Thrifty Thursdays: Repurposed cabinet doors

IMG_2440I haven’t worked on any restoration projects in a while, and I was starting to get in a slump. So I was excited to learn that my generous stepsister (who gifted me the barn windows I worked with earlier) had some cabinet doors and old frames that she wasn’t going to use. After I find out what I can and can’t paint with during my pregnancy, I’m excited to get to work on them!

I searched for some projects on Pinterest to get some inspiration, and I found a couple of really cool tutorials!

Photo belongs to Autie from iCandy

Photo from Autie at iCandy

First, there is this repurposed cabinet door art table for the kiddos, which I love. I don’t think it will work for the cabinets I have, but it’s definitely something I want to try in the future! The tutorial is written by Autie from iCandy on U Create, and it’s complete with instructions and photos!

Photo from The Elli Blog

Photo from The Elli Blog

Sometimes I think I’m over all the chalkboard stuff, but then I find beautiful designs like this, and I decide that I love it all over again. I’ve seen cabinet doors turned into chalkboards before, but I really just like how nice it looks when it’s done. I wanted to put up a little chalkboard in the corner by our dinner table and this would be perfect! The entire tutorial with photos is written by Lia on The Elli Blog, a beautiful blog that focuses on weddings but also has tutorials for everyday living!

Photo from DIY Inspired

Photo from DIY Inspired

And finally, a beautiful jewelry organizer from Dinah on DIY Inspired. Now, I don’t wear jewelry a lot. I don’t go out very often, and the my daughter broke the necklace that my boyfriend got me literally days after I got it. But I do have a lot of jewelry (and not all of it is costume) and when I do go out, I like to get all gussied up since it probably won’t happen again for another year. So this repurposed cabinet door would be nice to put up in our room or bathroom!

Have you restored a cabinet door and want to share your project? Did you follow one of these tutorials and want to share? Post in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest! I’m always up for new ideas and inspiration so share em if you got em!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

Yo Momma Monday: Maiden Jane

yo momma monday

Meet Jane, 51, a quiltin’ mama of four from Cleveland, OH. She sells her quilts, pillows, totes and repurposed items in her Etsy shop and posts tutorials on her blog – Maiden Jane. I found her blog while searching for upcycled apron ideas, and I instantly fell in love with her story.

Before she was gifted one by her husband before the birth of their first one, Jane had never used a sewing machine. She did, however, love to create things and sewed by hand when she was a little girl. Although her mom never sewed “not even a button,” she supported Jane’s hobby buy purchasing her craft kits.

“So I am largely self-taught. My mother-in-law helped me in the early days and I also attended classes at the Sewing Expos that came through town.”

For Jane, most her inspiration comes from her daily life. If she has a need that she feels is not being met by the products on the market, she will try to create a solution.

Photo from Maiden Jane

Photo from Maiden Jane

“That’s how my Oversized Tote came about. My husband and I tried all different ways of carrying all our supplies to the beach – plus the kids! We decided big bags would be the answer.”

She is also inspired by stuff that other people might be considered junk.

“I am a little sad when I go to a garage sale or the thrift shop to see all the stuff that we – first, buy, then, pitch. I hope that I don’t accumulate so much in my own life that will later be sitting on shelves.”

Her customers are also a source of inspiration, as they will ask her to make certain items that may end up spawning an entire line!

Photo from Maiden Jane

Photo from Maiden Jane

As a small business owner and mom working from home, Jane does not have a set schedule. She does, however, set goals for how much time she wants to spend on certain tasks. She will take breaks for housework and when her kids come home, and she sets aside specific days for her errands.

“…This year I am trying to be working by 7:30. So that means checking email early and then getting started working on sewing. I rarely work for more than two hours straight without doing something else…

I can fritter away a lot of time on social media, so I am trying to confine that to morning,
lunch, and evening. But it’s an important part of my business. So much of my work is custom and then the product ships out right away, so that means I have to photograph it within a day or two of being done.

When Jane and her husband built an addition to their home, they added a master bedroom. The designer wanted to add a glamorous bathroom or a walk-in closet, but it was Jane’s husband who offered up the idea of a craft room/office. And Jane couldn’t be happier with the decision.

Photo from Maiden Jane

Photo from Maiden Jane

“One of the best things I have is a mobile table. It is on wheels so I can move it around the room or out of the way. The height of the table can also be changed. Side flaps on the table change the table size
to make it narrow. So the entire table can slide under the counters. We also have several mobile file
cabinets – which gives us storage and extra seating for when the kids are working in here.

Jane bought an entire Singer sewing book set at a closeout sale years ago, and she still refers to them often. She also likes Simplicity’s Simply the Best Sewing Book, The Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing and the Vogue Sewing Reference Book. For newer books, she likes A Bag for All Reasons by Lisa Lam and In Stitches by Amy Butler.

Jane says she has made and enjoyed a few patterns by Burda, and after she made some totes from Jennifer Paganelli’s fabrics – they all sold out!

“I get a little frustrated with the traditional pattern makers. It seems they have forgotten how to write a pattern for beginners.”

Photo from Maiden Jane

Photo from Maiden Jane

Not only does Jane share her love of sewing and quilting on her blog, she also shares tips on practical living. Since she and her husband are both engineers, they thrive on order and solving problems that arise in their growing family. They are constantly changing and organizing things to adapt to their evolving lifestyle – like simply storing plastic grocery bags in an old milk jug with holes cut on the top and sides.

“Do you know, we still use that jug after 20+ years? My husband jokes that it saved our marriage! Since I am practical in nature and some of my products were borne of the idea of being practical, yet pretty, I used it as a basis for developing my brand.”

Jane gets tremendous satisfaction from working with her hands and making as much as she can. She started sewing for herself and her kids and would make gifts for people when she could. She created t-shirt blankets for her nieces and nephews as High School graduation gifts, and after encouragement from a friend, she opened an Etsy shop. Soon after that, she started a website and her business has continued to grow in the last five years.

“I almost feel selfish because I enjoy it so much…I love doing it for the creativity but I am motivated by the financial gain.”

Photo from Maiden Jane

Photo from Maiden Jane

Even though her kids and husband help out when it’s needed – doing chores, make pickups and drop-offs, help with laundry and set the table – she remains an one-woman operation. Her oldest daughter, who has modeled on her website before, is now off to College so her other daughter, Annie, has taken over modeling. She also has her own Etsy shop called Pink in Mind.

Jane’s work and has been featured in quite a few websites, such as Craft Gawker, Craft Gossip, Totally Tutorials and All Free Sewing. She says that it has been a mixture of her submitting her work to different sites, and getting sought out by different bloggers.

“I was thrilled to have a few projects featured on Craft Gawker because that forced me to improve my photography. But I’m clearly not “there” yet because I continue to get rejected! I haven’t made it into a magazine or book yet, but that might change soon!”

Jane is inspired and motivated by piano music, and since her oldest son is a jazz pianist, her house if full of music! She loves both classical jazz and New Age – like Jamie Cullum and George Winston. She will also listen to musicals and soundtracks while she sews.

Photo from Maiden Jane

Photo from Maiden Jane

Since Jane sells patterns for some of her quilts, she wanted her customers to be able to share their creations that they made with her pattern. So, she added a board on her Pinterest for all of her customer creations. If a customer puts their work on their own blog, she can also add that to her Pinterest board.

“If my customers send me a photo, I put it on my blog and then pin it. Then I have a reference board for other customers to see finished blankets.”

When I asked her what her advice was for new moms who are also starting their own businesses, she had this to say:

“First, enjoy your time with your babies. When they are young and on schedules, you can use nap time and evenings. That’s when I sewed a lot. Then again, I was only sewing for fun at that point. It was a wonderful outlet for me. I see so many amazing business women and bloggers and wonder how they do it all with young kids.

In my opinion, it gets harder when the kids get older. When my kids hit the teen years, my life turned into chaos. Suddenly, I was running kids to practices. No longer was the evening my own as the kids were staying up later. So my point is, life goes by so quickly.

Here I am, starting a business in my late forties. When I went to college for engineering, I realized that I didn’t really love it by my junior year. But I also decided that I would have many careers in my life. So I was open to whatever path my life would take. If you are starting a business at home, go for it. Dive in. You’ll learn as you go. It’s so easy to start an Etsy shop. But find what works best for your family.”

Customer Creation from Jane's pattern. Photo from Maiden Jane.

Customer Creation from Jane’s pattern. Photo from Maiden Jane.

Jane hopes to continue to grow her business and says that she always has new ideas for products if she has some time to design them, and she has also been percolating with products she could have made with a small manufacturing house or collective.

“I only have two hands and although I love to create with them – and I always will – I can’t see how to grow my business without additional help. I love collaborating with other makers and have some new bag fabrics in the works. Usually my mind is overflowing with ideas.”

If you would like to find out more about Maiden Jane, visit her here. If you or somebody you know would make a perfect feature for this series, share a link in the comments and on social media or e-mail me with the information!

A Thrifty Project

Let me tell you a story about an old barn window. An old barn window that I got some time ago from my stepsister. An old barn window that all the glass fell out of, and I later learned that that glass was actually some kind of fancy antique glass. An old barn window that sat around and sat around, collecting dust and being passed up for more pressing projects. An old barn window that, after many paint jobs, sandings, and more paint jobs – has FINALLY been repurposed into a chalk/corkboard! YES!

Step 1: Procure old barn window

Step 1: Procure old barn window

First, I sanded this bad boy down before I could repaint it. I used an electric sander because it’s way easier than doing it by hand, and I like easier. If you are getting into restoration, invest in a sander! Or buddy up with someone who has one, like I do!

Step 2: Sand down procured window

Step 2: Sand down procured window

Obviously, I could have sanded it down completely, but that’s unnecessary. You just need it sanded down enough to paint another coat over it.

Then…I got the plywood from a home improvement store and had it cut there. I also got the backing there too, it was a thicker cardboard that could withstand being hung on the wall or any other beating it would take. I measured the plywood and painted half of it with chalkboard paint. The other half, I used spray mount to attach the corkpaper and the foamy backing.

IMG_0852

Note…I had to apply quite a few layers of chalk paint to get it thick enough to write on.

Then it sat around. Sat around while I completed all of my Christmas projects. Sat around while I laid on the couch, declaring that I was too tired after Christmas to work on anything for the next year or so. Sat around until I finally decided that I really wanted a cork/chalkboard and decided to finish it.

Raise your hand if you can see the gap

Raise your hand if you can see the gap

Here was one problem, though….the wood was too small and didn’t fit in the frame! There was a gap on one side! But my stubborn self decided that I would just put something over the gap to cover it. Now that it was time to put it all together… I found some old fabric that I loved and cut enough of it so it would cover the cork portion and I could pull it over to staple it to the back with a staple gun.

IMG_1281

Note: I used a craftsmart chalk pen, and to be honest….I’m not too excited about it. I’m going to look around for a better quality one. Please let me know if you know of any!

It was my first time ever using a staple gun (I think) and I loved it. I wanted to staple EVERYthing in the house! Then, I got over that feeling and continued. I stapled the wood to the frame so it would stay put, since it didn’t fit perfectly. Had it been measured correctly, I probably wouldn’t have needed to staple it down. Then I stapled the back on, and it’s done!

I’m waiting to attach a hanger to it so it can go up on the wall, or I might keep it on top of the dresser. Not sure yet. But I do know that I love it.

IMG_1283

What thrifty projects are you working on? Post a link in the comments and share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google + with the hashtag #staythrifty. You can also find more thrifty inspiration on my Pinterest!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

Yesterday, I shared some DIY/printable calendars that you could either add photos to in order to make your own, or even break out your needlework skills. Today, I’m going to switch it up a little and share some calendars from artists and small businesses that will not only help you organize your life, but also add some art to your home!

Photo from Carol Farrell

Photo from Carol Farrell

Eeek! I love this artistic calendar from Carol Farrell! Her illustrations are so beautiful and simple, and I also really love font she chose for the type. It’s $22 and holds 12 of her original watercolor illustrations. So you are not only getting a calendar, you are also getting 12 works of art. Pretty neat! And if you want some more of her work…check out her Etsy. It’s all wonderful!

Photo from Hello Small World

Photo from Hello Small World

Ok, this Jaunty Animals 2014 Calendar from Hello Small World is adorable and awesome! And check out that packaging! After taking my design class, I am really drawn to people and companies who put some effort into their packaging. The $16 calendar features 12 prints of animals partaking in seasonal activities (I love that description!) and it’s perfect for you and/or the fellow animal lover in your life. (gift giving does not need to stop after Christmas!) Their Etsy shop also offers a variety of prints, stationary and and totes.

Photo from Handmade by Kristina

Photo from Handmade by Kristina

This screen printed 2014 calendar from Handmade by Kristina is unique because she prints with acrylic ink on cotton rag paper. The calendar is $20 and comes with a green clip for hanging purposes. This is a technique that I haven’t really seen for calendars, and no two calendars will truly be the same. She also sells handmade jewelry and journals at her Etsy shop, and they are definitely worth checking out!

Photo from Two Hand Design

Photo from Two Hand Design

After receiving my beautiful cards and writing about Emmaline Lamond, I have quite the crush on Letterpress. To be honest, it’s slowly turning into an obsession. So, naturally, I was drawn toward this beautiful letterpress calendar from Two Hand Design. This $24 calendar is part of an edition limited to only sixty. It measures at 5 x 5.5 and comes with a repurposed cd case holder. Check out more letterpress goodies, like totes, greeting cards and journals at her Etsy shop!

Photo from Red Cruiser

Photo from Red Cruiser

Now, this 2014 Calendar from Red Cruiser has been on my radar since before Christmas. I am a huge fan of beer…and food…so this was a natural choice for me. But aside from that, I love the illustrations and learning a little more about food pairings. I’ve never really considered the science behind beer/food pairings, I typically just have an IPA with whatever I’m eating, when it’s available. But this is nice! All the info about food pairings, without the snobbery. This beer enthusiast is also offering a 15% off coupon on all purchases before Jan 7 so hurry into her Etsy shop and grab this! Now! Do it now!

Did you just get an awesome new calendar…and is it possibly one of these? Share with us! Also, if you offer beautiful handmade calendars in your shop, share the link with us in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google + with the hashtag #handmadecalendar. Find more calendars on my Pinterest and follow #fridayfavorite for more Fridays are for Favorites inspiration!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

Last week, my friend Kandyce and I did something that we rarely ever get to do…we went out on our own for the day. We left the babes with their dads, and we hit the streets to find some good yard sales. What we landed on was something I had only heard about, but never had the chance to experience before…an estate sale! It was run by a local consignment store, New and Again, and that place was packed.

I ended up with a two suitcases (no, we don’t travel), a grocery bag of clothes and a few cookbooks – all for under $15. This was when my love for estate sales started. It was like the ultimate Thrifty Thursday, but on a Sunday. We hit up a couple more yard sales, where I scored some canning supplies, and an Antique Store in Downtown Lodi.

950ed72a201911e3904e22000a1f928e_7Oh, just look at those beauties.

A while ago, I spotted a tutorial on DIY Suitcase Tables – hence why I picked up the suitcases in the first place – and I desperately wanted to try it. They’re so cute and can hold lots of stuff! I haven’t decided which tutorial I’m going with yet, but I wanted to share a few with you. If you have some old suitcases lying around, I would try this out. You can also get them for pretty cheap at a yard sale/ estate sale/ thrift store. Just make sure they have a flat top so you can balance whatever it is you want to put on top.

Image belongs to Slap Dash Mom

Image belongs to Slap Dash Mom

DIY Suitcase Table tutorial from Slap Dash Mom – Sadie – who runs the blog and created the tutorial – used an old suitcase she had ($2), two packs of screws ($1.96), paint samples ($2.98) and plywood ($8) for this project. She also used pages from an old book as the lining, since the original lining was falling apart. Sadie not only offers plenty of craft tutorials and recipes on her blog, she also offers blogging resources, such as tips on how to earn money with your blog.

Image belongs to Lark and Lola

Image belongs to Lark and Lola

Suitcase Table Tutorial from Lark and Lola – This is a step-by-step tutorial, along with photos. There are a lot more tutorials, like adorable tea towels on her blog and Heather, who runs the blog, shares photos from all of the parties she throws. And you can find a recipe for fudge too! Mmm…I love fudge.

Image belongs to Lana Red

Image belongs to Lana Red

Suitcase Side Table Tutorial from Lana Red – Now, this is just what I wanted to see. She used old table legs, repainted them, and attached the suitcase to the legs. PERFECT! She used the table to hold her plants, but also showed that the straps inside the top can also be used to hold photos. She shares a lot more tutorials, like her beautiful bottle lamp and recipes that will make anyone get a sweet tooth, like a carrot cake recipe that is already making me hungry. Her blog is super neat and I highly recommend checking it out!

So, I’m completely motivated and inspired to get my project going, and I can’t wait to share it with you. If you have a fun suitcase table tutorial you want to share, or you are using one of these tutorials to make your suitcase table, post in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #suitcasetable. Follow me on Pinterest for more thrifty inspiration! Stay thrifty, my friends.

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

At this point, I have over two bins full of clothes that Cecilia doesn’t wear anymore. I keep trying to give them away or donate them, but I fear that it will be just my luck to have another girl and have zero clothes for her. And we all know how expensive baby clothes are! So, I’ve started to go through all of the clothes for her to pick out some that I wasn’t a fan of to make for some more room.

Here’s the other problem that I have. I’m not a big “bow” girl. I don’t like wearing them, and I don’t see the point of putting them on my baby when a) I’m not sure she will even have enough hair to clip, and b) she will pull them off in a flash. I already know that. But, I always seem to get the response “he’s so cute!” when we go out. Biased or not, she doesn’t look like a boy. Sure, she has no hair and sometimes I put her in blue, because I’m also not a big “pink” girl, but she clearly doesn’t look like a boy.

However, I have found something that will solve both of my problems….repurposing headbands out of old clothes! I’ve already picked out some of her outfits that I probably would not use again, and I think this is what I’ll be doing with them. Here are some cool tutorials on how to do that.

Image belongs to Culture

Image belongs to Cultured

DIY: Baby Turban Headband from Cultured – Dana posted a detailed and photographed step-by-step process for making both a baby and an adult turban headband, which I could totally be into wearing one as well. Not a matching one, though. That, I am not into. This is a really awesome blog ran by two ladies, Dana and Blake, and they share tutorials, recipes and fashion inspiration. I love this new find.

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Image belongs to Alisa Burke

upcycled baby headbands from alisa burke – I have used this website before for inspiration, and I still love it the same. She has so many tutorials and her experience as a freelance painter and mixed media artist shows in her work. I feel so inspired when I go through all of her stuff, and I get a lot of ideas!

Image belongs to beck-a-boo

Image belongs to beck-a-boo

DIY Baby Headband from beck-a-boo: This headband was made out of tights, which works perfectly, because we have about 20 pairs of tights since Cecilia was born in December, and I can remember her wearing them once. For about twenty minutes. On Christmas. Then she was over it…and so was I. There are a lot of different recipes and tutorials on this blog and they’re worth checking out!

I absolutely cannot wait to try making these headbands and see how they turn out. I’m more excited to see how long they will last on baby girl’s head. For more baby headband, check out my Pinterest. Have a fun baby headband tutorial or did you make one using these tutorials? If so, post in the comments and share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #diybabyheadband

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

Nothing really gets my engine going like a good thrift store. Given the opportunity, I could spend hours upon hours just looking through the clothes and imagining all of the cool ways I could transform them. Thrift stores hold so many stories and memories, and you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for. Except for stand-up cheese graters. Apparently you can’t find those there.

Anyway, while online thrift stores can’t offer the feeling that you get when you walk into that big door of upcycling opportunity, they do offer an option to buy affordable clothing and household items online if you don’t have the chance to spend hours in the thrift store. Just think, you’re kid can’t throw anything out of the shopping cart if it’s online! Here are a few online thrift stores, and some even offer to buy your clothes! This will come in handy when I fit into my old clothes…whenever that happens!

Image belongs to ThredUp

Image belongs to ThredUp

thredUP – An online thrift store that only offers clothing, but they offer cool maternity clothing, which is always a big hit for me. When I was pregnant, it was hard to find maternity clothes that I liked, and what I did find, was expensive. The maternity market is so small, designers are able to charge insane prices for clothes that we wear for a few months and then are more than happy to dispose of, even if those super stretch pants are super comfortable. You can also ship your clothes for a possible sale, but it’s subject to a pretty strict inspection. If it passes, they’ll pay you 40% of the resale value upfront. They also pay for pick up and delivery, all you need to do is order a free thredUP Clean Out bag online. *SPECIAL DEAL: USE CODE AUG15 FOR $15 OFF YOUR FIRST PURCHASE! SPECIAL ENDS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT! (8/9/13)*

Image belongs to Notnu

Image belongs to Notnu

Notnu – Notnu is another online thrift store that offers cute clothes, accessories and jewelry for a good price. Pretty much everything is $5 on that site, and some items are even less! No maternity section, but I’m sure as they get more clothes, that will happen. I don’t see an option to sell your own stuff online, but the shop is run completely by one person, Whitney Strouse, and only opened two years ago so there may be an option for that in the future, who knows! Either way, this is a killer store and an awesome idea.

Image belongs to WebThriftStore

Image belongs to WebThriftStore

WebThriftStore – This online thrift store offers clothing, furniture, household items and a whole lot more. The most amazing thing about this store is that all of the proceeds from each item sold go toward the designated charity. So, whoever is selling this item will choose a charity, and when the item is purchased, the proceeds go there. The prices are a little higher, but there’s a lot to choose from, and it all goes to a good cause.

Know of any cool online thrift stores? Share them in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #onlinethriftshop. Check out my Pinterest for more online thrift shops!