May 3, 2013
A celebration of Mexican culture, Cinco de Mayo is one of our favorite holidays, and a true sign that spring has finally sprung. While we’re gearing up for the 5th, we’ve put together a no-fail five-step guide to throwing the perfect fiesta, featuring ideas from some of our favorite bloggers around. (No pre-made margarita mix here, folks!)
1. The Pretty Piñata:
You’re going to burst through it in ten seconds flat, but a gorgeous paper-machéd piñata is an exciting upgrade on the classic party-store variety. Refinery29’s homemade ombre version is a masterpiece just begging to be filled with multicolored sweets.
2. The Discerning Drink Menu:
Everyone claims to know the perfect margarita recipe, but this one from Flourishing Foodie may actually be the only one you’ll need. And, for friends who will be opting out of alcoholic libations, Smitten Kitchen’s Melon Agua Fresca, made from cantaloupe and honeydew juice, is also a refreshingly sweet treat.
3. The Pared-Down Party Snacks:
These couldn’t-be-easier guacamole and salsa recipes from A Beautiful Mess take a split second to make, leaving more time for, you know, partying.
4. The D.I.Y. Décor:
Buying and hanging banners can be a pain, but all you’ll need for this oh-so-easy play off traditional fiesta bunting from Oh Happy Day is colored tissue paper, twine, scissors and tape.
5. The Gussied-Up Goblets:
We’re all for these swirly tri-colored goblets, made from recycled glass—can’t you see a lime sitting pretty atop the rim?
December 17, 2012
Remember this scenario? You meet up with a friend to exchange presents for the holidays. You hand over yours, covered in the very finest wrapping paper your local drugstore has to offer. And then you receive theirs, expertly, ingeniously, innovatively wrapped—a work of art in itself. Yeah…oof.
So naturally, we asked our aesthetically in-tune graphic design team to give us a lesson in crafty packaging. Get inspired below.
1. Keep it simple and monotone, then add a fresh touch, like a rosemary sprig.
2. Get crafty with white paper and a few rolls of Kamoi Kakoshi™ for Top Hat Tape.
3. Go traditional with festive wrapping paper but tie it with a real ribbon. So elegant!
4. Has your friend or loved one been extra good this year? If so, wrap a coffee-table book in our Perfect Chambray Shirt, then top it all off with a bow. Double whammy.
November 1, 2012
If you’ve been on our site recently, you may have noticed our furry friend, Roxy the fox, whose precious paw prints trail through the latest Looks We Love story. Curious how we made our mark? Our graphic designers give a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your very own stamp:
WHAT YOU NEED:
-Handle & blades
(Insider tip: A kit like this will help you get started.)
HOW TO MAKE THE STAMP:
1. Draw the desired design using tracing paper.
2. Color in the space you would like to use as the stamp. (The white part will be negative space.)
3. Rub tracing paper on linoleum block, lead side down. Press back of paper with a hard edge to completely transfer pattern.
4. Using your lino cutter, cut around design to remove all negative space.
HOW TO PRINT:
5. Now that your stamp is done, apply ink to the linoleum with a brayer (for larger stamps) or a paintbrush (for smaller ones).
6. Firmly press your stamp ink-side down on a piece of paper. If your stamp is large, use a baren to evenly apply pressure. (You can also improvise with a rolling pin.)
7. Repeat until your project is stamped to perfection!
September 15, 2012
Let’s talk about first apartments for a second. They’re terrible, right? Well, maybe not anymore. The First Apartment Book from interior designer Kyle Schuneman and writer Heather Summerville conquers the age-old conundrum: How can you have an awesomely decorated place when you have no space, barely any furniture and even less money to spend? Sounds impossible, we know—but this magical book has 256 pages that prove otherwise (think space-saving ideas, design tricks and cool how-to projects).
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from the book so you can make your own D.I.Y. vintage-book planter:
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 leather-bound book
1 small succulent
1 quart-sized Ziploc bag
HOW TO DO IT:
1. Glue the pages of your book together by squiggling glue along the sides and gently pressing it into the pages with your fingers. Make sure not to glue the pages to the cover. Let dry completely, about 20 minutes.
2. Determine how wide of a space to cut for your succulent; you want at least 2 inches around the circumference of the roots to promote growth. Measure and trace the area you need to cut on the top page of your book.
3. Using your X-ACTO knife, carefully cut into the box you just drew. You will only be able to cut about 30 pages at a time, so you’ll need to repeat this step until you’ve created a hole deep enough for your succulent.
4. Line the box you just cut with your plastic Ziploc bag, making sure the bottom and sides are covered.
5. Arrange your succulent on top of the Ziploc bag. Be sure to transfer enough soil from the original planter, along with the plant itself.
6. Using your scissors, trim the excess Ziploc bag around the edge of your succulent, leaving just enough of a plastic liner to keep water from running into the pages of the book when you water it.
July 19, 2012
Dear San Francisco,
We’re celebrating our one year anniversary in town next Thursday! Join Erica of style blog Honestly WTF for some D.I.Y., denim, sweets and more!
Get the full scoop here.
June 8, 2012
March 13, 2012
by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)
The other day while surfing Anthology Magazine’s blog, I stumbled upon a post about the wonders of Japanese Washi tape—a masking variety that comes in the prettiest array of colors and patterns. Inspired, I found myself experimenting with wrapping a few books I was gifting to a friend later that day. I grabbed a paper bag, then, in lieu of ribbon, cut pieces of my tape to form geometric, plaid-like patterns. The verdict? D.I.Y. adorable.
(If you don’t already have Washi tape in your arsenal, order it online here or buy some colorful painter’s tape from your local hardware store.)
February 21, 2012
by Alisa Gould-Simon (L.A.)
My personal creation—and it took less than two hours!
As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m not a fan of fickle plants. I love succulents for this very reason: They require little water, not a lot of sunlight and are generally pretty difficult to kill. Plus, housing them in a glass terrarium can cost less than $35 but will impress everyone. Want to recreate this easy yet awe-inspiring D.I.Y. project? Here’s how.
1. Buy a glass container. (I opted for one with a larger opening, but everything from a fish bowl to a random vase works.)
2. Fill your container with 1½” to 2” of perlite, charcoal, rocks or pebbles (or a combination of the four). This helps create a drainage system for the layer of soil that will be piled on top.
3. Add a thick layer of organic soil for the roots of your plants to be submerged in (3” to 5”, depending on the length of the roots). Feel free to mix in pebbles or sand, which will also help with drainage and add some aesthetic appeal.
4. Pat down the soil.
5. Choose your succulents and gently rub off excess soil from their roots.
6. Use a spoon or your fingers to dig a small hole, then place your plant inside, packing the soil around it to keep it upright. Repeat this until all your plants are potted.
7. (Optional) Lay moss on the exposed dirt around your plants to help dress up the scene. (Feel free to add action figures or anything else your heart desires.)
8. Keep the container near sunlight and spray your plants with water once a week.
Ta-da, you’re done!
February 7, 2012
Cold, hard fact: It’s pretty tough escaping these über-gloomy February vibes. So yesterday was all about the heavy beats our DJ pals have been spinning to jump-start their hearts. Today’s recipe for feeling good? An extra-tasty beverage via one of Brooklyn’s coziest cookeries, RADISH. Check out the delicious treat co-owner Amy Marks whips up to ward off the blues come winter (and learn how to make it yourself).
(P.S. Keep a lookout—we’ve got cure-alls comin’ atcha all week long.)
Inside Williamsburg foodie heaven, Radish.
“We New Yorkers aren’t afraid of a little cold weather—and it’s not because we enjoy wearing itchy wool sweaters and snow boots that are, quite frankly, clunky. It’s because, at Radish, winter means hot chocolate, and hot chocolate means happiness.
This year, we’ve looked forward to the cold months with even greater anticipation. Why? The answer goes a little something like this: stone-ground hot chocolate mix + homemade blood orange syrup + a heaping dollop of cardamom whipped cream = guaranteed-cheer-you-upper.”
1. Make your whipped cream by beating 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form.
2. Fold in 1 teaspoon of cardamom (or to taste).
3. Warm 1 cup of milk of your choice on the stove until desired temperature.
4. Add 3 tablespoons of stone-ground hot chocolate to the warm milk and stir until melted.
5. Pour into your mug and add a little bit of our blood orange syrup to suit your taste buds for the perfect citrusy bite.
6. Top with plenty of your homemade whipped cream!
Satisfying, decadent and inviting, this creamy, cold-weather creation is sure to stave off all winter woes.
158 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
P.S. A special treat for D.I.Y. enthusiasts: Try your hand at crafting your own syrup. Here’s how to make 1 quart.
1. Combine 1 quart of filtered water and 1 pint of raw, all-natural sugar in a small stockpot.
2. Heat over medium heat until sugar completely dissolves.
3. Add 4 orange peels (or any winter citrus peels).
4. Add ½ lemon peel.
5. Simmer at medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until syrup turns orange in color and has a strong orange taste.
6. Store in the fridge and it should be good for a week or two.
Tip: This syrup is also great when combined with seltzer for a tangy soda!
December 31, 2011
by Pippa Fraumeni (Madewell)
The mad hatters of our latest Looks We Love feature.
Today marks the debut of a brand-new Looks We Love series on madewell.com featuring—you guessed it—the styles we’ve been obsessed with lately. And if you’re especially eagle-eyed, you’ll notice a pretty pink hat popping up all over the place. Well, our head stylist extraordinaire, Lisa, and I actually made it specifically for the shoot! But fear not—I’ve decided to outline (the highly scientific and serious matter of) making a marbled pastel baseball hat, so you can have your very own.
1. Pick a hat, any hat. Well, actually, pick one in a color you’d like to wash out.
2. Create a solution that is two parts bleach to one part water. (Tip: You may need more bleach if your hat seems especially saturated.)
3. Soak your hat in the mixture and crumple it repeatedly to create a marbled texture.
4. Turn the hat every 30 minutes or so until it is slightly darker than the desired color.
5. Put it in the washing machine, pour in the bleach/water mixture and run the whole thing for a full cycle. (Note: It’ll continue to lighten during this process.)
6. Run the washer again with nothing in it when you’re done (or else you’ll bleach whatever you put in there next).
7. Dry your hat completely.
8. Wear it!