Make Gift Wrap from Old Books

We made several sheets of this gift wrap for the holidays and it was a hit, so here’s a quick how-to tutorial. Change the color scheme and it can work for any occasion throughout the year. GiftWrap_Box

Project: Sew pages of a book together with contrasting top-stitch thread and roll on ink with a brayer to create unique, recycled gift wrap. We used an old encyclopedia and pulled out pages that related to people’s interests – the music section for our musician friend, printing press section for our graphic designer friend, and the biography section for our literate friend. Continue reading

Make a Home Office Pendant Light

I needed a light for my workspace. I wanted to find a really awesome Pendant Light. I poked around online and found some that were amazing, but a little too expensive for me to handle. I had a very basic $17.00 IKEA pendant light left over from my kitchen update. $17-40.00 was more like my budget. But, it was so small and lacked any funk at all. Plus it looked like it belonged in a kitchen.

Original Ikea Pendant Light

I was hoping to snag an inexpensive, awesome, retro light from Second Use Building Materials or RE Store. Continue reading

Modernized Armoire

HammerLikeAGirl_GrayCloset1

I have a cottage style home which means very little storage space. I purchased an armoire from a friend several years ago with the idea that one day I’d paint, stain, or at least change the door handles.

I wanted to modernize the whole room. It currently serves as a makeshift office, spare bedroom and a lazy catch-all storage space. The thought was to get rid of a lot of useless stuff and shift the room toward a contemporary office space that could quickly convert into a bedroom when guests arrive.

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Soaker Hose – Check!

I like to garden, but I don’t really like to water. This is a bit of a drawback for a gardener. It’s not that I don’t know this about myself, I’ve started this project of installing a watering system several times over the years – and I can prove it because I found 7 soaker hoses stashed in various places (not in the dirt), waiting to serve their intended purpose. I just didn’t know that I should have added to my materials list: “the happy helpers Heidi and Mary Jean”.

One and a half days. That’s how long it took to completely finish my long-delayed project (she said, banging her head on the desk). Here’s what I learned plus a few resources so you can tackle it yourself:

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Patio Fire Pit: Re-purposed Scrap Metal Box

Roasted marshmallows, smores and warmth out the back door. SWEET!

I had a rusting scrap metal box that Heidi gave me when she and her husband decided to purge some of their….treasures. Lucky me! She originally got it at one of our favorite spots, ReStore. It sat in her garage for a couple of years and then literally sat up-ended in my back yard for another 6-7 years. Getting more and more beautiful with exposure all the while. Continue reading

Slipcover a Couch

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’m so grateful for friends, with sewing machines, and talent, and good humor, and sewing machines. Making slipcovers is not my thing – I am one avowed lousy seamstress. Heidi and Mary Jean weren’t fazed, they tackled it just like any other project, one step at a time – while I drug my feet, ordered fabric, wrote checks, and silently panicked. Looking back, I think I was afraid to put so much effort and $$$ towards something I wasn’t at all sure I would like. Wouldn’t it be easier/smarter to just buy a new couch? Ultimately, the retro shape, solid construction, and perfect scale of the two Salvation Army couches swayed me. I remember thinking of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous quote, “The physician can bury his mistakes, – but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” In my case vines = accent pillows and throws…OK then…thanks Frank.

Below is a basic outline of the steps for our slipcover. Our goal was never perfection (is it ever?). We were after a decent, fairly loose-fitting cover, that would change the color and update the feel of the living room. The take-away is hopefully this: it’s do-able, you can use things you already have (old sheets for patterns, re-purpose a bedspread or heavy curtains), friends lighten the load both emotionally and practically, and, if you don’t like it – well – there’s always pillows and throws! Continue reading

Plant tags from sticks!

All you need are sticks (8-10″), a potato peeler/knife, and a fine felt tip pen! Really, for the rest of your life this is all you are going to need – no plastic, no $$$ fancy tags, no disintegrating popsicle sticks…

A few tips:

  • Let the sticks dry out a bit before peeling
  • You can re-use these year to year– just peel again, and again, and again
  • Eat more veggies ;]

many thanks to Martha Stewart for the original idea!