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henry happened: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creating Family Traditions

The other thing I did during my blog break was stalk the Design Mom blog. I mentioned before that she's my idol - I think I have a little crush on her and totally want to be bffs. She's my new Gwyneth. I read ALL of her archives, starting way back in July 2006.

I'm in awe. She's a great mom (of 6!), her family has style, she still has a crush on her husband, and she's a funny and smart blogger. (Plus prolific! I lost some serious sleep.)

Aside from inventing the blog giveaway and being a major social media champion, she has an amazingly creative and close knit family. What I loved most? The Blair family traditions:
  • Breakfast in bed on birthdays
  • Scary bedtime stories during October - plus clever homemade costumes
  • Family fun nights every Monday night
  • Homemade sibling gifts for Christmas
  • Hilarious pranks on April 1st

It got me thinking about my own little growing family and what traditions I want us to have. A few thoughts...
  • Saturday pancake day - Caroline already asks for this
  • Friday night family dinner with sundown candle lighting
  • Totally stealing the birthday breakfast in bed idea
  • Father's Day BBQ - I don't gush enough about Mark's awesomeness
  • Family Easter Egg Hunt
  • Summer vacation in Delaware
  • Halloween party - I love October. Need to celebrate my birthday (the 29th) and anniversary (the 30th) with something fun.

What family traditions do you have? I'd love to hear!

Ok, now let me get to work on the 3 giveaways I have for you. (Thanks to Gabrielle!)

Photo from here

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First Shoes

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend as much as I did. I took a total blog break for four days, and wow, I needed that. We did lots of fun things like grill out, visit the zoo, and make our first (and second) trip to the pool.

So now that Henry is 15 months old, I think it's time for a pair of shoes. He's crawling, pulling up, cruising ... but not walking. And I really want him to (why?! you're probably thinking). Maybe these cuties from Pediped will inspire him?

Around the house I prefer that he be barefoot. But for errands and park visits, the boy needs some shoes. :)

What first shoes do you recommend? When did your little ones start walking?

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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Must List | May 27, 2011

Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? Yay, it's a holiday! You have an extra day for a few things you must check out to wear, eat or simply be inspired by.

  • Always Just a Mom: Stephanie is hanging out with her besties in a 10-year mini-reunion. Friends + wine & cheese = fun times!
  • A Bit of Sunshine: Rebekah is being intentional about date nights with her hubby with this gorgeous Italian dinner at home.
  • Taking It On: XLMIC shares this hilarious video of the Houdini-esque Miss C.
  • Delighted Momma: Lindsay gets crafty with clay and makes this amazing bracelet for only $5.
  • I Am A Greedy Girl: Is showing off the amazing Ruche summer collection.
  • Cherished Handmade Treasures: Sandy makes amazing French Macaroons. So pretty!
  • Cool Kids: Betsy shares her 5 mommy must haves for summer - including this awesome bracelet!
  • Making It Lovely: Nicole created this colorful print for her daughter's bedroom - and you can download it for free.
  • henry happened: Stephanie turns ugly jeans into an easy DIY bell bottoms project.
The Must List is produced weekly by stephanie of henry happened - for information on how to be involved, email me at henryhappened@gmail.com


Thursday, May 26, 2011

DIY Hex Nut Wrap Bracelet

Yes, I know, I have to stop making bracelets. It's an addiction. Is there a support group for this? But I see these fun, colorful wrap bracelets everywhere, and they are sooo easy that even this craft-challenged mom can't resist.

And seriously J. Crew, $36 for this?

Step 1: Get thee to Goodwill and buy a crazy heinous skirt for $3. Then stop by the hardware store for a dozen or so brass hex nuts at 15 cents each. (You might want to pick up a few extra to make this bracelet.)

And you've shelled out about $5. (Why are all my projects $5? It's not a Lincoln conspiracy, I promise.)

Step 2: Cut a piece about 4 inches wide. Thinner is okay (not too much or it will just look sad), but you can't go much thicker because your hex nuts won't fit. Length can vary - the longer it is the more times it will wrap on your wrist. Also, the ragged edges are cool so don't stress about hemming or fraying.

Step 3: Tie a knot in one end and twist the entire length.

Step 4: Feed your hex nuts on, spacing them however you want. Don't glue them on - the width of the fabric will be enough to keep them in place. Plus then you can adjust them after you put the bracelet on.

Step 5: Tie the two ends together in a knot so it forms a circle.

Step 6: Wind it around your wrist! You can move the hex nuts around for a better visual.

I love the chance to wear a bold color. So, obviously, I'm a bracelet person. What types of jewelry do you favor?

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Maxi Trend

Recently my fashion advisory panel (Gwynnie, Kendi and Jill) have been sporting the maxi in skirt and dress form. Am I the last to recognize this trend?

I spent, oh, close to three hours browsing online to recreate their outfits so I thought I'd share what I found. Pretty much everything is under $100, and most are under $50. Cuz I'm cheap like that. :)

A few maxi dress options. The most expensive option is GP's "budget" find.

Zara long dress, $189 Free People cotton dress, $88 American Apparel a line dress, $58 Maxi dress, $50 Old Navy empire waist maxi dress, $35 Forever21 tank maxi dress, $10

I actually love the skirt more than the dress. Which do you prefer?

Velvet skirt, $88

Some heel and flat options. And I love the idea of putting a bright top or neon tank underneath.

American Apparel rib tank top, $46
Old Navy rib tank top, $8.50
Gap shoes, $90
Kvoll shoes, $62
Old Navy wedge sandal shoes, $30
Lace up shoes, $28
Dorothy Perkins blue platform heels, 22 GBP
Kimchi Blue strappy shoes, $20
Wet Seal snake shoes, $20

What do you think of this trend? Or are you already onboard?


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strawberry Picking

Remember our plans to go strawberry picking last weekend?

Yeah, total bust. Turns out we were a couple of days early - picking didn't start until Monday! (Though I swear there were advertisements to the contrary.) What a fun discovery after an hour long car ride with two children who start crying the minute we leave the garage. I'm like a zookeeper tossing back animal crackers every 30 seconds to keep 'em quiet.

But strawberry season had clearly begun! Strawberries are my favorite fruit so we bought enough to last forever a week. A little bit of strawberry ice cream also went a long way in lifting spirits.

And I have to show you these crazy enormous fish we fed (like they needed more food).

This picture doesn't do justice to the HUNDREDS of them wanting to be fed. Crazy.

We may be heading back to try again soon. (See, I really like strawberries.) Any favorite strawberry recipes? What fruit/veggie are you excited for this summer?


Michelle Williams + Haircut

I am officially done with growing out my hair. It has been sloooowly getting longer for 8-9 months now, and I can finally pull it back into a semi-decent little pony tail. But it is not my best look, and unfortunately I can't stand all the hair on my neck and face. Sigh. I guess some people are just not meant for long hair.

I'm going in this week to chop it off. And I'm showing them these photos of Michelle Williams' darling do. I love the color and the simplicity of the style.

What do you think? I think I wanted to grow my hair out like Gwyneth's but although I am mini obsessed with her style, her hair is just not for me.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

I've been playing around with online hair makeovers and while it hasn't been that helpful in finding a style, it's been pretty darn entertaining. Have you tried an online "makeover"? What are your hair inspirations?

Images from here and here


Monday, May 23, 2011

DIY Bell Bottom Jeans

Remember my ugly jeans? When life gives you an extra 10 pounds lemons, I say make lemonade! First we turned them into cuffed jean shorts. And guess what we're using the leftover scraps for? Yes, bell bottoms!

The flair trend is great for us pear shapes for a couple of reasons. First, it balances the hip width. And second, it forces me to wear heels for desperately needed height!

Enough rambling, ready for the how to? This one is a bit more complex than the shorts so stay with me. You will need:
  • A pair of fitted jeans (not jeggings but not baggy)
  • Denim scraps from making shorts
  • Seam ripper (scissors will also work)
  • Scissors or fabric cutter
  • Sewing machine (or a friend with one, thanks Nikki!)
  • Pins

First, open the outer leg seam of the jeans. I went up about 18 inches, which was not quite knee height. I used a seam ripper to get started and then just ripped it to where I had marked. I also opened about an inch of the hem on each side of the seam.  

You can open the entire hem if you don't want to re-hem at the end. This will just add about an inch to the length. Clean up the open seam and pull out the loose threads.

Next, take your bottom denim pieces from making the shorts. Cut down the side seam to open up the fabric into one flat piece. Now fold over and measure 18 inches.

This is the slightly tricky part for me. You are basically cutting a triangle piece to sew into the leg seam. You want the base of the triangle to be 6 inches wide and the top to be 2 inches wide. (Of course, you can go wider if you want more flare.)

After you fold over the fabric, use a ruler to mark 1 inch in at the top and 3 inches in at the bottom. Then draw a line to connect or use a ruler and cut on the diagonal to make your triangle.

The next piece is easy because you can just use the first one as your guide. Then put them together to see if they match up (right side facing in) and trim up an errors.

Now turn your jeans inside out and pin in the fabric triangle, making sure you match up the end open hems. Then sew it in.

Finally re-hem. You may have to do this by hand if your sewing machine won't go through the denim layers.

Voila! Super cute bell bottoms! I kinda wish I had gone even wider ... though I'm not quite ready to try any crazy fabric quite yet.

What do you guys think of this trend? Is it something you would wear?

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1,000 Follower Giveaway - $128 Red Leather Clutch!!

So in case you missed it, we now have over 1,000 GFC followers! Happy dance!! Do a little jig!!

Okay, whew, gotta catch my breath.

Ahem. Now I have a fabulous giveaway to thank all of you fabulous folks. I feel a little Oprah right now (You get a car! You get a car!) because giving stuff away makes me a little giddy. And this is a doozy. Is it bad form to enter your own giveaway?

Automatic Sweetheart has the most amazing leather clutches. I featured these handcrafted beauties for Mother's Day, and if you (like me) wait till after the big day to get what you really want, now is your chance because they are giving away this Leather Bank Clutch in True Red!

Says Renee, the artist behind the creations, "When researching ideas for this style, I kept coming back to the simple silhouette of a bank deposit bag. There's just something so utilitarian and lovely about the shape."

Oversize clutches are so in right now. Plus how can you go wrong with red? Love it!

Made of super buttery classic red leather, the clutch is lined with gray pinstriped fabric and has a pocket on the inside and on the back. This is a classic (and retails for $128), so take advantage of the extra entries! And visit Automatic Sweetheart to check out all of their handcrafted bags and accessories.

5 Ways to Enter

1. Follow henry happened via GFC or RSS

2. "Like" henry happened on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

3. Follow the Automatic Sweetheart blog

4. "Like" the Automatic Sweetheart Facebook page

5. Tweet, blog or post to your personal Facebook page about this giveaway

* Contest will be open until Midnight EST June 14. Contest winner must have a US or Canadian mailing address.

* The winner will be randomly selected from random.org. Please check back to see if you won, or leave your email address with comment and winner will be contacted.


And congratulations to Kasia! You are the winner of the $25 Noisy Cricket giveaway! I will contact you with the details. There were a total of 128 entries when I added in those that were deleted by blogger (but kept by me).


DIY Cuffed Jean Shorts

Got a pair of jeans that make you look fat? Oh the therapy that comes from ripping them apart. But seriously, you can save yourself some big bucks this season by making not one - but two! - projects from one pair of jeans!

First, shop your closet for a pair of jeans that are too long, too short, too whatever to turn into cute cuffed shorts. Or thrift a pair like mine above - Loft boyfriend jeans for $7.

Second, gather supplies. You will need:

  • Pair of jeans
  • Scissors (shearing scissors if you have them for less fraying)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
Third: Decide how long you want the shorts to be. This momma does not really wear short shorts so I erred on the longish side when cutting. Measure the inseam allowing an extra 2 inches for folding and mark your length. TIP: Lay the legs on top of one another so you only have to cut once. D'oh!

I started by cutting at 10 1/2 inches, went back to cut at 9 1/2 and finally again at 8 1/2. So that's roughly 6 1/2 inches of length after rolling. But these jeans are pretty baggy so they sit low on the waist.

Next: Cut a triangular notch about 1 inch high on the outside of each leg. You need some give in order to roll the pants. Otherwise you'll get some unsightly bulges, a la muffin top.

Almost there: Put them on, roll twice, and assess length. Are they even? Does the length feel right? Wear them around for a bit to see how they feel. After an hour of wearing mine I decided they needed to be a smidge shorter so cut a bit more.

Sorry, no full body shots. These legs are too lily white! But seriously, could that be any easier?

Finally: Don't throw away the denim scraps! DIY project #2 is coming up.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Steppin' Out: What Not To Wear

Nothing like a photo to ruin a good run of denial. I took one look at this pic and literally came inside and got on the treadmill.

And this weekend I destroyed those jeans. Apparently I'm dating a largish fellow if these are my "boyfriend" jeans.

But I do still like the scarf and earrings that I got for Mother's Day. (Ok, I returned my actual gift and got these - feel a wee bit guilty about that.)

I've been wanting to link up (you know how I love a good link up) with Steppin' Out over at Harper's Happenings. So I tried again on Saturday for a decent "outfit." I'm apparently a masochist because I chose horizontal stripes in a rather non-flattering tunic. Without serious Spanx support. Those photos are safely buried. And I have a new item for the consignment store!

Making me feel marginally better (though a cookie would be better): At least the Loft jeans were thrifted and ripping them apart felt really good (DIY to come).

Plus I'm back on the exercise bandwagon. I feel really good that I lost all of my baby weight (47 pounds, yikes!). Now my goal is Just 10 More and I will be a happy, skippy gal.


Friday, May 20, 2011

5 Things that Inspire Me (& giveaway winner!)

I love seeing what sparks the creativity of artists I love. And since giveaway winner posts are such a snooze (unless, of course, you're the winner!) I asked Romina, the creator of the gorgeous Dear June scarves and jewelry, to share 5 things that inspire her. Enjoy the peek into what she is into!

P.S. Find out if you are the winner of the $50 hand dyed scarf below!

1// TOAST catalogues

Not only the products but also the photography, atmosphere and nature inspired life philosophy they evoke in their pages. These catalogues are like silent, beautiful movies.

image source

2// Anything related to the sea

The beach, the breeze, the sun shine on the water… I love collecting shells and stones and bringing them inside the house. My nature elements collections inspired my work at Miles of Light.

3// White rustic and simple

I love houses where white, wood and simplicity govern so I can fill the space with colors and textures depending on the season.

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4// Feathers

Feathers, feathers, feathers! I love them in any size, shape, color and to do anything or just display on their own.

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5// Antique jewelry

Bold, rustic, old, statement pieces full of a native and ancient sense of history. Indian, Arabian, gypsy… the way they've been handcrafted and passed from generation to generation makes them even more interesting. I might start a collection of my own.

image source

And congratulations to Kelly B! You are the winner of hand dyed scarf from Dear June. Let me know what color you would like!