Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July

With a day full of festivities ahead of me, I knew I would want to look as patriotic as possible while still looking feminine. So when my mom showed up with an adorable red cotton sundress I knew it would be just what I needed. (By the way, so proud of my mom for scoring it for $3 at a thrift shop)!

When I tried it on it was just much too short for me. I am a mom who spends half the day bending over tying little shoes, picking up dropped toys and food, and lifting a little man up onto my hip. A mini dress just isn't meant for mommy-hood.

There was also no blue on the dress, making it feel more Hawaiian then patriotic.

But, it was nothing that a little sewing and cotton fabric couldn't fix!

All I had to do was add some blue and white cotton to the bottom of the dress, some blue cotton to the back of the ties, and some blue cotton and white lace to the neckline and I had a brand new patriotic dress!

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! 
Happy sewing!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shrunken Jeans to Cute Summer Capris

I was going through my closet today switching a majority of my jeans out for capris. Unfortunately, I have very few fitting capris post-baby. Let's be honest, one too tight pair that I squeeze into and one fitting pair. And that is it. Wouldn't be a big deal if I also wore shorts but capris are really all I wear in the summer. Even more upsetting were the disappointing jeans at the bottom of the pile. You know the ones I am talking about. That pair that fit great when you bought them but then suddenly all of the length disappeared after their first ride in the dryer. And then this mom on a budget had a brilliant idea!

I tried on my awkward length jeans and marked where they should be cut for capris, I measured out an extra 4 inches before marking to allow for a 2 inch cuff. 

I laid the pant leg on a cutting mat and used my rotary cutter to create a straight cut. 

I then used that leg as a template for cutting the other leg.

I then tried the jeans on again to be sure it all looked right. But the flare in the leg just looked funky. I grabbed a safety pin and marked where I thought the pants should fit closer to the leg.

I then removed the jeans and measured how far from the seam the safety pin was. I removed the pin and turned the pants inside out. I measured out the distance from the seam again and began pinning all the way down the leg. I tapered it off the closer to the hip I got. 

I then stitched along my markings, removed the pins and tried the pants on. My seam was a little wonky at the top, it didn't taper enough so I quickly fixed the taper. 

I then re-stitched over the seam for reinforcement. Then another seam 1/4 inch away from this seam. I cut the excess denim off and then zig-zag stitched the frayed edging.

I then folded the jeans over each other and used the finished leg as a template for the unfinished leg. I marked the pant leg and stitched the other leg identically to the other one. 

I didn't love my zig-zag stitching and knew it would be showing in the cuff so I cut some small pieces of crocheted lace to cover the seams and stitched it into place. 

Finally, I folded my cuffs and pinned them into place so I could place periodic stitches to hold them permanently into place.

And that was it! Only took about an hour and a half.

I now have a pefectly fitting pair of capris for this summer! I am going to be seriously digging through my closet this week for more projects.   :)

Happy sewing!
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Congrats to the Stanley Cup Champs!

Something that you will probably learn about me over time . . . we are huge Chicago Blackhawks fans! So when game 6 of the playoffs was going to land on my husband's birthday I knew I wanted to look great to celebrate while still rooting for my favorite team! And I had just the stuff in my closet to make that happen.

A 99 cent thrifted Blackhawk tank, a $3 Old Navy tank top, and a black jersey skirt.

This project would've been even easier if I had wanted to keep just the spaghetti strap tank and eliminate the white tank but I hate having my bra straps showing and prefer more coverage so I needed a way to transfer the logo to the white tank. 

I used my circle guide to measure how big of a circle was needed to cut out the logo. I cut about a half inch to an inch bigger than this measurement. 

I cut out a cardboard circle in the size I had originally measured around the logo. I laid it in the middle of my circle and then began to loosely thread around the outside. 

I continued all the way around until I reached the starting point and than pulled it all tight around the cardboard circle.

Then I folded the cardboard and pulled it out. 

This left me with a nearly perfect circle. I tried on the white tank top in order to position the circle in the middle. I used pins to secure and fix up the circle. I also used a fabric pencil to mark the area where I wanted the shirt to end and dress bottom to begin.

I then removed the shirt and sewed on the logo. 

I then cut the shirt where my mark was using my rotary cutter and mat to be sure it would be straight.

I then turned the tank top inside out and used a zig zag stitch to attach the top to the skirt. 

Finally I took the bottom part of the red tank and created a band for around the waist. To spruce up the bottom I added a logo that I took from the arm of a previously upcycled too small jersey. And my dress was complete in about an hour and a half. 

Apparently my dress was lucky, since they won the cup Monday night! My husband had a great birthday and we had a great time celebrating! Goes to show, you can make something great out of the things you don't think you are going to wear anymore . . . on to find more disregarded clothes.

Happy sewing!
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Monday, June 3, 2013

A Fabulous Thrift Find: Pottery Barn Side Table

I started giving our room a makeover a few months ago and have been slowly finishing it up before I reveal it. So you can imagine how happy I was to find a sturdy side table that was just perfect to use as a nightstand on my husband's side of the bed.

I immediately grabbed it when I saw it. I loved the chunky look and the black finish (keeps it manly for my husband). . . only the top needed to be touched up. I was even more pleased when I went up to pay and found out that all furniture was 50% off. I only paid 10 dollars for the table. Of course, it took some pushing and shoving to get it into the backseat of the small 2 door car I had driven that day but over the course of pushing and shoving, I saw a small white sticker on the back that looked awfully familiar . . . yep . . . pottery barn!!! Now I was overjoyed. I brought that baby home and got it right outside to start fixing it up. 

I wanted to keep that signature Pottery Barn look by sanding down the top and staining it a beautiful brown. However, as I got to the corners I realized the top was a veneer. Uh oh. 

A little bit of sanding on the side confirmed my suspicion. Two layers of MDF topped with some veneer. Darn. On to plan B.

I simply painted the top black to restore it to its original beauty! 

Now it is perfect in it's little nook in our room. And my husband loves it which makes it that much better! 

Now we just have to fix up a mirror and I have to sew a king size quilt and I may finally be ready to reveal my newly decorated room. If only all my projects could be as easy and cheap as this one was!  :)

Happy thrifting!
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Perfecting a Beautiful Side Table

Last weekend my mother-in-law passed down a beautiful side table to me. The moment I set it next to my couch I was in love. The only problem with it were some scratches across the top and the fact that it didn't quite fit in with my decor. The shape was perfect but the stain was a bit honey for my taste.

See, such a beautiful table!

Love the detailing on top, just not in love with the color of the stain.

It took my husband and I about 2 hours of sanding to get all the stain off. I took special care to not wear down all the grooves on the top. Once it was all sanded down I knew exactly what I wanted to do to it. First I primed the bottom. I must apologize here for forgetting to take pictures of the work. I was very excited to finish this and my husband was in the house with our son at this point so I had only one set of hands. 

Once the primer was on the bottom I stained the top and the underside of the top. I used Minwax's Early American stain. While the stain was setting I applied an off white paint to the bottom and legs. Once all was dry I followed up with 2 coats of Minwax's Polycrilic to protect the table. 


I must say, I loved this table when I first got it but now I love, love, LOVE this table! It is truly a perfect fit in our living room now!

Thank you to my mother-in-law for the wonderful gift! Now to begin the thrifting hunt for a pretty lamp to accompany it.  :)

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dressing Up a Sad Bread Box

The weather has finally gotten the memo that Spring is here and I am finally getting back to work on my to-do list. I decided to start off a little bit smaller with a simple project, re-finishing a smaller item that I found at our Goodwill store. 

It's a bread box that I found for $1.99. It was disgusting looking. In fact, I was shopping with my mom and she looked completely confused when I picked it up. I am sure she was wondering why I was purchasing something that looked like it was well past its prime. But I could already picture it in my kitchen.

Who wouldn't want this in their kitchen? 

Okay, it's pretty dirty for the kitchen. I can see why it got passed up. But I quickly got to work sanding off all the yuck and painting on a fresh start in an off white color. 

Wow! It already looks so much better. But I couldn't leave it at that. The lining still looked gross. I know, I am the only one who would have to see the inside but still . . . I like to look at something pretty. So I picked a beautiful fabric that I had on hand that would look great with the off white paint. 

I used mod podge to begin adhering it to the base and the door. 

So pretty, right? Perfect! But, I still wasn't totally happy. So I added the word "Bread" to the door. 

Still not just right, so I added some flowers that I found over at Now it is perfect! It looked so good against our poor paint job in the kitchen that I have decided it is time to paint the kitchen. Perhaps I will start that after Mother's Day!

Goes to show, anything can be made beautiful again with a little creativity and a bucket of paint! :)

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Upholstered Headboard: From Plywood Scraps to Delightful Decor

Easter is just around the corner. Everyone is probably busy cleaning their homes and prepping their meals. I am sure my husband wishes that I would be doing the same. Instead, I am completely transforming our bedroom. He, of course, cannot figure out what was wrong with it the way it was. I, on the other hand, have grown tired of a mis-matched college dorm room style master bedroom. I am not going to reveal before and afters yet, as I still have a few more pieces of the puzzle to finish but I am going to share with you my new 36 dollar headboard.

We are by no means experienced builders. I am huge on reading how-tos and just giving it a whirl. So believe me when I say, anyone can do this in an afternoon!

I highly suggest using one sheet of plywood, but for the sake of being thrifty, I used 2 random pieces (same thickness) that we had left over from different projects. First, I drew half the shape on the one piece, have fun and design a shape that fits your decor. **If you are using one piece of plywood I would create a half template out of poster board and use this to trace a perfectly symmetrical headboard onto your plywood.** I then cut the half out with a jig saw.

Yeah, not only did I steal my husbands tools but I stole his jacket too!

My husband was in charge of photos while I cut out and well, March Madness was on so this is all you are getting. Haha. 

I then took my half and laid it on top of the other piece of plywood, traced and cut out. We then used some leftover 1x8 to secure the two halves together. Again, if you are using one solid piece of plywood this step will not be necessary. 

Then it was time to upholster. Rather than paying an arm and a leg for upholstery foam, I bought a queen sized foam mattress pad from Ross for $17.99 (you can find them at Target and Wal-Mart too).

Using a staple gun, secure the foam all the way around the board (place the foam egg crate side against the board). I began with the bottom then pulled taut as I worked on the top to keep everything smooth on the front. 

Then you will want to top that with a layer of batting. You can find batting at any fabric store. Luckily, since I quilt, I had some that I found too thin for my quilts that was perfect to use up on this project! Once again, staple all the way around pulling tightly as you go to keep the front completely free of wrinkles. 

Finally top with fabric and attach some legs, we just used some extra 2x4 that we had. This way we could secure the legs to the bed frame. I found my upholstery fabric at for $5.98 a yard!

And that is it, 36 dollars later I found myself with a bed fit for a queen . . . at least it will be once I sew some linens to match the room (hence the lack of a picture of the bed). But even without matching linens, it already looks so much better!

Even the dog is enjoying the bed more now!

Happy decorating and Happy Easter!
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