Saturday, November 26, 2011

sometimes it really is that easy

not all diy projects have to be super involved. this last project couldn't have been easier, yet the end result makes a big difference.

now, i think we've already established that i always try to do my projects as cheaply as possible. not only do i like frugal decor but this carries into the rest of my life as well. i'm always looking for the best deal possible from clothes to makeup to even tissues . . . when i save, i smile. let's be honest though, sometimes the cheapest items may not be the prettiest . . . like ugly tissue boxes . . . which brings me to my most recent project.

today's re-do started, as usual, at the thrift store! check out this gorgeous tissue holder i scored for only a buck . . .

yes, she's tacky, but slap a coat of spray paint on her and she's good as new!

i think she looks perfect in my bathroom, what do you think?

Project Cost Breakdown . . .

tissue holder = $1
spray paint = $0 (left over from another project)

Grand Total = $1!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

i've been featured!

hoot! i just checked one of my favorite blogs today and found that my light fixture re-do was featured. thank you, lindsey, for such a fun blog. everyone should go and check out all of the cool before and afters that she showcases. the creativity shown is amazing!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

i'm too cheap for pottery barn

i. love. pottery. barn. i don't even care that most everyone else does too. *in fact, i don't even care that it's like giving in to "the man" by purchasing things there. that is, after all, capitalism at it's best! as much as i love the style, i, in no way, love the cost to achieve the look. enter the internet. last year, while looking for a cheap art project to hang above my couch, (sigh. yes, this is the exact space i just redecorated in my previous blog) i found a great website that featured knock offs of many popular home furnishing stores . . . like pottery barn, anthropologie, ballard designs, etc. i was instantly inspired! immediately i honed in on a graphic black and white picture that featured numbers in different fonts.

here is the original . . .

(note: there are no actual photos documenting how i made this, as i had no idea i'd ever blog about it!)

i really didn't even know how to begin to make this. thankfully, there was a step by step tutorial to guide me. you can find it here. though i didn't follow it exactly, i appreciated the breakdown of which fonts were used, etc. that saved me loads of time trying to figure out which ones would give me the look i wanted. i also purchased a cheap roll of wood grain color contact paper from walmart. i opted for a color paper instead of plain white, so it would be easier to see when i placed it on the board.

the first step i did was chalk out and measure the size of each number i would need for the board.

i decided not to decoupage the papers on the board like the tutorial called for, and instead just skipped right to painting the entire board white. as each coat of paint was drying (i did two), i took this time to work at the computer. using excel, i made templates of each number in the different fonts, each one sized to my measurements. this ended up being a lot of extra work, as i didn't use half of what i printed. however, i tend to be a perfectionist and wanted it to look as close to the original as possible.

after laying out the paper templates on the board and choosing which ones worked best, i traced each one on the contact paper, cut it out and stuck it to the board. i don't have a rubber roller (that's a "brayer", for you technical folks!) for the edges like in the tutorial, so i just used my fingers and pushed the edges down as hard as i could. i then broke out the black paint and got to work painting the entire board. again, i did two coats.

after it had ample drying time, i carefully peeled off each sticker to reveal the number. unfortunately, some of the black paint had indeed bled under some parts of the stickers. perhaps i should invest in that roller after all? anyway, i easily fixed this by using a small artist's brush and some left over white paint.

finally, i was finished!

i l o v e the end result. i've received many compliments on the finished project and i have to say that i am quite proud of how much money i saved in the end!

here is where it hangs today in our dining room.

Project Cost Breakdown . . .

wood board = $8
black paint = $4
white paint = $4
contact paper = $2

Grand Total = $18!

* does anyone else remember the episode of Friends when rachel is trying to keep phoebe from finding out that her new furniture isn't actually from an antique store but is actually from pottery barn? ha! classic.

Friday, November 18, 2011

fabric frames

what do you do when you have a large space and not a lot of money to decorate with? head to the thrift store! recently, i went to my local thrift store as a woman on a mission . . . find the biggest frames for the cheapest price. as i entered the store i couldn't believe my luck . . . on the sandwich board stating the days deals it said that large frames were 50% off. i quickly made my way to the back of the store to see what i could find.

i already had one frame that i purchased at a garage sale over the summer, so i knew that i needed only four frames for my project. i figured my chances at finding them were pretty good . . . and . . . great success! check out these doozies . . .

good thing i only needed the frames and not the artwork, since most of them look like they were made for a starving artist's sale . . . though i admit that i did kind of dig the deer on the far left . . . but not exactly the look i was going for!

after bringing my new frames home, i again, primed and spray painted them a color that would coordinate with my fabric. (in case you're interested, the exact color is Cobalt by Valspar)

the next part was pretty easy, yet still a pain in the butt. i bought a few pieces of foam board from Michael's (using coupons, of course!) and cut them to the size of the pictures in the frames. that was the easy part. the pain was wrapping the boards with fabric and getting the patterns level. please don't look too closely, as you'll see that i never did get some of them quite right . . . though "good enough for 'gubment' work", as my husband would say!

after completing the framing, it was time to figure the layout. i found that the best way to do this was on the floor. i took pictures of different options so that i could compare and see which one looked best.

this is what i decided was my favorite given the frame sizes and fabric orientation.

when it came to actually hanging them on the wall, i did channel my inner "martha" and actually cut out a template of each frame out of old wrapping paper. to make it easier to figure out the nail holes, i also measured each frame and drew a dot on the template where my nail was to go.

finally, i hammered in my nails and then hung my pictures and leveled them with my cheap-o Dollar Tree level! that's it. easy peasy!

Project Cost Breakdown . . .

frames = $11
fabric = $11
foam board = $2
primer = $0 (left over from another project)
paint = $4

Grand Total = $28! (pretty sure the deer picture cost at least that much at the starving artist's fair!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

let there be light!

have you ever walked around a thrift store and seen all of those terrible 1970's light fixtures that obviously someone had the sense to throw out? well, i have and i've never known that they could look any better. that is, until i started thinking outside the box.

recently, i was at my local thrift store in cincinnati and found this beauty . . .

oh the possibilities! and you know the best part? it only cost me a dollar! i couldn't believe my luck. i mean, if you can see past the garish wood and rubbed brass, this lady had real potential. i knew she had to be mine . . . but where to even begin?

i decided that the bones of the light were worth way more than a dollar and that with a little creativity and spray paint, i could take this trash and make it a real treasure. here's what i did . .

first, i disassembled the light to see what i had to work with . . .

even after this project is completed i am left with these funky wood and beveled glass pieces that i intend to do an art piece with later.

after taking it apart i remembered that i had purchased some old chandelier crystals at a yard sale earlier this year, so i decided to add them and see which design worked best with the metal arms.

this is the design that i did not choose . . .

after i had a direction of what i wanted the finished product to be, i got out my spray paint and got to work!

i cut up a plastic bag and stuffed pieces of it in each socket so as not to spray the inside contacts, and then primed and sprayed the main piece as well as each smaller piece individually . . . allowing each coat of paint to thoroughly dry before recoating.

finally, i assembled the chandelier and hung the crystals.

voila! i'm super happy with the end result. it looks great in the foyer of my home and i especially like the reflection on the ceiling.

Project Cost Breakdown . . .

junk chandelier = $1
primer = $4
spray paint = $4
socket covers = $8
two replacement crystals = $4
chain = $2

Grand Total = $23!

*as with any electrical project, you should have the wiring checked by someone who knows what they're doing so you don't electrocute yourself or anyone else. in my case, my husband!

Monday, November 7, 2011

here we go!

i. love. to. make. things.

it’s almost like a sickness. for several years now i have been making handmade gifts for people and selling one of a kind baby items. i take so much joy in trying new ideas and sharing them with my friends and family. now i know that these days, design and crafting blogs are a dime a dozen . . . then again, no one ever said i was a trendsetter, so i don’t mind being considered a “copycat”. i could look at these for hours on end . . . oh and i don’t even need to admit how many on pinterest andetsy alone! well, that’s all fine and good to look and never buy . . . or rather, covet and never try to make. in my humble opinion, ideas on these blogs/sites are only as good as they are easy to create.

so that brings me to this new blog.

i have been dyi-ing and making up a storm lately and i am anxious to show how “this . . . is from that!” i intend to post before and afters of my own creations, as well as posting some of my favorites that i have seen elsewhere. oh, and if you have some before and afters of your own things you’d like me to add to this blog, please send them my way so that i can post them!

i’m not anticipating that this blog will turn into much of anything. the most it could do is inspire others to make some things on their own, or really to see the beauty and possibilities in the cast off or ugly. at the least, it will be a great record of what things i have made. what worked, what didn’t, and lessons i learned along the way!

thanks for reading!

here we go . . .