Love in a Jar: Five Mason Jar Gifts

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

Rue How-To: DIY Studded Collar

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

Rue How-To: DIY Elbow Patches

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

Prep Your Holiday Table: DIY Napkin Rings

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

Rue How-To: DIY Cheese Plate

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

Five Tips for an Inspired Thanksgiving Table

November 1. Can you believe it? I swear last week it was summer. But alas, here we are – and I’m already starting to think about all the glittering, butterflies-in-your-stomach-inducing wonders of the holidays.

First up? Thanksgiving dinner. This year, impress guests with more than that expertly basted turkey thanks to these five tips for your best tablescape yet. (Trust me, Pinterest-perfect is possible. It just requires planning.)

1. Find your inspiration. Pinterest is rife with Thanksgiving tablescapes – from the simple to the lavish. Start a board online, or print out your favorites and create your own real-life “pinboard.”

2. Settle on a color scheme, then go from there. Bronzey brown, white, and silver. All white with touches of gold and cream. This year, I’m all about warm, spicy colors and shimmery metallics paired with cream or white, but don’t be afraid to play with bold color. Rich turquoisey blue really pops against a rustic farmhouse table.

3. Brush up on table setting rules. Remember what your mother told you: Forks go on the left, spoons and knives on the right, placed in the order that they will be used. Visualize it here.

4. Layer, layer, layer. There’s no rule against layering tablecloths. Try a neutral tablecloth underneath a gold or lush brocade runner. I’m also a firm believer that two (or three) plates are better than one. Start with a charger, add a dinner plate, then finish the look with a salad plate. Bonus points for varied colors and patterns.

5. Don’t forget the accents. Think place-card holders and candles. Find them in today’s Boutique or make your own. For place-card holders, stencil miniature pumpkins with guests’ initials or first names, or try a variation on these whimsical little animal figurines. Simply spray-paint turkey or bird figurines gold or white, add labels, and voilà. I also love these DIY gourd votives that Emily, one of our lovely Rue staff writers, taught us how to make.

Find everything for that perfect Thanksgiving tablescape – plus cuisine, cookware, and more – in our Feast of Thanks: Serve the Guests, Feast of Thanks: Let’s Eat, and Feast of Thanks: For the Cook Boutiques, opening Thursday, November 1, at 3PM ET.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

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November 1, 2012

It’s a Blogger’s World (We Just Live In It)

1. A Pinch of Lovely
Graphic designer Krystal has a knack for finding beauty in fashion, jewelry, and print materials.

2. Just Add Glam
Every post feels like it came from a high-fashion magazine shoot, meaning there’s no end to the inspiration (or incredibly amazing outfits).

3. Rockstar Diaries
This stylish mom (and her kids) are just too. darn. cute.

4. Made by Joel
Need inspiration for keeping the kids busy on snow days and weekends? These DIY crafts and projects should have the whole family covered.

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

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November 1, 2012

Forget Furniture, Upholster Your Wardrobe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo Credit: Shades of Tangerine

Who said upholstery materials and prints are for décor alone? Here, ten easy tips to incorporate upholstery and other nontraditional materials into your wardrobe:

1. Your ratty old jeans are so comfy, and yet the holes are so UN-chic. Let some patches do the work to spruce them up!
2. Nothing takes a beating like your handbag… so why not allow it to be walked on? It can be when it’s a carpet bag.
3. If you could walk a mile in these shoes, you’d see that they need some loving. With just a can of Simply Spray Fabric Paint, they’re suddenly made for walking.
4. Fanny packs went out with David Hasselhoff in the 80s, and now we love Lady Gaga and hip bags. Between you and me, the name might be different, but they’re still fanny packs – extra cute when they’re made out of upholstery fabrics!
5. A bike can be so utilitarian unless you jazz up the seat with fabric like this. Seriously loving the floral terrycloth!
6. I am obsessed with vintage bow ties. This bow-tie hairpiece ups the ante and this ring raises the ante even more.
7. Buckle up for safety… or just to protect your MacBook®. Now you can go from 0 to 60 with this seat-belt briefcase when pitching your ideas at the office.
8. No, this fab vintage swing coat is not Chanel, but rather chenille… and Coco would be envious.
9. Brocade isn’t just for plastic-encased living room couches anymore.  It’s perfect for a chic dinner-party dress.
10. Take samples from an old leather furniture company, give them a ladylike S&M vibe, and – voilà – this fringe necklace!

Have any tips or tricks on upholstering your wardrobe? Share them in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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October 31, 2012

Rue How-To: Gourd Candle Holders

Gourds. They’re petite, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are pretty prevalent during the autumn months. While pumpkin picking this year, I noticed a bountiful table covered with these not-so-much-loved vegetables and scooped up an armful to create my next craft: gourd candle holders. Instant fall chic.

Materials:

Pumpkin carving knife
Spoon
Tea light, votive, or candlestick

Directions:

1. Cut a circle around the stem of the gourd. Try to match the diameter of the candle you will be using.

2. Scoop out some seeds and wedge the candle in.

3. Light the wick and set out for the perfect harvest ambiance.

If you plan to use these later on, take out the candle and store them in the fridge. They’re perfect for dinner-party table décor.

By Emily Gibbons of www.LuckyLittleLove.com, Staff Writer

Have any creative candle holder ideas?  Share them in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala.

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October 26, 2012

Rue Road Test: Nail Art Pens

I haven’t quite settled on a costume idea for Halloween yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit. Like every other girl in her mid 20s, I’ve been scoping out the scary-good nail artwork on Pinterest on a daily basis. The only downside? It makes everything look so easy! Sure, a mural depicting the resurrection of Frankenstein would be awesome painted on my thumbnail, but seeing how I’m no artist extraordinaire, I decided to keep it simple with basic designs like skulls, spiders, and cobwebs.

Using a few base nail polish colors, two nail art pens, and some tiny crystal stones, I tried my hand at some of my own digit decorations, and I have to say – the art pens worked like a charm. I’ve dabbled in delicate nail work before, using regular nail polish and toothpicks, but I’ve never been able to do such fine details successfully. Here’s how I achieved this spooky look:

Cobweb Nails

1. Begin by painting your nails the base color of your choice. I went with a neon purple to stand out against the black web.

2. When your base is dry, use the art pen to draw lines radiating out from a single point on your cuticle toward the tip of your nail.

3. Next, connect these lines with two or so perpendicular lines to form the “web” between them.

4. When your webs have dried, paint a clear nail polish coat on top.

5. While the clear polish is still wet, carefully apply the black crystals to the “web” with tweezers to look like little spiders (don’t use too many or you’ll hide the web design).

That’s it – piece of cake! The real problem was keeping my hand out of the candy corn dish for long enough to let my nails dry.

By Grace Romanowsky, Staff Writer

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

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October 18, 2012