About twice a year I host a clothing swap. It’s one of the most fun events we do all season.
Why partake in a clothing swap?
- It’s free
- You purge the things from your closet that you never wear
- You come home with new, fresh pieces to liven up your wardrobe
- Always wanted a blazer/(insert some piece of clothing here) but never wanted to buy one because you didn’t know if you’d love it? You can now grab one for free, and see if you like it.
- Take something you know you’ll only use for a season, or a pair of pants that will fit you for the interview you have next week, but you’ll only wear once.
- Free. Free. Free.
The truth is, we talk often about being good stewards of what we have. Here’s a practical step: simplify your closet and get a few new things for the season without spending a dime. in short: friends + friends’ friends + old clothes = new friends + new-to-you clothes
Sometimes you have this:
But you need this:
What’s a girl to do? Skip that trip to the stores to overhaul your wardrobe and clean out your closet instead. There are perfectly good clothes in there. I promise. You just don’t wear them because they don’t fit your body, your lifestyle, or your job right now. Bring them to a house with 30 other women and they’re bound to be the perfect piece for someone else.
So here’s what we do:
1. Plan a date and send an invitation that tells everyone to:
- Clean out your closet* and bring your old/don’t fit/i-never-wear-this clothes/shoes/jewelry/purses.
- Bring a bag or two so that you can haul away your new goodies.
- Bring your friends. The more the merrier.
2. Host the event
- First 30-40 minutes: Everyone can show up and grab a drink and a snack. Have designated ares in your home for tops/pants/dresses/accessories/shoes, etc. and have people lay their clothes out accordingly. We don’t categorize by size. Once everyone starts going through the clothes, it’s a mess and sizing gets rearranged, anyway.
- Next 30-45 minutes: Go time! Everyone can dig through piles, start bagging what they want, and try things on. Have some mirrors around the house.
- End: Have another snack, laugh, and go through piles one last time. As people try things on, items that didn’t work for them get thrown back in the mix and pay be perfect for someone else.
- Later: Attendees get to go home and brag to husband/fiancee/roommate how they just got bags of fantastic clothing and accessories for free, AND got rid of the crap in their closets. Everyone is happy.
3. Donate what’s left. No clothes are lost or wasted, everything is reused and recycled. Everything finds a new home.
- Have a ton of stuff and some of it is old tees? Bring all of it. We’ll have an embarrassing stuff/old t-shirts pile. Everything’s going to get donated anyway, so this saves you a trip to donate them (or if you’re like me, this saves you from carrying three bags of junk in your trunk for months before you finally take them to be donated).
- Have nothing? Come anyway. Take freely. There will be plenty of things.
The prettiest cake. Like anthropologie in cake form.
This cake actually was a test run for a cake I will make next month. When we find out about this little baby. That cake will have graduated pink or blue layers Good thing I did a test run though, because I used a yellow cake recipe, and when you add pink food coloring to yellow, it turns mauve/brown. whoops!
The recipe I am including below is a white cake recipe. Use white cake, if you’re going to make the ombre-style graduated color layers like this one, it will let your cake be the color of the food coloring you use, and not some weird, mixed-with-yellow color.
The frosting is light (in texture…not calories) and creamy, and using a #103 tip, the instructions below are easy to follow to get the ruffle effect.
This cake makes me think of all the great things we have to celebrate.
If you want a shortcut, use a box cake mix!
- 4 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 11 large egg whites
- gel or paste food coloring
Layer Cake Instructions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 6-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.
- Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
- In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.
- Divide batter evenly between four bowls. Mix food coloring into bowls, putting more food coloring in each subsequent bowl of batter, making darker layers as you go.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula.
- Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Swiss Merengue Buttercream Frosting
- 1 pound (4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy and pale. Transfer to small bowl. Place butter in fridge so that it doesn’t get too warm sitting out while you work the egg whites.
- In double boiler over simmering water, whisk sugar and egg whites until warm and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to clean bowl of electric mixer; beat on high with whisk attachment until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes. Let sit an additional 5 minutes to cool.
- Reduce mixer to medium-low; add butter a scant 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
- Switch to paddle attachment; beat on lowest speed 3 to 5 minutes. Leave at room temperature if using same day. Or store airtight in refrigerator up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature; beat until smooth.
Decorating the Cake
- Place cake on rotating stand. Lay flat a 12-inch pastry bag with #103 tip. Fill half of bag from tip to top with pink buttercream, other half with white. Hold bag vertically, slot of tip perpendicular to cake and wider portion of tip closest to the cake; use swift back-and-forth motion 1 inch wide to make ruffle, pulling tip up side.
- Turn cake stand slowly, piping circular ruffle over top.
- Trim bottom layers; stack on cake round, with 3/4 cup buttercream spread over top of each. Add top layer; spread 1 cup buttercream over entire cake. Refrigerate 40 minutes until firm.
Whipped butter for the frosting looks like this:
Whipped egg whites for the frosting look like this:
Separating dozens of eggs looks like this:
Someone started to walk a few weeks ago and now must wear shoes when we leave the house. She’d prefer to be without shoes, but is learning that walking on rocky cement with no shoes is sometimes painful and almost always socially unacceptable.
I made her a little easter dress and thought I would tackle some shoes as well.
I followed this pattern and used an old purse in my give-away pile, the shoes took about an hour to make. That give-away pile is looking less and less as such and more and more like a pile of fabric waiting to be upcycled into new clothes!
The pattern called for a strap and button on each shoe, but I just zigzag-stitched on some ribbon that matched her dress.
These shoes are not too protective. The leather I used was soft and flexible. But they are very cute and keep her from a stubbed toe and dirty heels if we’re in public!
happy st. patrick’s day. the bug has two grandpas and one dad who tout their irish history on this day, and she can’t drink a guiness with them today, but she can celebrate with an outfit.
st. patricks day shirt and skirt courtesy of gigi.
and the legwarmers? baby legwarmers are so cute…especially with a cloth diaper. With one pair of babylegs at more than I would ever spend, I was enticed to make my own, quick version…
Five-Minute DIY Baby Legwarmers
- one pair tall women’s socks
- sewing machine
- cut the toe off of each sock
- fold in the cut edge about 12 inch on each sock
- sew around the folded edge on each sock
done! put the legwarmers on your favorite baby!
The sewn end will be up at their thigh and the top of the original sick will be at their ankle – the heel of the sock becomes the knee of the leg warmer. So cute.
*I got the idea from this tutorial. Their tutorial is longer than how I made mine. longer, but probably more durable.
This is a sweet tie you can make a special little boy in your life if you find yourself with an hour or two. This makes a great birthday present.
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 yard of fabric you want for the tie
- 1/4 yard white fabric
- 1/3 yard sew-in stabilizer (I used a medium weight stabilizer)
- spool of thread that matches your fabric
- handsewing needle
What to do:
- Download this pattern from Purl Bee
- Follow their instructions here: http://www.purlbee.com/little-boys-tie/
I didn’t take a picture of each step, but here are some of my progress shots:
The whole thing:
**Don’t forget that you can enter the giveaway once a day through Wednesday!**
These flowers are very classy. They would be perfect attached to gifts wrapped in brown paper.
I have big plans for my paper flowers that I will show you next week!
Here’s the how-to: