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?

 

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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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3 Simple Ways To Update The Clothes You Already Own

I love clothes. But who doesn’t right?

If you looked in my closet you’d probably say I have more than enough clothes….and that may or may not be true. I am a quantity person, not a quality person….though the last 2 1/2 years of marriage to my quality over quantity husband is teaching me to value quality things as well.

Anyway, like I said I like clothes. Sometimes I get tired of the clothes that I have and get an itch to buy something new. My wallet doesn’t necessarily always agree with that itch, so I improvise (or go to nearest outdoor market to my house that’s only open on Monday’s and buy a few shirts for $0.30 each….I end up keeping one of them and giving the others away to friends).

Many people are good with their brains….I generally find myself better with my hands. Don’t get me wrong, I graduated from university with honors but only because I just wanted to finish and I was genuinely interested in what I was studying.

Back to clothes. Here are three easy ways to update pieces of clothing that you already own but are either went out of style, you’re tired of, or you never wore it more than once after you bought it (let’s be honest….we all do it…it looked SO cute…but it’s just not YOU).

  1. An old t-shirt in the back of your closet to a great workout shirt. All it takes in a pair of scissors to cut off the sleeves and make large arm holes that are more conducive and less restrictive for working out.
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    Awesome wolf t-shirt from a beach trip about 5 years ago.

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    SO much better for working out than sleeves that leave you with wet pits.

     

  2. DIY Distressed Denim. These jeans were my favorite jeans for about a year and a half. After that they were faded rather than a rich dark indigo and the fit had stretched out a bit from the perfect skinny ankle jeans they once were. So why not roll with it? I threw some bleach on them and took a cheese grater to a few places…they went from my favorite, to not worn for 6 months, back to my top 2 list.  Check out Merrick’s Art for a great denim distressing tutorial.
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    Don’t mind my dog literally biting my hand.

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    I love how the bleach missed a few places and left some of the original darker denim.

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    Don’t worry if you try it out and it’s not perfect. It’s UNIQUE.

  3. A dress turned skirt. I bought this dress at the fore mentioned market for $1.50 and thought I would LOVE it, until I put it on and it was just too big. I was hoping for the  effortless breezy look….but that’s not what I got until I chopped off the top and made it into this skirt.. All it took was a piece of 1 1/2 wide elastic, scissors and a straight stick (can be done by hand or much faster with a sewing machine. Hems are the bain of my existence when it comes to sewing, I can never seem to get them just right (aka straight), so it was so nice that all I had to do was cut an put in an elastic band…the hem was the original one of the dress.
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    Simple but elegant.

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    Again….dog begging for attention…except two of them.

 

These are simple changes you can make to the clothes that you already own to update them and put them back into your regular wear rotation. What do you do when you get bored with your closet? I would love to test out your ideas….just ask my husband….I’m always complaining about my wardrobe. I know that I’m not alone…but there are small changes that make the world of difference!

Enjoy!

How to give your brain a break: Mini Escapes

There are so many responsibilities that we all have in our lives…..a montage of family, work, friends, church, volunteer opportunities, etc. So many things that keep us constantly busy. Many or most of the things that fill our lives may be very enjoyable but sometimes we just need a break from everything that we’re supposed to be doing just to enjoy life for a minute. I find that if I don’t take a few breaks throughout the week that by the time Friday comes around or Sunday I’m completely and utterly exhausted….not to mention irritable. Just ask my husband. So, here are a few of the things that I do to take a break from the demands of life. Most of these activities when done for 30-60 minutes really does give you room to breathe from thew things that so easily weary us.
How to give your brain a break:
Step one: Put phone on silent and in another room.
Step two: Prepare a snack (everything is better with food…preferably a healthy balanced one…but often a cookie works too).
Step three: Pick an activity (whatever is most enjoyable to you).
Your activity of choice may consist of any of the following….
  1. Color. Yes, like in a coloring book. Some of you are much more talented than I in your artistic abilities and can actually draw beautiful and glorious pictures. That’s also a great option, but for those of us like myself there are a variety of adult coloring books at most bookstores as well currently at Costco. My Mother-in-law gave me this one last year while my husband and I were visiting for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t hurt to be drinking a white peppermint mocha while coloring on a road trip. img_8596
  2. Play a game. Any assortment of cards, Scrabble, Monopoly (some people enjoy the 5 hours of torture, I personally do not), Jenga, Solitaire, you name it. These things will keep your mind thinking without getting you thinking about all the things pressing on your mind. This can be done alone or with a friend/family member.
  3. Read or write a book. Many people love getting lost in the story of a good book, or challenging themselves by reading a book that motivates them to grow in some area. Others, like my husband, have so many thoughts going through their minds that they can beautifully put words down on a page.
  4. Cook or bake something. I personally find baking something new very therapeutic. That doesn’t mean that I love cooking dinner every night….but when I have a few extra minutes I love whipping up a new (generally sweet) recipe to taste.
  5. Pamper yourself. Try a new face mask with ingredients you have in your kitchen (honey and yogurt, avocado….the list goes on) or give yourself a mani/pedi. Sometimes my husband lets me give him a face mask too (it takes about 5 minutes of begging…then he happily obliges) img_0081

Don’t forget to take a minute and breathe. You are going to make it! Life is fun…don’t let yourself get too bogged down with all the “have to’s”. Sometimes I’ll even reward myself….if I stay focused and get a lot done at work today then after dinner I’ll paint my toes.

What do you do to give yourself a break from the stresses of life?

Hello Summer! Wait….isn’t it January?

For those of you living in the PNW of America, you most likely seen your fair share of freezing temperatures and snow in the past few days (and weeks). The only thing I see as I scroll through social media lately is #snowpocalypse #snowmaggedon. It makes me miss “home” more than anything! Of course in my memories I only think about the fun times; snowman building, hot chocolate drinking, fireplace snuggling, hallmark movies, cookie baking, staying home all day in my pjs, etc. Like many fond memories of “home” (where I grew up from in the PNW in relation to my current home in Uganda) I tend to push out the bad memories that accompany the fond of thoughts of snow like almost dying trying to drive a mile home from work at 11pm, being stuck inside for days on end mostly due to ice not snow and everything from work to church being cancelled, not to mention grocery stores being bought clean of every useful thing.

These days my life doesn’t include winter. It’s basically endless summer here in Kampala. Summer with a few torrential downpours and the occasional drop into the high 60’s. The high of today was 87 degrees Fahrenheit….so it obviously called for a cool sweet treat. While on a two day Christmas celebration my husband and I ate a Christmas dinner of pizza and ice cream floats. I haven’t been able to find root-beer soda even one time in the last two years of living on this side of the world and it never once crossed my mind to use any other soda for a float until the Christmas meal a few weeks ago. We had a Coke float one night and an orange Fanta float the next. Both were delicious! Today called for a re-make of the Fanta float and it did not disappoint.

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I’m thoroughly convinced that apart from a 7-11 slurpee an ice-cream float is the best way to cool off in warm weather or to indulge in when it’s snowing outside and the fireplace (or heater) is blazing inside

Orange soda with vanilla ice-cream is my current favorite flavor combo…but I’m up for suggestions! Do you have a favorite? With summer all year long I could use some suggestions 🙂

A week in hair: some call it styles some call it a jungle up there.

RAW and REAL: eyes closed, eyes opened, glasses, one shoulder that goes up, one shoulder that goes down and the fact that my husband took one snap of each angle make these pictures come to life.

Monday Hair: Day off hair. Leftover Sunday hair with a baseball cap…pretty basic and also pretty typical that showering and hair doing doesn’t happen on most given Mondays.

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Tuesday Hair: quick shower and rush out the door with a top knot. Pretty basic work week hair that happens more often than I’d like to admit. Not sure what’s going on with my eyes….one normal eye and one squinty eye.

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Wednesday Hair: This particular Wednesday is leftover Tuesday top knot hair….immediately after seeing my hair in the side profile picture I bobby pinned it back into a top knotted half up look rather than only the tiny top knot on top….for obvious reasons. It looks terrible! My bad! Not to mention the obvious grow-out from when I tried toning my hair after back to ashy two months after getting it professionally done (which was now 6 months ago). Who knew that toner and 20volume developer would actually lighten ALL of my hair and leave a gross grow out line after the stylist had made a perfectly blended line of demarcation??

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Thursday Hair: Still half wet and naturally wavy/curlyish with a bit of some sort of salty-textured hair mist. As the day went on ti only got bigger and bigger…as usual (especially in the SUPER humid climate that I live in)

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Friday Hair: A continuation of Thursday hair….because it’s unhealthy to wash your hair everyday right??

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Saturday Hair: This was only the first half of Saturday…but my husband was running out the door earlier than I was and it was my only chance not to miss Saturday’s hair pic. I promise I showered after going on a run (yay me!)….and my hair ended up in a top knot as usual. Also featuring my granny glasses which rarely make it out of the house these days.

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Sunday Hair: Basically the only day in the week that I ever use any hair styling accessory. I’d like to think that I do my hair fairly often….but the truth is that most mornings I’m not willing to get up early enough to fit in “hair doing time”. This Sunday I put less effort than normal into my Sunday hair…but still managed to curl a few pieces before trowing it back into a messy bun as I ran out the door.

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Have any tips on how you easily/quickly style your hair in 5 minutes or less? Help a sister out!