DIY Personalized Floppy Beach Hat

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Last year we had a pretty hot summer. As always I slathered on my sunscreen not caring how ridiculous I looked and wore my extremely thick white-patched layer with pride. I set out to the beach and quickly realized my sunscreen just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I am a self-tanner now but sometimes you can’t protect yourself enough. I made up my mind, I needed to finally become a hat person.

Last summer I saw so many amazing personalized floppy beach hats with initials, ‘cutesy,’ expressions and color options. Most were inspired by designer Eugenia Kim’s amazing over-sized hats with sayings such as ‘Talk to the sand,’ ‘Greetings from,’ or ‘Do not Disturb.’ They were an instant trend (check them out here) and became so popular for their sequined relaxed script writing and simple black band of ribbon. Since then many versions have popped up on Etsy and have been recreated on bloggers websites.

Last fall I set out to make my own, I wanted to try making a version with a lighter colored script, something a bit less of a contrast. I got the idea to use rose gold colored sequins (they look gold in the photos) with a pink ribbon just to make it my own. I knew hand stitching on the sequins would be the most durable and long-lasting option but that method was way out of my wheelhouse. Since I decided to try gluing my first hat I didn’t want to invest too much money in an item I know won’t last too long. I ordered a floppy straw hat, sequins and ribbon all from AliExpress. Their orders take a long time to be delivered (over 3 months for these items) but in Canada it’s really hard to find unique colors and sizes of ribbon and craft supplies that are readily available in the U.S. This was definitely the way to go and I was so happy with the quality of what I received.

I decided to use a glue gun to attach my sequins, although next time I will try jewelry glue as someone suggested online. The heat of the glue changed the color of some of the sequins and there wasn’t much chance to adjust the placement of them as they dried so quickly. Here are some step by step instructions on how I made my own personalized beach hat.

Step 1: I started by printing out several photos of hats I liked online. I tried to find as many letters in the alphabet as possible in the script I wanted as a reference guide for my sequin placement.

 

Step 2: I wrote out my expression ‘Julie on holiday,’ several times on scrap paper just to get used to how I would like it to look.

 

Step 3: Looking at my reference photos, I started to play with the sequin placement one letter at a time until each letter looked good (lesson learned…you will see in the photos I didn’t leave enough room for my ‘y,’ I think I got too excited! I caught it early enough to make some adjustments)

 

Step 4: I carefully traced under the strand of sequins with a thin  marker just to have a guide of where to glue (this is a very tricky step as the sequins move around so much). This needed to be done section by section. I traced a small part, glued it and laid down the sequin strip. The hat took a long time to complete but it really is better to go very slow.

 

Step 5: I removed any glue gun ‘webs,’ and took a few loose sequins and glued them over places where a sequin had been covered in glue or damaged by the heat. This step really made a huge difference in some areas

 

Step 5: Cut the ribbon to fit with some overlap. Fold under one end and glue the rough edge. Glue one end over the other (covering the remaining rough edge) and make sure it is fairly tightly fit around the hat. I first tried adding glue over the entire ribbon which led to sections buckling so just gluing in one spot at the end looked the best.   

 

Step 6: Leave the hat until it fully dries and go back and touch up any areas that didn’t fully stick. I found the first letter of my name when the glue gun wasn’t very hot, didn’t hold up so well.

I’m so happy with the results of this hat! It is delicate and is not the type of hat you can just ‘throw in a suitcase,’ or in a beach bag as I’m sure the sequins would come off. That’s why Eugenia Kim’s bags are not cost effective…hand-sewn sequins…need I say more? I’ve got plans to make another one in different colors, I hope this inspires you to make your own beach hat too!

Happy Hat Making!

Lv, Julie♥

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DIY Personalized Straw Bag

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Last summer I set out to make my own personalized straw bag. I had seen so many amazing versions online. One store in particular, MISA Los Angeles had some really pretty straw bags where they would spray paint any name or word on the front, if under 6 characters. I thought since straw bags only last so long it would be fun to try to make one on my own, I also knew I could do it at a fraction of the price (especially with the Canadian dollar exchange). I will try my best to show how I put it all together but I made it before I started my blog so it’s hard to show exact step- by-step instructions. Find the link to my inspiration, the original bag here. Etsy has a lot of these bags as well with different trims and some hand-embroidered versions as well.

 

 

I found the bag on www.french-baskets.com a website that ships right from Morocco, where they are handmade. When I bought it the price was lower, I think the popularity has gone up so I suggest purchasing a plain bag and adding a pom-pom trim to the top to dress it up or find a bag locally that is more cost effective. I will say they were a fabulous company to deal with and the bag was shipped very quick, they also have a variety of beautiful options and I liked how their bags had leather handles.

I found the exact pom-pom bag charm that was on the original bag at Shopbop Canada which you can find here. I will say again, the price on these too has gone up, I didn’t pay anywhere near what they are now, it must also be the dollar. I know if you hunt online there are cheaper versions on Etsy as well as fantastic online tutorials on how to make them on your own! I really want to try this in the future!

Making Your Own Personalized Straw Bag

STEP 1: Find a simple straw bag and add a trim to the top, or find one like I did below. I really liked that this one had leather straps!

STEP 2: Find a tassel-style bag charm or make your own from one of the many tutorials online

STEP 3: I used MS Word to print out my name to use as a template. My name is only 5 letters so you would really have to play with the font size and script that best suits you name and bag size. I made sure to set my margins to ‘narrow,’ and used the ‘Vladimir Script,’ font in bold and in size 600 pt.

 

My name had to be printed on 4 sheets of paper and I just pieced it together letter by letter once it was being traced on the bag.

 

STEP 4: I used nail scissors to cut out each letter. I keep a pair with my craft supplies for jobs like this. They are not meant for cutting paper, and this will dull them but their size and curved shape make them perfect for cutting out small areas such as these script letters

 

STEP 5: I don’t have photos of this step but I just folded the bag flat and used a washable crayola pink marker to trace the letters on. The name will turn out much bigger than the cut-out when marking them and then painting them so be mindful of this when choosing the font size. The marker was pretty faint but just visible enough to make out. I had to do a bit of freestyle painting in between the letters to connect them and fill in spots that didn’t paint well. I used basic acrylic paint and mixed a few colors together to get the tone I wanted. I painted 2 coats and let it dry thoroughly for 12 hours.

I can’t wait to use this bag in the summer, I hope to make another one soon in different colors and will use the same bag charm for both.

Thinking of the warm weather!

Lv, Julie♥

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Spring Brunch Tablescape

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Spring is here and I’ve been pretty excited about it! I’ve opened all the windows, started to use the BBQ and am keeping an eye out for buds to appear on our new backyard trees. When you live in a new subdivision, new trees are more exciting than you think-believe me! Spring has never been my favorite season though. I love the summer and fall but find spring is always so damp and dreary. It’s a great season to prepare for the few short months of warm weather we have. The term ‘spring cleaning,’ really embodies making the most of the season by planning and tidying up outside, in anticipation for the warmer and longer days ahead. More so than January I find spring is about renewal, a true fresh start and the promise of many summer adventures and memories outdoors. There’s also nothing that lifts my spirits more in the Spring than strolling around a garden center or nursery, seeing whats new and planning color schemes for my hanging baskets and urns. I just love seeing all those little plants starting out amidst a sea of color and thinking about how beautiful they will look in everyone’s garden.

With all my spring thoughts in mind I put together a little tablescape for a seasonal brunch. I love that its a time of year when pastel tones can take center stage. I’m rarely a fan of just a ‘hint of a color,’ or overly bright colors, preferring colors somewhere in the middle in milky or chalky tones. 

 

I knew I wanted to use pastel colors and combine natural and traditional elements but had no idea how it would all come together. I started to play around with it and my vision slowly came to life. I found a really beautiful card table cloth of my grandmas that was stored away. I also used an old sugar and cream set she had and a set of antique tea cups, each in a different color. Anything antique always ‘makes,’ a tablescape for me. These are one of a kind items that when mixed with readily available, trendy and traditional things, make your table so unique. Acquiring these older items whether passed down, in antique shops, or at garage sales I’m never quite sure where or how to use them in the moment. If they speak to me I make an effort over time to work them into some theme or time of year. I always feel a little sense of accomplishment when I find a use for some of these things.

 

For this tablescape it’s all about the mixing and matching. I mixed an old set of pottery plates with antique gold-rimmed lunch plates and my new white plates. I pulled out these green compote dishes that I found one year at a garage sale, I got a great deal on them because there were only seven in the set. Its amazing the things you stumble upon when you are not looking, and just grow to love. 

 

I have a few charger plates (like this wood slab) in multiples of two. I love tableware so much but keeping up with every trend can be expensive as you are usually buying everything in sets of four or six. The idea of having two of something allows me to try something new while forcing me to be creative by adding them in with other sets. I often use charger plates for table centerpiece bases like I did below. For the record, I have a bunch of ‘cute,’ salt and pepper shakers that I rarely use. They were part of a phase and  I was happy to still have this mushroom set as they fit in perfectly.

I have so many ideas saved up for future tablescapes, I can’t wait to share more! I absolutely love setting tables, I should have gone after some sort of career in event planning or designing. I am glad to be able to use my creativity on this blog as it’s such a great outlet for me!

Happy Easter & Spring,

Lv, Julie♥

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Weekend Avocado English Muffins & Poaching Problems

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By now most people have tried avocado toast, a new breakfast staple. So many versions of this recipe exist online but I wanted to show my version with eggs and a bit about my struggles with poaching eggs. I’ve been making this as a weekend breakfast on and off for a few months and it really makes me think, what did people do before avocado toast?

Poaching Eggs

Story time…my first foray into poaching eggs didn’t go so well. I set out to make restaurant quality poached eggs, the kind you would see on Eggs Benedict that you might have while out for a nice brunch. They are always pure white with a velvety matte exterior, perfectly oval in shape, looking fresh as could be. They also taste better than fried or scrambled eggs as they have so much moisture from the water. ‘No problem,’ I thought. If I researched and watched a few you tube videos how hard could it be? I got out my pan, boiled my water, used vinegar in the ‘swirling method,’ and popped the egg in. What happened next could only be described as an unsavory invention-watery egg soup! I watched sadly as the egg swirled around, fell apart and decided it no longer wanted to be an egg.

All is not lost, things started to look up when I found silicone poachers at Homesense and gave them a whirl. They are not the perfect solution, if you don’t have the right level of water and temperature they too can turn into a bit of a mess and spill out. I’ve figured out how to use them and now have a great way to poach eggs. They do look a bit like flying saucers and their silhouette is no where near ‘natural,’ but I’ve grown to accept their appearance as they taste great! I will leave the perfectly poached restaurant eggs to the experts, it creates something to look forward to whenever I get a chance to ‘brunch.’

Line them with a bit of coconut oil so the eggs slide out easy

 

Poaching eggs using silicone poachers such as these is easy once you have the right level of water. You will get water in the eggs from the steam but you don’t want them to be completely water-logged (I’ve had to throw out a batch). Its important to cover the pan (leave lid a bit ajar) with the lid to allow them to poach properly.

Experiment with your pan to find the right water level!

 

When I can find them, I use ‘Food for Life,’ Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins. I have been learning all about sprouted grains and love all of the health benefits. Sprouted grain breads use the whole grain that has germinated, it is in fact ‘alive,’ as you are eating it. There are so many benefits to this type of bread that it’s worth looking into the two articles I read here and here.

 

Weekend Avocado English Muffins

Ingredients

whole wheat english muffins

coconut oil

4 eggs

1 small avocado

1/2 lemon, juiced

pinch cinnamon

pinch red chili flakes

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.) Poach 4 eggs

2.) Mash the avocado, add lemon juice, cinnamon and a little salt and pepper

2.) Toast the English muffin

4.) Top each muffin half with the avocado mixture, add an egg to each half, sprinkle with freshly ground salt, pepper and red chili flakes

*Recipe is for 4 english muffin halves

 

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Lv, Julie♥

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Entryway Gallery Wall

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A few months ago I redid a gallery wall in our front entryway and I wanted to share! The old wall had the same layout but needed a serious refresh. The original had some of my hand paintings from four years ago and although those seemed like a great idea at the time-let’s just say there are times I should have put my artists brush away!

I used a few of the existing prints and got a few new prints and frames for Christmas. I also printed a few wedding photos and used the map from my wedding invitation in a frame. I really didn’t know how it would turn out until I saw it all together and was so glad it worked out! The theme is travel and the outdoors (not planned) and I tried to keep the colors in the same palette.

In 2012 when we moved from a very old smaller house to a newly constructed much larger home I was pretty excited to decorate. In retrospect I was so excited that I may have gotten carried away stuffing every design idea I’d ever had in my life, into one space! Basically every room has a different color and there’s a lack of flow from room to room. I will never give up on color, no trend would ever make me deviate from that and I’m not a person who could feel comfortable in a stark white or all neutral space. In saying that, I have learned that with more muted tones, my pops of color can really take center stage. In 4 years my palette has calmed down (hard to believe with these shots) and through much trial and error I have a better sense of what I really like. It will take time to redo the whole house but room by room I hope to make little changes over time with my new vision in mind.

In our old house I stored a lot of acquired antique furniture in the garage knowing one day I would be able to put it into use in a larger home. That was part of the excitement, this furniture sat unused for so many years! After we had settled into our new house I looked to Pantone’s color of the year ‘emerald,’ to paint a few Muskoka chairs for our front porch and the really cool storage cabinet seen here in the front entrance way. It was a bold color then but still speaks to me now, I love a punch of color and am obsessed with green so no changes here! This cabinet came out of my cousin’s garage and was built to store nails, nuts & bolts & etc. I love all the little drawers and we use each one in the top row for a different storage use. It’s great when we need a flashlight, battery or extension cord, we know exactly where to go.

 

Once I had all the new prints, photos and frames ready I set out to redo my gallery wall. I laid a blanket on my dining room table and just stared to play with the different configurations. I kept it pretty much the same as the old layout with the circular gold mirror in the middle but really had to switch up all the frames to get the best balance of light and dark prints, size and frame color.

 

With the new layout of prints there were quite a few of the old nail holes to putty and paint. A challenge to the project began the moment it occurred to me, that on a whim I had mixed my own small batch of paint for the wall four years ago! It all came back to me that I had mixed some white primer with a touch of the emerald green to create a feature wall color. Little did I remember I had used the whole amount of mixed paint! It wasn’t fun testing small batches of paint on the wall one day until I got close to the original. At first I thought it would be a quick fix as I had the original base paints. The batches all looked close until they got on the wall and dried! I kept mixing and mixing. Wishful thinking and lesson learned! I never want to do that again!

 

To decorate I kept the existing lamp and trays. I added a cute brass deer I found at an antique shop, and a wedding photo. The large amethyst is special as it is from a memorable road trip we took across Canada. We bought it just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, an area known for it’s amethyst since the 19th century. I love buying souvenirs such as this, that I can use in my home that are unique to a certain area.

 

It was fun to start my redecorating in such a small area that was manageable and had a big impact. My favorite time to look at this space is on a weekend morning, coming downstairs for my coffee. The light is usually pouring in and it just looks so alive and happy!

Lv, Julie♥

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