Work in Progress

Picture frames are bland, and I can’t stand bland. Therefore, I took on the challenge this week of bringing them a little extra spice with an original project idea and methodology. Though I usually at least loosely follow an online tutorial, this week’s design is a little something I cooked up myself.

My initial idea was to use a large frame to create a collage of pictures, but somewhere along the way it turned into me purchasing several smaller picture frames to create what I dubbed a “fabric collage.” The thrift store twist on this is that I re-purposed long skirts and dresses with eye-catching prints as my fabric and used only second-hand picture frames, all of which I found at Goodwill.

Here are the purchases:

A long black skirt with white flowers – $3.49

A long-sleeved, navy blue, ankle-length dress with a gold green and red pattern on it – $3.49

A mid-length navy blue skirt with a colorful floral pattern $3.49

6 picture frames of varying colors and sizes – $12.00

I cut both the skirts and the dress into rectangular lengths of fabric I could easily trim down to fit the sizes of the picture frames.

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After opening each of the frames, I removed the glass and placed the fabric over it. I folded the edges of the fabric over the glass, pulling tight to reduce wrinkles, and adhered it using a hot glue gun.

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I trimmed down the excess edges of the fabric to allow the back of the frame to easily fit over the glass, and then I replaced it in the frame.

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The final product for each frame looks like this.

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I’ve finished a few of these so far, but I decided I’d like to make this a bigger project with several different frames and fabrics to make a “gallery wall.” If you’re interested in witnessing the final product, keep an eye out for new posts over the next two to three weeks, as I’ll be documenting my progress, new materials and eventually unveiling the result

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The Art of Improvisation

I spent my Sunday covered in paint and ready to give up on this blog post.

Though it was a trying evening, I learned a few important lessons and created an awesome piece of wall art in the process.

This blog is as much about finding inexpensive ways to shop for clothes and other goodies and trying out interesting ways to decorate my tiny bedroom, as it is about trial and error. This weekend I saw more of the error part of that mission than anything else.

The idea for this week’s project began innocently enough with the usual perusal through Google in search of interesting DIY ideas on which I could put a personal spin. Friday evening, I made the rounds through the local Goodwill in search of used canvases of varying sizes, followed by a trip to Walmart where I procured the supplies necessary for my crafting endeavor.

After seeing an online tutorial by Sarah Hearts, I had my sights set on creating a piece of wall art with cheap, used canvases on which I would spell out the text of a section of a Shane Koyczan poem and paint over.

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The first canvas, which reads “WE HUNGRY UNDERDOGS” came out nearly perfect. There were a few small splotches, but nothing anyone would notice from its perch above my bed. With one success under my belt, I began work on the second canvas, which reads “WE RISERS WITH DAWN.”

This is where everything went horribly wrong. When I peeled off the stickers when the paint seemed dry enough, the letters wouldn’t come off without tearing bits of the paint. After going through the painstaking process of slowly peeling each letter off centimeter by centimeter in an attempt to salvage my hard work, I applied painter’s tape and tried to clean up the torn edges of the letters.

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This first impromptu attempt at fixing things took the canvas from bad to worse. Rather than simply tearing the letters’ edges like the stickers did, the tape actually tore off entire chunks of the paint. I spent the next hour or so slowly but surely trying to free-hand apply the paint to fill the spaces. While I never did figure out what made that second canvas go so wrong, I learned DIY decorating is all about innovation. If at first you don’t succeed, paint it another way.

It took longer than planned, but, ultimately I came out with a great product to fill the barren space above my bed.

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Here are the purchases:

Three canvases of varying sizes – $6.99; $4.99; $2.99

Acrylic paint – $7.79 (the price of the additional package I purchased at Walmart, to go with what I already had available)

A package of three brushes, which I’ll be able to use again – $3.99

Three packages of letters, which I painted over to make the canvas’ existing picture show through underneath – $1.99 each

A role of blue painters tape, which I already had on hand

If anyone out there in Internet land has any ideas as to what exactly did go wrong and how I can avoid it in the future, I’d love the insight. Feel free to comment below.

Flowers for Next to None

Today, I want to talk about flowers and why they suck.

I appreciate a good bouquet of roses as much as the next girl, but what I don’t enjoy is taking care of them after the charm of receiving flowers wears off.

You’ve got to find something to put them in. You’ve got to cut the ends of the stems off. You’ve got to figure out how to use those odd little packets of food so the flowers don’t die. And most importantly, you have to make sure that you don’t knock the vase over and make an even bigger mess, which I have been guilty of on more than one occasion.

Then, after you’ve invested all of that hard work, you get to sit around and wait for them to wilt away so you can clean up the mess. It’s a lot of work for very little reward.

If you read my last post, you’ll remember I mentioned a trip to visit my boyfriend’s family, a trip which proved to be rather fruitful.

In addition to the green pitcher/vase I made use of for this post, I also got my hands on a wooden lap desk, gigantic cork board and Tommy Hilfiger backrest pillow, all of which you will likely be seeing in the near future as I make use of them in upcoming projects.

That green pitcher inspired me. I spent the trip home hunting for DIY flower tutorials. Though it took quite a bit of patience and a few first degree burns to get it all figured out, I was able to turn a copy of “The New York Times Crosswords for a Weekend Getaway, which I picked up at Goodwill, into a playful bouquet of roses to adorn my bedroom bookshelf.

Here are the purchases:

A pitcher, which I re-purposed as a vase – FREE

Vase of Faux Flowers

Floral wire, which I used as the stems of the flowers – $3.99

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Book of crossword puzzles, the pages of which I cut up and folded into flowers – $0.99

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Hot glue gun, an inexpensive one is definitely an excellent find for anyone interested in undertaking DIY projects – $2.99

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Craft foam, which I cut down to fit the size of the vase and stuck the stems of the flowers through so they wouldn’t move around too much – $5.99

Here’s the DIY tutorial I loosely followed to create these flowers courtesy of It’s Always Autumn. You can check out the DIY Projects page to closer look at this project.

Three Dresses, One Weekend

Over the summer, I purchased my first set of student tickets for the 2015 football season.

Two weeks ago, I was invited to a 21st birthday party.

Last weekend, my boyfriend’s mom asked us to come visit the family for her birthday lunch.

Three events, one long holiday weekend and nothing to wear.

What could I do to remedy the situation, but take a much-deserved trip to some of my favorite local resale shops in search of three outfitsone to suit each occasion of coursewithout breaking the bank. The semester’s first check dropped Friday morning, but it should come as no surprise that working for a college daily newspaper is less than profitable. However, I am four semesters into my college experiencetwo semesters into my Reveille careerand I have never been one to let financial adversity break my stubborn, vintage consumer spirit, so once again I hit the dated, dust-covered racks where I came across a few new gems to add to my collection.

Here’s the shopping list:

A floral purple, green and blue skater dress with short sleeves, which I wore to the first home game of the season – $13.99

A sleeveless light blue a-line dress with white polka dots, which I paired with a lightweight, navy blue jacket and my new pair of vans to wear to a 21st birthday house party  – $9.99

A sleeveless navy blue lace skater dress, which was a great find for a Labor Day birthday lunch that I’ll be able to use again and again  – $4.99

A pair of grey Vans with white laces that go with everything – $18.99

If you decide to stick with me for the next few weeks, you’ll find I have a lot of anecdotes just like this one. As part of this inaugural post, I’ll share with you some of my basic tips and tricks for successful thrift shopping.

First, you will have to digliterallyif you want to find the hidden treasures thrift shops have to offer. On more than one occasion, I have found myself elbow deep in a three-foot-tall cardboard box sifting through a seemingly endless mound of clothes, but it was always worth it in the end. When you set out to find adorable, inexpensive outfits, you will without a doubt come across a flopin fact, you will come across many flops. You can’t let this discourage you. With a healthy dose of resolve, you’ll find what you’re looking for with minimal damage.

Second, dressing rooms, no matter how filthy and ramshackle they may seem at times, are important. Most thrift stores have an “All Sales Final” policy that doesn’t allow you to return anything, especially damaged goods. Whether it’s a hidden stain or unfortunate rip, a quick spin in front of the mirror will tell you everything you need to know. Even a fault as simple as a tricky zipper can be a deal breaker.

Third, go with your gut. The truth is I am not a fashion guru. I do not follow trends, and I often make purchases in spite of “fashion advice.” But I know what I like, and that’s what matters. It may not matter to you, but it matters to me, and that’s the point I’m trying to make. Dress to impress yourself, wear it with confidence and let the rest fall into place. When you’re standing in that dressing room, you will second guess yourself for falling in love with that tacky, eye-catching, floral print over-sized top. Buy. It. Anyway.

Thanks for reading. Keep an eye out for my next post where I’ll show off how I repurposed a mint green pitcher I found for free. Also, you can check out the Weekly Buys gallery on the right to take a closer look at this week’s purchases as well as other odds and ends I gather.