Monday, September 10, 2012

Bedroom Makeover, Part 1

Hope you all had a great weekend! I spent mine finishing up some details for my Moroccan/travel bedroom makeover (instead of doing homework, oops) because I was so eager to share this with you! I still have a lot left to do before my bedroom is complete, but just seeing this part of the room finished motivates me to get it all done. 

Here's a view of my bedroom before - long and narrow, with no decoration at all. I looked around at the beginning of the summer and couldn't believe I'd lived like that for a year already!
[Yep, that's a bookshelf holding clothes that wouldn't fit into my closets...]

And here is the after: 

[I know, that painting looks crooked - I think my level is mistaken]

I have been soooooo excited about this dresser! I picked it up at a garage sale about a month ago, for a whole $15! It's solidly made, with thick wood veneer, rather than the junk they make these days. It had good simple lines that would make the perfect backdrop to whatever new theme I decided to give it. As a reminder, this is what it looked like before: 

[It's very....woody, no?]

I ended up scrapping my original idea after I saw this post. I found some of the "reject" paint at Home Depot for $2/quart, and my landlord gave me some leftover primer. I bought this neutral ivory (?) color, and a deep red that matched the fabric I bought for my curtains (which I ended up not using after all).

 [My neighbors were VERY curious as to what I was doing on the porch...]

Originally, I wanted to buy new handles, but after seeing how much the home improvement stores wanted for them, I quickly scrapped that idea and decided to give the original handles some TLC.


Then, my mom and I stumbled across some 90% off paint at Menard's. We got several quarts of gold and silver for $3 each, and some other random colors for $2 each. 

[Not so ewwww]

I created a stencil from this plastic paper-stuff I got from Hobby Lobby, then stenciled around it and painted in the gold....which was a huge pain in the butt, but I think all of that work paid off in the end! I'm so pleased with myself, especially considering this is the first real piece of furniture I've made over.

Stash busted: Nothing. Oops.

Bought new: 
  • Dresser: $15
  • Paint: $5 ($2 for the beige, $3 for the gold)
  • Painting supplies: around $15
  • Polyurethane: $15
  • Hobby Lobby stencils: around $2
Total: A little more than $50 for a great custom dresser. I'd call that a success, wouldn't you? 

Now, let me show you all of the things I've got piled on top of the dresser:

[Garage sale globe ($5), auction globe ($20), and vintage suitcase ($2 - I'm still mulling over what I could make out of that one).]

 [Globe bookends from my grandparents' house and my mini travel scrapbooks and travel journals]

[The lamp that started this whole crazy idea: $3 at a garage sale]

Finally, this painting, inspired by yet another Pinterest find: 

[Image from: CozaMia]

Phew! What a long post! Are you guys redecorating (or thinking about it)? What projects do you have lined up?

Friday, September 7, 2012


Wow, I can't believe summer's over! I also can't believe how little I've posted, though I *have* been hard at work (picture proof to come soon, I promise!). 

When I haven't been working on random (mostly sewing) projects, I've been dreaming up ideas and gathering supplies for my bedroom makeover. It all started with a garage sale find that I almost overlooked:

Mine also came with a stand and chains, all for the low low price of $3! My bedroom was (and still is) in need of a serious makeover, and this inspiration piece was the perfect start to a Moroccan theme. 

I went to another garage sale not long after and picked up a globe and an old suitcase, and voila, Moroccan-themed was transformed into Moroccan/travel-themed!

In my mind, I knew what kind of fabric I wanted for curtains, but was having a really hard time finding anything until I hit up the Hancock Fabrics spot the bolt clearance sale (this is a seriously awesome sale, guys - most fabrics around $2/yard, I've bought soooo much of it lately!). 

I stopped by a different Hancock later and found a (somewhat) complementary fabric,

 which I intend to use for a foot-of-the-bed bench like this one:

[Image via: Sabby in Suburbia]

Then, I bought a dresser at ANOTHER garage sale. It was originally priced at $50, marked down to $25, and then I talked them down to $15! It's solidly made, but needed some TLC. 

When I bought it, I intended to do something like this,
                                                          [Image via: Brooklyn Limestone]
but as I was working on it, I got carried away with a different idea...coming soon, I promise!

I have so many other ideas swimming around in my head, I can't wait to finally share them with you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Two posts for the price of one!

As usual, it's been far too long since my last post...but I have been hard at work creating (and buying, oops) new things. Since I've been splitting my time between Chicago and Milwaukee, I usually want to spend all of my time in Milwaukee crafting (since that's where all of my supplies are), and all of my time in Chicago hanging out with friends (or...being lazy, let's be honest). Long story short, I need to get my act together and actually start taking pictures of my finished projects!

All that being said, I've got a two-fer for you guys today! A while back (a loooong while), I stocked up on tons of not-quite-right clothing from Goodwill during a mega super sale they were having. When I picked up this skirt, I didn't have anything particular in mind. 

[I have tried and tried to clean that mirror, I swear! Guess I might need a real one and not a cheapie, huh?]

As I was digging through my stash looking for a new project, I stumbled across this ill-fitting skirt again. I've been wanting a cute, simple summer dress for a while now. After some debate, I decided to turn this into a tube-top style dress (which I haven't dared to wear in quite a while now!) with a high-waisted belt. I just cut off the waistband (which you can't really see in the above picture, but it was way too small), and hemmed the top and added an elastic lining.

[My neighbors thought I was super crazy posing for this in front of my house!]

This dress is so light and airy, I've worn in several times already! Plus, when it gets a bit cooler (or maybe for those chilly end-of-summer nights), it's easy to add a cardigan on top (belted on top or underneath).

You may also notice that matching clutch I'm holding. I made these projects within a few days of each other, but didn't intend to make them match - just a happy coincidence, I guess!

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the before - this fabric came from a seriously undersized (for me) skirt from that same Goodwill sale. The wonderfully easy-to-follow pattern (well, easy when you actually read through all of the steps) came from Whitney at Elm Street Life. She recommended using a heavier fabric, but I was dead-set on using this one, so I just bought some really thick interfacing instead. Worked like a charm!

The day after I finished making this one (after a 2 1/2 week interruption), I immediately made another one with some fabric I just bought (I know, I know, I'm supposed to be busting my stash, not adding to it). The second one came together soooo much faster than the first (seriously guys - read the directions, they're not hard, I just reached a point where I thought I'd figured it out, and then had to back and rip out a bunch of stitches, dangit).

Stash busted:
  • 2 skirts from Goodwill
  • Random elastic I found in the old sewing box I've been using
  • Zipper from one of the skirts
  • Random extra fabric for lining the clutch
Bought new:
  • 6" of interfacing - $0.50 at Walmart
I'd call that two successful stash-busting projects, and great for beating this heat we've been having lately. How have you guys been dealing with it? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Prada knock-offs

When I saw these earrings

 [Image from: Honestly WTF]

I knew I had to have some of my own. I set about looking for some roses at the craft stores, and instead found these teal chrysanthemums:

I also found this earring-making kit in my stash. I bought it years ago at Target during my big-earring phase, but decided the pendants would look better with my chrysanthemums.

Since the flowers didn't have any type of hole for a head pin, I had to get creative with some E6000. (I didn't take any pictures because the back looks kind of wonky, but the front looks good, right?)

I think I might like my version better than the originals. They're a bit more appropriate for everyday wear, no? 

Stash busted:
  • Pendants
  • Head pins
  • Earring posts
Bought new:
  • Chrysanthemums: $1.75 on 1/2 off sale at Hobby Lobby
These earrings were just the start of an earring-filled day. Stay tuned for the rest of them! What kind of earrings do you guys like to wear or make?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Anthro knock-off

Another recent Pinterest find: this beautiful Anthropologie original and Jessica’s stunning replica:

[image from: the Morning Letters]

I had just been wondering what to do with these gorgeous turquoise beads I picked up at a bead show a while back when I stumbled across this pin. As much as I loved the original, I didn’t want to buy a bunch of new materials, so I decided to use what I had on hand and drew my inspiration from this design. 

Stash busted: 
  • turquoise beads
  • silver beads (I have no idea where these came from, but I found them lying around)
  • thread and ribbon (I really like the matching ribbon in the original, but in the interest of not buying something new, I chose a neutral ivory. Plus, I'd imagine that might be a hard color to match)
  • crimp beads (never used these before, but I'd picked them up at the same bead show a while back
Bought new:
  • Nothing! Success! I made a great new necklace and a small dent in my stash.  

 Are you guys fans of knock-offs? What have you knocked off recently? 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Here's yet another "I've seen these around and then I saw a tutorial and just had to make it myself" posts. Are you guys noticing a theme? :)

Suzannah posted these great gold glitter pumps, inspired by Christian Louboutins:

So, I went out and picked up some plain black flats to make my own. 

Unfortunately, I was in such a rush to find some cheap flats that I picked out some that don't fit that well (they didn't have any half sizes). 

Because these shoes are cloth, I knew it'd be harder to get the glitter to stick and cover well, so I decided to spray paint these silver first. It took a few coats of paint, and then quite a few coats of the Mod Podge/glitter mixture, but I got these babies covered eventually! I might just have to make another pair of these that fit a bit better...

Stash busted:
  • Silver spray paint (borrowed from my mom)
  • Mod Podge
Bought new:
  • Glitter (I know I have some somewhere, but, a) I couldn't find it and, b) I needed micro glitter to get the look I wanted - ~$3 on sale at Hobby Lobby)
  • Black shoes ($5 at Wal-mart)
Hmm, looks like I need to get a little better about busting my stash, and stop buying so much new stuff for these projects! Have you guys jumped on the glitter bandwagon?What sparkly things have you made?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Two dresses from 1, part 1

With the warm summer weather we've been having lately, I've been seeing a lot of cute maxi dresses and skirts. They're adorable and comfy and make such easy outfits. I discovered Leanne's blog through Pinterest, and fell in love with the dress she made for this tutorial: 

[Image from: Elle Apparel]

I liked the "yoga" band, the comfort factor, and definitely the color, but didn't want to go out and buy new fabric when I already have so much to get rid of. Then it dawned on me - I bought a grey knit maxi dress on clearance at Wal-Mart over a year ago for only $3 - it would be perfect!

For good measure, I tried the dress on first (which I'd never done before) to make sure it wasn't fine as-is. 

Needless to say, I do not quite have the body that that dress required, so....I got to cutting! This was a lot more difficult in practice than it was in my head...mostly because my serger and I aren't quite seeing eye to eye yet. The fact that the knit kept rolling didn't help either, but I was glad I got to keep two original seams and the hem. 

Since I finished it, I've been wearing the heck out of it - and it is super comfortable! Although with temperatures skyrocketing, I might have to retire it until the fall. But wouldn't this make a cute teaching outfit? I do need to figure out what other shirts I could wear it with. I kind of hate most of my clothes right now, so I might just have to make something else to wear this with. Any suggestions? 

Stash busted:
  • Grey maxi dress
Bought new:
  • nothing! Success! 

Stay tuned to see what I did with the top of this dress - I couldn't let it go to waste!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Turquoise teardrops

I'm going to be honest here - I've never bought anything off of Etsy. Some of the artists show real creativity that I greatly admire, but I also often think "I could make that." And the things I know I couldn't make are (deservedly) out of my price range, so....

LaLaCrystal has some beautiful jewelry in her shop, and the teardrop bead she used reminded me of some I had in my stash. I looked high and low for something resembling the leaf she used, but never came that close. Eventually, I found something that I thought might work at, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby. 

I kind of cobbled it together through some trial and error, but isn't that half the fun?

Stash busted:
  • One lonely little bead
Bought new: 
  • Chain ($2.99 at Wal-mart (all of the stores in my town were seriously lacking in chain selection)
  • Leaf (part of a decorative clasp set - something like $1.50 on sale at Hobby Lobby)
  • Setting for the bead (again around $1.50, although I ended up buying two different kinds because one of them really did not fit the bead. Of course I hadn't come to the store prepared or anything...)
Total: $6-$7. Oops. That was more than I wanted to spend, but I think it turned out nicely, don't you?
(Yes, out of all of the photos my friend took at this "photo shoot," this was the one I liked the best. Crazy.)

Stay tuned to see what I did with more of these turquoise beads. I'm still putting the finishing touches on it, but I think it'll be great when it's done...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

And now for a baking interlude...

Much like I love to read, I also love to bake (although one of these is certainly more delicious than the other). Last year I started to get into cake and cupcake decorating, and even went all-out buying supplies (as I always do) at the Wilton Tent Sale in Woodridge last summer. Of course, whenever I actually work up the energy to bake and/or decorate something beautiful and delicious, the tools I need never happen to be where I am. If I'm at school, they're at home, and if I'm at home, they're at school. Such is my life, and such is the case with this tye-die cake.

My first day at my new internship, my coworkers were nice enough to take me out to lunch, so to repay the favor, I promised I would bake them something delicious and bring it in the next week. Looking through my pinboard, I discovered that almost everything I wanted to make either required tools I'd left at home or ingredients I didn't have on hand (and I was NOT willing to make another trip to the grocery store to source them). This cake looked like the most feasible one, considering I had new paintbrushes and plenty of different food coloring (or so I thought). 

[Image from: Bird on a Cake]

Beautiful, right? Also MUCH more time-consuming than I'd imagined! While I have plenty of different colors of gel food coloring, I didn't have any in tubes like Robin used, which made for an interesting (and slightly less colorful) final product. But my coworkers loved it! Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the inside. :(

I'd also discovered this recipe on Pinterest for Strawberry Spread with Pie Chips

[Image from:]

and thought it would be a great treat for my cousin's coming-home-from-the-marines party. It was a hit!

Like the cake, this was also fairly time-consuming to make, but oh so delicious! I'd recommend using a flat plan to grill the pie crust, as it would probably have made my life a whole lot easier.

Do you guys like to bake? If so, what's your favorite thing to make? Are you more interested in the taste or the look?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Who else is in love with the Hunger Games?

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE to read. I always have and always will. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to read when school’s in session, but now that summer’s here, I’m trying to make up for some lost time. Along with this love of reading comes a love of collecting books. Books to be read, books to be loaned, books that just look pretty…they’re going to fill the shelves of the library that I am determined to have in my house one day. So when I saw these, I just knew I had to make some of my own.

As I was pondering which of my favorite books I should honor with some pendants, my thoughts wandered to my recent obsession with the Hunger Games, and how I could not only make some necklaces for me, but for friends and family who are equally enchanted with the stories. As soon as I thought of it, I was so excited to finish them, and am really happy with the way they turned out!

Here’s a better close-up of the covers. And if you want to make them yourself, here’s a Word file of the images I made and used. 

My favorite part is probably the surprise waiting on the inside…

All three books are so quotable that I decided to put my favorites from each one inside.
Other quotes from the first book:

“I want to find a way to show them that they don’t own me. That I’m not just a piece in their Games.”

“Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true.
Here is the place where I love you.”

Other Catching Fire quotes I added:
“I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you.”

“Stay with me.” “Always.”

And last but not least, Mockingjay:

Best. Quote. Ever. Other good ones: 

“Fire is catching.”

“Strange things did happen here,
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight
In the hanging tree.”

I gave some to two of my cousins and they loved them – and I absolutely loved their reactions! :) If I had more time on my hands, I would give handmade gifts more often…

I didn't bust any of my stash on this project (I added to it instead!), but it was so worth it. 
  • Mini books: $1.80 at Hobby Lobby
  • Spacer Bars: $0.75 at Hobby Lobby
I ended up making seven books, so I think that was a pretty good return on my investment, right?

What do you guys think? What books would you make?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

5 weeks?!

Oops. Five whole weeks have gone by without those blog posts I was promising…I had quite a few of them in the works, but postponed taking and posting the pictures for so long that I’m just now finishing them up! I really have been crafting, I promise! Anyway, on to the post…

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of talented ladies creating a lot of beautiful things, so my first few posts will be my humble attempts at following (or drawing inspiration from) their tutorials. First up is some jewelry – this seemed to be the easiest thing to tackle first, as it involves taking up the least amount of space with projects-in-progress (unlike when I scrapbook or sew!). 

I’m sure that you’ve seen this image (or something similar) floating around Pinterest a lot lately: 
[image from: ECAB online]
I’ll let you follow Jessica’s tutorial, as she does a great job of explaining the steps. This project presented some firsts for me – first time attaching a chain, first time with bead tips (the things that look like clamshells) – but was really easy to follow. I used seed beads, since I seem to have a multitude of those lying around, rather than going out to buy the same beads she used. 

Here are my versions (forgive the picture quality - the sun just would NOT cooperate the day I took these!).

I started with red beads, since I don’t really have any red accessories (to go with the dresses I plan to make). While I’m probably the only one who would notice, there are a few things I’m not happy with in this necklace. The chain I bought was really fine, and I couldn’t get the jump ring through it, so I came up with the workaround you see below, involving crimp beads and quite possibly a bit of swearing while trying to get the chain through it twice.

(Ugh, looking at these again, it seems the red one just did NOT want to be photographed!)

A few days later, I decided to make the blue one with some brighter, bigger chain I bought for another project.

 It looks much better, right? Live and learn!

 Stash busted:
  • seed beads 
  • thread
  • jump rings
  • clasp (which I didn’t realize I had, so I did end up buying some more…)
  • crimp tubes
Bought new:
  • Clamshells ($0.74 on ½ off sale at Hobby Lobby)
  • Chain ($2.99 at Michael’s - no sale, oops - I was tired of looking for the right chain, and Hobby Lobby’s selection was lacking…)
Total = About $4

This was a long (and long overdue) first post, but thanks for reading! Do you have any stashes you’re trying to use up? Or any big summer crafting plans? I’d love to hear from you!