Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DIY Wednesday: Retro vases from cans

I'm in an airplane, so today's DIY project will come by way of the ever talented Elizabeth Abernathy of Absinthe and Orange. Besides coming up with clever upcycled projects and papercrafts of her own, Elizabeth also has a regular feature where she shares actual craft projects from the 50s through 70s.

This one from a 1976 Better Homes and Gardens book Treasures from Throwaways repurposes tennis ball cans as vases. I never play tennis, but I bet a Pringles can would work as well.

Her project includes the actual templates for drawing the three groovy ladies. Here's one below.

See the full tutorial at Absinthe and Orange.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


We are away a few days visiting Oregon for the first time, which - based on the current weather report and general reputation - I expect to look like this.

Images: Stefan Soderstrom and Dane Peterson via Aubrey Road.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm weird. I think old rotting cabbages are pretty.

These cabbages have since been torn up and replaced with tulips.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DIY Wednesday: Floral pillow from scarf

Today's project is inspired by my favorite you-really-could-be-making-this-yourself retailer Urban Outfitters.

Below is UO's Floral Scarf Pillow, which begs the question, 'why buy a pillow that looks like a scarf when one can make a scarf that looks like a pillow?'

Urban Outfitter's pillow is $28.

Mine is a buck or so.

Go to your favorite thrift store and pick up a floral scarf and an ugly pillow. Fold the scarf in half. Wrap it around the pillow. Pin the seam. Sew. It's super easy - the perfect project for the non-precise seamstress. For more details, see the full tutorial here.

And the project is fully reversible. So if Urban Outfitters later markets a Floral Pillow Scarf, you will be all set.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Big white sofas

Every once in awhile I get an obsession that makes a tiny bit of sense. I'm currently digging big white sofas, which is a good thing since I own one very big white sofa.

For years now, I've been wishing for something lean and modern, like Room and Board's Loring sofa below, instead of what I've got, which is this.

My big fat white sofa has been with us since 1995. The white has gotten dingy. The cushions are squished. The pillows look defeated. But still I keep it.

Recently I came across a free bag of upholstry batting, which I could use to re-fatten the pillows. I've played around with the idea of making a slipcover but didn't want to spend more than a few dollars a yard for fabric since it will probably take at least 16 yards to cover this massive ship that docked in my living room. (It's eight feet long, no kidding.)

Lots of bloggers have made curtains out of drop cloth canvas used by painters, but this would produce a natural linen-looking slipcover and I want bright white.

I looked at Osnaburg. I looked at burlap. I took a last ditch visit to and found white fabric for $3 a yard. But there's an even better bargain lurking in those pages - sheets. A flat sheet, more than two yards of fabric, is $2. We are talking a dollar a yard.

All I need now is one thousand hours or so to make the thing.

Image sources: City Sage, Simplified Bee, Four Walls and a Roof, Bryn Alexander, Wisteria, 2 by Design, Room and Board.

New DwellStudio at Target

With all the excitement in design circles over Target's Liberty of London line, I completely missed DwellStudio's new bedding and table linens. (Nice to browse, especially since nearly everything LOL is already out of stock.) Thanks to alert blogger Padgett Hoke for cluing me in.

Unfortunately, the yellow rosettes pillow above, one of my favorites, is already out of stock. Fortunately we all know how to make our own now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DIY Wednesday: Paper bag wreath

Hello. It's been a busy week. I've got a couple of projects going on but nothing quite ready to post. So we are going to feature this pretty wreath made from paper bags and a dollar store foam base from Taylor at Mary Janes and Galoshes via Dollar Store Crafts. You'll also need a glue gun and possibly a paper punch. Taylor provides a template for the butterflies.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Words to live by

"I do take a special pleasure in thrift, a talent I get from my father. About this talent my mother said, 'Harry's hobby is not spending money.'"

Meryl Streep, as quoted in Glamour magazine

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DIY Wednesday: Make a foam core jewelry bust

Today's DIY project is a knockoff of a knockoff. I love all things second hand, including ideas.

The project was originally inspired by this jewelry display idea from the now defunct Blueprint magazine. A real bust will run you $100 or more.

Kate Pruitt, an artist who blogs at Design*Sponge came up with the brilliant idea of making a two-dimensional DIY jewelry bust from wood. Hers cost about $10 and required the use of an actual jigsaw.

I used Kate's template, posted here on Design*Sponge, and made one out of foam core board. Total cost: $1.

The complete foam core how-to and an easy template for making an easel are posted here.

Now I have a place to display my five-pound bib necklace.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Goodwill Fishing

Here's my haul from the Goodwill store in Bonita Springs, Florida. We took a trip there with the folks a few weeks ago. Don't adjust your monitor settings. Everything really is grey or black. I got:
  • new black peeptoe flats - walkable and cute.
  • a grey comfy work dress
  • a ruffled sweater by the British label Wrap (My mom actually found this.)
  • a set of of white sailcloth curtains (Not pictured. Yet.)

Bonita Springs has a whole strip of great thrift stores. Here's my Bromeliad Living tip for the week when it comes to thrift shopping. Don't buy stuff just because it's cheap. Only buy what's cheap and fabulous. Lots of cheap adds up to expensive and then a need to clean the closet and give a pile to Goodwill.

We also enjoyed the beach.

And fishing with these guys.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DIY Wednesday: Three ways to upcycle silk flowers

Here are three ideas for those scads of silk flowers you see languishing on the shelves of Goodwill (or, worse yet, in your living room.)

Monica Ewing at Crafty Nest took an ugly poinsetta garland and turned it into a stunning pendant light.

Disney at Ruffles and Stuff took a 25 cent thrift store clutch and covered it with Dollar Store silk flower petals.

Danny Seo at Daily Danny soaked his in plaster to create faux ceramic flowers. (Messy but original.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Moroccan

Based on overwhelming interest (OK, two people), here are more pics of the groovy Moroccan lanterns I dug out of a dusty abandoned cardboard box. They are currently stowed on top of my work cubicle.

And the anonymous note left by a co-worker.