Thursday, May 30, 2013

DIY Anthropologie Cardigan (& Tutorial!)

A month or two ago I saw this darling Clipped Etymology Cardigan at Anthropologie. I wanted it. And I happen to be in need of a new black cardigan. So I had to make it happen.
See the lovely rose buttons? And the meticulously yet imperfectly hand-tied french knots?

I wanted the blouse they paired it with in the store too. But I don't have a bottomless budget, so it was time to get crafty. I found a simple (and surprisingly good quality) black cardigan at Old Navy for $20. And I already had some embroidery floss at home, and some buttons I could cover, and some fabric with small vintage-style roses! I was set! Or so I thought.
I watched a few tutorials on how to tie french knots, to refresh my memory. My first 5 attempts failed for some reason, but then I got it and never had trouble again.
Half way through my french knot scallops I ran out of floss. I thought I had gotten it a year ago at Jo-Anns so it should be no problem to get more. Wrong. I eventually remembered I had bought it 5 years ago for a project and they no longer carry that color. So with much disappointment, and drooping shoulders, I carefully snipped out 150 french knots and started over. I must be crazy.

But here is my (finally) finished sweater:

I tested my fabric covered buttons before they were covered, and they fit through the button holes. Once covered, however, they no longer fit! So that is the one flaw. I can't button it. I think if I greased them up a bit they might squeeze through, but obviously that is out of the question.
Does anyone know if you can expand button holes somehow? I'd love to know some trick.

And the final comparison:
Cost: $20 Cardigan, $3 ivory floss/string, $4 for a second packet of buttons
I must say, I am extremely pleased with this project. I'll probably wear it this week even though it's 80 degrees out.

If you want to try it, here's what you'll need:

1 cardigan (you could do any color)
fabric covered button kit (make sure they fit the button holes!) -how many you need will depend on your cardigan
fabric with small floral/rose print (1/4 yd should be plenty, or a fat quarter)
embroidery floss or something similar
a milliner needle (I used a regular needle and it was a real pain)
a piece of cardboard or cardstock
a white pencil
a good long movie or audiobook

1. Measure the length of your cardigan from top to bottom where you want the scallops to go. Divide by 5.5 (or however many scallops you want). Use that number to determine how wide your scallops should be, and create a template as follows.
2. Find a bowl, roll of masking tape, large cup, whatever and trace around it on the cardstock/cardboard to create your scallop template. You want it to be a little less than a half circle, and make the widest points the size of measurement from step 1.
3. Using your white pencil, trace over your template onto the cardigan repeatedly until you have evenly spaced scallops. (The sleeves will require a smaller template, but same idea).

4. Turn on your movie and begin the french knotting! (Watch a tutorial on YouTube if you need to.) I spaced mine about a millimeter or two apart. As your floss runs short you will need to tie on a new piece (on the inside of the cardigan) to continue.
5. Follow the instructions on the package to cover your buttons. I recommend using the template they give you rather than free-handing it, because they turn out nicer if you do.
6. Carefully remove the buttons that cam with the cardigan and sew your new ones on in the same place. And you are done!

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

5K Foam Fest

This post is a departure from my normal craftiness, but it's too good not to share (plus I'm giving you a discount code). First, check out this video:

The 5K Foam Fest is a 5K fun run with obstacles and bubbles and mud and the world's largest inflatable slide. This slide is called the Death Drop, 40 ft high, and I'm dying to do it! (Do you see the ant-sized people around it?)

The great thing about this kind of a run is that it is for everyone! Even if you aren't a runner, you can do this because you can take it at your own pace. Doesn't it look like a blast?! These events are held all over the country (USA).

And for my Utah readers I have a special discount for you! So get all your friends together and sign up at Use the discount code


and combined with early bird pricing that will only cost you $40 instead of $75 (day of the race registration). Children must be at least 10 yrs old to participate, but they do have bouncy houses and some fun stuff for younger kids to be entertained as well. I can hardly wait!
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Truth About DIY Gold Sharpie Mugs

You may have seen the gold Sharpie mug tutorials floating around the webosphere. Seems like such a fun idea, right? Easy way to cuten up some plain mugs. Since I have some plain white mugs I thought I'd give it a try. Let me just state that I get discouraged by DIY tutorials that don't yield professional looking results. Sure, anyone can fake a photo or make something look good on screen, but I want things that are actually going to look good and be worth my time and money.

So I followed the instructions carefully. I colored my mugs (round one showed streaky marker lines so I had to bake and then do a second layer). And baking them took away the shiny gold sheen and left them a dull brassy gold. But I could live with that.

As the mugs sat on my counter top for a while awaiting their photography session, one got a smudge of butter on it. And whadya know! The gold wiped clean off! (So why did I bother baking it? I assumed that would create some sort of permanence). But on the up side, you could do these for a party and then just wipe them clean when you are done, using a little grease or butter! But I'm not sure it's worth baking them. And it's definitely not permanent.

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