The Smiling Journal

For all your creative needs!

DIY Fingerless Gloves!

Wanna make your outfits more exciting? Wear cute, upcycled fingerless gloves!

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You will need:
– One or two socks
– Scissors
– Permanent marker

Optional extras:
– 2 x 30cm pieces of ribbon

If you have two socks:
Start off by cutting the toe end off one of the socks. Now, put the sock on your hand as if it were a glove, with the elastic part around your knuckles.

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Make a small dot with the permanent marker at the base of your thumb (not the tip).
Take the sock off again, and poke the scissors through where the mark is. Now put the sock back on your hand, and stick your thumb through the hole. Use the scissors to widen the hole very carefully! Its easy to cut it too big, so keep checking to see if your thumb is comfortable.

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You’re pretty much done! All you need to do is cut the end to the length you want it, and repeat this process for the other sock!

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If you have only one sock:
Start off by cutting the sock above the heel part, and below. You should now have a strip with the heel part on it (you can throw this away).

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Next, put the piece of the sock with two openings on your hand as if it were a glove, with the elastic part around your knuckles. (these next few steps are the same as above, but I’ve written them again).
Make a small dot with the permanent marker at the base of your thumb (not the tip).
Take the sock off again, and poke the scissors through where the mark is. Now put the sock back on your hand, and stick your thumb through the hole. Use the scissors to widen the hole very carefully! Its easy to cut it too big, so keep checking to see if your thumb is comfortable.

Next, grab the last piece of the sock. Cut the toe part the same distance from the thread line as the width of the elastic bit of the other half of the sock. Like so:

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Now, just cut them to the length you want them!

Optional extra:
If you don’t want the glove to gape open at the wrist, you can do this step.
Using the scissors, carefully poke small holes all the way around the wrist end of your glove. Now, weave the piece of ribbon in and out of the holes, all the way around. Repeat this for the other glove, and you’re done! You can tie the ribbon ends into a nice bow if you like! :)

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Chain of Cranes decoration!!

Need a new phone charm, wall decoration, or even earrings? Then this is for you!

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You will need:
– Squares of paper
– Scissors
– Thin cardboard

Start off by folding all your squares of paper into paper cranes. Then, cut your piece of cardboard into quite thin strips.
Now, using your scissors, poke them through the hole at the base of one of the cranes, and all the way through to the other side to form a ‘tunnel’.
Next, fold one strip of cardboard in half. At one end is a loop, and the other is two separated ends. Fold each end in a different direction, like so:

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Now, poke the end with a loop into the base of the crane, and pull it through. Repeat this step with the rest of the cranes.

And thats it! You’re done! A chain of cranes, ready to be hung up anywhere you’d like.

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I’ve Had A Ball Of A Time!

Recently, I had my school ball. Or should I say, two of them?
For those Americans out there, the school ball is pretty much like a prom. Everyone wears nice dresses and brings a date and dances the night away on the dance floor.
Luckily for me, I got to go to two this year! (Me and my boyfriend of 13 months go to different schools.)
I just thought I’d show you the dresses I wore (a different one to each, of course!).
The first ball I went to was my boyfriend’s. I knew a few of his friends already, so it wasn’t too hard to have fun! I wore a green dress, and a masquerade mask that I’d made. (Check out my other blog post showing you how to make your own!)
NB: I haven’t asked my boyfriend for permission to post a photo of him, so I’ve cropped him out… ;P

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The second ball I went to was my own. Admittedly, the music was much better because we’d won a competition for a famous(ish) DJ! I wore a red dress this time, in great contrast…

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Luckily for me, my boyfriend’s suit matched both my dresses perfectly! Both nights were equally amazing and fun, definitely an experience I’ll never forget!!!

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DIY braided skirt!

Have a plain old skirt and a bunch of old clothes that you’d like to upcycle? Then this is for you!

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You will need:
– Scissors
– An old skirt (or you can make your own, preferably black or white)
– About eight old tops, in solid colors that complement each other (better if they’re slightly stretchy)
– Knowledge on how to braid/plait
– Needle and thread

Start off by cutting the eight old tops into strips about the length of the skirt. An easy(ish) way to do this is fold the top in half twice, then cut strips all the way up as far as you can go.

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Theoretically, this should take you four times less than if you’d left the top unfolded. Yay!
Once you’ve cut up all the strips, cut each strip through one layer once (because the strips will actually be loops) in order to have a straight piece of material.
Now, grab three strips of different colors and tie the ends together. Its time to braid! A tip when doing this is to either tape/tie the end to a surface, or hold the end between your feet in order to keep an even tension. When you reach the end of the material, tie another knot.

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Continue braiding strips together until there’s no fabric left to braid. Then comes the annoying part – sewing them on.
Find the side seam of the skirt (or if there’s a zip, use that) and that’s where you start. If you’re using the zip, start about 1cm away from it. Thread your needle (with the thread doubled over) and tie a knot at the end.
Now, push the needle through the waistband of the skirt and one of the braids from the inside out. The knot should hang over the edge, like so:

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Now, pull the thread through until you feel the tug of the knot. Poke the needle back through, close to where the thread is coming out, then repeat. You should now have two lines of thread:

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Now, repeat these steps for all of the braids! Once you’re done that, you can trim the ends of the braids to your preference, and cut off the knots around the waistline of the skirt.

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One last optional step:
If you have a zip and you don’t want a gap, simply tie one of the braids to the zip and trim the ends!
Ta da, you’re done!

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Union Jack Nail Polish!

In spirit of the Olympics drawing ever nearer, I’m writing a post to teach you guys how to paint union jacks on your nails!

You will need:
– Red, blue, and white, and clear nail polish
– Sellotape
– Scissors

Start off by painting your whole nail red. I recommend you only do your thumbnail to start with, because its the biggest and easiest to do.

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Make sure the nail polish is completely dry, then cut a piece of sellotape into quarters so you have four very thin strips. Now sellotape a union jack on your nail (it looks like an asterisk). Now carefully paint over your whole nail in white, making sure the white doesnt get under the sellotape. Once the nail is completely dry again, peel the sellotape off slowly and gently. Your nail should look something like this (but probably neater – I’ve never done this before):

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Now cut a piece of sellotape just in half this time, so the strips aren’t as thin as before. Stick them down over the red lines you’ve just made. Now paint your whole nail blue! Once its completely dry, peel the sellotape off gently and carefully like before. You should now have a union jack on your nail!

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Masquerade Mask!

In this post, I’ll teach you how to make your own masquerade mask! I’m going to a Venetian masquerade ball in a few days time, so I thought I’d make my own mask! Its so hard to find affordable masks that look just right with your dress/suit.

You will need:
– A white paper mask
– Paint (in the color you want your mask to be)
– Paintbrush
– Sequins (if you can find some in a string already, they’re best)
– Superglue
– Sellotape
– A thin metal/wooden rod
– A selection of beads
– Two large feathers in the color of your choice

Firstly, cut the mask so its the right shape for your face, then paint both sides of the mask. Once the paint has dried, carefully superglue the sequins all around the edges of the mask (including around the eyes). Where the loop ends, add extra superglue to ensure it doesn’t unravel.

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Now, superglue the two feathers on one side of the mask. Like so:

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Grab the thin metal/wooden rod and place a bead on one end. Put a blob of superglue on the end to make sure the bead stays in place. Once the glue has dried, continue filling the rod up with beads until an inch from the end. Now, superglue or tape the rod to the bottom of the mask. If you tape it on, make sure you paint over it so it doesn’t look ugly.

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Now you’re done! Easy, huh? You can paint designs on the front if you like, but I decided to keep mine simple.

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Personalised Invitations!

People love things that are about them…right? These personalised invitations are a great idea, especially when you need to keep numbers down!

You will need:
– A piece of paper/card for each person you’re inviting
– A photo of each person
– A pencil
– Glue

All you need to do is glue down the photo of the person on the back of the card, then write the party details on the front!

I recently had my birthday party, and for my invites I did a drawing of each of my friends! Its a great way to keep down numbers if you’re struggling ;)

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Keeping My Holidays On Track – Part ll

In an earlier blog post, I recounted my experience of tramping the Milford track in New Zealand. However, I failed to mention that along the way, I did some artwork – drawings, to be specific. I’ve decided to show you guys! So here they are:

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This was a drawing of the view from the boat ride to the start of the tramp.

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This was a drawing of the view from a helicopter pad at the first hut. There was a small walk to get there, but the end result was worth it – the helipad was in the middle of a vast expanse of vegetation, completely surrounded by mountains! A beautiful spot, and somehow there were less sandflies there too!

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This was a view partway down a hill we descended – I thought it was a nice sight, so I drew it!

Thats all… I was too busy enjoying the sheer beauty of the Milford track, to spend much more time drawing it. I just wanted to soak it in!

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Leg Warmers!

Just had to share this!
Seeing as its the middle of winter here, I’ll make a post on how to make leg warmers!!
Now, this project is not my own (sadly) so I’ll have to link you to the site. But not before I show you the ones I made!!! Oh yeah!!!

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And here’s how to make them:

http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/03/diy-leg-warmers-from-promise.html

Happy creating!!

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I’m A Black Belt (In Fashion)!

Some people’s outfits can look a bit blah, or two pieces go well together but don’t flow, or they look shapeless. The answer to these problems is simple: a thick black belt.

Belts are so versatile – they match most outfits, especially if they’re black or white.

To prove to you guys how essential a thick black belt can be, I pulled together three outfits in less than five minutes, all improved with the use of a thick belt (the same belt, too)!

Problem 1 – outfit looks blah:

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By simply adding a thick belt to a t-shirt-and-skirt combination, the outfit starts to look alot more interesting!

Problem 2 – two pieces don’t ‘flow':

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Here, the thick belt acts as a type of ‘bridge’ that ‘sews’ the two pieces together!

Problem 3 – shapeless:

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Thick belts are useful for casual summery dresses – it accentuates your shape by holding the dress in at the waist (or higher).

Now do you see? Thick belts (especially black ones) are must-haves for your wardrobe… (I mean, they go with everything!)
You can thank me later ;P

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