How-To/D.I.Y

Style DIY: Perfect Cut-Off Shorts

I know you're wondering why I'm posting a DIY for perfect pair of denim cut-off shorts at the beginning of November and not sometime during the summer, but SoCal typically has Indian Summers and we're still experiencing 88℉ weather, so cut-offs are still appropriate. That plus I figure it's going to be summer in the Southern Hemisphere too, so hey why not? 

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts

You'll Need: 

    - A pair of denim pants that you no longer care for as pants

    -Scissors

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts--What-You-NeedStep 1: 

Take the pair of pants that you've decided are no longer suitable to be pants but perfect to be shorts, and turn them inside out. 

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts--Step-1Step 2: 

Next take the groin part of the pants and pull them down. I usually pull them down until the front and back seams are even with each other. It looks a little weird but trust me. 

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts--Step-2Step 3: 

Next, straighten out the legs a little and figure out how long you want the inseam to be. I typically do anywhere between one and four inches depending on what I want to do with the edges. Most often I like to roll them up a little so I'll do a four inch inseam that way they aren't too short. You're going to cut across the grain of the denim so you want the legs to be pretty straight, but they don't have to be perfect. 

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts--Step-3Step 4: 

Next cut the other leg. Turn them right side out, and you're done! 

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts--Step-4

Perfect-Cutoff-Shorts-Final
I've literally got a whole drawer full of shorts because that's all I ever want to wear during the summer. The less clothes that I can wear (without getting a public indecency ticket for it) the better. 

So whether you need a pair of shorts in a pinch because of an unexpected heat wave, or because it's actually going to be summer where you are, now you can make yourself the perfect pair of cut off shorts.  

Amanda ❤

#PositiveVibes Primer: How to Be Enthusiastic Part 1

#PositiveVibes-Primer-Enthusiasm, how-to-be-enthusiastic
Awhile back ago I remember watching a Buzzfeed video 'Signs You're Still Not An Adult'. While I relate to pretty much every "sign" in that video, there's one in particular that relates to what I'm talking about today.

"Treats still excite you."  

It's not so much the fact that it's treats, but small things still excite me and I pretty much gasp at everything that does. Friends and family are a testament to that because I've scared a few of them that way. 

*GASP* Kitty! 

*GASP* A parking space!

*GASP* The corn man! 

While maybe it is a sign that I'm still not an adult yet, I like to take it in the sense that I can still be enthusiastic about things. Not just the big things like "*GASP* ___'s pregnant!" but also the small things like the examples above. 

An example of this is "Costa Rica Money". Let me explain what Costa Rica Money is. One of my dream vacations is to go to Costa Rica, and I'm saving up for it, but another way that I'm getting money for it is simply by picking up change from the ground. A penny may just be a penny to you, but add them up over time and you eventually get $17 in pennies, and that's $17 that you didn't have beforehand. Tax-free that you didn't have to work for! You don't realize how often you can find change on the ground, but every time I do, I get excited. "*GASP* COSTA RICA MONEY!" because to me, it represents an opportunity, a dream that I'm trying to fulfill. So eventually when I get to Costa Rica, I'll have myself and countless, unknowing donors who helped me get there. 

I try to keep the excitement of experiencing things, new. I don't like the thought of being jaded to situations and experiences so this is my way to prevent that. A good example of this is kids. Kids see everything with excitement and wonder, and that's how I try to view things. 

So maybe you're finding that you're lacking in the enthusiasm portion of your life, or that you're not as enthusiastic as you used to be? Here are five ways to bring enthusiasm into your life. 

1. Accept Small Victories

Sometimes people are so caught up in winning the big battles that they forget about small victories. Okay, so you didn't get into your first choice college but you got accepted to your second and third choices. It's not a bad thing. Who's to say that your first choice college would have been a good fit for you? And maybe you meet "the one" at college number three? That's definitely not a bad thing. Just because things didn't go the way you wanted them to doesn't mean that all is lost. Look for the silver lining. 

2. Be Yourself

It goes without saying, but when you're yourself life is SO much better. Trying to be someone that you're not is exhausting. You can't be an authentic version of somebody else. Plus, why deny the world your awesomeness? You have personality strengths and flaws that are unique to yourself, so show them off. Personally, I'm a giant goofball. I like making people smile and laugh. It feels good to me. I also like to dance. So what's my "thing"? Being goofy while dancing. I do it everywhere. At the post office. On the train. In line while waiting to order coffee. I have rhythm but I purposely dance as if I had none because I know that it makes people laugh. That's my authentic self. Find your thing. Embrace it. Unleash it on the world. 

3. Be Positive

The whole reason I'm starting #PositiveVibes Primer is because I'm going through a whole 'nother round of CBT. My therapist has told me I have a penchant for going straight to the doom and gloom of issues. There's no in-between for me. It's either zero or 100. Zero being everything is fine, 100 being worse possible scenario and then some. Last August I talked about how Robin Williams' death brought me closer to my own pit but I was able to recognize it and keep away. Unfortunately, I've had a slip and now I'm back on the road to my peak. So this whole post is essentially an exercise in positivity. Find things to be positive about, like the small victories and that fact that you are the only you that will ever exist. Nobody in this world, nor universe, nor galaxy, nor in the entire existence of life, will have your soul. 

4. Set Goals and Figure Out a Way to Reach Them

Now that you're actually trying to think positively, try setting some goals. My goal for this round of CBT and subsequently, this series is to get to the point where I don't have to find daily positive reminders and affirmations. Where I can learn to view every day as a gift and spread that love, positivity and enthusiasm to others. I have a friend who's mantra is, abundance creates abundance. And it's true. I'm a firm believer that if you send positivity, love, and enthusiasm out into the universe, the universe will send you those things right back. It's like a good vibes boomerang. So what are some goals that you would like to achieve?

5. Fake it

…until you make it. We've all heard this phrase. Convince yourself that you already are enthusiastic, and then keep doing it until one day you just realize that you are. It's good to have a goal but you have to believe that your goal is actually attainable. If your goal is a big one, figure out a way to break it down into small doable tidbits. Work on those actionable steps until you can get to the bigger ones. 

Check back next Monday as I go over part 2 of #PositiveVibes Primer: How to Be Enthusiastic.

Amanda ❤

Video: How To Start A Movement -Derek Sivers

A small detail about me that not very many people know is that I'm a big advocate of being a follower. I will easily admit to being a follower. Yes, there are certain situations where I like or prefer to be a leader, but there are also instances where I have no problem following. 

Everyone is so concerned with 'being a leader' because most people think it's a positive quality.  There isn't a better environment than the workplace to witness that sometimes there can be too many chiefs and not enough indians. 

I love this video because it breaks down the exact reason why I'm an advocate of following. 

Amanda ❤

Style DIY: Faux Fur Infinity Scarf

Temps have been steadily dipping down, even in SoCal. For Christmas I went with CHPG to visit his family in Palmdale and if it weren't for this scarf, I probably would have frozen my butt off. I know it was definitely somewhere in the 50s. I know, I know, but 50's to me is freezing. 

Faux-Fur-Infinity-Scarf-Materials- 1 yard of faux fur fabric

- straight pins

-thread, needle, and scissors

This is a pretty simple one day project. I made it on the 23rd when I had a day off but needed something to occupy my hands. 

First, pin your fabric together lengthwise with the "right" side of the fabric facing together, and sew. I used a simple basic backstitch. When done with that your fabric will basically resemble a tube. Turn the fabric inside out so that it looks like it normally would. Next, gather your ends and pin together the "right" sides again. Trust me, it's going to look a little weird at first but as you sew the ends together in what will become the infinity, you'll start to see it. 

Faux-Fur-Infinity-Scarf-Sewn-EndsYou're doing this so that the ends aren't as visible. When you have about 2" left you won't be able to backstitch anymore and so you'll have to do a running stitch  in a loop to close the ends, and you're done!  

Now you've got yourself a pretty faux fur (which is all the rage this winter season) infinity scarf and you'll have caught up on a few shows on Netflix, all in one day. If that's not called productivity, then I don't know what is. 

Faux-Fur-Infinity-Scarf

Stay warm, Bears! 

Amanda

Amanda ❤

Style DIY: Floral Iron-On Applique Pullover

It's finally starting to cool down a bit here in Southern California. It's nothing that a light sweater or hoodie can't take care of during the morning hours though. I created this sweater after seeing a similar looking sweater in the September issue of InStyle, and it's a cute, simple way of uodating a regular plain old pullover. 

What you'll need: 

  • A pullover
  • Iron
  • Iron-on transfer paper (Make sure to get paper that matches with the color of the pullover that you're using.)
  • Scissors
  • Image editing software (I used Photoshop)

I chose to do a vintage floral motif. I chose some images and rearranged them in Photoshop.  Compose-Flower-ImageI then had to split the image into two portions to be able to print onto two pieces of 8.5x11in. transfer paper. 

Follow-Iron-On-InstructionsFollow the instructions on the package of transfer paper. I cut the excess paper away from the image as close as I could. The packet of transfer paper I used suggested to pre-wash the fabric before applying the transfer. To me, "suggesting" just means, "you don't really have to do it", so obviously I didn't. But I should have. Haha. 

Iron-On-Flower-Appliqued-Pullover

What do you guys think? I think I want to try another one, this time with botanical images of butterflies. Is this something you would try? 

Amanda ❤

Dia De Los Muertos Flower Crown

Make Your Own Dia De Los Muertos Flower CrownDia De Los Muertos also know as the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that is essentially about celebrating and remembering family members who have passed. 

The traditional flower of Dia De Los Muertos is the Marigold, which in Spanish is the Campasúchitl. Altars and graves are saturated in them and personally, I think they're one of the prettiest flowers. 

Last year I attended the Dia De Los Muertos festival at Grand Park LA , and I think I want to go again this year provided I get off of work early enough on one of the days, and I'll have this sweet little Marigold flower crown to wear to it. 

Dia De Los Muertos Flower Crown Materials

  • Fake Marigold flowers
  • Wire cutters
  • Thin wire headband
  • Thin wire

Not pictured: 

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Floral tape

Dia De Los Muertos Flower CrownRemove all the flower heads from the wire bouquet. 

Dia De Los Muertos Flower Crown Step 2Begin wrapping the nubs that are left on the bottom of the flower heads with the thin wire around the headband. Then wrap the floral tape around the wire to make sure that your hair doesn't get caught in your hair. 

Dia De Los Muertos Flower Crown Side View

Enjoy! 

XO Panda

 

Amanda ❤

Vegan Leather Wall Hanging

Make Your own Vegan Leather Wall HangingThis project came to me in the middle of the night while I tried to explain the Rick James Charlie Murphy: True Hollywood Stories to my sister. Then I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go to sleep unless I started on this project so some of these photos are dark. This is me apologizing for that. ;) Hahahaha. 

What You'll Need for a Vegan Leather Wall Hanging copyLetter stencils // Scissors // X Acto knife // String // E6000 glue // Craft jewels // Dowel rod // Vegan leather. NOT PICTURED: Thread and needle

First: Set up your letter stencils to form the quote that you want to use. Then use your X-Acto knife to cut along the stencil through the material. You may want to use a self-healing cutting mat underneath. The length of my material is about 13in across by 19in long or so. 

Cut Out

Second: When that's done, you'll want to take your dowel rod and fold over the top to create a loop for it to go through, and then sew together. 

Sew

Third: Figure out the placement of the jewels that you want to use. I just took a quick picture on my phone once I figured out how I wanted it to look. Then use the E6000 glue to fix them in place. 

Glue

Jewels up close
Finally, tie your string to the dowel rod ends, hang and enjoy! I hung mine above my bed since I consider it to be my little haven. 

Vegan Leather Wall Hanging Final

What do you think? Personally, I love it, and I know my walls are barren but I'm actually planning on changing that soon with a couple of upcoming projects. Let  me know what you think and whether or not you try it! 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

How To Write on Photos Without A Tablet

We've all seen those photos with handwritten elements, right? Did the blogger tell you that you needed a tablet to be able to have the same effect? Guess what? That's not the only way to achieve that effect. Today I'm going to show you how to get the handwriting effect on your photos without needing fancy equipment to do so. 

For this, all you'll need is: Sheet of paper, marker, Photoshop, scanner

I'm running CS4, for reference. 

Scan Document
Select Image
File Place
Handwriting on Photos

So as you'll notice I was looking at the Tracy Reese SS14 show while doing this, but don't mind that. Hahaha. 

I don't have software to make a screencast so I made a GIF instead but I'm going to explain the steps to you as well so you don't go away all confused and still not know how to get this done, deal? 

  1. Write your message/saying on a white piece of paper using a thick marker. Any color will do, but I just used a black Sharpie for the sake of it. You can do this for hand drawn elements as well such as doodles or whatnot. 
  2. Scan. In your scanning platform you should be able to select parts of the image that you actually want to scan. Super beneficial if you want to get individual elements or if you've messed up a couple of times beforehand. Also, remember to change the resolution from 72dpi to something higher if you don't want your image to be too grainy or pixelated. 72dpi is the bare minimum for computer screens so if you want something more crisp, raise the resolution. 
  3. Since the title of this post is 'Writing on photos' I'm just going to assume there's a picture that you want to add this writing to. Once that image is open go to File>place. Select the scanned image, then click 'place' when the little diaglog box pops up. 
  4. The next step can be done two ways. Way 1: Layer > Convert to smart image. Go back to Layer > Rasterize. Way 2: Layer >Rasterize > Layer. 
  5. Next select the Magic Wand on the side bar. Click onto the scanned image and little 'marching ants' should appear around the perimeter of the image and around your writing. Hit 'Delete' and the background will disappear. To get rid of the 'marching ants' simply hit Command+D. Next, if there are any loops in your image the background will still appear in those spaces. Repeat until the background is completely removed. What should remain is what you've written. 
  6. Next, if you want to enlarge or reduce your scanned image, go to Edit >Transform> Scale. Now you can make it smaller or larger. 

There you have it. Step by step instructions. If you have a tablet, that's fine but you have to get used to writing with it and it may seem awkward in the beginning. Honestly, even though there's more steps, this just seems much more easier to me. 

Writing on Photos Final Image
And just because I love my niece and nephew, here's a gratuitious picture of him. (Notice how the edges are pixelated? I didn't raise the resolution to my scan.) 

If you try this, let me know how it goes for you! 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Sewing Basics: French Knot

So, I'm back with another basic embroidery stitch. The French Knot. I'm inclined to say it's fancy, but then I think I would only say that because the name has the word 'French' in it, and people have the tendency to think that anything French is fancy. I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking it, but here we go! 

French Knot Step 1 of 4 www.xopanda
Step One: Bring your needle up at one. 

French Knot Step 2 of 4 www.xopanda
Step two: Holding thread tautly with your finger and thumb of your left hand, wind thread once

French Knot Step 3 of 4 www.xopanda
...or twice, but no more than that, around the needle. 

French Knot Step 4 of 4 www.xopanda
Step three: Still holding the thread, bring down the needle close to point one and pull needle through to the back of your fabric so that twists lie on the fabric surface. Repeat as needed! 

Ta-Da! I bet you thought it was going to be all super hard, didn't you? Nope! Now, you can use French Knots as a bold, raised dot, like an eye, or in groups, like the center of a flower. You can work them tightly closed or scattered. 

Don't be afraid to try this stitch. It's super easy! 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤