“‘The time has come,'” as Lewis Carroll wrote, “‘To talk of many things.'”
And so, at last, it is time.
It’s been over 12 years since I started blogging, and I’ve reached the end.
Many things have played into this decision – which has not been an easy one to make.
For one thing, I’ve changed. I no longer spend hours poring over fashion magazines, following the trends, looking for the cutest, chic-est clothing…and thinking up ideas for how to knock it off.
I no longer have the time to indulge in elaborate projects that take over my living room or dining room table.
I no longer enjoy laboring over puncturing spikes into my heels, adding embellishments to a top, or remaking a man’s shirt into something for me.
I guess I’ve aged out of it, and my time is now spent with my family, on home improvement projects, in my garden, and new entrepreneurial endeavors. My interests have shifted as I’ve gotten older.
When I sent a survey to my readers earlier this year, I was pretty surprised at the results.
My readers wanted to see far more home DIYs than I had expected, as well as clothing and jewelry tutorials.
I realized that so little of my life now is spent in DIY’ing anymore…that after thinking about it I realized I couldn’t really deliver on what my readers wanted. I don’t makeover things in my home enough to make it into something to blog about, and I’ve done progressively fewer clothing and jewelry DIYs over the years as I’ve gotten happier with my closet and what I have.
I need new things rarely, I don’t desire things I see other people wearing, and the amount of stuff that running a DIY blog creates – as a side effect – has been bothering me for some time.
Creating DIY tutorials also takes a huge amount of time, materials, money, and editing – much more than an average blog about digital marketing or traveling, for example.
Finally, blogging as an industry has changed in the last 12 years.
To run a profitable blog nowadays takes an enormous amount of time and creative input. You have to run an excessive amount of ads and popups, that I believe have negatively impacted the user experience as a whole.
I don’t spend much time reading blogs anymore because the user experience has gone so downhill from what it used to be. Plus, paid sponsors and everything a blogger has to do in order to generate income (partnerships, plugging product, features) has begun to dilute the authentic, creative voices.
I definitely succumbed to that in trying to keep this blog profitable and growing, year over year.
It’s been a wild ride, though – and I have certainly learned a lot.
I want to thank all of you, dear readers, for this journey.
I am onto the next one already.
If you want to follow along in my next endeavor, I am founding a marketing and sales consultancy with a business partner.
Just us two women, sparking business growth for SaaS and tech companies, for startups to mid-stage organizations. $0MM-$15MM ARR. Playing in the boys’ pool and hoping we emerge swimming.
I’d be so thrilled if you followed along!
ElleSpark Website | ElleSpark on Facebook | ElleSpark on LinkedIn
Thank you for coming on this ride with me, over more than a decade.
I’ll be leaving this site up for the foreseeable future as a resource and archive for those looking for a little DIY or fun ideas to bring creativity and joy into their lives.
Goodbye, Chic Creative Life and all of you, my amazing readers. You were awesome, creative, and one-of-a-kind.
Don’t buy, DIY!
Last week I sent out a survey to my email subscribers to find out what you wanted to see on Chic Creative Life.
I’ve been trying to figure out what content resonates, and what would be really helpful to my audience now. This blog has gone through many iterations, and I wanted to make sure it is aligned with what my readers want!
….And when I saw the results, boy was I surprised! Check them out below:
So it seems people want to read about, in order of number of votes, 1. Clothing & Jewelry DIY Tutorials, 2. Sewing and Patterns, 3. Home DIY Tutorials, and 4. Chic Living. Followed closely by Budget Living, Healthy Recipes, and Blogging as a Business topics. I was actually not surprised there were more requests for home DIY’s and chic living advice (since so many of us are home right now)…but I was definitely surprised there wasn’t more interest in DIY men’s shirt makeovers! Considering I’ve been putting a ton of time into it…these results are definitely eye-opening.
I want to thank everyone who took the survey, this is really helpful!
I’m going to work to shift my content more towards what the majority of my readers are wanting.
If you haven’t taken the survey yet and would like to weigh in, you can still do so here:
It’s June and Summer is coming! For many, hot weather is already here. I’m dipping into my archives today to share with you 10 no-sew DIY Summer projects for t-shirts and tank tops – so you can look cool, calm, and collected despite the rising temperatures.
10 Easy No-Sew DIY Summer Projects for T-Shirts and Tank Tops
1. Cut Out Skully T-shirt
Although the skull-back style is a little dated by now, you can accomplish the same things with just a pair of scissors and your imagination – butterfly and ladder shapes are always popular! Choose a t-shirt or tank top made of thin, stretchy fabric so the cut edges don’t unravel.
2. Petal-Front Top
This is one of my most popular projects – it’s so charming and ladylike! All you need is a fabric flower (or two) and fabric glue to recreate the look. So pretty peeking out from under a cardigan!
3. Avant-Garde Artistic Button Embellished T-Shirt
This is a time-consuming project that packs a ton of visual punch with buttons and fabric glue again. Try different images (a rainbow, a flower) to make out of buttons – and choose colorful ones from your button stash! Also a fun project to make with kids.
4. Happy Ice Cream Face Applique T-shirt
If you have some fabric scraps on hand that you love and want to showcase – this applique t-shirt project is for you! All it requires is iron-on fusible web and an iron to attach.
5. Patriotic Punky Iron-On Tank
For a punk look you can go old school, slash a tank and safety-pin it back together. I had a military-style iron-on that was begging to be used for this project!
6. Butterfly-Embellished Tanktop
A cute applique like a butterfly or other insect is made more adult by adding a studded trail behind it…you could do rhinestones instead and a unicorn applique for complete over-the-top girliness!
7. Scribble Tee
This was one of my first T-shirt makeover projects – super-easy and hides the flaws on an old dingy T-shirt pretty well!
8. Corseted T-Shirt
9. Tribal-Print Festival T-Shirt
10. Sequin Trompe L’oeil Peter Pan Collar T-Shirt
Hope that gives you some ideas for your next Summer T-shirt or tank top makeover!
This post contains affiliate links – and I receive a small commission on sales from readers clicking through these links. My full Disclosure Policy is here
Cutting your clothing budget down is something that many of us are faced with when our discretionary spending takes a hit. (I definitely have had to in the past!) Whether it’s a job loss or life circumstance change, a re-shifting in our priorities, or even a forced statewide stay-at-home order, there are times when we need to take measures to tighten up our finances. The clothing budget is often one of the first places to find some wiggle room, but there is still a way to get the clothes you need for HALF (or less) of what you are currently spending. When times are tough, here are 5 painless ways to cut your clothing budget in half:
How to Cut Your Clothing Budget in Half
1. Do a clothing swap with friends, family, or neighbors
Right now many people are unable to sell their extra clothes, as garage sales and other outlets have dried up (though I’m still having some luck on Poshmark – get $10 when you sign up using my referral code CARLYJCAIS). A great way to increase your wardrobe options and help others get rid of their unwanted items is to organize a clothing swap amongst friends, neighbors, or family members (who are not ill or immuno-compromised). You can have everyone drop off a bag of unwanted items at a location at a designated time, lay out the items, and have people return to look through what’s available (in small groups or in staggered times to be safe). Observe social distancing and group gathering protocols, or even snap photos of the items and share them to the group. Decide what you will do with unwanted items and you have yourself a clothing swap!
Also: Here’s a great article about treating clothes that may have coronavirus on them, and how to be safe handling them. (There’s still a lot we don’t know though experts say the risk of contamination is low.) A good precaution is to wear gloves when handling someone else’s clothing, and
2. Shop at thrift stores and used clothing shops instead of buying new
Deemed essential businesses in many states, many thrift stores and used clothing stores are still open to the public (though many have suspended taking in new donations at this time). As stores reopen, do your part to shop (still being careful of course). So many of the raw materials for my shirt makeovers have come from the local Goodwill! (Goodwill is my absolute favorite thrift store hands-down, partially because of their global supply chain and that they ensure every donated piece of clothing is not wasted. It completely blew my mind when I researched how extensive their organization is and the amazing things they do. Check out my article on Goodwill’s ability to keep clothing out of the landfill and their sustainable practices for more information.)
3. Style your pieces differently to create a whole new look
Sometimes it just takes fresh eyes to breathe new life into your wardrobe – which is why it can be fun to share outfit ideas with a friend remotely. But if you’re looking for styling ideas by yourself, you can always search on Pinterest for the specific piece you have in your closest that you want to style differently (“striped shirt” or “outfit ideas” for example). I also keep a ton of old clippings from magazines – cool pieces, clothing I’d love to make, DIY ideas for this site…as well as whole outfits. One source of inspiration that I love is The Uniform Project – even though it’s more than a decade old now – because Sheena Matheiken’s sense of style and different ideas she came up with for that little black dress were amazing and so versatile! It always starts me thinking about similar pieces I have in my closet – and the cool stuff I could do with them that are a little outside my normal go-to.
4. Purchase just the tops
With the proliferation of Zoom and online meetings as a part of everyday life, many of us are having to appear on camera…but only from the waist up. A great way to keep costs down is to only purchase from the waist up! Instead of a whole dress, buy a top only (and wear sweatpants below…shh! no one will know!). A pretty pair of earrings or nice necklace and you’re done – for only a fraction of the cost of your normal shopping budget.
5. DIY and makeover clothing you already have!
Of course, this one is nearest and dearest to my heart! You can find hundreds of tutorials for clothing makeovers on my site, the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System, or on Pinterest. Refashioning, upcycling, and giving clothing a new life is what allows your closet to survive fashion trends, and ensures you squeeze every last drop of usefulness out of your wardrobe. Hope to see your DIY projects – with your own personal stamp on them – soon!
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen the DIY No-Sew Face Mask I posted a quick video tutorial for the other week. Even though some states are lifting stay-at-home restrictions and people are beginning to venture out again, I figure better late than never! And it’s another way to use up shirt scraps from any DIY men’s shirt makeover you do. This tutorial is super-easy and makes a double-layered mask, and although I find it difficult to breathe through for long periods of time, it’s great in a pinch. Plus – no sewing required! Just a pair of scissors…and a shirt sleeve. It should take you less than 5 minutes to make!
How to Make Your Own DIY No-Sew Face Mask from a Men’s Shirt
scissors / top of a shirt sleeve
1. Start by cutting the shirt sleeve from the body of the shirt around the armscye.
You’ll want to cut around the armscye seam so it is a loop.
2. Cut another loop of fabric around the circumference of the top of the sleeve.
Now you have 2 fabric loops.
Trim any raw or ragged edges around the edges of the loops.
3. Place the sleeve on a flat surface, and your palm on top of it with fingers outstretched along the sleeve seam. Measure the distance from your outstretched thumb tip (at the top of the sleeve seam) to your outstretched pinky tip, and cut the sleeve at that point.
4. (Optional) Tuck the raw edges of this piece of fabric inside to hide them.
5. Cut the loops you made in Step 2. open.
Tie one pair of their ends together in a square knot.
6. Thread this long tie in a U-shape into the large piece of fabric cut from the sleeve in Step 3, so the bottom of the U extends below the large fabric piece.
When you go to wear the mask, place the bottom of the U at the back of your neck and the fabric piece at the front of your face. Pull on the end of each tie to tighten the mask placement on the bottom of your face. Then tie the ties in a bow over your ears and at the back (top) of your head. Scrunch the mask fabric so it sits properly on the bottom of your face and covers your nose and mouth.
And you’re done! Simple, right??
Check out my video below on Instagram and follow me there!
Also…this article here has a lot of great information about how to keep your mask clean, so definitely check it out too!