I’ve been creating a yearly Inspiration Board for three years. It’s easily one of my favorite ways to orient my mind in the right direction at the start of a new year and align my actions with intended goals. I created my very first Inspiration Board after finishing a very tough year (2012), and it really helped me emotionally.

DIY Inspiration Board

My Inspiration Boards are pretty epic. They’re stunning visual collages of my dreams and aspirations for the next twelve months, and they never fail to get me excited for the brand new year.

My Inspiration Boards through the years:
2013 Inspiration Board
2014 Inspiration Board
(2015 is almost complete!)

I’m no expert, but I can tell you from my own personal experiences that creating an Inspiration Board will do wonders for your life:
* it will encourage you to reflect on the previous year and learn from mistakes
* searching through magazines will help determine what inspires and excites you
* clipping, cutting, and gluing are excellent stress-relievers
* creating the board will force you to dedicate a few hours of “me time” to yourself
* having a visual representation of your desired yearly outcomes will keep you motivated all year
it’s a great way to track your changing desires with each new year
* having a physical manifestation of your hard work, in the form of a large poster, feels great
* it’s fun!

The process is lengthy but I promise it’ll be worth it.

magazines

Materials:
– a good pair of scissors
– 2-3 glue sticks…avoid using liquid glue (you’ll go through glue like crazy!)
– variety of magazines (I recommend having a stack of at least 10 from different categories – beauty, cooking, running, etc.)
– a large thick poster board (22 x 28)

Directions:
1.) Grab a pair of scissors and start cutting out any magazine clippings (words, images, etc.) that you like. These cutouts should reflect things that inspire, encourage, and motivate you.

Inspiration Board

2.) Once you’ve collected a good stack of clippings, start loosely organizing them by category (EX: food, exercise, travel, money, relationships).

Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board

3.) Use the categories, which will become your “areas of focus” for the new year, to start planning the general layout of the Inspiration Board.

Inspiration Board

4.) No gluing yet, this is still the planning phase. Start with the largest clippings and use them to fill up space on the poster board. They will become the base layer on which smaller images will be placed. Remember, you want to ultimately completely cover up the poster board with clippings in a collage format. No empty spaces allowed, overlapping is highly encouraged!

Inspiration Board

5.) Once you’ve organized the largest clippings, move on to the next largest clippings and start organizing them around the already placed images (remember, no gluing yet). Continue this process until you start laying out the smaller cutouts. At this point you can stop this planning phase since the smallest clippings are easiest to fit into the overall collage and can be added later. The main goal of this organization is to make sure you include all the larger images that consume the most space.

Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board

6.) Once you filled up the majority of the board, snap a photo of the layout before proceeding to the next step. Use this photo as reference when you start to glue on the clippings.

Inspiration Board

7.) Start with the largest clippings first and begin gluing them onto the poster board in the same layout as they originally were. At this point many of the cutouts will shift around and lose their original order. This is where that photo you took earlier will be of great use!

Inspiration Board

8.) Fill in the emptier spaces with small clippings. Get creative! You want this Inspiration Board to be busy and eye-catching. You want it to be inspiring to look at! Messiness is great…since when is life perfectly organized anyway?

Inspiration Board

(my 2014 Inspiration Board)

And then you’re done! Choose a special place to hang your Inspiration Board. You want it to be in a place where you can easily view it when some inspiration is needed, but you also don’t want it to be too apparent to the point where your eyes simply start ignoring it.

Useful advice for beginners:

– Start collecting magazines early in the year so you won’t have to scramble buying them at year’s end.

– Clip anything and everything that catches your eye. You can always save it for next year’s Inspiration Board if you don’t end using it this year.

– Make an effort to cut out images and words of varying sizes. The larger clippings will help cover empty spots while the smaller cutouts will add some spunk & depth to your board.

– Organize the clippings by logical categories for simplicity. You’ll quickly discover that these will naturally become your areas of focus for the new year.

– Clip & cut first, write your intentions second. The semi-automatic process of collecting clippings will shed light on what you truly desire out of life. For example: you notice that many of the photos collected involve travel, and you realize your soul is craving a vacation. Once you organize the clippings, set aside some time to write down general goals that will ultimately dictate how the Inspiration Board will be organized (this can be done between step #3 and #4 in the directions above).

– Don’t let perfectionism get you! This process should serve as a stress-reliever and happiness inducer, so don’t overthink the board’s organization. The way it ends up coming together will be a beautiful reflection of your innermost hopes and desires. Life is messy and that’s great.

– You don’t need to complete the Inspiration Board in one sitting. In fact, I suggest spreading the process out over the course of January. This gives you a chance to spend the first few weeks of the new year realizing what you want out of the remaining eleven months.

– Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process!

I highly encourage all of you to create an Inspiration Board, and please share it with me if you do! Good luck and happy gluing!

♥ Irina

Back in December of 2011 I had a 5-week holiday between jobs. It was a great time to unwind and catch up on all the activities on my to-do list. I’m an extreme lover of D.I.Y and adore re-creating things with my own two hands – it’s a fun challenge and something I’ve always had a talent for. A few weeks prior, I purchased a beautiful sparkly pink (duh) headband online. It was attractive, versatile, and didn’t slip off my head when I ran. Of course, I immediately wanted to re-create it at home and so I did!

No-Slip Headband

What You’ll Need:

– Sewing machine (I’m pretty sure this will be very tough and time-consuming to sew by hand)

– At least 2 ft. of 5/8”–wide ribbon with any design of choice (I usually just purchase a roll of ribbon and use it make a few headbands for myself and others)

– An equivalent amount (at least 2 ft.) of 5/8”–wide velvet ribbon in a color to match your ribbon (the velvet will be hidden from view and it is the part that prevents slipping)

– Basic thread in the color to match the ribbon (here is where things can be difficult because you want the color to match as closely as possible so it won’t show)

– 3/8” elastic band (you need at least 6 inches but it usually comes in a pack of 3 ft. or 6 ft.)

– Tape measure or ruler

– Pins

– Scissors

headband

What To Do:

1.) First, you must measure the circumference of your head. The “standard” size of 15 inches will fit *most* heads but in the event that your head is a bit larger/smaller, just add/remove ½ inch-1 inch to the ribbon lengths.

* NOTE: these steps assume that you are creating the average length headband. If you added additional length, please adjust these steps accordingly (it’s simple math!).

2.) Lay out the ribbon, measure out 18 inches, and cut. In a similar fashion, measure out and cut 18 inches of the velvet ribbon and 5 inches of the elastic band.

3.) Use your tape measure or ruler to measure out 14.5 inches of the ribbon and bend the remaining ribbon inward at each end to hide the extra fabric. Fold the ends to create a crease and use a pin to secure the ribbon at each end.

headband

4.) Use pins to pin the top ribbon to the velvet ribbon along one edge. Make sure that the soft “velvety” part of the ribbon and the design part of the other ribbon are facing the outside as shown below. Also make sure that there is extra free ribbon at each end.

headband

headband

5.) Measure out 6.5 inches of the elastic band and use a light pencil (I used yellow) to mark the excess length on each side. Insert one (and only one) end of the elastic band between the ribbon and the velvet.

headband

headband

6.) It’s time to get sewing! Thread your sewing machine (here’s a good tutorial if you don’t know how) and set up your bobbin. Set the settings on the machine to create a small stitch with the needle positioned in the center. Place the ribbon beneath the “teeth” of the sewing machine so that the needle will pierce the ribbon on the non-pinned edge. Lower the “teeth”, carefully press down on the pedal to create 2-3 stitches forward, and then back-stitch 2-3 stitch. This is done to prevent the thread from unraveling.

headband

7.) Continue sewing carefully forward along the edge of the ribbon, removing each pin as you pass it. Once you reach the end of the ribbon, lift the “teeth”, pivot 90 degrees, carefully insert about ½ inch of the elastic band in-between the two ribbons, lower the “teeth” and sew until you reach the other end.

headband

8.) Repeat pivot and continue sewing down the other (previously pinned) edge of the ribbon until you reach the end you started at. Pivot again, carefully insert ½ inch of the other end of the elastic in-between the two ribbons (this may be tough so use scissors to push it in), and sew until you reach the other end.

* NOTE: make sure the elastic band is not twisted and creates a smooth ring.

9.) Pivot again, and sew until you reach the point where you started sewing. Continue sewing for about another ½ inch, add 2-3 backward stitches, and you’re done sewing! Cut loose threads.

10.) Cut the remaining velvet ribbon from both ends to make it the same length as the measured ribbon.

headband

11.) To prevent the velvet ribbon from fraying, use a match or a lighter to carefully burn the edge on each end.

headband

You’re done! It’s time to try on the ribbon. The fit should be snug but not too tight to the point that it gives you a headache.

headband

Thanks to my obsessive personality, I now have many headbands with various designs and I love them! It’s so much fun to have many options to match my running outfits. And let’s be real – accessorizing while running is not only totally acceptable but it magically improves our runs.

headband

Enjoy!

P.S. – You can check out my other DIY projects here!

♥ Irina

Happy Wednesday! We’re almost there guys, Friday is just a skip and a hop away. I’m not really in the mood to write an elaborate post so brace yourself for a bunch of photos from this past Sunday. I’m a big believer in extending the life of my belongings, clothes in particular. I’m always prepared with a thread and needle in hand for when something rips. Lately, a hefty pile of faulty clothes that’s been sitting in the corner of my room has been growing weekly. It was time to address the issues at hand.

sewing

I first attacked the task of mending my New Year’s Eve dress. After returning home from the party, one of the buttons on the dress fell off. One month later I finally sewed it back on!

sewing

I’ve been sewing for over a decade and am pretty good at it, both manually and using a sewing machine. This task had to be done by hand.

sewing

Done! The dress is ready to be worn again when the time is right.

Next on the agenda: a pair of cashmere gloves that I bought on (final) sale from J.Crew.

gloves

There was a tiny hole on the side that I didn’t notice when I made the purchase. Most people wouldn’t be bothered by it but of course I had to mend the problem.

A few stitches later…

gloves

…the gloves were as good as new! Actually, they were completely new since I never wore them (until Monday).

After the gloves were successfully repaired, I moved on to a pair of shorts that ripped. The hole was on my right bum cheek (sorry) and it simply had to go.

hole

I did my best to hide all evidence of the ripped fabric.

hole

My stitching job wasn’t perfect but it did prolong the life of these shorts for at least a few more days/nights out.

hole

Are you bored yet?

After the repair part was complete, it was time to re-purpose some articles of clothing. I first took the easy route and altered a very old pair of white capris:

white capris

I didn’t like how wide the bottom was, so I decided to snip the threads that held up the wide capri part.

white capris

After some scissor magic, the transformation was complete!

white capris

Pardon the creases, I was too excited to try them on and snap photos…ironing simply didn’t happen. Anyway, now the white pants can be worn as bootleg-style jeans or rolled-up capris.

I saved the best toughest task for last. A few weeks ago I bought this lace zip-up sweater on sale ($10!!) at T.J Maxx:

lace

It was love at first sight…almost. I plan on wearing the sweater unzipped, and the pockets kept popping out and ruining the entire outfit. They had to go!

lace

I carefully examined the pocket area and started cutting away the fabric near the stitches.

lace

It took about half an hour but the final result was well worth it!

lace

lace

I’m very excited to wear this…Spring can’t come soon enough! It doesn’t feel right wearing lace when it’s snowing out. Or maybe that’s just me?

The end! Thanks for tuning into what may be the lamest post I have ever written 🙂

Are you a repairer and re-purposer?

Do you know how to sew by hand?

♥ Irina

Given that I’m running the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, I had the brilliant idea of making a green tulle skirt for the occasion. I spent $13 on tulle of different shades of green and a thick green ribbon. With no plan in mind, I procrastinated making the skirt…until today. With Google to the rescue, I executed the simplest technique ever. Lots of cutting was involved.

You will need:

–  6.5 yards of tulle: I used three different colors and split the color amounts as shown on the receipt below. To make a puffier skirt, use more tulle (about 9 yards)

– 1.5 yards of thick 1.5 inch ribbon: I chose a color to match my tulle (make sure you can comfortably tie the ribbon around your waist)

– scissors

Instructions:

1.) Lay out the tulle the long way and roll it up into a long tube

2.) Cut the rolled up tulle in 2 inch intervals

3.) You will soon have  a massive pile of green tulle. Take your ribbon and measure out, using a strip of tulle on each end, where the tulle skirt will start and end. Make sure that there is enough ribbon on the ends to easily tie the skirt around your waist.

4.) Add the tulle strips to it as follows:

– Fold the tulle strip in half and place beneath the ribbon as shown below

– Take the loose ends of the tulle and loop them over the ribbon and through the loop where the tulle folds

– Pull the knot tightly to secure the tulle on the ribbon

5.) Continue adding the tulle strips, alternating colors as desired, until the ribbon is filled. Don’t tie the tulle knots too close together to ensure that there is enough to fill the entire skirt

6.) Use a match to burn the edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying

I’ll be honest- this was a time-consuming task but my perfectionist self would not allow for the final product to be less than perfect.

Tada!

The only problem? The skirt ended up being ridiculously puffy. Like I’m-gonna-knock-over-everyone-I-run-past puffy.

I’m not 100% sure if I will be wearing it on Sunday…

I guess I can always use it as headgear right?

Kidding! I think…

Have a great weekend!

P.S – I had a nightmare about running last night. First, I was late to the Shamrock Shuffle and ended up being the last person to cross the start line. On top of that, I somehow managed to forget all of my running gear and ended up having to run in my jeans and slippers. HA! I woke up with an uneasy feeling and slightly less motivation to run on Sunday :/

Have you ever had any running-related nightmares?

♥ Irina