Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Istanbul in pills

a week in Istanbul

Few weeks ago I was in Istanbul for a week, and let me tell you: if you haven't been to Istanbul yet, make sure to put it on top of your to-see-list.

City is fantastic, chaotic, noisy, dense of culture, colors, scents.
Tram is the best way to get around since traffic is so bad. You might get lost, but getting off and going back on the opposite direction will still take you to your destination faster than a cab!

The old part of town is dense of monuments: make sure you get one of these tourist's cards, so you don't have to stay in line forever waiting to see a musk or a palace.

Navigating the Grand Bazaar will be somehow tricky, but you'll eventually find your way out (with some few presents for yourself) ... I found two pretty sterling silver rings, and after 20 minutes of haggling I believe I got a decent deal !

left ring already has matching earrings thanks to two beads bought at the Spice Market

If you are a crafter... don't miss the Spice Market.
Don't get turned off by the "Spices": yes, there are spices of all kind. 
But few narrow streets down... hundred of tiny stores packed up one on top of each others with all the possible beads, sequins, jewelry findings, trims, lace, ribbons, feathers. You name it, it's there.
Got my sequins and beads supplies taken care (for the rest of my life).

all of these sequins and beads comes in big pack like the one on the left... Just saying.
these are the sew on jewels used for my version of the Miu Miu crystal embellished sweater

And of course, we got saffron, tea Turkish delights and Backlava.

So at the end, not only my luggage was 8 lbs heavier, but myself as well... 1 week: +2 pounds, but all worth it!!!

xox, d.

keep in touch! 

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do-Inspire-Yourself #15

knitting 101

Since the weather is turning cold (on the north hemisphere, at least, lucky you on the other side), I'm in the urge of some chunky knits. :)

images from here, here, here and here

For this week, I thought it could be a good idea to wrap some basic and not-so-basic techniques to inspire you to sit back, relax and enjoy {or learn} some good knitting!

WATG: a.k.a.Wool And The Gang

If you're in New York City, you might want to stop by the Wool And The Gang store in Soho.
You won't be disappointed!
On the site, all the step-by-step, easy video tutorials suitable for very beginners!
Videos are well shot, and easy to understand!

the Purl Bee - Purl Soho

Another NYC store! I used to live just around the corner, and bought there the softest 8 ply cashmere (you'll see what I made with it soon!)
The store is not just about knitting, by the way.
Easy to navigate, the PurlBee site offers a wide range of tutorials, and if you go under the knitting section, you'll probably find the answer to any knitting doubts you could have!

casting on

From very basics, to all kind of different way to cast on your stitches: a great round-up of video tutorials  on Keep on Knitting.

raglan sleeves

Looking at what's going on on the fashion scene, looks like raglan sleeves are on top of designer's pick: (see here, here, and here).
Love this well explained multi tutorial from Super Needle  that shows 5 different ways to do the decreasing for the perfect raglan look.

the short rows

Short rows are mostly used for knitting socks, but they can be helpful also in many other occasions.
On this tutorial by socktopus  you can find linked a lot of other methods for achieving the short rows technique. (which I suck at, in case you wanted to know!!!)

shoulders, and sleeves

Marcella Maglie  is a site in italian, but you can use a translator and should be understandable, besides, pictures are worth a million words.
Easily explained a lot of different shoulders and sleeves shapes.
Navigate on the site for many stitches patterns and other useful informations.

three needles bind off

This one and a half minute video is  well shot, clear, and slow {and mute (which often is a plus!)- sorry some voices are annoying!!!}.
If you want to know how to have your sleeves bind off with an almost seamless feel, check it out.

V neck and round neck ribbing

The math behind the necks.
How to make your V neck and round neck without losing it.
REally! The easy, understandable math you need to know.

So, are you going to learn how to knit anytime soon?

xox, d.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

DIY cufflinks

I love the dressy look of cufflinks on my wrists!

I normally "steal" my husband's cufflinks, but today I decided to make a pair of girly-er ones.
And how fun to make cufflinks out of... buttons :)

picture snapped on my way out for a girls' night out!
necklace and bracelet are DIY as well - coming soon -

These are so very easy to make, and fast, too!

supplies needed:

* 2 - two holes buttons - rather large (I picked these mother of pearl stars - also used HERE)
* 2 - two holes buttons of the size of your button holes
* wire (this is sterling silver in 20 gauge Half Hard)
* round nose pliers

In case your shirt isn't born with cufflinks cuffs and has the button on one side of the cuff and the buttonhole on the other one, you can just "cheat" and remove the button and create an extra buttonhole where the button was set.
This will give you the chance to dress it up with cufflinks of any sort and change the look of an otherwise plain button-down. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DIY bubble earrings

I like my earrings minimal, but interesting... and not too big

This year I'm completely taken with royal blue 
// see here and  here //
 {but last year, too} 
//see here and here //
and lapis lazuli is the perfect stone to go with it.

Inspired by these earrings I saw on the MoMA store:
left pic: MoMAstore - collage by moi
While in Istanbul few weeks ago, I purchased two large lapis lazuli round beads, with the idea of making a pair of earrings (to go with a pretty ring I bought at the Grand Bazaar).

grab your supplies!

* a pair of flat pliers (the pliers need to be polished flat in the inside, without the gripping lines - at least for * a small part of it),
* two large-ish beads with a not-too-large hole
* wire (mine is sterling silver 18Gauge Half Hard) and a big marker.

{I'm using wire because I couldn't find headpins with the right gauge and the extra 3" length}

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY color block loafers

loafers are into the spotlight!

I just finished to refashion an old pair of plain black loafers 
into something more fun, contemporary and colorful!

From my instagram @iamdonatella few days ago


Totally inspired by ... so many to pick from!
I knew that I wanted:

color-block, fringes and tassels

Here's my inspiration board on polyvore:

...and how I made it:

First I measured well, and cut a rectangle of paper to make sure that my plan wasn't going to fail.
Totally happy with the result! 
And now I have a perfect match with my  DIY royal blue clutch!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do-Inspire-Yourself #14

exact 10 days to halloween!

In case you are still browsing and still have no clue about what to do with your pumpkins...
I thought to dedicate a whole post to my favorite pumpkins, some are tutorials, some are just inspiration.

glitter & dripping paint:

This pumpkin is spooky & perfectly chic.
Found on Amanda Talley's Facebook group - see more of her gorgeous abstract drawings and paintings on her site HERE

carved perfection: helvetica

Love typography, love Helvetica... love this pumpkin!
Found on Flickr HERE by lancehancock
This is not a tutorial: but I would make it by using stick-on letters and slowly carve around each letter with an exacto knife. 

bejeweled black & white:

Knockoff of the Horchow bejeweled pretty pricey @ $195 pumpkins... a tutorial from Laura @ corner house blog

White pumpkin + sharpie... really!

Doodles, spider webs and geometric patterns over a white pumpkin with a black Sharpie. 
...What not to love? 
Check out the details over @ chica and jo

Lace: enough said.

You know I love lace... 
There are many lace pumpkins around, but these are my favorite.
Paint pumpkin with a mint/grey color (arsenic) first, then glue lace cut-outs. 
Love this color combination!
found over @ country living

if you have a lot of patience...

Head over Alisa Burke and follow her tutorial on how to make these beauty.
... paint, dimensional paint and patience, patience, patience...
(But so beautiful, they are worth it!)

edgy and studded:

These pumpkins over @ southern living were made using upholstery pin tucks, but they can surely be replicated with studs, spikes, and office supplies pin-tucks (all cheaper than upholstery tucks).
Pretty cool!

... and if you're still not sure, and you want to browse some more...

head over the tumblr blog dedicated to 


Get ready and DIY your pumpkins!!! Only10 days to Halloween!!
xox, d.

keep in touch! 

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

inspiration Maison Martin Margiela: gloves

Maison Martin Margiela nailed it, once again.

I'm not a fan of collaborations, but this time I might have to reconsider: so far I'm loving all the pictures of the pieces for the MMM for H&M capsule collection.

Fact: Margiela loves gloves.

From their Artisanal Collection, to FW 2013 Haute Couture Collection, 
gloves are being //amazingly// repurposed.

images from herehere, here, here

Talking about the MMM for H&M collection, I'm in love with this bag and the wristlet.
And I know that somewhere I have an old black bag and some old black gloves....
mmmm DIY DIY DIY!!!

image: fashionista.com

image from kingdom of style

See??? I told you !!!

xox, d.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DIY Miu Miu crystal embellished pullover

...take a fisherman's pullover and put a bling on it.

If you thought that fisherman's sweaters 
were only for the tough outdoor, 
paired with denim and Hunter boots, 
... think again.

left Pic: polyvore - right pic: courtesy of @alyssavingan on Instagram(1)
Last post was meant to introduce the large amount of heavy cabled, Irish inspired sweater that are "hot" {literally} this year.

But some designers put an extra spin on it, adding some "bling" and taking these off white, heavy duty pullovers to a brand new level.

get the high $$$ look with a DIY: 

Take an Irish sweater and add a choice of :
SEQUINS -->  Haute Hippie <--
SEW-ON JEWELS -->  Miu Miu <--
GLASS BEADS -->  J.Crew <--

left pic: mytheresa - collage by moi

Because of the silhouette of my knitted sweater, 
{and because it's the less-work-intensive of the three inspiration}
I decided to make my sweater with the sew-on jewels, just like the Miu Miu pullover.
Looking at the Miu Miu sweater, looks like it's a random pattern, so I just went by eye.
Total time: about two hours.

Love the totally different life that my sweater will endure now with all these shiny embellishments: 
this refashion it's just one of the simplest, since there's no cutting, measuring nor re-fitting involved.
... Just put a bling on it!

The not-so-much-of a tutorial:

I bought these sew-on jewels in 8 different shapes  
(while I was in Istanbul last week - so cheap it was surreal)
* Sew-on with a matching color thread.
* Some in a group of three, some in a group of two, and the biggest ones just as is.
* Toward the shoulders I sew on the crystals closer to each other.
* Going down toward the waist they are more far away.
That's it.

The reason why I choose to use sew-ons is simple: in the very possible situation that I might get tired of the embellishments, it will take me few minutes with a seam-ripper to get my plain fisherman's sweater back.
In case you want to Do-It-the-fast-way: you can buy the same jewels, not drilled, that are meant to be glued on. The whole process shouldn't take more than 15-20 minutes!

xox, d.

(1) this sweater is not yet for sale on J.Crew - The picture on the lookbook doesn't give enough justice to this pretty pullover - Alyssa Vingan is associate web editor at Marie Claire and got this picture at last year fashion show in NYC.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY fisherman's sweater

looks like each designer has a fisherman's sweater 

in their FW collection

...So do I. ... and it's a DIY (duh!)

I knitted my sweater long time ago, and it's one of the warmest sweater I own. 
One of the best feature of knitting a fisherman's sweater (also called Irish sweater, or Aran sweater) is the fast speed at which these knits grow. 
The stitches normally used for these knits are cables, diamonds, seed stitch, honey comb... an more.

... and I made one also for my husband: HERE!

For the fall/winter 2012/13 collections you can find a fisherman's sweater on any given price tag, and designer name: from Isabel Marant, to Rag & Bone, to Michael Kors, Derek Lam, Carven, to  Alexander McQueen and many more.
... OR you can make your own. 
It's a fun way to learn new stitches, and chunky wools are really forgiving.

a collection of chunky fisherman's sweaters on polyvore

The Aran sweaters are actually a big part of the Irish tradition: check out this article on 10 engines to learn more about something that nowadays is an item of warm fashion, but in the past had deep, different meanings.

xox, d.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Do-Inspire-Yourself #13

this week, I thought to feature "all things diamond"

my AMT acrylic ring (I'm been wearing this for the past ...10 years)

So many good ideas, so many tutorials, so many inspirations... I thought a round-up was needed :)


1* diamonds: a mobile tutorial @ creature comforts
2* faceted paper weights tutorial @ swoon studio
3* faceted geometric necklace tutorial @ dismount creative


mood lights:

1* ove these light bulbs @ eric therner (photographed by jesper lindstrom)
2* faceted wood alarm clock cover tutorial @ design spongel

fabric & embroidery:

1* make a diamond patchwork pillow @ whimsy milieu
2* make a quilted diamond bag with the pattern @ misusu
3* steal the idea of embroidery diamonds over a t-shirt or sweater @ all hands on dec
4* painted diamond pillow @ yellow heart art on Etsy

leather or plastic: 

green thumb:

1* make your pots prettier with a gems @ design sponge


I guess for crayons, chocolates, soaps, candles and clay this mould would be just the IT thing!!

diamond mold on ebay

have fun with all things faceted!!!

xox, d.

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