Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Halloween Wreath: Easy and Thrifty!


This colorful "rag wreath" is quick, easy, and free if you have fabric scraps lying around. The idea is from my friend Emily's Craft Night Blog (She's the Queen of Crafts!)

First you need the base. I was going to cut a base from cardboard but I found this Styrofoam hoop at the dollar store in the fake flowers section. You can use an old bicycle tire or anything round to make the wreath even cheaper!

Rip up your fabric scraps ahead of time (you can cut it but I like it ripped for extra texture) make sure each piece is long enough to tie around your base.

Tie each fabric strip into a knot around the base and scrunch it all together until it's full. You can embellish to your heart's content but I like this simple design.

This is a view of the back. I like the back so much I consider this reversible, the strips of flat fabric is also attractive!

This wreath is perfect hung indoors or outdoors. The eclectic mix of patterns, colors, and shapes recalls autumn leaves. It's the perfect recycled craft for fall, it'll make you happy each time your reach for the door! Clear out your fabric scraps, and get a sexy wreath it return. Can't beat it!

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This post is featured at: Welcome Wednesday / Works for Me WednesdaysPenny Pinching Party / We Did it Wednesdays / Make it Yours Day / Make Share / Hoo's Got Talent?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thrifty Halloween Craft: Minature Trees


These miniature "trees" couldn't be easier to make, perfect for Halloween, they are both cute and elegant.

Go outside and find some nice branches, these ones came from a tiny holly bush right outside my door. Find a nice base for your trees, I utilized an earth-toned sake set. You have to fill your base so the tree branches stand straight, I used brown rice. If you don't have rice on hand you can try dry beans or sand.

Go outside and find the perfect branches, fill your base, and reap the satisfaction of a completed holiday craft!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thrifting For Halloween


Fabric $1. Owl Pumpkin $4. Glasses $1 each. Thermos $2.

Die-Hard Horror Fans Rejoice, our favorite time of year approaches! I distinctly remember clambering for the attic like a squirrel on crack at the end of every September, excitedly searching for the boxes full of Halloween goodies.

I actually don't have many Halloween decorations of my own, so this weekend I went on the prowl for some. I found cute bits and pieces, I'll cover the rest in future posts. The candy buckets above were .59 cents each. They're lit with small tea lights.

Other finds include a couple of retro craft books, an infamous career guide book, and a Japanese designed chicken trivet for my mom.

Check back this week for simple Halloween craft ideas and tutorials. None of them should take more than 20 minutes- after all, most of us don't have more than 20 minutes to work on crafts!

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Blog post featured at: I Just Whipped Something Up Monday / Metamorphosis Monday / Making The World Cuter / Motivate Me Monday / Southern Hospitality Blog / Thrift Share Monday / Debbiedoo's Thrift Share / Twice Owned Party / We Did it Wednesdays

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Are You Growing This Fall?

Views from our Community Garden two months ago.

The full moon on the Autumnal Equinox this past Wednesday night was the Harvest Moon. Many of you in the Northern Hemisphere are harvesting the fruits of your long summer laboring. It's the opposite scenario in the oppressive heat of my home base. Fall is the best time to grow some of our beloved vegetables, where things begin to cool to temperatures that the delicate veggies can tolerate.

For my fellow Jacksonville, Florida gardeners, here's what you can grow from September and October:

Strawberries, Bush/Pole beans, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Endive, Kale, Kolrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard, Onions, Parsley, Radish, Turnips, Chinese Cabbage and Spinach (October only)

Need some flowers in the garden now? Grow marigolds and chrysanthemums. Marigolds do double duty for being appropriate (flower used for November 2nd's El Dia De Los Muertos) and chrysanthemum flowers can be steeped for tea.

For late October you can enjoy the following cool-season flowers: amaryllis, Aztec lily, calla, grape hyacinth, iris, lachenalia, narcissus, snowflake, wastonia, and zephyr lily. You can also plant an African lily, October only!

This year I'm taking it slow and focusing on some favorite herbs. Yesterday I acquired a delicious ginger mint, thai basil, and spicy globe basil. I'll be working on my favorite, tomatoes (still trying to grow the perfect plant!) and only a handful of other vegetables.

What are you growing now? And what's fall like where you live?

This post is linked to: Frugal Friday / Feature Yourself Friday / Finding Fabulous / Tidy Mom / Favorite Things Fridays / Flaunt it Friday / Fun to Craft

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crafting the Perfect Chore Board

The day job is busy and I'm more driven that ever to achieve several personal and business goals. The result of this ambition: pain! I'm burned out. Right now I'm experimenting, trying to craft the perfect "Chore Board' that will set me on the right track and keep me motivated daily. This dry erase board is the beginning (the final result will be more attractive, of course!)

I have a bottomless well of ideas for blog posts and can't wait to edit them, perfect them, and roll them out. But for this week, things may be a little slow. I'll share my progress on my goal to craft the perfect "Chore Board"- if it can keep me in line it could work for anyone!

Do you have the perfect chore board you use daily? Share the link to it in the comments! Help! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thrift Haul of Vintage Bits and Bobs


It was hard to exercise restraint this weekend with so many lovely vintage treasures and new shops to pillage. I'm pleased to report the hunt was fruitful.

Finally, I found my desired brass desk task lamp for $2.99! For now it sits at my landing pad, with a quick flick I illuminate the darkness as soon as I walk into my home with soft ambient lighting.

And hot damn, look at this cute owl cutting board! I almost left the thrift store without this beauty. (Tsk, rushing through the thrift stores is one of the Seven Deadly Thrifting Sins for a reason). If anyone is interest it's for sale on Etsy.

At age three I already had a strong background on horror movies, but nothing prepared me for the horror of the black-eyed, flame-haired beast that is Raggedy Ann. When mom presented me with a life-sized Raggedy Ann doll I fled, screaming in horror. It was banished to the basement, which remaiend a terrying place until the doll was exhiled from the home.

...Yet this wall hanging is charming in its own way. I like the mushroom and grass details and the bright colors. This will NOT hang on my walls, but it might look nice on yours! (Etsy Listing)

I also found cute vintage owl trivets at a brand new thrift store in St. Augustine (Etsy listing)

And two charming and funny framed cross stitched pieces and yet another brand new St. Augustine thrift destination (Etsy listing)

A few finds I forgot to take details shots of include:  
Brand New Shakira Oral Fixation CD ($1)
Vintage Wheat Print Pitcher ($.69 cents)
Amber Jar with Rubber Seal ($.50 cents)
Paymaster Check Printer with two ink refills ($5.00)

I'll update with my progress on the Smithsonian Crystal Growing Kit ($1.99) I found at a Goodwill. I can't wait to get started on it. I vividly recall childhood days of wanting this kit every time I visited museum gift shops but never having the funds for one. We'll see if it works soon enough!

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Blog post featured at: I Just Whipped Something Up Monday / Metamorphosis Monday / Making The World Cuter / Motivate Me Monday / Southern Hospitality Blog / Thrift Share Monday / Debbiedoo's Thrift Share / Twice Owned Party 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction Prevention


100% Thrifted Outfit & Sexy Sea Horse Hooks

Behind my door is what I call my "Changing Station". Every night before I go to sleep I pick out my entire outfit for the next day. Each component is tried on to ensure confidence and prevent wardrobe malfunction before the entire ensemble is neatly hung behind my bedroom door.

This is a huge time saver. I can be out the door 10 minutes after waking up with this kind of preperation, and with my new desperate snooze-hitting obession every second counts. Yet this isn't merely a time saver. There's something meditative about picking out the next day's outfit. It's an inspiring ritual, a reminder that tomorrow is a fresh new day with endless possibilities. Maybe, just maybe, some things will get done. It's another chance to do things right. (Maybe. Hopefully.)

What are Your Morning Time-Saving Tactics?

This post is linked to: Frugal Friday / Feature Yourself Friday / Furniture Feature Friday / Finding Fabulous / Tidy Mom / Favorite Things Fridays / Flaunt it Friday / Fun to Craft

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fabric Art: Calling the Unicorn


"Calling the Unicorn" 21x25
Margaret A. England

A couple of months ago on a particularly stressful work day I took a late lunch break and escaped to a thrift store to unwind. It was a Friday evening and Goodwill was packed. There were interesting art bits everywhere. I was jealous looking in at the uncovered treasures other shopper's carts, which had never happened to me while thrifting before. That's when I found "Calling The Unicorn". 

A professionally printed label on the back of the piece reveals information about the artist. The title, "Calling the Unicorn," is hand-written. The number "130" and the word "Medieval" are also written haphazardly.

When I first saw it (exactly as pictured above) my first reaction was to laugh earnestly at the overtly saccharine scene. But there's something very frank about the scene and the character's expressions. I'm not drawn to pastel art, but this one is sophisticated with expert execution.

You can see from the craftsmanship that this fabric artist was skilled. There are various layers and types of fabric and excellent use of texture. The result is something that resembles real medieval tapestry without being too cloyingly cute like most products aimed at children.

I don't know who doomed this art to purgatory in the thrift store, but I'd love to send this out to someone who will cherish it (although it will be sad to see it go).

This post is linked to: Get Your Craft on Thursdays / Somewhat simple / Transformation Thursdays / Show off Your Stuff / Hooking Up with HOH / Just a Girl / It's Party Time / Furniture Feature Friday / Furniture Fix it Up

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Toy Box Living Room Before & After


This weekend I did some sprucing up in my neglected living room. It's been coming together since I last wrote about it not feeling "right" two months ago.

Before: I didn't go with either of the test swatches on the wall as you can see. I got rid of the torn couch and replaced it with my Scandinavian Mid Century Modern Couch, a happy Craigslist find.

I mix up the art above my fireplace mantel and I'm pleased with the results this time. The Audrey II is by my friend James Hance, the smaller paintings are by another friend and local artist Nicole Middleton.

Two large prints were purchased at an anime con. The carnival mask is from Ponce, Puerto Rico, where all my extended family lives. Toys are collected from flea markets, thrift stores, or my childhood toy box.

My Morpheous Chair A.K.A Man Chair is a party favorite. I use the chair more as a latter than casual reading these days, but I still love it. I found it three years ago when I lived in my first apartment.

(How did you think that Mexican star got up there? I used the chair and a stack of books. If blog posts suddenly halt it's probably because I broke my neck doing crap like this. .)

The colorful vintage cuttlefish anatomy poster is from a local antique store.

Before: The space felt a bit cramped and imbalanced. It's been a slow processing in editing to make the living room feel "right".

I spent a while on Saturday night arranging the photos into a modern rectangular shape. It took a lot of editing but I'm pleased with the results for now.

All of my favorite pop culture icons are represented. Transformers (twice), Micheal Jackson (twice), Sonic, Anime, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even the growing love for the city I live in. (Tin fuel sign from my brother's gas station.)

My "cealacanth lamp" remains a favorite. He's the guardian of my cheap bookshelf filled with childhood VHS tapes. I'd toss 'em all if it wasn't for the commercials on 'em, they're more entertaining than the movies. (I've called the 1-800 numbers, they all still work. But they no longer sell the products!)

Antique mirror full of toys! I love pop culture and strong juxtapositions.

I love how people from my generation across the globe are united by pop culture. I grew up on the other side of the Atlantic, I couldn't speak Italian but my "friends" and I communicated with Nintendo, Sega, Michael Jackson cassets, and cartoons.

No matter how our cultures and nationalities differed, we were united by our love of Batman, Mario Brothers, and Sonic the Hedgehog. I've saved a lot of my relics from that era of my life. It's certainly reflected in my living room!

This post linked at:  Today's Creative Blog / Review Retreat / Craft Edition / Tuesday Tagalong / I Just Whipped Something Up Monday / Metamorphosis Monday / Making The World Cuter / Thrift Share Monday / Twice Owned Party / We Did it Wednesdays / Furniture Fix it Up

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alpha & Omega Thrift Store


Behold the Alpha and Omega Thrift Store, this beauty just opened and it's directly next to my "hidden thrift store" (where I got my awesome art bits and earlier, a fun vintage haul) at my favorite beach, Vilano Beach. It was closed when I visited on Sunday but I could see excellent treasures within.

This beautiful Spanish-style building has been unoccupied forever, I'm excited that a thrift store moved in and I hope it's going to be successful. They're even holding a raffle for a vintage car! From what I could tell bv looking inside, the prices look reasonable.

I declare Saturday of next week my "Thrifting in Saint Augustine" day. I encourage any Jacksonville readers to come along; why not? Let's make it a party!

I also stopped at my secret pretty thrift store for a peek and found a treasure I'll discuss in another post. I'll hint that I made an unintelligible squeal that made me friends jump and run for cover when I uncovered this sought-after object in the pile of prettiness pictures above.

I found this beautiful picnic basket filled with vintage pretties. It was priced nicely, but I resisted. I haven't used the picnic baskets I already own, why buy another? Though I still consider going back for this quality one with its sexy vintage bits...

What would you do
? Go back for it, to at least obtain and possible resell the cool kit? Or leave it for another collector with the picture as a memory?

More posts on St. Augustine Thrift, Vintage, & Art:

- Vilano Beach Art and Retro Charm (a favorite of mine)
- Sea, Sun & Vintage Thrifted Finds
- Thrifty Magic City: St. Augustine the Twilight Town
- Vintage Art From the Prettiest Thrift Store

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Moment From the Garden

Right now our community garden is full of lady bugs and other beneficial insects; it's teaming with life. It's exciting to transition to the next stage in the garden. Each new season brings another opportunity to succeed where we've floundered before.

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If anyone in Jacksonville is interested the Argyle Area Community Garden is having a Fall Garden Kick Off Event tomorrow from 8:30AM to Noon. We'll pass out information on the garden and breakfast will be served.

This post is linked to: Frugal Friday / Feature Yourself Friday / Furniture Feature Friday / Finding Fabulous / Tidy Mom / Favorite Things Fridays / Flaunt it Friday / Fun to Craft

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Make Your Own Library

If you've got tons of books with nowhere to put them and a big empty hallway or similar space, why not construct your own "Library"? Yesterday a friend constructed a large bookshelf to utilize the unused space in my small apartment.

My previously empty hallway now accommodates dozens of books. Once empty walls now feature some thrifted and collected artwork.

The space feels more inviting and appealing.

I spent about $28 for materials on this bookshelf. I wasn't around to capture the construction, but it's a fairly straight forward shelf. If you're lucky you might find a quality bookshelf one at a thrift store for a lower price.

Eventually I'll paint and "finish" the bookshelf and perfect the art arrangement, but this is a big improvement over the previously empty and unused space.

This post is linked to: Get Your Craft on Thursdays / Somewhat simple / Transformation Thursdays / Show off Your Stuff / Hooking Up with HOH / Just a Girl / It's Party Time / Furniture Feature Friday / Furniture Fix it Up

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The 7 Deadly Thrifting Sins

Do you feel like you don't have much luck in the thrifting game? Want to improve the quality of your thrift hunts? Watch out for these 7 Deadly Sin and hunt for your thrift store items with success.

1. Not bringing your Thrift List.

Take inventory your needs and wants. This will be your thrift list; don't go to the thrift store without it! You'll stay inspired to hunt for what you need and if you're lucky you won't forget an item. 

2. Not being in the thrift mood.

If you're not in the mood, you won't make the passionate thrift love and find mounds of thrift goodness. You have to have creativity and see the potential in the piles of thrift store junk. You have to be in the mood for thrift loving. See my Top 3 Tips for Thrift Lovemaking for more tips.

3. Buying it just because it's cheap.

If you won't use it, don't buy it. If you don't need it, don't buy it. If you are not going to resell it, don't buy it. Only buy what you're passionate about, only buy what you're sure to use or resell for a profit. Don't be seduced by the low prices at every turn or you might end up on an episode of Hoarders.

4. Paying more than the item is worth.

You may want a thrift or antique store item with all your soul, but stop and think first. Can you find this at another store for a lower price? Is this item really going to change your life?  Is this a rare, hard-to-find item? Don't impulse buy, Lovely Lady Thrift may grant you the item for a lower price on another day.

5. Buying what you won't use.

If you're not going to use it, don't buy it. Kind of like the art piece but not enough to hang it? Take a picture and move on. Don't buy what you won't use or proudly display or it'll just be junk clogging up the works at your house.

6. Rushing Through the Aisles.

I've said it in my Top 3 Tips for Thrift Lovemaking post and I'll say it again, rush and you won't find shit. Take your time slowly going through the aisles. Go through each box, go through the stuff others won't, like a dusty or dirty box. This is where the real treasures lie. If you rush, you'll miss them. 

7. Giving in to retail.

You may think you'll never find the exact piece your looking for. Maybe you're looking for the perfect couch or side table. If time isn't a factor, don't give into retail. Don't pay hundreds or thousands when you can get an item for dirt cheap or even free.

Final Tips: Haunt Craigslist, haunt the "Free" section of Craigslist, and continue to thrift. You'll find or even make what you need with a little creativity and patience.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bedroom Transformation: Before & After

I've slowly been improving my bedroom over the past couple of months since we visited it on this blog.

BEFORE SHOT: The bedroom now feels more full and cozy.

I'll be continuously making changes but I'm pleased with the progress so far. I want to hang more art but the wire mesh behind the plaster of this walls makes it very difficult. I've broken several nails and thumbtacks trying to nail into these walls!

The bed was free, it was languishing in my mom's garage. I painted it from plain pine to a gray blue color. The beautiful Lydia painting was purchased from an art show I participated in.

Sewing some new curtains is on my to-do list. I happened to have the current plain ones on hand and they were pretty much the only ones I could hang without curtain rods. They're just tied to the blinds, actually! Gotta fix that when I have some time...

I re-purposed the easy message board from last week into a jewelry organizer. If the art on this wall looks a bit imbalanced it's because I used nails that were in the wall. Damn that impenetrable plaster! I crave more art of these walls!

The coziest part of the bedroom is still the desk area, which I went through a transformation of its own. I'll get this bedroom "right" one day, but for now, time to sleep in my actual "bed" (no longer a mattress and box spring on the floor)

Note: It's kind of embarassing showing the room in this state, for me it's "half finished" and plain. I'll share more "room transformations" as they come.

This post linked at:  New Nostalgia / Today's Creative Blog / Review Retreat / Craft Edition / Tuesday Tagalong

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thrift Haul: Make Thrifty Art from Books

This weekend I took it easy and only picked up a few books and two  DVDs from the two thrift stores. Artwork form one of the books got some artistic treatment and now hangs pretty in my kitchen.

I spent $12, which is more than I was looking to spend gluttenous epic thrift haul to end all hauls but $12 isn't too bad for two DVDs and six books, 3 of which (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Series) were brand new.

I've seen the anime movie Metropolis too man times, but the discs looked like new and it was only $2. How can you not love an anime with Ray Charles music as part of the kick-ass heavy blues soundtrack? And Napoleon Dynamite is a classic; as a bonus for thrifted, the lead actor wears nothing but thrifted clothes.

Ah, these books are classic. Can you believe these tame kid's stories are banned from many schools? I remember our school librarian taking us to a back room, lighting one candle, and reading a tale from the book in front of our eager class. Ah, the good ole' less politically correct days. I might curl up with these books and some fresh popped popcorn after I finish this blog post.

Low Fat Pasta? I can dream, can't I?

 I paid .25 cents for THE DEBT TERMINATOR. Hilarious...cover art...worth it. There might be quality content inside but I ain't gonna lie, I bought it for the novelty value. It'll make a good gag gift, perhaps.

 Tokyo Friends is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches about different facets of Japanese culture. I fell in love with the food illustrations and bought the book for .50 cents so I could frame my favorite illustrations.

I tried to take better pictures but the surface was so highly reflective that it was difficult. You can click the image if you want to read the charming text and translations of all the food pictured.

I had the four frames on hand, they were gifts from my mom. I used thrifted scrap book paper to fill in the sides. I used the same stack to make some art a couple of weeks ago.

Now to enjoy the rest of my rare day off. I might hit up a nearby thrift store that always has holiday sales...

Blog post featured at: I Just Whipped Something Up Monday / Metamorphosis Monday / Making The World Cuter / Motivate Me Monday / Southern Hospitality Blog / Thrift Share Monday / Debbiedoo's Thrift Share / Twice Owned Party / We Did it Wednesdays

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