Friday, February 24, 2012

1982 called and it wants its Bookends back

I found a set of A and Z faux wood bookends at a local thrift store last year for the extremely reasonable price of $1.99. Nothing at my thrift store seems to be reasonably priced anymore, so you know they were bad and no one wanted them.

So here are the two beauties before.
Isn't the faux wood grain pretty.
They are even signed! Look at the date, November 1982. They will be celebrating their 30th Birthday soon. Wow I am old..it is scary when you realize you have something that is 'retro' (aka old but we want to charge you too much money for it so we will call it retro) and you could have made it.
My husband again rolled his eyes when I walked in the front door with this gorgeous set. Can't you see the potential? I could. And for $2 who could go wrong?

They each got a good dusting, because they were filthy, and a few coats of white gloss spray paint. Everything looks better with white gloss spray paint!

Here is the A now. Isn't it cute!
I intended to put them in our office but they have found a home on the shelves in my family room.
I am trying to put more white on these bookcases. As you can see the wood dice and recovered photo albums I created last year have also been relocated here.
I have never been happy with how these shelves are decorated but I think it has more to do with the selves. They look really red in the picture but they aren't really. I am seriously debating painting or wallpapering the back of each shelving unit. But there are so many other things to do around the house before that happens.

Not bad for $1.99 plus a little spray paint!

What deals have you found lately? Have you found your thrift stores are raising their prices too?

Have a great day and happy thrifting.
Stephanie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pillow Case Yoga Bag -Sew it yourself for $0

As one of my New Year's Resolution, I vowed to start exercising. I know it is not a very original resolution, but after having an extremely serious bout of pneumonia a few months ago, I was informed I had scarring on my lungs. I had to start exercising just so I could teach my lungs to take deep breaths again and to stretch out some of the scar tissue. 
Well my wonderful sister-in-law convinced me to join bootcamp with her. I think the name bootcamp is a little misleading...it should be called "kick your butt and every other part of your body"camp! You realize you have muscles that you would never knew you had let alone imagine they could hurt that much. But I LOVE IT! I have actually already signed up for the next session. 

You are probably wondering why I am sharing this. Well, for each session we have to bring our own yoga mats. I have a mat but I don't have a bag to carry that mat. I struggle with it hanging out the end of my gym bag twice a week, then on my off days it sits in the corner of my bedroom slowly unraveling into a mess. 

I went out to buy one, but I am far to cheap to spend money on something like that. So I thought I would make one. After very little Google searching, I found quite a few ways to sew your own. None of which were great for basic sewers or lazy sewers like me. 

So this is how I got here. I wanted a quick and easy way to sew a yoga mat bag.
Materials
  • Pillow case
  • Thread
  • Ribbon
 Method
I headed to my linen closet and found the ugliest pillow case we had. Don't judge my 90s burgundy, hunter green and navy blue paisley pillow case. I am sure if each and every one of you were to dive elbows deep into your linen closets you would find something just as beautiful! :)  Just note that since this worked so well, I will be making another one out of a nicer, maybe even funky pillow case that I find on clearance someplace.
Make sure the pillow case is longer than the yoga bag.
Cut off the 'cuff' (you know the fancy end of the pillow case where the fabric is folded over) of the pillow case with scissors; try to get as close to the body of the pillow case as possible. Then remove the seam on the 'cuff' so you have one long piece of fabric. This is going to make the strap of your yoga bag.
 Iron your cuff fabric in half.
Then sew it along the two sides and then down the middle. This gives a nice firm fabric that will not twist or bunch.
I then determined how wide I needed the yoga bag to be. Make sure you leave enough space that the mat can slide in easily. I recommend pinning it and testing before you cut.

I cut the pillow case with my rotary cutter to get a straight line but you can use scissors easily too.
Now this part will seem a little tricky, but it really isn't. With the right side of the pillow case facing in, you need to put the strap of the bag inside. This will allow you to sew the strap right into the side seam of the bag. I sewed the strap on an angle into the side seam so they lay nicely when I wear the bag.
I did not need the full length of the 'cuff' strap. So I recommend, pinning this, flipping it right side out and carefully (so you don't prick yourself) determine how long you want your strap to be. Everyone will like it a different length.
This is the strap tucked within the pillow case bag.
I then did a really loose stitch up the side seam (Remember the bottom seam is already sewn from the pillow case). I did this so that if there was a problem I could pull it out easily. I verified everything worked, i.e. the strap length, the opening for the mat, etc. Once I determined it was all good I did a nice straight stitch and then went over the seam with a zigzag stitch.
Now this is where you make the bottom stand nicely. The other patterns online want you to cut a circle and carefully line it up with the bottom..come on. I can make it a million time easier. Since the bottom of the pillow case was already sewn all you need to do is a square corner. To do this, grab one corner (where the side seam is) and pull the fabric out so the bottom seam is down the middle. Really the middle seam and the side seam are laying on top of each other. Pin it. Then do the same with the opposite side.
 So it will look like this.
 Determine how wide your yoga mat roll is and sew a straight line, creating a triangle on each corner. Taa Daa! You have a flat bottom. (In any other situation, I would not be hoping for a flat bottom :)).
Now to the top of the bag. I simple folded the top over by a 1/2 inch, ironed it down and sewed the pocket, threaded some ribbon through and used an old bauble thingy from one of my kids old boots :).


Here it is done! I did take some pictures of it on my back but I looked like I had two chins and I am not sharing those.
Not bad huh, 90s paisley and all. Just image how cute it could be with a pretty pillow case (if you have one on hand or find one on clearance).

If you have any question on my confusing tutorial, let me know.

Thanks and Enjoy!
Stephanie
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home

Don't you love when you find things from your house in magazines?

Have you ever been flipping through a magazine and you see something that you absolutely love but deep down know there is no way you can afford it? I was browsing through my most recent edition of Style at Home magazine and came across an amazing chair. I mean I could have drooled over the pages.
Source Metropolitan Home
Do you see the one I am talking about? The one with the three ovals? Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? Let me officially introduce you to the Bracelet Chair by Barbara Barry.
Here are a few more images of it:
Source Metropolitan Home
Source Barbara Barry
Oh I love it so much, but not for the retails price of...wait for it...$2,800! Yes, there is a coma and two zeros on that price. If you drop the one zero I might consider it or maybe even the 2 and the comma (probably not) :) So I can honestly say I will never have it but I can dream. In fact I was dreaming so much that I showed it to my husband, and him being the wonderful man he is he looked at it and said "how is that different from the headboard you pulled out of the garbage?" I immediately corrected him and said I didn't pull it out of the garbage I picked it up at the Sidewalk Boutique. :)

But then a light went on and he was correct. It does look remarkably like this headboard I got for free out of the trash. Amazing! It actually made me smile.
Then I stumbled upon this in a Parenting magazine I got.
Source Ballard Design
It retails at Ballard Design for $153. Seriously, it is a small ottoman! But isn't the fabric purdy? Well does it look familiar?How about now:
 
This is the same fabric I used a year ago to recover my kitchen chairs and to create the stair basket I made out of a cardboard box here:
So if I were to find a cheap crappy ottoman at a thrift store for a few buck, spray paint the legs black and cover it with fabric I have on hand (cost under $15 per yard to start out with) I could have almost the same ottoman for around $10! A savings of $140!

I am literally going to head out to my local thrift stores after I hit publish on this post to go find one. I will let you know how it goes.

Doesn't it make you happy when you find things in your home that are in magazines? It makes you feel like you might have made a couple of right decorating decisions.

Have you ever found something like this before?

Have a great day,
Stephanie

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Multiple Pant Hangers - Save space by hanging sleeveless shirts and t-shirts on them!

Have you ever bought something just because it was on sale? How about buying a tool to try to get your closet organized but knew deep down that you probably wouldn't use it? Well I did just that.

I was at my local Home Sense (much like the US equivalent Marshall's) and they had padded pant hangers on clearance for $2! Granted they only had bright pink and purple but I thought for $2, how could I beat that! So I snatched up 4. To be honest with you I had 8 in the cart but thought there would be no way I would use them in my son's or husband closets, so I put half back.

Once I got home, I had buyers remorse. You know the feeling! Yes, I only spent $10 but I really had no need for them. Especially since, we have a basic closet organizer in our walk in closet, so our pants are already housed on a long, low hanging rack. I really had no need to conserve pant space (another reason why I really should not have bought them).

After walking around the house with these hangers, I ended up finding an amazing way to use all four of my clearance pant hangers! They are saving me loads of space and I now wish I had purchased all 8!

Here is what I have used them for..are you ready for this? It is one of those, why didn't I think of this sooner ideas. Hang your sleeveless shirts and short sleeve shirts on them!!!!

I tend to wear a lot of sleeveless shirts under my dressy work outfits. I hate that each shirt takes a hanger but I don't want to fold them because I hate ironing more than I hate laundry :). The same goes for short sleeve shirts.

Seriously, this works amazingly well!

I simply turned the hanger sideways, so it was parallel to the ground, and slipped one sleeveless shirt on each row.
For the t-shirts, I slide the padded pant holder through the cap sleeves.

Now that they are hung like this, they take almost no space at all.
See them tucked in the corner? I already have the ultra thin hangers in all my closets and to think there are 10 tops hung in that small amount of space makes me smile.
I need a few more now to organize my daughter's closet, especially to hang all her dance tanks, sleeveless dresses, sundresses, etc.

I am now going to have to keep my eyes open to see if I can find any more on clearance. In fact, I love this so much, I might buy some at full price! If you know me, you know how much I must love this, because I buy almost nothing at full price.

 Don't you just love it! It really is funny how such a small thing can make me so excited :)

Have a great night and happy organizing.
Stephanie
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home

Monday, February 20, 2012

Handmade 3D Butterfly Art on a $0 Budget

Do you remember one of last year's favorite crafts, specimen art? You know, where you cut out a hundred butterflies and beautifully arrange them in a frame. I had intended to create one for my daughter's room but just never got around to it. With an electronic cutter (i.e. Silhouette or Cricut) or a paper punch in the correct shape, the project would have only taken 30 minutes but 30 minutes I just didn't seem to find. Until now.

I wanted to make something a little more unique than the specimen art so I hunted around Pinterest and Etsy, two of my major suppliers of inspiration, and found these two items that I love:
Source Ikea - $15
Source Etsy - approx. $40
 These can be made with a Silhouette, a Cricut if you have Sure Cuts a Lot or by hand. So for those of you who do not have an electronic cutter, don't worry, this is a simple project that anyone can do.

The first thing I did was found a few free jpeg images of butterflies online that I liked. I saved them to my computer and opened them in Picasa. Since I did not want the entire butterfly cut out and wanted the wings to pop out of the page, I cropped the image so I had two separate halves. 
 If you have Sure Cuts a Lot (sorry this software is no longer available for the Cricut), insert both halves of the butterflies and line then up. Group them and then you can resize, rotate etc. You can see, that the Cricut will only cut where there are lines. The middle of the butterfly will not be cut.
If you do not have a Cricut or Silhouette, design the page in Microsoft Word. Using an 8.5x11 blank page, insert the jpegs one at a time to create the design you like. Reformat the page to be grey scale making the lines a really light grey. Print the design on a nice card stock and cut the grey lines carefully with an Exacto knife. A little more time is needed for this, but it will still produce the same amazing end product.
I did this one..sorry it is hard to see but you can get the idea.
After I cut the card stock using my Cricut it looked like this.
 I have a pointy tool that came with my craft knife set that I use to score things. I placed my metal rule between the two points of the butterfly and gently scored where I wanted the butterfly wings to pop up.
 Sorry the photos are dark. I was too lazy to go get my good camera so these are from my horrible little point a shoot.
 After each butterfly is scored twice, carefully bend the wings back.
I had a DollarStore frame on hand for this. I had to remove the glass because there is no depth to the frame. Ideally I will eventually do this with a shadow box style of frame so the paper will be behind glass..
My daughter selected a bright pink piece of scrapbook paper to put behind the butterflies since her room is pink.
 Isn't it pretty?
It was my neice's birthday yesterday, so my daughter wanted to give her one too. We used the same DollarStore frame but spray painted it with glossy purple and a piece of purple scrapbook paper. To be honest, I like this one better because of the contast between the paper and the frame. My daughter's one might have to venture into the garage for a little spray paint.
 I love this!
I might be pulling this downstairs soon for my Easter decorations.

Grand total for this was $0..I had the frames, scrapbook paper and card stock all on hand. If I had to buy everything, I think it would be under $2!

I think I will design a dragon fly one next or maybe hearts.  I will share those when/if I finish them.

What do you think?  I am really happy with how they turned out.

Stephanie

Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home

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