath, super sweaty person who can't catch her breath even at a 15+ minute pace.

I started slow.  My goal was to run as long as I could without taking walking breaks.  Why?  Given that I have "daikon legs", I didn't want to bulk them further with intense interval training (my brief track career in sprinting made my calves much bigger).  Plus, I tend to cheat at intervals.  Taking a few extra seconds at each break until I'm pretty much just walking the whole time.

On Day 1, I ran a whopping 0.25 miles and felt like I was going to throw up a lung.  Thankfully, each day got a little better and after 2 weeks of running everyday, I was running 2 miles followed by a 1 mile walking cool-down.  I was feeling good!  I lost an inch each in the tummy and hip area (excess water I'm sure, but still very motivating).

Getting Invested
At this point, I was feeling all athletic and proud so I started investing in my new sport.  By the way, I should note that I still hated running, but I loved the feeling of accomplishment afterwards.  I bought new shoes, a visor, and a modern fanny pack (hehe, never thought THAT was going to happen).

SPIbelt (buy here) holds my iPhone & keys
I love this thing!  Does not ride up or fall down. Can be easily concealed under my shirt if desired.

The shoes were a mistake.  Blinded by the sale signs, I purchased some Asics a 1/2 size too small (you should purchase running shoes a 1/2 size larger) than normal in hopes I could just stretch them out through enough wears.  At a $2 price tag (I had $30 in rewards), I just couldn't resist.  At first, they felt good as Asics cushioning really can't be beat, but then my wide feet, which got wider after pregnancy, started to run into the sides and cause some pain.  I tried a shoe-stretcher but I just couldn't get comfortable in them.

Getting Injured
When I thought buying new, more expensive shoes was the worst thing to happen, I strained my hip flexor.  I limped around the house for a few days and started to feel dejected.  I needed that post-workout high!  Every time I tried to run, a shooting pain in my hip would stop me.

I turned to low-impact activities like the elliptical (sooooo boring compared to running outside) and riding my bike.  To hopefully keep up the intensity of running, I followed the 2/3 rule from one of the running forums.  I would do 3 miles of low-impact activity to try to mimic my 2 miles of running.  It wasn't the same, but I kept telling myself I'd be back on the road soon.

Every few weeks, I would test out how running felt and would feel my hip tighten.  After 5 weeks, I went to physical therapy.  I learned some stretches and exercises that will hopefully strengthen my hip.  I tried to run again after an additional 2 weeks of PT + low impact exercises, but my hip acted up after 0.5 miles.  Hubby pointed me towards a running article in his issue of Mens' Health and suggested that my running posture was exacerbating things.  I'm apparently a heel-striker when I should be running on the balls of my feet.  New news to me!  Makes sense though if I think about animals adapted to running.

Forefoot Striking & Shuffling
I've been running with a forefoot strike for a month now and my hip only acts up every once in a while.  On a side note, I can't believe this strained hip flexor is still so sensitive after nearly 3 months!  My knees bug me every once in a while during runs, but if I shuffle, I find it goes away.  Changing my foot strike has made a huge difference, but it felt like starting from square 1 again in terms of slowly building up distance.  Forefoot striking places much more emphasis on my calves (fingers crossed that they do not bulk up from this!) and it took me 3 weeks to get back to running 2 miles continuously.  I've been running in a pair of decade-old Adidas sneakers and the sole flew off the other day.  At the moment, they are gorilla-glued back on, but I know I definitely need new shoes now.  My next "fitness" post will revolve around running shoe reviews.

And if you're wondering, the weight loss / body changes have plateaued.  My legs are toning up continuously, but that belly is staying put at the moment.  Must work through this stage!

I know that was one heck of a long (and boring) post.  If you've read this far, you deserve a big hug :)

For any runners out there, do you have any tips to share?  Shoes to recommend?  My eventual goal will be to run 3 continuous miles on a daily basis.  That way, I'll be 5K-ready for all of my company's races.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Going Overboard w/ Nautical DIYs

Quickie post today on some recent DIYs.

Nautical, nautical, nautical.  I feel like that's the only theme that runs through my head nowadays.  There's even a small Twitter group (Aubrey, Cee, ElleYing and me), wittily dubbed the Anchor Brigade by Elle, devoted to nautically inspired shopping finds :)

Sailor's Knot Anchor Bracelet

Triple Wrap Bracelet w/ Anchor Closure

Striped Pearl Ribbon Bracelet (buy here)

Bronze Anchor Earrings
Gold Anchor Earrings
Sailboat Earrings

Red, White & Blue (and Gray) Leatherette Bracelet

Past nautical DIYs, click on pictures for full post:

Nautical bracelets and Looped rope necklace

Nautical skirt and Lighthouse peplum top

Have you gone overboard with nautical?  (Yes, I'm cheesy like that)


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