a pair & a spare http://apairandasparediy.com DIY Fashion Wed, 01 Apr 2015 02:54:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 HOW TO TEACH YOURSELF TO TAKE BETTER PHOTOGRAPHS (AND THE PERFECT ON THE MOVE BAG) http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/on-the-move-with-the-diy-camera-bag.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/on-the-move-with-the-diy-camera-bag.html#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:35:26 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14889 When I first started this blog I only had a slight interest in photography. My boyfriend had always been the one who loved photo exhibitions and who had all those different lenses for his Nikon. But over time, and in part as a necessity, I’ve learnt so much about what taking a good photo means, and really come to appreciate how much goes into it.  Although there’s still so much to learn, it’s funny that it’s something that’s happened as if by osmosis – other than the odd youtube video I don’t feel like there was any major learning investment other than to look and look and look (and also try and try and try). I suspect many of us have improved in the world of photos as the popularity of (read: addiction to) Pinterest and Instagram has increased – we often learn about colour, light and composition without really trying too hard.

Which is why when Coach asked me to customise their new ‘Swagger’ bag (it made a cameo in yesterday’s post) to reflect me and my lifestyle, I knew straight away that the DIY Camera Bag Insert was my next challenge – I mean have you seen how many cameras tend to come with me when I’m on the move? I decided to test drive the design around the chaotic streets of Hong Kong… If swagger means dodging cars and trams to get that perfect ‘draw the eye in’ composition, then yes! I have it! And for those of you wondering, the Swagger bag (complete with DIY insert) turned out a pretty good on the move companion. Now I just have to learn to not overfill it. :)

Geneva Vanderzeil DIY Camera Bag Insert Coach Hong Kong

Wearing: Kookai trench, Zara shorts, Club Monaco tank, Coach bag, Witchery Boots

Can I distract you for a moment and say that this has to be one of THE most comfortable travel/on the move outfits. I wear some variation of this…. pretty much every day!

Geneva Vanderzeil DIY Camera Bag Insert Coach Hong Kong

Here are a few ways that I taught myself to take a good (well, better) photo –

1. Just start snapping: they may not be good initially but over time you’ll get better and better. I look back at old photos and see some awful ones, but also a few great ones, so it just goes to show that photography is about getting started and taking a chance.

2. Buy/rent/borrow the best camera you can afford: As soon as I started shooting on a DSLR my view of taking photos changed – something about holding it and having so many setting available made it more real, and you’re definitely rewarded with much much better photos. Just by using aperture settings (it affects how much ‘blur’ there is in the background) your photos look 20 x better (or so I think). That said, if funds are tight you can still learn so much from just using your phone camera!

3. Learn about composition: As soon as I started understanding composition more, my photos improved almost overnight. Whilst you can use editing software to up the light or change the colours, composition is hard to fudge. Rules like ‘frame within and frame’ and using diagonals to draw in the eye take your pics up about a zillion notch.

4. Save inspiration: I always use instagram and pinterest as sources of inspiration for my own photos – the more you look look look the better your photos will be.

5. Take lots and lots of pics. Trust me you’ll get the hang of it. Your next challenge will be how to get better and better!

Geneva Vanderzeil DIY Camera Bag Insert Coach Hong KongOn the go outfitDIY Camera Bag InsertOn the go outfitDIY Camera Bag InsertGeneva Vanderzeil DIY Camera Bag Insert Coach Hong KongGeneva Vanderzeil DIY Camera Bag Insert Coach Hong KongGeneva Vanderzeil DIY Camera Bag Insert Coach Hong Kong

If there was ever a time to get all puffed up and swagger around, it’s when you realise that you’ve nailed down a new passion or have taught yourself a new skill. So spill!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

This post is in collaboration with Coach

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DIY CAMERA BAG http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/diy-camera-bag.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/diy-camera-bag.html#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:55:04 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14836 Camera bags are, as if by some age old degree, generally not very chic. Bulky, boxy and always with added velcro and other bells and whistles that clash with your outfit and don’t fit your other possessions.  In an effort to find a solution to the fact that I don’t want my precious camera to get scratched or broken when dropped BUT also don’t want to surrender all sense of style either – we decided to craft this removable camera bag insert. The best thing? You can use it with any bag you like – the new Coach Swagger worked perfectly! Read on to see how, and stay tuned tomorrow for how I wear it as part of my travel uniform.

DIY Camera Bag Insert
DIY Camera Bag Insert

You need:

  • A bag with a sturdy square base
  • Thick Neoprene (get in touch with our sourcing team here for custom orders)
  • Ruler
  • Chalk pencil
  • Scissors
  • E6000 Glue

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

How to:

1. Measure the height, width and length of your bag. An easy way to measure the width and length is to measure the base of the bag. When measuring the height of the bag, make sure you are measuring the from inside the bag and that it will fit under your bags zip if it has one.

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

2. On your neoprene, first draw out the base length and width measure measurement into a box. Next add the wings off the four sides according to the height of your bag. Lastly add a 3cm tab next to the left side of your wings. Cut out your box template.

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

3. Cut a slit on the bottom of your tab like this.

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

4. Apply glue to the bag of your tab

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

5. Stick it the neighbouring wing on the inner side and add a bulldog clip to the top and allow to dry.

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

6. To create the dividers, place your camera, lenses or additional camera equipment inside. Work out how many compartments you need and measure the length within the camera bag. Cut out double the length of neoprene you need, fold your neoprene in half and apply glue in the middle.

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

7. Apply glue to the bottom and two sides and then stick the dividers into place. You can place books on either side to keep the dividers in place whist it dries.

How to make a Camera Bag Insert www.apairandaspairdiy.com

Pop the insert in your bag and away you go!

DIY Camera Bag Insert DIY Camera Bag

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

This post is in collaboration with Coach

Ps. If you love crafting your own bags, make sure to check out two of my fave projects here.

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DIY PATCHWORK KILIM RUG http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/diy-patchwork-kilim-rug.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/diy-patchwork-kilim-rug.html#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:43:52 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14866 Rugs. Would it be a bit crazy for me to say that they make a space? Probably not because I think I’ve already said it. Grand (and true) statements aside, isn’t it fitting that the items that make a space, are often the ones that are the hardest to actually make yourself? (I’m looking at you Scando furniture and Kilims). But apparently not for some. In a truly unexpected and lovely gesture, recently my boyfriend’s mum sent us this amazing patchwork rug that she made. All the way from down under no less! The shipping alone would have been eye watering.

Turns out, Margaret sewed this patchwork style rug using pieces of thick Kilim she had in the form upholstery fabric samples. Genius right? In order to put it together, first she sewed a blanket stitch all the way around each rectangle so that they wouldn’t fray too much, and then sewed it all together along the blanket stitch. Time consuming but worth it right? Love!

DIY Kilim Patchwork Rug DIY Kilim Patchwork RugDIY Kilim Patchwork Rug

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

If you’re loving colourful home projects like this one, check out this flower project and these easy cushions.

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BEFORE & AFTER: LITTLE BLACK STUDDED DRESS http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/before-after-little-black-studded-dress.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/before-after-little-black-studded-dress.html#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:13:35 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14691 If you’re lucky, tonight is date night. But what are you going to wear? If you’ve got half an hour, and an old dress lying in the back of your cupboard, you could try your hand at this (perfect date night) little black dress, complete with a studded neckline. If nothing else it could be the perfect conversation starter. Cue: “you made that? no way!”. Here’s hoping anyway.

DIY little black studded dressBefore and after: the studded dressbefore and after studded dress

To embellish the neckline for this dress, we used these simple button studs because they’re nice and minimalist, but you could use any style of stud – right this way for lots of different types.

You need:

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. The first thing we did to this dress was modify the length. First we marked off the new length we wanted, and cut to fit.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Fold, iron and then hand sew the hem.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Using a measuring tape, mark with chalk where you want to put the studs.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Using the dart awl, poke holes where marked.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Push the screws through from the underside.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Screw the stud tops on.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

7. Do the same for the sleeves.

How to make a studded dress www.apairandasparediy.com

And voila. Happy date night!

DIY little black studded dressDIY little black studded dress

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

Ps if you love DIY dresses, check out this one and this one. Oh btw, lots of fun before & afters on the way – since many of you mentioned in the survey that you loved to see the transformation process!

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HOW TO: WRAP A BOUQUET http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-wrap-a-bouquet.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-wrap-a-bouquet.html#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:50:38 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14792 Hello Spring! Doesn’t it feel good? If there ever was a time to give your friend/loved one/host/meme addicted cat a bunch of flowers it’s now. And for those of you unable (or perhaps unwilling) to part with large chunks of change at the florists for an arrangement that will last, luckily you can totally do it yourself. Just pick up a $5.99 bunch from the supermarket or farmers market and wrap them yourself! Essentially with a little elbow grease and love, you get all the back for your buck, without actually needing to park with that many bucks.

How to wrap flowers

You need:

  • a bunch of flowers
  • paper towels and some water
  • cling wrap
  • wrapping paper

How to wrap flowers

How to:

1. Trim the stems to a consistent length.

How to wrap flowers

2. Now for the little florists trick that will keep these babies fresh for days. Take a piece of cling film and lay it on the table, add some paper towel on top and then wet it with some water. Then, wrap this into a little parcel around the ends of the flowers.

How to wrap flowers

3. Start wrapping the bouquet in the tissue paper, starting in the bottom corner and wrapping around.

How to wrap flowers

4. Wrap with another layer, folding the bottom around to create a

How to wrap flowers

5. Tie a bow with some twine!

How to wrap flowers

Voila!

How to wrap flowers

For more floral projects check out here, here and here.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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QUICK DIY: LADDER MAGAZINE RACK http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/quick-diy-ladder-magazine-rack.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/quick-diy-ladder-magazine-rack.html#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14823 Don’t let your precious (and, ahem, pricey) magazines lie gathering dust under the table, create a super simple magazine rack like this. It’s been working wonders for storage, and a little decoration, in the studio! Perfect for those of you who feel like it’s time to organise and declutter.

Quick DIY Magazine RackQuick DIY Magazine RackQuick DIY Magazine Rack

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HOW TO: MY ONE MINUTE BROWS http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-my-one-minute-brows.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-my-one-minute-brows.html#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 07:00:29 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14775 The most often asked beauty question goes a little something like this: ‘what is the one product you can’t live without?‘. Putting aside the fact that it’s probably THE MOST first world problem known to woman (and probably not something men get asked #askhermore), I’m going to focus on the crux of the question, which is really about what’s your favourite beauty product, or important feature, or whatever. For me, I’ve come to realise over time that the feature that makes the most difference to your face is your brows. Really and truly. The right shape frames your face, makes you look more alert and seriously, overall, just makes you better looking. I didn’t always think that – every so often I see pictures prior to my brow-phiphany and cringe (delve deeply enough into the archives and you too will find this).   And you know what, although essential, polishing your brows on a daily basis need not be a lengthy process – particularly if you’re like me and have *very* limited patience when it comes to getting ready in the morning. Read on to see how I give my brows a touch up, in just 60 seconds.

One Minute Brows

You need: A spoolie brush, brow powder (I use the Mac eyebrow shaper palette, which I think they don’t make anymore but it’s like this), brow gel (I use this clear gel) and an angled brush.

0 – 20 seconds: Using a spoolie brush (like a mascara brush, often found on the end of an eyebrow pencil), I quickly brush the hairs up and away from my face, opening the brows and giving them shape. This has the added benefit of making my brows look bigger and more Lily Collins-esque.

20 – 40 seconds: Using a brow powder (or non sparkly eye shadow) a shade lighter than your hair and your angled brush, fill in the gaps in your brows, making sure to follow the natural arch. The Mac palette I use also has a

40 – 60 seconds: Lastly, add a touch of brow gel with your fingers to keep your brows in shape all day.

Quick brow how toQuick brow how to Quick browsQuick brow how to About Geneva Vanderzeil

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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BEFORE & AFTER: THE BACKLESS CROP TOP http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/before-after-the-backless-crop-top.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/before-after-the-backless-crop-top.html#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:58:36 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14693 You may remember a while ago I turned the bottom of a plain dress into a shift style, complete with straps made from the fabric belt of the dress. The top section of the dress sat gathering dust for a while, mainly because in creating the skirt I cut the zip part off the back dress, making it hard to close it without adding a while new zip or buttons. Argh why has time for that?! After I while I came to the conclusion that instead of adding a zip, it would actually work to just leave it open, securing it at the top with the hook and eye that was already there. Because the store has just received a new set of beautiful rhinestones, we decided to add a few amber and grey jewels around the neckline to give it more of a decorative edge.

Before and after: the jeweled top Before and after: the jeweled top Before and after: the jeweled crop top
You need:

  • a crop top or cut off dress top.
  • assortment of rhinestones (buy yours in our store here)
  • E6000 Glue
  • Needle and Thread
  • Pins

Make a jewelled rhinestone crop top www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Pin your hem on your reversed side and the hand or machine stitch it.

Make a jewelled rhinestone crop top www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Apply glue to the back of your rhinestone

Make a jewelled rhinestone crop top www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Start at your shoulder seam and stick your first rhinestone along the neckline

Make a jewelled rhinestone crop top www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Continue applying rhinestones to complete a row along the neckline. Once you have done your second row, add another ow of stones.

Make a jewelled rhinestone crop top www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Continue creating a new row of rhinestones and then allow to dry overnight. Voila!

Make a jewelled rhinestone crop top www.apairandasparediy.com Before and after: the jeweled top

DIY Open Back crop top

In the mood for some summer crafting? Check out our new clear glass rhinestone kit, perfect for making some seriously gorgeous jewellery.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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DIY GRANOLA BAR http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/diy-granola-bar.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/diy-granola-bar.html#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:13:42 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14665 Catering used to make me nervous. Not because I don’t like cooking, or eating for that matter, but more because I have this weird Dutch-Sri Lankan thing where I’m absolutely terrified that there won’t be enough food and it will all get eaten and then people will leave hungry and then WHAT WOULD THEY SAY!?! Clearly a little something passed down from my grandmother. Anyhoo, after running a few events in the studio I’m proud to say that I may have kicked my catering related anxiety – what I’ve learnt is that sometimes the best little ideas for food are the most simple – and DIY!

Out of all the menu items we’ve had in the studio, the granola bar has been the most popular, and so so simple. All you have to do it fill small paper (or ceramic if you’re fancy) bowls with granola, one for each person, and then lay out an area of larger bowls with yogurt, nuts (we used almonds, pepitos and pine nuts but any will do!), berries, shredded coconut, honey and conserves – people love being able to tailor their little layered parfait. The best thing about this is that I can satisfy my tendency to over cater (another genetic predilection), without blowing the budget. More is more when it comes to brunch right?

Grab yourself my granola recipe here and away you go. Happy eating!

DIY Granola BarGranola BarGranola BarGranola Bar Granola Bar Granola Bar.

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

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HOW TO USE PINTEREST TO CREATE BETTER OUTFITS http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-use-pinterest-to-dress-better.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2015/03/how-to-use-pinterest-to-dress-better.html#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=14711 When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, for me it’s all about efficiency – working out how to put together the best outfit using the least time possible. Because honestly, who has hours and hours to get dressed in the morning? Because I’m sure you face the same *staring at the wardrobe, clock is ticking* conundrum some mornings too, I thought I would share a little trick I’ve been using recently to help me put outfits together, and that’s PinterestYes it’s a great way to plan your baby shower, and yes it’s how I find that chair I want to buy. But did you know that when organised and used properly, it can act as a functional morning dressing guide that can cumulatively save you hundreds of hours in your week? Ok so maybe not hundreds but you get what I mean… Read on to see how.

Getting dressed using pinterestGetting dressed using pinterest Getting dressed using pinterest

Wearing: DIY gladiator flats, Zulu & Zephyr shorts, Witchery tank, J Crew Jacket, Dylan Kain Bag

Get Pinterest on your phone
The first thing to do is to make Pinterest as accessible as possible for when you’re getting ready, and for me that means putting it on my phone. The app is really easy to use, and this makes it super handy!

Create a style/dressing board
The next step is to create a style board on your Pinterest profile, a place to store everything you see that inspires your outfits. Keep this separate from any other fashion board you have where you include other inspiration, just focusing this one on outfits you would wear. You can check out my style board here – chances are you’ll see me decked out in a few of those outfits soon!

Reflect pieces that you own
When you’re adding images to your board, try to make sure the outfits are reflecting items that you actually own – a striped top for example or a khaki jacket. Look for various interesting and inventive ways to wear these pieces and pin them.

Or adapt what you see
You also don’t have to copy exactly what you see on your Pinterest board, the outfits are there as inspiration. So don’t be put off if you don’t have all the pieces, just adapt what you see. Here’s an IRL example: I loved this outfit and filed it away on my style board. One day I was dressing to go to a long lunch with friends. I literally only had ten minutes to get dressed (late as usual!) and took one of those minutes to review my style board. Instead of trying on 15 outfits and being late, I saw this photo and then pretty much straight away put together the outfit you see above. It’s actually not that similar in the end but you can see she (unnamed blond lady) provided the structure/basis for the outfit, and I adapted with what I had. For me this also works because I think it’s a good way for you to put your own spin on an outfit.

Try to build your style
You want your board to reflect outfits that suit the things you need to do and the places you like to Go, but also try to build your style  with this process by thinking about different ways you could wear the pieces you own, or different outfit structures you could start wearing.

Create a shopping list
Finally, use your research on your style board to help inspire smart shopping choices – if you see a piece cropping up over and over on your board but you don’t have it – say the perfect LBD or a blazer – add it to your list and know when you buy it you’ll have 750374 ways to wear it! This makes for a much happier closet in the long run. :)

So that’s my little trick guys, and it’s come in handy recently, particularly when you’re rushing somewhere and have no time to be creative. Here’s to more ‘pinnable’ outfits in real life!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

Ps. Remember these DIY gladiator sandals? They’re still going strong!

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