The Thing I Thought I’d Never Wear

Style Alter Anthropolgie Peplum Top

Peplum! I actually even publicly said I would never wear it – if you’re not a stick, it’s hard look to pull off and I wasn’t even going to try. But it’s time to eat my words. I had a “want it, need it, gotta have it” moment at Anthopolgie when I saw this little peplum top. The haphazard polk dots, the thick textured knit fabric, the adorable white and navy blue combo – it had to happen.

The first time I wore this top was for a night out in Philly while visiting one of my very bestest friends. I paired it with skinny DL1961 black denim (more on my love for that brand later), heels and a grey leather jacket. FANCY. But what I really love about this top is how it can go from that, to this:

Style Alter Anthropolgie Peplum TopTop: Anthropologie (on sale!); Jeans: AG Jeans (similar); Sneakers: Old Navy; Crossbody bag: Target

I’m really liking the contrast of a lady-like top with ripped jeans and sneakers.

Style Alter Old Navy Sneakers

And here’s a simple brass necklace I made that you guys haven’t seen before.

Style Alter Brass Necklace

So for anyone else who’s been afraid of peplum, just know that it can actually be flattering, versatile and pretty darn cute. If you’re in the market, here’s a good one.

Next up: Peplum skirts. JUST KIDDING I’m not a masochist.

Putting a pep in your step,



Let’s Get Crafty: Easy DIY Jewelry Display

Style Alter DIY Jewelry Display

I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to display my jewelry for awhile now – adding a tray here, a bowl there. My jewelry is extremely important to me (especially since I started making my own) and I need to visually see what I have or else it gets lost in the abyss for years at a time. Plus, jewelry is pretty – it should be on display.

After seeing some great ideas on Pinterest (like this, this and this) I decided to go with a fabric-covered cork board for my necklace collection. Mainly because, I’m sorry, but I didn’t feel like waiting around to stumble upon the perfect vintage frame or trellis ladder at an antique flea market. When I get an idea for a project in my head, I want to do it now. Right. Now. Right this second or never, here is my credit card, where do I sign.

Which also, for the purposes of this blog post, is good because this project is easily replicated. All materials were bought at Joann’s (I’ll list everything I used at the end) and I swear this is insanely easy. I pretty much set aside a rainy Saturday and was done super early. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

DIY Jewelry Display |

First, take your cork board/bulletin board (you can use any size, mine is 16 x 36) and wrap the fabric tightly over the front, using a hot glue gun to secure the fabric down at the edges.

The only remotely tricky part about this is the corners. I don’t know if this is the “proper” way to do corners, but it felt right and it worked.

DIY Jewelry Display |

Use a scrap of fabric or something laying around to help you press the fabric down as you glue so you don’t burn your little fingers. After your fabric is in place, glue some string so it hangs from the top of your board. Since it’s difficult to hot glue a thin piece of string, you can use a scrap of fabric to sandwich the string to the back of your board.

Add your pushpins and hang your jewelry. That is literally it. Voila:

DIY Jewelry Display |

I landed up doing two boards because I had the space.

DIY Jewelry Display |

A lot of this jewelry is made by me and some of it’s store-bought. I almost always remember every item I’ve purchased – where, when, why, cost. So if you want to know where anything is from, just ask in comments.

DIY Jewelry Display |

I really, really like the addition of the string for sunglasses (though you could also use this for earrings) because mine were a mess before – taking up space on my dresser, thrown into drawers. Just being everywhere while simultaneously being no where when I needed them.

DIY Jewelry Display |

The great thing about using push pins is being able to move them around wherever you want to accommodate any necklace. You can hardly see the clear pins. I was worried they wouldn’t be strong enough to hold my heavier pieces, but no problem at all so far.

DIY Jewelry Display |

The tray is from The Container Store and I use a bowl for my earrings (hang fish hooks off the sides and studs go in the middle). I use the necklace tree for all of my smaller chains that would get lost on the cork board.

DIY Jewelry Display |

Bracelet bar is from The Container Store.

DIY Jewelry Display |

The bunny ring dish is from Anthropologie, as is the round blue velvet box, which I use for things I don’t want to display. The other small dishes were bought in Japan.

DIY Jewelry Display |

Hedgehog ring by Noir (gift from my sister). He likes to party.

DIY Jewelry Display |

Here is a list of materials I used:

– 1 1/6 yards of metallic dot burlap fabric from Joann’s. (You need just over a yard. They’re out of the gold online, but here is silver).
– The Board Dudes Unframed (Canvas Style) 16 x 36 Cork Board. I couldn’t find this particular size online, but it and other sizes are available at Joann’s.
– 2 yards of string or jute cord
– Hot glue gun + glue sticks
– Clear push pins

– Never buy anything from Joann’s without a coupon.
– I suggest using a frameless cork board so the fabric stretches neatly across it.
– If you don’t have a hot glue gun, honestly…no one will know if you use duck tape. #craftingsecrets

On display each and every day,


This is Your Day, Your Day

I’m baaaaack! Being that today is my 30th birthday and I have had no less than 15 revelations within the past 48 hours, I thought it was time to get back to blogging. But since I’ve been talking/thinking about my age recently way more than any human should, let’s just stick to fashion. Here’s what I wore:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATop: Anthropologie (on sale and so, so, so soft); Skirt: Free People; Sandals: DV by Dolce Vita (old, similar here)

We celebrated over the weekend by getting friends together for a late afternoon beer garden party. It was a super chill setting–basically like you’re trapped in a Wet Hot American Summer day camp time warp.



I’m really into this skirt because it can be dressed up or down – and I figure it will work just as well with a tank top in summer as with an oversized sweater and tights in the winter. This kind of versatility is what I look for when I’m shopping. It’s all about cost per wear.


The top necklace is the tiniest, daintiest bow necklace purchased in Japan for the purpose of layering with every necklace I own. The beaded necklace is from a strip of cheap jewelry stores in Uptown that needs its own blog post because I cannot even begin to get into that beautiful mess right now.


I had Todd take a picture of my little hair twisty because it’s my most essential look for summer. Because if it’s hot and humid out and I don’t twist my bangs up, I will essentially look like the sixth member of Whitesnake.

Thirty, flirty and thriving,


Rings and Things

More adventures in metalsmithing going on the past few weeks. Check this out:

Style Alter Brass Rings

Style Alter Brass Pendant and Rings

I made that stuff!

My favorite of all the things I made so far is the faceted ring.

Style Alter Brass Faceted Ring

To make it, I first had to carve a ring out of wax (literally, like whittled away at it until it was the shape I wanted). The wax carving is used to make a mold, and that mold is used to make a metal ring. That’s the short story. The long version involves kilns and blow torches and centrifugal force and it’s all so COOL. You have to heat little bits of metal with a blow torch until it becomes fluid, and then force the molten metal into your mold using this contraption that spins it around really fast. The process is called casting. We’ve done it once so far and my teacher told us it would be an adrenaline rush, and it is. Because you’re really relying on physics (or for us non-physicists, COMPLETE BLIND FAITH) to keep this molten metal from flying up at your face.

Here is the ring I carved out of blue wax:

Style Alter Wax Ring

And here it is after being casted in bronze:

Style Alter Brass Faceted RingStyle Alter Brass Faceted RingStyle Alter Brass Faceted Ring


Some of the facets are smooth, others have a rough, filed texture. I love it because it looks like a big, chunky gemstone.

Style Alter Brass Faceted RingStyle Alter Brass Faceted Ring

Here it is stacked with another ring I made with the wax and casting process. The triangle piece on my ring finger is a simple guy I made when we were first learning to solder (fusing metal together with heat).

Style Alter Brass Rings

PS, my nail polish is OPI Glitzerland and Essie Splash of Grenadine. This diagonal business is easier to do than it looks. If you’re confident/lazy, just freehand it. It’s not as that hard, really. Unless you are a perfectionist, and then it will drive you crazy. In which case, use tape like in the Scotch tape nail tutorial.

Lastly, a pendant I made out of brass. Actually I made two, a small and a large. It’s hammered and rough and has a worn look to it that I really like.

Style Alter Brass Pendant

Style Alter Brass Pendant

Style Alter Brass Pendant

Style Alter Brass Pendant

Solder on,

P.S. I’m a Jewelry Designer Now

I’ve been talking about wanting to take a jewelry class forrrevvvverrrr now (as some of you know) because I have all of these vision of jewelry designs that need to exist in reality and not just my head. So after my sewing class ended, it was time to get serious. I enrolled in a metalsmithing class and a wax and casting class at Lillstreet Art Center–which started last night! Our first task in becoming metalsmithers was to create a simple pendant out of brass or copper. What I love about this class already is that right off the bat, we were allowed to create our own designs. It’s not as if we all created the same pendant–we were told to sketch out whatever we wanted and go for it.

Here’s what I made:

Style Alter Illinois State Necklace

It’s the state of Illinois! And, if you look closely–a message for my fellow Illini fans.

I actually created two, but I want to go back over the larger copper piece and physically cut out a little letter “I” to mark where Champaign, IL is.

To make this piece, I started by sketching the design on paper. I knew right away that I wanted to do the state of Illinois, so I looked up a map on my phone and drew it out. I am not taking credit for the concept of a state necklace–the idea came from a something I’d seen before. There are many versions out there, but I like to think my little “I-L-L” brings some originality to the table.

I sawed out the design, filed it smooth, drilled a hole for a jump ring and connected it to a chain.

My teacher said to make sure we keep our first pieces, because she likes for us look at them at the end of the program and see how far we’ve come. So what you’re saying is, I should be embarrassed of this? Because I might never take it off. Then again, I love absolutely anything with a U of I connotation. I kind of owe everything to this school: my career, my friends, my husband for crying out loud.

In front of Foellinger Auditorim, my favorite picture from the engagement photos we took in Champaign after Todd hired a photographer off Craiglist for a grand total of $50.

For my first attempt, I’m pretty much in love with this necklace. Maybe I’ll design an entire U of I collection. Who wants a KAM’S necklace?