Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fabric Flower Belt

Fabric flowers seem to be everywhere lately so I figured I would post another great way to incorporate them into your wardrobe!

What You Will Need for This Project:

- Felt Circle (I cut mine out of felt sheets that I bought from Michaels)
- About a quarter yard of the fabric of your choice, for fancier fuller flowers I suggest using a satin or tulle but any fabric can be used to create a unique look (will use less but I always like to have extra just in case)
- Elastic (thicker widths work best with bigger flowers, pictured above is 2 inch elastic)
- Velcro
- Beads, crystals, button or other items to decorate the middle of your flower
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Sewing machine is optional but is preferred for attaching velcro . . . not sure glue would hold up.
- 1 piece of cardstock, cardboard or poster board
- Scissors
- Fabric shears
- Fabric pins

How to Create a Fabric Flower:

1. Using your cardstock, cardboard or poster board design and cut out a circular flower shape. Doesn't have to be perfect as you can see in my picture below.

2. Pin your pattern onto the fabric and cut out shape. Repeat until you have 8 pieces. For fuller flowers and unique looks you can cut out 16 pieces of the fabric or you can mix two fabrics together (the belt pictured above was created using 8 black satin pieces with 8 black organza pieces). If using satin or similar fabrics you can heat singe the edges to protect from fraying.

3. Take one piece (or 2 if creating a 16 piece flower) and fold in half.

4. Fold in half once again (into quarters).

5. At this point you can glue the petals in place or, if sewing your flower, pin to the felt circle.

6. Repeat until you have a base circle using 4 of the petals (or 8 if you doubled your petals). 

7. If sewing your flower now would be the time to sew your first layer (I sew a circle near the middle of the circle). Then take another quarter folded petal and place a little more centered on the flower. Pin or glue in place.

8. Repeat with 2 more petals overlapping each other in the middle (you will end up with 3 petals on this layer so spread them out evenly). Glue in place or sew as before in a small circle near center.

9. Take your final petal and fold into quarters. Either glue along outside or sew just along edge to create a cone shape. 

10. Center this final petal on the middle of the flower and glue so it stays open or sew right in center. 

Creating the Belt: 

1. Take the elastic and wrap it around your waist. Be sure it is as tight as you will want it to be when you wear it. Cut leaving an overhang that is the same width as your velcro. 

2. Sew one piece of velcro to the back side at one end of your elastic and one piece of velcro to the front side of your elastic on the other end. 

3. At this point you could sew your flower onto the belt just through the center of the flower. I only do a stich or two just for reinforcement . . . don't want to ruin the shape of the flower. However, if you glued your flower together you probably cannot pierce through it with a sewing needle. Hot glue any of the elastic that falls behind the flower and press it onto the felt. This will secure your flower in place. 

4. You can use hot glue to help be sure all of flower is held onto felt and a dot or two of hot glue can help to keep center petal open. At this point you can hot glue some beads, rhinestones, buttons or whatever you might desire in the center. 

And there you have your beautiful new belt for a fraction of the cost of the belts at the store! :)   Have fun with it and play with different fabrics to create the perfect flower for your personality! 

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Monday, May 28, 2012

A Perfect End to a Thrifty Weekend

" . . . but I am sure some more thrift finds are not too far away!

Not far away indeed! More like just a few doors down from my own front door. What better way to wrap up a thrifty weekend then with the word FREE! Driving home from the grocery store today I noticed a neighbor had just put a Little Tike's swing set out by their curb. I quickly unloaded the groceries while my husband walked down to ask the neighbor if he would mind us taking it off of his hands . . . and sure enough he was more than happy to see it leave! So I began my week of re-purposing and upcycling with the simple task of soaping and washing down a new play-set for my little guy. The swing straps were pretty muddy but nothing that a washer full of Oxy-Clean can't cure. Speaking of which . . . my new must-have product is Resolve All Stains. I am slathering that on the swing straps as soon as I finish this post. It has been a go-to product for cleaning up some of the less perfect thrifted shirts (as well as some awesome stains the family has pulled off obtaining)! 

The icing on the cake however, was when I was flipping through the Toys 'R Us ad tonight and saw that they had the exact same swing set advertised on sale for $111.99. What an unbelievably pleasing thrifty weekend! :) 

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Thrifty Weekend in the Burbs

A 3-day weekend . . . is there any better time for snagging some great deals?! I started off my weekend of thriftiness with a walk past some garage sales in our neighborhood. The first was a total bust but the second was great with all sorts of fun finds being sold by some of the cutest older women. I kept my wits about me though and only bought a pair of sterling silver scroll detail hoops for $5 and an awesome antique makeup mirror for $2.50.

The itch had started and so I stopped at the Salvation Army yesterday. Fifteen dollars later I walked out with 4 shirts (all Express and Banana Republic), 2 skirts (Tommy Hilfiger and Gap), and one generic summer dress. And so began the rush of adrenaline for a weekend of deal finding. I came home, made the family dinner and busted my butt to be sure that we all made it to bed by 10:30 (an impressive feat for a household that is usually still buzzing around midnight)! 

The alarm rang this morning at 5:30 but a tired momma hit the snooze about 4 times too many and so we were a half hour behind schedule, which quickly turned into an hour behind schedule when I discovered I did not have the heart to wake a peacefully sleeping baby . . . no matter how many good deals might be out getting snagged by other early birds. But once we were all put together we hit the road for Wolff's Flea Market in hopes of beating the heat. We had an amazing trip, cut too short by an upset stomach (I bet you are thinking it was the little one's but surprise . . . it was mine). Despite not quite finishing perusing all of the aisles we walked out with a car full of goodies. In the second aisle I had found a woman selling a Chrisha's Playful Plush rocking horse for $12.00. She was willing to take $10 and I proudly walked away with a great new rocking horse for my little one.

One aisle over from her was a couple selling a bunch of beautiful vintage and antique items, one of which being a well used tired looking cabinet. Only about thigh high and nothing spectacular but it's aged look caught my eye and I started to think about how I could re-purpose it to either be a bedside table or a plant stand. The couple was asking $10 but were more than happy to sell it for $8. As we walked along the main aisle something caught my eye, a vintage Marilyn Monroe ad for Jon Joy cosmetics on a tin sign! Being a huge Marilyn Monroe fan I made a quick bee line for the sign. This was where I spent more than I wanted to on the item but I just couldn't leave such a great collectible behind for someone else. The woman selling the item wanted $12 . . . I really didn't want it for more than $8 but I was willing to settle for the $10 that she was willing to settle for.

Just around the corner from this gem was an upholstered arm chair. Nothing too fancy, just wood arms and legs with an upholstered back and cushion. The colors do not match any room in our house but the bones of the chair were just so cute and as I walked away from it I just kept thinking of all the great ways I could re-finish it. We hit halfway up the aisle and I stopped dead in my tracks. I remembered I had bought 2 yards of a great cotton print fabric at Hobby Lobby a few months ago that I was going to use for pillows in our living room! That was it, I was sold. The $38 dollar chair ended up being purchased for $20! At this point my blood was rushing with the excitement of my bargains and I was dying to explore more, the vintage items were in abundance today and I really wanted to find a chest to use as a toy bin. I did find one but the $40 dollar price tag was steep. However, as much as I tell myself this I still keep kicking myself for not trying to see what the seller would come down to. Goes to show, don't pass up an item that catches your eye . . . definitely not likely to ever see that chest again. I also had seen a metal radio-flyer-esque firetruck that would have been great for my son . . . why did I not stop to find out the price?

I came home and napped away the upset stomach and my wonderful husband agreed to an outing to the Goodwill. My disappointment in not finishing the flea market got the best of me. My husband had not been to a thrift store and I think he was quite pleased with the pricing. With his 3 pairs of pants (Dockers, Gap, and Haggar) and a pair of Jos. A. Banks shorts, and my Gap skirt and 3 shirts (2 Gap and 1 Hollister) we walked up the register with him saying the whole way "Oh man, we spent too much". I was so happy when the cashier said $32.00! My husband looked shocked! The Goodwill club card was a great help getting us an additional 15% off for the holiday weekend! 

All in all, I am quite happy but you better believe that I will be ready for some more garage sale and thrifting adventures as the weather continues to stay nice. For this week I will keep myself busy with fixing up my new found furniture but I am sure some more thrift finds are not too far away!

Places shopped this weekend for anyone wanting to visit them:

Salvation Army Family Store
6715 Dempster St.
Morton Grove, IL 60053
(This was the site of the old Frank's Nurseries and Crafts. No improvements were made before opening this store. It's not well organized but I always have luck here with clothes . . . great finds if you are willing to dig! Occasionally I will see a great furniture item, last week was a $15 changing table . . . I should have bought it. A small tip, inspect items carefully . . . this store staples price tags to items and they don't always staple to the labels. Delicate fabrics should be purchased with caution . . . sometimes they just can't fare being pierced.)

Wolff's Flea Market 
6920 Mannheim Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
wolffs.com  - Open Sundays Only
(I love this flea market. It is huge!!! Be ready to walk . . . always a great mix of new merchandise and vintage. Some stands are more retail and some are more garage sale. A great mix . . . always bound to find a good bargain!)

Goodwill Store
1521 Lee St. 
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(AMAZING!!!!! Talk about organized, everything in place by size then color! All in designated sections. I felt like I was shopping at a TJMaxx. Staff was amazingly friendly and helpful and the items are in FABULOUS condition! A bunch of stuff with tags still. Highly recommend this for clothes! On this particular trip I did not see much in the way of furniture.)
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