Get Creative

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December is the perfect month for parties and dressing up, and one event we will never miss out on is a good old Ugly Sweater Party – we just prefer to call it a Pretty Ugly Sweater Party instead! We kicked off this annual tradition by taking a trip to our favourite thrifting destination to pick out the perfect pretty sweaters, then gave them a personal twist.

There’s something so fun about browsing the many colourful racks at Value Village to find the ideal piece that you know nobody at the party will have. This year, we decided to make our knit picks even more unique by hand-stitching some holiday love. You can even find unexpected props and decor items (like pom poms and tinsel) at your local Value Village too if you’re going for a simpler “tacky” DIY, but we wanted the challenge of hand stitching this time around!

See the steps below to find out how we turned our Ugly Sweater Party pretty with the help of Value Village!

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What you’ll need //

Yarn
A darning needle big enough to fit your yarn
Vintage sweaters from Value Village
Scissors
A chalk pencil (optional)

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Think of the knit pattern as a grid and you can use simple needlepoint techniques to embroider simple phrases and images. If you don’t feel comfortable free-handing your design, you can plan it out first using a chalk pencil.

Tie a knot at one end of your yarn. Use a darning needle to come up from the back of the sweater and all the way through. Now go back in and out following along the grid of the sweater knit, you can even count the stitches to make sure you evenly space out your lines.
Make sure you don’t pull too tight after each stitch or you’re sweater will buckle. Finish your design on the backside of the sweater and tie off your yarn.

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This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com 

Get Creative

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There’s a fabric we can’t get enough of this season, and that fabric is velvet. I’m serious, everyone on our team has been practically consumed! Velvet couches, crushed velvet knee high boots, velvet slip dresses… we want them all and we want them now!

Inspired to make an accessory that can add velvet to any outfit with minimal effort, we set out to create our very own DIY velvet chokers. We sourced the most perfect ultra soft ribbon from Mokuba in dusty pastel shades, opting for some thicker widths to get a handful of different styles. We couldn’t find the right size clasps in gold at our local jewelry supply store, so we ordered hardware online – sourcing the finishing touches was definitely the most complicated part of the whole project.

Once we had everything we needed, the rest was quick, fun, and simple as can be. Scroll down for the step-by-step:

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What you’ll need //

12″ 38mm velvet ribbon (for single strap choker)
42″ 1mm velvet ribbon (for double wrap choker)
2 Clamp-style jewellery clasps per necklace (make sure its the same size as your velvet ribbon)
1 Lobster claw clasp per necklace
Jewellery pliers
Scissors
Measuring Tape

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Instructions //

Single Strap

1. Measure your neck and cut a piece of ribbon approximately 2cm larger than your measurement. Double check it’s a good fit, keeping in mind you can adjust the size with the closures.

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2. Place the end of the ribbon inside the clasp and use pliers to pinch tight, repeat on the other end.

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Double-tie

1. We cut our ribbon to 42 inches to wrap twice around with a bow tie closure.

2. To ensure your velvet ribbon doesn’t fray, carefully coat each end with clear nail polish.

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Get CreativeParty Time

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It’s been a long time since Paige and I have gathered the time and energy to put on another #getsocialworkshop, and in all honesty we were a bit nervous this time around. We were working with a new space, a lot of new sponsors, and both of us have shifted our focus so vastly over the past couple of years we didn’t really know what to expect.

But for the third time, we were so pleasantly surprised with how it all came together.

The workshop this time around was packed, despite having expanded to a larger space, and everyone came from totally different backgrounds, which made the range of information we had to discuss so much more dynamic. Over incredible pink waffle breakfast sandwiches from Burger Pawty, fresh blooms by Wild North Flowers, and hot tea from Teapigs, attendees spread out around the space, snapping photos on coloured backdrops with glittery fun props. I think it’s safe to say that even when time was up, no one was really ready to go back to reality and head home!

Paige and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the chance to take part in such an inspiring and creative community, and it’s days like this past Sunday that really remind us why we do what we do. Thanks so much to everyone who joined us!

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Special thanks to our incredible sponsors //

Burger Pawty
Teapigs
CONVEY
Wild North Flowers
Cake Beauty
Flow Water
I Love Puffy Love Marshmallows
Fancy Pufs
Richer Poorer
Bite Beauty
Ban.do
Nude Bee Honey
Rosehound Apparel

Get Creative

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When it comes to Christmas, size really doesn’t matter. I say the less space you have, the more you should decorate. More is more!

We’re lucky to have a fairly roomy apartment compared to most here in Toronto, but we’re definitely lacking when it comes to outdoor space. We use our little patio as much as possible, planting veggies in the summer and leafy greens in the fall. So we thought: why not do up the space for the holidays too? After all, people with houses shouldn’t get to have all the fun!

Determined to light up our patio so bright that it could be spotted from blocks away, we headed to Walmart and loaded up on all the lights our hearts desired. The holiday décor section was actually so sparkly it was almost blinding, and there was no shortage of magical laser projectors and flashing LED string lights.

We decided on rainbow string lights (how fun are they?!) to complement our pre-existing white bulb string lights, and a northern lights-inspired lightbulb that shoots incredible purple, green and blue patterns all over the space you point it at. We topped it all off with this laser projector, which is basically an entrancing light show that covers up to 3000 square feet! It’s the perfect way to light up your neighbourhood, no matter how big or small your home.

What do you think? Too over the top, or just the right amount of #merryandbright?

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Want more #merryandbright? Check out Walmart’s holiday lighting contest here and vote for your favourite house! Each vote means $1 gets donated to the Children’s Miracle Network, up to 25,000 – how’s that for holiday magic?

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the #MerryandBright program. In exchange for this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Get Creative

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The holiday season can get kind of hectic, and DIY projects are a great way to put aside time to simply slow down and take a deep breath. We’ll be sharing all sorts of fun recipes and projects leading up to Christmas, but we decided to kick off this busy time with something extra calming. We all need a bit more calm in this wild world, right?

For this week’s installment of the #pastelcraftclub we teamed up with Julie from Province Apothecary. I had the pleasure of attending an outdoor essential oil blending workshop with Julie this past summer, and I was so enchanted by the magic of her knowledge that I immediately know we needed to share some of it here. Paige quickly agreed, a long-time fan of Province Apothecary as well, and here we are.

Part natural medicine, part olfactory, and in my opinion a little bit like witchcraft, the power of blending pure essential oils is pretty amazing, and we’re thrilled to have Julie here today sharing one of her secret formulas – Keep Calm!

Scroll down for Julie’s DIY

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As an aromatherapist I love reaching for essential oils to help calm my body and mind during times of stress. My favourite way to apply them is in a therapeutic roll on.

By using essential oils in your daily life you can help diminish stress, relieve depression, ease physical pain, promote alternateness, heal skin issues like acne and much more. The properties of essential oils, when used properly, can promote general well-being and self-connection. Essential oils are so easy to use and can be incorporated into your daily routine: they can be used in a bath, during a massage, or in your daily skincare regime. The beautiful thing about essential oils is that they work on a subtle level- sometimes one drop is enough.

Terms to know:
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.

Aromatherapy: The therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. Your skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs essential oils easily.

| ESSENTIAL OILS FOR calming the body + mind |

BERGAMOT naturally relaxes and uplifts. It’s invigorating scent invites joy and laughter in one’s space, working as a natural antidepressant. It relieves tension to unfold a natural harmony.

CEDAR WOOD naturally strengthens + clarifies. Its light, woodsy scent has a calming and soothing effect on the mind and is of great help in conditions associated with anxiety. It also acts a general tonic, easing conditions of a respiratory nature.
CLARY SAGE naturally calming to the nervous system. An effective sleep aid. Great for reducing anxiety/asthma, reduces muscle tension, PMS. Aphrodisiac.

FRANKINCENSE naturally settles and composes. Its scent eases worry and rejuvenates the mind. Antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, calming/relaxing, anti-fungal/antibacterial/antiseptic, decongests open airway. Relieves tension (in all systems), stress, anxiety. Has been used for meditation..

ROMAN CHAMOMILE naturally calms. It’s a powerfully peaceful oil, bring inner harmony and reducing irritability, anxiety and worry.


LAVENDER calms nervousness and relieves depression. Its antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiseptic properties make it nature’s #1 First Aid oil. Use lavender oil to naturally relieve dryness, cracked skin, eczema, and wounds. It stimulates the growth of healthy new cells, making it effective in healing the skin and reducing scars.

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| EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED |
•1 ml vials or beakers to blend your scent
• Essential oils of choice
• Coffee beans to help with olfactory fatigue
• Roll on container (10 ml roll on), 10 ml base oil + beaker
• Labels for blending and for finished product

| BLENDING YOUR SCENT |
BLEND DILUTIONS 10 ml : 1% – 2 drops, 3%- 6 drops, 5% – 10 drops, 10% – 20 drops

1. Choose the essential oils and % of blend you would like to make, 1-5 oils is best for therapeutic roll ons

2.. Add one drop of each oil to the 1 ml vial or beaker and smell your blend after each drop, record the # of drops and slowly add more of the oils you would like more of.

3. Shake or stir your blend. Smell your blend and add more oils or keep as it is. Count out the number of drops your have used. This will be your final recipe.

4.. Once you have discussed your final blend with Julie, slowly count out the final number of drops into your 10 ml vial. Add your carrier oil of choice to the eos, put the cap on and shake.

ALWAYS: Document every single drop. Add drops one at a time and check scent. When formulating is complete, add EO blend to carrier base. Store your blend in a bottle out of the light. Label your formula clearly with the date.

DIRECTIONS: Apply oil to your wrists, temples, and back of neck (into your hairline) and let the essential oils absorb into the skin. For immediate results, place scent directly under your nose and breath deeply. Can be used as many times as needed throughout the day.