A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went on a date sans kids (thanks mom!) Though it may not sound extremely romantic, we went to Barnes and Noble and just read quietly for an hour. It was so nice to flip through magazines without having to keep one eye on the kids. I was flipping through the US Country Living and saw an article about using sweaters to cover items in your home. I loved the vases, but their instructions were vague at best and involved a lot of cutting and hot glue. Sounded kind of messy to me. I wasn’t really keen on the idea of them being glued together as cleaning the cover and vase if necessary, wouldn’t be very easy. I also wanted to be able to swap out covers to coordinate with whatever was in them, or wherever they were in the house.I knew I could figure out a better way, so I gathered some thrifted sweaters and some empty bottles, and away I went. I am really pleased with how they turned out. I think it’s a really nice way to add some colour and texture to an arrangement. They are so easy to make, and very quick as well. It’s fun to use different textured and patterned sweaters to create some different looks. Here is a tutorial in case you want to make some of your own. Hope you guys have a great weekend.
Archive for the ‘thrift store finds’ Category
All of my good intentions with bread and yogurt went out the window yesterday. I’m in the middle of dealing with a logistical nightmare with the closets around here. The last couple of days I have been sorting through the girls clothes, trying to pare down to what we actually use. Hang on, I’m getting sidetracked, more about the closets later. I needed a few baskets to corral things in, so I ran to the thrift store. I found what I was looking for and swung by the blanket table. A little background first. Two years ago I knitted blankets for Hubby and the three bigger kids. They were a lot of work, a tad expensive, but totally worth it. For some reason, I just couldn’t justify spending the time or money on a blanket for myself. Since then, I’ve just been borrowing everybody else’s blankets. Part of the love of thrifting for me is waiting to find the perfect thing. The success of finding something is sweeter the longer you’ve been waiting for it. Since I made the blankets, I’ve kept my eye out for a blanket for me. I’ve come across dozens of crocheted blankets, but most of them were really scratchy acrylic or the colours were just atrocious. Today was my day. I went over to the blanket table and there she was. A gorgeous granny square blanket. It was big, 68″ x 51″. It was soft, and it was granny squares. (I have a really hard time photographing red, it never turns out right this is a beautiful scarlet colour). What could be better? Wait, maybe the price. Go on, take a guess. Yup, that’s right, $3. A whole $3. I couldn’t believe it, I almost squealed with delight in the middle of the store. I was so excited. There is something about waiting and searching and then finally finding what you’ve been after. We got home, had some extra snuggles with the girls and I made the most delicious beef and ale stew (more on that later too) for supper. The girls are doing a bit better, but my scratchy throat has now turned to a drippy nose ickiness. I had so many plans for this week around the house, but I’m not sure how much I’ll get done now. Now I think I might just need to get something warm to drink and curl up with my new blanket.
We use washcloths and dishrags instead of paper towels. We use them all the time, and have quite a few. We need them for the dishes, spills, washing up the babe after every meal. For months now, they have been a big pain. They have been juggled from one place to the other not really having a proper home. When we were visiting Hubby’s grandparents in December, his grandmother had a massive box of magazines ready for recycling. She let me go through them and keep whatever I wanted. I saw this idea in a Good Housekeeping, though they intended it for keeping lingerie in the closet. I had completely forgotten about this until I ran by the torn out picture the other day. This, I thought, would be perfect to house all of our towels. It needed to be somewhere in reach of the kids (so that they can grab a washcloth), but still not a huge eyesore. In a perfect world, all of the towels would be neatly stacked somewhere, but let’s face it, that isn’t ideal. I spend all the time to fold them up, and then they just end up in a messy pile anyhow. So now, as soon as they are clean, they go into their new bag and just stay there until needed. No folding necessary. All you do is find a pretty vintage pillowcase and a wooden embroidery hoop. I already had these in my stash, two vintage pillowcases at 25 cents each, and two wooden embroidery hoops at 25 cents each from my thrift store. I used a 10″ and 12″ hoop. Now, technically this is no sew, unless of course you’re me. Then, because you haven’t loosened the hoop quite enough, when you try and scootch the fabric around, you simultaneously tear two rips into your pillowcase. Then you spend the next 20 minutes hand mending the tears. Normally though, this involves no sewing at all. If I really wanted to take a lot of time, I could have trimmed the top of the bag to make it even instead of just letting it fold down into the bag, but I kind of like this way better. Then if I ever decide to swap the pillowcase out for another colour or pattern, I haven’t ruined these. Anyway, you need to put the inner hoop down inside the pillowcase and fold the top down into it. In order for it to lay straight, you need to put more of the front side of the pillowcase down in , than the back. I hope that’s not too confusing. Really, just play around with it and get it to lie like you want it to. Then cut an approx. 6″ length of ribbon (I used twill tape) and fold it in half. You are going to lay the raw edges down on top of the fabric that is folded over the inner ring. Make sure that the raw edges are pointing away from you and that the fold is hanging towards you. Carefully put the outer hoop on top, catching the hanging ribbon, and tighten. If you are using vintage fabric, especially, be careful not to pull the fabric around too much, otherwise you might indeed end up sewing. On a completely side note, the other day I really felt like some kind of hot chocolate with a twist. I opened the cupboard that holds all of our tea, coffee, etc. and saw a tub of Nutella staring at me. I wonder… Yes indeed it was delicious. I heated up some milk on the stove, stirred a spoonful of Nutella in, and yum. Yum, Yum, Yum. The girls both have colds, and I think I’m coming down with one too. I’ve got a nice scratchy throat. I’m hoping it doesn’t last too long.
In my effort to be more organized, I have been trying to figure out what some of our big problem areas are. One small problem area is bath towels. After bath time, there is always at least one bath towel laying on the floor. None of the kids want to claim it as their own, and we often can’t be sure which child left it there. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a massive problem, but it is something that we can fix very easily. I kept my eyes out at the thrift store for some pretty vintage towels for the girls. Now, every child has their own colour of towel, which means that we know exactly whose towel is on the floor. We could have just bought different coloured towels at the store, but why do that when there are some fantastic vintage ones out there, and at a fraction of the price. I just love these and the girls really like the floral patterns. Besides, they are very good quality towels, they have to be, to be in such good shape after years of use. So we’ll see how this organizes bath time a bit better. I guess if all else fails, we have prettier towels.
Normally when I start working on a project, I know where it is going. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I started embroidering this fabric. It sat around for a while while I tried to figure out what it was going to be. Then I decided that hey, a girl can never have too many zippered pouches, right? I use them for lots of things. They are perfect for throwing a chapstick and a couple of dollars in. I used to use one with the babe, for carrying a couple of pacifiers. They’re good to hold coupons, or use for a makeup bag. I even have a bigger one that contains an entire clean outfit for the babe in the diaper bag. They are so versatile, you can make them in any size and I find myself using them all of the time. Our thrift store sells bags of 3-5 vintage and new zippers for a quarter, so between that and the scraps of fabric to make the bags, they cost pennies. They make fantastic gifts, especially if you make two or three in graduated sizes. Do you use zippered pouches? What do you put in them?
For the most part, I consider our family pretty green. We try to eat organic as much as the budget allows. We use cloth diapers, cloth napkins, and hankies. When the weather allows, I dry our clothes outside on a line. We keep the thermostat low and just add a sweater or an extra pair of socks. We shop for most of our clothes at the thrift store and donate the things that we don’t use anymore. When we are in need of something I try to find it used before resorting to buying it new. Like anything, there are always ways that we could improve. I recently joined up for the One Small Change challenge. Each month from now till April we will be picking one area to focus on becoming greener. The summer before I got pregnant with the babe, I made a bunch of cloth shopping bags and we were really good at using them all the time. I even made the kids their own kid size cloth bags. They loved carrying their own load of groceries, and they always got lots of comments. Since then, I have been getting lax and though I still do use them it is not every single time we shop for something. So, January is our month to make sure that we do not use any plastic bags at all. I have my stash all ready to go and so far, so good. The hard part for me is to remember them. We have them in the van, but with getting four kids out of the car, watching them in the parking lot and just generally making sure they don’t get run over, sometimes I forget. They say it takes a month to develop a habit, so here we go. I was so good before I got pregnant, but lots of things changed very quickly and now I want to get back into the habit. I would highly encourage you to join the challenge and make one small change that can make a world of difference. Hope you all had a good weekend. We’re still not sure about the van, but it is looking like it is a much more minor problem, so fingers crossed.
I love to do all sorts of different crafts. Sewing, crocheting, haven’t knit in a while, but you get the point. There are a lot of days when nothing on the crafty front happens. Marmalade Rose has issued a twenty minutes a day challenge. To do some sort of creative crafting for just twenty minutes a day. As busy as my days are, I think I can fit that in. So I’ve jumped into the challenge and here is my first accomplishment. Nothing life changing, but something small that I needed. I have had my makeup in an old plasticy zippered bag for a while and I think how much I dislike it every morning when I put my makeup on. One of my goals this year has been to do some serious decluttering as well, so this morning as I put my makeup on, I got rid of anything and everything in my bag that I know I will never use. This afternoon between lunch and resting time for the big kids, I pulled out my sewing machine and made this little zippered bag out of some vintage fabric that I love. It took a little more than twenty minutes, but that is only because I have to pull my machine out and set it up and take it down every time I want to sew. This adds some serious time, it would be so much quicker and easier if I could just leave it set up. Oh well, for now this is the way it is. I’m really pleased with it, now I have a handmade bag that I love and it only contains exactly what I use. Two birds with one stone, decluttering and beautifying. It works for me. I will continue to do some sort of crafting for 20 minutes each day, though I will probably just do a weekly overview. When I started learning how to make lined zippered bags I used this tutorial. Wish me luck, I figure if I even do just a tiny bit of decluttering and crafting a day, then at the end of a couple of months I should have accomplished quite a bit.
I just love this beautiful old postcard, I found it at an antique store for 50 cents. I just love that the flowers on the front are slightly raised and and textured. It’s beautiful, and so well preserved since it was written in 1908, which means it is over 100 years old. Learn your lessons well, is all it says. A great message, and what we are striving for at the moment. Sometimes it’s a little tricky to focus everybody in the right direction when there is a babe who is getting into everything ( it seems to take so much energy and focus away). Despite this, I am glad for her curiosity and we will continue to learn out lessons well. Hope you all have a great start to the week. What is your favourite subject now that we aren’t formally in school? Mine is definitely history. I’m not quite so sure how all of my teachers made it seem so boring.
One reason I love shopping at thrift stores, is that if I am patient enough, I can usually find what I am looking for for much cheaper than if I had gone out and bought it at a regular store. Part of the thrill is the hunt, so to speak. Keeping my eye out for something, eventually finding it at a brilliant price, and then doing some work to it, if need be, in order to make my new treasure perfect. I have been looking for a coat for a while now. A nice, warm coat in a neutral colour. I thought that instead of getting a coat in a different colour, I would find one that would last for years by just switching up accessories. If I get tired of the colour of my scarf, I can change it and update my whole outerwear look without changing the coat. Much more frugal, I thought. Anyway, when we were down with Hubby’s parents, I visited their local thrift store and guess what I found? This little beauty, well maybe not quite yet, but it had potential, lots of potential. All of the clothes were half off that day so I took her home for just $5. I didn’t like the faux fur, the colour made it look a little dirty and besides, I wanted complete neutrality. It didn’t take me long to figure out exactly what I was going to do, and now I am done. I hope it doesn’t sound like I am bragging, I am just so excited. Are you ready to see my new, much improved coat? Remember these little granny squares? I turned them into a new collar to replace the fur one. I absolutely love how it turned out. I also crocheted strips of half trebles stitches to replace the fur on the cuffs and trim of the coat. My favourite part is definitely the collar. I am so thrilled with my new coat. $5 dollars for the coat, less than $2 dollars for some natural coloured cotton yarn, and a little bit of time gave me a coat that is perfect for me. One of the best things about it? Not a single person on this entire planet has the same coat, it is a complete original. Hope you all have a great weekend!
For the most part, I like winging it when it comes to crafting. Though I do use them, patterns make me nervous. I much prefer to tackle a project by figuring it out what needs to be done and doing it, minus a pattern. I recently found an article of clothing at a thrift store that was fantastic in just about every way. There is one thing I want to change and that’s what these granny squares are for. Of course, the whole thing could be a complete failure, but I hope not. I should have it done by next week and I can’t wait to show you. Oh, and after I laid these out, I noticed how cute they would be as a granny square wreath. I might have to work on some of those for next Christmas. On a side note, my closet is almost done. Just one more stack to go through and then my clothes will be down to what I actually wear and love. Decluttering is so freeing, good thing, as I have lots more to do. Which do you prefer, working from patterns, or winging it?