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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in DIY (20)


{DIY Tutorial} When Your Husband Ruins His Clothes, Make Them Yours!

The last time I posted a clothing DIY tutorial, it was because The Candyman had ruined one of my favorite shirts. The Candyman, if he’s anything, is totally a guy when it comes to certain things. He never puts the dishes away in the same place twice. Clothes will lay strewn over and around his hamper, but hardly ever IN his hamper.  There is a halo of crumbs and food stuffs around the leather chair he sits in to watch TV. Like I said, totally a guy, right?  This guy status also applies when it comes to reading the care labels on the clothes he washes. This happened to include a wool sweater he had that he washed (on hot, I’m gonna guess) as well as dried in the dryer. It didn’t turn directly into felt, but shrunk way beyond wearing.

I came across the sweater last week, sitting in the closet, gathering dust and I took it out to give to Goodwill or something. The color was so pretty that I thought it might be a good candidate for a project.

And besides, I wanted a new sweater.

before after

So I would say that this DIY tutorial is rated, on a difficulty level of 1 to 5 with 5 being the hardest, at about a 3. You definitely need a sewing machine.

Here’s what I did:

cut up center3

Because the sweater had a center placket with buttons, I simply cut the width of the placket up the length of the sweater. Basically, I just followed the cable pattern along the sweater.

cut sweater

So now you’ve got some raw edges to deal with. You want to finish those off and turn them to the inside. You can edge-finish with bias tape, ribbon, lace, seam binding – all sorts of goodies. I had a hard time deciding:


You’ll want to choose one that is weight appropriate for your sweater. This is a pretty thick wool, so I choose the brown, vintage velvet ribbon.


You’ll want to measure two equal lengths of the ribbon, one for each side of the sweater. Pin and sew the ribbon on. I did what’s called “stitching in the ditch” with my ribbon. This means I sewed on the very, very edge of the ribbon (“the ditch,” if you will) to keep it pretty-pretty.

Fold the ribbon over to the inside of the sweater and press. My ribbon got a little crinkly after I turned and I pressed it, but it totally looks cute, me thinks. Once the whole thing was done, it actually smoothed out a lot.

The next step is to stitch the opposite side of the ribbon down to the sweater. I did that using  a whip stitch. Grab up a few threads of the sweater, but don't go all the way through the sweater with your needle. You don't want to see your stitches on the fashion side of your sweater.

Next, you need to make the sweater fit your bod. This isn’t as hard as it seems. Once you get the general fit, you’ll want to measure one side and mimic the measurements on the other. You can use a sweater you already have as a guide, if you’d like. Don’t forget to include the sleeves in this reduction step!

I machine basted the seam first, checked it for fit and then sewed a permanent seam. There will be a little bulk on the sides at this step, but don’t worry. We’re about to fix that.

seam finishing.

If you’re Ms. Fancypants and have a serger, you could probably use that. I think sergers are The Devil and have a theory on how they’re the demise of fine sewing, but that’s a rant for another day.

Now, since I’d cut away part of the middle front of my sweater and taken up the sides, that means there’s still going to be more fabric in the back than in the front. To fix that, I made a dart up the back.

Here’s a basic tutorial on how to sew a dart, though her methods are NOT couture (yes, yes, I'm a fucking sewing snob) and go against how I feel about people teaching shit on the internet, it's not too terrible a tutorial.

dart1 dart2

After I sewed the dart, I cut it open (this is not what one normally does with a dart, but the material is so bulky, I had to) and pressed the dart open. I finished the raw edges like I did the seams and whip stitched the edges down to the sweater, just to keep them flat. You can skip that whip stitch step if you aren’t an anal retentive freak.

Now at this point, I could stop. I’ve got a basic cardigan with no closures, my seams are finished and it looks cute. But I’ve still got some left-overs I feel I should do something with. Remember the placket and center cable I cut out of the front?


I decided to use these scraps as a front closure. I dug through The Button Bag because those faux leather things weren’t going to cut it. It’s been like 800 years since I dug through The Button Bag and who knew I had a whole other bag inside The Button Bag with all sort of vintage goodies! All so much cuter than that brown one, right?



I cut the top button and button-hole of the placket off so that the top edges would already be finished. The two other edges that weren’t? I simply did a fast whip-stitch over them using matching thread. And you totally can't even tell! It blends right into the heather gray of the sweater and looks totally professional.

I changed out the button, lined everything up at my waistline and sewed the plackets on by hand. You could do it by machine, but it would stretch out the area and probably make it look like shit. I’m just sayin’.


So taking pictures of myself is NOT a personal strength as you can tell by the above shots. However, I am SO HAPPY with this sweater, I can’t stand it. I’m totally long-waisted and most waist closures end up under my boobs. The fact that this fits right at my waist and is long enough all over (even got to double fold the sleeves up for a cute cuff!) makes me want to do the happy dance across town. I did do the happy dance across the studio, but I’m not sure that  counts. Does it?

The stand up collar looks great with my hair up and I added some fun dangly earrings that matched the metal of the vintage button. CA-YOOT!

So, too much for your average tutorial, or do you think you could do it? Do you like? I’m definitely going to be stealing more of The Candyman’s ruined sweaters. Yeah, there's more than just the one.

I'd love your feedback!


{DIY Favors} Cheesecake in a Jar!

So one of the most popular posts here on T30SB is DIY Cake in a Jar. Funny thing is, I’ve never made them! Irony at work.

So when I was flipping through the January issue of Martha Stewart Living and saw this:


I was pretty sure I needed to give it a shot. I mean, I gotta at least TRY to walk the DIY talk, right? My first concern? I‘ve never made a cheesecake in my life. Not in a jar or a pan, so this was definitely a new road for me. And guess what? I don’t even really like cheesecake. It’s the very last thing I’m going to order on the dessert menu. Why? It’s just so heavy and so sweet. So we’ll see how all this goes, right?

I had some canning jars on hand as well as all the recipe ingredients, so totally just needed to give it a go. I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand, but every DIY project involves a bit of “winging it.”

Do you like the clever coordination of ingredients? Well, I left out the sugar and preserves. Lucky thing there’s a list of them too! I used low fat sour cream and low fat cream cheese because that’s what was in my fridge.
Mini Cheesecake Jars by Martha Stewart modified slightly by T30SB.

  • For the Cheesecake
    • 8 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs, room temperature
    • 4 ounces fat free sour cream (1/2 cup)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon fruit preserves or jam (about a small jar of preserves).
  • For the Graham Topping
    • 1/2 cup finely ground graham crackers (from 4 crackers)
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Get your jars set up in a deep pan. I had two large ones and four small, but you’ll want the small ones. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Make the cheesecakes: Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes more. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Raise speed to medium. Add sour cream, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat for 3 minutes.

batterDivide batter among the jars, filling each two-thirds full. I knew trying to spoon batter in the jars would be a giant-ass mess, so I put the batter into this pitcher thing. It was a good idea.



Transfer jars to a deep baking dish; add enough boiling water to dish to reach halfway up the sides of the jars. Cover dish with foil; cut 8 slits into top to vent. Please note my perfect pan covered in perfect tinfoil. NOT.

The recipe says to bake until set in the center, about 25 minutes. It took my oven more like 31 minutes. I won’t tell you how I made a mess putting the giant pan filled with water and jars of cheesecake batter back in the oven. Let’s just say that it could have been much, much worse and there was only one dead cheesecake soldier from the snafu.

Let cool. Refrigerate overnight to set.

Meanwhile, make the graham topping. I used my Cuisinart mini food processor which is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen. They aren’t too expensive ($40) and you can get them cheaper using a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond (you’ll get 20% off and $5 off coupons in the mail if you register with them, look through wedding magazines as well as daily mailers). You can also get them SUPER cheap at Costco.



Stir together graham-cracker crumbs and butter. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Just pop the crumbs in the oven on the bottom rack beneath the cooking cheesecakes. Let cool.

Since the cheesecakes need to set overnight, just put on the lids and stick them in the fridge. Keep the graham crumbs in an airtight container, but not in the fridge.

cup1The original recipe says to top each cheesecake with 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons preserves. Like I’ve got time for that, Martha. Make it about 2 scoops with a regular spoon and cover the cheesecake top with a pretty layer. Divide graham topping among jars. For me, the best thing about cheesecake is the crust, so I was heavy handed with the “crust” part of this.


So of course I had to make it look all pretty. I just took one of the many vintage lace doilies I have laying around and tied it to the top with some vintage lace. HOW CUTE, RIGHT?


But the real test? How does is taste? I took one of the larger jars that didn’t look quite as pretty as the short ones for a taste test.


I have to say, not bad. I’m not sure if the consistency is perfect Martha-esque cheesecake consistency, but it’s good. In fact, I think because I used low fat cream cheese and low fat sour cream, it wasn’t nearly as heavy or sweet as regular cheesecake.

OK, but you want to know the skinny? I would pass on these as wedding favors if you had to make 30 or more. Making 6 was pretty easy, but it’s not like you can bake lots of these all at once, what with the water filled baking dish and all. They’ll keep in the fridge for a while if you want to do them in steps. But what about the wedding day? You gotta take them out of refrigeration, transport them and how long will they sit out before your guests get to them? Who wants tepid cheesecake? Ew. Not me. Room temperature dairy stuffs definitely skeeves me out. And if you took them from refrigeration direct to guest, then your jar’s gonna get all foggy and shit. Nah, I’d pass.

However, that being said, I think this is a fantastic dinner party option. I’m going to guess this is MUCH easier than baking a REAL cheesecake. Make it the night before, scoop the toppings on before your guests arrive and everyone has their own mini cheesecake! Everyone wants their own individual cake. It makes you feel special.

Yes, it does.


{DIY} Paper Feather Tutorial

This isn’t the first feather tutorial out there, I’m certain. There’s stuff out there on the interwebs for all sorts of things to make with feathers if you’d like to incorporate them into your wedding décor.

While I was at the trade show in Atlanta, I was pleased to find that the whole French Provincial/Vintage look is still alive and well. It was all over the the place, including the Scott Antique Show I hit up. I don’t think this is a look that’s going to go quietly into the night, like say chevrons.

Anyway, when I’m at a show I often see displays or products for sale that cost an arm and a leg and I always think to myself, “What the hell? This is so expensive! Why, I can make that for a fraction of the price! Pfft.”

And then I never do it.

Well today I did, dammit.

What I saw in a showroom was a big Christmas tree (because it’s always Christmas at the Atlanta show!) decorated with burlap, twine, clear glass and the like. It was really pretty. It also had all these pretty paper feathers stuck in it and that’s when I got all crafty-pious and decided I could do the same.

While I love The Martha with all my obsessive-compulsive heart, her online tutorials (as well as many others) are often lacking in where to find some of the crazy things they use in craft projects. In fact, recently I wanted to make a shrimp stir-fry The Martha had in her February issue. I’m reading down the ingredients, check check check, whoa 1/2 teaspoon of SAMBAL OELEK? What the fuck is that? And just like that, I abandon the recipe. Because I don’t care that sambal oelek is like Asian chili sauce. I care that I don’t have it in my cupboard and I’m not about to go hunt for the shit, pay $800 for a 6 ounce bottle so that I can use it once for this lame recipe. I feel that way a lot regarding craft projects.  I’m going to guess that you might too. Who has time for all this nonsense? No one, that’s who.

My goal is make DIY as simple and as cheap as possible. Otherwise, what the hell is the point?

So, all bitching aside, let’s get to it, shall we?  Here’s what you’ll need:


  1. Paper, crafters choice. I wanted to use  sepia colored music paper. Naturally, when I’m looking to find ANYTHING vintage-y to print out, I go to The Graphics Fairy. If you’re looking for something specific, go to her search function and you’re bound to find it. I very quickly went to Sheet Music and found several things to print out that worked fabulously, thank you very much. FYI – Card stock or heavier paper might not be best for this project. I used regular old copy paper. Tissue or thinner paper would be super pretty, but probably much harder to work with. I had some that I show in the above pictures, but I didn’t use it because I liked the music paper best.
  2. Feather Template. Google that phrase and you’ll get several options. I found mine right here.
  3. Wire. I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $3.99. I was intending to use floral wire, but I think I left it in the garage when I made the Christmas Wreath on the cheap. I was too lazy to go out in the cold to get it. This heavier gauge worked fine.
  4. Wire Cutters. Or scissors you don’t mind fucking up when you cut the wire, because it will totally ruin your scissors. Forewarned and all.
  5. Glue Stick.
  6. Paper Scissors.

Step 1


  • Cut out your feather template and just put a quick spot of the glue stick on the back and lay it on top of several sheets of your pretty paper and cut them out. I wasn’t careful or accurate.
  • Reverse the feather and do the same so that you have a front and back for the feather. I didn’t do this and it didn’t really make a difference, I just had to trim some of the edges later. No biggie, but if you’re doing these en masse, it would save you time in the long run.

Step 2


  • Cut a length of wire the length of the feather, plus a little for the “stem.”

Step 3


  • Glue stick, baby. On the wrong side of your paper.


  • Lay the wire on the glued paper.


  • Place another feather cut-out on top and sandwich the wire between the two pieces of paper, making sure it’s a good seal all around. *Note how my feather templates don’t match (the white paper part). I just trimmed them up. Feathers, snowflakes and sand grains aren’t perfect and no two are alike. Don’t worry about perfection.


  • Get to snippin’. I opted for some smaller scissors for this and it made for faster feather production. I wasn’t careful or even or anything. I cut big chunks and small chunks and just went at it. The finer the snips, the better looking your feather will be, I’m guessing.

Step 4

Step8 Step9

  • Fluff and bend. Crinkle up the snipped edges, bend the wire a bit and give them some dimension.


  • If you want to create bunches, gather the stems together and wrap one of the stems around the others.

That’s it! You’re done!

And voila! I made three of them and then stuck them in a bottle I had in my studio with some fake Hobby Lobby style flowers I had from an old arrangement. I actually added in two real ostrich feathers for color. It’s not the prettiest arrangement of all time, but I totally did this whole project in like 20 minutes. No lie.

And there are SO MANY things you can use these suckers for. Make them in smaller sizes for boutonnieres. Wrap the stems in floral tape and tuck them in and around your menus/napkins. Scatter them as table décor. Include them in your bouquet.  Drive yourself batty and make teeny tiny ones and glue them to your table cards. So many craft projects, so little time.

I’m just happy that I proved to myself that I can, in fact, make shit instead of buying it and for super-duper cheap. You can too. 

So do you like? Do tell.


The Best of the Best 2011, Day 2

The Candyman and I are home from Topsail Beach and I have to say, that I’d rather be back at the beach! Though it was chilly and not very much like how the beach is in the summertime, it was still glorious; beautiful, deserted, comforting and most of all, relaxing. Getting back into the swing of things is going to be difficult, at best!

So until I can come to grips with getting back into the day-to-day stuff, let’s continue with out Best of 2011, shall we? Another popular post this year was regarding wedding favors for guests, focusing on the edible kind, specifically how to DIY a Cake in Jar. Hope you enjoy this post the second time around!

DIY Cake in Jar Favors 

Original post Date March, 30, 2011

I'm all about edible favors at a wedding. Everything else just seems sort of....well, lame. If you want my opinion (and if you don't, stop reading) the following favors are the lamest of lame:

1. Anything with the couple's name and/or wedding date on it. Even if the item is remotely cute, I will not use it if it's got YOUR stuff on it. Ever. I mean, my OOT bags had our names and wedding date on it and  I don't use them (even though I should use them on grocery days). I was totally expecting people to throw them out (which is why I spent like zero dollars on them). I think my mom uses her OOT bag for toting books and knitting and stuff, but she's my MOM. Mom's are the exception to the lame favor rule.

2. A candle of any sort. Candles don't transport easily and people are sensitive to the stinky ones (yours truly had eyeballs that went bonky-bananas at the bridal shower this weekend where they had scented candles burning).  And candles have seen their heyday, it's time to move on, folks.

3. Anything that looks like this:

Just don't do it. You'll see them left over on your tables and wonder why you bothered. So will your guests. The best favors are the edible ones, I promise. At our wedding I saw people with multiple boxes in their hands as they were leaving our wedding. I wondered to myself, "Holy cow! Is Kathy stealing cookie favors from other guests?" And I answered myself too, "You snooze, you lose. Wedding favors are fair game if you leave them unattended."

Now, I loved baking my cookies for our favors. It was a team effort between me, my MOH and my mom and it did take a lot longer than expected, so expect that if you're heading into the kitchen. For me, I'd made these cookies a bazillion and one times so knew the recipe inside and out. However, I'd never made them en masse before and it was that part that was challenging. Plan for challenges.

So now onto the DIY part of this here post: Cake-in-a-Jar favors. Turns out it's not as hard as you think. I've been researching a shit-ton of these recipes and how-to's and it seems fairly straightforward, although there are many, many arguments as to how long these little suckers actually last. To be on the safe side, I'd say make these up to a week in advance and you're good to go. Anything longer and you might kill your guests with botulism (safety first!).

Cake-in-a-Jar (via Suite101, adapted ever so slightly by me)

You will need:

  • Cake mix of choice
  • Mason Jars and lids (You can use either the pint size or the 1/2 pint size. To save on cashola, go for the 1/2 pint size. They are way cuter too!) I found the best price here for $.75 a piece. 
  • Frosting
  • Ziploc bags or pastry bags with tips

For the prep:

  1. Wash and dry the jars and lids. It's best to do this in a dishwasher where the water and drying are super hot. It helps sterilize the jars.  Put the lids in a pot of water and set aside to be boiled later (again, boiling sterilizes the lids).
  2. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of the jars with shortening. Keep the rims clean.

For the Cake:

  1. Either use a personal cake recipe or a box cake mix, both will work fine. Prepare the cake batter according to the recipe’s instructions.
  2. Fill the jars about half-way with the batter, but NO MORE than 2/3 full—the batter rises significantly while baking.
  3. Put the jars on a cookie sheet and put them into the oven to bake. The baking time is the same as a regular cake, though if the tops are too brown or not brown enough, adjust the time accordingly. The oven I have now runs about 15 degrees hotter than it should, so watch them!
  4. About five minutes before the cake is done baking, start to boil the lids. When the water has reached a rolling boil, drain the lids from the pot and pat dry with a clean towel, set aside.
  5. When the cakes are done, remove the jars from the oven. The following steps need to be done within ten minutes of removal from the oven. The jars need to be hot in order to create a seal with the lids.

Frost and Finish:

  • The simplest way to frost jar cakes is by using a pastry bag and medium tip or by taking a large Ziploc bag, filling it with frosting, and snipping one corner. Squeeze the frosting out of the cut corner into the jars. The best place to start is on the sides of the jar where the cake has cooled away from the glass.
  • Add as much frosting as desired to each of the cakes. The frosting will melt a bit and run down the sides of the glass, making a cake that is frosted on all sides.
  • While the jars are still hot, seal with the lids. It is very important to do this while the jars are still hot– the heat of the glass creates a natural seal with the lids that will keep the cake fresh. After a few minutes you should hear the lids making popping or "ping" sound, indicating that they have sealed. If the lids have not popped after 15 minutes or so, try re-boiling the lids to re-heat them.
  • Let the jars cool and decorate the outside.

You can get all kinds of creative with tags and tops and bows and shit. You can even tie those little green-friendly bamboo spoons on the outside for uber-cuteness, although those suckers aren't cheap. Here are some cutie-pie pics from around the interwebs.




And here are some other how-to's for other yummy ideas:

Hazelnut Marzipan Jar Cakes from Vintage Mixer.

Pie (PIE!) in a Jar from Our Best Bites.

Pumpkin Cake in a Jar via Cakespy from Serious Eats.

Swirled Nutella Cake in a Jar from The Girl with a Curl.

Now, last but not least, if you think these are super cute and yet you don't have a freakin' DIY/cooking bone in your poor little body, do not despair. I just found (via Charlotte Wedding magazine) a local Charlottean who can do these for $2.50 a pop, $4 for large ones. Check outEdible Art of Charlotte.  Additionally, these are awesome if you like cake, but don't want to have a regular ol' cake sitting out on your counter tempting you day and night with it's cakey-goodness. You can keep these stored away and eat them only when you're damn good and ready. Happy eating/baking/buying!


Easy Fall Stew

I’ve been experimenting with some new recipes as of late. It always brings me great stress when I do though because nothing irritates me more than when The Candyman doesn’t like something I make.

On the other hand, nothing irritates The Candyman more than when I pester him about one of my dishes. He knows I’m sensitive about my cooking, so wants to be kind. However, if he doesn’t tell me how he feels about something, I might just keep making it, oblivious to his dislike of it. Like this weekend? I made some Mexican style breakfast burritos. I scarfed mine up, but The Candyman was sort of picking at it. When I asked him, he hemmed and hawed, saying he wasn’t that hungry. Yeah. Right. Like THAT ever happens. I finally got it out of him that he doesn’t like green pepper and shit in his eggs. I had no idea. I can’t believe I didn’t know  that about my own damn husband.


I wanted to share this dish with y’all because The Candyman likes it and:

A) It’s super easy.

B) It’s relatively quick.

C) It’s relatively healthy.

D) It’s inexpensive to make.

E) Leftovers might actually taste better than the first go ‘round.  

I made some changes to the original recipe based on the fact that there wasn’t as much liquid as I would have liked. The first time I made it, it was all pasta which made it slightly bland tasting. This version has a stronger, more tasty broth as well as more if it.

Quick Sausage, White Bean & Spinach Stew

Adapted from Woman’s Day, September 2011.  Active Time: 15-20 minutes Total: About 30 min. / Yields: About 6-7 full soup bowls.

1 T olive oil

12 oz. (1 package) Chicken Sausage, Italian variety

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 c dry white wine (or whatever you’ve got on hand)

1-32 oz. container + 2 cans low sodium chicken broth

1-1/2 c ditalini pasta (or other small soup pasta)

1 can cannellini or any white bean, rinsed

1 –10 oz. bag spinach, thick stems removed

1/2 t black pepper

1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and fry – making sure you get lots of chunks on the bottom of the pan. I add a lid to keep the oil from splattering everywhere. Once the sausage is cooked through, remove and set aside on some paper towels. Once it has cooled, slice it into 1/4” thick pieces.


You want the bottom of your pan to look like this when you’re finished cooking the sausage.

2. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for about a minute, stirring. Don’t let it brown.

Garlic wine

Sliced garlic and a little Two Buck Chuck!

3. Add in the wine and simmer for a minute or so, scrapping up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. This is what makes this dish super-yum.

4. Add the broth and the pasta and bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is tender.


So I mix my broth brands, what of it? I buy what’s on sale, yo!

5. Add in the white beans, sausage and pepper and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

chicken  pepper

Sliced sausage, beans and ground black pepper.

6. Removed from heat and add in the spinach, stirring gently until the spinach has wilted.


You can use packaged baby spinach if you want to save yourself a little time in de-stemming the spinach. However, it’s not quite as hearty and the leftovers don’t stand up as well. But in a pinch…

7. Now ladle it up into some bowls and top with some grated Parmesan cheese!

I might be a little heavy-handed on the cheese in this picture, but you know what? Cheese is good. I don’t believe in the phrase “this is too cheesy,” unless we’re talking about  Maria Carey’s movie Glitter.

So make some up for your hubby and serve it with a nice, crusty bread. It soul-warming good and perfect for Fall!