December 31, 2011

DIY Champagne Cork Hot Air Balloon

Well, good morning sunshine! It's the new year, so through sunglasses and a slight haze from last night I'll give you something to do with all those leftover champagne corks and wires. Here's how to make your own champagne cork hot air balloon.

This is great fun to do with corks from bottles you opened on special occasions like weddings, birthdays, or anniversaries.

Step 1) Remove the cork and wire from the bottle. My guess is that task is complete.

Step 2) Take the cork out of the wire, flipping the cork around and setting them like so.

Step 3) Place the cork into the wire.

Step 4) Start twisting the wire tightener and adjust the cork so the wire will snuggly be around the smallest point in the cork.

Step 5) Tighten it as much as possible (but don't break the wire!) and then fold over the excess wire.

Congrats on surviving last night and making your own champagne cork hot air balloon!

Tomorrow's post: 30 before 30

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December 30, 2011

How did you make that?

As promised, here's how I made this dress. Now I realize the fabric choice for this dress is a bit...flamboyant, but it's Hawaii. People wear much worse (imagine ill-fitting button-up shirts with multiple images of Santa in his island best). It's Hawaii, just go with it.

That's how I did it, explained the best way I know how: pictures.

Hey. Have a great new year's eve!

Tomorrow's post: Learn how to make a champagne cork hot air balloon.

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December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner Dress

Christmas Eve in Hawaii is a fun occasion with my in-laws. We got dressed up and went to a nice restaurant where I had a great steak. A steak which I had been looking forward to for weeks. Oh yeah, it was good. Though I barely had room for it in this dress. I made this dress myself in anticipation of a night out in Hawaii. I'll post how I did it soon.

I used the Bridget hair tutorial I posted here with the follow up ponytail here.

I want steak!

What I wore to dinner:

Dress – I made it
Shoes – Born

Tomorrow's post: A sketch of how I made this dress.

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December 28, 2011

Black and White and Off to Dinner

As lovely and fantastic as our vacation in Hawaii was, it was pretty breezy on the big island most days. This made short skirts interesting. Luckily, only my sister-in-law got a quick flash from me and the wind. Here's one of the many items she got for me on our target run, paired with another Christmas present. Our friend April makes fun clutches and made this one for me! Thanks April!

The clutch April made!

A less wind-blown look.

Here's what I wore:

Dress – Target
Belt – Target
Clutch – April
Shoes – Target
Scarf – I made it with this tutorial

Notice my pastieness is still intact. SPF people. SPF!

Tomorrow's post: Christmas Eve Dinner Dress

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December 27, 2011

Hawaiian Snowballs

As promised, here is the recipe for the cookies we baked for Santa this year. Appropriately, since we're in Hawaii, we created a recipe for sugar cookies called Hawaiian Snowballs. And when I say 'we' I mean my sister-in-law did all the work. She came up with the idea, found the original recipe in Food Network (December issue), made the modifications, and made the cookies. I just helped measure things and took the pictures. Heck, she even came up with the name.

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or scrape all the seeds from a medium sized pod of vanilla
3 ounces cream cheese

Vegetable oil or cooking spray, for the baking sheets

1/2 pound white or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bag of coconut flakes

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Put the soft, room temperature butter and cream cheese, granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (or about 6 minutes if using a hand mixer). Add the egg yolk one at a time, beating on medium-high speed between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches and mix until just incorporated. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment and lightly oil. Use a rolling pin, or if you don't have one you can use a wine bottle as long as it has flat sides, and roll out each piece of dough between 2 sheets of parchment until 1/4 inch thick (return the dough to the refrigerator if it softens too much). Cut into 2-to-4-inch shapes with cookie cutters, or if you don't have cookie cutters use a wine glass to make circular shapes; arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Bake the cookies until lightly golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the icing: Put the chocolate, shortening, corn syrup, milk, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth. Tint with food coloring. After they've cooled, ice the cookies as desired and sprinkle with coconut. If desired, toast your coconut first for a less sweet taste. Let set.

Santa enjoyed them, I hope you do too!

Tomorrow's post: Black and White and Off to Dinner

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December 26, 2011

Not So Vanilla

While on the big island my family and I went to the vanilla farm on the wet side of the island. This special trip was made to gain the vanilla beans needed to make our very special Hawaiian Snowball Sugar Cookies. The recipe and some great tips for making them will be posted tomorrow.

Here's what I wore on our road trip during a rainy Hawaiian day:

Dress – Target c/o my sister-in-law and our diet coke fueled shopping spree
Belt – Target
Scarf – I made it with this tutorial
Sweater – Paper Scissors
Sandals – Born

Tomorrow's post: Hawaiian Snowball Sugar Cookies

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December 25, 2011

Watercolor Kid

This set of watercolors was a gift to my hubby's family this year. See more like this here.

They're very bright and fun, just like our nephew.

Tomorrow's post: A not so vanilla outfit.

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December 24, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka

Hope your Christmas is going well! Back to it tomorrow! But until then, enjoy this.

Tomorrow's post: Watercolor Kid

December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve

It's almost here! Day off for me here in lovely Hawaii, but enjoy this holiday tune on me.

December 22, 2011

DIY Shoe Makeover

As promised this is what I did with yesterday's sequin bow tutorial. Have you ever noticed that our grandmothers took much better care of their shoes than we do ours? Now that shoes are so abundant and affordable we take a good pair of shoes for granted. Of course, until you don't have the spending cash to go buy more anymore (like this little kitty cat).

That's why I decided to makeover a well-used old pair of flats. They've been quite handy and I've had them for years (I think I got them at Target), but they are a little worse for wear. This scuffed, never buffed, sole coming off, shredded insole pair of shoes is what I started with...
...and this is what I have now! WOW! What a difference some lovin' makes. First, I clipped off the old leather bows and washed the shoes off with a damp cloth. I then moisturized what could be leather with some good ol' Rose's Salve. Yes, it's meant for your lips, but it shined these puppies up, wasn't slimy, and made them smell wonderful!

I then eye-balled the shaped of the insole, sketched it on to some spare fabric, and folded it over before cutting it to get two mirrored pieces. To attach it I spread a very thin layer of all purpose glue on to the current ugly insole and smoothed the new fabric over it.

I then hot glued the DIY sequin bows I had just made onto my "new" shoes before also glueing back down the rubber sole.

I love them! I hope this encourages you to spruce up the old before buying new.

Tomorrow's post:  Christmas Eve Music

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December 21, 2011

DIY Sequin Bows

Everyone needs a bit of sparkle once in a while. These sequin bows aren't difficult to make and could be lovely on a sweater, in your hair, or on your shoes.

Here's what you need:
• sequins
• matching thread
• straight needle
• scissors
• felt (any color will do as it will be covered)
• hot glue and glue sticks

There are three sections to this tutorial: cutting out the felt shape, making sequin strings, and applying the sequin.


Step 1) Cut out your bow. Feel free to use this shape if you like.

Step 2) Also cut out a small square to represent the middle of the bow. It won't show, but you'll need it for height.


Step 1) Thread the your needle and tie a knot at the end of the doubled-up thread.

Step 2) Push the needle through a sequin and through the doubled thread, creating a secure loop around the sequin.

Step 3) Push the needle through another sequin and through the previous sequin on the thread again.

Step 4) Keep pushing the needle through new sequins and through the previous sequins on the thread. Keep adjusting the sequin thread so it's straight and tight. How long should it be? Approximately 10" (25cm), but you can hold it up to your felt to see exactly how much you'll need.

Step 5) Once you have a long thread of sequins, tie of the thread around the last sequin on the line. You'll most likely need two long lines and maybe a short third line for the center.


Step 1) Start glueing down your sequin in a top corner. Lay the line of sequin down one bit at a time, overlapping them slightly. Cover the entire shape.

Step 2) Glue the center of the bow down on top of your first layer.

Step 3) Cover the center with sequins.

Great job! Enjoy your newfound sparkltude.

Tomorrow's post: What I did with my new sequin bows...shoe makeover.

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December 20, 2011

DIY Lit Flower Christmas Lights

As mentioned, my in-laws and myself needed a tree to complete the holiday season. We decided to make this bad boy a Hawaiian themed tree and use tissue paper, construction paper, and pipe cleaners to jazz up the usual tree and lights. What I'll show you today is how to make lit flower Christmas lights.

What you'll need:
• tissue paper
• scissors
• tape
• string of lights

Step 1) Fold a few pieces of tissue paper together into a squarish shape.

Step 2) Cut out a three-petaled shape like this.

Step 3) Unfold.

Step 4) Poke your finger through the middle of one of the flowers making a small hole.

Step 5) Push your tissue paper flower over one of your lights. I recommend LED because they don't get hot and there is no chance of the tissue catching on fire. Not like that likely with any lights though nowadays.

Step 6) Scrunch the flower forward so you can attach the flower to the base of the light. Less takes a bit of hands-on practice.

Step 7) Wrap a small amount of tape around the paper and base.

Step 8) Arrange petals in a manner that pleases you. I didn't have to do much to these, but you could scrunch them more.

This is what they end up looking like. We did them in two colors.

So bright and fun!

Tomorrow's post: DIY Sequin Bows

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Aloha, Folks!

Hello from the big island! My hubby and I spent a few family-free days in Maui before meeting up with my lovely in-laws on the big island. It was so good to see them as it's been almost a year. Since arriving we've been over-fed, taken shopping, and loved-up all in a beautiful condo near the ocean. Life is good here and here's the proof. First, a few pics from Maui.

Where we stayed. Hubby's family favorite, but my first time.

The beach.

I received so many compliments from folks on this island about this skirt. Just one of those random $10 pick ups from the shops of Sydney paired with a Cotton On tank. They were in to it apparently.

Because my good Ray Bans were left in the grocery store last week I had to grab some cheap 2 for $15 glasses before the trip. Sitting in the sun these exploded on my face. Apparently the lens plastic expanded faster than the frame. Oh boy.

Wearing the dress I made on the beach, as promised to internetland.

Hubby makes an appearance in disguise, of course.

At the top of Haleakala and short on air.

Amusing ourselves in the clouds.

And now a few from our adventures on the big island.

Feeding some crazy koi fish.

Settle down fellas.

My sister-in-law, mother-in-law, nephew, and myself crafted up this Hawaiin-inspired Christmas tree with tissue paper, construction paper, and pipe cleaners. That's right, I'm bringing back pipe cleaners. More on this project later...

Tomorrow's post: DIY Sequin Bows