Saturday, April 23, 2011

April Outfit of the Month

I explained the concept of the Outfit of the Month series already, but to sum up: each month I will feature an outfit that I wish I was wearing, either from a magazine or somewhere online. Then I will create a look with a similar feel, with pieces that would fit into the budget of a Well-Rounded Woman. 

April's outfit comes from Lucky magazine and I listed each piece, including price. They add up to a whopping $3,868. And I don't know about you, but that's about six or seven years worth of clothing for me.

Below are the pieces I found, at significant discounts. In fact, at a total of $226 for the entire outfit, that comes to less than 6% of the price of the Lucky outfit. And naturally I don't have $226 to spend each month, but I can usually pick up a piece or two. I already have the pin and I made the necklace recently, and I think I'd like to get a pair of light-weight jeans like this for the summer. I spent a lot of time learning how to make an image map, so please click on specific pieces for the links to where you can get them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DIY Bead Necklace

As I searched for a suitable necklace for my April Outfit, I couldn't find anything that was what I wanted, but my mind kept going back to a post from the Martha Stewart craft blog. They highlighted a project of dyeing unfinished, wooden beads and stringing them together to make long necklaces. I love this picture:

I had wanted to try this project and this week seemed the perfect time, so I could add the necklace to my April Outfit. I ran to Joanne's to buy beads, dye, and cord to string the beads. The instructions were easy, and by the end of the day I was wearing my necklace. See full directions on the Martha Stewart site here.

Here are some shots of my process, along with details of what I did. I used the following beads:
14    1/2"
24    9/16"
14    5/8"
22    3/4"

You string them on floral wire first to get the length you want and them dye them on the wire. The beads cost me about $10 total and the Rit dye was $2.50. (A sweet woman offered me an extra coupon for 25% off my purchase, which I was glad for because none of my items were on sale.) The MS website recommends using leather cord, which you can dye to match the beads, but I am cheap and bought a waxed cotton cord. I'm sure that would have dyed well also, but I didn't bother. The total cost was around $13 without coupons or sales. (Love my sweet neice as a model!)

I used Rit dye in Teal and was happy with the color, although the tutorial used mostly teal, with a little taupe or grey mixed in. I can see that would give them a more muted look, but I skipped this too. I used my large, non-stick, dutch oven pot and was worried about ruining it, but it was no problem at all. The beads stay in the dye 5-10 minutes, depending on how dark you want them - just agitate throughout and check them often. Dry the beads on an old towel. They took much longer to dry than I thought, and the color lightened as they dried. It would have gone much faster outside. I was worried about the dye rubbing off on my clothing without some kind of rinse or finish. I wore my necklace the next day with an already stained shirt and didn't have any transfer of color. I've worn my beads several times since and I think they look great!

In the end, I couldn't dump out 8 cups of beautiful blue dye, so I ended up dipping a bunch of paper coffee filters. I've seen a lot of amazing crafts made from these and had previously grabbed some at the grocery store so I dyed a few dozen, let them dry upside down to keep their shape, and stashed them away for the next project.