The 13 Must-Have Tools for Embellishing DIYs

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Adding embellishments to pieces (crystals, studs, trim, iron-ons etc.) is one of the easiest ways to breathe life into your clothing and accessories and give them a whole new makeover. I’ve done a number of DIYs in the past that involve different materials and techniques (like my DIY Vinyl Eyelash Applique T-Shirt, DIY Sequin Trompe L’oeil Peter Pan Collar T-Shirt, and DIY Jennifer Behr Spiked Turban for example). I’ve found a number of tools are extremely useful in adding all those bits ‘n’ bobs (they save a ton of time!) – and here are my faves:

1. Hardwood Handle Awl

For poking holes for studs and screw-spikes, you need an awl. Period. This will make tiny precise holes (NOT slits like scissors) and the spike screw-thread will do the enlargening itself. Much better to cause as minimal damage to the fabric as possible. The hardwood handle allows for long usage without fatigue in your hands (and if you’re embarking on a large-scale studding or spiking project, you know exactly what I’m talking about!).

2. Chain Nose Pliers

For bending the studs teeth at the back, I always use pliers – though there are also stud prong press tools available for this specific purpose.

3. Creative Crystal BeJeweler Pro Embellishment Tool

For adding hotfix crystals or nailheads to your projects one-by-one: completely necessary for precision and beautiful designs.

4. Dual Duty Plus Button Thread

TOTALLY different from regular cotton mercerized or polyester thread. Did you know? I didn’t for a long time – and I’d been sewing on buttons using completely the wrong thread for like FOREVER. It’s thicker, stronger, and more durable than the regular threads, so get this if you are sewing on any buttons or button-like embellishments.

5. Dritz Fray Check

You’ll need this as a double-security for the ends of trims that could fray when washed. If they can’t be heat-sealed with an open flame (like they have beads, sequins, or are mostly cotton) then add a daub of this on the ends to prevent fraying.

6. Chalk Pencil

Marking chalk set – I use this SOOOO much! I can mark with a different color than for the sewing lines or matching lines when making a piece, and it stays fairly sharp and accurate. I really love this little tool.

7. Dritz Curved Needles

For sewing rhinestones in settings (with sewing holes in the back) onto fabric surfaces easily.

8. Aleene’s Jewel-It Embellishing Glue

For gluing crystals or other embellishments that don’t have sewing holes. Not ideal, but sometimes you have to cut corners.

9. Leathercraft Pyramid Rivet Studs Setter

If you’re doing large-scale studding on leather this will save your hands from massive pain.

10. Martha Stewart Multi-Purpose Cutting Heat Tool

I use this mostly for the mini-iron capabilities. Not completely necessary (in a pinch I’ll just grab my regular size iron and be really, really careful) – but this works great for larger iron-on embellishments that don’t fit the Hotfix iron tip, and for small appliques. I don’t particularly like the hotfix tip (not enough options), but the cutting tip is useful for cutting stencil vinyl.

11. June Tailor Non-Stick Pressing Sheet (18″x18″ size)

For appliques and fusibles. You could also use a regular 100% cotton pressing cloth, but the non-stick one is better for fusibles.

12. Beadaholique Perfect Positioner/Jewel Setter Tool

Needed for rhinestone placement and setting. And when you’re going through a lot of stones in an intricate design, this will really cut your workflow time in half.

13. Variety of Machine Feet

Multi-foot set – if you’re doing embellishments that require a sewing machine (like adding ruffles, or leather pieces, or pearl piping) — you will need a ruffler foot, piping foot, or Teflon foot to deal with these different materials and make the whole process faster. (the pack pictured is for low-shank machines)

And of course a screwdriver for tightening screw-spikes, a lighter for heat-sealing trims, and a pair of scissors for cutting.

Need more Must-Have Tool Sets? Check out my Must-Have Tools for Sewing DIY’s and my Must-Have Tools for Jewelry DIY’ing!

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

 

7 Affordable Winter Beauty Picks for Fair Skin

7-affordable-winter-beauty-picksSo yesterday I gave you a peek inside my $5 newly organized bathroom drawer. Today I wanted to share a roundup of my must-have beauty items to see Winter through to Spring. I’m super-pale and have strawberry blonde hair, so the color palette I use most days is very light creams and beiges, with a bit of baby pink thrown in. Subtle and understated, and isn’t too thick to cover up my freckles. Plus, I’m always on a budget and looking for a steal…so none of these items will break the bank. Here are 7 of my faves:

1. Sonia Kashuk Brow Definer

It took me forever to find the right-colored eyebrow pencil for my super-light eyebrows. They all looked harsh or weird. This one is warm-toned, but not overly so, and stays and stays.

Fair Skin/Light Hair: Taupe 09

2. Sally Hansen Lip Inflation Plumping Lip Gloss

I LOVE this lip gloss – it adds shine, sheen, and has enough light pink color to counteract even the darkest lips (like mine which are beetroot red). This gloss evens them out, plumps them, and is just my fave. I prefer the original, not the Xtreme version. It’s a little hard to find now. Look for it at Target or your local grocery store, or buy here.

Fair Skin: Sheer Pink

3. Physicians Formula Nude Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow

The perfect nude eye shadows to do a very subtle gradient. When I’m in a rush, just a couple dabs of the lightest shimmer under the browbone pulls the whole look together and adds sophistication without any other work.

Fair skin: Natural Nude

4. YOUNIQUE Moonstruck 3D Fiberlashes

I wrote a review of this product earlier this year and I just love it. It adds so much length and gorgeousness…like Kim Kardashian except better.

5. L’Oreal Visible Lift CC Cream

Keeps my skin glowy and moisturized even through dry, harsh weather. And feels weightless when on.

Fair skin: Light/Medium formulation

6. Sephora Double Contouring Cream Blush

This color is great because it’s buildable (from sheer to intense), and bright – looks just like pinched cheeks on a cold, cold day. I adore it with silvery eye makeup for that ice queen look.

Fair skin: No 03 Poppy Pink

7. Laura Mercier Secret Concealer

For concealer you should make an investment: it needs to have staying power, be creamy, and have enough coverage to really cover those dark circles. This is the perfect hue for someone with super-light skin like myself, and it actually makes me look wide awake because of the orange undertones.

Fair skin: Color 1

All these colors aren’t to say people with darker coloring wouldn’t look good in them! I’m not trying to exclude anyone at all – these are just my favorite products for a sheer and natural Winter look.

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

How to Organize Your Drawers on a $5 Budget

organized-drawers-on-5-dollar-budget I love love love organized drawers. When you open them, every item in its proper place, catalogued and corralled, and I just can’t help but smile. Who wouldn’t love to be able to find everything you need, right at your fingertips? And don’t get me started on the kind of heaven that The Container Store is for me. Yup, I love organized drawers – but doing so can be kind of pricey if you spring for brand-new containers and liners and the like. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can clean up all your dirty secrets – for around $5. Here’s how:

organizeddrawer_before2

Before: Quelle horreur!

You Need:organizeddrawer_materials

clear adhesive Con-Tact Shelf Liner*  /  your favorite wrapping paper*  /  measuring tape  /  double-sided tape  /  scissors  /  pen  /  extra jewelry boxes, shipping boxes, or other small boxes

How To:

*You could always skip using these two items and just purchase a 2-for-1 like Chic Shelf Paper. They have a lot of great designs, plus they have a waterproof option for the linings of bathroom or kitchen cabinets, which need to withstand moisture on a daily basis. It is a little pricey, so I went with some wrapping paper I liked (which affords you endless possibilities) from Target (Spritz, in teal chevron) and Con-Tact paper, which is cheaper.

1. Remove all your stuff from the drawers and lay it out. Purge ruthlessly! Pile stuff into a pile of things you need every day and need immediately at hand.

2. Clean out the drawer by wiping it down of debris and dust. Makeup remover and nailpolish remover can be godsends to get crusty makeup spills out of the bottom.

3. Measure inside of drawer and cut a piece of wrapping paper the size to fit.

4. Peel the backing off the Con-Tact paper and place it sticky side up on a flat surface. Adhere the wrapping paper piece to it carefully by turning it upside down, so the patterned side is stuck to the sticky side of the Con-Tact paper. Smooth out any bubbles.

5. Trim the Con-Tact paper to the same size as the wrapping paper piece.

6. Place in the drawer, securing with double-stick tape to the inside of the drawer.

7. Try your jewelry boxes (and lids!) in different configurations until you find something you like. You could optionally spray paint the insides a contrasting color (or add some glitter – woohoo!) but I preferred the white.

8. Use double-stick tape to secure each box down to the Con-Tact sheet, and to each other (where needed). I decided to let some spaces in between the boxes so I could see the Con-Tact paper showing through.

9. Re-fill your now sectioned and organized drawer, paying attention to how you use it and what you need to grab immediately (which would go in the front or top – the easiest-to-reach places).

organizeddrawer_afterYou’re done! Revel in your newly-organized drawer, and breathe a sigh of happiness every time you open it.organizeddrawer_1

organizeddrawer_2organizeddrawer_3organizeddrawer_before

From the above…

organizeddrawer_4

To THIS!!

And one more time, a side-by-side Before and After…organizeddrawer_beforeafter
Happy Organizing!

xo

Carly

Did you like my $5 Budget tip? Leave your ideas for another one you’d like to see DIY’d in the comments!

1.09.15 Outfit: Boiled Wool and Moto Style

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Connected rhinestone ear cuff (lots of similar here), Chain and rhinestone necklace: Forever 21. Classic Long-Sleeve Tee with Pocket: T by Alexander Wang. Zipper Lapel Blazer: c/o Lookbook Store. Solitaire Ring in Rose Gold: Shashi. Other rings: Gorjana, mocha, various. Ruffled Bag: Steve Madden (similar here). 13-button standard-issue U.S. Navy Pants: vintage.

1.13.15outfit-cu41.13.15outfit-cu1 I’ve been out of commission over the weekend because I gave myself a concussion trying to move a desk downstairs and falling down the stairs into a wall. My right temple and the wall became good friends, to the tune of a 4″ dent in the wall, a goose egg on my temple, and a 1″ cut on my forehead. That was fun. But made me a little too fuzzy to even think about posting anything. Now I’m back to my old self again, and back to work. Before I fell down the stairs I wore this outfit to work, of vintage-meets-tomboy, motorcycle-meets-soft. I kind of like it.

1.13.15outfit-cu51.13.15outfit-cu3Of course, I’m using the camera on the self-timer, and most of my shots turned out blurry. C’est la vie.1.13.15outfit-full21.13.15outfit-pants

I love these pants dearly, and always get a ton of questions when I wear them. If you’re looking for your own pair, you can find them in navy boiled wool (what I’m wearing; the U.S. Navy winter weight version), or black wool twill (summer weight version) on eBay. Once upon a time, you could buy them from the Army & Navy Surplus for $1. Boy, those were the days. (Sometimes you can still find them at surplus stores – if you’re lucky!)

1.13.15outfit-cu2Lookbook Store sent me this jacket to review along with the sweater they sent, and it’s just awesome. Cropped, cute, pieced – it really should cost a lot more, given it’s lined well, has zip pockets, and is put together expertly with all of that piecing and shaping. Gorgeous – and I’m thinking of pairing it with a tulle skirt of some sort, to play off the tomboyish, hard edge of the motorcycle style. Hmmm…

1.13.15outfit-earringSo ear climbers and ear cuffs are a trend, and I’m tired of the ones with a regular post and then a little clip that goes under your ear cartilage. They never stay on! This one does, because it uses the unique innovation of a super-long ear-post that goes through your piercing hole and sits snug up against the curve of your ear on the back-side. Look for these ones, people!

I have a stylish DIY coming up soon…so stay tuned!

1.13.15outfit-jewelryHope everyone’s having a great start to their weeks:-)
xo
Carly

FTC Disclosure: I was sent a jacket from Lookbook Store to review. I have not been compensated in any other way. The above opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Outfit 12.21.14: Happy Birthday to Me! and the Best.Sweater.EVER

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Gold Hoop Earrings: Claire’s. Light Grey Turtleneck Sweater: c/o Lookbook Store. Python Crossbody Bag [not actually made of pythons]: Pour La Victoire. Skinny Jeans in Rub a Dub Dub: Blank Denim NYC. Gabby Perforated Booties: Carvela Kurt Geiger.

It was my birthday…oh, a couple weeks ago…and I wore this then. Right before Christmas, when the weather was trying to decide whether it was going to get super-cold…or just stay damp and foggy.
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My bestie Lex Casciato (A.K.A. the artist and musician Little Warrior) and I went to a local tearoom [hooray for English scones with clotted cream!] for afternoon tea since that was the only time our schedules sync’ed up during the holiday season. Plus, I’m more of an afternoon-outing-type of person, rather than a party all night til the cows come home type. You know.  12.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-full4

So Lex has a FABULOUS new album out called Fight with Your Heart and you all have to download.right.now. Seriously! I have “Over” and “Little Airplanes” on repeat since I got my hands on a copy. LOVE.12.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-cu2

Lex was most obliging and took a few shots of me as we left the tearoom – the sun came out very briefly and then gave way to fog again, fading into sunset – and then the streetlamp came on…so the photos looked a little strange.12.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-cu312.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-full1

Lookbook Store sent me this sweater to review…and okay, truth time now…I’ve been LIVING in it since. I want to cuddle it and hold it and kiss it and stroke it and put it on a leash and call it Bob. It’s so fluffy, so poufy, so warm, so fuzzy – it is THE perfect sweater to wear out and about – yes, WITHOUT a Winter coat, folks, so you look fashionable and chic lwithout being bulky ike all those girls on “Winter Fashion” Pinterest boards do.  I call it my potato-sack sweater, but in a good way. 12.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-full5

And no they didn’t pay me to write that and I actually bought a second sweater exactly the same in beige from Lookbook Store out of my own pocket (currently on sale for $39 too!!) because when you have found your sweater BFF…you have to strike while the iron’s hot. Or while the swaeter’s unpilled. Or so to speak.

12.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-faceAnd so I turned 36.

35 was the worst it could ever have been, but maybe I can just crawl back into my sweater/snuggie-in-a-pinch and at least celebrate that 36 couldn’t possibly, possibly be any worse than the past year has been. I hope I don’t speak too soon and jinx it all.12.21.14-lookbookstore-sweater-full3

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: I was sent a sweater from Lookbook Store to review. I have not been compensated in any other way. The above opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Coveroo Promotional Video: Let’s Make Awesome

So I feel completely shamefaced to say that I neglected to share my last video project with you guys!

I founded the video and media production company Uncommon Era in April, and have been working here and there producing fashionably awesome online videos, commercials, promotional videos, corporate videos, animations, and crowdfunding videos for a variety of clients.

The latest one we produced for Coveroo: this really neat interchangeable phone/tech cases company that does custom-printing on just about any surface imaginable. (And, incidentally, good friends with Modify Watches, our very first video production client ever!)

Coveroo wanted a video that showed the versatility of the Coveroo cases and appealed to a young, fashion-oriented audience: something fun, youthful, and beautiful.

So, did we do it? What do you think of the video? (Now featured on Coveroo’s website.)

Thanks so much to the Coveroo team, who were just awesome to work with. I’m so glad we were able to make it even more awesome together!

Producers: Kevin Brown and Carly J. Cais, Uncommon Era
Director: Kevin Brown
Director of Photography: Phil Anderson
1st AC: Patrick Blevins
Grip/Electric, 2nd AC: Justen Hundley
Art Direction and Set: Clif Chandler
Styling: Carly J. Cais
Hair/Makeup: Patty Harding
Model: Natasha Ward

Shot in Portland, Oregon.

If you’re a brand or small business looking to get your fun, fashionable story out there on your website, YouTube, or any other online channel – reach out to us so we can craft your awesome together. We only need YOU to make it happen.

xo
Carly

Outfit 1.03.15: Marsala Top and How to Care for Your Dark Colored Clothing

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Gold Hoop Earrings: Claire’s. Hi-Lo Sweater Knit in Gosh Garnet: Old Navy, c/o Clorox. Quartz and Epoxy Gold Leaf Necklace: Handmade by me. Edison Cardigan: BB Dakota.  Tabbed Clutch: Lagunamoon (Japanese; old). Solitaire Ring in Rose Gold: Shashi. Skinny Jeans in Rub a Dub Dub: Blank Denim NYC. Quebec Zippered High Heel Booties: Sam Edelman (hard to find now, available on eBay or here or here in a similar style).

1.2.15-marsala-outfit-cu2I’m trying out Marsala, PANTONE’s 2015 Color of the Year, and I have to admit, it’s not too bad. 1.2.15-marsala-outfit-face2I can get into a rich, deep burgundy when paired with overall neutrals, like my favorite soft greys and blacks. Add a bit of impact with a similar lip color, dark around the eyes, and it works. It still reads Fall/Winter to me, so time will have to tell if I can incorporate this into a more Spring-y ensemble. Like an Iron Chef Fashion Challenge. Except with…kidneys.

1.2.15-marsala-outfit-clutch21.2.15-marsala-outfit-cu11.2.15-marsala-outfit-full21.2.15-marsala-outfit-clutch1.2.15-marsala-outfit-face 1.2.15-marsala-outfit-cu3 1.2.15-marsala-outfit-full3 1.2.15-marsala-outfit-heels how-to-keep-your-dark-clothing-from-fading Even if you’re not ready to jump on the Marsala bandwagon yet, I’m sure you still have dark, rich colors in your wardrobe that you want to keep looking dark and rich all year round, wash after wash. (For me it would be my beloved charcoals, blacks, and navies that I’m most concerned about.)woman-jumping-in-laundry

Laundry photo by Ryan McGuire.

That’s why Clorox has developed Clorox® 2 Darks & Denim, formulated with 2x the color boosting power and removes 4x more stains than are removed with pre-treating. Plus it won’t cause fading of your beloved darks.

clorox-and-marsala-topHOW TO REMOVE DEODORANT STAINS FROM DARK CLOTHING

I don’t know about you, but I’m always getting white deodorant residue on my dark tops when I put them on – which leaves me scrubbing furiously in the morning with a pair of pantyhose to try and remove the most visible. But when it comes time to wash you want to remove every last trace of deodorant lest it start to build up on your fabrics (yuck!). You can apply liquid Clorox® 2 Darks & Denim directly to the deodorant stain and rub in. Wait 3-5 minutes (don’t let it dry on the fabric), then wash immediately in the hottest water recommended on the care label with detergent and additional Clorox® 2 Darks & Denim based on your load size.

HOW TO REMOVE OTHER TOUGH STAINS FROM DARK CLOTHING

For tough stains, like wine coffee and grass, be sure to pre-treat. First, remove the garment: do not treat clothing while wearing it. Remove all loose dirt from the fabric and blot wet stains with a clean absorbent cloth. Apply liquid Clorox® 2 Darks & Denim and rub it in. Wait several minutes – don’t let it dry – then wash with like colors.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR DARK DENIMS FROM FADING

I love me some dark denim, but sometimes the faded look is not what I’m going for. Though I wash my dark jeans much less than my light, faded jeans, when it comes time to wash I will bundle them all together to save water, and use Clorox® 2 Darks & Denim for the load. Plus I don’t dry my dark jeans in the dryer; they are all air-dried, and come out of the wash looking just the same as when they went it (especially important for brand-new jeans where the dye runs!)

Hope that gives you some pointers on how to keep your dark colors – including the controversial Marsala – just as deep as the day you got them! Do you guys have any tips for keeping your darkest darks perfect?

1.2.15-marsala-outfit-face3Do share in the comments!

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: I was sent an Old Navy top from Clorox to incorporate into a post. I have not been compensated in any other way. The above opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

PANTONE Color Fashion Report Spring 2015: It’s Marsala, Baby!

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When PANTONE announced that the Color of the Year for 2015 was Marsala – this dark red, wine/burgundy/brown hybrid…the fashion/design/rest of the world was not quick to embrace. Unlike Radiant Orchid (2014) and Emerald (2013), this one left most people scratching their heads.

Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_Marsala_Color_Intelligence_BannerI have to admit this dark burgundy color has never been a favorite of mine [I feel it kinda had its heyday back in 1994 in the Grunge Era…yup, I went there]. That being said, it’s a sophisticated, quite underused color that can take on a different tone depending on what it’s paired with. And getting creative with those pairings is key…since the default is usually to go with a Fall palette when confronted with something like Marsala.marsalachip

Here are a few items that could be paired with this Fashion Challenge…if you want to take it on.
marsala-wishlist-itemsonlyLucite Green: Aztec Drops, $32  //  Aquamarine: Trapeze Coat in Brushed Wool, $161.08  //  Classic Blue: Breezy Night Stroll Dress  //  Tangerine: Rebecca Minkoff Cory Pouch, $35  //  Strawberry Ice: I Need a Heel-O Fuchsia Pointed Ankle Strap Heels, $34  //  Custard: Yellow Pleated Miniskirt, $16.90  //  Scuba Blue: Skyline Selfie Top, $24.99  //  Glacier Gray: Gray Lapel Long Sleeve Faux Fur Short Coat, $32.79  //  Marsala: Full Flower Crochet Skirt, $39.02

How do YOU feel about Marsala? Can you see working it into your wardrobe in anything besides makeup or accessories?

Come back tomorrow to see how I tried it in an outfit!

xo
Carly

Images source; collage by me.

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission when you click on a link and make a purchase. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

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