(Inspired by) Noro Striped Scarf

This beautiful scarf has been shared by many knitters. It’s a simple pattern where the yarn does the hard work. Originally made with Noro yarns, I tried it using some yarn I already had.

The concept is simple – two colorways of self-striping yarn alternating every two rows. The ever-changing combination is mesmerizing and beautiful.

How to do it:

  • Plan for a finished width of 6-8″ and finished length of 5-6′
  • This pattern is knit in a 1x 1 rib
  • Slip the first and last stitches on the second row of each color to keep the edge neat
  • An odd number of stitches will look extra neat, because you start and end each row with the same type of stitch, but an even number is simplest, because you start each row the same way. I did it this way, and it’s barely noticeable

This scarf is addictive to knit, because each section comes together in a unique pattern. It’s also very photogenic!

Warmly 😉,

“Jewels”

It’s in the Bag – Stenciled Totes

Most years, I try to make something creative as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers. There’s so much joy in giving, but we’re also living in a time and place where it feels like everything is at your fingertips, so something handmade feels like a good way to express how much we appreciate those around us. When I can manage it, I make a few extra to last through the year as hostess and grown-up birthday gifts. I’ve linked to previous years’ handmade gifts at the bottom of the post, if you’re looking for more ideas.

This year, I decided to make stenciled canvas tote bags as our holiday treat. They’re so pretty and unique, yet also practical, as we’re trying to minimize our use of disposable shopping bags. I had so much fun trying different combinations of colors and patterns.

What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  • Prewash the bags
  • Choose a stencil and use blue painters tape to hold it in place
  • Put an eye md magazine inside the bag, so the paint won’t go through to the other side
  • Mix paint with textile medium according to the instructions
  • Use the spouncer to apply light coats of paint
  • Once thoroughly dry, iron the pattern using a press cloth to set the paint
  • That’s all! Unless you’re me and repeat it many, many times!

Here are just some of the combinations I made!

Tile stencil in navy and in ombré blues:

Arrows, with a contrasting accent color and (bottom left) ombré blues:

Feathers,with a contrasting accent color or (bottom) ombré blues and greys.

I really liked the feathers!

I loved the tile in this mix of copper and gold paint. The metallic paints were very thick and made very crisp designs.

A close up of the feathers:

The birds were fun to arrange in different patterns and colors.

My mother-in-law likes gingko leaves, so I made this one for her:

And I got to keep this one for myself!

No matter how I plan, the holidays are hectic. I definitely all felt worthwhile when I went to give out the bags. Our teachers and friends were so excited – it definitely put me in the spirit of the season!

it made me happy to make the people I care about happy. My friend Liane took this great photo of her bag:

Looking for more handmade gift ideas? Here are some from past years:

“Jewels”

Tin Can Luminaries

I’ve had my eye on these tin can luminaries for a while. I love an upcycling project that doesn’t look like it would have been better off left in the recycling bin 🙂

I started off by collecting some cans, washing them, and filling them with water to freeze. This helps the can keep its shape while you punch the design. I found a lot of patterns online and printed my favorites. I then used rubber bands to hold the pattern in place while I made the pattern with hammer and nail.

I finished them off with some spray paint and put some LED candles inside. I made mine for Christmas, but the designs are neutral enough for any occasion (well, maybe not the snowflake…)

I love creating things from stuff around the house. I can’t look at my pantry the same way anymore.

“Jewels”

Festive Boho-ho-ho Christmas Stockings

Yup, I have become one of those people who does a themed Christmas each year. I am still not sure if this is a sign of greatness of madness! While I admit to having accumulated many boxes of decorations, I … Continue reading

Master Bath Makeover!

I’m not really sure what got me started on this project. I wasn’t actually unhappy with our master bath. I think I was just spending too much time on Pinterest and got the seven year itch…

The main change I made to our bathroom was painting the vanity. The color is Nocturne by Behr from Home Depot.

The smaller changes I made were a new bathmat and rearranging the accessories. My inspiration was a stunning master bath by Amber Interiors. If you are as in love as I am with her style, check out my post on finding the ingredients for her beautiful spaces.
Some of the elements I wanted to use included:

  • Wooden and metal trays
  • Ceramic containers in white and neutrals
  • Greenery
  • Ladder towel rack
  • Dark vanity with marble top
  • Geometric flooring

With just a few changes, I am excited to see the transformation in our master bathroom!


I wonder which room is next to be the beneficiary (victim) of my makeover fever!

“Jewels”

From Curb to Chic: Side Table Makeover

You may know that doing the Avon 39 Walk for Breast Cancer is an annual tradition for me. The two-day walk gives lots of time for long talks with my friends. Last year, an old friend asked our group to think about what our “dream job” would be. I already have my dream job, but I took the opportunity to reflect on what an alternate or next career could be… something I love doing, but which is not so practical… the easy answer was that I’d love to refinish old furniture with fresh looks.

It makes me so happy when I can take a piece of furniture with great classic style but a little (or a lot of) wear and turn it into something beautiful and full of personality. I’ll list some of my favorite past projects at the bottom of this post.


Now on to today’s post… It has been a while since I picked this little end table up off the side of the road. My oldest was with me and remarked, “There’s mom being mom” in the affectionate way you talk about a lovable, quirky relative.

While I loved the Chinese/ Chinoiserie style of this little table, I was a bit intimidated by its poor condition. You can’t really appreciate in the picture how water-damaged, chipped, and uneven the wood was. Still, it was sturdy enough, and with my newfound love of gardening and greenery, I thought it would make a great plant stand.

I sanded the table aggressively, used wood glue on one of the legs that was cracked, and then painted it with three coats of white latex enamel (leftover from the interior trim of our house). I didn’t even try to fully even out and fix the surface, letting a lot of the dents and scratches show and add character.

The white paint did a good job brightening up the table and made it look more finished, but it was kind of plain… time for a touch of gold spray paint to cap the legs, and I love the finished product!

Here is my new old table in our living room. I think I’ll probably move it up to my bedroom later, but I’m still experimenting with how to use this handsome accent piece!

If you like this project, check out some of past “fabulous furniture makeovers”:

Wow, that was a longer list than I expected. I guess I have a good start on that next career, when I’m ready!

Happy furniture hunting and painting!

“Jewels”

I tried Rothy’s! Here’s the scoop and $20 off!

I’m sure you’ve seen ads on your social media feed for Rothy’s shoes. I was intrigued by their use of recycled materials, and of course, the designs are adorable, but I was waiting to hear from a “real person” who had tried them.

Enter my office mate, sporting a cute pair of these eco-conscious shoes. She said, she loves them, and while she usually wears sneakers, she found Rothy’s really comfortable for a ballet flat.

Now here I am, and pretty much all I ever wear is ballet flats, so I figured they would be perfect for me! They’re not a bargain, but for a well-made and earth-friendly shoe, I felt it was worthwhile. I also used a referral code to get $20 off.

I tried both styles – The Flat and The Point, and I ended up keeping The Flat. Keep reading for a full review!
The Flat in Charcoal Birdseye:Style:  I love that the grey goes with almost everything, and the little peek of pink makes them feel unique!

  • Fit: These are true to size for me, perhaps a tiny bit snug, but I think a larger size would be too big.
  • Comfort: For me, these were as comfortable as advertised! No rubbing or blisters at all. Because the material is a knit, there is a little spring to the shoe that feels both supportive and soft.

The Point in Bright Blue Birdseye:

Size: The Point style ran small for me. My usual size was too tight.

  • Style: I also didn’t like that my toes showed (toe cleavage😉)
  • Comfort: a bit hard for me to rate, because they were tight, but they have that same supportive stretchy feel, so I would expect them to be comfortable, if the style and fit are right for you.

Bottom line: as the owner (guardian?) of way too many ballet flats, I am really excited by these shoes which are very comfortable and have just enough details to feel special but are still neutral enough to go with almost anything!

If you want to check them out, you can use this referral code and we both get $20 off!

Update: A few months later, these are still my favorite shoes. So cute and soooo comfortable. I’ve washed them twice, and they look like new. The tip I wanted to add was that I did start wearing them with odor-fighting insoles, because the original insoles just didn’t stay fresh for me, and I would have had to wash them every other week – you could do that, too, and I noticed they sell extra insoles, presumably for this reason… anyway, that’s the full story. I still love these shoes and am planning to spoil myself with my third pair soon…

“Jewels”