1. Things Organized Neatly
This is one way to get us motivated to clean up.

2. deliciously organized
Part organizational tips and part lifestyle, this blog has us admiring all the pretty things.

3. IHeart Organizing
Our goal for the new year? To put these DIY tips to good use.

4. Thrifty Decor Chick
Décor ideas that won’t break the budget? Sign us up.

Who are we missing? Tell us on Twitter at @ruelala #bloggerswelove. 

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December 20, 2012

 

From velvet minidresses (1990s-inspired, of course) to velvet leggings (in a bevy of hues), this rich fabric is on my holiday must list. But even if you’re not quite ready to go all-out with velvet, it’s easy to incorporate this plush, seasonal fabric in a subtler way – just check out the Ciaté “Berry Poncho” manicure below.

 

The polish is available at Sephora and includes step-by-step directions. But, if you ask me, this tutorial on Ciaté’s website is even better.

A few tips:

1. Paint each nail with two coats of polish. Immediately after adding the second coat, powder on the
velvet – it will hold to the polish much longer.
2. Put some velvet powder in the “catch-all” tray provided and roll each nail in it, making sure to coat the nail completely.
3. Place some paper towels underneath your manicure station, because that velvet dust will wander.
4. DO NOT DO YOUR MANI NEAR A FAN! (See wandering velvet dust, above.)
5. Get used to friends asking to pet your nails – it’s going to happen more than you’d think.

By Carolyn Schultz, Staff Writer

What’s your go-to holiday manicure? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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December 17, 2012

It’s a fact: I don’t have room for a Christmas tree in my tiny studio. So, I thought I’d compensate by making a tree-oriented home decoration. Supplies are somewhat hard to come by in the city, so I was forced to go foraging through the park. Apparently, scouring the ground and carrying a bundle of twigs in your arms warrants strangers looking at you like you’re the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2, so after I found a few good ones, I called it quits and retreated to my apartment to see what I could make of my findings.

With the help of fishing line, some paint, and the Glee Christmas soundtrack, I created my holiday twig mobile. Here’s how:

What you’ll need:
• 3 – 6 twigs in varying sizes
• Acrylic paint (metallic or colored)
• Paintbrush
• Fishing line

Directions:
1.
Collect an array of twigs in varied sizes. I suggest choosing ones with several small branches for a more interesting visual effect.
2. Paint each twig the color of your choice and allow to dry. (I used an off-white base then finished the tips with gold spray paint.) Paint them all a different color, or go the enchanting metallic route.
3. Lay them out on the floor as you would like them positioned in the mobile, descending in size from top to bottom.
4. Cut a piece of fishing line and tie to both ends of the top stick. Make sure it’s long enough to have a little slack to use as a hanger.
5. For convenience and to achieve the right balance, hang this section up before you continue.
6. Decide whether you want your mobile to hang down straight or to spin (mine hangs straight). Then, start by tying one piece of line to each end of the first stick.
6A. Straight mobile: Connect the loose ends to the lower sticks like rungs of a ladder.
6B. Spinning mobile: Tie the loose ends around the mid-section of the stick below.
7. Continue to connect your sticks in this fashion, adding as many sticks as you like (as long as the mobile stays balanced).

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 6, 2012

 

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

 

 

Snowflakes, twinkle lights, seasonal lattes. Sigh. Let’s face it: this time of year, we’re all just a little bit enchanted by the holiday magic unfolding around us – for about a day. Then comes the stress of finding the perfect gift, the sleep deprivation (courtesy of a surplus of eggnog martinis at the office party), the holiday-specific weight gain…

Before you have a ho-ho-holiday meltdown, try one of these stress-busting remedies to keep your sanity (and festive cheer) intact.

Opt for a specialty pedicure. Be honest. After a long day of shopping, what sounds better than an indulgent pedi? A hot-chocolate pedicure, that’s what. Not only is this a great way to unwind, it’s also more or less the only way to satisfy dessert cravings, sans guilt.

Try a DIY hair treatment. All of that blow-drying and styling may make for a pretty holiday photo, but the end result could be perpetually frazzled locks. Instead of trying to consolidate all of your Thanksgiving leftovers into a potluck casserole, turn them into a rejuvenating beauty treatment for your scalp instead. Pumpkin hair mask? Please and thank you.

Switch up your workout routine. When your endless to-dos stretch longer than Santa’s naughty-or-nice list, exercising can seem less than appealing. Make your holiday workout more fun than obligatory this season. Been meaning to try hip-hop yoga? Zumba? Go for it. Exercise is so much better when it treads into dance party territory.

Cut corners. Stress eating runs rampant during the holidays – so employ little tricks to avoid putting on additional pounds this season. At your next dinner party, fill a small plate with food instead of indulging in larger portions. Skip your morning latte and opt for a cup of black coffee with half-and-half instead. If you feel a sugar craving coming on, pick up a mini-sized desert – they’re cuter anyway.

By Lauryn Paiva, Staff Writer

What are your tips for keeping calm during the holidays? Share them in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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November 29, 2012

Photo Credit: Handle the Heat

For years, Mason jars have been used to preserve food – but this holiday season, they’re adding gifting to their resume. Filled with sweet mixes, these old-fashioned, glass containers (which can be found at your local craft store) make for the perfect party favors and Yankee swap presents – just add a gift tag.

Spa Jars
Fact: the holidays can be stressful, so give tired coworkers and shopped-out friends (who knew there was such a thing?), a little rest and relaxation with these homemade candy cane bath salts and oatmeal cookie scrubs.

A Mason Jar Manicure
Filled to the brim with nail polish, cotton balls, and sparkles, this Mason jar has everything needed for an at-home manicure – and what young girl wouldn’t want that?

Contained Cocoa
Who doesn’t love hot chocolate during the winter? With all the fixings for a perfect cup of cocoa (from sugar and marshmallows to a jar to drink it out of), this gift is always a hit.

The Mini Sewing Kit
With a built-in pincushion, this Mason-jar-turned-sewing-kit has aspiring designer written all over it.

Candle-in-a-Jar
Candles have always been a gifting go-to for me, and these Mason jar versions give the holiday staple a thoughtful DIY spin. Plus, you get to choose a personalized scent the recipient is sure to love.

By Keriann Coffey, Associate Blog Editor

How are you gifting Mason jars this holiday season? Share your ideas in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

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November 28, 2012

Easy, trendy, and cheap – I’m so on board. Cue some music, get your creative DIY juices flowing, and follow these step-by-step instructions to make this of-the-moment look all yours.

 



Necessities:

10 standard silver cone-shaped studs (I bought a 50-pack of these little beauties at studsandspikes.com for less then $3 before tax. What? That’s right.)

1 collared shirt (ideally one with a bit of sturdiness to it – that way the collar will keep its shape under the added weight of the studs)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a flat working space.
  2. Place a pincushion or washcloth (or anything plush you don’t mind poking holes in – in my case, an oven mitt) underneath the collar.
  3. Position the first stud on the corner of the collar and push it through the fabric, pressing the stud arms into the cushion. The difficulty here will depend on the thickness of the fabric – but those little arms are pretty sharp, so you’ll get the hang of it either way.
  4. Now, take the blunt end of a kitchen knife (or pliers if you want to get fancy) and push the stud arms down, locking the stud into place like a staple. And voilà, your first stud is in.
  5. Repeat this process as desired. Use a measuring tape in between studs for precision.

 

Studs vary in size, shape, and color. So, depending on how much of that angsty youth you’re interested in channeling – from flat gold studs on black smoking flats to severe spikes on the shoulders of a leather jacket – you can make up for lost time for under three bucks. Just know, there’s no going back.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Have a great DIY idea? Share it in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

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November 16, 2012

There’s a reason we continually pack up our favorite seasonal items to take into the next year – we love them. But, truth be told, even our favorite pieces can lose their appeal after a while. Instead of trashing them and splurging on a new wooly number (although this may be a tempting option), give your cozy sweaters and perfectly worn-in jackets (not to mention your long-sleeve tees) new life with elbow patches.

The best part about this little update? You can use practically anything for your patches, from leather and suede to fun cotton prints and corduroy – or, like me, you can buy a cheap pair of socks with a print you like. If you’re looking to also up the sweet factor, cut your patches into shapes like hearts or stars instead of ovals. Okay – enough with the options, here’s how you do it:

Materials:

Any top of your choice. Be wary about it pairing well with your patch material. For instance, thick leather patches wouldn’t be comfortable on a thin cotton shirt.

A 6″ x 5″ piece of material for patches

Thread that matches the color of your patch material (or contrasting thread for an edgy look)

Sewing needle

Straight pins

Flour

Scissors

Directions:

  1. Cut your patch material to size. The 6″ x 5″ piece makes two approximately 4″ patches – for bigger patches start with a 9″ x 8″ piece.
  2. Fold in half, and then in half again and use the scissors to cut and round the edges. Open fabric up and cut down the middle to separate the two pieces, and clean up the edges of each individually.
  3. Put on your top and mark where elbow bends with flour. Simply dip your finger into flour and mark the spot – chalk will also work.
  4. Remove your top and secure each patch with straight pins over the marked elbow spots. Be sure to position the patch with the marked spot in the middle. Note that the straight needles should only poke through one layer of the sleeve – you don’t want to sew them closed.
  5. Measure a full arm’s length of thread and string through the needle, securing the two ends together. Put your free hand up the sleeve (to ensure you don’t attach the sleeves together) and start sewing. (Don’t know how to sew? Start here.) I recommend a top-sewing stitch, but a simple straight stitch would also work.
  6. Once sewn all around, tie off the thread and snip any loose ends. Repeat on other sleeve.

 

That’s it! The whole process takes no more than an hour and the result is a practically brand new piece of clothing. I went with a festive ski-lodge look – and plan to wear it with leggings and cozy boots all winter long.

By Abigail Kuzia, Editor

Have a great DIY idea? Share it in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

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November 9, 2012

Planning ahead is the key to breezing your way through the holiday season. Once you’ve decided on your plates, serveware, and menu, it’s time to set the table – and crafting your own napkin rings is a simple and fun way to add personality and style.

Prep Your Holiday Table: DIY Napkin Rings

Photos courtesy of Miki Duisterhof via Eddie Ross (left, right) and Heather Rowley via The Creative Patch (middle).

Bold Texture
You can create a variation on these ribbon napkin rings to spruce up white or cream linens. Coordinate with your holiday table’s colors when you select your ribbon, trim, and burlap, and add buttons, lace, or vintage jewelry. If you love the idea of crafting with jewelry as much as I do, Eddie Ross’s vintage brooch napkin rings will help you outfit your tablescape in luxurious, textured style.

Thanksgiving Harvest
Bring a harvest feel to your Thanksgiving dinner table with acorn napkin rings. All you need is a drill with a tiny bit, some thin craft wire, and about ten acorns per place setting. Pair the rings with red or orange cloth napkins, then add acorns to your centerpiece to complete the rustic feel. You can also use some ribbon and a pearl for a different take on the same idea.

Holiday Hosting
As the go-to host, head into dinner-party season armed with festive wreath napkin rings. The small grapevine wreaths and holiday-hued ribbon should be available at any craft store. If your color scheme is more winter-themed – white, blue, or silver – try these jingle bell napkin rings to combine whimsy and class.

For the kids’ table, you can’t go wrong with Santa belt napkin rings – and they come with the added benefit of enticing youngsters with an arts and crafts project at the kitchen table while you baste the turkey or carve the holiday ham.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer 

What’s your favorite holiday-table DIY project? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala. 

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November 7, 2012

Cue the season of entertaining – and with it, an insurmountable amount of hors d’oeuvres. In my case: lots and lots of cheese plates.

For a twist on my average serveware, I found inspiration in this seasonal DIY and made my own little cheese plate – in under an hour! All you need is a white plate (secret: your local dollar store has loads of them), a Porcelaine 150 pen (found at any craft store), a list of your very favorite cheeses, and an oven.

Directions: 

  • Wash and dry your white plate thoroughly.
  • Write down a list of your favorite cheeses. Want to skip this step? Peep this extensive list.
  • Using the Porcelaine 150 pen, carefully write your list of cheeses around the edge of the plate. It’s okay if it looks scribbled, but if you want to make your writing straight, try blue painter’s tape.
  • Make a mistake? No worries. Simply wipe with a wet paper towel and start again.
  • Once you’re happy with your plate, bake at 300°F for 30 minutes. 
  • Let set for 24 hours, then add cheese and serve.


By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have a favorite DIY? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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November 2, 2012