Friday, April 13, 2012

Fashion Friday: DIY Printed Scalloped Shorts

{Photo by Kelly Armijo}
If there is one thing I've learned to appreciate living in an agricultural town, it's snow.  Snow means moisture and moisture means water for crops come Summer.  We rejoice with snow in the hopes of a good harvest.  But alas, this time of year makes me yearn for real Spring, filled with a little more warmth and tulips and rain boots instead of snow boots.  We won't actually see real Spring until June.  My lawn had a light dusting of snow this morning, as it did yesterday and the day before...{sigh}.

Spring trends this year (as it seems every year) are ripe with bright colors and gorgeous pastels, and I keep collecting little lovelies to pull out when the time is right.  Oh, don't get me wrong though...I haven't been afraid to swath myself in bright citron or pale pink in spite of the temperatures, but I'm aiming to take a bigger bite into the season's fashions when the snow officially melts.  Which brings me to prints...the PERFECT solution to transitional dressing for those of us patiently awaiting warmth, tulips and rain boots.  Since prints often incorporate more than one color, and can also be anchored by other neutral pieces, they usher in a Spring feeling long before the snow has melted.

I've had my eye on printed shorts in particular, since late January when Spring designs started popping up.  It feels so fresh to switch things up a bit in my usual routine of prints on top rather than below.  I'm not a tall girl, nor do I have slender legs that could give the illusion of height (at the right angle), therefore I've always adhered to a personal rule of solids on bottom and shorts that don't draw attention to what the good Lord and my mama gave me - namely hips that were made for birthin' babies (of which my husband seems proud).  In an effort to restore confidence in my unique figure instead of trying to hide it like I've done for a lifetime of reading fashion magazines and pining for a model's body, I'm not going to shy from the printed shorts I love this season.  Fashion is 10% style and 90% confidence.  True dat.

Big labels like Prada and Miu Miu have made cute, quirky prints a mainstay...causing fashionistas everywhere to run wild in the direction of cat prints and little images of lipstick and purses.  What makes these prints so desirable is how they are crafted into traditional/retro shapes, looking cutting edge and original together.  Honey, I've never met a retro style I didn't like...especially in a cute print.   I've been particularly fawning over two prints, one in a dress and one in shorts, from luxury designer site

Can these be any cuter?!?  The prices {ouch!} just don't work for my budget, though.  So, I decided it was time to be resourceful and just DIY it.  A friend and I recently joked that when we can't get our hands on a particular style, it's time to DIY and be done.  I love this philosophy and it forces me to really appreciate what's possible when you put your mind (and hands) to something.

Armed with extra yardage of an adorably bird-printed Kooka twill (which I've been saving for "just the right project" for 3 years now) and a FABULOUS pattern from Australian pattern maker (and fellow Etsy shop) Pattern Runway, off I went on a quest for printed shorts.  I chose Pattern Runway's "Sweet Scalloped Shorts" pattern because I loved the slightly retro feel of the shorts, with a great (and flattering) little scallop feature on each leg and a high waist.  It seemed perfectly suited to my printed Kooka fabric and evoked the same feel as the two prints I loved from Miu Miu and Paul & Joe Sister.

The pattern was a gem, too...easy to follow and beautifully detailed.  It was emailed to me in a PDF file upon purchase, which I printed out and taped together atop my coffee table.  Such a snap.  My curious daughter helped me cut out the pieces. 

Once the pieces were cut to my size, I made a muslin to be sure of the fit.  Glad I did, too...along with my birthin' hips, God gave me a long torso and I had to adjust the fit ever so slightly to accommodate accordingly.

Along with changes to the rise, I also decided to add surprise fabrics to the pockets and the waistband...just for the fun of it.  I found a fat-quarter tucked in my pile of pink fabrics with a crazy cool fish pattern in a complementary tone to the little pink cheeks of my birds.  I used a Michael Miller dotted cotton for the inner waistband.  It was a personal touch to a personalized project!  Additionally, I omitted the welt back pockets as shown in the pattern simply because I don't like/need extra attention on my backside. (Have I mentioned what God gave me?)

To my amazement and delight, the shorts turned out exactly as I had, quirky and slightly retro.  They are an antidote to the snow flurries around me, offering a hint of Spring and hope for the Summer!  At the moment, I'm pairing them with opaque tights, but I know it won't be (too) long before I'll be wearing them with bare legs and sandals.

Cheers to what God really gave us...the ability to create and make due with what we have.   Here's to a Spring blossoming with new life in creativity, acceptance and uniqueness!

{Top: Ben Sherman, Jacket: Alexander McQueen, Necklace: Vintage, Earrings: Anthropologie, Ring: Vintage Button,
Sunglasses: Chanel, Tights: DKNY, Shoes: DSW, Clutch: Anthropologie}

-Photos and collage by Kelly Armijo-

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Hip, hip,'s jammies day!  We designated today as a "jammies" day (as in all jammies all day) primarily because tomorrow we'll be donning our Easter finest, complete with white mary janes and bow ties.  Most jammies days require a good that we can dig our hands into and laugh ourselves silly, while we create something fabulous - even if it's just memories.  Today was certainly no exception as we tackled a perennial Easter favorite: marshmallow nests.

Like any good nest builders worth their salt, we assembled our supplies...

1 bag of marshmallows
1 stick of butter
3 packages of large shredded wheat biscuits
enough chocolate eggs to put in the finished nests and sneak for a mid-project snack
1 yard wax paper

Our first task was to melt the butter and then add our marshmallow, patiently stirring until marvelously mushy.  (Sister was master of the marshmallows while brother mischievously stuffed his mouth!)

Next, we crumbled the shredded wheat biscuits and added them to the melted marshmallows.  Again we stirred until all the shredded wheat was nicely coated.

At this point I was promptly abandoned by my little helpers when Daddy pulled out a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  Ah, c'est la vie.  Cookies over quality time with Mommy...I see how it is.  Daddy plays a mean game of "who's your favorite."

Once the coated shredded wheat cooled, I shoved my hands into the ooey-gooey mixture and began to form little nests.  Now, this required much skill and a ninja-like slight of hand to pry the sticky stuff from my fingers as it was shaped.  A few choice words came to mind after the fiftieth try to unglue, but as this was an Easter project I forced myself to think higher thoughts and patiently proceed.  Thank heavens for wax paper, as it was the only surface left unstuck!

VoliĆ !  Our nests cooled completely after five or so minutes, and then came the glorious task of placing the perfect chocolate eggs and choosing which nest to enjoy.

While we savored the goodness of our little nest goodies, I also savored a sweet and simple moment with my kidlets who seem to be growing before my eyes.  Tomorrow we'll gather with our friends and family to celebrate our Savior, His sacrifice and the glory of His love.  From our family to yours, we wish you a blessed Easter Sunday, complete with a happy nest full of love!