DIY New Year’s Eve Shooting Stars Holiday Party Hats

It’s officially Party Season (TM) – and that means glittery, festive, fun, loud, joyful celebrations!

I really love making my own party hats (or putting children to work making party hats ūüėČ ) because they’re easy, cheap, and I can make them to completely coordinate with the party theme. Plus I can make them from scraps lying around! Perhaps you’ve never tried making your own, maybe because you don’t have time or it seems like a pain. But you may find that once you get [that party] started…you can’t stop! Now, let’s all hum that tune as we head on down to the how to…

How to Make a DIY Party Hat from Cardstock and Ribbon

You Need:

8.5″ x 11″ cardstock¬† //¬† Party Hat Template (click to download the PDF)¬† //¬† tinsel garland (I found this star version at Michael’s)¬† //¬† ribbon (not pictured – I used silver curling foil wrapping ribbon)¬† //¬† pen¬† //¬† scissors¬† //¬† stapler¬† //¬† box cutter¬† //¬† tape (not pictured)

How To Make a DIY Shooting Stars Party Hat:

1. Trace Party Hat Template onto the back of your cardstock.

2. Cut out the template from the cardstock. Use the box cutter to slice where indicated.

3. Curl the cardstock into a cone shape, and slip the edge tab into the slit you cut. Secure with some tape on the inside.

4. Thread one end of the ribbon into one of the small slits at the base of the hat.

5. Secure with tape, and then cut to desired length. (Make sure that it’s long enough to tie under your chin!) Do the same for another piece of ribbon and the other side of the hat.

6. Now the fun part: decoration! Staple the garland to the bottom of the hat.

7. Twirl the garland around the cone hat, securing with staples if necessary. At the top, twist downwards and tuck into the hole at the top of the hat. Secure with more tape on the inside.

And that’s it! It will take you less than 5 minutes tops – with a fun and unique party hat!

Have a Happy New Year’s, everyone! I just love a glittery beginning!

xo

Carly

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DIY Sparkling Holiday Mocktail Recipe


Interesting fact about me: I don’t drink alcohol. Period. I have many reasons why, though one of the simplest to explain is that I hate the taste. I think the last time I even tried a tiny sip of alcohol was back in 2012 (peer pressure: not wanting to disappoint a neighbor who was begging me to try some sak√© she had just bought and I just didn’t feel comfortable saying no). But it’s just not something that I enjoy, and as a result I have to be super-picky at parties when there are alcoholic beverages around. So I’ve started playing with my own versions of alcoholic drinks – mocktails so to speak – to see if I could come up with some fun, festive nonalcoholic drinks that are just as delish (and I would argue even more so) than their alcoholic counterparts.

What is a Mocktail?

A mocktail is a “mock” cocktail – i.e., a cocktail without the alcohol. Perfect for those who don’t or can’t drink (and kids too!) it’s a great way to celebrate special occasions without feeling “left out.”

This particular mocktail takes a cue from a Fuzzy Navel (which I’ve never had) – but instead of orange juice it uses guava juice for sugary sweetness, tempered by lemon-lime soda to add some sour depth. The kids will love this drink because the presentation of it will make them feel oh-so-grownup…and the mocktail I staged for all these photos was promptly snapped up by my 12-year-old son the moment I was done (whose mouth was watering the whole time as he watched!).

Recipe for Nonalcoholic Sparkling Mocktail Holiday Drink

How to make the sparkling mocktail:

1. Pour colored sprinkles onto a plate wider than the rim of your glass.

2. Wet a paper towel generously, and wipe around the rim of the glass to moisten. Make sure you wipe up any water drips before the next step.

3. Turn the glass upside-down onto the plate, coating the rim with sprinkles. Turn right-side-up again and shake gently to get rid of any sprinkles that aren’t attached to the rim.

4. Use a measuring cup to mix the Sprite and guava juice in the right ratio. It may fizz a lot – and you may need to taste test to make sure you like the mix! More guava = sweeter, more Sprite = tangy-er.

5. Place a stirrer stick on top of the glass as a festive topper. (The kids will also like dunking it in the glass and licking the sweet juice off it!)

Celebrate your special occasion in sparkling, nonalcoholic style!

xo

Carly

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DIY Sparkling Crystal Holiday Table On KATU Afternoon Live Thursday!

Hi friends, tomorrow I’m going to be a guest on KATU’s Afternoon Live show again!

Back in February I shared a project for making your own DIY Gemstone-Topped Jewelry Boxes (for Valentine’s Day, pretty home decor, or any other special occasion!).

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some affordable ways to creating a sparkling, crystal-inspired holiday table (for New Year’s Eve or other holidays)- this time with a number of great DIY projects that I hope we’ll have time for! Here’s a sneak preview of some of the projects I’ll be sharing (or try to, if time allows):

DIY Shooting Star Holiday Party Hats

DIY Sparkling Holiday Mocktail

DIY Sparkling Holiday Table Decor on the Cheap

If you’re in Oregon you can watch it on Channel 2 (or 16, depending on your cable provider). If you aren’t in Oregon or don’t have cable you can catch it live here:

WATCH KATU AFTERNOON LIVE – THURSDAY AT 3PM PST

Watch on Thursday, December 28 from 3PM-4PM PST for my 5-minute segment and see how to make your own chic sparkling holiday table! (Tune in at around 3:45PM PST or so for my segment)

xo

Carly

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Chic for the Week: Winter Workwear

Chic for the Week Winter Workwear Chic Creative Life recommendations

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, where if you click and make a purchase I receive a small commission. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Winter is upon us here in Portland – and what comes with blustery winds, white flurries, and freezing walkways is cozy, comfy fashion. I’m a big fan of layers and usually am covered up neck to toes at work – and love this season as it presents great opportunity to get creative with the layering of my more lightweight items. Here are a couple pretty pieces that can be rotated into a winter work wardrobe with ease:

1. Choies Polychrome Colorblock Geometric Print Tie Belt Dress, $16.99

2. Modcloth Stargazing Splendor Blazer in Constellations, $89

3. Modcloth Charter School Turtleneck Sweater, $39

4. ASOS Suede Slouchy Shoulder Bag, $50

xo

Carly

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My New Stars and Stones Patterns for Chic Home Decor

Stars and Stones by Carly J. Cais repeating crystal and star patterns

Hello friends!

I’ve been hard at work adding more full-repeat patterns to my Spoonflower, Roostery, and Society6 shops. As many of you may know already I absolutely love astrophotgraphy (shooting stars…and by that I mean shooting stars with a camera…as in a photographic shoot…and if there happen to be “shooting stars” captured in the photo…well, all the better!)

Sparkle Dark Star Field Galaxy by stars + stones on Spoonflower

Sparkle Star Field Dark Galaxy Fabric (Spoonflower)

Many of my fabric patterns available at Spoonflower are photos taken by the NASA Hubble Telescope – where I’ve digitally altered the star fields to make them full-on repeats so that you could make an entire set of curtains, jumpsuit, or even SHEETS with these fabrics…with never-ending fields of stars, nebulas, and space dust. Though my own attempts at Milky Way and star photography don’t quite rival those of the Hubble Telescope…I do offer some of my star photography as art prints, tote bags, phone cases, and more!

Purple Milky Way Print by CarlyJCais on Society6

Deep Purple Milky Way Stars Canvas Print (Society6)

I shot the above photo in the middle of the night in Arco, Idaho when I took my family on an RV trip from our home in Oregon – having NEVER driven an RV before and somehow managing to drive 14.5 hours in one day to get there!

Carly J. Cais' rock and crystal collection

But in the past year or so I’ve started to get back into collecting rocks – I had a massive collection as a child but really had very little technical knowledge of minerals – and as an adult I’ve rediscovered it and started to take collecting and identifying rocks and minerals more seriously. If it’s even possible, I love taking macro photos of crystals even more than I do taking photos of stars! Because then making those photos into full crystal repeats is immensely challenging…and I LOVE a challenge.

So far, I’ve produced full repeating patterns of:

Gray Hematite Crystal Fabric by Carly J. Cais thumbnail

Grey Hematite Quartz

Sadly this is not actual hematite – but quartz that is fumed with silver titanium so it fuses to the outside of the quartz crystal. Purchase Grey Hematite Crystal fabrics, wallpaper, and wrapping paper on Spoonflower here.

Aqua Aurora Crystal Fabric by Carly J. Cais thumbnail

Aqua Aura Quartz

Another GOTCHA! crystal – this is also quartz, fumed with gold to create an aqua tint, resulting in an aurora borealis rainbow-like coating. Purchase Aqua Aura Crystal fabrics, wallpaper, and wrapping paper on Spoonflower here.

Light Blue Celestite Crystal Fabric by Carly J. Cais thumbnail

Light Blue Celestite Crystal

This is a true found-in-nature crystal – a beautiful pale blue with tiny crystalline structure throughout. It’s very brittle and I have to handle my specimen carefully! Purchase Light Blue Celestite Crystal fabrics, wallpaper, and wrapping paper on Spoonflower here.

I’m currently working on repeats of Apophyllite (white large crystals, like snow), Pyrite (brassy gold), Kyanite (blue and grey columnar crystals), and Mariposite (a rare veined green marble). Sign up for blog updates to see new patterns, or follow my shop on Spoonflower or follow me as an artist on Society6!

xo
Carly

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Chic Tip: Create New Holiday Traditions Around Giving Thanks

As I shared at the beginning of last year, a Gratitude Journal is a wonderful way to be mindful of things to be thankful for – to boost mood and increase happiness – and to stay aware of all of the things in life to be thankful for, despite things not always going our way. Sometimes by the time the day of holiday celebration rolls around we can be completely exhausted from the big flurry of activity getting ready for the occasion – and it can be hard not to lose sight of why we did it all in the first place.

So for this time – and all going forward – I’m proposing a break from the rush of activity and creative exhaustion – to just try to savor and appreciate the moment more, and not push ourselves too hard. To bring gratitude back, and do away with forcing perfect. The holidays particularly are a wonderful time to begin this tradition for your family, friends, and loved ones – and even yourself to gain some peace of mind! Here a few ideas for creating your own tradition for giving thanks:

5 Easy Ways to Create a Holiday Tradition of Giving Thanks

  • Use a beautiful journal, diary, or notebook (try this sequin guestbook one for a super high-end look – or this gold foiled notebook set for chic and simple) and have guests at your special occasion write one thing they are thankful for. Add to it every year, and read previous year’s entries aloud to the new guests.
  • Have each guest write what they are most thankful for on a slip of paper and drop into a vase in the center of the table. Go around the table and have each person pull a slip of paper out and read it aloud.
  • Have each guest write what they are most thankful on the back of someone else’s place card – when your guests sit at the table they will find a secret snippet of gratitude on the underside of their place cards.
  • Having kids at your celebration? Have them each draw or write things they are thankful for onto paper placemats you use for both the kids – and the adults! – at the meal.
  • Before the meal join hands and have each person share something they are grateful about regarding one of the other guests there as a heartwarming start to the celebration.

Do you have any holiday traditions around which you emphasize giving thanks? Please share!

xo
Carly

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Wardrobe Rehab – How to Clean a Nylon Handbag

Well..technically a laptop case…but we’ll just call it a handbag for today’s purposes, yes?

I’m a firm believer in using the possessions you have to utter exhaustion: until they are tattered, destroyed specimens of what they once were. Get good use out of it (until it falls apart!) would be my motto.

My first laptop case is still on its last legs (so I only use that around the house and where no one sees it). I needed a laptop case for the computer I use for work, which is smaller than my personal computer, and which I have to carry to and from work constantly.

I spied this amaaaahzing Renny Drive spotted laptop case by Kate Spade (it’s now sadly sold out everywhere but one does show up from time to time on eBay). It’s professional, chic, feminine, memorable, and goes with just about anything I’m wearing to the office, or casually. I purchased it about a year and a half ago and have been using it ever since to tote around my work computer. It’s such a light color though – that it’s like a grime magnet, and I’ve been stumped on how to clean this nylon laptop case for awhile – because it’s nylon and because it has stiffeners and linings that really shouldn’t be thrown into the washing machine. So..

What is Nylon?

Nylon is a synthetic polymer (and actually was the first commercially successful synthetic thermoplastic polymer – thank you Wikipedia!) Though there are a few different types of nylon, nylon used in clothing and accessories is heat-set in terms of pattern and color, and water-resistant – and can be dyed using acid dyes.

You may have a nylon bag in your closet – or a pair of nylon shoes or an accessory – that gets dingy and defies being cleaned (because hey, it’s nylon). I’ve discovered the most awesome trick for getting those grungy nylon accessories sparkling again.

How to Clean a Nylon Handbag (or How to Clean Nylon in general)

after of how to clean a nylon bag

Everywhere I looked on how to clean nylon recommended either throwing it in the washing machine with a milk liquid detergent, or spot-clean with liquid soap and water. Nope and nope – I found these methods useless for the amount of dirt on my laptop case. (Plus you should never put a handbag with linings or stiff sides into the washing machine – submerging in water and agitating could permanently damage the structure of the bag.) Here’s the top-secret, ONLY way to clean a nylon accessory and get it good as new:

You Need:
dirty nylon item  //  Kiwi Sport heavy duty sneaker cleaner for light-colored sneakers  //  rag  //  small amount of water (not pictured)

How to clean your nylon accessory with Kiwi Sport sneaker cleaner:


1. Squeeze a generous amount of sneaker cleaner onto a dirty area, using the bristle brush of the applicator to scrub the cleaner into the nylon weave in a circular motion.

2. Wait a few minutes to let the cleaner penetrate. Use a clean rag to buff the cleaner into the nylon in a circular motion.

3. Dampen your rag with a bit of water, and shammy that cleanser (and the grime) away!

Note: Always do a spot test of the sneaker cleaner on the item before using it in a conspicuous area.

Allow your accessory to dry, et voila!

Your nylon handbag, laptop case, accessory what-have-you…now has a new lease on life!

This method may not work perfectly (and I was left with a few stubborn areas of dirt, especially on the edges of the case), but for a quick, useful solution this can’t be beat!

xo

Carly

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Welcome to Chic Creative Life!

Hello friends!

You may notice something different around here: that yes, I’ve finally switched over to Chic Creative Life and my new site (9 months in the making) has gone live!

There are a couple kinks I’m still straightening out but for the moment, welcome, look around, check it out, and tell me what you think!

I’m thrilled to have you here – and can’t wait to share with you new content, ideas, and creativity for an ultimately chic, creative, life!

xo

Carly

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Shopbop Event of the Season Sale – What to Buy

This post is part of my ongoing affiliate relationship with Shopbop. My FTC Disclosure is here.

Hello friends!
This will hopefully be one of my last posts on Chic Steals before everything is moved over to Chic Creative Life…and I can’t wait!

I just wanted to give all of you a heads up about the Shopbop End of Season sale – and some great discounts that can be had exclusively for my readers!

As a Chic Steals (and soon-to-be Chic Creative Life) reader, YOU have access to the sale a full 24 hours ahead of everyone else! Just click on the Shop Now link below!

Above are some key pieces that are on my Fall wishlist (and that can be snapped up for a steal during the sale):

1. STYLEKEEPERS Retro Juliette Pleated Skirt // 2. English Factory Ruffle Sweater // 3. Madewell Treasure Pendant Necklace Set

4. Rebecca Minkoff Handcuff with Chain Bracelet // 5. The Fix Vail Pumps // 6. J.O.A. Tie-Sleeve Sweater

7. Elizabeth + James Obi Ring // 8. Melissa Drop Rain Boots // 9. Rebecca Minkoff Ruffle Muffler Scarf // 10. Baggu Small Canvas Circle Purse

Use Code EOTS17 to Save Up to 25% Off on Your Shopbop Order

Get in on the sale early starting NOW!

Shop the Shopbop Event of the Season Now

Sale ends FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH at 11:59 PM PDT.

More details about the Shopbop Event of the Season Sale can be found here (will go live Wednesday Sept 27 once the Sale is live for everyone).

xo

Carly

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