It’s all in the details + Structured Top with Distressed Denim

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I am not at all a perfectionist. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Don’t get me wrong, I like things done right, but I like when other people put effort into the tiny details. I can appreciate what they did and thank God that I didn’t have to. As someone that loves crafts and using my creative brain this sometimes doesn’t make sense. How can you enjoy embroidery if you don’t like details and don’t work hard to make your embroidery perfect? Do simple projects. Quickly finished in less than an hour or two. I’m an instant gratification kind of person….not a pour over something for hours and days. But when it comes to clothes I can definitely appreciate the little things.

Check out this top I picked up the Monday market nearest my home. Read my previous post for more details about the market. Still only 1,000/= (or $0.30). Holla at this win of a shirt.

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What I’m wearing: similar sleeveless white shirt, long sleeve version here, distressed boyfriend jeans, and similar leather oxfords

I’m not a perfectionist and also not normally one for button-ups or white shirts. But lately I’ve been digging the classic clean style. Paired with these bleach distressed jeans and leather flats really takes the edge off the “stiff” look of the white shirt.

How do you pair your white button-ups? I love the multi-purpose-ness of this shirt that can be dressed up or down for any occasion.

Market Challenge + DIY Cute Pocket

In April I started doing what I call the “Market Challenge” (read this post for more info). On my last trip to the local market nearest to my home I picked up this top along with a few others (one of them that I removed the decorative detail from to add to the top of this pocket for extra intrigue). This top was 1,000/=. That looks like a lot but in dollars it’s approximately thirty cents. WINNING!

I loved the striped pattern and ruffled edged sleeves/cap…and with that price how can you say no? After bringing it home and trying it on I saw that it was missing something. DUH! A pocket! Who doesn’t love pockets? But what color/type of pocket? I had the larger striped material lying around from a top I got from the same market about a year ago, it has sat in my sewing pile for some time waiting for me create something new with it. This was the perfect opportunity!

I used a sewing machine for this project, but if you don’t have one a needle and some thread will work too!

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What do you think? Are there any small or easy things that you do to transform any articles of clothing into creative pieces of art?

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

YUM! YUM! YUM! I love the thought of anything home baked. Bread, cakes, brownies, cookies, scones, biscuits, and basically any other mixture of flour and water or butter has my mouth drooling at just the thought. Lately I’ve been buying one bunch of bananas a week thinking that somehow this will be the time that my husband and eat all of them in one week….we’ve yet to succeed (unless we have visitors). We always get to the end of the  week with a minimum of 4 (usually more) bananas left and I continually struggle to find what to do with the remainder. Well in my continual weeks of struggling I’ve come up with a few great suggestions.

But first, these delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies.

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Seriously who doesn’t love a great chocolate chip cookie? These are a delicious twist on your average chocolate chip cookie.

Recipe was adapted from Averie Cooks here: Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used less oats and more flour as well as all organic cane sugar rather than one third white sugar and two thirds brown sugar, and for good measure added an extra banana. You can see that I had WAY more bananas that needed to be used. One bunch of bananas here in Uganda can have anywhere from 12 to 18 bananas. That’s a lot of bananas for two people. Chocolate chips are hard to come by around these parts so I used some small fruit chew filled chocolate candies…..anything chocolate will do!

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These cookies truly are delicious. Giving you a yummy treat as well as a way to use all you have and not waste. The more bananas, the more cookies you can bake. I recommend baking a few extra to share with a neighbor or a friend!

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Ruffled Stripes + DIY Embroidered Jeans

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This particular season in life has been a busy one. A week and a half ago I was spending 14 hours a day with 500+ young people. It was a phenomenal 3 days spent worshiping God together with so many others. Being that the youth ministry my husband and I lead was the one putting on the conference….we were a bit busy in the weeks leading up to it and days of the event itself. That said…the days and hours of being frazzled from busyness were worth it!

Exactly one week ago….last Monday….on my day off I started trying my hand at embroidery. Since then I’ve made a cute couch pillow with “love” embroidered on the front, a baby shower gift of two framed embroidered words, and added some character to my already DIY’d jeans. Embroidery is much easier than I expected, and although I’m a amateur in every sense of the word it’s so and fulfilling. Giving a great sense of accomplishment after a simple project is finished! Something that I love, feeling accomplished after completing a project that took 30 minutes 🙂

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I tried 2 different types of embroidering. A zig-zag stitch as pictured here.

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And a straight stitch as pictured here. Don’t mind my dog sniffing my rear.

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Check out these links for some awesome embroidered denim:

Flowered Embroidered Mid-Rise Jean (I love these ones!)

Rolled Cuff Embroidered Jean

Tribal Embroidered Jean (My fav and the best deal of these 3)

Do you have an current favs? Or simple embroidery ideas? I’d love to try them out!

 

Make-it Monday: Unisex T-shirt Turned Crop-top

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Ever since I can remember I’ve been snipping, spray painting, sewing, dyeing and ripping my way through life as far as clothes go. My mom taught one of my older brothers and I how to sew when I was young (maybe 9 years old?)…our first project obviously being pajama pants. That’s a given for anyone that has ever learned how to sew in America. Her creativity, is what I think, jumpstarted my creative mind. She gave me liberty and license to use my imagination and let me use her sewing machine and whatever other sewing supplies she had in the house. My mom never yelled at me over broken needles or whatever else she had to fix after my mishaps, if you know her, you know that she is literally the best.

I love being able to use the creative mind my mom gave me as an outlet. Life is sometimes too busy, too stressful, too tiring, too “have-to” that if I don’t use my brain to do something creative I feel too stuck in a box. Whether it’s at work or at home, when I get to use my hands and mind to create something it’s takes me out of the “have-to” mindset and reminds me that I “get to”. I get to live an awesome life. I have an awesome husband, I have awesome friends, am apart of an awesome church, serve an awesome God and live in an awesome country. It’s amazing how doing something you’re made (or just love) to do can give you a better perspective on life (spending of time with Jesus helps too).

Back to “Make-it Monday”. The shirt that I’m transforming in this blog is one that I got to design (hooray for getting to be creative at work) for the upcoming youth conference put on by the youth ministry that my husband and I lead out of Life Church here on this side of the world. It is your basic unisex t-shirt and every year I like to make mine unique to me.

Here’s a picture after cutting and pinning before sewing.

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I cut the bottom off of a black slip that was too long for all my skirts and used it to add contrast and flair to the design. Trimming up and folding, then sewing in and up the sleeves was an added bonus. In unisex sizes I generally wear a size small but I bought a large to be sure that I could cut and sew as I pleased.

And here’s the finished product.

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Obviously no outside pictures at my house are complete without at least one of my dogs joining in.

Sometimes people don’t realize how easy it is to make something your own or add your own personal touch to something that a million other people own to make it one-of-a-kind. I love doing things like this! What do you do to use your brain for fun and creativity?

 

Wardrobe Wednesday: Market Challenge

In past posts I’ve mentioned the local Monday market near my home, just outside of Kampala, Uganda. It is packed full of clothes, shoes, fruits, vegetables, and numerous other random things. One Wednesday in a month I’ll be posting the results of that month’s Market Challenge. I love games/challenges, great deals and clothes. What could be better than a combination of all three? Below are the rules that I will be abiding by. In the future I may include guests in these posts.

Market Challenge guidelines:

  1. $3 limit (10,000 Uganda Shillings)
  2. 1 hour
  3. The best outfit possible

Disclaimer: Shoes will not be included.

Hope you enjoy the journey with me. Are there any secret hot spots for bargain deals near you? What has been your experience? Here are the results of my first ever Wardrobe Wednesday: Market Challenge.

OUTFIT #1

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  1. Striped Front-Button Maxi/Midi Dress: $0.56 USD (2,000ugx)
  2. Shoes (bought from Buckle last time I was in the States)

It could use a few alterations to make it a bit more flattering as far as the fit goes. Most likely I’ll wear it a few times then pass it along to a friend.

OUTFIT #2

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  1. Striped Faux Front-Button Midi Skirt:  $0.56 USD (2,000ugx)
  2. Long black tank (tank dress) (bought from Forever21 approximately four years ago)
  3. Shoes (same as above)

This one needs a through washing to get out a small stain on the back waistband. I really like it! I think it’s cute, on-trend and flattering.

It’s amazing what you can find for a steal when you take the time to look.

P.S. This is the first post with the camera that my husband commissioned my family to help buy me for my birthday last week. He was the photographer. It will be a journey for me to learn how to shoot and edit pictures, but I am very excited. Any tips? I can use all the help I can get!

Everything Black: A Saga

Black is slimming, so they say.

Black goes with everything.

If you can’t decide what to wear, wear black, it’s so classic.

 

For whatever reason it is….black is back. Not that black ever left, but currently (ok…it’s been about two years now) it’s in constant rotation in my closet. I feel as if I’ve made a switch from loving brighter colors and prints to loving wearing black and more muted, plain clothes. All day, everyday. It’s not that I don’t wear colors or prints at all, but only if all my black clothes are dirty. Is that bad? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not goth….but I feel good in it and it just goes well for nearly every occasion.

There are so many ways to mix and match. Here are selections from a few different occasions.

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Try adding a color pop, different textures, a hat or other great accessory to give your monotone look some depth. My current favorite add in colors are gold, white/cream and maroon. What do you do to add flair to your look?

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Love Challenge: PATIENCE

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Let’s get personal. Lately I’ve felt challenged on the level of love that show to others, so I’ve decided (been prompted by God) to do something about it. It’s nothing I haven’t done before….but it’s been a while (5 or 6 years) since I last took time and put effort into intentionally loving people. That’s TOO long, much too long. I’ve noticed myself being short with people (including my husband) and putting more blame on how others respond to me than on how I treat or respond to them.

Whether you are a christian or not, the Bible has a lot to say about how we should treat the people around us (friends and enemies alike). For the next large number of weeks I’ll be focusing on a passage out of 1 Corinthians 13 (the famous “love” chapter in the Bible) and going systematically through the section of verses focusing on what love is and is not. I’ll be posting about my successes and failures every once in a while as venture in this.

Join me! We can together better ourselves and in turn, the people around us.

As humans we respond to love. We love, love. Well some of us do. But love is about more than just love stories and butterflies and it’s not only for couples. Love is for all of us, and how we should treat each other is with love in every situation.

Week #1: Love is PATIENT

Patience is something I am often lacking in. You can ask my husband, the interns he and I lead together, my family, my friends and the checkout lady at the grocery store….this is something I NEED to grow in. Getting flustered about a simple situation of irritated when things don’t go my way shows a lack of patience, not to mention how irritated I can get about stuck in traffic that really only adds five minutes to my journey. Is it really a big deal in the long run?? Five minutes? No.

Seriously, join me this week as I try my hand (with bucket loads of help from God) at practicing patience out of love for the people around me.

Is there anything that you are working on to better yourself? What is it? How can we help each other grow?

Designing Clothes and Matching with Bae

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I’m not sure I’ve mentioned in the past, but my husband is a champ. He goes with my funny ideas without much complaining. If he sees that I am excited enough about something he won’t even put up a fuss…..I really scored in the husband department.

Recently I bought some fabric from a friend who is moving from Uganda back to the states and getting rid of much. When you move across the world it’s normally quite difficult and expensive if you want to move your things with you, as shipping fees are expensive.

After purchasing the material it took me a few days of pondering to figure out what I wanted to do with it. Options were endless in my mind. Pillows for the couch, a bed cover, big round, pleated skirt…..who knows, but for a while now I’d been wanting a blazer. In my mind I wanted a simple black one, maybe with a few small downplayed leather details, that’s obviously not what I got. One day during church (don’t worry it was during the 2nd service after I had already paid attention during the 1st service) I sketched a blazer for myself and shirt for my husband that I thought would go great made with the new material. Personally I enjoy sewing quite a bit, but the things I make fail in quality comparison to that of others. Mostly because I am neither a perfectionist nor have all that much patience. I have a friend that sews custom clothes for a living (the brother of a close friend of Seth and I) at reasonable prices.

Here in Uganda it is not out of the ordinary to have clothes made custom for you, and is often less expensive than buying new clothes (depending on the quality you are looking for). Even more exciting is when couples wear matching clothes made out of African printed materials. People love it! I’ve grown to enjoy it every now and then. A few days after I sketched the matching items that I wanted, I brought the material to the tailor and showed him my sketches. He took measurements and assured me that he’d have the items finished in a few short days. He definitely didn’t disappoint. Here is the sketches I gave him and the final products.

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The original sketches I gave the tailor.

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My blazer 🙂

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Also with the buttons closed.

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My handsome hubby in his new digs. With our pup…just like he was annoying me in one of my past posts.

 

Have you ever had clothes made specially for you? Or do you make your own? Any tips?

diy: Cute Little Plant In A Mug

 

This is just about the easiest diy there is. A cute little plant in a mug can brighten up a window sill or coffee table in a matter of minutes. The hardest part about it is remembering to water it. Just ask me, this is my second time planting in this mug (my favorite thrift store find that I brought to Uganda with me when I moved….I had a small collection going but brought only a few of my favorites). Last time….about 9 months ago when I first added some life to “Mustachio” I was always forgetting to water him. He put up a good fight and finally died for real after I was away for three weeks and he lost to the battle of dehydration. My goal this time around is to keep him alive.

The requirements are a mug, a plant, and a bit of dirt. I’m not sure what type of plan this is but it’s cute and has the sweetest little purple flowers. Originally I bought a white flowering plant as well as this purple one but made the mistake of leaving them outside where my dogs could reach them and the white flowering one fell victim to Hamlet. I woke up the next morning to find dirt and bits of green strewn about the driveway. My bad.

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My absolute favorite mug!

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