Friday, November 30, 2012

I still intend to continue with this blog, but we have changed directions for a bit.  We are in the process of adopting a sister and brother from Eastern Europe. So this has taken precedent. Come and check out our story of adoption at: Cradled By Grace! Thank you!
Love,
Lara

Monday, September 17, 2012

Well, it's been a LONG and difficult summer. I'm excited for new things, this Autumn.  I did manage a few simple sewing projects to help me keep cool.
I took a billowy, thin, cotton muumuu and shortened the hem and sleeves and added some fun contrasting ball fringe around the yoke.  It was perfect for all those sweltering humid days that I can't seem to adjust to, here in the southeast.
Stay tuned for more posts coming soon.  Go ahead and raid your local thrift store for frumpy dresses and see if you can give them a new life!
Love,
Belle
P.S. Please check out my Etsy store here: Purple Pinafore.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Canterbury Remake

My wonderfully creative friend, Jen, gave me the exciting challenge of making her a version of this J. Crew dress.
   
Canterbury Bells Dress
She picked out the fabric and I finagled a brown paper pattern using the original dress.  It was more difficult than I anticipated, with some interesting pleating features on the sides. Thankfully it came together in the end. And here she is looking great in it!
 
 She was also the inspiration behind all my retro aprons.  She's the one that originally commissioned me to make aprons as gifts for friends. Thank you, Jen! 
Love u and miss u, sister. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Park

I dislike trying on clothes. I'll hold something up in the thrift store and just guess if something is going to fit me, then buy it.  At $1-2 a pop, if it doesn't fit I can donate it.  I fell in love with this blue top, but alas, when it came home with me, it shrank.  Or I bloated, more likely.
I thought and thought and schemed and pondered, but couldn't figure out a way to make it work.  Finally, I realized I could add strips of coordinating fabric on all the side seams!  Whew, it actually worked!
Last weekend, hubby and I took "the Dawwwg" to my favorite local park and I wore my newly completed Franken-top. 
Can you believe how blue the sky is?  It was another lovely and wild, North Carolina day.  This idea has started a dangerous precedent.  How many ill-fitting blouses will I now brazenly purchase, knowing I can slap some strips on it's sides?  I shudder to think.
Photography by David Wingler

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sailors and Seashells

I love the ocean. Both my grandfathers were sailors and I think I've inherited a connection to the sea. I can't go too many months without, at least, sitting on a shore with my feet in the sand.

"Anne thought she left great happiness behind her when they quitted the house; and Louisa, by whom she found herself walking, burst forth into raptures of admiration and delight on the character of the navy: their friendliness, their brotherliness, their openness, their uprightness; protesting that she was convinced of sailors having more worth and warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how to live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved."~ Jane Austen, Persuasion

I saw these coral necklaces in the Anthropologie catalog and thought I might try my hand at it. 
I drilled a hole in a shell that I brought back from our honeymoon at Carolina Beach. Neon is really big right now.  I didn't have any neon paint on hand, but, I used a bright orange acrylic to dip it in, so I could show you.  Then I attached a wire and jump ring to it, and attached that to a gold chain from my tangled bead box.
I also have an obsession with t-shirt scarves. I've made over 20 that I am going to give away to some teens that I'll be speaking to about style.  But I keep pulling them out of the bag to wear myself. I promise I'll put them back. :)  Give me a shout out below if you want me to demo how to make them. They are very easy.  This is my first experiment with drawing on one with, yes, a Sharpie!  And I'm quite happy with it.
cut out of the News & Observer

Friday, May 4, 2012

Easy Blackberry Wine Cake

A friend asked me to share how I made Blackberry Wine Cake for a ladies event at my church, a few weekends ago. It was embarassingly easy. I wanted to juice-up a cake mix that I already had.  I had stumbled on different websites that suggested add-ins for cakes, and this is what I came up with.
 
I used a Duncan Hines yellow cake mix and instead of the requested oil, I used melted butter, for extra richness.  And I also substituted half the water required, with white wine.  Then I mixed the cake batter, as outlined on the back of the box.  I made sure all the dry ingredients were integrated. Then I added a handful of berries that I had cooked with sugar and white wine, to taste, until it formed a sort of berry syrup.

 I baked the cake exactly as directed until a toothpick came out clean.  Then I frosted the top of the cake with plain white frosting and then drizzled the rest of the berry syrup over the top.  I didn't use exact measurements; it's really all to taste, as long as you don't mess with the box requirements. It was really yummy!
I had to rush it to my event, so I forgot to take a final photo for you. Instead I drew a little picture of it, just for you my dear readers!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DIY Organic Lavender Soap

As promised, here is my how-to for very inexpensive homemade Organic soap. It's so easy you won't believe it.  Maybe someday I'll try to make soap from scratch, but for now I decided to try the melt and pour version.  First, I purchased 2 pounds of Organic Goat's milk Melt and Pour soap from this lovely little ebay store: Lora's Beauty Shop.
Then I followed the directions I found in this book: Essentially Soap: The Elegant Art of Handmade Soap Making...for melt and pour soap.
First, cut the 2 lb. block in 1 inch pieces, I did about a quarter of the block at a time.
Then place in a glass microwaveable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until liquid. (My microwave melted it in 1 minute.)
Then I added 4-5 drops of Lavender essential oil and stirred. It depends on how fragrant you want your soap. I think I probably could've added a few more drops, but it was pleasantly light when completed. The soap begins to cool and harden quickly, so I advise having everything ready ahead of time.
Next, I added food coloring to get this lovely lilac color. For purple, add 2 drops of red and 1 drop of blue and stir until blended in.
This step is optional, but, I added some ground lavender for an herbal look.  Just make sure it's fine enough that it won't give anyone a sliver when they wash. Add as much as you want.
You can purchase nice looking soap molds from most craft sources, but I used this bean sprout container from the grocery store instead. I ended up pouring in about 7 ounces of the liquid soap. This creates one nice hunk of a bar, if you like that. After set, I decided to cut them in half for easy shower handling.
After only ONE HOUR, it becomes your very own handmade bar of organic lavender soap! It ended up costing me only about $1.25 for each bar! You'll know this is a steal if you've scoured the internet, like I have, for Organic soap!  I just love having my own customized, Purple Pinafore, healthy-for-me soap!
It lathers up very nicely and because of the goat's milk, it has a lovely silky feeling in the suds.  I love knowing that I'm doing good to my skin instead of infusing it with nasty chemicals and then stripping it of it's natural oils.
Pleae let me know if you have any questions! If you try it, let me know how it goes.
Enjoy!