Favorite Shops of Inspiration

Here is a map of places in San Luis Obispo in which many of the ideas on this blog are found. Some of them are large chains you may be able to find in your own community, while others are boutiques and consignment shops unique to this area. Get out and explore your own neighborhood, you may be surprised with what you will find!

There are a few other internet sites which many ideas arise from. Shareen Vintage is a lovely site that frequently has vintage clothing for sale, but it also shows you how to update the look or what you can do to personalize it.

If you do not have a Pinterest, this is another site that will aid tremendously in organizing your ideas. It is a social networking site in that you have the ability to connect with friends and see what they are “pinning” or posting. Essentially it allows you to save items into folders to look at later or share with other people. They have a huge craft following for just about any occassion; weddings, baby showers, dorm decor, you name it, it’s there!

Enjoy exploring!

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Serving it Up

From toddlers to the elderly, decorating and personalizing ceramics is a relaxing way to demonstrate creativity. Plus, the product is a handmade piece that can be used or given as a gift.

There are myriad ceramic shops located throughout the country that allow patrons to come in and paint items of their choice. This includes figurines, dishes, vases and various other knick knacks. Heather Gelfound of Paint Pals in Simi Valley explained the attraction to this particular art form. “It’s versatile because a ceramic can be painted any way that a person desires. It can be baked in an oven for a smooth finish or it can be glossed with a spray,” Gelfound said.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Rachelle Beaudoin said she would use this as an idea for a gift. “Hand made gifts are special because you know a lot of time and effort went into it,” Beaudoin said. ” And i think that’s more important than how much money it cost.”

Gina Allen of Firefly Ceramics stated, ” There are a variety of age groups and experience levels. Some take it more seriously than others, but it’s a lot of fun no matter what.” She elaborated by saying that the studio hosts everything from children’s birthday parties, to baby showers and more.

However, these shops tend to be a bit pricey. They can vary from $5-45 depending on what is being made and the establishment. It can be made for under $5, and here is how!

What you will need:

  • A plate or cup ( I got my plates for $1 each at Ross)
  • Pencil
  • Permanent  marker (any color you choose)
  • Oven

Directions:

  1. Wash your plate or cup well and be sure to remove price tags and dust.
  2. Find your decorative inspiration. This can be song lyrics, quotes, book segments, or stencils!
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In pencil, layout your design in order to assure there is space.

4. Go over your pencil design with the permanent marker. (TIP: If you find you are unhappy with the way it looks or if you make a mistake, a sponge and dish soap will do the trick)

5. When you are happy with your look, put your item in the oven for 30 minutes.

6.When it is done, carefully remove it from the oven. It will be very hot so use hot pads or oven mits for safety.

And there you have it! The design is set into your piece and will remain wash after wash!

    

Aut-YUM Treats

What celebrates the commencement of fall, cuddly weather better than baking and sweet treats?

Here are a few Fall recipes you don’t want to miss:

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Apple cinnamon muffin mix (carried seasonally at chain grocery stores)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil ( canola or vegetable)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • A dash of powdered sugar
  • Candy corn (optional)

You will also need an oven, oven mitts, mixing bowl, and cupcake pan with paper cups.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Empty the mix into the bowl and add milk, egg, and oil. Mix well until smooth.
  2. Spoon out the batter into your cupcake tray, filling the cups about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top for flavor.
  3. Bake for 16-18 minutes. You can test the cake by inserting a toothpick through the center. If it is thoroughly baked, the toothpick should come out clean.
  4. While your cupcakes are in the oven, begin making your icing. Mix together the butter and cream cheese. It may help to put these in the microwave for about 10 seconds to allow them to blend easier. Add powdered sugar to sweeten to your liking.
  5. Once the cupcakes have cooled, begin to frost. Embellish with sprinkles or your favorite seasonal candy. Candy corn is a great choice for the fall!

Homemade Candy Apples

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Candy sticks (optional)
  • Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips
  • Candy corn, sprinkles, brown sugar, etc

You will also need a microwave or a stove and pan.

  1. Wash the apples. Make sure to remove any stickers and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Melt your chocolate. Using a microwaveable safe bowl, poor your chips of choice in. Microwave for 1 minute on High. Remove and stir. Repeat the process until the chocolate is of a smooth, milky consistency. I recommend microwaving as it is harder to burn the chocolate with this technique.
  3. Dip the apples in the chocolate. Use a fork or a spoon if necessary to evenly coat the entire fruit. This step may get a bit messy.
  4. Decorate with any choice of sprinkles, candy, or simply brown sugar.
  5. Put the decorated treats in the freezer to set the chocolate and the decor.
  6. And enjoy!

For more fun holiday treats check out Family Fun or Food Network
Enjoy the cuddly weather and happy baking!

Play Your Cards Right…

52 REASONS WHY I LOVE YOU

    You want something special and personal to show someone you love just how much you care? You may have just hit the jackpot!

Here is what you will need:

  • Deck of cards ($1 at a dollar store or drug store)
  • Ribbon (color of your choice)
  • Construction Paper
  • Hole punch
  • Thin Sharpie
  • Access to a printer (optional)

Here’s the deal…

  1. Come up with a list of things you love about this person. You will need 52 as there are 52 cards in a deck. The hardest part will be narrowing it down to just 52 things. Remember to make it personal, including personality traits, inside jokes, and qualities. Once you have these ideas, assign what cards you want to correlate. (For example for “The way you make me feel”  you may want to put on the Queen of Hearts)
  2. Hole punch your cards. You want 2 holes in order to thread the ribbon. Be sure not to put it too close to the edge as this may tear easier with wear. On the other hand, do not do it too far in either because that will make it hard to turn between pages. I did mine about 1/4 of an inch from the edge.
  3. Put your cards in the desired order and decorate! Have fun with it! Use clipart, internet images, photographs, or just construction paper with your reason. Change it up and allow the decor to vary. Here are some examples of what I did:

4. Use one of the Joker cards as a cover. Say whatever you please or what you deem appropriate!

5. Now comes the assembly! String your ribbon through and tie it in a bow. And thats it! You have yourself a handmade bundle of love that I bet they will enjoy!

If you could sparrow a moment…

I am now active on twitter!
In order to more efficiently network through multiple outlets of communication, I have created a twitter account!

Here you will be updated when new posts have gone up, as well as get sneak peaks to upcoming projects.

You can click here to follow or use the button at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for all the support and appreciation! The enthusiasm is encouraging!

Oh la la!

The french braid: its versatile, its polished, its out of your face! According to  The French Braid, a website dedicated to this stylish art, french braiding has been around since 400B.C. Hair styling was one of the most popular arts in the 18th century and you would often see braiding in paintings and sculptures.

But this style isn’t cheap. If you were to get it done at a salon, pricing would start at $30. Here there will be a tutorial so that salon expenses can be a thing of the past!

Learning how to french braid can be a useful skill. Olivia Michel, a stylist at The Bluebird Salon and Shop in downtown San Luis Obispo said that braiding prices vary depending on the stylist. She gave some tips for learning how to do it yourself. “Practice! The first time it will take a little while, but the more you practice, the better you will get,” stated Michel.

It’s a great style for people on the go. Jessamyn Liu, a California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo student said, “I do know how to french braid my hair. I learned two years ago from my sister.”

Gwen Olsen learned how to french braid by watching a coworker do her daughter’s hair back in the 1970s. ” I began braiding my daughter’s hair when she was about three. It felt awkward in the beginning  but with practice became as easy as a regular braid, ” said Olsen. ” You can easily ‘glam up’ a french braid for a formal occasion just by embellishing with flowers or jeweled combs or barretes.”

So how can you create this look? The tutorial begins now!

MATERIALS:

  • Brush
  • Hair tie
  • Wave enhancer (optional)

HOW TO:

  1. Make sure your hair is combed out. I usually braid my hair when it is slightly damp. This allows for it to have soft waves once the braid is dry and removed. I like to use a curl enhancer because it controls the possibility of frizz. I use Be Curly by Aveda. (Aveda is great because they use all natural ingredients and they do not test on animals!)
  2. Separate a small section at the top of your head, use a brush to smooth if necessary. This will be the start of your braid!
  3. Separate this section into three parts and begin braiding like a normal braid, starting from the right and crossing over the center piece.
  4. After you have done one complete cross over with all three sections, begin gathering hair from the sides to incorporate into your braid. Try and keep the gathered sections small and smooth. 
  5. Continue down the length of your hair, it will get easier as you work down. As you braid, the three sections will become larger and more distinct.
  6. This is where your arms begin to tire and it becomes harder to reach. Many people try braiding from over their shoulder at this point, but that could result in a twisted braid which will not lay flat. The best option is to keep straight back if you can. You will begin to notice that you are running out of hair to pick up. At this point, finish the braid as if it were a normal three-piece braid.
  7. Now you are coming to the end of the braid. You can end it as high or as low as you please. Secure the end with a hair tie, and there you have it!!

Et Voila! 

Whether you are an athlete out on the field rocking dreadlocks or a school girl on the playground styling pigtails, braids are adroit at being perfect for any occasion. Knowing how to do this craft is useful for an array of people!

Tip of the Hat

There are a variety of upcoming artists that have caught my eye and deserve recognition.

MUSIC

  1. 1. Bill Fay! He is a singer/songwriter who actually produced his first album in 1970. Now over 40 years later, he has another album entitled Life is People. It is definitely worth checking out! You can buy it on iTunes

2. Ezra Furman! He has a very Bob Dylan/Neil Young sound, partly because he incorporates the harmonica in many of songs. He is bringing a touch of folk rock to this generation. You can even download half the album free from his website or buy it from iTunes.

3. Tennis! They are a husband and wife band. They have a very early ’60s sound. Their music is catchy and the lyrics tell a story. Their videos are also shot with a very retro feel. You can find them on  iTunes or sample some songs on their Myspace page. 

FASHION

  • LeatherworkByLars is an Etsy shop that makes handmade leather purses. They can be personalized and customized how you would like. Who would want a Fendi or Coach purse when you could have a one of a kind authentic bag? I actually have one myself, and I get compliments on it everywhere I go. I get stopped in stores and on the street with ladies asking where they could get one. Plus, it is extremely well made. Definitely one of the best purchases I have made in a while!

Or if purses are not something that is of use to you, the shop also has handmade knives and sheaths.

There is a little something for everyone!

I tip my hat to you, for putting yourself out there and exploring your creativity!

Fashion Flashback

Myriad retailers have been using vintage inspirations to boost their collections for the past couple of years. Whether it be the runway with Oscar De L Renta’s 1950s inspired party dresses such as this one or this one.

Or more affordable and local, there is the revival of the high waisted bottoms in stores such as Forever21, American Apparel, and Urban Outfitters.

The New York Times and Vintage Fashion News recently published articles exploring how retro looks are squeezing their way into contemporary trends. You can see a video here about the designer and creator of Nine West’s Vintage America Collection which was released last month.

The looks span the eras incorporating everything from ’20s fringe to ’90s denim grunge.

Many people do not even realize that some of the looks they are buying into have roots dating back to the last century. Take a look at this photograph taken in the 1960s:

Some of these outfits look a little outrageous, and perhaps even dated. But when looking at the elements of each individual look, its easy to pick out portions that are relevent and prominent in today’s media.

You can compare the above images with the retro photograph. Note the feminine bow tie, central button stripe, and the geometric color-blocking. These looks are not blatantly vintage and many would not even put them in that category.

Here are some other styles that many would not peg as your typical old school style:

  • denim shirts and vests
  • flannels
  • peter pan collars
  • leg warmers
  • leggings
  • crop tops

and so much more!

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same”-Coco Chanel

Miss Chanel was quite right. Trends do come and go with the seasons, but style is something that is timeless. It is interesting how consumers are buying into looks of the past without even realizing. Whether the look is obvious or more reserved, these classic looks are recycled and remain a key part of contemporary merchandising.