Thursday, March 25, 2010

Five Dollar Challenge

Living with Lindsay is having a $5 Spring Challenge, that being to create a new spring decor item for your home using only $5 worth of items purchased at a dollar store. (Not including sales tax.) In doing this, one may use supplies already on hand: paint, glue, paper, fabric, tools.

Okay, right off I'm disqualifying myself because I've chosen red projects, not springy. But the challenge coincided perfectly with my office redo, and red works better in here.

Recently I showed a pillow I made from a dollar store kitchen towel.
(This pic was taken in my studio on a chair that's older than dirt. Please excuse the quality of both.)

Since I didn't take a picture of the towel while it was still a towel, here's a shot of another I bought at the same time.
I love the stitching in these, though it didn't show up that well in my first shot. So here's another.
I'm sure any sewer can tell immediately what steps I took in making this. Me being a perfectionist and invariably choosing the hardest way 'round, I first ripped the hems on the two long sides and one short side.  Then I stitched a new wider hem on the latter for the buttonholes. After making the buttonholes, I folded the towel into shape and stitched both sides. (I also re-hemstitched each side of the seam allowance to avoid raveling--this is where the harder way comes in. Leaving the long seams in before stitching would have avoided this step.) I then made a pillow insert from muslin I had on hand; stuffed it with polyfil, also on hand; inserted said insert; figured out where the buttons should go; then sewed them on. (Need I say I also had those on hand? I have tons of buttons on hand!) Ergo--a pillow for a buck.

This next project pushes the line a bit. The frame cost a buck at Dollar Tree--that's the dollar store connection--the linen I had on hand (leftovers from the pillow I showed here), and the buttons I had on hand. (See note above.) (The line pushing comes cuz buttons weren't included in the list of things one could use from on-hand items.)
For this, I simply printed out a fleur-de-lis template I found on line (this is the one I used--I enlarged it first to fit an 8x12 landscaped paper), transferred the outline to the linen using a water-erasable marker and handstitched on the buttons. Easy peasy! I wrapped the cardboard backing that came with the frame with batting first--I had that on hand too--then with the button-stitched linen. Next, I hot-glued the batting and linen onto the back. I used a salvaged cereal box to back the frame with, then glued on some brown paper we keep in stock for shipping. Et voila! My dollar wall art.

That's all she wrote, folks! Hope you like my stuffies. (And please forgive they're not soft spring colors.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Don't Hate Me Because I Sew

I'm no Martha Pullen, but I do know my way around a machine, and I love when something comes together quickly and easily. As it did with my Dollar Tree pillow.

We have to drive an hour each way to get to our nearest Dollar Tree--don't you feel lucky you have them closer? Last Saturday on a day trip with my sis and SIL, I picked up several items from the Dollar Tree in Fredericksburg including, but not limited to, a few dishtowels. They're 100% cotton, made in India, and I thought they might work well for several projects.  
Et voila! I used one dish towel, some muslin, polyfil, and three vintage buttons (all but the towel I had on hand). End total cost--around a buck, eight. (Taxes, doncha know.) I still have a blue towel and a green one--both with similar stitch lines in different color threads. They'll probably show up here later in other projects. (What my pic doesn't show all that well is that there are blue and orange stitching lines up and down this towel. My vintage buttons are orange.)
I showed this pillow in an earlier post, my SIL's birthday gift. I finally gave it to her today--her birthday was last Tuesday, but I've not seen her since then. The fabric was hers, as was the pillow form. I simply did the sewing and made the tassels, but I think it looks kinda cute. I told her I'd make another, using the flip side of the fabric for the body and welting of the side shown above for trim.
Now the last pillow I recently made: the linen on this one came from Dharma Trading. Have you ever bought from them? They have spectacular prices for white and natural-colored linen and silk, the only things I've ever bought from them. (Some items come in black as well.) The antimacassar I picked up on eBay, and the brooch was a $.35 thrift store find. The down insert was one I already had, bought several years ago when I was really into making pillows. (I buy them online from United Pillow Manufacturing. Their prices, even with shipping, is generally better than what's offered in stores around here.)

The next few days I'm gonna be working outside. Here in Texas, it feels like spring. I love sitting on the back porch, sun shining down on me, listening to the fountain. Makes me feel like a contented cat.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Thrifty Lamps...and a few buttons

I thought I'd show some thrifted lamps I've had a while as well as one I bought last week. Lamps are one of my weaknesses. This first one, some of you have seen before, but she's one of my faves. I found her in a junk store outside of Dallas, probably in the early '90s, stripped of all her lamp parts. She cost less than five dollars--$3.98 as I recall. I put her back together using items I found over the years. She's not what she once was but better than when I found her.
The next one also came from a store outside of downtown Dallas, probably bought about the same time as the first. It cost a whopping $5.98. (When I got it home, I found they originally priced it $15.98, but it was marked in grease pencil and had been smudged enough to where the first number was mistaken for a dollar sign.) I believe it's marble. (I wanted it to be alabaster, but wanting doesn't change a ding-dong thing, does it?) The shade's a cheapie I picked up at Walmart about ten years ago, painted with dots, and added some welting. (I'm a dotty kind of person--I still like it.)
I'm always on the lookout for lamps, even though I don't need them and have a couple of beauties stuck in my closet and another couple in a storage unit. When my sisters and I went away last spring--we try to go away together every year--I found this next lamp in a thrift store in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. (I love visiting thrift stores when I travel!) This one was also sans shade--most thrift store finds are--but I had one I picked up some time back, which I think goes well with it.
Last week, on my way to have lunch with my sis and my SIL, I stopped off at a local thrift store. I have to tuck money away in pockets and hideaways in my bag just for occasions like this. I never carry a checkbook and most thrift stores don't take credit cards so last week I was glad I had a couple of twenties stashed away. I spent every nickel.

As I said, I don't need more lamps, especially pink ones, but I love glass lamps, and this one was just  $8, and she had her own shade. How could I walk away? .
Another of my weaknesses is buttons. And on the same thrift store drop-in, I found 3 jars of nice  vintage buttons. 
The above shot is after I separated them into colors. These I intended to add to jars I already had of each color so I photographed them on my work table. See the ones in front? Those are crocheted. I think they're really cool, though I can't imagine what I'll do with them. There are seven: three gold, two green, one blue and one yellow. Maybe I'll close a pillow with them all marching across the flap.
The three jars to the right of the picture above are the containers that came with the buttons. They were filled to the brim. Into these jars, I put the white, black, brown, and gray colors. The whites are gorgeous! Lots of MOP (mother-of-pearl) and some interesting shapes. The blacks and browns and grays are nice too, some quite large as if they were used on coats.

I also picked up a couple of sweaters marked 50% off, making one a whopping $3 and this one below $2.75! The first was a 100% merino wool, which I've already felted. This was the other.
I think it'll make a terrific pillow for the fourth of July!

I'm linking to Coastal Charm's second Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Coastal Charm is having a Nifty Thrifty Tuesday blog party to which I'm linking.

I adore many of the things in my home that I've thrifted, some of which I've already shared with y'all, but I have plenty I can draw on for this party and many more to come.
This lamp was actually found by my dear friend Margie--we met in the ninth grade a hundred years ago--and she has a great eye for thrifting. (That's the Hub's workshop you see out the back door.) The lamp needs a new shade but I've not decided what style I should get.
Here's a better view of the detail on the middle part of the lamp. Gotta love the dolphins. It's made of spelter and was painted gold when Margie found it. I stripped off as much paint as I could without totally destroying the patina.
And a close-up of the bottom section. (I apologize for the pictures. Yesterday was a dreary day in Central Texas.)

The next lamp I found at a thrift store in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas, almost twenty years ago. The brass was practically black when I bought it. I cleaned it until I was blue in the face, but it's darkened quite a bit since then.
Actually, it's part of my office redo. I've already changed out the lampshade and like the new one much better. (Forgive the plug in the corner of the shot--I thought I'd cropped that out, but don't feel like going back now and fixing it!)
The detail on the lamp: the bottom part has a raised chrysanthemum design. (I had to move the tassel out of the way to show the design. Now it looks all cattywampus.
For my final thrift show and tell: I bought this chair around 30 years ago when a builder moved his  model homes and sold off the furniture. I think I paid $25 for it, and it's served me well over the years. (As a design note: those drapes are full-size matelasse bedspreads I clipped to a curtain rod, which is actually a 2" wooden closet pole my builder left behind when my house was finished. I'll take pictures of that one sunny day in the future.)

And that's all for this first Nifty Thrifty day. Why not check in with Linda over at Coastal Charm to see all the other nifty thrifty posts.