March 12, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
An alternate title for this post could be, “Isn’t My Best Friend Super Pretty?” or “That Time I Finally Made a Sequin Shamrock Shirt.” In all seriousness, this is a project I had on my list of things to do last year before St. Patrick’s Day, but then we moved at the beginning of March and life got crazy for a while and it just didn’t happen in time to make the cut. (As it goes when you move, right?) So, as I do, I kept it on the spreadsheet I keep handy with lists of ideas for posts, recipes and DIY projects, and this year there was no stopping me. I was making a DIY sequin shamrock shirt. So here we are with what may just be the single cutest way to show a little Irish pride (or wanna-be Irish pride) this St. Patrick’s Day. But really though, my best friend is super pretty, don’t you think?
Here’s the deal with this shirt. It’s going to take you a little time to make this happen, but the technique is super simple. Even the most novice of crafters can pull this one off. Plus, you can switch it up by using this idea to jazz up a plain white tee, an oversized slouchy sweatshirt, or baby tee that’s a bit more fitted. Pair it with jeans, maybe throw a cute blazer or cardigan over top and add a bit of gold jewelry. Because, you know, leprechauns and gold and St. Patrick’s Day and all of those things go hand in hand. Don’t hold back! Just go all in with this one.
- Shirt or sweatshirt (I used this one)
- Green sequin trim (5 – 6 yards, I used this trim)
- Shamrock template (download here)
- Card stock
- Fine point marker
- E-6000 adhesive (or similar)
Begin by downloading the shamrock template and printing it onto card stock. Carefully cut out the shamrock shape and trace it onto your fabric using a fine point marker. I like to keep another piece of card stock or cardboard inside the shirt to keep the marker from bleeding through at this stage or the glue later on. Don’t worry if your lines aren’t 100% perfect as they’ll soon by covered up. Also, your card stock and marker do not need to be green, I was just keeping on theme while I was crafting away.
Next up, run a small bead of the E-6000 along a short section of your shamrock outline. Follow behind by gently placing and pressing your sequin trim onto the bead of adhesive. Be warned that E-6000 is a super strong adhesive and with it comes a very noxious odor so work in a well-ventilated area. If you’re pregnant or bothered by strong adhesive smells, opt for a different glue, just make sure it’s permanent and appropriate for fabric. Continue working in this fashion until you’ve completed the outline. Then snip off the trim before beginning the second row of sequins. I overlapped each consecutive row of sequins over the last one slightly to help prevent any fabric from showing through between the sequins. This is the part that takes a little time, but it’s a very simple process. I worked in small sections and just stayed patient so everything would up nice and neat and professional looking.
When you’re all done, you’ll have a rockin’ bedazzled shamrock shirt that is super snazzy. Let it dry a few hours or overnight ideally before wearing. I haven’t yet had a chance to test my shirt by washing it, but technically the E-6000 should allow you to wash this with no problem. To be safe, I would suggest spot treating and hand washing and laying it flat to dry. Other than that, you’re ready for an evening of drinking green beer or simply just equipped to avoid any pinching come St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget, if you make this or any other projects or recipes from The Sweetest Occasion, be sure to use the hashtag #thesweetestoccasion on Instagram and let me see!
[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
March 11, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so
generously help The Sweetest Occasion keep on keepin’ on!
Remember a few weeks ago when Valspar challenged me to head off to the flea market and find a fixer in need of a makeover? Well, over the last several days I’ve been hard at work painting and waxing and making the piece I picked up into something super cool. I love how it turned out! I used Valspar’s new chalky finish paint (which is available at Lowe’s) in the colors Boot Black and Moonstone Ring to create a modern, color blocked look that makes the most of the dresser’s clean, mid-century modern lines while giving new life to an old piece that was pretty beat up. (Also, by “pretty” beat up, I meant to say very.)
To remind you, here is a look at the piece before I started work. While originally I had intended to save some of the wood finish, I saw once I got working that the dresser was in rougher shape than I had originally realized. To get started, the first thing I did was wood glue down a few areas that were pulling up and I also used wood filler to smooth out a few areas that were really banged up. From there, everything got a thorough light sanding and then I scrubbed the whole dresser down with kitchen cleaner, followed by a second cleaning with soap and water. (Just like with painting our front door, I like to use the kitchen cleaner first because it has a built-in degreaser that helps breaks down any oils on the wood and allows the paint to adhere really well.)
Once everything was patched up, cleaned and completely dry, I got to work painting! Using my favorite short 2″ angled paint brush, I brushed on two coats of the chalky finish paint in Boot Black. I did play around with a roller, but as is typically the case when it comes to me and painting furniture, I found I preferred to just work with the brush. The chalky finish paint starts with a super matte finish and the consistency is a little different as you’re working with it, so my advice is to just brush it on in long, even strokes and don’t overwork the paint too much, just let the paint do the work for you and you’ll end up with a gorgeous finish!
Once the base color was completely dry, I went back in to block out where I wanted to lay down the second color. Inspired by a couple of different area rugs we have in our house, I decide on a half diamond color block along the side panels. To lay it out, I simply measured to find the center point along the back edge of the panel and then ran a piece of tape from either front corner to my mark. So easy! I also decided to add the accent color to the built-in drawer pulls so I taped those off as well. Then I painted the Moonstone Ring chalky paint right over top of the black paint, applying three light coats. The final step was to seal everything with the clear sealing wax which you’ll find at Lowe’s alongside the paint, making it so easy to just pop in to your local store and pick up all the supplies at a price that’s super affordable compared to other chalk paints on the market. To finish everything up, I applied the wax with a clean brush, much like the paint, then removed the excess with a clean, lint-free cloth. I worked in small sections, letting the wax sit for just a minute or two before wiping it off. The end result is a very cool finish that I think adds so much character to a dresser that might have otherwise ended up in a trash heap!
I had so much fun tackling this flea market fixer challenge and it reminded me how much I really do love making over furniture. As we all know, most of the furniture in our house is thrifted or vintage, and I think it’s so much more interesting to have a home full of collected pieces that are spruced with a little DIY love versus just plunking down a bunch of furniture from a showroom. I’ve been painting furniture since I moved into my first college apartment and this dresser is just the latest project. Anyone else feeling inspired to go find your own flea market fixer now?
[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Chalky finish paint in Boot Black and Moonstone Ring by Valspar (available nationwide at Lowe’s) | Linen curtains from Target (similar) |Rug from West Elm | Basket from Target | Pig bookends from CB2 | Tray from Target (sold out) | Sailing prints from HomeGoods
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Read more about our editorial policies.
March 10, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
I’ve mentioned it in passing a couple of months ago, but over the holidays I decided to start doing things a little differently over on Instagram. When Instagram first became I thing, I primarily used it on more of a personal level and truthfully, I’ve always been way more of a Pinterest junkie over everything else. Then it became very obvious that people are completely Instagram-crazed and I realized that I had kind of missed the boat and that maybe The Sweetest Occasion needed a dedicated Instagram profile. So, that’s what I did! You can now follow The Sweetest Occasion on Instagram, where I share all kinds of DIY, food, recipe, decor and travel related things. Also, don’t forget that all year long I’ll be stalking the #thesweetestoccasion hashtag and randomly selecting a follower each month to win a fun little giveaway! So follow along, tag me with your recipes and DIY creations or just share your favorite everyday moments. So pop over and say hi, would ya? I’m excited to hang out with you there!
[Photos from The Sweetest Occasion on Instagram.]
March 9, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Hi, friends! I hope you had an awesome weekend. I spent a lot of time trying to get caught up on projects that I fell behind on while I was sick with the flu and I’m hoping by this time next week I’m back on track. My energy level is still way down from usual so I very definitely snuck in a nap yesterday. Because I’m currently working on finishing up a few posts to share with you later in the week and because I’m also going to be traveling for business this week, I thought we’d ease into things with a bit of link love! These are the things I’ve been seeing and loving around the web over the last couple of weeks. Here’s wishing you a fabulous Monday and a great week ahead! xoxo
[Recipe from Half Baked Harvest.]
March 5, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Simply Beverages. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that
so generously allow The Sweetest Occasion to keep on keepin’ on!
Turns out, February was the coldest months on record ever for our area. We’re talking more than 20 days of below zero temperatures and only a single day that even hit freezing. But as cold as we’ve been, there is no denying that spring is on the way. The days are getting longer, the sun is definitely coming around more often and soon enough (I hope) we’ll be wearing flip flops! Today I’ve teamed up with Simply Juice Drinks to share with you some easy tips and ideas for hosting a fun, casual party designed to welcome spring. We’re talking tacos and cocktails – two of my favorites! This is the easiest way to invite friends over for a little spring celebration that is sure to be a hit.
Today we’re talking about one of my favorite ways to entertain, which basically revolves around a food station and a cocktail station. That way guests can come and go throughout the afternoon or evening and nibble and sip as they please. Specifically, it’s all about the taco today. Mind you, we eat all kinds of taco-inspired fare around here all year long, but tacos are fun and easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser, which sort of fits with a party designed to celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine, don’t you think?
My favorite way to host a party is to work with everyday items you already own and style them in fun ways to make your party look really fun and special without having to run to the store to buy a bunch of stuff. So here I lined the table with newspaper and then laid all the taco fixings out using my standard white serving platters, mason jars and prep bowls. Something as simple as transferring the salsa from the store bought jar to a mason jar just makes it look that much better. For my taco bar I focused on all of my favorite fillings like black beans, rice, tomatoes, homemade guacamole, salsa, cheese, scallions, olives, the works. I did include chicken, recognizing that some people do prefer a meat option in their taco. The easiest way to do that and keep it super simple? Stop off and get one of those $5 rotisserie chickens at the grocery store. Done and done!
Of course no party is complete with a few good cocktails. That’s where the new Simply Juice Drinks come into play! These new flavors (Fruit Punch, Tropical and Mixed Berry) lend themselves perfectly to crafting really delicious cocktails that all of your friends will love! I am personally loving the Simply Tropical (made with real pineapple and mango juice) made into a really delicious margarita. Just add orange liqueur or triple sec and a good silver tequila, shake and pour over ice. There is nothing better with tacos than a super yummy margarita!
Not surprisingly, the Simply Mixed Berry is my favorite of the flavors! I have a serious love for berries, and pairing the Mixed Berry with my favorite gin and a bit of elderflower liqueur ended up being a very good idea. Serve over ice and load it up with fresh berries and you have an instant party in a glass. You also need to give the Simply Fruit Punch a try with a splash of good bourbon and a wedge of lemon. All three of these drinks are taking up permanent residence in my cocktail rotation. The Simply Juice Drinks are bursting with real fruit taste and they’re made with simple, all-natural ingredients, making them perfect for whipping up fresh, tasty cocktails your friends will love.
The last thing you need is to add a little extra color to your table before your guests arrive. Of course, I’m talking fresh flowers! I spent $10 on inexpensive grocery store flowers (yes, my favorite, we all know) and then trimmed them down and tucked them in a quart size mason jar. They look so pretty and it takes all of five minutes to do. If you buy big flowers that have more than one bloom to a stem, they’ll largely do the work for you when arranging. Choose a monochromatic palette like I did here, with two or three shades of the same color and all you have to really do is plunk them in a jar without a lot of effort and they’ll look so pretty.
Is anyone else totally pumped for spring now? When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with tacos and cocktails. For more recipe ideas, flavor combinations and inspiration, follow along at the Simply Facebook page!
[Design, styling + photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Simply Beverages. Read more about our editorial policies.