Monday, June 20, 2011

So you think you can sew, sew, seeeew?

Well, I can't. Don't have the patience to learn. Or the time. Well, it's really that when I want to sew something, I want it done thisverysecond. 
Up until now, I've used the oh-so-amazing seamstress skills of my mother, who has made every set of curtains in my house, and of my aunt Elizabeth, who made the throw pillows for my sofa.
This picture makes me realize how much I need a headboard.
Ready for the next great reveal? I made them with sheets. From K-Mart and Big Lots. I kid you not, people. This is real.
Ready to make your own? I made 4 95" two-tone curtain panels, 3 throw pillows,  and a bedskirt for a king-sized bed. With so much left to spare, I also covered the back of my bookshelf/bedside table the same way I did here. It really gives a crappy bookcase a more finished look.

What I Used:

Unique Stitch (available at Hancock Fabric)
2 twin sheet sets (mine were from K-Mart in a cute pattern)
2 twin flat sheets (mine were from Big Lots in white)
1 full sheet (I already had this, in white, the perfect reason to save sheets in sizes you no longer have a bed for)
Sticky back velcro tape for fabric, enough to wrap around three sides of your box spring (I did not use the kind for fabric and will probably have to eventually reinforce with Unique Stitch)
pillow forms (I bought two 18" squares with a credit from Bed Bath & Beyond, the other, I just covered an old pillow)
Black Curtain Rods

Tutorials coming soon!

I'm linking up!
all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {6/21}

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stop those solicitors!

Does our yard look that bad? Because we have at least one landscaper ring our doorbell a week offering services.

 Don't call me. I'll call you. 

What's worse, is it's usually when my little one is napping. Ain't nobody better wake my sleeping child! Not only that, we have a bevy of religious callers, meat salesmen (really?), carpet cleaners, magazine sellers, and the like. Girl Scout cookies offered at my door are no help to my diet and if I want wrapping paper, I'll get it at the dollar store, thankyouverymuch. So, I decided that I must make myself a proper sign.

So, I found this cutting board at Goodwill for a whopping fee of $1.50. Don't break the bank!
Here she is just begging to be spray painted
I cleaned and sanded it lightly. Then I spray painted it Rustoleum gloss black. After it dried, I created the wording on MSWord and printed it out on some pretty cardstock. I cut the cardstock to fit the middle of the board and decoupaged it on. Finally I hot glued a hanger to the back and a pretty bow to the front. It's under a covered porch, so hopefully it will hold up!

I'm linking up!
all crafts Handmade Projects ~ Add Yours {6/14}SouthernHospThriftyTreasures copy_thumb

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Behold the Power of Beadboard Wallpaper

Last summer, I gave my kitchen a budget makeover. The vinyl floors are still there. The laminate countertops too. Well, those just aren't in my kind of budget right now. What I did do, was paint the walls and cabinets, add new cabinet and draw pulls, and (drumroll) hang a beadboard wallpaper backsplash. Thanks to some amazing inspiration in blogland, including this post at Southern Hospitality, I ordered a roll of Graham & Brown's paintable beadboard wallpaper. I got my wallpaper paste at Lowe's which is specifically for textured wallpaper and a little kit of neat wallpapering tools. I mainly used the little roller and Xacto-type knife. Oh, and that metal triangular thing that helps you get good creases. These are professional wallpapering terms, if you weren't sure. :)
I was nervous. This was my first attempt at wallpaper. But it was EASY. I added trim to the top and bottom and painted it all the same color as my cabinets. I loooooove it. It is delicious. Nobody knows it's not real unless I tell them, which I do because it's cool. I mean, who actually goes around feeling people's beadboard backsplashes? That's the only way you can tell. It feels a little squishy. Like I give a hoot about that.
I still have a ton left and I have spent a year wrestling with what to do with it. Or procrastinating. Nevertheless, there must be a new project. I really want to give my whole living room some beadboard wallpaper wainscoting. I have been considering these issues:
1. I will have to buy more wallpaper for such a large project.
2. I will have to buy more trim.
3. I have two strapping young lads that will be much closer to this beadboard wallpaper. Will it hold up?
4. My living room and dining room form sort of a "J" shape. There's no door frame separating them and there is a small window right smack in the middle of where I could add some molding or a frame. Thus, the wallpaper would also have to go in the dining room. This is fine if the wallpaper is kid-safe.
5. I am also planning to add shoe molding to our baseboards. When the carpet was removed in this house by previous owners, shoe moldings were not added. This would be fine except the wood floors look crappy about an inch out from the baseboards. There are also gaps between the bottom of the baseboard in the floor in some places. Both of these issues would be fixed by shoe moldings. So WHY wasn't it done then?? Sigh. With that being said, I would have to add those before adding the wallpaper so I can just paint the whole dang thing at once.

Nailing the Perfect Gallery Wall (The First Time)

I admit it. For the first 27 years of my life, I gave a wall the "eye," hammered a nail in, and hung a picture. If I was hanging a grouping of pictures, you could probably lift the frame to find several nail holes where my trusty  totally inaccurate method failed. Finally, I began using a tape measure. I know, right? Totally sold out. Well, the time came where I wanted my own gallery wall. It's miniature, but any sort of collective grouping is a little intimidating. Enter my secret weapon: wrapping paper. Here's the breakdown:

1. Simply roll out a sheet of wrapping paper onto the floor. I taped two pieces together because my grouping was wider than the width of the wrapping paper. 
2. Arrange your pictures on the wrapping paper and trace with a pencil. 
3. Remove pictures and trace pencil lines with a marker so you can see them better. 
4. Tape your wrapping paper to the wall and stand back to determine it is straight and the way that you want it.
5. Measure hangers on the back of frames to determine nail placement on the wall.
6. Nail holes and remove wrapping paper.
7. Hang pictures.

See? That wasn't so bad.

How to Dry Hydrangeas

I just stumbled upon this post by The V Spot via Centsational Girl's BOTB. I've never known how to dry flowers so that they look good. They end up looking like, well, dead flowers. Luckily, I have some hydrangeas in a mason jar on my kitchen counter. I will update you with the results!

Here's the trick:
Arrange your flowers in a vase with water. Leave them there until the water dries up. If the flowers aren't dry completely when the water is gone, add more water until they are. The flowers dry slowly and perfectly. That's easy enough!

I wonder if this method would work with other flowers. Only one way to find out!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why J'Adore Burlap

It's got texture. And it's neutral. It's a little bit Frenchy. It's "Ballard Designs-esque". The best part is, it's way cheap. Don't let Ballard fool you. They sell gorgeous items featuring burlap at astronomical prices. Why pay that when you can make your own for much less?? 

Here are some of my burlap creations:
Ballard  bulletin board knock-off
Diaper Box Bulletin Board 

I shamelessly used this post from Choose to Thrive as inspiration. Genius!


Cardboard diaper box -If you have small children, you probably have at least one of those economy sized diaper boxes lying around.
Burlap - Enough to cover the cardboard
Ribbon - for bow and to hang (got mine from Dollar Tree)
Spray adhesive
Glue gun
1. Cut two long sides of diaper box so that you have two rectangles
2. Spray colored side of each piece with adhesive and stick together. Weigh down with something heavy like a paint can for a few minutes. You want the brown side facing out.
3. Cut burlap long enough to wrap around one side with enough to overlap. (This is similar to covering a chair seat.)
4. Spray side to be covered with adhesive. Lay burlap on top, smoothing and straightening as needed.
5. Flip over and staple ends of burlap to the back. (Don't use hot glue unless you like burning your fingertips off. Not that I did that. I just heard it might happen...)
6.  Poke two holes about two inches apart in the top center of the board, about an inch down. I used a steak knife.
7. Thread ribbon through holes. Tie in the back so knot is hidden by the cardboard.
8. With a separate piece of ribbon, tie into a bow. Hot glue to the ribbon on the front of the board. This will hide the holes.
9. Hang your bulletin board and enjoy!

Because burlap is a wide-weave fabric, push pins don't leave holes in the fabric.

Burlap dining room chair seats

Burlap covered art mats
Fabric Covered Mat Tutorial:

I love these pictures. The top is of St. Philip's Church in Charleston. The bottom is of the Battery in Charleston. However, before I did this, the top one had a dark wood frame and burgundy mat. The other one had a white and blue double mat with gold frame. They couldn't go together. Because they are small, they had that "floating tiny picture on tiny wall" disease. Burlap to the rescue!


Burlap or other fabric
Spray adhesive
Picture or photo frame with mat

1. Tear paper back off picture and gently pry back staples to remove mat and glass (Skip this step if you are using a photo frame, obviously).
2. GENTLY peel mat off of picture. If you go too fast, you risk ripping the picture. Again, not that I would have done this. :)
3. Cut burlap large enough to wrap around mat, just like with bulletin board, seat covers, etc.
4. Cut a square in the middle of your piece, again leaving enough to wrap the inside of the mat.
5. Spray mat with adhesive. I flipped the mats over to the white side so you wouldn't see burgundy or blue through the burlap.
6. Press burlap onto the mat, pulling tight and making sure weave is straight.
7. Make diagonal cuts to the middle of the burlap all the way to the corners of the inside square of the mat.
8. Flip mat over and spray it with adhesive.
9. Wrap and pull burlap pieces tight.
10. If you want, spray paint frame. I sprayed mine oil rubbed bronze.
11. Reassemble glass, picture, and mat inside of frame.
12. Push staples back down to secure.

That's it. Easy peasy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Budget Blinging a Bookcase

Beautiful and interesting does not have to be expensive. Just about everything in this bookcase was thrifted or from a discount store (Wal-Mart, Big Lots, etc.) It doesn't matter if you don't like the color. Spray paint heals all. 

Here's the list and how I did it:

1. Birdcage - $5 (Animal Helpers ReTAIL thrift store) - It was an ugly mustard gold. I spray painted it Robin's Egg Blue (Michael's). It was REALLY blue so I mixed some Magnolia White acrylic paint with clear glaze and painted over it to soften the color. I stuck a couple of flameless candles from Wal-Mart inside.

2. Frame on top - free (I already had it.) It was silver. I spray painted it Heirloom White and rubbed some Minwax Dark Walnut on it. I made the Family Rules subway art on MSWord. Mine was inspired by thispost at Sassy Sanctuary.

3. Silver frame - free (a graduation gift) but it's from Patina Blu in Mount Pleasant, which I've never been to but probably can't afford!
4. Metal canister/pot thing (I don't remember how much it was but it's from Michael's.) I got it a year ago or so and they still have them. It was bronze. I spray painted it Heirloom White but let some of the bronze peek through. Flameless candle inside.
5. Lantern - $5 (Big Lots) It was orange or something. I spray painted it Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze. 
6. Brown burlap frame with silver sand dollar - another graduation gift - LOVE THIS FRAME!
7. Green candle holder $5 (Big Lots) I hot glued a piece of burlap ribbon around it.
8. Glass dish - $2 (ReTAIL thrift store)
9. Covered books - I covered some old college textbooks in ivory resume paper with stick-on cameo thingys from Big Lots. I added another piece of burlap ribbon to the front book.
10. Fleur de Lis bookend - $5 or $6 (Big Lots) 
11. Magazine holder on bottom shelf - $7 (Michael's) The brand was 25% off plus I had a 40% off coupon. Sweet!

The hurricane and candle belong to the dining room table. I still have to find something to go there.

For those of you with kids (or large pets), get yourself some Museum Wax. Museums use it to protect priceless items from damage in earthquakes. It will not damage your furniture, can be removed and is reusable. I have two little earthquakes that destroy my house daily and they have not yet been able to break anything I've secured with this miracle stuff.

I have not found it yet in stores but you can order it from Home Depot for $10.49. It will probably last you a lifetime and save you a lot of money and hassle in replacing broken stuff.

I'm linking up to Southern Hospitality's Thrifty Treasures Party.

Bookcase Revamp

Isn't she purrty? I love how this bookcase turned out. It was actually hanging on the wall in my parents' kitchen as sort of a bookcase/desk. The bottom part opened as a writing surface  They took it down when they were doing some remodeling of their own. My mom hated it. I spied it in the garage and asked for it. Free wood furniture? Yes please! I promptly wood glued that desk thingy shut as I did not plan to hang it. 

I learned the distressing technique I used here from Whitney, one of the two very talented ladies at Shanty2Chic. My knowledge of stains and waxes comes from poring over Miss Mustard Seed's site,  specifically this post and this post. She really is a furniture finishing and decorating goddess.
So, three weeks ago, when I did this project, I had no intentions of starting a blog. Therefore, I was never really good at remembering to take a before picture. I had to raid my sister's Facebook pictures to find an old shot of the bookcase while it was still in my parents' kitchen. I also had to crop her and her wacky friends out of it, hence the really bad quality. I will be diligent in taking before pics now!
How to Recreate This Look


Sanding wedge
Several clean rags
Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint
Minwax wood stain in Dark Walnut
Mixwax finishing wax for light wood


1: Clean your piece. I used Clorox wipes because they're easy and dry fast.
2. Lightly sand all surfaces and wipe away dust with a clean rag.
3. Rub the side of a candle along all edges. The paint will easily sand off for a distressed look.
4. Spray paint entire piece. Let dry according to label instructions.
5. Sand edges.
6. Apply stain with a light touch to small areas at a time. Start in an inconspicuous area. Wipe immediately with a damp rag to desired finish. It's much easier to add more than remove. If it's too much/too dark, let dry then sand and spray paint that area again.
7. Let stain dry.
8. Apply wax with a clean, dry cloth.
9. Allow to dry for 15-20 minutes.
10. Buff with a clean, dry cloth.

I attached fabric to the back leftover from my curtains and pillows. The fabric is from Hancock Fabrics and I got it last year during their 53rd Anniversary sale, for 53% off! 

I attached it by simply using a glue gun, starting at the top and pulling it tight as I glued. It can easily be removed if I fancy something new.

The bookcase decoration is not complete. A few things may need to be added. In general, I go by the rule that the eye should travel up and down along each shelf. I don't know where I first learned it, but Thrifty Decor Chick says it best here, when decorating above her cabinets.

To see a full  bookcase tchotchke breakdown click here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DIY Personalized Shirts Tutorial

Make your own boutique style

Fabric paint pens (Michael's)
T-shirt (I got mine from Target)
Old t-shirt to practice on

1. Wash and iron shirt. This is crucial because the paint won't adhere to the sizing on the fabric.
2. Design your pattern. I did mine on MS Word and printed it out on regular paper.
3. Tape your design to a piece of cardboard that will fit inside the practice t-shirt. This will prevent bleeding onto the back of the shirt and give you a flat surface to work on
4. Practice with the paint pen. Hold the shirt tight, but don't overstretch or it will distort your design. My first design was a cupcake and it looked too amateur. The dotted circle looked much better. It will also help you figure out the best technique. I found that almost dotting the fabric gave the best results.
5. Now tackle the actual t-shirt!
6. Hang the t-shirt to dry for 24 hours.
7. Turn t-shirt inside out and iron the back of the design to set the paint.
8. Voila! You have a cute t-shirt!

Matching shorts really make the outfit look like a set. I already had both pairs. They were from Once Upon a Child.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Party Cupcakes Tutorial

Step 1: Make cucpcakes. I use cake mix. It's foolproof. Let cool.

Step 2: Make butter cream frosting. I've used several different recipes online, including this and this. They all taste the same to me so now I just throw it all together. Here's my recipe:

1 stick softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
splash of milk (You can add more if needed. If you add too much, just add more sugar)

Mix butter until creamy. Add other ingredients. Mix until fluffy and desired consistency. This will make enough frosting for 24 cupcakes. However, if you are going to use a piping tool, double the recipe.

I topped with blue and green pearl sprinkles from Michael's.

Step 3: Make Cupcake Toppers

1 sheet scrapbook paper
Sticker letters
Tooth picks
Glue gun

I cut out circles from the scrapbook paper. A circle punch would have been faster, but I'm cheap. Then I stuck on the stickers. The monkey was a clip-art I printed and cut out. Glue circles onto toothpicks and stick in cupcakes.

You could also use a paint pen to draw the letters. This method was used by my sister who helped me with this birthday bunting. Thank goodness she's talented. I was running out of time!

I bought the cupcake stand last year from Michael's.

The Boys' Birthday Parties


What a day it was! I took the plunge and had a family birthday party yesterday for the boys. They are two years and a day apart. Yesterday was Bub's birthday and today is Boop's. Yes, I know. Odd nicknames. Let me digress..

When Bub was little, Nick called him Bubba. Then he started calling himself Bubba. Luckily, that stopped. We are proudly southern, not redneck. Then Nick gave him his old super hero action figures (circa 1987), which began the all-out obsession with all things Marvel and DC. After two plus years, I don't see this phase ending anytime soon. This is where Wolverine comes into the picture. You see, he calls bad guys "Bub." "Back off, Bub! Grrr!" You may not have known this. I do. I know ALL about super heroes now. And voila, the nickname Bub.

Then there's Boopy. Or Boop. Sometimes Shingy, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms. I am the proud creator of Boopy. I don't know, it was baby talk or something. But I called our family dog growing up Poopy, and sometimes I called my sister Booby Brothers. I can't explain it, but you may see a trend. Well, it stuck. Bub introduces strangers to Boop frequently. Except it sounds more like Boob. I either try to explain or hope they didn't hear.

But anyway back to the party! My babies are 2 and 4 now. It's bittersweet! They are so big! Last weekend we had a party for their preschool friends at Monkey Joe's. Total stress-free party! I made cupcakes and goody bags. The wonderful staff did the rest. Bliss!
 So much jumping makes a thirsty boy.
 Notice the band-aid? Bub fell off the TOP of his Little Tykes coupe the day before. It's already healed.
 My mom usually doesn't dress up so much for a kids' party. They had a wedding right after.
Most pictures on the jump castles were blurry or major action shots!

Finally, the family party:
I probably overdid it. But if I'm going to have a party, might as well have a good one!
For a tutorial on cupcakes and toppers click here.
 The birthday boys with their cousin Miss K
 Tissue paper pomanders courtesy of Martha. I used paper from Dollar Tree, pipe cleaners that I had, and fishing line from a pole in the garage. I made the smaller ones by cutting the paper down to 10" by 15." Oh, and I didn't make sure the folds were measured right. I just folded.
 The boys with my dad

Here is one of the birthday t-shirts I made. These are easy! 
For the tutorial click here.

First Post Ever

So I've been stalking blogs for over a year now. I've seen some amazing women do some amazing things in the thrifty world of DIY decor. I've pored over them. I've checked them daily. I've liked some on Facebook so I don't miss anything. I've driven to their houses and peeked in their windows. Okay, that was a joke. 

Here's my chance to show off some of the hacks I've used to create some beauty in my own home. I will do my best to link up to all blogs I've gotten ideas and inspiration from. If I miss ANYTHING please let me know in a comment! I want to give everyone their due credit. Stay tuned for some posts about pre-blog and future projects.