Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tip #15 Remember Halloweens Past

Well Hi-ya-there! Sorry you haven't heard from me in a while. I've been busy. Like crazy busy. Like almost bought two homes, then actually bought a home, packed up, moved, got sick, did some international traveling busy, had family in town (twice), and am currently sick again busy. But one is NEVER too busy for Halloween!

We are two days out and I'm not sharing what I'm going to be until after thee Holiday. But I will share that I may or may not have woken my husband up two mornings ago and by jumping on top of him chanting, "HALL-O-WEEN HALL-O-WEEN!" And I will share that I stole my husband's phone and changed the background photos to some good ol' fashioned wife as a vampire selfies (Good thing I married an incredibly patient man who also loves Halloween). And I will share some of my homemade costumes from Halloweens past:

A few years ago we were Fred and Wilma! This was done with some thrift store tees and double sided iron on interfacing.

 Before that I was a storm trooper. Same stye of costume making. Just ironing on black cut outs from a t-shirt onto a white t-shirt.

 I loved sewing my Phoenix/Jean Grey costumes but making Bane's mask for my husband was WAY too much fun. I used kids' foam craft clay and painted it. I ended up selling both of these costumes on ETSY later.

The most most most fun costume ever was being an AVATAR.

And I've never missed an opportunity to be undead with my best friend!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tip #14 Try Something Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Four years! Four years ago I was a blushing bride marrying the man of my dreams. Our hearts were full but our apartment was empty. We each brought student loans but not a single dish to the "table." We were blessed by amazingly generous friends and family. Everything, yes everything in our home was given to us. God has been good.

Four years later not much has changed. We are still using all hand-me-down furniture.  He's still the man of my dreams. We are still amazed by the generosity of the people in our lives. 

We did however kick some serious student loan butt and are living debt free. Oh, and there is the whole leaving family and jobs to move a state away and help start a church thing. But God is still good and today I'm showing you my living room and what I tried that was way out of my comfort zone.

 This is just a tea-stained newspaper framed
with birds on a wire painted on the glass.
Literally no moneys spent!

Let's start with the walls, shall we. FreeRecycled or thrifted vintage frames filled with sketches and a feather. A super quick painting in the center. The couch? From my grandparents, and then parents home. The chair? A college roommate didn't want. The rug? My the in-laws old house before they moved south. The pillows? A wedding gift. What's crazy to me is that it all matches.

Power Tools. Sanding. Staining. And Polyurethane-ing. Way out of my comfort zone. Which brings me to this coffee table which I just did all of those things to.

I broke our old coffee table. So it was time for a new (used) one! I got this guy at Salvation Army for $14.

I still don't know if I did it totally right but I'm super happy with the results. I used General Finshes Java Gel Stain and will probably only use this in future projects. It hid my mistakes well and was not too stinky. And thanks to another blogger I didn't ruin everything. Click here for how to stain your stuff!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tip #13 Make A Bridal Shower Gift

It's Summer. It's wedding season. If you have a lot of friends getting hitched in the same year this can get a bit pricey which is why it can be lovely to make your own gift.

A talented Etsy Seller

Step 1) Find some inspiration! I rarely resort to Pintrest. Mainly because I already have a million projects stewing in my head and I don’t need anymore. But for my friend's bridal shower I needed something NOT so cheap and dirty.

Step 2) Grab some wooden spoons at T.J. Max. I ended borrowing a wood burner from a  friend. Money Saved.

Step 3) Burn these in an afternoon. You can sketch with pencil before or just free hand. 

Step 4) Buy a bright colored mixing bowl and fill with boxed brownies and breads. Wrap in clear plastic and pretty bow.

Step 5) Be super happy for that sweet bride in you life!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tip #12 Upcycle Dirt - For Father's Day

I have the unique privilege of being the spawn of two former art teachers. Since this week is Father's Day I'll share the impact my poppy has had on the circus that is up cycling. 

This is my Poppy and I on my wedding day dancing to Heartland's "I loved her first." A song, we had decided on when I was sweet sixteen. 

First of all, my dad is one heck of a thrifter! This past Black Friday my dad and I did not bother with the big name stores, Instead we went to a resale shop and got 1/2 off some already tiny prices. We rummage, we thrift, we estate shop, we garage sale. My dad knows his stuff and despite most of a childhood of not loving his penny pinching ways, I now emulate them.  

Secondly, My dad is a great teacher. I struggle with wanting to be perfect at something the first time I try it. My father, seeing my frustration would tell me I had to make ten mistakes before I'd be good. So when I'd mess up and want to cry or yell, he'd calmly say, "Okay, that's one, you have nine more." It probably takes more than ten mistakes to be good at anything but by mishap number six I'd start to see improvement and be having fun. I just needed to see the mistakes as stepping stones, not as failures.

I have so many memories of doing art projects with my dad. We made pinjatas from scratch, plaster masks of our faces, and he even tought me to draw the human nose. No one ever knows how to draw a nose! One of the coolest things he taught me was working with pottery and throwing on the wheel.

My dad probably first brought clay home for me to sculpt and glaze around the age of four. I give you exhibit A. Twenty-oneish years later, I give you exhibit B. There maybe a slight improvement.

I can't think working with clay (or dirt) without thinking of the ultimate in upcycling. God. As a Christian I know that God took simple dirt from the earth and spoke life into it to create the beauty and life that is Adam. Though my words are not that life bringing, my hands can in a small shadow of a way create beauty. I'm so amazingly blessed to have an artist as an earthly father. But it's so much sweeter to look to my Heavenly Father as the most awe-inspiring artist. He can even "Upcycle Dirt."

Happy Father's Day Dad! Thanks for teaching me about art, life, mistakes, and eternity.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tip #11 Try Something Super Quick and Easy

I have a habit of sometimes taking on very long and challenging projects. My wonderful husband and I are in the middle of a (not so wonderful) first time home purchase. So since that has taken up a lot of my time and emotional energy I decided to do a super quick and easy graphic tee project.

I actually don't have very many graphic tees and am always always always looking for a way to bring more navy, white, and neon pink into my life. I did this top one evening and it was dry the next day.

First, I remembered a plain white t-shirt in my closet and cut off the collar and sleeve stitching.

Secondly, I free-handed a makeshift stencil and cut it out. I'd seen a "birdie" shirt earlier that day at Target which gave me the inspiration...but mine ended up being totally different.

I then traced the stencil onto the shirt with colored pencils.

Lastly, I painted in the lines with acrylic paint I had. It's super important to place something between the two layers of the t-shirt or the color will bleed through onto the back of the shirt.

I ended up spending a grand total of no moneys. Which was perfect because I'm trying to buy a condo. It's nice to have something in my life that is super quick and easy...and cheap!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tip # 10 You Can Always Resell or Gift It

I've come by some very cool things in all my days of shopping, cheap and dirty style.

No, I'm not a tiny person. This is a giant backpack! One of thee coolest items I've laid eyes on.

But some of them haven't been exactly "me" or didn't quite fit right. Sadly, I did resell a perfect pair of polka dot J.Crew shorts and an amazing vintage clutch. But not so sadly, I made back my money and could continue my adventures. Also, there is certain joy to finding something not-for-you and gifting it!

These grey jeans were gifted to moi after Jacqui (friend and genius blogger) found them at a thrift store AND wore them a while. For penny pinchers this is the circle of life at it's finest. And yeah this outfit is head to toe second hand. Please take a moment to enjoy the owls on the undershirt, freakin’ owls, amIright?!

I did mention Jacqui was a genius blogger. I'm currently reading the last book she reviewed (and you should too). It's funny, when people ask if I have a favorite genre of books it's hard not to say, "The one's Jacqui recommends."

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tip #9 Ask Me What I Can Do With This Pile of Old Sheets.

Wash them! That is what I can do with a pile of old dirty sheets. Wash them is boiling lava-hot water.

*Seriously, wash anything you get second hand.

 And then….make-a-super-cute-circle-skirt-with-polka-dot-ribbon-on-the-hem-and- SPINNNNNNNN! 

This was my first attempt at a circle skirt! And as you can see there is a pile of sheets (from the thrift store that were about two bucks a pop.) So, I have a feeling you may be seeing some more skirts in future tips.

Bah! How freakin' cute is this polka dot ribbon?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tip # 8 You Can Always Alter

I wish you could have seen this Frump-tastic ankle-length dress in all of her bleach spotted glory. I swear I’ll start taking "before" pics. Instead I chopped her at the knees and added a simple sash. Happy Endings are not just for fairy tales, this is real life people. 

I'm pretty proud of the ribbon that goes around the waist. I don't know how to sew button holes (yet) so I improvised by sewing on snaps and hiding them with buttons.

And after a day of eating deep fried rodeo food I'm so thankful I made it adjustable.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tip #7 Never Throw Away Your Favorite Old T-Shirt

Because you may have bought it the summer you lived in Germany, taking care of kids on an army base, whose parents were away at war. And it may have been one of the most challenging experiences you ever had, but you grew as a person, grew in your faith because you actually had to rely on God, and grew in your love of adventure and traveling. That may have happened to you. So even when that shirt is faded and gets holes beyond repair, you shouldn’t throw it away.

I was about to crop this pic so you could see past me in the shirt but I realized the man in the background is my now amazing husband! This picture was taken years before I would have even considered him a friend.

You should cut it out. Iron it to some interfacing. And sew it to the back of a cozy zip up hoodie so you can still wear it 8 years later. 

Also, what kind of thrifter would I be if I didn’t tell you we even got the dog second hand, or “rescued” as some people say. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tip #6 Bleach Be Gone.

I don’t usually mind stains in clothing. Which is good because most of my clothes are secondhand. With a stain, I can wash something, cover it with a patch, or add a design to the fabric to hide it. But a bleach spot can be a lil’ stinker. I never usually know what to do and if I spot one (pun intended) while shopping, I usually just put the item back…but not this time!

I love this oversized comfy sweater and bought it in spite of a bleach spot front and center. I ended up doing a reverse appliqué without even knowing what “reverse appliqué” was. 

I took an old black t-shirt and ironed it to some interfacing. I pinned this behind the sweatshirt and put an eagle design on the front. I then tediously sewed around the entire eagle design. First, by hand so I would have lines and then by machine so it would hold up well. Next, I tediously cut out the eagle shape from the original sweatshirt, taking the bleach spot with it! Bleach be gone!

The intention of this post was “how to defeat a silly bleach spot” but after seeing how much of my time I spent it should be “how a bleach spot defeated a silly girl.” If I’m perfectly honest, I only wear this top to lounge around my home in the winter.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tip #5 Sometimes a Cheap and Dirty Hobby Can Make You Some Quick and Easy Money.

A huge incentive for me finally getting around to trying the chalk art you saw in Tip #4 was the fact that I had already agreed to do some actual chalk art for a local Bread Company. A friend of mine who works there knows I love doing just this sort of thing.

Before I got started on this 10ft by 6ft board...

 And after I finished it...

You should seriously check out Great Harvest Bread Co. in Evanston. Their hot sandwiches, scones, and apple scrapple bread are amazing!

Tip #4 Ummm...Don’t Forget About Housewares!

Because housewares make my heart all the happy feels. Literally, I can’t speak English I’m so stinkin’ excited. I'd been wanting to try chalkboard art for awhile but didn't feel like actually buying a chalk board

So, I took these two uglies over here...

...With the help of a few good friends. 

Yes, I'm referring to the paint, chalk markers, and a stencil as my "friends". They were so instrumental in me making the chalkboard shown above. I really like chalk markers opposed to traditional chalk because they produce a clean and vibrant finished product.

...I also made this shadow box! 

Most of the keys came off of wedding gifts my husband and I received when we got hitched. So this was sort of a sweet way to keep these things AND decorate our home. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tip #3 Rise to the Challenge

Sometimes, despite what you’ve already learned. You get an item home and it just does not work. This outfit is one of my favorites because it was such a challenge.

The Necklace- I love neon pink and really wanted a neon necklace but was only finding ones I liked for around $200. No Way am I paying that. Challenge accepted. I bought this necklace on clearance and used neon nail polish to get the look I was going for. I did warn you, I’m cheap.

The Shirt- This top is an extra-large maternity shirt I bought for the length. I took the sides in to fit my non-prego self. I flipped it backwards to give myself a higher neckline. I might like cheap and dirty, but I’m pretty modest.

The Jacket- A major thrift store find. It’s missing a button but I just don’t care.

The Pants- Oh these pants. They retail at $136. I know I paid less than $10. BUT and this is a big BUTT, they didn’t fit. (See what I did there.)They were too small. So I sliced them up the sides and added black stretch denim. I had no idea what I was doing. I’m just happy I didn’t ruin these. I’ve never been taught how to sew. I bought a sewing machine in college. I YouTubed “how to thread the needle” and have been playing around ever since.

Tip #2 Bring A Friend

Star Wars helm $1.50,
a true diamond in the rough
My friend Jacqui and I, we kill it! We stinking rock at thrifting. We come fully prepared with all of our knowledge of Tip #1 and can bring cheap and dirty shopping to a whole new level.

Have Each Others Back- Jacqui goes in saying she wants flannel and colorful cardigans. I am now searching for those. I say I want skirts, hangers, and vintage picture frames. She will not pass those by. But I also know if I see something with a cat or an owl I’m grabbing it for her. If she sees anything neon pink or Star Wars, it’s in the cart, with my name on it before I blink.

Jacqui once nabbed me a un-opened bottle
 of Philosophy lotion and body wash for $3,
 it still had the $26 price tag on it
We Share a Cart- There is barely enough room for one cart in any isle let alone two. Cart in the middle, Jacqui and I on each side of the cart. We pull EVERY “maybe” item for ourselves and each other because you may never find it again.

Have our Phones Ready- Not only do thrift stores not have dressing rooms, sometimes they don’t have mirrors either. So you pull something over clothes, have a friend snap a quick pic, and that may give you all the answers you need.

Check Items Over- There is a reason someone got rid of everything in that store. your goal is to find that reason before you get home. So look for stains, holes, and fit issues. Sometimes you need to put it back on the rack, sometimes you rise to the challenge. See Tip #3

Give Honest Opinions- Don’t be afraid to say it’s not your color, it’s too small, you can’t fix that, or YOU NEED TO GET THAT! 

I would have left the store without this cozy mint sweater had my girls not told me to buy it. There was a snow storm the day after I got this and it was the ONLY thing I wanted to wear. And yes I made a headband to match!!!!