DIY Gossip Girl-Inspired Starburst Safety Pin Blazer

done1*This project I contributed to Snippets Magazine: The New York Issue on Cut Out + Keep in 2010, and am re-posting to my blog here.

A la Balmain or a la Jenny, this blazer is looking sharp!

inspirationThough it only appeared onscreen for the briefest of moments, this was Little J’s take on an elegant cover-up to take her straight to the Ambassador’s Dinner and show up Damien. Making your own is easy, just by adding multiple safety pins to a blazer in need of a makeover.

materialsBlack fitted Blazer  /  Medium-large size silver Safety Pins

How To:step1 1. Start by inserting a couple safety pins in a fan-shape at one of the side-seams of the blazer, right where it hits your waist. Try not to push the safety pins through the jacket lining.Add more safety pins in-between the first row.

step22. Keep alternating placement as you fan out from the side and create a “starburst” pattern.

step33. Add a few larger safety pins near the edges.

step44. Repeat for the other side of the blazer.done2
So easy- and so impactful. This piece looks great over skinny jeans, or even a slinky dress for a night out!
Happy DIY’ing!
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DIY Bell-Sleeve Coat Dress and Sweet Dress Book Review

sweetdressbook_coatdress1 Laurence King Publishing (the same publishers of the incredibly useful DIY Couture by Rose Martin) recently were gracious enough to send me a copy of their newest sewing book, Sweet Dress Book: 23 Dresses of Pattern Arrangement by Yoshiko Tsukiori. sweetdressbook_cover2Translated from the Japanese, this pattern book features 23 tutorials for making a variety of blouses, tops, dresses, cardigans, and even shorts – all engineered from a basic 6 patterns with different darts, flounces, and lengths to switch up the silhouettes. (more…)

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DIY in 5: Faux Fur-Lined Hood

Earlier this month I wore it in an outfit, today I’m going to show you how to DIY it.  It’s DIY in 5minutes, that is.  The easiest, quickest ways to take a piece from blah to fab and update it to current trends.

Fur trim is applicable for anything hooded: a sweater, hoodie, or jacket. (Or even on pocket edges, lapels, flaps…you get the idea!;-)   As the temperatures drop, the need to bundle up increases – and adding a layer of furry material adds a ton of warmth.  I always shop cheap when I can – but often affordable prices mean skimpy manufacturing techniques and minimal trim and details.  Add more value to your bargain pieces by adding a quick-and-easy line of faux fur trim to your favorites.

You Need:

*hooded piece to embellish
*faux fur trim long enough to go around the hood – mine was 5″ wide (or a strip cut from faux fur by the yard)


*measuring tape
*sewing machine and thread matching fur
*hand-sewing needle and thread matching your hooded piece
*skewer, knitting needle, or chopstick


1. Measure around your hood to find out how long your trim needs to be.  (Add about 3/4″ to each end so you have enough trim for the seam allowance.)  Cut trim according to measurement.

2. Fold the trim over on itself lengthwise and sew into a tube on your sewing machine, leaving about 2″ unsewn in the center of the seam.  Taper the ends.

3. Trim the excess at the ends.

4. Turn right-side-out using a skewer, knitting needle, or chopstick.

5. Use the skewer to pull any fur our of the seam if it was caught in there while sewing.

6. Use a hand-sewing needle to stitch the trim around the edge of the hood, stitching the opening in the trim tube closed as you go.

This is a super-easy way to add some wintery furriness to your favorite jacket or hoodie – and even if it takes more than 5 minutes to complete – it will most certainly take no longer than 15!

Happy DIY’ing!


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Guest Post: DIY Celine-Inspired Leather Pocket Blazer from A Pair and a Spare

Today we have our first guest post ever here at Chic Steals…from Geneva over at A Pair and a Spare!  If you’re not familiar with her fabulous blog, you’ve truly been missing out!  She posts daily DIY inspiration – with tons of runway and editorial photos and DIY hints, as well as simple and chic DIY tutorials and creations of her own.  (A leather bustier trompe l’oiel sweater?  A leather collar blouse?  A lip-print blouse and smudged stripe breton shirt; pleated pants belted super-high?  (And did I mention her incredibly helpful series of articles on how to makeover your wardrobe: DIY Wardrobe Rehab Project?  I’ve begun using her methods and it’s really paying off in my own wardrobe!)  Definitely pay her blog a visit and start browsing through her archives…I guarantee you your fingers will start itching to DIY something within minutes!!  So take it away, Geneva!…

DIY Weekly – Celine Inspired Leather Pocket Blazer

I saw these beautiful oversized leather pockets on dresses and blazers at one of Celine’s runway shows recently, and thought they looked chic and totally DIYable.

What you’ll need: (more…)

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First Day of Spring Outfit & Studded Cardigan DIY

*Forever21 coat (similar here)
*Forever21 DIY-studded cardigan
*Target striped 3/4-length sleeve shirt (similar here)
*silver horseshoe-stamped necklace I won from Lucky Magazine
*Aldo padlock bag (similar here, in pink)
*Forever21 rhinestone two-finger ring (similar here)
*Forever21 gold chain ring (similar here)
*H&M zipper skirt
*self-made leggings
*unknown wedge-heel booties (something kinda similar here)

So I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve been MIA for the last couple days, and what on earth I’ve been doing.  In the meantime…

Spring has finally arrived here in Portland, and the weather has been beautiful.

It’s been time to break out the ol’ lawnmower…

Run for your life!

Find leprechaun gold on St. Patrick’s Day…


Walk the dog…

I refuse to be walked.  Oh, and may the Force be with you.

And watch the plum blossoms fall, like light pink snow, on the front lawn.


I, meanwhile, have been sick.

We got off the plane 2 Mondays ago, and I felt a tickle in my throat.  “I’m just dehydrated,” I thought…

And guzzled tons of water Tuesday, but felt increasingly worse.  “I’m just jetlagged,” I thought, and endeavored to catch up on tons of sleep, guzzled more water…

But by Thursday it was evident I had a head cold.  I sprung a 101-degree fever, had a runny nose, and unbelievable body aches and pains (and it wasn’t from dragging all our luggage around!)

By Sunday last week it felt like the cold was on its way out, so Monday morning I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile, and we hung out and talked for about 3 hours, me sucking on Halls and downing honeyed green tea the whole time.

I felt an annoying tickle in my throat again, but still had sinus pressure and a runny nose from the cold that was on its way out.  So I drank TONS of water, tea, and guzzled probably half a honeybear of honey.

Last Tuesday came, and I had no voice.

No voice whatsoever.

I could only speak in a raspy whisper, and in a squeak here and there.  At some points I couldn’t even whisper at all – my mouth was forming the words, but it was like there was no sound passing my lips.
I haven’t had laryngitis this bad in at least 15 years, so it was a shock to say the least.

I read on the Internet (that most reliable source of information) that the best cure for laryngitis is to let the virus run its course, get plenty of rest, and not use your voice.  Easier said than done when you have a 4-year-old.;-)  And salt gargles, which I’ve been doing.

So, since my blogging routine is usually wait for Lil Tot to fall asleep around 8:30 PM, then sneak out of bed so as not to wake him, head for my computer, and blog for the next 4 hours, this was totally ruined by the get plenty of rest suggestion, and I’ve been sleeping 10-12 hours per day (!) since Tuesday in a desperate attempt to get my voice back.

Friday I finally got a trim, since I’m growing my hair out it’s kind of in that shapeless, can’t-do-anything-with-it stage.


It really did feel like the First Day of Spring, with the warm weather, and the sunshine.  So I broke out my fave blue coat, the one for some reason complete strangers like to complement me on when I wear it.

It has a lovely, striped satin lining.  To think it was only $39 on sale at F21!  
(no longer available, tho you can get something at Alloy where I’ve linked above.)

So these are my showing-off-my-new-hair-and-my-newfound-finally-not-just-a-whisper-voice (more like heavy-smoker, husky-phone-sex-old-lady-voice) photos.

Useful padlock bag from Aldo that was around $40. Waaay better than a Paddington!

I also wanted to share my studded cardi that I made a little while ago.  A great way to dress up a regular black boyfriend lightweight cardigan, silver studs around the edge elevate it from casual to something much, much better.  (And these cardigans been all over Vivi magazine for the past couple months if you happen to have caught a glimpse of them!)  Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find any for sale in the U.S. and a reasonable price.  (And Forever21 hasn’t done a knockoff, something I’m a little surprised at still. Doing a quick search for a studded cardi at ShopStyle will produce a couple similar ones…but at a couple hundred dollars each.  I mean, come on.)

So a quick little DIY for ya:
How To Make a Studded Cardigan
You Need:
*boyfriend cardigan (like this one from Target)
*1 (gross) packet of 7mm Square Hotfix Nailheads (silver) from

*Hotfix Applicator tool
*piece of scrap cardboard

Why heatset studs instead of pronged?  Because they are far, far lighter…and easier to set on a lightweight knit such as this.


Place the cardboard directly underneath the front of your sweater.  (You may have to shift the sweater placement as you affix studs around the neckline.)  I just placed them about 1.5″ apart along the front edges of the cardigan, and along the top edges of the pockets.  (You use the large flat attachment for the applicator tool, press down lightly onto the nailhead you have already placed on your sweater, and hold for about 15 seconds.  Repeat for each stud, all the way around the neckline, and on the top of the pockets.)  I love the finished effect!


Pretty simple, eh?  (And yes, my cardboard is from an IKEA box.  I do love IKEA.;-)

I didn’t realize until after I’d received my cardigan in the mail that the particular one I’d ordered had a detachable scarf with the cardigan’s pockets on it.  (Don’t ask why I didn’t realize this; I’m an idiot.)  I sewed the scarf down onto the cardigan and added the studs; now faced with the problem of the cardigan no longer being able to button and the back of the neck rolling absurdly because of the extra material from the scarf…surgery on this cardigan needs to be attempted soon.  I just haven’t bothered with it just yet.

Here you can see the little scarf-piece I haven’t dealt with yet.

I also can’t believe I found these boots last week at the Buffalo Exchange for $15.  I’ve concluded that the person who sold them to the Buffalo Exchange must have been legally insane…because you’d have to be ker-azyto willingly give up this cute little pair.  I was actually looking for a pair to DIY my own lace-up Ann Demuelemeesters…and I found these instead. They are adorable, right down to the little fold-over at the top, and surprisingly comfortable.  The only clue to their origin is the stamping in the footbed…which could read “F21” or “F24” depending on how you look at them.  Does anyone recognize them from a Forever21?


Friday I went to bed praying that I would not sound like a 3-packs-a-day-smoker for this networking event I was aching to go to on Saturday, since I am in the market for a full-time J-O-B and refuse to work at Burger King.  (apologies all who work at Burger King.)

So I am currently massively behind on everything from housework to going through my mail to answering email (only 53 new messages this morning, thank god) to posting here to formspringing.  Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Will get to everything slowly as my voice finally seems to be coming back, just as slowly, unfortunately…and now Lil Tot has now caught whatever I had.

Plus…okay, another reason I’ve been reticent to take/post outfit photos…or really do anything…is that I’ve gained 7 pounds while in Hawaii.

Can you see it in my face?  (I put on weight in my face first, #$%@ing genetics.)

I honestly don’t know how it happened.  I thought I was being careful, but obviously too much time spent with my computer while others were frolicking on the beach, too many giving in to decadent food and dinners and full buffet breakfasts….ugh.  I’m pretty annoyed with myself since I usually only swing about 3 pounds above my usual set-point throughout the given month…but this…puts me right back where I was last year, before beginning the hell that was P90X.

Funny how a slightly higher number on the scale can totally defeat your willpower to do anything, isn’t it?  Nevertheless, I am glad Spring is here! (even tho my garden obviously hasn’t realized it yet LOL)


Anyway, thank you all so much for commenting during my lapse, and asking questions and giving me feedback…as well as entering my Cold Plasma Giveaway…which I’ll be announcing the winner to tomorrow!

You guys are the best.:-)


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