Archive for the ‘Of House and Home’ Category


Taking Stock: DIY’s of 2010

In Accessories,DIY,How-To,Jewelry,Men's Shirts,Of House and Home,Recipes,Remake,Shoes on January 1, 2011 by Naoko Takano

Now with almost midnight and 2011, while catching up on Gossip Girl episodes and eating peppermint ice cream, I just wanted to take a look back at 2010 and all the DIY tutorials I’ve shared here (and elsewhere).  Missed any?  Here they are, one more time:

Hair Accessories
Jennifer Behr Spike Turban
Givenchy Spiked Headband
Wired Scarf Rabbit Ears Headband from a Handkerchief
Flowered Hair Clip
Tube Flower Headband
Bra Strap Headband
Scarf Turban
Faux Fur Wrap
Knotted Cord Belt
Alexander Wang Zipper Sunglasses
Fur-Covered Basket
Laptop Sleeve from Leather Jacket
Chanel-Style Paper Bag
Feathered Cape
Edwardian Cuffs
Fringed Boho Bag
Lacy Convertible Belt
Rolled Tights Rose
Pierced Flower Brooch
Patterned Clutch Makeover
Fabric Leopard Scarf
Curtain Rings to Boho Bangles
Double-Fringed Necklace
Leaf Chain Earrings
Ruffle Studded Necklace
Woven Heart Shape Pin
Feather Bangles
Jeweled Cardigan Clip
White Embellished U Necklace
Spiked Crystal Ring
Black Embellished Bib Necklace
Rope Necklace
Square-Studded Cardigan
Pillowcase to Elastic Band Skirt
Michael Kors Slashed Top
Petal-Front Top
Butterfly-Embellished Tanktop
Zipper-Detail Alexander Wang Skirt
Faux Fur-Lined Hood
Hybrid Sweater
Too-Big Skirt into Paperbag Waist Skirt
Men’s Clothing Remakes
Summer Tank Dress
Button-Embellished Top
Ruffled Top from a Men’s Shirt
Men’s Shirt to Bow Tunic Dress
Men’s Shirt to Jumpsuit Romper 
Re-fit a Button-Down Shirt
Chain & Bead Halter Dress
Fitted Shirt
Happy Ice Cream Applique T-Shirt
Boot-Covers from a Leather Jacket
Flowered Ballet Flats
Ann Demeulemeester Lace-Up Boots
Corsage Shoe Clips
Fringed Gladiator Sandals
Home Decor
$4 Easter Wreath
$4 Fall Wreath
Super-Easy $7 Holiday Wreeath
Super-Easy $5 Holiday Wreath
Coconut-Banana Crunch Muffins
Low-Sugar Berry Cherry Pie
Low-Fat Baked Donuts
Healthy Like-A-Cheesecake 

Wow, it’s a lot when you look at them all like that! 63 tutorials and how-tos (and I only did 51 in 2009).  I hope this last year has been a wonderful, amazing year for everyone, filled with happiness and DIY!

Here’s hoping that 2011 is even better!

Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers, friends, fellow bloggers, and family!


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DIY: Super-Easy $5 Holiday Wreath (from Present Bows)

In Christmas,DIY,Holidays,Of House and Home on December 25, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Have a couple bows left over after the wrapping-extravaganza?  Have a whole bunch ripped off of presents in the aftermath?  Craft a smaller, point-ier wreath as a counterpoint to a larger piece…as your final Christmas handmade project.  I got all my materials at the Dollar Tree, so it only cost me $5 to make – but it’s also a great way to recycle those bows from presents if you don’t want to re-use them next year.  Here’s how:

You Need:

*2 packages of small stick-on pointed bows
*one larger stick-on bow
*1 small wreath base (styrofoam)
*red ribbon

*glue gun & gluesticks


1. Cut a length of ribbon long enough to hang the wreath.  Wrap it around the top of the wreath base and secure with glue.

2. Glue the small present bows onto the base, filling the base up completely and staggering them to cover any gaps.

3. Glue the largest bow top center onto the red ribbon.

4. Tie the ribbon to a wreath-hanger or hook to display.

 DIY Tutorial for my Super-Easy $8 Holiday Wreath (the larger wreath, pictured above) is here.

Happy DIY’ing…and Merry Christmas!  Hope it is wonderful!


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DIY: Super-Easy $7 Holiday Wreath

In Holidays,Of House and Home on December 20, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Since I’ve posted a how-to for a cheap n easy Easter Wreath and a similar one for a Fall Wreath, I thought a Winter Holiday Wreath was in order.  Though you don’t have to buy your bits and bobs at the Dollar Tree per se, I found that they had such a variety of items I could just mix and match add-ons to their pre-fab wreaths…which alone, looked a little sad and like you bought it at the Dollar Store.  And we want something a little more fabulous, no?

(Everything except the tiny ornaments I bought at the Dollar Tree…and the ornaments were in the $1 bin at Target near the entrance of the store!)  Though the method is a little self-explanatory, I figured why not do something easy when everything’s all caught up in that last-minute countdown to Christmas?

You Need:

*evergreen wreath base
*4 assorted decor sprays (mine had pine needle sprays, pinecones, tiny horns, wrapped packages, and plastic fruit, already affixed!)
*large red velour bow
*pack of tiny ornament balls

*hot glue gun & gluesticks
*wire cutters


 1. Trim the ends of the decor sprays so they won’t stick out from your wreath.  Also: Fluff out the pieces of “evergreen” towards the outside so the wreath looks a little fuller – we’ll be angling all the stuff we’re sticking on towards the inside to create the illusion of a nice, full wreath.

2. Attach the bow at the bottom of the wreath base – mine had a pipe cleaner attached to the back for easy-affixment.

3. Hot-glue the decor sprays around the wreath.

4. Add the tiny ornaments, hot-glued in-between.  (I chose ones that were within the same color scheme of my other decorations: red/gold.)


Okay, that took 5 minutes.  Now on to the million batches of cookies I still have to bake!

Did You Know? The familiar stick-on 8-point ribbon bows that so many of us use on our holiday gifts are actually called “German Christmas Stars” (among many other names).  There is a great step-by-step illustrated tutorial here for those of you who want to try folding your own (just don’t flatten down the points to get that “present bow” look).

Happy DIY’ing!  (And if you’re looking to jazz up this wreath a little bit, do so with my Super-Easy $5 Holiday Wreath Tutorial…coming up shortly!)


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Holiday Wishlist: Do-It-Yourself Fun (Under $50!)*

In Holidays,Objects of Desire,Of House and Home on December 15, 2010 by Naoko Takano

How goeth the holiday shopping?  I am terribly behind and having mini panic-attacks in-between braving the crowds at the mall and waiting in a line that stretches 3 times around the Post Office just to use the Automatic Mailing Machine.  Hopefully everyone else has it under control – but if not and you’d like some ideas for that person who prefers to do everything themselves – and who has more than just a little craftiness up their sleeves – look no further and check out these DIY-themed gifts, all available online: (all under $50* – except for one* very important gift!!)

1. The Big-Ass Book of Crafts, $19.95

2. Beginner Studding Kit, $23

3. Wood DIY Gnome, $4.99 (sale)

4. Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter, $10.19

5. Kenmore Drop-In Bobbin Sewing Machine, $141.99*
(This is, BTW, the exact same machine I use – Hub gave it to me for my birthday 3 years ago.  It is by far the best machine I have ever used – glides through EVERYTHING, even leather up to 3/4″ thick (six layers of sueded split top leather at 1/8″ thick a layer), and it’s never broken or given me any grief.  It has 90 stitches on it (not that  And I’ve never sent it in for maintenance, oiling, or anything.  It’s pretty fabulous and I can’t say enough good things about it!)

6. Gingerbread Train Kit, $19.95

7. Mayan Magic Chocolate-Making Kit, $24.99

8. Urawaza: Tips & Tricks from Japan, $15.95

9. Felt Whole Cakes Pattern Set, $5

10. Black & Decker 14V Drill with Stud Finder, $34.99 (sale)

If you know anyone who wants to get into studding their clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories, the studding kit will set them on their way to spiky fabulousness – or for the DIY gourmet, make-your-own-chocolate or a sweet gingerbread train that will have to be safeguarded against prying little fingers until after the holidays.;-)  And no serious DIY’er should ever be without a power drill – I use mine to drill holes in pendants, sand and buff metal jewelry, distress denim…and of course, make holes in walls! (and your drill doesn’t have to be pink for it to be perfect for you, despite what the hardware store guys may think:-)


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And the Winner of the Rowenta Pro Master Iron Giveaway Is…

In Announcements,Giveaways,Of House and Home on November 2, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Entry #9: LyddieGal from Chic on the Cheap!

When asked what she will make with her new iron, she wrote: 

A pair of scalloped shorts is very high up on my list of things I want to make, and a great iron is important for getting the fabric to lay correctly and not pucker at the curves!

Absolutely!  I’m still in the midst of trying to finish my pair, and my current junky iron is completely confounding me.;-)

Congrats to LyddieGal – I hope she finds this iron handy and is able to craft her heart out!<3
Thanks so much to all who entered!


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Rowenta Pro Master Iron Giveaway

In Giveaways,Of House and Home,Project Runway on October 15, 2010 by Naoko Takano

Rowenta, the official garment care provider of Project Runway, is offering Chic Steals readers a chance to win a Rowenta Pro Master iron! This season of Project Runway might be over in a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean the style has to end too.  With your own iron – the very same as used by the designers on the show – you can take inspiration from the show to create your own signature looks!

Mondo using the Rowenta Pro Master Iron in one of his creations on Project Runway.

The ROWENTA® Pro Master Iron puts a professional tool in consumers’ hands with a commercial grade shot of steam.

Featuring the patented Rowenta microsteam soleplate with 400 micro-holes for ultimate steam distribution, this Faltazi-designed iron is more than an everyday tool; it’s a beautiful work of art.

Created with a 3-Way Smart Automatic Shut-Off system, the iron switches off in 8 minutes if left vertical, 30 seconds if left horizontal or if tipped over. This model comes in a trendy blue color that will add a little fun to any ironing. The addition of the sleek, stainless steel skirt adds a modern touch.

The Pro Master Iron has a 7-foot electrical cord with a 360-degree pivot making it easy to iron almost anything, anywhere. With 1700W of power, it’s simple to get professional results at home with ease.

• High Power – 1700 watts of power for professional results
• Burst of Steam – Produces a powerful burst for effective wrinkle removal from difficult fabrics
• Variable Steam – Allows steam output to be adjusted to accommodate all types of fabric
• High Precision Tip – Perfect for accessing hard-to-reach areas
• Vertical Steam – Allows iron to be used in upright position to remove wrinkles from hanging garments
• Cool Spray Mist – Provides a light mist to remove stubborn wrinkles
• Extra Large Water Tank – Easy to fill and holds 12.7 ounces
• Self Clean System – Flushes out loose mineral deposits ensuring optimal performance
• Anti-Calc System – Integrated cartridge for extended life of the iron
• Anti-Drip System – Helps prevent spitting and leaking when the thermostat is on a low setting
• Comfort Handle – Ergonomically designed for maximum comfort

Christopher also using the iron in one of the Project Runway challenges.

For all of you who DIY or habitually make clothing…or who love to keep your clothing looking as neat and fresh as the day you bought it…an iron is an absolute MUST.  And if you’re using said iron a lot, then eventually the quality of it becomes a deciding factor in how fast and how well you get your ironing done, your creases pressed, your seams steamed, your interfacings fused.  I myself bought a cheapy iron from a megamart store when I moved out to Portland – and you know what?  Given the sheer amount I use it, I heartily regret such a purchase.  It falls over, leaks, steams inefficiently, dirties up the water, tangles itself in the cord…I dread using that iron because whatever I’m doing it always adds another 15+ minutes of wrangling with it.  An iron like this would be a lifesaver – for both regular pressing and for DIY’ing your clothing!

One lucky Chic Steals reader will win a Rowenta Pro Master Iron (ARV: $125!)

How to Enter
Edit 10/24: The entry period is now closed and a winner will be announced shortly.

Be a follower of Chic Steals (in Google reader, Bloglovin, another RSS feed, etc.) and Leave a Comment on this post below telling me what you will create with your Rowenta Pro Master Iron!  (Make sure your email address is in your comment or profile so I can contact you if you win!)

Giveaway open to anyone in the U.S.
Apologies to my international readers!:-(
Giveaway period is open from today until Saturday, Oct. 23, 11:59 PM PST. 
(I’ve extended it a day)
Winner chosen by

Good luck!


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DIY Dollar Store $4 Fall Wreath

In DIY,Of House and Home on September 27, 2010 by Naoko Takano

So sorry no post yesterday…I actually took Saturday off!  Like, completely off from the blogosphere.  I haven’t done that in a long time.  (Felt a little guilty, though!;-)

But I let it go and had a great day, taking Lil Tot to a birthday party at a really cool community center I’ve never been to before (with a swirly 2-story water slide and multiple fun-showers in the toddler pool!! And free fitness classes!) and then the Oregon Fiber Arts festival, where I bought a huge skein of mohair since I think I’m going to attempt knitting this sweater…and maybe one of these sweaters or dresses too…someday…and Lil Tot petted the many goats, bunnies, and alpacas there.

Now that he knows alpacas are neither caramels nor tax forms nor fish but are indeed animals…they are his favorite animal recently!

They are so adorable, and make this tiny hiiiiiin, hiiiiiiin sound.  I’ve never heard an alpaca cry before.  Lil Tot has even renamed his fave game “Duck, duck, goose!” to “Alpaca, alpaca, capybara!” (and the inclusion of the capybara is an even longer story;-)

But I digress. Even though I didn’t post on my blog yesterday, I still DIY’ed!

Following up on my $4 Easter Wreath that I made for…um, Easter…earlier this year, I decided to hit up my local Dollar Tree once again in order to create a beautiful leafy Fall wreath bursting with color.  It’s soooo cheap, and it will take you 30 minutes, tops!!

Dollar Store $4 Fall Wreath

Project Difficulty: (easy/beginner)

You Need:

*medium-sized wreath base ($1)
*3 leafy garlands ($1 apiece – I chose a variety that had tiny pumpkins, acorns, berries, and wheat sheaves attached)
*floral wire (I had on hand, but I saw it at the dollar store as well)
*wire-cutting pliers
*hot glue gun + gluesticks

How To: (the photos are not of the step-by-step since it’s pretty self-explanatory)

1. Cut a small piece of wire and thread it through the end of one of the leafy garlands.  Twist it around the wreath base and twist the ends together, hiding the sharp ends inside the wreath.

2. Cut more pieces of wire and tie around the leafy garland in various places as you place it in a circle on top of your wreath base.

3. Continue in the same manner until you’ve layered all 3 leaf garlands atop one another, going round and round the wreath circle.

4. Use hot glue to glue down the leaves to hide any of the wire or stems that may show.

Hang up on your front door and enjoy!  The wonderful thing about this wreath is that the color is so vibrant…and it will last FOREVER.  (And that it’s about $15 less than similar decorations you might find at Target…or $30 less than those you might find at Pottery Barn…;-)

Happy DIY’ing and Happy Fall!


P.S. I’m not doing a Style it Chic! post today since I’ve got a huge post with ONE WEEK of styling options coming up…hopefully will post tomorrow…

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