Rue How-To: Preserve That V-Day Bouquet

From the oven to hairspray, 2 ways to save fresh flowers from a wilted end

Ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow’s the day. If you’ve prepped your partner, flowers are in your future (hopefully delivered to your desk at work, in front of all your friends). The downside? In three to five days, those pretty petals will begin to wilt. In the spirit of being crafty – and a tiny bit sentimental – here are two ways to preserve that bouquet for years to come.

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The Hairspray Method
Ideal for flowers with delicate petals, like daisies, tulips, and lilies.

What you’ll need:

  • Bottle of aerosol hairspray
  • Twine

How to do it:

  1. Remove flowers from their vase when they’re in full bloom (or at least before they begin to wilt).
  2. Lightly mist each flower with hairspray.
  3. Tie twine to the flowers’ stems and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place (like your basement or closet) for two to five days.
  4. Arrange them back in the vase. If you’re careful not to break the petals (this can be tricky), the colors and shapes of the flowers will last.

The Oven Method
Works best with more compact flowers, like roses, carnations, marigolds, and chrysanthemums.

What you’ll need:

  • Oven
  • Baking dish
  • Sand (hit the craft store, unless you live near the coast)

How to do it:

  1. Set oven to its lowest temperature, between 100 and 200°F.
  2. Fill the bottom of the baking dish with one to two inches of sand.
  3. Place the flowers in the dish and cover completely with sand.
  4. Place the dish in the oven for two to three hours. Check the oven periodically to make sure it does not get too hot, and leave the oven door ajar for extra circulation.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Have an idea to make your Valentine’s Day flowers last? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 13, 2013

Rue How-To: DIY Cap-Toe Shoes

Revamp scuffed kicks in 5 steps

We all have a beloved pair of heels or flats that are a touch too worn to wear, yet we can’t seem to toss them in the giveaway bin. The fastest (and surprisingly simplest) way to take them from drab to nearly new (sans Sharpie®)? Add some paint, and what was once a scuffed winter pair just became spring’s go-tos.
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What you’ll need:
Rag
Shoes
Masking tape
White acrylic paint
Color acrylic paint
Paint brush
Small cup of water

How to do it:
1. Use a rag to clean up a pair of slightly worn shoes.
2. Wrap the masking tape tightly around the toe of each shoe, exposing only the area you plan to paint.
3. Apply one coat of white paint. Let it dry for one to two hours.
4. Add one or two coats of color paint over the white paint. Dip the brush in a small cup of water to smooth out the strokes.
5. Let the paint set. Peel off the tape before it dries completely to prevent cracking.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

How did your cap-toe shoes come out? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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February 6, 2013

Rue How-To: A Simple Guide to Pinterest

Tips and tricks to start pinning like a pro

By now, you’ve probably heard of Pinterest (and the many reasons we’re all obsessed with it) – but what exactly is it? We like to think of Pinterest as a virtual bulletin board for our favorite things, so there’s no more losing those melt-in-your-mouth recipes or that DIY mani we spotted while trolling the Internet on our lunch break.

If you haven’t had much time to explore the endless eye candy that is Pinterest, here’s a summary to get you started (plus some worthy tips for the seasoned pro).

Pinterest-Blog_Checklist

Be specific.
If you’re like us and you tend to forget things like where you left your car keys, there’s a good chance you won’t remember where that pair of jeans went if everything goes into a board called “My Favorite Things.” Splitting your boards up into categories (i.e. Food, Cocktails, Weekend Style, Positive Quotes) will help you keep your boards organized (so it’s easy to find everything you need to throw an Oscar party).

Give kudos.
Repinning from someone else’s board? It never hurts to “like” or “comment” on the image you borrowed – with the added bonus of a potential follower in return.

Know who to follow.
We’re self-proclaimed Pinterest addicts, which means we round up the best Pinboards to follow once a week, every week. And for endless inspiration to match your style, turn to your favorite magazines, clothing designers, and celebrities with the same aesthetic you’re into – chances are, they’re already on Pinterest, pinning up a storm.

Install a “Pin It” button on your bookmarks bar.
This is quite possibly our favorite – and by far the easiest – way to pin your inspiration. The “Goodies” section of Pinterest has all the instructions for installing the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar. Then, any time you want to pin an image you come across (such as while reading our latest road test), you can click the “Pin It” button and voilà! It’s up on the Pinterest board of your choice.

Want to practice your newfound Pinterest knowledge? Stay tuned for our Rue La La + Madewell: Love At First Sight Sweepstakes, launching February 5 at 11AM ET.

By Melissa Mann, Staff Writer

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February 4, 2013

Rue How-To: DIY Tableware for Football’s Big Game

Born and raised in a staunch sports town (ever the underdogs), it’s difficult for me to admit that I’m not all that much of a fanatic. In fact, if professional sports were indefinitely disbanded, I may not even notice (sorry, Dad). On the other hand, if beer and taco dip were wiped from the earth, I would definitely have a bone to pick – you know, with the junk-food gods. I’m all for the celebrating that surrounds Sunday football – the people, the snacks, the yelling uncontrollably at the TV – and if it’s my turn to host, we’re going all out.

Starting with these completely adorable utensil holders. They’re so easy and fun, and you can put them aside for football seasons to come.

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Leftover construction paper? Use cardboard and twine to create football drink tags (for beer cocktails) or green coasters painted with yard lines. I found these green food containers and acrylic paint at a craft store. Fill them with game-day favorites like a zesty snack mix or a football-themed dessert.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Share your Sunday football party ideas in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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January 30, 2013

Freeze Clean Your Jeans

A conservative alternative to the washing machine

In an effort to prolong the life of my favorite pair of dark-wash J Brand skinnies, I had to start thinking outside the box – or, in this case, the washing machine.

Cue freeze cleaning. When I first heard about the freeze-cleaning method, I’ll admit it took a while for me to warm up to the idea. But I’ll try anything to avoid doing my laundry (conventionally), and the benefits are completely worth it. The process helps protect dark washes by avoiding the wear and tear a normal spin cycle has on the fabric. By skipping the washer, you will also inadvertently conserve water (and save on the bill that comes with it).

But how exactly does it work? The frosty temp inside the icebox kills any bacteria living in your denim. This process won’t rid the jeans of cosmetic stains, but spot treating prior to freezing should do the trick.

Freeze Clean Denim

Try it for yourself:

1. Fold your jeans twice lengthwise and smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric.

2. Slip the folded denim into a ziplock freezer bag and press out any excess air prior to sealing. I suggest using a bag with a one-gallon capacity or larger.

3. Place the bag in the freezer. For best results, freeze for a minimum of 24 hours.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer 

Have you tried freeze cleaning before? Tell us how it went in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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January 18, 2013

No (Home) Designer? No Problem

Find the perfect pieces for even the most challenging spaces

Maybe I’ve been watching too much HGTV, but lately I’ve been daydreaming of a home makeover. While a full renovation may not be in my (er, my landlord’s) budget, I will not be deterred. Instead, I’m starting small, with my home’s problem rooms. You know the kind: those spaces that are just too weirdly shaped, or are lacking windows, or are all too cozy. In my old Boston home there are plenty of nooks and crannies that, no matter what I do, just haven’t worked – yet. Here, some crafty tricks to make even the strangest space feel like it was designed by a pro.

Room Makeover

Our Safavieh Home Furnishings Boutique opens Thursday, January 10, at 3PM ET.

By Anna Kuchinsky, Staff Writer

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January 10, 2013

Mani Monday: Half-Moon Nails

Tips on achieving the perfect two-toned manicure

Mani Monday

From Rihanna and Dita Von Teese to the models at New York Fashion Week, the half-moon manicure is a favorite amongst the stars. And with endless (and eye-catching) color combos, it’s easy to see why. Create your own with these quick and easy steps, below.

What you’ll need:
• Two nail colors (I chose butter LONDON’s The Full Monty and essie’s Bahama Mama)
• Three-ring binder reinforcement stickers
• Scissors
• Clear top coat

The how-to:
1. Paint two coats on your nails with the color you want for the base. This will be the color of the half moon.
2. After your nails are completely dry, place the reinforcement stickers as far above your cuticles as you would like. (Tip: cut slits in the reinforcement stickers so they lie flat on your nails.)
3. With your second color, paint two coats on the top half of your nail.
4. Once the polish dries, peel off the reinforcement stickers from right to left. Doing this will keep the edges looking clean and prevent the nail polish from bleeding.
5. Finish with a clear top coat.

By Carolyn Schultz, Staff Writer

Did you attempt the half-moon mani? Give us your tips in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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January 7, 2013

Rue Road Test: Twinkle Light Garland

Dress up traditional light strands with some style

With just under a week until Christmas, I’m still fighting the urge to go ballistic with a surge protector and a few dozen more strands of twinkle lights.

This season, however, I’m trying my hardest to prescribe to a “less is more” approach when it comes to decking my halls (please note: this does NOT apply to presents). So, I tried my hand at creating a simple (and season-friendly) twinkle light garland that you won’t have to stash in the attic with the waving Santa from your front yard come January.

What you’ll need:
•  String of lights
•  Fabric scraps (I suggest burlap, lace, or grosgrain ribbon)
•  Scissors

How to do it:
1. Cut your fabric or ribbon into pieces approximately 6 inches long (2 inches wide, max).
2. Tie each piece to the strand of lights in a single knot, allowing the two ends to hang down evenly.
3. Use about two pieces between each bulb, alternating in color or material for textured visual appeal.
4. When you’re done, the fabric should cover the majority of the green wire, so that just the lights poke through.
5. Use this to decorate a door archway, your tree, or even the posts of your bed.

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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December 20, 2012

Rue Road Test: Personalized Photo Coasters

Gift friends a homemade trinket they'll use again and again

If you’re getting a present from me, you better believe it’s homemade. Don’t return the gift you got me quite yet, though – I’m not talking the ornaments-made-of-popsicle-sticks kind of homemade. This year, all the good girls and boys on my list will get DIY, personalized drink coasters, because ringing in the New Year shouldn’t include unsightly cup rings on your new coffee table.

What you’ll need:
• 4″ x 4″ tiles
• Self-adhesive felt or cork pads (those circular felt pads for chair legs work perfectly)
• Photos
• Mod Podge®
• Gloss sealer finish

How to do it:
1.
Flip each tile over and position one self-adhesive felt or cork pad in each corner so the tiles won’t scratch the table.
2. Cut your pictures to size using a ruler. Make sure no extra paper hangs over the sides when you lay the photo on top of the tile.
3. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the tile, position your picture carefully over it, and smooth down firmly. Ensure there are no wrinkles or bubbles in the picture.
4. Next, paint over the picture with a coat of Mod Podge. Make sure to coat the sides of the tiles and that all of your brush strokes go in the same direction.
5. Once the tiles dry, spray each liberally with a layer of gloss sealer. This will make them waterproof.
6. After the sealant has dried, stack the finished products in groups of 4 to 6, tie with a ribbon, and let the gifting begin.

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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December 13, 2012

Rue Road Test: Holiday Crackers

 

You know how, as a child, you never believed your parents when they told you that good things come in small packages? Well, here’s some evidence that could have been handy back when you were nine years old. Use these homemade holiday crackers to decorate each place setting at your next dinner party, and send each guest home with a little memento of the night.

What you’ll need:
– Decorative wrapping paper
– A cardboard paper towel roll
– A surprise to hide inside
– Tape
– Curling ribbon
– Scissors

Directions:
1. Cut wrapping paper into 7″ x 14″ strips.
2. Split cardboard paper towel roll evenly in half (this will make two crackers).
3. Fill the tube with a small trinket like nail polish, a piece of costume jewelry, a lottery ticket, or a few chocolates.
4. Roll the wrapping paper around the tube and secure it with a piece of tape in the middle.
5. Gather the excess wrapping paper on both ends of the tube, pinch, and tie a double knot with curling ribbon.
6. Curl the ribbon ends using a pair of scissors.

To open, pull one end while a friend pulls the other until the tube bursts and reveals the surprise inside!

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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November 29, 2012