Orange Juice, ETC

The blog of Elias & Theresa Carlson

Category: DIY

A Wes Anderson Halloween

WA Group shot

About six months ago I expressed that some day I wanted to be Margot Tenenbaum for Halloween. This snowballed into planning a Wes Anderson Halloween party in which all attendees would dress up as a character from a Wes Anderson Movie. A month before Halloween, the group you see here got together to preview the movies and pick our characters. For the most part we kept our costumes a surprise, aside from little sneak peaks we sent each other in a group text stream.

I think we were all a little blown away by the amount of thought and effort each person put into their costume, down to the tiny little details. Hand-stiched emblems on shirts, hand drawn tattoos, haggling for a good price on a couple of matching sweatsuits at the flea market, holding a pout to look a little more like Owen Wilson, a wooden finger, a couple home hair cuts, the list goes on. It is worth noting that Mrs. Fox hand-made her entire costume, down to hand stamping apples onto yellow fabric. These costumes are incredible, and thanks to Elias for taking head shots of each attendee to commemorate the evening and share them with you!

In order of appearance:
• Elias Carlson
as Frances Whitman from The Darjeeling Limited
• Mary Anderson as Mrs. Fox from Fantastic Mr. Fox
• Aaron Henry as Team Zissou from The Life Aquatic
• Audrey Matos and Andrea Miller as Ari and Uzi from The Royal Tenenbaums
• Paul Pesnell as Sam Shakusky from Moonrise Kingdom
• Theresa Carlson as Margot Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums
• Jeremy Spyridon as Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic


Frances SS


Mrs Fox SS


Team Zissou SS


Ari Uzi SS2



Sam Shakusky SS


Margot SS



Steve Zissou SS

DIY Costume Roundup


Several years ago we started a Halloween tradition in which we take a few friends to a cabin in the woods for the weekend to hike in the day and watch scary movies at night while eating soup, homemade pretzels, and drinking whiskey spiked apple cider. Some of our fondest memories come from these fall weekends transforming this “holiday” from one we felt obligated to participate in to something we look forward to each year.

Our plans have changed a bit this year since we cannot go to the cabin, but that doesn’t mean we have lost our enthusiasm. We will be dressing up for the first time in years and hosting a Wes Anderson Halloween party in which all guests will be showing up as a character from a Wes Anderson film. The best part is that our friend Jeremy, with whom we started the Halloween tradition, will be flying down for the party!

Have you picked out your Halloween costume? If you are still undecided, here are a few of my favorite ideas from a some clever people on the internet. I think most of these could be created with items you have at home or a quick trip to the thrift store and perhaps your local craft store.

I hope your Halloween is as memorable as ours, here is a playlist to make sure your party gets off on the right foot.



Moonrise Kingdom




Left to right, top to bottom: Anna WintourBob Dylan  • GardenersChampagne GlassVincent Van GoghFrida KahloMoonrise KingdomNesting Doll  • HipsterStrawberryForest Gump and JennyMary PoppinsDorothy Gale 

DIY: Cement Diamonds



While at my parents house this summer, my mom and I did a little cement diamond project. Our inspiration and instructions came from A Merry Mishap. Though Jennifer’s instructions were just what we needed to complete our project I wanted to go a bit more in depth here.


What You Need:
Printer Paper
Clear packing tape
Cement – We used Sakrete Portland Cement Type I-II*
Plastic tub or bucket – For mixing cement
Rubber gloves
A box filled with dry soil or sand
Sand paper – 80 to 120 grit

*You should consider doing this project with a friend because it would be more fun, and these bags of cement are huge!


First you must print your diamond template, this will become your mold. Take your packing tape, and carefully coat your template front and back. Overlap the tape edges just slightly so you have no paper showing through.


For our version, we removed one side of the diamond giving it six sides rather than seven. This makes a stronger mold resulting in straighter edges and a more elongated final product. In order to make this shape cut out the template and remove the “lid” which is unnecessary, and cut off one of the short tabs – see photo above.


Now fold all of the dotted lines with a strong crease so the edges of your diamond do not end up rounded. I used the edge of my scissors to make sure I was getting a good fold.


Your diamond should now be starting to take some shape. Hold the side where you removed the “tab” and draw it in so it overlaps with the other side of your diamond creating a point at the bottom. Put a strip of packing tape from the point to the tab.


One by one fold all of the tabs in (they should already be creased) and tape them to each other to create a solid mold.


It’s cement time! I would recommend doing this outside, possibly with an apron, to make sure none of your favorite things get ruined. Be sure you have all of your supplies together so you can move quickly through this part. Pour some dry cement into your tub and slowly add water, mixing with your gloved hands. I do not have specific measurements for this but you want to end up with a consistency that is easy to grab but melts a bit in your hand. Similar to mixing natural peanut butter.


Fill your mold with cement carefully pressing the cement down into the point of the diamond. Fill it up to the top, almost overflowing, so you don’t loose any height. This part gets a little messy, especially if you are doing more than one. Don’t worry about getting cement on the outside of your mold, you will be peeling this off.


Once your mold is full, set it into the soil/sand filled box. This will help support the sides of your diamond so they bulge as little as possible. Now let your diamond sit overnight to set up and solidify.



After your diamond has dried overnight, you can remove the paper.


Your diamond may be exactly what you want at this point but we wanted the sides to be a little smoother, and a little flatter. We used 80 -120 grit sand paper to sand down the sides and bottom to achieve a more polished look.


If your first diamond doesn’t turn out exactly the way you want it, try again. We ended up with some that were a bit misshapen, some with holes from air pockets, some with rounded sides, but we found that the imperfections give them a bit of character. I hope you enjoy this project as much as we did!

Oversized Black and White Posters


Ever since I came across this DIY project for over-sized photo prints I have wanted to try it with some of our photos. We finally gave it a shot this year for Christmas gifts and they turned out even better than we had imagined.

It was somewhat of a challenge to convince the man at Staples of what we really wanted. He explained to us that these would not be high quality photos and we assured him that we were aware of the printing quality. Yes, these can only be printed black and white. Yes, they are somewhat grainy. Yes, the paper is thin and wrinkles easily.

Regardless, didn’t they turn out beautifully? Of course it helps that Elias takes a mean photo, but these are less about the photo quality and more about the impressive size of the print. The best part is that these cost under $10. These prints would be gorgeous on the wall above a couch, above the headboard of a bed, any space that needs filling really. Now if only we had more wall space…

A quick tip: If you decide you’d like to get one of these made with your own photo, we highly recommend that you treat the first print as a test run. A little experimentation is required to dial in the print. We discovered that since the print quality is low, and the printer was intended for blueprints, not photos, the shadow details really close up in the darker parts of the print. Elias had to put a curves layer on each photo in Photoshop and brighten each one significantly to get them to look right in the final print.





DIY: Holiday Fur Collar


Are you ready for Christmas? If your gifts are wrapped, tree is lit, cider is on the stove, and you are just sitting around waiting for Christmas, I have just the project for you. However, if your house doesn’t look like a Norman Rockwell yet, this would be a great activity to save for next week if you have some time off between Christmas and New Years.

I recently acquired two vintage, fur collars. One was purchased at a thrift store for $5.00, the other was a gift from my Mom that she found at a yard sale. Both collars are very similar shades of brown so I had been looking for some way to distinguish one from the other. Inspired by a fur collar at Anthropologie, I thought how easy it would be to add a bow for the perfect holiday accessory.


You will only need a few supplies for this project. If you have a fur collar lying around that is just perfect but for the rest of you who may not collect such things, just keep your eyes open at thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales. Think creatively, you may be able to find a good deal on a coat that has a detachable collar. This doesn’t have to be real fur either, I know some may prefer the faux variety.

You will also need a pretty ribbon, thread to match, a needle and a good pair of scissors. I chose this beautiful, velvety ribbon for its color. I intended to find something a bit wider for a larger bow but I just couldn’t pass up this rich golden yellow.

I started with 2 yards of ribbon to be safe as I did not know how large of a bow I would want. In the end, after sewing and trimming, I ended up with roughly a 22 inch ribbon on both ends of the collar.


The first thing I did was singe the end of the ribbon I was sewing to my collar. This is not a necessary step but this will keep the ribbon from fraying as you wear it.


Next I prepared to stitch the ribbon onto the collar by folding the end of the ribbon so it was covered by the length as seen in the photo above. If your ribbon has a front and back, be sure that once the ribbon is attached, it is the front that is facing out. You can pin this if you want to hold it in place while you stitch.


To secure the ribbon to the collar I did sort of an un-official overcast stitch on the folded edge, through the backing of the collar. Be careful never to push your needle all the way through to the fur on the other side. I used doubled thread for added strength but this may be overkill.



You can see above how it looked after the first row of stitching.


Next I did a running stitch just below the singed end that we are trying to hide. This will keep that little guy from showing and give the attached ribbon a more finished look.


Now repeat all steps on the other side of your collar, almost finished!


To finish the ends of my ribbon, I trimmed the ribbon at a diagonal and again, singed the ends. You can see there is a little dark line from the flame on the ends of the ribbons, I don’t mind this but if you prefer you can fold the end and stitch for a finished look and to keep the ends from fraying.


I wanted to style the finished product with a couple of different outfits to show the versatility. I love the idea of wearing this with a t-shirt and jeans for a shopping trip or a dinner out. This would be a great way to dress up your Christmas day outfit with the family.



I also paired it with a sweater and pencil skirt, this would be a great addition for your office Christmas party, especially if you work at an advertising agency, am I right Mad Men fans?


Lastly, though I didn’t put on a party dress for you, I think this would be perfect for new years. Throw it on over your party dress and you will be the classiest girl at the party.

Handmade Camera Straps

For those of you that are new to the blog I must tell you this; My parents can make anything, its truly amazing. A while back my Dad was hired to re-finish a shuffle board for a man with a cabin near Priest Lake. The man requested that the edges be trimmed with Elephant hide that he had procured while on Safari in Africa*.

My Mom did the trim on the shuffle board and was told that she could keep any spare hide that was left-over from the project. While we were home for Christmas break we put our heads together to come up with something to make with these scraps of leather. I remembered these beautiful camera straps that I ran across on Wood and Faulk and thought they might be a worthy project.

Everyone agreed so we drew up a pattern and got to work. With tools and guidance from Mom and Dad we cut these out, stitched them up, and here is the outcome!

If you don’t have a pair of handy parents and a pile of sweet leather lying around we recommend you head over to Wood and Faulk and buy yourself one of those wrist straps. We sure love ours.

Note: You may notice a couple of our Christmas gifts in these photos. Penelope is the spotted beauty that now graces our living room floor, and the tiny Rollei was my gift from Elias. Awesome.

*It is important to state that these legal safaris were to hunt problematic and dangerous elephants.

Bow Belt DIY on A Bit of Sunshine

I am thrilled to have been asked by Rebekah of A Bit of Sunshine, to do a guest post for her birthday! Head on over and learn how to make the belt pictured above.

Please stay and explore a while. Her site is beautiful and overflowing with creative inspiration. Dont forget to wish her a Happy Birthday!

DIY: Fringed Suede Purse

For quite some time now I have been on the lookout for a suede bag with fringe. Each time I stop in at a thrift store I head back to the purse section and scan the rack for fringe to no avail. It finally dawned on me that I could end the search and make myself some fringe.

I re-directed my focus to finding suede. There were small pieces of suede at my local fabric store but I decided to go a more economical direction and start scanning thrift stores for suede jackets, a much more manageable task. I found one with large panels of beautiful suede for only $15. Jacket in hand, I was ready to make my purse.

Tip: If you wait for a sale you can get your suede jacket for up to half the price at your local Value Village or Goodwill. Memorial day weekend would be a great opportunity to nab one for a good buy.

What you need:
Suede – Decide what size you want your pouch to be and double that to accout for the front and back. If you want fringe, you will probably want triple the size of the final product. A jacket will most likely be plenty for the project.
Zipper – This should be about an inch or two longer than you want the opening of your purse to be.
Thread – Heavy
Sewing machine – You should have a needle that is larger than what you would use for normal sewing projects to accommodate the toughness of the suede and the weight of your thread. I just used the biggest one I had, if you ask at the fabric store they should be able to tell you what needle will be best.

The first thing to do is to make yourself a pattern. I used a regular sheet of printer paper and extended the length by placing another sheet on top a bit off center. Whatever size and orientation you decide is fine.

Next, lay your pattern out in a manner that allows you to cut out two pieces, leaving enough for fringe if you so choose. Trace around your pattern, I used a white pencil but you could use anything that will draw on the suede. Cut the two traced pieces from your pattern, it is important to have good scissors for this or you will not get a nice straight line.

You will notice on my bag that there is a seam down the middle in the picture below. I did not make this seam, it was a part of the coat. For the sake of making a larger purse, I chose to use the seams in my design.

Once you have your front and back pieces cut, you are ready to attach the zipper. Select one piece of suede and lay it down with the side that will be on the outside of the purse facing up. Lay your zipper down on the suede with the teeth starting about an inch from the end. The other side of your zipper should hang off of the end. Pin in place at the edge of the suede.

Attach your zipper foot to your machine and sew on the zipper starting at the teeth, an inch from the top, and stopping an inch from the end of the suede.

Tip: If you do not have a zipper foot or if you are not feel confident in this step, call your local shoe repair shop, they are usually willing to sew zippers on leather.

Once the Zipper is attached, lay the suede down in front of you right side up. Fold the teeth of the zipper up so that the piece looks like it would on a finished product. Notice however that the nature of the zipper is to flip back down. We want to sew this down so the zipper has a nice finished look in the end.

Keep the teeth of the zipper folded to the right and sew along the folded edge of the suede as shown in the photo above. Note that you will want to switch back to your regular foot for this process. When you are finished it should look like the photo below.

Now you are ready to attach the other side of the zipper to your second piece of suede. Do this using the same steps as the first making sure that each side of the zipper align so that it zips properly in the end.

Now that both sides of your purse are complete, you should cut your fringe piece (if you prefer to make the purse without fringe, just sew the two sides together as-is). the width of your fringe should be one inch less than the total length of your front and back as you want to account for a seam allowance on both sides. The length can be as long as you wish to make it, I made mine a little shorter than the completed purse.

Pin the fringe piece into place at the bottom center of either piece. You should pin this to the side of the suede that will make up the outside of your purse.

Pin both sides of the pouch together so that the outsides are facing each other and the zipper matches. Now sew around the purse on the three sides without the zipper at a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Be careful as you sew the side seams that you do not catch the fringe piece that is pinned inside. You only want it attached at the bottom.

Once you have sewn around the purse, before you turn it right side out, trim the corners as shown above. Make sure it’s not too close to your stitching. This will allow for a nice corner when you turn it right side out by taking out some of the extra bulk.

Now you can turn your purse right side out keeping the ends of the zipper on the inside.

You are almost done! The final step is the fringe. Using your sharp scissors, cut from the bottom of your fringe flap to about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the pouch. Continue until you have completed the width of the purse.

This project was a bit challenging for me as an inexperienced sewer but it was worth it. I finally have my fringe bag and I absolutely love it!

If you want to try a different look, think about putting studs on your purse or adding a wrist strap. Black with studs is next on my list!

Instructions for studding leather found here.

DIY: Terrarium

The only plant we have cared for together is an orchid that we bought towards the beginning of our marriage. That is not true. We made a cactus garden that became infested with mealy bugs and we were forced to throw it out. The only plant we have had for some duration of time is that little orchid. It has been a real trooper. We don’t often give it water, we have let its leaves scorch in the sun, and the roots are currently growing out of the tiny plastic container we bought it in. Still it continues to grow new shoots and bloom the most beautiful flowers.

Recently we tried our hand at a couple of succulents. So far it is going quite well, granted, these require little to no care. These plants not only bring us great joy, they also add a nice “alive” look to our appartment. As we have no space to really test our green thumbs in a garden, we decided it was time to create one that could be contained. Enter Terrarium…

What you need:
Activated Charcoal

The first thing you will need is a cool container; I think this is the most important aspect of the terrarium. This particular container is an old pretzel jar that my mom gave to me for Christmas.

Next, you need something to put in your terrarium! We headed out to our local Ravenna Garden’s store and picked out a variety of plants that we thought were particularly pleasing and looked as though they would thrive in a moist, humid environment. Unfortunately, upon asking the advice of the woman at the desk, we were told that none of them would work. She was kind and directed us towards a variety of replacements that would live well together in our terrarium. Here are a few of the tips we recieved:

  • If your terrarium is open, chose plants that do well in a dry environment; succulents, cactuses and air plants would fit the bill.
  • If your terrarium has a lid like ours, go for plants that need a humid, wet climate. Tropical plants.
  • Chose plants that are already acclimated to the indoors. We initially chose ALL plants that were outside the shop and used to a colder climate. Go for the plants that have been living inside.
  • Best tip: Just ask the lady at the counter. She will be nice, and she will know best.

While you are out, pick up your soil, rocks, charcoal and moss (this is an optional step that we forgot about… so we left it out).

Now you are ready to start. If you have chosen to use moss, put this in first at the bottom of your container. This is mostly just for looks. If you forgo the moss, put a layer of rocks in first, about two inches deep. This will allow a space for the water to drain into as your container should not have any drainage holes in the bottom.

For the next layer, add about a quarter of an inch of charcoal. This helps cut down the smell. If anyone has left flowers in a vase for a little too long, you know what I am talking about… That is NOT what you want in your home.

Next add the soil. This is an exciting step because you are done with the dirty coal and it is almost time for your plants! Add about 3 or 4 inches of soil, enough to cover the roots of your plants.

Before you start planting, make a plan. Figure out how your plants will fit the best in the terrarium and what will work best over time. For instance, put the plants that should grow the tallest at the back and shorter plants near the front. If you have a back and front that is.

To prepare you plants, take them out of their plastic containers and shake most of the soil off of the roots. It the roots are tightly bound, gently break them apart a bit. You can even remove some of the roots. This will free them up so they don’t continue to grow in a circle.

Clear out a well in your soil that is large enough to hold the roots of your plant and drop it in. carefully push the soil back around the base of the plant so it is firmly grounded. If you have a ground cover (like a moss) to add to your terrarium, feel free to break it up and add a bit here and a bit there just make sure you leave enough root intact for it to take hold.

Once all your plants are nestled in their new homes, add some water and enjoy!

DIY: How to Make an Osman Tie

For Christmas this year Theresa surprised me with a beautiful wool tie (the blue one pictured above). It was just what I wanted, and better yet, she made it herself. Needless to say I was duly impressed, and I proudly wore it to work the next week. At my office we have a semi-traditional day of dapperness called “Tie Tuesday”. Really it’s just my friend Jeremy and I looking for an excuse to wear something nicer than the usual jeans and t-shirt. My tie was a hit, and I got to thinking, “why couldn’t I make another one for myself?” After all, it’s hard to find a good one, and when you do they’re usually pretty darn expensive. After consulting with Theresa she assured me that it was easy, and under her watchful eye, I could surely accomplish my task. She was right, it was easy, however it’s quite time consuming for someone like me. I’m still a little gun-shy when it comes to running the sewing machine full steam ahead.

If you have access to a sewing machine, a rudimentary knowledge of stitching, or a person with sewing experience and a good bit of patience I have no doubt you too could make a fine tie for yourself. Theresa purchased a printable pattern over at BurdaStyle for a grand total of $2. You’ll also need a full yard of fabric and some tie interfacing. If you have an old tie that you don’t like you can just take it apart and steal the interfacing from it, or head over to your local fabric shop. I chose a cotton plaid that ran us $12 for a yard. Make sure to choose a fabric that isn’t too thick. Theresa pulled off the wool tie nicely but she said that manhandling the thick fabric was a bit tricky at times. My cotton fabric was thinner and easier to work with.

If you’re still doubting whether this is something you can tackle, you should know that I’ve only used a sewing machine once or twice in my entire life. If you have someone around to give you tips and check in on your progress it won’t be a problem. You can do this.

Step 1 – Lay out your pattern on the bias (diagonally). Use your space as efficiently as possible while leaving enough room around the pieces to easily cut them out with scissors.

Step 2 – Pin your carefully arranged pattern in place. Make sure your pins are within the pattern so they don’t overlap any place that your scissors will be going later.

Step 3 – Cut out the pinned pieces of your pattern. I cut mine out roughly at first, leaving about 1/4″ around the pattern at first. Then I took each individual piece and carefully cut out the pattern to size.

Step 4 – Once all your pieces are cut out feel free to remove the pins. Make sure to save your pattern for future ties!

Step 5 – Following the instructions that came with your pattern, match the appropriate pieces to each other. Pin them together and head over to your sewing machine. If you’re like me this part takes a little while, but for a seasoned pro it will only take a few minutes to whip each section out.

Step 6 – Now that all of your tie pieces are neatly sewn together, grab your tie interfacing and tuck it into the ends, lining it up carefully with the center line of your tie.

Step 7 – For those of you that don’t know, seams are sewn inside out. Once they are complete you have to pull them right side out. You’ll need to work the seam a bit, making sure it comes all the way out to make a nice point.

Step 8 – Lay out your tie on an ironing board and fold the outside edges in to the center line once, like you would if you were making a paper airplane. Run your iron over this first fold. Fold your new outside edge to the center one more time, overlapping one side slightly. This will be the final width of your finished tie. Make sure to check the large end of your tie. You want to be sure you have even sides on the triangular end. We don’t want any lopsided tie tips! Iron it again, and pin the folded tie together so that it doesn’t come apart.

Step 9 – The last step is a bit time consuming. Using an even slip stitch, sew together the two slightly overlapping folds on the back of the tie. If you have someone with sewing experience around this would be a good time to have them show you the ropes. However, BurdaStyle has a step-by-step tutorial to show you how it’s done as well.

Step 10 – Put on your tie! You did it! Pretty sweet huh?