1 Year Anniversary & Some Exciting News!

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Today is one year since I started Think Outside the Cloth! Since I’m all about celebrating life’s little milestones I decided to throw on a DIY party hat and have cake. I also have some very exciting news! I will be hosting a bloggers networking event with two other great bloggers, Kristen (Twenties & Fabulous) and Stephan (Why I love Toronto). The event aims to unite those in the blogging community and I’m very happy to be apart of it.

This post will be a little different than the usual as I’ve decided to share some background about why I started this blog. I’ve always been a creative person at heart. As a child I loved drawing, creating, and doing odd things with clothes. As I got older that part of me faded into the background as I focused on school and work. A while ago I remember my father telling me “Shanel, one thing in life is KEY, Keep Educating Yourself” and that stuck with me. It’s taught me to always keep learning. Go to bed a little bit smarter than when you started the day, and with whatever you’re doing, or experiences that may happen in life always try and learn something from it.

Before starting this blog, I felt like I was caught in a repetitive routine of life, and I wasn’t growing or learning. I came up with the concept for this blog in December, 2013 while in the shower. I started thinking of DIYs and content, but it wasn’t until 5 months later that I actually got my gears in motion and started Think Outside the Cloth. There were many times where I questioned myself and made excuses; what if no one reads it? I don’t have a good DSLR camera, my pictures will suck! Is this stupid? I was also a bit hesitant, as the Internet is such a huge space. With creating and sharing content I feel like it’s putting a piece of myself out there, and with that there can be judgment. I brushed away all those thoughts and decided to just start and do it! I came up with the reasons of why I wanted to do this, and as cliché as it sounds I really do it as a way to express myself, and to execute the ideas that float around in my head. It’s taught me that whenever I’m doing a project and my mind becomes clouded with negative thoughts to just remember the mission, “the why.”

I’ve learned a lot since starting this blog, and I can’t say it’s been easy, there’s a lot that goes into making a post but I really like doing it. It really makes me respect bloggers who regularly post and share content. Think Outside the Cloth is definitely a work in progress, and I hope to continually improve it. If you’ve been delaying on starting or doing something remember why you want to do it, and just go and do it! No BS or excuses! If you really want it to happen you’ll find a way to make it work :).

Here are some of my most read posts:

DIY Body Chain

Bodychain cover

DIY Strapped Bandeau

Bandage bra cover

3-Step DIY Crop Top

DIYcroptop

Thank you to everyone who’s provided me with feedback, liked, commented, and shared posts! Stayed tuned for more DIYs, fashion tips and tricks.

-Shanel

Before & After: DIY Gold Headband

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I channeled my inner goddess and decided to create a gold headband out of a belt. I had this gold link belt sitting in my closet for a while and I never quite found the right outfit to pair it with so it went unused, until now. A DIY gold headband is pretty simple and if you don’t have a link belt you can always substitute with a gold coloured chain.

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Here’s how I did it.

The Supplies

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Wire cutters
Gold link belt or chain. If you are using a chain make sure the holes in the chain are big enough to fit the elastic through
Gold coloured elastic*
Scissors
Glue

*You can purchase from a fabric or craft store.

The Steps

I took the belt and measured it around my head. I left about 3 inches of space in the back for the elastic.

I used the wire cutters to cut the belt to the length I wanted.DIYgoldheadband

Now it’s time to add the elastic. I looped the elastic through one end of the belt.DIYgoldheadband3

I looped the elastic all the way through so there were two sides. I measured the belt with the elastic around my head to ensure it fit comfortably. I then cut the elastic.
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Where the loop began I tied a knot around one end of the belt.
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To make the elastic stronger I began twisting it.DIYgoldheadband5

I twisted until both ends of the elastic had an inch left. I tied a knot to secure the twist making sure there was still space at the end of the elastic.
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I tied the ends of the elastics around the other end of the belt and cut off the the excess. I added a dab of glue to secure the knot.
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Voila!

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-Shanel

DIY Ring Holder

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I hope everyone had a great Holiday! Now that Christmas is over I always feel the need to declutter and clean, so that I meet the New Year with a clean and tidy space. The first thing I’m tackling is my big basket of accessories which I sometimes loose my rings in an abyss of bracelets and necklaces. But there is an easy solution – DIY Ring Holder!

I hope you saved your small gift boxes because this DIY Ring Holder is super easy and it’s a useful tool for storing all your rings and pretty little things.

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The Supplies

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Small box
Old shirt, or any material
Scissors

The Steps

Lay your material flat. If you’re using an old shirt or pants cut along a seam and open the material up so you have 1 layer.

Put the box on top of the material, and cut a strip which is the same width as the box. The strips of material should be anywhere from 10 to 12 inches in length.

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Tightly roll up the strip of material, and place the loose end down in the box. If the roll is too long for the box trim off some of the end.

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Repeat, cutting and rolling the strips of material until you have a few rolls which fit tightly in the box.

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Fill with your rings!

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If you’re also looking for an easy DIY Earring Organizer click here.

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Do you have any traditions that you like to do before the year end?

-Shanel

10 DIY & Custom Christmas Gifts

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The countdown to Christmas begins! This year channel your inner craftsman and DIY some of your gifts. Handmade gifts not only help you to avoid packed malls, but they can be pretty inexpensive to make, and they show you’ve put some thought into the gift.

There’s so many great and easy tutorials to create custom gifts. I’ve rounded up a list of 10 custom Christmas gifts you can DIY for the special people on your list, give to a host for a party, or even make for yourself.

Candy Sleighs

CandySleigh

For the person on your list with a sweet tooth, this is a simple and easy DIY gift that is inexpensive to make. All you need is some large candy canes, glue, chocolate bars, ribbon, and a bow.

Tutorial and image via Ellyn’s Place

Custom Written Plates or Mugs

25.-Personally-Written-Plates

This DIY dishware is not only nice to look at but it’s also a sweet sentimental gift. Try adding a quote, story or song lyrics that relate to the person you’ll be giving the dishware to. Use a Sharpie or porcelain pen to write out your message.

Image via List 25

Embellished Candle Holders

Emblished Candle Holders

These embellished candles are super cute and make a great gift for any party host, or a stocking stuffer.

Tutorial and image via We Heart This

Instagram Calendar

DIYCalender

For the Instagram obsessed friend this is a gift that they’ll be sure to use all year round.

Tutorial and image via A Beautiful Mess

Custom Phone, Tablet or Laptop Skin

Make an extra special custom skin for that person who is all about their electronics. LaurDIY has a great tutorial on how to do so.

Candy Cane Flower Centerpiece

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Add a sweet touch to flowers for a host by adding candy canes around a circular vase, finish off with a bow or ribbon.

Tutorial and image via Ecopolitan Bride

Tea Wreath

Tea Wreath

This tea wreath would look amazing in anyone’s kitchen. It’s not only festive, but also a really creative way to organize and display a tea collection.

Image and tutorial via Kojodesigns

Embellished Scarf & Gloves

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For the style-conscious person on your list this is a great gift that will keep them warm in style.

Image and tutorial via Clones N Clowns

Photo Pillow

Photo Pillow

A custom photo pillow is a good gift for that friend or family member who lives abroad. Add an image they’ll be happy to snuggle up to.

Image via Walmart

Reindeer Beer

reindeer beer

For hosts of a party alcohol is a pretty common gift, make your booze stand out by bringing reindeer beer! It’s festive, and I’m sure everyone at the party will appreciate the creativity. Make a kid friendly version by swapping the beer with root beer.

Tutorial and image via Life of a Modern Mom

Do you have a favourite gift that someones made for you? Share below!

-Shanel

DIY Embellished Sweater

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As winter quickly approaches I’m slowly entering a hibernation phase which has led to a lot of cleaning and organizing. I was going through my clothes when I realized I had  FOUR plain grey sweaters that look almost identical, so it’s only natural that I had to DIY one. As I did some more cleaning of my craft stash l found a bunch of left over gems from this DIY Jewel Frame, and so this project was born.

I loved how this DIY sweater embellishment turned out. The supplies and steps are very minimal, but with different coloured embellishment and layouts you can create a really unique look.

The Supplies

2 Different coloured Gems
Fabric glue
A small Stick
A piece of scrap cardboard or bristol board

DIYSweateremblishmentsupplied

The Steps

Lay your sweater on a flat surface. So you don’t glue both sides of your sweater together, place the scrap material on the inside of your sweater.

Take your gems and layout your design. I tried a few before I decided on a “V” shape.

Emblishmentlayout

Begin gluing down your gems. Use the stick to press down on them.

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Let it dry.

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How do you like to add some sparkle & shine to your outfits?

-Shanel

DIY Pearl & Wire Ring

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Lately I’ve really been loving the combo of pearls and gold. I’ve always been drawn to gold accessories, I like that pearls add more of a delicate look and a touch of femininity.

I was practicing with crafting wire when I decided to put together this DIY pearl and wire ring. Continue reading to learn how to make it.

DIYpearl&wirering

The Supplies

Crafting wire I used 20 gauge (.032 inch) wire
Pearls
Scissors
Flat nose pliers
Glue
A thin stick a toothpick will do
A circular item that’s approximately the same size as your finger

DIYringsupplies

The Steps

Cut a 4-inch piece of crafting wire.

DIYPeal&Wirering Step1

Take the end of the wire and wrap it once clockwise around your circular item.

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Test that it fits comfortably around your finger. Make adjustments if necessary.

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Use the pliers to bend the wire downward.

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Bend the wire to the right, so you have a 90 degree angle.

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Wrap the remaining wire clockwise around the circular item.

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Again, test that the ring fits on your finger.

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Once you have your desired fit cut the remainder of the wire off.

Add a pearl and then a dab of glue. Move the pearl to the end of the ring. Repeat on the opposite end.

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Let the glue dry.

All done 🙂

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– Shanel

3-Step DIY Crop Top

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If you’re shy about DIY give this a try. This DIY long-sleeved crop top is not only super easy and quick, it requires only two supplies (which you likely have laying around somewhere).
 DIYcroptop

Continue reading

DIY Graphic Print Shoes

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The wardrobe transition has started. It’s that time of year to swap the sandals for closed toe shoes and boots. While I’m clicking my heels together wishing for another week of summer weather, I decided to revamp an old pair of flats and give them a new look. Read on to learn how.

The Supplies

A pair of shoes
Acrylic paint. If your shoes are a fabric material like Chuck Taylors use fabric paint instead.
Paint brushes
Small bowl
*Clear drying finish such as Mod Podge Outdoors

*If your shoes are made of fabric material skip the finish.

The Steps

Clean the shoes making sure they are free of any dirt or debris.

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Pour some paint into the bowl, using the paint brush create whatever design you like. You can customize your shoes by splattering the paint or creating polka dots. I created my design by putting a big blob of paint onto the shoes and then I used the paint brush to spread the paint to create lines.

Let the paint dry.

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Once the paint is fully dried. Use a large paint brush to paint on the finish, leave to dry for 24 hours.

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And you’re done!

PaintedShoesShanelpaintedshoes

-Shanel

DIY Braided Belt

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Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but it feels good to be blogging again. During my break I visited New York City, celebrated my birthday and enjoyed the last warm days of summer hanging out with friends. I have to admit I fell out of habit and became unmotivated to write, but I did manage to create some new DIYs and I’m excited to share!

This DIY braided belt is a nice transition back into things because it’s easy to make, and it requires very few supplies. Read on to learn how to make it.

BraidedDIYBelt

Continue reading

2014 Toronto Caribbean Carnival

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This weekend was the 47th Annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival, or better known as The Caribana Parade. The parade is a stylish, high-energy street festival which celebrates Caribbean culture. Thousands of people of every shape, size, age and colour jump, wave and dance or “play mas” in decked out colourful and bold costumes. The process involved in making the costumes is a huge creative project which involves a lot of planning, detail and creativity. I usually play mas but this year I attended as a spectator. Seeing all the beautiful costumes and creativity gave me a lot of inspiration for new DIYs. I’m excited to share my pictures from the 2014 Caribana parade.

Beautiful Costumes from the Tribal Knights Mas Band

Beautiful Costumes from the Tribal Knights Mas Band

Me before joining the crowd

The event is near and dear to me as both my parents are from Trinidad which is where the colourful tradition started. Mas bands (the people who make the costumes) prepare a year in advance. Each band comes up with a overall theme for their costumes which is then broken up into different sections. Some of the larger bands can have 20 different sections with up to 100 individual mas players!

The costumes in each section will have the same color scheme and appearance. Mas band workers and volunteers spend many hours sewing, gluing and applying decorations like jewels, glitter, sequins and feathers. Participants who want to play mas have to pay for their costumes. Each costume is then fitted for each individual in the band. The costumes do not only have to look beautiful, they have to be durable and adjustable so they can fit many different sizes while people move and dance.

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Happy mas players pose with their section

There is also some construction and welding involved in the process. Each band has a “King” and “Queen” member who wears a large elaborate costume made with light materials like aluminum. The King and Queen costumes are built on wheels that are pulled by a mas player. The day of the Caribana parade the costumes and themes are judged by judges who at the end choose a winner.

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Queen costume making her way down the road

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Mother & son having a good time

The Caribana parade is full of culture that you can taste, see and, hear. There are many Caribbean dishes to enjoy. I got a chicken roti which I devoured. Soca, calypso, and reggae music are played for mas players and spectators to dance to and enjoy.

caribana jewelry

Jewel leg piece

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Toronto Caribana

Yum chicken roti

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CaribanaMasPlayers

I was a bit sad that I missed out on playing mas this year because it’s so much fun, but there’s always next year! I definitely didn’t jump and wave as much as I did when I played mas but I enjoyed taking in the festivities and food.

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Me in my costume in 2011

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Shoes I DIY’d to match my costume

Which street festival is your favorite to attend?

-Shanel